Kickstarter Roundup: October 2019

Kickstarter Roundup: October 2019
October 27, 2019 Tom Grundy

We have a great selection of successful Kickstarters to recap this month. All these projects have been successfully funded and will be available to buy soon!


BattleTech: Clan Invasion

BattleTech is a board game set in the 31st century, in which war rages across the galaxy and empires clash in epic combat. 30 foot-tall epic humanoid mechanized titans, bristling with weaponry, fight for power and the glory of their Empire.

Originally created over 35 years ago, it’s been a favourite board game of mine from the start. I love the way that the mechs have damage sheets which target different parts of the robot. You might take damage to an arm, leg or weapon, but can carry on regardless. These machines can take a serious beating before giving up and fights are just so much fun. The game has made it into a series of successful video games under the name MechWarrior (MechWarrior 5 due out later this year) and also last year’s BattleTech; but, while good games in their own right, the video games don’t quite capture the brilliance of the board game.

Twelve years ago Catalyst Game Labs modernised the rule books and relaunched three variants, along with dozens of sourcebooks and new miniature models.

Now BattleTech: Clan Invasion has been kickstarted to re-tool these miniatures and offer a brand new box offering advanced mech combat, with five models, two maps, and all the rules you need to enjoy this excellent game.

Unsurprisingly, the campaign was funded within seven minutes and has raised over $2.5 million. It’s now available to pre-order.


RetroStone 2 Ultimate RetroGaming Console

8BCraft are no strangers to Kickstarter, already having successfully launched the handheld retro games consoles Raspiboy and RetroStone. Now, they have listened to all the feedback from the first two consoles, and are back with RetroStone 2 — a completely redesigned and improved handheld retro gaming console which promises to offer the best and simplest retrogaming experience possible.

There are over 50 supported video game systems including Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Super Nintendo, NES, Megadrive/Genesis, MasterSystem, gamegear, Atari, Amiga, PC Engine (TurboGrafx) Playstation 1, and more.

The RetroStone 2 comes with HDMI out (allowing you to plug into a TV), three USB ports, a microSD slot, and an audio jack with volume control, and has a 3.5 inch screen with a 640×480 resolution. This is one of the best recent examples of retro-gaming consoles and the small size makes it an ideal choice.


Zenith: The cyberpunk MMO

I’m surprised that Cyberpunk isn’t featured more in gaming (who else can’t wait till Cyberpunk 2077 hits the shelves?). Thankfully, video game developer Andy Tsen agrees with me, and is planning on creating a big, dynamic massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for PC and VR. The look draws a great deal of inspiration from anime, providing a cleaner, brighter vision of Cyberpunk than most creations.

Zenith promises cross-platform play where you’ll be able to explore, craft, fight, join guilds, and build friendships. There will be ‘world’ events, but also the ability to just go it alone should you so choose. Cross-platform promises to be ‘true’ cross-platform: not just PC and PC-VR, but on any of the VR platforms that the game is created on. This currently includes Oculus, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and PlayStation VR.

What really excites me as a gamer, though, is the promise that this huge, dynamic, immersive world will have real physics, complex AI, and a landscape that evolves and is shaped by players and non-player characters (NPCs) alike. Real physics is something lacking in most MMO games.

I’m not the only one who sees a great deal of promise in Zenith, and the project was fully funded in just four hours.


Mirobot, 6-axis mini industrial robot arm

Okay, so this might not be the cheapest of Kickstarters, setting you back $335 (about £280) — but who wouldn’t want their own robot arm? Just imagine the possibilities: scare your pet, begin your first steps towards world domination, or perhaps just program it to lift stuff so you don’t have to. 

Inspired by the ABB IRB 6700 robot used in factories around the world, this six-axis, high-spec arm is a first in affordable robotics. With open source software and a gentle learning curve, it makes an excellent introduction to the wonderful world of robots.

It’s also incredibly precise, and can be easily programmed for a wide variety of commands. It can be fitted with different arm attachments for gripping or drawing. The arm doesn’t suffer from the robot jitters either, as the motors used are smooth and stable. The robot can be controlled via computer, hand-held control panel, or even via a phone app.


Evil Dead 2: The Board Game

A few years ago there was a successful Kickstarter campaign for an Evil Dead 2 board game. Unfortunately, the game never materialised — the unscrupulous company took the money and delivered nothing, leaving thousands of backers out of pocket with nothing to show for it.

Step forward Jasco Games, seasoned board game publishers, who have started this Kickstarter with hopes to get this board game finally made. Not only have they promised to actually deliver an officially-licenced game, they’ve also kindly offered to give a copy free of charge to all those backers who lost out in the first Kickstarter (with just costs of delivery to be paid).

This alone merits backing the Kickstarter, but the game itself sounds promising too. Essentially re-living the classic film, three to six players must work together to close the portal — or betray each other for evil! 

The game comes with 46 well-made miniatures, including character versions for good and evil, a well-designed reproduction of that famous cabin where all hell breaks loose, and the usual cards, tokens, and rulebook. There is also an optional extra purchase of the film as a hardback graphic novel.



What happens if you combine the atmosphere of Blade Runner with the humour of Monkey Island and the style and creativity of Studio Ghibli? According to the creators, you get a PC game called Encodya.

Set in a dystopian world of 2062, Encodya follows Tina, a nine year old inhabitant of Neo-Berlin, a dark megapolis under strict control by huge corporations. Tina lives with an unusual guardian: a hulking robot by the name of SAM-53, and together they eke out an existence by scavenging from city dumpsters.

Then one day, Tina discovers that her father left her an important mission: to save the world from this drab greyness.

Encodya is played as a ‘point and click’ adventure, reminiscent of that Revolution classic Beneath a Steel Sky (an award-winning, incredibly well-made game which came on fifteen floppy discs!) with some great visuals, over 30 characters in more than 50 locations, professional voice actors, and original music score.


Dungeons & Lasers: Plastic Tabletop Scenery

Last month we mentioned Clorehaven & the Goblin Grotto, a campaign aimed at allowing those with 3D printers to print tabletop set pieces to really bring their gaming to life. Dungeons & Lasers is a Kickstarter that actually provides such set pieces, in science fiction and fantasy themes, without the need to 3D print anything.

Made using hard plastic in sharp detail, these kits are easy to assemble (without glue) and can even be stacked, creating multi-leveled dungeons. There are a number of different sets and miniature models (including cats) to choose from, and they really do look the part — even unpainted. The sets have been made in a modular, clickable format which allows them to be compatible with most major tabletop games.

The Kickstarter goal was £32,000, and they’ve smashed it — so expect this project to become a reality soon.


Beautiful RPG dice sets

If you are like me, you will know that part of the whole roleplaying game (RPG) experience is collecting the best dice. Neil Jackson, the founder of Paladin Roleplaying, shares this obsession – to the extent that he has created this Kickstarter for sets of gorgeous pearl-effect dice sets in a number of stylish colours.

On offer are a standard RPG set with 1D4, 1D6, 1D8, 1D10 (marked 0-9), 1D10 (marked in tens), 1D12 and 1D20. There’s also a set with 8D6 if you just want to stock up.

Add-ons include a flat-folding portable dice tray and some extra-special signature dice sets, with stretch goals including D10 sets, dragon coins, and dice bags.

Every die comes in a mini black organza drawstring bag complete with the Paladin Shield Logo.


Godspeed – alternate history space race board game

Godspeed is a unique spin on the worker placement board game. Set in an alternate 1960s where the real space race isn’t to the moon, but to colonize a planet orbiting Ursae Majoris 18. Russia, Japan, Europe, India, and the USA have all sent teams on the one-way trip to the exoplanet, and each player controls a nation to try and beat the others to create the most successful new nation on the new planet.

Godspeed stands out in its use of worker placement mechanics. Each worker has both a specialism and an ‘influence’ value. Given that a worker cannot be changed until the following round once placed, this creates some interesting strategic dynamics. The game becomes more interesting when you realise that each action you take affects other players. End game scoring is based on how you have progressed against the other players in several metrics.

The game has already gone through a year of internal and blind playtest feedback to achieve balanced gameplay.


POWERUP 4.0 – smartphone-controlled paper aeroplane

Making paper aeroplanes is under-appreciated fun. Most of the time, though, the result is something that will glide for a few feet at most. POWERUP 4.0 turns that paper into a powered plane, with on-board computer, autopilot, flight telemetry, and even a ‘night flight’ mode.

POWERUP 4.0 is a conversion kit for a paper, wood, cardboard, or foam plane, that can be controlled via a mobile app. It has some pretty impressive kit to make flying a breeze, including launch assistance, auto stabilisation, and a wind stabiliser. With two high-speed motors, it’s easy to do loops, hammerheads, and barrel rolls.

The result is a serious amount of fun – you can attach the kit to pretty much any shape, and the tech will do its best to get it airborne.

There are a few days left to get involved in this campaign. 


CHASING DORY underwater drone

While air drone technology is now commonplace and affordable, the same cannot be said for drones designed to explore underwater. Chasing Underwater Drones is trying to change this with their newest product: CHASING DORY, a small, smart, and affordable underwater drone.

CHASING DORY is small enough to carry in a backpack, and has been designed to be intuitive to control from a smartphone app that allows you to maneuver, post footage, or even livestream.

It’s packed with some impressive technology, including temperature and depth sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers. It contains a high-end CMOS F1.6 camera with 100-degree field of vision and has two 250 lumens lights. It can dive 49 feet with a fifteen-metre tether. At the end of the tether is a wifi buoy with 8GB storage, allowing you to connect up to 15 meters away. Charging only takes two hours and allows an hour of use. There is even an optional backpack in which to keep all the gear. 

The Kickstarter has been a big success, passing its funding target within a few days.


Cork 2 bluetooth speaker

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and the Cork 2 bluetooth speaker is one of those. While it can be used as any other bluetooth speaker, the magic of the Cork 2 is that, when placed on top of a bottle, it transforms the glass container into a resonance chamber. The bottle becomes a louder, sharper, cleaner speaker with a sound you would expect from something much larger. Different bottle shapes, sizes, and glass thicknesses produce different sounds, making experimenting with the differences fun.

The original Cork (itself a successful Kickstarter project) won a coveted Red Dot design award in the Product Design category. The Cork 2 improves on the design, and comes in two versions: one with an LED light (illuminating the bottle) and an even smaller, more portable variant.

This campaign isn’t quite complete, so you can still hop in. 


Panther VR – stealth/action sandbox for virtual reality


Set sometime in the distant future, Panther VR imagines a world that is ruthlessly controlled by international corporations each vying for power in a never-ending struggle (sounds like things haven’t changed much then). Power can be bought; anything else can be stolen.

There exists a secret international guild of master thieves who are employed by the highest bidder. Only the best are recruited into this guild and become a Panther agent, giving up any links to their civilian life and joining a crew of like-minded agents.

The gameplay is open, encouraging you to plan your own approach and kit for each mission, with deadly weapons and gadgets that can be modified and upgraded to fit your own style of play.

You can go full stealth and avoid the guards, cameras, lasers and drones; or you can shoot it out using tactics to flank the enemy and using your surroundings for cover. Each location can be freely explored and the environment is fully interactive. Pick up an item to knock a guard out, throw it to distract them, and pick safes to steal loot. Climb pipes, ladders or ropes to reach new areas of the map, and use zip-lines to get around. Hack terminals to disable security systems or reprogram enemy turrets to fight for you.

Currently being developed for PC VR sets, Panther VR is created by seasoned VR game studio Wolf Dog Interactive and promises an experience quite unlike anything available in VR right now. The studio’s two previous titles, Skyworld and VR Dungeon Knight, have both received ‘Very Positive’ reviews on Steam, so it looks like the game is in good hands.

There are still a few days left on this campaign so there’s still time to get involved. 


Ant Jones