Tobold's Blog
Sunday, September 26, 2021

Agemonia is a board game which is currently on Kickstarter, with about 2 days remaining from the point I write this. I backed it, after seeing a prototype played on YouTube. It fits squarely into my preferred characteristics for board games: 
  • Playable solo or co-operatively with 2 people (in this case up to 4, actually)
  • Non-trivial game mechanics, with non-obvious choices that have consequences
  • Character progression
  • A campaign with a developing story
In addition to these main requirements, there are some other things I appreciated about especially about Agemonia: First of all, while at €99 I certainly wouldn't call the game "cheap", at least there is this €99 core level with cardboard standees; you *can* spend €50 extra to get miniatures instead, but you don't have to. Then I appreciate the "battle maps in a book" style, like Jaws of the Lion, because it is a lot faster to set up than a game based on tiles, and ends up with more visual variety. And finally, I like dice, especially custom dice with some sort of mitigation mechanics if you roll badly.

By following a number of people on YouTube that talk about board games and Kickstarter board games, and listening to them when they believe that a project is fishy, I managed up to now to only back Kickstarter projects that actually delivered. Sometimes late, but they all delivered. Still, one needs to be comfortable with paying €99 now, plus shipping cost later, for what is just a promise of a game that will hopefully be delivered in December 2022. While my board game collection isn't quite a bad yet as my Steam game collection, there is definitively a risk that I am excited about a game when I pledge for it on Kickstarter, but that excitement has cooled down a lot by the time the game is actually delivered.

Still, for me the general trend is that I am more and more interested in board games. In three week, I will go the the Spiel in Essen, which is the biggest European board game convention. And I haven't been there for decades. My gaming career started with board games, but pen & paper roleplaying games and computer games took over from that. I think credit is due to Kickstarter to have made more complex, more interesting board games for a smaller audience possible. Agemonia has currently 1,632 backers. This is exactly the sort of market that the old style retail board game market would have problems serving.

I am trying to be selective. I currently have 5 board games backed on Kickstarter (7th Citadel, Forest of Radgost, Glory 2nd edition, Arydia, and Agemonia) plus 3 on Gamefound (Bardsung, Hexplore It: The Domain of Mirza Noctis, and Lands of Galzyr). And I have learned to keep away from these very attractive looking "all-in" pledges, which tend to end you up with more game than you can actually play. Because inflation is on the rise, and people creating Kickstarter projects need to charge you next-year prices today, plus the exorbitant rise in shipping cost world-wide, board games have become significantly more expensive over the last year. Plus there is this trend I hate that some games don't have affordable "core box" pledges anymore, but the most basic version you can buy already comes with lots of miniatures and deluxe components, e.g. Descent. Between all that, and the much smaller market, the per-hour-of-entertainment cost of board games is significantly higher than that of most computer games. Still, sometimes its good to chuck some dice and play with physical game components.


Fun fact: back in 2001 I started developing a cibrowser-based game similar to most current mobile titles (Clash of Clans, etc). It was entirely written in JavaScript, HTML and ASP. What a ride, it was lovely fun but hard to maintain due to life priorities. Its name? Aegemonia, indeed. Oh, the memories...
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