GARPA 21 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

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GARPA #21 – Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

GARPA is now 21 … old enough to drink here in the US. These online tech articles grow up so fast. Make sure before you take GARPA out to hoist a few that there is a designated driver. And here take this … no no, shut up and just take it, you never know when you’re going to need it. Better safe than sorry I say, and I’ve seen GARPA’s taste in women. Just hang on to it and if needed GARPA will let you know, trust me.

And now … the best in crowd-sourced PC, board, miniature, and card games. You know, to pass the time until you go out drinking and carousing with a more mature (and on the hunt) GARPA.

PC Games

Data Dealer by Cuteacute

$560.00 pledged of $50,000.00 goal, funding ends Thursday, July 11.

Yes Cuteacute is a terrible name for a studio, I agree. But the developers are Austrian so that explains it and gives us a good reason not to mess with them further.

GARPA21-DataDealerOn any ordinary day, the idea of Data Dealer would be a great one: run your own social network and collect millions of online profiles and other bits of potentially secret information. Note that Data Dealer does not place the player in any sort of governmental role…you’re in this just for the thrill of learning millions of tiny little secrets and finding millions of virtually closeted-skeletons. And of course monetary profit! Millions of dollars of monetary profit!

Data Dealer is browser-based and there is a beta version available right now at the appropriately named The developers have been working feverishly to get the game in the state it’s currently in…the Kickstarter campaign was started to get the game in a final state and make it available to as many people as possible.

Take the role of a positively shady information age tycoon and run every kind of online company you can think of: mobile apps, dating sites, search engines and social media are all available to you. But those components are just the beginning.

The real fun starts when you strip your members’ information from their profiles and start buying and selling it to any number of other sketchy dealers just like you. Got a bunch of tasty tidbits that you think a number of buyers will clamor to get? Sell them to the highest bidder! Protect your growing list of social assets from hackers, activists and competing data dealers. Sound sort of shady and illegal? Who cares! And that’s where Data Dealer is coming from. Sure it touches on some of the most important technological and political issues of our time, but it’s a game! For now anyway.

Luckily Data Dealer has an excellent sense of humor or else it may make the rest of us very nervous, as it is entirely based on trends going on in the online world right now. At least Data Dealer puts the player in the role of ethically questionable information purveyor, and not hapless sucker who is having his info stolen and sold at the speed of internet without his knowledge and at no benefit to himself whatsoever. That wouldn’t be any fun at all. And it looks like Data Dealer can be key in teaching online denizens exactly that.


Banshee by Si Stratton

$1,803.00 raised of $14,500.00 goal, funding ends July 17

I am a bit of a misanthrope and tend to dislike people often. Don’t hold it against me…I know you are exactly the same way.

Reading about Banshee fed into my misanthropic tendencies immediately. The player is given a choice: play as a ghost, whose job it is to scare the living daylights out medics who have wandered into your domain, or play as a member of the medical rescue team called to investigate an out of the way, eerie urban locale.GARPA21-Banshee

Either side, human or spirit, can play the game alone or in multiplayer or alone. As a spirit, it is your job to scare the hell out of the trespassing human team. As a human, it is your job to survive with your sanity intact.

Exploration is key, with video and audio recordings, newspaper articles and other bits scattered around Banshee’s dark city. Light and dark are vital: groups of players come together in well-lit areas to form teams, collect supplies and strategize. Darkness is just as important for the spirit side in Banshee, acting as a shroud of safety and security and giving ghost players the chance to come together and organize.

It’s very early in the game’s production, so the bulk of Banshee is still on story boards. That said, the creators are also putting together a movie tie-in. I know, that gives me pause as well. Hopefully the team can devote the same amount of time to both the game and the film. They are promising terror and fear in both and it will be interesting to see what the Banshee team can come up with as production continues.


Unrest by Pyrodactyl Games

$31,502 pledged of $3,000 goal, funding ends June 21

Playing the little guy in an RPG game is not an entirely new idea. Ten-plus years ago when the first Guild game was released it was trying to do a similar type of thing set in a Renaissance world more
You may have been able to use your skill at deductive reasoning to figure out that Unrest takes place during a time of troubles. The usual plagues are present: hunger, thirst, and chaos have enveloped your native city. It is up to you to protect yourself, your home and your family. Combat is always a threat but the developers promise that it can be avoided too and the dialogue of the game promises to be very deep and sophisticated.concerned with finance than heroics. Now Pyrodactyl games is assembling Unrest, set in ancient India, to allow players to experience life as a character that could be more ordinary than they are day-to-day.


Whether you choose to talk or fight your way through the game will also have immediate, noticeable effects in the game world, so watch yourself. Attributes like respect, fear and friendship between characters will have a large impact on character interaction and will inevitably lead to conflict…it’s just a matter of how serious that conflict will become.

Not ambitious enough for you?

The world of Unrest is being hand-drawn in 2D, and the music is also being written from scratch. The code will be open and mod-friendly and there will be no DRM to deal with whatsoever. The main city of Bhimra and its environs will be the main focus of the game at its initial release.  Note that the original goal for Unrest was $3000 to finish the basic concept, which was blown to smithereens in short order. With that goal obliterated, the developers have been able to add more storylines, more music and sprites for the artwork, additional characters, larger personal inventory, additional neighborhoods for the Bhimra, an in-game encyclopedia and some fancier audio and visual effects. Now that’s ambitious.

With literal unrest seething through every sewer grate in Bhimra, regular installments of the game do not seem so far-fetched. The developers promise expansions to the city and additional story chapters in the future. With a unique setting, realistic gameplay options and handcrafted assets it will be difficult to resist fueling Unrest when it is released.


Boardgames and Miniatures

Fury by GMT Games

P-500 – Status: Not there yet;  Orders to date: 308

From the same designer of the 19th century themed wargame Manoeuvre, comes a fantasy board game using the same game system.  For those not familiar with Manoeuvre it is a quick playing command level wargame that puts your troops on a battlefield of geomorphic terrain tiles and gives you a hand of cards that the player uses to manoeuvre his forces around the field of battle and defeat their enemy. These cards include representations of your “specific troops” and their “unique strengths.”

Fury brings this game system to a fantasy world which finds itself three years following “The Great War.”  This war only came to end due to war weariness on the part of the eight nations involved.  Now with the passing of time the nations are beginning to find their war footing again and the threat of war is imminent.  The game represents the eight nations along with a number “small nations and mercenary bands that can swing a battle in your favor.”  These nations include “the Elves of the Woodland Realm, The Dwarves of the Kingdom of Zikkim, The Theocracy of Tayanna, The Nik’tmarg a loose conglomeration of humanoids and savage men, Badari the desert empire, The Republic of Toren, Medis the feudal lands of the wizards and Tireisis feared by all as the domain of the Necromancer.”

In contrast to the historically based game of Manoeuvre, Fury includes a number of movement options that include teleportation and flight.  Combat is also expanded in Fury and with the addition of spells it becomes more deadly than ever.  The geomorphic map tiles include similar tiles to the games predecessor along with the addition of mountain and desert tiles.  The trick becomes utilizing all the troops under your command, each with their own unique features, to dominate the battle field.  Fury’s P500 page sums the game up well in comparing it to Manoeuvre when it says it, “turns the orderly Napoleonic battlefield on its head and populates it with Goblins, Zealots and Zombies ready to fight for their cause.”

editor note: we had an interview with Fury’s designer, Jeff Horger, last year.  You can read it here.



Havoc Boards by Bungled Board Games LLC

$20,035 of a $20,000 goal funding ending July 18th

GARPA21-HavocWhen you ask those who are not lucky enough to be consider Grogs if they know of any war boardgames I am sure the most common answer is Risk.  Now, as Grogs whether you love it or hate it you do have to recognize that Risk is about the only boardgame that simulates war that most people will play.  I am also sure most of us have some childhood memory of staying up way to late fighting with family members over who is back stabbing who while somebody just turtles in Australia and eventually wins the game.  Yes that’s right, we all know that strategy.  In fact we know all the “strategies” that can be played out on the Risk board.  If only there a DLC map pack like PC games have we could try out new strategies.  Well now thanks to Bungled Board Games LLC there is!

Havoc Boards while not an officially sanctioned Risk product is designing boards to the play the game of Risk on that, how can I say, might be a lot more familiar or personal to many of us.  Instead of a world map Havoc Boards bring you regional and even local maps to fight over.  These maps include the cities of Austin, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Rochester and Seattle.  Yes, that’s right you can fight over the different parts of these cities Risk style.  But it is not only these cities; there are also maps of Europe, the United Kingdom, the USA and New England.  Not enough for you?  There are also two specialty maps, the Solar System and American Revolutionary War map.  Oh and they even made a map of the University of Rochester.

Now obviously with this not being an official Risk product, you need to own the base game in order to use these boards.  However, each board comes with their own custom territory cards just like the original.  All of the boards is very accurate and look as would be expected.  Depending on your pledge level each board can be purchased either in classic board style or a fancy engraved wood style.  To see pictures of all the maps make sure and check out the project’s page.


Meridian Miniatures Steampunk Army by Andrew May

£6,856 of a £6,000 goal funding ending July 4th

One of the cool things about the Steampunk genre is that there are so many different variations of what people envision when they think about it.  If you think about it, the possibilities are nearly limitless.  That is why it is always exciting to see someone elses vision for what they see when they think Steampunk.  Andrew May is a new miniature sculptor but, as the pictures of sculpts on the project’s page can attest, does not lack any skill.  In order to fund his figures he has taken to Kickstarter to see if the public enjoys his take on Steampunk.

From Andrew’s mind’s eye he brings us a range of 28mm miniature Steampunk soldiers, both British and Prussian.  Four sets of infantry are being created, each of which will be cast with or without a greatcoat depending on your taste.  There will also be two officers sets one for each army.  What really makes this project unique is the way that Andrew has provided for customization within each of the different sets.  Each of the sculpted infantry figures is missing one very important feature, their head.  This is because depending on how you want to create your army you have the choice of 37 different heads that can be affixed to the bodies of your soldiers. This not only gives you a multitude of options for the look of your army but lets you make it uniquely yours.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of trying to describe the figures to you go check out all the sculpts on the project’s Kickstarter page.



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