GARPA 25 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

With a chill in the air this week it is clear that the seasons are changing again. Soon we won’t have to feel particularly guilty about gaming or reading inside since the weather won’t be as cooperative. Peruse our below roundup to get some good ideas on interesting games and other swag to pickup to help you keep your seasonal affective disorder at bay!



Dean Putney’s World War I Album

$82,631 pledged of $50,000 goal

Funding ends Thursday, September 5

PutneyStQuentinYes I usually cover games but this is special. Dean Putney of San Francisco has a literal treasure chest full of over 1000 photographic negatives of his great grandfather’s military service in World War I. Not only that, but his great grandfather, Walter Koessler, fought for Imperial Germany on the Western front, a perspective not covered as well or as often in English histories of the war.

The negatives, some stereoscopic, look incredibly vivid, even when viewed on the internet. Putney found over 1000 of them, all preserved and protected in a family attic in southern California, just recently. His great grandfather was an architect before the war started, and served in the German artillery as a lieutenant. He was a skilled photographer, and after the war left Germany for Hollywood, CA where he became an art director in the booming U.S. movie industry. His skill is immediately evident when viewing his pictures, which feature recognizable equipment, locations and even some aerial shots.

The images, besides being of technical high quality, are also notable for how expressive they are. Even from the few samples shown on Putney’s Kickstarter page, the mood from the outbreak of war in 1914 through subsequent years (it looks like his great grandfather served through the entire conflict) deteriorates noticeably. Images flow from young kids horsing around in a festive atmosphere in summer 1914 through to the grim reality of combat as time goes by. The images are very good at expressing the change of emotion. For grogs interested in German history, the First World War, or even just photography as a medium, Dean Putney’s Kickstarter project is something very special.



PC Games

Shades of Sanity by Robert J. Seres and Keith Leonard

$3,685 of $200,000 goal, funding ends Friday September 27

ShadesOfSanityYou may recognize Rob Seres’ name if you’ve been gaming for a while. He worked on levels and engine design for the PC horror classic Sanitarium. Keith Leonard worked for DreamForge on 3d engines for some of the Myst games. And now they both want to send you over the edge with Shades of Sanity, a 3D “spiritual successor” to Sanitarium. As if you weren’t already nuts.

Shades of Sanity is set to be a psychological horror game similar to recent classics like Amnesia: The Dark Descent. So prepare for the game to totally mess with your mind. Playing as Joseph Springer, a literal schizophrenic, the player is tasked with a dwindling amount of meds, leaving therapy unceremoniously and attempting to reconcile with his wife.

The game will vividly portray schizophrenia through hallucinations…in some parts of the game it will be impossible to tell what is really happening and what is not. Difficulty settings will mix things up further, with easier settings requiring less skill from the player while more difficult settings will require a level of skill and knowledge of different subjects like math, science, and the occult. Shades of Sanity will encourage exploration and most puzzles will be based on poking around, and less on finding widget X and placing it within gear Y…the type of gameplay that ordinarily drive people out of their minds. The game will also feature audio queues to further mess with your braincase, and take the “what you don’t see could be the most frightening” tack.

So if you’re feeling down because today you just feel too normal, Shades of Sanity is taking pledges in an effort to help relieve you of the burden.

Insignificant by Significant Games

$7,362 of $1,760 goal, funding ended August 22

InsignificantBeing short sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you that short people have good reason to smile or any other kind of BS. Because it’s just that, BS.

Insignificant wants to start out by showing you just how much it does suck to be really small…three inches tall, as a matter of fact. The angle of the game, after that, is to show players how awesome it is from being almost nothing and morphing into something greater, as opposed to other RPGs that allow players to acquire godlike power and control destinies with minimal effort. You will grow in strength and power here but it’s not going to be easy.

The player takes the role of a tiny Insider, an elf-like being with access to magic who survived an onslaught of much bigger creatures many eras ago. Instead of staying confined to a cave, your Insider will now venture outside. And that’s where the game begins…with your interactions in an open-RPG world with phat lootz that barely notices you’re even there, until you’re statistics improve.

Player stats are divided into multiple categories called ‘Mancies’ such as ‘luckmancy,’ ‘floatationmancy’ and ‘pointy weaponmancy.’ It’s pretty clear where the developer is coming from as far as his sense of humor, but don’t get the impression that Insignificant is a little pushover…the promise is there will be no hand-holding at any point in the game.

Significant Games is a one-man show run by Dan Rickmers. He has big ambitions for little Insignificant, including underwater environments, oculus rift support, enchanted weapons and armor, and a composed soundtrack. It’s the little game that could!


Board and Card Games

The Cards of Cthulhu by Dan Verssen

$17,037 pledged of a $7,000 goal funding ending Sept. 4th

1 CthulhuSo, apparently this whole Cthulhu is very popular, at least judging by funds that this project has already gained. In full disclosure, I know very little and have never had much interest in all things Cthulhu … [runs and hides.] With that in mind I am going to take the easy way out and quote the game’s designer who explains the game better than I ever could.

“The Cards of Cthulhu is a solitaire card game that pits you against the forces of The Great Cthulhu and other Elder Gods.You will battle Cultists, slay Minions, banish Horrors, seal the Gates, and protect our world from the enveloping insanity that threatens to consume us all!”

The Cards of Cthulhu is a great game for any gamer ages 12 and older. It doesn’t matter if you are a rookie investigator or a battle-hardened investigator that has devoted your life to fighting the Great Cthulhu. Each game ends with you saving the world, or dooming us all to eternal torment, in 30 to 45 minutes for solo games, and 60 to 90 minutes for multiplayer games.”

“There are 8 investigators that you can play in the game, each with their own ability to help battle the evil around them. Each of these investigators also has a weaker version called a follower that can assist the player in their fight. Each turn you draw cards that reveal some sort of evil or perhaps a helpful item. The game’s project page has lots of great game artwork which has all been finalized. Also the game’s rules, as well as the list of contents in each game are available there as well.”

What is cool about this project, and should come as no surprise to those of us who know Dan Verssen’s products, is that the game is fully developed and upon successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign will be sent straight to the printers. There will be no lengthy delay as the game goes into “final development…” the game is done and ready to print.  Since the project has already met its funding goal final production is a certainty and now it is all about unlocking cool stretch goals that further enhance the game.

Incursion by Jim Bailey

$96,801 pledged of a $75,000 goal funding ending August 30th

2 Incursion“Armored troopers of the US Lucky 7th hurtle through an underground bunker combating the monstrous forces of the German SWD (Special Weapons Development) in a furious race against time. The Doomsday Device is ticking and neither the Allies nor the Axis can fail. The mechanics of this two player game are simple to grasp allowing players to instantly focus on their tactical options. Players choose their forces for each mission through a card-based Requisition Point system making every game totally unique.”

Quite the introduction, don’t you think?  Incursion is a two player boardgame that uses excellently detailed plastic miniatures. Set in the alt-history timeline where in 1946 Germany won incredible victories on all fronts and, after being joined by Spain, takes Gibraltar from the British. A renewed offensive in 1949 by the Allies retook The Rock only to find the horrors left behind by the Nazis. Now, with the threat of a Doomsday Device, the allies must venture beneath The Rock and stop it before it is too late, but first they must battle the monstrosities the Germans left behind.

Incursion is not a new game. In fact it is the 2nd edition of the highly successful original game.  This Kickstarter project will include the same great game with many improvements along with an all new expansion, SNAFU.  The SNAFU “expansion adds 18 new missions, solo play options, multi-board scenarios, reinforcements for the Lucky 7th and the German SWD as well as all the rules and miniatures for the third playable force in the game: the stalwart British MI-13 Commandos. Set includes two large figures.”

Make sure and head over to the project’s page to see all the great miniatures, game artwork, and download a copy of the rules.

Premium RPG Maps by Rat’s Mats

$897 pledged of a $9,000 goal funding ending August 27th

3 MapsDriven by the thought that the quality of the playing surface should match the effort put into RPGs themselves, Rat’s Mats bring RPG players everywhere some exquisite looking maps. “The maps are printed on 100% cotton canvas, using a giclee process that injects museum-quality inks right into the fabric. The colors are bright and lively and a light polymer coating allows them to be wet-erase safe – as well as cola/Gatorade/pizza safe. They’re light and portable, but resilient enough to last a lifetime. Your grandkids can play with these maps someday!”

Once the project ends, backers will be able to select whether they want their maps with 1 inch squares or hexes. This added touch makes an already cool project even cooler. Swamp Set #1 is the first set of maps from this company and those covered by this Kickstarter project.  This set includes “four maps – three 12″ x 24″ and one 12″ x 12″.”

The four maps are the Ship, the Dock, the Tavern/Inn (upstairs and downstairs), and the warehouse. When you combine the four maps you “create a tiny coastal trading post frequented by some very rough characters.”  There is not much more to say about this project other than to encourage you to head over to the project page and check out the maps for yourself.

And much like summer, this too must end. Please join us again in two weeks when we will try to further separate you from your wallets and cash.


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