Bearly Working (Lazy Wolf Games) – An auction based game that puts you in the role of mayor of Beartropolis. You are competing against other mayors to acquire the best bear workforce. One by one, worker bear cards are revealed and players bid on them. Some bears provide income, some bears provide victory points. Mayors can also enlist crooked bears to sabotage other players. May the best bear win!
Casual Game Crowdfunding: Bears, Dogs, and Cthulhu
From auctions to social deduction, from bears to food trucks, there’s not only a lot of variety in mechanics this month, there are a lot of fun themes as well.
Dogs (Gray Mass Games) – In Dogs, each player owns an animal rescue center and is trying to rescue lost dogs. Each round has three phases. During the first phase, you move around the city board, looking for dogs, spending gas tokens to move your car. Rescued dogs are placed in your kennels, though you have to be careful as there are strict rules about where they can be placed. During the second phase, players place their meeples at various locations in order to gain bonuses and boosts. During the third phase, you feed your dogs and pay the workers at your rescue center.
Arkham Ritual (Ninja Star Games) – In this social deduction game, players draw, look at, and then pass a card to another player, who must choose to either pass it to someone else, or take it and discard their current card. Players are not allowed to look at the card they're holding, but must hold it up so all other players can see it. You have to try and deduce your card based on other players cards, what’s been discarded, and what cards other players have passed. If you have the right card at the end of the round, you don't lose any sanity, but if you have the wrong one, you go a little madder. The game ends when the first player (or players) goes insane, and all those who still have some sanity left, win. We have played a prototype of this game — you can read our preview here.
Macroscope (Mayday Games) – This truly unique party game comes with a stack of pictures which you place inside the macroscope, a little box that has a series of little round windows, each with a number on it. On your turn, you roll two dice and remove windows whose numbers match your rolls. If you think you can guess what the picture is from what you can see through the opened windows, you can announce it. Otherwise, you take two crystals and it's the next player's turn. If you guess and are correct, you earn crystals equal to the number of windows not yet opened. If you're wrong, you lose that many crystals. If it is another player's turn and you think he's guessed wrong, before the picture is revealed you can give that player two crystals in order to guess yourself. The player with the most crystals at the end of 10 rounds wins the game.
Jackal Archipelago (Mosigra) – Each player controls three pirates who are exploring islands in search of treasure. Every island is made up of three parts: beach, woods, and mountains. The deeper you go into the island, the more treasure there is, but the more danger as well. The islands are randomly put together with facedown tiles, so you never know exactly what you'll discover as you start to explore. Between exploring islands, you can spend gold to gain new abilities and strengthen your pirates.
Last Chip Standing (Brybelly) – The rules are simple and the gameplay quick. Each player starts with three chips and three dice. One player starts and rolls, doing as the dice tell them. A revolver lets the player to your left steal one of your chips while a rifle lets the player to your right do it. A sheriff badge forces you to put a chip in the center, while a bullet hole means you don't have to do anything. A bandit lets whatever player it's pointing at steal a chip from you, while a lucky horseshoe makes all your other dice mean the opposite of what they would ordinarily mean. Special rolls, such as three of a kind, also have special effects. If you only have two or one chips, you only get to roll two or one dice, and players keep taking turns until all but one player is out of chips.
Truck Off: The Food Truck Frenzy (Adam Rehberg) – The game takes place over five rounds. There are several location cards set out on the table along with a die matched to each one. Each round you secretly choose two of your trucks (which each have a number that will determine on which location it will be placed). After every player has chosen their trucks, they are sent to the locations and then each location's die is rolled (each location has a different number sided die so that some locations can potentially be worth more than others). Each player has action cards, and after the dice are rolled you choose which ones you wish to use this round, knowing that once one of your actions cards is used, it's removed from the game. These can do things like allow you to reroll a die, shutdown a location so that it doesn’t pay out this round, move a player's truck to another location. After the action cards, locations pay out. If you are the only player at a location, you earn all the points from it, but if you are sharing a spot with another truck, you have to split the die result. Then a new round begins.
Full disclosure: unless otherwise noted, we have not seen or played any of the above games. Our assessment of each is based on the information given on the crowdfunding project page.