September 2020

Welcome to the Indie Tabletop Newsletter, hear from independent tabletop games designers about their current and upcoming projects. Take a look at the games we’ve already self-published and our upcoming Kickstarters, maybe even get yourself a free print n play game. Learn more about this newsletter here.

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We are delighted to announce that our deluxe expansion for SSO, The Rage of Montalbano is live on Kickstarter.

SSO: The Rage of Montalbano offers a full upgrade to the SSO experience including meeples, upgraded tokens, player dials and a box to store the whole SSO range in safe and sleeved. It will also extend the gameplay of SSO with an additional location, additional crew and a whole new Challenge Deck and Missions taking players through the Wrath of Khan inspired story of a rival captain attacking and engaging in ship to ship combat.

Players will need to react to Montalbano’s uncloaking ship by desperately avoiding areas targeted with attacks and repairing damaged locations. Ultimately, they will be able to take the fight to the enemy though by using the new ‘Shuttle’ location to board the enemy ship.

Pledge levels will include options for both new and returning backers at both basic and all in levels. Check it out and let us know what you think.

SSO: Rage of Montalbano Kickstarter

Colour mixing game Swatch has a new look! Embracing its theme of bright colours and simple shapes, each card is now it’s own piece of art with designs inspired by abstract and modern art.

Pick and mix colours in a race to be the first to create your unique colour scheme in Swatch, coming to Kickstarter on September 29th.

Find out more

Deck of Wonders is a solo (and co-op) legacy expandable card game where Fate herself has stacked the deck against you. It captures the feel of playing games like Hearthstone or MTG, but in a solitaire format that evolves as you play.

Live now on Kickstarter!

Missed Murder on the Cards while it was on Kickstarter? Well, we have good news for you – we are now open for late pledges on Gamefound 😈

Murder on the Cards is a quick, fun 2 to 6 player card game with a wicked sense of humour. There’s a devious murderer out to get you in every turn, and all you have are your wits, the goodwill of the other players (hopefully) and the cards in your hand to save yourself.

We are planning to have our first order ready to send by the end of November, so why not spread a little murderous cheer this festive season? 😄

Pre-order Murder on the Cards

Crimopolis just won the title for Best Physical Game at the NZ Game Awards 2020. This is our first game and our first award. We are on cloud niiiiine. The award ceremony was planned for April, but due to the pandemic moved to July. If you want to see highlights of it, check NZ Game Festival’s Twitter posts under @nzgamesfest.

We have done more playtesting of our announced Crimopolis expansion “Personalities”. We added variable player powers that can change even while playing. The introduction of gang bosses intensifies the already deep immersion. We have proper prototype material now and involved more play-testers who enabled us to further refine the balancing. Release is planned for 2021.

We have also improved the Tabletopia version of Royal Chambers which is tricky given the platform’s limitations. We intend to go public later this year, so everyone can play it. Right now, new artwork and the rulebook are our focus, so people will have a good feel for what’s hitting Kickstarter in 2021.

On September 12 and 13, we will showcase Personalities and Royal Chambers at BGBTB, the next board gaming event we can safely attend. If you are in New Zealand, come and visit us!

Crimopolis official website

Last month, we gave a quick highlight of our educational game of ‘catch-the-pirate’ for 3-5 players – planned to release this Fall.

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you’ll already know we are calling this 1st edition…

“Pirate Pursuit – The Spanish Treasure Fleet”

Every year, treasure is taken from the Spanish Main and shipped back to Spain through its colonies in the West Indies. Pirates prey on these treasure fleets while others pursue the pirates!

The pirate moves secretly about the game board, aiming to plunder the Spanish treasure fleet as it visits various ports during its round-trip voyage.

The pirate hunters must use their knowledge of pirate lore to reveal the pirate’s location and drive them away from the treasure fleet – or better yet, capture that blasted bilge rat of a thieving scallywag!

This game includes educational content about:
• Infamous People
• Historical Events
• World Geography
• Naval Vocabulary

Players will also practice teamwork & social skills, verbal comprehension, and map reading.

But best of all…You will learn real facts about the world of pirates!

#PiratePursuitTBG – Follow & visit us on the socials to stay up to date! (by next month, we should be very close to initial release!!)

Take part in pirate-related polls!

After a hard, but rewarding, three-week run on Kickstarter, we unfortunately had to cancel. Rucksack itself has had very good reception, but the campaign lacked the momentum to push us to our funding goal. We believe most of the difficulty stemmed from simply not having a large enough audience, which is common for small first-time creators like ourselves. There were, however, a few other specific issues that surfaced during the campaign as well. Thankfully, everything we saw was very fixable, and we’re already working hard on finding and implementing solutions to those issues.

The important lesson here is that sometimes failure happens. You need to learn from it and keep moving toward your goal. Our goal is to bring this great game to the people we know will love it, and we’re not giving up yet! Our goal is to have these issues resolved and be ready for Rucksack’s relaunch early next year.

Learn more about Rucksack

My name is Josh, and I’m an indie developer planning on bringing a Deck-Building/Area Control design called CastleScape to Kickstarter in February of 2021. This will be my first campaign, and I’m unbelievably excited to be able to share this design with the world. It represents over 4 years of work, as well as thousands of hours of playtesting and development.

The goal is to compete with other players by spreading the Influence of your Guild throughout the different Baileys of a developing castle. Make choices to balance the greed of your actions; If you make too many deals in the Back-Alley, you might just cause all the Recruits to abandon your Guild!

CastleScape is a Deck-builder that focuses on what I believe is one of the biggest parts missing in the deck-building genre – multiplayer PvP in a strategic way. Players compete tactically on a central game board in a different way each game. I created CastleScape to give a brand-new twist to deck-builders by incorporating elements from some of my favourites in the genre, as well as taking influences from some medieval video games.

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It does so by encouraging interesting decisions and trade-offs, as well as the ability to plan multiple turns in advance. It also incentivizes players to carefully make decisions about how many negative effects they can get away with before it causes too many problems for them. During playtesting, you can frequently hear me say, “That’s future Josh’s problem! It’ll be fine…”

If this sounds interesting to you, please sign up for the CastleScape email list, join me on social media, and/or join my Discord server for chances to playtest on Tabletop Simulator. I look forward to meeting you!

CastleScape newsletter signup

Half Monster Games (HMG) is a 7 person show (plus friends) compiled by our co-founders: Jack and Callan. Each of us followed a unique path to taking up the HMG banner. This month we would love to introduce our hard-working designer Alison.

Alison, how did you first meet Half Monster Games?

I saw an ad where they were roping in volunteers with the promise of free entry to Supanova. I dm’d them to introduce myself and they asked me to bring along the game I was working on to test it at the event. From there they offered me mentorship and I offered free labor in exchange for helping me smash out one of my units at University (aka an internship). In the end they liked my work enough to offer me a job.

What was it like finishing a degree smack dab in the middle of COVID lockdown? How did HMG affect your feelings about graduation?

Amazing, I was dreading the graduation ceremony to begin with. I don’t really care for stuff like that, I’d prefer to celebrate in my own way. I felt a massive weight off my chest having a job lined up after uni. I’m quite thankful to HMG. Working on games with an oddball crew is the dream.

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What kind of work do you like to do outside of HMG?

I’m always exploring new tools & skills outside of design work. Recently, I’ve invested in a new tablet & learning a new program to increase the quality of my illustration work. I’m trying to stream my work as a means to connect & work along side people during these times. I’ve been volunteering at my university to help students position themselves for the careers they want. It sounds like a ballsy thing to do at my age, but I have a lot of information on branding (a part of marketing) that is tailored to design.

What advice would you have for emerging graphic designers who are interested in the table-top gaming space?

Only go into a niche field if you’re genuinely passionate about it.

If your interest is in games, you should be already making your own or low-key planning some out. Once you’ve got something, test it out & reiterate. Go to events, reach out online. Once you get an opportunity, work hard at it. Only work for free if you’re getting something out of it. Your time is worth something, you are worth something so please get paid. A lot of young designers lack the self confidence to ask for payment. If that’s you, go to thefutur, listen to Chris Do rant (even if it stresses you out), question your self worth & go out there & charge what you’re worth (at the very least $22.5 for your award at junior level).

If creating a website stresses you out, start with an Instagram. Those suckers who follow will be notified of any new work you put up!

Alison’s Instagram

Get ready for the Spooky season with Summoned! The Hell raising party game that will Dare you and your friends to go to Hell! Wanna make things extra scary? get the Demons Advantage pack and Summoneds official T-Shirt too! On Sale Now!

Load up on Spooky at our AFMG Store!

AFMG store

How much do you know about your colleagues, your classmates, or even your family and friends? What if playing a game with them led to a better understanding of each other? With Covid-19 still looming over our lives and preventing us from many of our day-to-day activities, we are also given an opportunity to care and communicate with each other in more meaningful ways.

Played either cooperatively or competitively, our new creative storytelling game, 20 Dreams, is great for friends, families, and even the therapy and class room! 20 Dreams helps to develop our emotional intelligence, to understand how we are feeling and the feelings of others through our imagination! Playing 20 Dreams is a fun way to learn this as games that stimulate imagination and creativity are a great tool to help us recover.

It is also great fun to play with friends down the pub (socially distanced of course), to discover how the stories get weirder as the night progresses. And even for those table-top RPG players to get their creative brain engaged before a session!

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The 20 Dreams card deck has 200 cards that include 60 Picture cards and 7 packs of 20 emotion cards. Each card is beautifully designed in a pop-art style to help get your creative juices flowing and allow your storytelling to be as wild and colourful as your imagination, just as a dream gives you permission to do so.

We are super excited and so thankful for the support we’ve received so far with our Kickstarter backed to 114%! We are now working hard to make our game ready for the winter festive season! Check out our website for all our latest news, and information on how to reserve your pack!

20 Dreams website

Puzzle Giveaway! Help us reach 1000 followers on Instagram by tagging a friend or sharing our post and be entered to win a free Apprentice Pack, which includes 2 puzzles and 2 enamel pins. Apprentice Packs, along with our big new release, The Emerald Flame, are available for pre-order on Gamefound.

The Emerald Flame is an epic narrative puzzle game, blending escape rooms, board games, and interactive fiction, with tons of hand-drawn artwork and unique components.

Find us on Instagram

It has been an exciting month at Atikin Games. 1000 copies of Tri To Win arrived and the Kickstarter was officially fulfilled 31 hours later, it was a tiring couple of days but well worth it. I’ve started receiving messages and photos from my backers enjoying the game and I couldn’t be happier. I’m working on getting Tri To Win on as many sales platforms as possible right now, so far it’s available to purchase worldwide through eBay and GameFound, the links are on the Atikin Games homepage.

Malum Hortus is becoming a very strong game and I’m enjoying working on the artwork, I’ve chosen a style for it that’s quite intensive and takes a long long time, but I’m happy with that, I think it will all be worth it as it’s planned for a Kickstarter in spring next year. If you’d like a prompt when it goes live there’s an email signup form also on the homepage.

In the interim I’d love to introduce you to my next game “Mini Memory Mischief” it will be a homemade mint tin game for 2 players going live on Kickstarter this Autumn, there’s also a signup form for this on the homepage 😉 and for now here’s a little introduction to Mikro, Chip and their favourite game.

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“Meet Mikro and Chip, back in the 80s they were brand new and exciting to their tech nerd fans. Now they find themselves in a dusty old box, no one has use for their archaic technology but they will also never throw them away. We can all take a lesson from Mikro and Chip who instead of letting their fate get them down have invented games to play together with their own memory stacks. Instead of worrying about the future they while away their hours playing games and entertaining each other, they’d love to play their favourite game with you, Memory Mischief.”

In the game players are trying to get letters in alphabetical order on their 8-bit memory stack, it’s not as easy as it sounds though, the other player can take their chance messing with your stack (not often, but enough to make the game a challenge). This game includes dice for some luck, player choices for strategy, mechanics that test your own memory (not just the digital kind) and cute little components that fit well in their little mint tin home. You can take the game anywhere as it fits nice and neatly in your pocket.

#boardgamerslift on Twitter is going amazingly well! Every Sunday gamers, reviewers and designers share what they’re up to, support each other and provoke inspirational conversations. Follow along @AtikinGames on Twitter.

Last but not least this newsletter! It’s on the third edition now and it’s received a wonderful welcome in to the board gaming community, watching the readership grow has been amazing, thank you everyone who contributes and reads. Please consider subscribing to stay up to date with all this fantastic news.

Buy Tri To Win!

We are nearing the end of all of our hard work on the artwork for the game and it has been a ride! We have loved every minute of it and are excited to share even more of it with you as we keep heading closer and closer to our Kickstarter. One of our newer pieces will be attached to this newsletter showing off one of our favorite classes/characters you can be in our game, the Guardian. Join us in our Facebook group as we share more Cult of the Deep updates, meet up for board game night, and just generally have a good time. See you soon!

Our private Facebook group

We are Steve and Clare Cluer of LVC Games, and we have recently developed our first game as part of a charity project to raise funds for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

The game is a 2 player head to head card game, with a strong Ancient Egyptian theme, where you race to complete your pyramid and obtain the blessings of the gods.

We successfully funded the Pyramid of Khufu on Kickstarter in July, and since then we have had a GoFundMe running in order to add to the funds and increase the number of games to be produced.

This campaign reached almost an additional £1000 including a fantastic corporate sponsor in the Gamers Emporium, Swansea.

We have now reached our target amount to enable us to order 1500 copies to be sold with 100% of the sale cost going to the charity! Today (26-08-20) we sent the final files off and production will commence! – Games are to arrive late November. Please keep an eye out for your opportunity to purchase a game and to help this wonderful charity.

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If you are a retailer and would be interested in stocking our game, please contact us!

We have enjoyed the process of developing the game, and hope to do more in the future.

Currently considering a theme of Kilimanjaro when we return from our charity trek there next year!

Website currently under development

We are very excited at Lagniappe Games to bring you Pipe Fitters Local Six-Sided, the first (that we know of!) deck building/roll and write game. Hours upon hours have gone into what we feel is a quality game with a lot of tricky and fun bits. The mechanisms feel as smooth as turning on the tap for some cool, cool refreshment. Actions use cards to drive them as well as creating an engine-builder for players to max out their potential in each area of the game. We are looking forward to hearing thoughts from players as we debut this game in its Beta form.

Lagniappe Games website

As once again we are horrified to see how black lives are still not valued at all in the US it is easy to feel distant and helpless. The best we can do at Tin Star Games is stand with those who call for a better world and try to raise money to support parallel causes. Indigenous people in Australia face enormously disproportionate violence, harassment and imprisonment from police and these lead far too often to death and suicide. Help us raise money for indigenous legal support AND get an amazing game by sending a donation for our game Dog Bites The Man

Superhero gaming for charity

Our Kickstarter campaign ended successfully on August 28th, but late pledges are being accepted at the Kickstarter campaign link through at least the first of the year. We’re very pleased that so many people took the time to support us by backing the game and we will be spending September sorting out fulfilment details and preparing the game for the manufacturer. We will also be mailing out prototype copies to gamers who backed at those levels and be working on our super cute space manatees and deluxe giant play mats so that they will be ready when the game itself is ready to ship.

Our Kickstarter campaign link

Nate Thompson

Hello all! This is Nate Thompson, someone who got sucked into playing and then designing boardgames several years ago, after (I’m sure like many of you) being introduced to Dominion and Catan.

The design I’ve been putting the most time into is Landstorm, a medium weight tabletop empire builder. It’s a game of expanding your humble village into the most renowned kingdom across the land through agricultural, military and cultural superiority. You can explore unknown lands, gather resources, build great structures and tame wild creatures to strengthen your territory before your rivals invade or to conquer them first!

I’ve had a goal with Landstorm to make an epic 4X experience with a lot of depth that’s still easy to get to the table and intuitive enough for even newcomers to the hobby.

It’s been a ton of fun developing and meeting new folks and I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of different playtesting events before things shut down so currently I’m working on some prototypes to send out for blind playtesting. Reach out if you’d be interested or want to follow it’s progress. I’m most active on Twitter and try to post daily boardgame design resources and information I found helpful.

Sign up for Landstorm updates

Boldly going where no Dinos had gone before… During their mission to explore strange new worlds, the Space Dinos found a new home after the fall of their kind on earth. They continued their pursuit of exploration, tracking Stardust and building constellations that grace the night sky. Space has become their final adventure. Join them in their continuing voyage to build constellations as they explore through space.

Space Dinos is being released by Paodle Games Fall 2020. When it launches on Kickstarter in October the campaign will also allow backers to purchase our new Paodle Pups boxes with limited edition Children and Family Games. Titles will include Coop, Helio, Candy Shop and Mythical Math. Designer Kathi Sjostrom is excited to share a variety of projects she has spent the past year working on and when you join the launch list now you will get special access codes for discounts.

Sign up for Kickstarter Launch special access

Immediately after the play-tests I had a storm of thoughts and ideas about how to fix or otherwise improve the game and I spent a few days writing them all down.

Then I took a step back and realized that this was exactly the same mistake I had made before – I was excited to make changes to the game (it’s probably the most interesting part of game design), but I didn’t stop to consider that the best parts of the game took a lot of time to think up. They were created with intent, and not as an immediate reaction to patch things up.

So I decided to take a break. There were a lot of times where I felt really guilty for not working on the game – but I realized that a week off would probably be beneficial in the long run. I needed the time to process what had happened during the play-tests, and I needed time to think about what I wanted the game to be in the end.

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Getting back to design, here are what I think to be the biggest issues uncovered by the latest online play-tests: Lacking pacing and flow – I’m sure everyone has heard these terms before, but they don’t really make any sense until you actually encounter problems with them. Testing the physical prototype didn’t reveal any issues with the flow of the game because (I think) playing in real life is generally a lot faster and thus players don’t really notice that the game gets hung up slightly more on some phases.

I think the issue here is not necessarily that it’s slow in some parts – I think the issue is that it’s quick and snappy in some parts while slow in others. The discrepancy is what bothers players – if it were slow or fast all throughout, it wouldn’t be a problem.

The game is kind of all over the place – this is both an issue and a potential feature. Players have really enjoyed (at least the idea of) all the possibilities that game offers. But at the same time, it’s something that dilutes the main objectives of the game – many players have complained that the game brings a lot of complexity up-front, even though the game itself isn’t very complicated once you “get” the rules.

After revaluating and really taking the time to pick apart the game, I found that it can be boiled down to just a few elements that can be expanded as the game progresses.

Follow the development blog!

This month we’ve hit an interesting milestone – Fifty different “Boardgames We Don’t Want To Play”. Yes, indeed, fifty games. When I started making them, it was sort of a joke, but it’s grown from there! It is something of a good exercise for my mental health, getting a break from the day’s routine –stopping and shifting gears to something totally different. From Apocalypse, to Sandworms, Pestilence and Plague, Politics and Supernatural, I try to come up with new bad boardgames each day. Some days I fail. Some of the games people might actually wish to play! Other times I fail from trying to be too clever, and succeeding.

Follow along with the experiment on Twitter. Look for #Boardgames #WeDontWantToPlay.

Now for something rather more serious. Over the past months, many people have experienced anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. I’d like to say that it’s perfectly normal and understandable! It’s nothing to be ashamed of:

“Mental health is not a dirty word – we all have mental health like we do physical health, good or ill.” — Prince William

Please talk with people about your feelings and what you’re experiencing. You are not alone.

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“Forty-five million Americans suffer from things like depression or anxiety, schizophrenia or PTSD. So we all know somebody — a family member, a friend, a neighbor — who has struggled or will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives.” — Barack Obama

Here are some things to do if you’d like to help people who are experiencing mental health issues:

* Avoid trigger words such as crazy, insane, bonkers, psycho, mad, nuts, and others.

* Listen and let people know you care and they are important to you. You may not necessarily know or understand what they’re going through, but you can still be there for them.

* Everyone is different and copes with their mental health differently.

* Educate yourself & others.

For more information about ways you can help end the stigma of mental health, please visit – [End the Stigma: Become a Mental Health Ally](; there are many resources, tips, etc..

Finally, you may have come across a new item for your D&D adventure — a Combat Wheelchair ( designed by @mustangsart on twitter. I think it’s a wonderful idea, although there have been a number of people who have reacted negatively.

Why do people feel the need to be so negative about things which harm no one and bring others joy? It’s not ok (or very mature) to assault/threaten/berate others because “they’re not do/playing it right”.

If you don’t like it, you can’t have any. There is no reason to attack others or ruin their bliss because something which hurts nobody doesn’t fit within your view of what who or what belongs.

A world with dungeons, dragons, gnomish contraptions, magick, mayhem, and mystery has more than enough room for a combat wheelchair!

Steamkitty on twitter


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