Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kicking it! Wargames and Kickstarter

Over the past few months I've backed three wargame projects on Kickstarter, the crowd funding site that's become pretty popular for creative projects.

In each case, I've backed a project that was, in many ways, a proven quantity. And in each case, I think it's fair to say, was long-awaited.
Cover of Mercury Games edition

The most recent one is Mercury Games edition of Bowen Simmons The Guns of Gettysburg. Bowen needs little introduction here, I've written many posts about his previous designs -- Bonaparte at Marengo and Napoleon's Triumph. I think Bowen is one of the most innovative wargame designers we have ever seen. He's shown a remarkable ability to think "outside the box" -- or in this case, outside the hex.

His Guns of Gettysburg, while sharing some DNA with the earlier games, appears to be quite different in many ways and it really looks to be another tour de force as far as  a playing experience goes. If Bonaparte at Marengo was wargame-as-chess, and Napoleon's Triumph was wargame-as-poker, Guns of Gettysburg seems like it will be wargame-as-wow.

Sadly Mr. Simmons apparently ran into some serious health issues that left his nearly complete masterpiece in limbo and in real danger of never seeing print. To the rescue came Mercury Games and now, through Kickstarter, there seems to be a real chance we wil not only see the game, but we will have it in time for the 150th anniversary of the battle this July. Sweet.

The first of the three projects I backed was the new designer's edition of Ogre. Much like Simmons work, Ogre was a labor of love for an innovative game designer, in this case Steve Jackson. While Mr. Jackson has designed a lot of very popular stuff since -- notably GURPs, Car Wars, Illuminati and the Munchkin series, many -- including me -- still consider Ogre to be his masterpiece.

Ogre has been out of print for a very long time, so when the word came that a new, super-duper deluxe edition was planned, I was definitely in.

This new edition looks to be absolutely amazing in size and production value. I just wish I'd had the money available to buy several sets, as I think this will be quite the collector's item. It's also expected to arrive in the June-July time frame.

The third Kickstarter project is the one I'm most surprised to see -- the new edition of Up Front.

I was quite certain that the game would never be reprinted, despite demand, because it seemed like the legal questions surrounding the rights were intractable. I am very happy to report I was wrong and
 the problems appear to have been tractable after all. And so we have a new, expanded edition of Up Front coming.

I haven't seen an ETA on this one yet, but it looks like there's still  a lot of work to do yet. Still, I think there's real market for Up Front. In many ways it was really ahead of its time when it appeared 30 years ago. In my opinion a lot of hex-and-counter wargamers simply didn't know what to make of it. Since then we've had the rise of Magic:The Gathering, euro-games, card-drive wargames and other innovation sin game design that were foreshadowed by 1983's Up Front. So now that the world has caught up to it, maybe it's time for Up Front to come back.

No comments:

Post a Comment