The Kickstarter success of Etherfields puts almost all its peers to shame. At the time of writing, with five days left to go and with a goal of £40,000, there have been over 27,000 backers generating almost £2.7 million.
It’s easy to see why. Created by the miniature painting studio Awakened Realms, it promises a new type of board game experience that can be played co-op or solo with one to four players. As a ‘dream crawler’, players develop a character from scratch using advanced deck-building, then dive into a surreal and artistically-crafted world where anything they do changes the rhythm of Etherfields — a world where even the strangest fantasy is possible.
The player’s body is a dream state. Memories faded away, they find different masks lying nearby. Each mask provides a different story. Memory chests provide player skills and, throughout the game, these chests are modified with new cards that provide skills as well as curses.
Normal rules don’t exist in the dream-realm and no rules are unbreakable – each interaction leaves its mark and offers surprising results. You’ve got to think unconventionally; fighting is an option, but often has unexpected consequences. In dreams, someone you’ve killed could come back angrier and weirder. Instead, you might cheat or find other ways to overcome the challenges of this strange realm.
The gameplay has been created by the legendary Michał Oracz — author of This War of Mine: The Board Game, Neuroshima Hex, and Cry Havoc — and tests the player’s intuition, emotional intelligence, logic and deductive reasoning. Stretch goals have introduced new monsters, custom dice, a better box and more models.
Given their background in miniature painting, you can expect the models to be something really special. They have a level of detail I haven’t seen before. The artwork promises to be fresh, unique and evocative.
The game is expected to ship next March, and it’s got to be one of the most promising board games of recent times.
Minimum pledge: £75 (core box)