GARPA 25 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

GARPA #24 – Dan Pinkham & Lloyd Sabin

Let’s face it, a long work week can get to all of us. And in the summer long weeks can feel even longer.

I focused on this point just a minute ago when my co-worker came in said good morning to me, found something on his desk and then said, “What fresh Hell is this?”

We’ve all been there. And that’s where GARPA comes in. You work yourself to the bone to get some money, and hopefully once the family is taken care of and the bills are paid, you have a bit leftover for yourself. We are here to help unload you of that burden as well as forget about any “fresh Hells” you had to endure to get it by providing updates on the best looking crowd-sourced games coming down the pike. Let’s get to it!

Board/Role-Playing Games

DemonWars – Reformation by R.A. Salvatore
$14,057 pledged of $50,000 goal, funding ends August 30


Speaking of fresh Hells, DemonWars – Reformation is looking to set your world on fire quickly and efficiently. Set in R.A. Salvatore’s world of Corona (not the one in Queens, NY) DemonWars-Reformation  will have a game system akin to older tabletop board and role-playing games from the 1970s. The setting of Corona includes creatures that any self-respecting demon-slayer should expect to find: goblins, evil monks, and of course demons, along with intricate maps, in-game lore books, and a detailed gemstone magic system.

Want more detail? OK: DemonWars-Reformation puts the player in the role of a monk in the Abellican Church.  The player is thrown against a rebellious church faction under the command of Marcalo De’Unnero. Confused yet? Me too.  No worries though. The plot of DemonWars-Reformation is set after the events taking place in Salvatore’s novel Immortalis.

Clearly, fans of Salvatore’s work will be delighted to pick up DemonWars-Reformation. They will also be ecstatic to know that the game is in a working prototype mode right now, and play testing has been going on since the beginning of this year. Originally intended to include every faction in the DemonWars universe, Salvatore and his team have honed this down to the Abellican Church for the initial launch to flesh the faction out. With success, other factions from the books will be covered in future game modules.

It is refreshing to see a new game in production set in an untapped world. I know for me personally reading through the Kickstarter info got me interested in the DemonWars backstory and it looks to be progressing well enough with 30 days to go.

Shuriken by Awesome Enterprise

$29,019 pledged of a $95,000 goal funding ending August 19th

Ninja warfare is something that I think we can safely say at least intrigues most Grogs if not outright interests them.  Combine that theme with a board game containing 250 plastic ninjas and you have Shuriken.  Yes, I did say 250 plastic ninja and all in 28mm scale.  Intrigued yet?GARPA-24-1 Shuriken

The goal of the game is to lead the ninjas of your clan in battle with rival clans.  The catch is you only have eight hours of night in which to achieve the most victory points through battle.  That game supports up to five different clans of 50 ninjas each, battling across the board at any time.  The eight hours of night are dictated by eight “Hour of Night” cards drawn from a deck of 20 cards.  These cards give each round or “game hour” a different effect that the players must use to their advantage.  When the eight hours are up the game ends and the player with the most victory points wins.  The “Hour of the Night” card deck contains many different effects that when combined will make new and interesting games each time a random hand is drawn.  Want a longer or shorter game?  Just add or take away cards from the drawn deck.

In addition to the night cards there are mission cards.  These cards contain different missions that each clan has the option of completing.  Complete a mission and you gain access to a unique bonus for your clan to employ.  Combat is resolved using a custom set of 10 six-sided dice.  Combat is quick and fun and is fought over three phases that includes all the types of ninjas.  Each turn the players track their clan’s actions on a clan card that show the number of ninja allowed to move and how far they can move.  Each turn a player takes three actions from the following: bringing more ninja on the board; moving ninja; upgrading ninja; or starting combat.

In case I didn’t make it clear before, the game comes with 250 plastic ninja in 28mm scale!  The ninja figures are comprise of four types; unarmed, sword, shuriken, and master ninja.  Each ninja has their own strengths and weaknesses in gameplay.  Another great feature of the game is the modular board tiles.  These tiles can be rearranged to make a varying playing surface.  Different tiles contain different advantages for those clans who control them.  However, beware as fighting over a tile for too long can destroy the tile and lead to consequences for those who move through it.  If this sounds like a game for you then make like a ninja and sneak on over to their project page.

CarmaRace by Vince Luca

$10,947 pledged of at $23,000 goal funding ending August 25th

GARPA-24-2 CarmaraceYes, it is that kind of karma and yes, they know it is spelled like that in the title you’ll see why in a minute.  With that out of the way we bring you CarmaRace, the quick and easy game of “hitchhiking your way to victory.”  Whether that be by plane, train, or automobile just remember what they say about karma.  The basic idea behind the game is all the players are trying be the first one make their way across country to pick up a rare collectable.  The problem is none of the players have any way to get their so they must take whatever mode of transportation they can get ahold of.

The game is full of player interaction as not only are the players trying to reach their destination first but they are trying to stop or delay the other players from doing the same.  All of this is done by managing a hand of cards.  The players must choose which cards they want to remain in their hand and which to discard in accordance for their plan to travel cross-country.  The game comes with four decks of 50 cards each.  One deck contains all the various transportation options.  These include planes, cars, trains, motorcycles, and more.  The other three decks contain karma cards.  The karma cards contain helpful and harmful cards that you can use to help your own race or hinder that of your opponents.  These karma cards include cards like “escaping the cops, old lady crossing, derailed, and fighter escort.”  I’ll let you decide which cards are good and bad karma.

The action takes place on a beautifully illustrated map that measures 22 inches by 33 inches and contains various routes for your journey to take.  Along with the game board there are player boards that provide players a turn summary and a place to keep track of their cards.  The game is for 2-6 players and each of the six player boards contains a different character with a unique special ability.  For those of us not brave (or perhaps I should say dumb) enough to hitchhike across country in real life you might want to check this game out instead.

IncrediBrawl by V3G

$15,536 pledged of a $15,000 goal funding ending August 10th

IncrediBrawl is exactly what it sounds like it would be, “a chaotic, casual card game” that “combines quick combat with crazy abilities.”  And that is what we in the writing biz like to call alliteration. This card based game is meant for 2-4 players and promises to be fun with easy to learn and quick gameplay.  The project is currently fully funded and looking to meet some interesting stretch goals.GARPA-24-3 incredibrawl

In the game itself “each player guides a colorful cast of characters, from all corners of imagination.”  These characters include samurai, wizards, pirates, goblins, yetis, centurions, GIs, kittens, unicorns, and many more.  The goal is to take these wild combinations of characters and “meet in an epic clash for glory.”  Who isn’t about a little glory?  The strategy happens when deciding which characters to summon at the right time to beat your opponents.  Each card in the game has different abilities that can be combined to form different strategies each time you play.  The player’s deck includes character, power-up and location cards.  Each round the player draws a hand of cards, picks a character and pimps it out with abilities and bonuses.  The winner of the round gets a glory point plus any bonuses.  The first player to 10 glory points wins.  Very simple in concept but with the addition of many different cards it looks to become “chaotic.”

Another cool concept behind the game is the scalable rules that come with the game.  This way you can take the game and make it accessible to children or make it more complicated for those who crave more strategy.  IncrediBrawl’s Kickstarter page has the rules available for download as well as several gameplay videos.  Also make sure and check out the cool playing card art that makes the game really stand out.


Electronic Games


Dwarven Delve by Tinkerhouse Games for iPad and Android

$4,827 pledged of $60,000 goal, funding ends August 29

GARPA-24-DwarvenDelveIf you have been here at Grogheads long enough, you know that I am the short guy of the group. There are lots of cutesy names for my kind: midget, shortround, elf, tiny…you can see where I am going with this. If I have to be labeled for my size, dwarf, in the traditional RPG sense, is the most palatable. Dwarfs in these types of games are industrious, strong, and devastatingly handsome skilled fighters. Just like me just without the beard.

Dwarven Delve continues this fine tradition of positive dwarf portrayal by giving the player a collection of tough dwarves to navigate through randomly generated dungeons. It bills itself as an action game and a “light puzzler” as the player is tasked with carving a path for his dwarf team through a bewildering array of tunnels while combating a variety of monsters and of course collecting phat lootz…gotta have the phat lootz.

The tunnels are based on rotating series of hexes that can be controlled by the player to form an almost endless variety of tunnels and dungeons on the fly, with monsters stalking the player’s dwarves throughout. The player should eventually come up with a dungeon that minimizes danger to his dwarf band and produces the maximum award, using his team’s special abilities to get through the tunnels and survive.

There are six characters in Dwarven Delve right now, each with a different set of attributes. Spells, melee combat, tracking, crafting…each character specializes in a different dwarven characteristic. It’s up to the player to use who he wants how he wants, and skills of course can be leveled up through unique skill trees.

The game world and the underground environments are surprisingly fleshed out for a game set to launch on handheld devices, with lots of great dwarven-themed details and a well written backstory.  So much so, in fact, that the game grabbed my attention for its design and lore moreso than being based on my brethren! If this sounds like your kind of thing dig yourself a tunnel over to their Kickstarter page and look it over for yourself.

Ravensdale by Black Forest Games

$43,153 pledged of $500,000 goal, funding ends August 16

It’s not looking so good for Ravensdale, with less than ten percent pledged of its $500k goal and only two weeks to go. But I wanted to include it here for the simple, juvenile reason that the screens just look incredible! I know…”don’t be a graphics whore” and “don’t judge a game by its box” and all that, but take a look at some of the images I’ve included here…they’re just fantastic.GARPA-24-Ravensdale

Also, this isn’t Black Forest Games first Kickstarter foray. They successfully launched a game called Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams…so they are not new to crowd funding and even if they do not succeed on this attempt at launch with Ravensdale, rest assured they will return.

Ravensdale has been built with a proprietary engine, and is based on old shooters like Contra and I would dare say even Shadow of the Beast. Co-op is a major focus, as is the single-player campaign.  A variety of different, unique tactics and weapons are going to be introduced, including the Arc Connector. The Arc Connector can be used for different purposes, including increasing characters’ speeds through the game’s side-scrolling environments, pulling and manipulating in-game objects, and blocking enemies.

The actual plot and factions of Ravensdale is still being fleshed out by a professional author, but from the information gathered at Kickstarter the team looks to be quite ambitious in the amount of lore they want included. So even though it doesn’t look particularly positive this time out for Ravensdale, it won’t be the last you hear from this hard working team. Some more eye candy for your perusal:




And on that note we bid you a fond Friday farewell (Hey, another alliteration!) until we see you again in a fortnight with more crowd-sourced goodness!




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