GARPA 19 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Back by popular demand, the boys from GARPA are hard at it again bringing you all the crowd funding projects to empty your wallets. While the working conditions might not be the best and we are still waiting on that that funding grant from management, we still think we have a pretty cool job finding all sorts of great games and projects for you, our cherished readers. And now while we wipe the brown off our noses, enjoy the column!

Board Games and Miniatures


Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid by GMT Games

P500 – Not yet – Orders to Date: 240

In honor of Mayviation we bring you another aviation-themed boardgame in the throes of development. Enemy Coast Ahead covers the British 617 Squadron and their WWII mission, Operation Chastise. Operation Chastise was aimed at destroying three German dams that contained important reservoirs used by German industry to produce much of its war material. The task was never an easy one and even forced the creation of a special “bouncing bomb” to help the munitions reach their intended targets. Now GMT brings us a game that puts you in the shoes of the “Dambusters.”

Enemy Coast Ahead puts you in command of the famed 617 Squadron. The game can be played solitaire or cooperatively with teammates playing different roles within the squadron. Each of the Lancaster bombers is represented by a counter within the game as are aircrew, ordinance, and other crew characteristics. As the commander you are in charge of everything that involves your squadron. This includes training, ground crews, reconnaissance and if that wasn’t enough, “you may find it necessary to transfer the local barmaid or take the drastic measure of transferring 54 squadron out of Scampton airbase, or even quarantining the base altogether.”

The game board is split into three sections: the Mission Planning Blotter, the Flight Map and the Target Maps. Depending on the scenario or if you are playing the campaign will dictate the extent that you use each section. These different sections help you keep track of everything needed to plan and execute this complicated mission.

As I mentioned before the game can be played solitaire or cooperatively, each giving a unique experience. To enhance the replayability of the game, nine scenarios are included that cover different parts of Operation Chastise. These scenarios, if played in order, help introduce the player to the game and ease them into the rules. As if that wasn’t enough, the game also ships with a full campaign covering all of Operation Chastise, from forming the squadron to executing the raid and everything in between. So the question remains: how will you fare as commander of the “Dambusters” compared to your historical counter parts?

Admiral by Bombatgame


$4,471 of a $15,000 goal funding ending June 15th

Getting our heads out of the clouds we come back down to earth…or should we say the ocean…with a naval strategy boardgame. Not just any naval boardgame but one that lets you “reconstruct naval fleet battles with whole armadas of detailed ship miniatures.” Admiral is designed for 2-6 players and comes with rules that are easy to learn and contain multiple levels of complexity:

Lieutenant – for beginners and children, this has no complex calculations, and ship movement follows simple logic.
Captain – for more experienced fans of naval games.
Admiral – practically allows you to reconstruct a real naval battle.

The game’s Kickstarter page contains a link to the first two levels of rules so you can get a feel for the game before pledging your hard earned cash. The game will ship with the Lieutenant and Captain level rules but the Admiral level complexity can be purchased for a small fee as a printable add-on.

The base game contains 24 miniature plastic ships in 1:1700 scale as well as four miniature forts. These forts can be placed on island overlays that are used on the map board depending on the scenario. The ship miniatures “in our opinion, are the main representatives of the Sail Epoch. They are the brig, galleon, 28-gun frigate and 100-gun first rate ship.” Additional ships can be obtained at higher pledge levels.

Also included are ship cards that are printed with their corresponding ship’s characteristics. You keep track of damage on these cards using slightly magnetic tokens that affix to the cards and help prevent the inevitable table bump and then subsequent argument about what token went where. Finally, a wind directional spinner is included to keep track of what is arguably the most important component in naval warfare during the Age of Sail. To see images of the game and miniatures, check out a PDF of the rules.

Canterbury by Quixotic Games


$33,391 of a $50,000 goal funding ending June 1st

A long time before the Age of Flight there was a period of history called the Dark Ages, although there are some newfangled historians who are not using that phrase anymore but that’s neither here nor there. Canterbury, a game set in the Dark Ages, has nothing to do with Mayviation but is still a worthy entry here at GARPA.

Set in 6th Century Britain players take on the role of Saxon lords under the rule of King Ethelbert to build the city of Canterbury’s various districts. That almost sounds like work, but the designers promise it will be fun.

In a cool occurrence of the interconnectivity of our hobbies, “the game is inspired by city-building video games such as SimCity and Caesar III.” Some of the themes and mechanics of the game will be immediately familiar to many PC gamers. Each player, starting with meager resources, must build and improve the 25 districts of Canterbury as well as provide for the basic needs and wants of its citizens. As the city grows and improves the players receive more wealth, measured in points, which the players use to build the city. Even though the players are competing against one another, all players benefit from the city as it grows.

One of the unique features of the game is that, “other than starting turn order, there is no luck in the game. Each session unfolds differently based upon the decisions made by the players as they build the city together.” This leaves open numerous possibilities and the chance for a different experience every time the game is played. The game can be played with 2-4 people with slightly different rules depending on the number playing.

Sadly there is not much more written detail yet about the game’s mechanics. However, there are a couple of lengthy videos that cover details of the gameplay if you have the time to sit and watch. Also the game’s rule book is available as a PDF download for those who really want to dig into how it is played. The game’s components look well thought out and the art work on the counters is very well done. The board is huge and visually appealing. Fans of the city building genre will definitely want to check this out.


Cornish Smuggler by Henry Jasper and Grublin Games


$3,967 pledged of $21,165 goal, funding ends Saturday, July 6 at 6:59pm

Cornish Smuggler – the title can illicit sniggers of delight from the less mature among us, like me. Rest assured this board game is truly about smuggling communities in the English seaside town of Cornwall, England. Set in the 18th century, players are charged with building a successful smuggling network.

Buy and sell a panoply of goods from across the known 18th century world and use as much skullduggery as you can to get ahead and stay ahead of both British authorities and other smugglers. The player’s plan is the center of the game and with no dice included at all, the developers are proud that very little in Cornish Smuggler is left to chance. If you fail miserably you’ll have no one to blame but yourself, just like real life!

Gameplay is turn-based, with players spending their resources on buying goods, using secrets, organizing networks of criminals and stockpiling resources for more actions to be performed later. Resources include gold, reputation, and influence, and all three of these are used to evade and outwit British customs officers.

Players will also spend a lot of game time on deciding what to sell and what to buy as well as competitive pricing and negotiation. The game is ultimately won by accruing the most gold, but reputation and influence will help you keep the annoying authorities out of your appropriately-themed, 18th century powdered wig hair.

Cornish Smuggler is played out on a stylized game board with pieces and cards representing characters, ships, warehouses, secrets and gold. It is expected that a full game can take about 90 minutes for two players and about two hours for 3-4 players.

Gameplay is designed to be exciting and nerve-wracking while also encouraging conversation and providing a strong sense of time and place. Cornish Smuggler should make the player feel as if he is waiting on a fog-enshrouded English dock, peering into the mist, waiting impatiently for his next shipment of illegal brandy to arrive. If you can handle the atmospheric tension, this is a game to watch.


PC Games

Paranormal: The Town developed by Matt Cohen


$4,592 pledged of $3,000 goal, funding ends Monday, June 10 at 10:38am

The paranormal has been all the rage with the kids for quite a few years now. I have a love for this type of thing myself but the sheer number of schlocky, formulaic TV shows, movies, and books is overwhelming, even for me as someone who enjoys some of them. The number of paranormal-based games is not as high as the number of titles in other mediums [HA punny!] but games like Silent Hill, Left 4 Dead, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Penumbra, Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption, and even the Diablo games show that there has been a strong paranormal streak to PC gaming for a long time that has resulted in some classic titles.

To this long tradition we may now be able to add Paranormal: The Town. Ignore the weak title for now. Full disclaimer: Paranormal: The Town is set to be a found-footage game based on the Paranormal Activity films. Presumably the game will include a lot of the movies’ cinematic conventions and similar type fiction along with a healthy dose of Silent Hill style gameplay. So if those things are not what you are generally into, well…you have been warned.

The player in Paranormal: The Town will be in control of a single character at first, who wields a camera instead of any kind of weapon, and will begin by exploring a single house for yes…paranormal goings-on. The game is currently very early in development but beyond the single house, a high school, a bar, city streets and a graveyard are also planned, with additional explorable environments to be released as DLC.
The creator, Matt Cohen, states that he is taking a lot of influence from Silent Hill’s very creepy environments and gameplay. As you can see above, the pledge goal for Paranormal: The Town is comparatively modest and was achieved with little difficulty. It will be interesting to see what Matt Cohen can do as development picks up.

GoD Factory: Wingmen by Nine Dots Studio


$10,409 pledged of $70,000 goal, funding ends Saturday, July 6 at 6:33am

GoD Factory: Wingmen is a multiplayer game in which teams of three work to build custom gunships in order to destroy their opponents carrier. Each gunship is created from 12 different modules which are purchased with credits earned through winning online matches.

In combat, the player’s gunships can target different locations on the opposing carrier to first slow down and then destroy the enemy ship. Each game will take about 15 minutes and is playable from a first or third person point of view.
There are many different classes of gunships that will be included and the art style of GoD Factory is edgy, with ship designs inspired by what looks like tattoo art and insect biology. It may not be for everyone, but the designs looked bad-ass to me.

The screenshots also looked excellent, and Nine Dots Studio claims that their game engine will be able to run on even aging PCs. GoD Factory will also support the Oculus Rift headset, and is in alpha stage right now. It has also been placed into the Steam Greenlight program.

Initial impressions of the alpha build are quite good and there have even been whispers of comparison to X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. That is the highest amount of praise that I can imagine for an up-and-coming space combat sim, but it is still early in the funding process. The developers have a lot of interesting ideas on what direction they want GoD Factory to go and I am hoping that their vision is realized!

And with that we close this installment of GARPA. We’ll see you a a couple of weeks!

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