Kickstarter Boardgames Double: The Keep and Disaster Looms review.
Intro & The Keep
So today I have 2 topics to talk about that are on kickstarter, the first is “The Keep”. A revolutionary system for storing and moving your board games ‘en masse’ that has 7 days left to reach its funding goal (and I really hope it does, these kickstarter games don’t always have the best boxes). Hit the link to find out more: The Keep (The video itself explains far better than I can) they could really do with your help.
Disaster Looms Review
Disaster Looms is marketed as a 2-4 (recommended 3-4, 5-6 with expansion) player 90 minute space exploration business game. The aim of the game is to become the largest corporation after the imminent demise of earth, this is achieved mainly through the ferrying of customers from earth to your own colonies with technologies and resources (money) being secondary. Now it should be noted at the start that this is an independent board game and the companies first so there were some issues with production of a few pieces and the rulebook’s weren’t quite satisfactory (really made me wish I had a Keep cause the kickstarter bonuses and the expansion really filled the box up). Thou neither stopped our enjoyment of the game one bit in respect to that I won’t be looking at components and rulebook as this has been done rather thoroughly over at the BGG forum for the game.
I’ll cover a few of the main mechanics of the game that we liked and those that we didn’t really get to play much with. First of all the technology mechanic. This is a semi random deck of cards that the players can buy from over the course of the game, each technology giving you a temporary advantage over your opponents. The reason I say temporary is that technologies in play are either private – they belong to a player and only he/she can use it freely (other players can pay to use private technologies), or public domain – all players can use the technology for free. A player is limited to a maximum of 3 private technologies and if he/she purchases a fourth they must sell it to the public domain. This mechanic is my favourite in the game as if you end up exploring mostly barren worlds and can’t really get lots of resources to spend on technologies, eventually they will filter down meaning that you are not left completely in the dust by luck of the draw.
I mentioned exploring which is the biggest random factor in the game, again this is a deck split into thirds of hexagonal tiles that put the most valuable worlds later on in the game but also the last third randomly has the cataclysm in it which ends the game. In our first game I happened to draw unproductive planets, empty space and asteroids but I managed to keep myself in the game by trading technologies into the public domain, usually for a profit but not always which meant that I tied for second at the end of the game. A point about the exploration tiles that greatly adds to the fun value of the game is the Event tile, these tiles have an event that occurs affecting one or more players for good or bad when it is drawn. The good thing is that most of the event tiles also allow you to draw another tile so they don’t usually detriment you too much.
Overall the mechanics in the game are very well balanced and unlike some games it is rather difficult to destroy someone before the end of the game, unless of course everyone gangs up on you to steal your planets, but that’s just mean – and probably not really possible. If you can get hold of it I would highly recommend it as apart from the odd issue with manufacturing, the art and presentation are excellent and fit the theme perfectly. Finally I’d like to say well done to the guys at Break From Reality Games on an excellent first outing into the board games industry.