I’ll freely admit that my gaming schedule is pretty damn full, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in knowing what else is out there in the world of board games, tabletop wargaming and roleplaying games. I’m reading through Modiphius’ Conan The Adventurer at the moment, but a couple of other projects have cropped up on Kickstarter that I thought warranted a second glance. The first is one of those rare entities, the co-op miniature wargame, and the second is an RPG accessory for the gamer on the go.
Set in the thunder-lizard infested setting of the Drowned Earth, Raptor Claw Island introduces solo/co-op wargaming with jungles and pirates and things that go rawr in the night. You and your fellow players are shipwrecked and must contend with a variety of dinosaurs and cutthroats in a fight to survive the over-arching story, with your characters advancing and developing new abilities as you work your way through the scenarios. This makes it appear more of a campaign based overland dungeon crawler than a wargame, but there are element so both both game styles.
At a base pledge level of £39, you get the core game with a bunch of cards, standees for all the heroes and reptiles, enough tokens to choke a stegosaurus. Everything you need to play is here. Up it by £20 and you get miniatures for the four heroes including multiple options for arms and weapons (head swamps locked at the time of writing), and levels beyond that give you miniatures for the dinosaurs, up to the 50mm base Baryonyx. Optional add-ons include Corsairs, alternate dino’s, and other models that re all compatible with the Drowned Earth setting
Raptor Claw Island caught my eye because hey dinosaurs, and games – good games – that can be played solo or as co-op aren’t that easy to find. Most dungeon crawl style games really shine when there’s a human mind running the bad guys, rather than a simulated AI, but the gameplay videos for this one seem solid. Add in a setting style that’s not over-represented in the market, and some pretty sweet miniature renders and I think we have a game that’s work a look conceptually, mechanically and aesthetically.
Remember all those years ago when you first heard of Wyrmwood or Elderwood Academy? Let’s face it: We roleplaying nerds love fancy wood stuff. From exotic dice all the way to bespoke gaming tables, wooden gaming accessories have been the darling of the rpg accessory market for some time now. There’s a lot of fancy stuff out there, with prices to match the fanciness. Part of the appeal of Dungeons Box Pocket is that it’s a neat looking accessory that won’t break the bank but can still add a degree of spiffiness if you’re one of those players who’s always traveling to a friend’s place to play, and your mobile phone is your preferred interface for your character sheet et al.
Dungeons Box Pocket takes the common concept of a dice vault and expands it to allow for space for a miniature and a phone stand, while at the same time still being small enough to fit into a pocket. Well, one of my pockets, at least. I’m not particularly svelte, my jeans pockets are sizable. Now, there are plenty of magnetically sealed dice vault style products on the market, but this project caught my eye by not only offering some nice exotic woods like purpleheart and ebony, but by starting out with the base level box being made from bamboo, a material that is durable as heck while also being environmentally sustainable. As one of the jerks who lives on this planet, I have something of a vested interest in the continuance of its habitability, so seeing something that would simultaneously allow me to get my nerd on while at the same time not placing undue burden on the ecosystem for the sake of my geek pride, well, it’s a thing.
For the gamer on the go, I think you could do far worse for a nice dice vault than the Dungeons Box Pocket. Heck, if your DM was comfortable just using his tablet, the space-saving benefits of this little fellow in terms of corralling your dice and keeping your character sheet in one spot could make for a fun little afternoon playing in the corner of your favorite watering hole.
The gaming industry – along with pretty much every other industry, to be fair – has taken it on the chin throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s nice to see some creative types out there are still pouring themselves into their products despite the challenges everyone’s facing. I’m looking forward to getting my Megaton Mashup on for Privateer Press’ Monsterpocalypse, Warcaster is on the way, Atomic Mass has promised me Dr Strange soon for Marvel Crisis Protocol, Ninja Division’s Masterclass sculpts are looking amazing, and there’s a whole bunch of online rpg’s happening right now. The people that make the games, the diversions that have helped us get through social distancing and self-isolation, are still doing what they do best, albeit under assorted restrictions. Take a look at what’s out there, and plan your next adventure.