GARPA 18 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS


Authors: Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

May 10, 2013

Spring is well under way even though we are still freezing are butts off here in the northeast at night. Which makes for a good excuse for gaming instead of being outside. Also there’s a plague of locusts coming to the region as well. You definitely don’t want to be outside then. See, we here at GARPA not only alert you to the best new crowd funded games coming to your desktop and PC…we also give you plenty of excuses for not going outside and reserving more time for gaming. Who loves you?

PC Games

Son of Nor by StillAlive Studios

$34,121 pledged of $150,000, funding ends at 5:17am on Thursday, May 30


Son of Nor is planned as a 3rd-person, fantasy-themed ARPG that will be playable in either single- or multiplayer coop mod, with up to four players cooperating online or through a split screen. The game takes place in the desert-world of Noshrac (not Horshack) where the player is thrown into conflict against desert-dwelling beasts and an army of warriors called Sarahul. To be the best fighter possible, the player will need to explore the game world and take advantage of strategically placed temples and avoid traps in order to advance…in other words, solve puzzles to improve magical combat abilities.

Player powers in Son of Nor will include telekinesis…using the avatar’s mind to pick up weapons and in-game items to fight, terraforming and manipulation of the game world, and elemental magic divided into wind, fire, and essence. Enemies will need to be brought down with specific attacks and combinations of powers. Discovering which combos work is a major part of the gameplay. A HUD and a UI will be minimal to non-existent, to aid in player-immersion.

StillAlive Studios is also pouring a lot of energy into the game soundtrack and original story too, which they want to further aid in pulling the player into Noshrac.  Player powers can also be combined in a multiplayer game to manipulate the environment in ways that players cannot do alone, or defeat enemies that players cannot handle solo.

The game world is slated to include wilderness areas, underground catacombs, cities and temples, each with their own set of threats. Each enemy will have its own set of weaknesses that will have to be discovered through trial and error by both solo players and multiplayer teams.  Son of Nor has already been recognized with several different awards and looks polished enough to scurry off into the desert on its own when its ready in Q2 of 2014. For more information check out its Kickstarter page.


Stonehearth by Radiant Studios

$214,356 pledged of $120,000 goal, funding ends Thursday May 30 at 1:00am

A game design has to be doing something right to earn almost $100K more than its Kickstarter goal almost a month before funding ends. Stonehearth by Radiant Studios appears to be doing many things right. Kickstarter18Stonekeep

Stonehearth will provide opportunities for both exploration and expansion, survival and construction. Take control of a group of settlers in a fantasy world, and lead them not just to survival, but to a thriving settlement. Empower them by helping them grow their own food, build their own houses, and contribute to their defense.  

Stonehearth will do this within an open-world sandbox, with real-time strategic gameplay and RPG elements tweakable as the game goes on. The current plan is for a single-player version, with strong potential for a multiplayer version with PvP and co-op set up as stretch goals.

The game world looks to be divided amongst different clans that will be competing with the player for the game world’s resources. A variety of different clans and factions will be available as well as different jobs that your settlers can take on, which will be similar to classes in other RPGs. The core of the game is intended to be city construction, with Radiant Studios emphasizing a feeling of ownership over cities and a focus on making each player-built settlement unique. Buildings will be constructed either brick by brick or through pre-fabricated sets, and subterranean game structures may be possible sometime after the game is released.

Within each city will be your settlers, each with their own job who can be upgraded through the use of what promises to be a detailed leveling-up system for both settlers and technologies. As the player’s city grows, it will attract the attention of bosses throughout the game world, and inevitably a struggle for survival against these monsters will begin. An option will also be available for straight-up city building, without the danger of combat.

Players will also be able to model new buildings, weapons, and armor throughout the game in an art style that is similar to Lego. Stonehearth has what can be called a ‘cutesy’ art style but don’t take that as a negative. The game will also be fully moddable and ready for new user-created campaigns, cities and storylines. If you, like me, fantasized about your Lego cities coming to life when you slept, or if you owned an ant farm…it looks like your fantasy is about to be reprised! Stonehearth’s Kickstarter can be found here.


All Quiet on the Martian Front by Alien Dungeon

$88,406 pledged of a $50,000 goal, funding ends at 12pm, Monday, June 3

Kickstarter18MartianFrontHold on to your red weed because have I got something for you. Yes I am not the resident miniatures guy. Maybe the resident mini-guy, but that’s another story. But this miniatures set has me salivating.

Anyone who has known me in the last decade knows that one of my favorite things ever is Jeff Wayne’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Victorian English setting, heat rays, ironclads, landships, general chaos…simply fantastic. All Quiet on the Martian Front is a minis game set about 12 years after War of the Worlds and is a billed as a set that pits “tanks vs. tripods, big guns vs. heat rays in a new 15mm minis game set during an all-out interplanetary war in 1910!” I indeed squealed like a little girl and belted out a few TEEHEEs for good measure upon reading that.

All Quiet on the Martian Front continues directly from where War of the Worlds left off and no doubt where about 1 million pages of speculative fiction have been sacrificed upon the altar of H.G. Wells’ original publication since 1898. The first invasion ends in defeat for the Martians, but humanity was very close to being snuffed out forever.Kickstarter18MartianFront3

Fast forward about 12 years and the Martians have mounted a new invasion, this time beginning in the U.S. at the Mississippi River. America rallies behind Theodore Roosevelt with modern weapons conceived by Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison. Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Nelson Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie fund and mass-produce landships. There are even early Harley-Davidson mounted Rough Rider cavalry units, assembled to attempt to break the growing deadlock of trench warfare that engulfs hundreds of miles of Mississippi River delta!

Other game units include:

  • Martian assault tripods
  • Martian scout tripods
  • Martian slaves
  • Human MKII Baldwin tanks
  • Human MKIII Baldwin mobile guns
  • Human anti-tripod guns
  • Human doughboy infantry
  • Human heavy machine-guns

The rules have been drafted by Rick Priestly and Alessio Cavatore, who between them have written more minis rules than any other gamers in the known world, according to the Kickstarter site. Take a look at the site for more information on the ongoing creation and editing of the game rules for All Quiet on the Martian Front. From my outsider’s view the amount of detail going into the turn-based rules is quite amazing and detailed.



All Quiet on the Martian Front is the first installment of a larger game set titled The Great Interplanetary War. This first installment begins with American and Canadian armies and equipment and will soon also have a British Expeditionary Force set, since the financial backing of the game has been so good. Printed and digital rulebooks are also available, and there is discussion of a third race becoming involved in The Great Interplanetary War called the Venusians.


The release for All Quiet on the Martian Front is set for December 2013 and I have to tell you this game looks simply amazing in its detail and sheer novelty. Why this wasn’t done thirty years ago is beyond me and I am having a lot of trouble containing my excitement. All I have to do now is figure out if I can play this solo and how big a set I can purchase and hide from my kids. See more about why Gus freaked out.



Wild Blue Yonder by GMT Games

619 Orders to Date – Status: Made the Cut

WEB-ImageTemplate07 In the 1990s GMT Games released a series of air combat games under the Down in Flames series umbrella.  Starting with The Rise of the Luftwaffe and continuing with Eighth Air Force, Zero! and Corsairs & Hellcats this series was a big hit.  However, with time these games went out of print and became very hard to acquire.  With these games out of print, “GMT has considered a number of options to address that, from straight reprints to a base game/campaign module arrangement. Finally, though, the company has decided to P500 an entire new game covering the war in the ETO from 1940-1944.”  Enter Wild Blue Yonder.

This game is a fast paced card game that delivers tons of action and puts you in the seat of World War II aces as you fight your way across the skies of Europe.  Each player has a card representing their plane and the associated stats.  These stats dictate how many cards can be drawn, held, and played as well as the fire value of the plane and cards.  Dogfights are promised to take around six turns or about 15 minutes to play out.  Campaigns in the game connect missions and operations that the players take on with their planes and can be played in several hours.

Wild Blue Yonder will be a, “true deluxe Down in Flames product.”  Included in the game box will be more than a dozen campaigns, 200+ aircraft cards, targets, resource sheets, and everything else needed to play.  The campaigns will be similar to those from Rise of the Luftwaffe and Eighth Air Force.  But wait, there’s more!  Not only will the game ship with a solitaire campaign but it will also include land campaigns, progressive campaigns, and operations in the familiar Down in Flames campaign style.

Galactic Strike Force: The Cooperative Deck Building Game by GreaterThanGames

$61,958 of a $50,000 goal funding ending May 16th

Galactic Strike Force is a cooperative tactical space game centered on deck building and control of the player’s spaceship.  That works for this month’s Mayviation theme, right?  Yeah, we know it is a stretch but it will have to do.  The game is set a long time ago in a galaxy … wait are we allowed to use that?  Well, if not, you get the picture. Kickstarter18GalacticStrikeForce

Anyway, there was this evil half-divine Emperor who controlled access to space travel.  However, the rule of this Emperor and his cronies was brought to an end by a failed test of some doomsday weapon and the resulting cataclysm. Fast-forward to the present and the galaxy is made up of a number of different factions all trying to gain power and control resources.  Enter the players, who represent members of a “rogue Strike Force assembled to struggle against galactic threats.”

Each player has a ship card and an eight card deck representing their crew.  Members of the crew are made up of cool races such as Reptilian Sulph-Orcs, Quasimetallic Techno-Dwarves, Bio-Enhanced Metahumans, Electro-Celestial War Spectres, or (our favorite) Transdimensional Neo-Elves.  Let’s face it the names of the races alone are almost worth that game.  Once your ship’s crew is assembled, each player works together to drive the Opposition Force from the galaxy.  They do this over a series of rounds that include five phases: Travel, Requisition, Install, Battle, and Aftermath, all fairly self-explanatory.  All this is done through the use of cards that build a player’s deck, thus enhancing their crew and ship.

The game is played cooperatively and is made for two to six players.  The game comes with plenty of cards and tokens to represent various gameplay elements.  Also included are the player’s ship panels as well as the opposition forces ships and cards. For a larger pledge to the project you can get a vinyl player mat for the game or miniatures to represent the ships on your gaming table.  For more information on the game as well as some concept art off of the cards check out the project’s Kickstarer page.


Adventure Maximus by George Vasilakos

$5,639 of a $12,000 goal funding ending Jun 4th


With the lack of aviation themed Kickstarters out there we had to branch for this GARPA.  But never fear it is a worthy entry.

Many of us RPGers  may worry about how to attract the next generation to our hobby, especially those who have kids of their own.  Amidst the plethora of RPGs there seems to be very few that are geared specifically towards kids.  Those games that are geared towards the younger crowd are great but take an adult to run the game smoothly.

Adventure Maximus seeks to change that and provide a game not only geared towards kids but also an RPG that can see a kid in the seat of the DM or in this case the Maximus Master.  The only real requirement to play the game is to be able to read and even then if a kid had a helping hand with the reading part they may still enjoy the experience.

Adventure Maximus promises character creation in less than two minutes with the players having eight different races and a number of classes to choose from.  All the options are printed on cards and are easy for the players to see and understand who their characters are.

The game is set in the world of Ex-Machina, a world of fantastical places and creatures with some hilarious names to boot.  The crux of the game play is a simple action point system that players use to perform their characters actions each round.  Then consulting their characters’ abilities and items, players will roll a number of dice to see if they succeed or fail.  The game is designed with the idea that kids love to roll fists full of dice and trust me there is plenty of dice rolling in this game.

Each full game box comes with the following contents:

• 8 fully illustrated race cards
• 15 fully illustrated creature cards
• 10 player class cards
• 30 fully illustrated item cards
• 20 fully illustrated spells
• over 30 action powers
• 15 fully illustrated location cards
• a full color soft cover rule book
• set of 5 Maximus Dice

With stretch goals possibly adding to this list there is plenty there to introduce young players to the world of roleplaying.  I encourage you to check out the project’s page to see lots of art and several videos on gameplay.  Did I mention this game is hilarious as well…I didn’t?  Well, go see for yourself.

And with that, we are closing the GARPA lab. Please join us in the lounge and let’s meet up again in a couple of weeks to check out the wonders that the gaming industry is churning out!



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