Kickstarter Roundup: Return to Dark Tower, pledge an Oath, and lay the Foundations of Rome

by Calvin Wong

Return to Dark Tower

From the designers of Pandemic Legacy and Gloomhaven comes a new co-op adventure. Return to Dark Tower features an 'intelligent, malevolent' 30 centimeter tower that will, well, tower over your board as you and up to three other heroes fight to cleanse the land of its corruption and battle foes to get into the tower and defeat it once and for all.

Based on the classic board game from 1981, Return to Dark Tower is a highly ambitious game, with tons of plastic miniatures, a behemoth of a tower complete with motors and bluetooth capability - but delivers a medium-weight co-op experience with a ton of production value. 

Restoration Games has been doing some absolutely killer work recently, with their Unmatched series being my 2019 Game of the Year. I'm super excited to see what they've done with Return to Dark Tower.

Oath: Chronicles of Empire & Exile

From the creative team that brought you Root and Vast comes Oath, a legacy game where every decision ripples down through time. Each session of this empire-building game can have effects that last the next dozen games or more, altering the victory conditions, resources, or actions players can take.

Fast to set up (less than 3 minutes) and fast to play (45m to an hour) Oath promises the long-term narrative of legacy games without all the hassle of stickers and permanent changes to your game, or even keeping the same group. It looks absolutely gorgeous and totally intriguing, definitely worth a look.

Foundations of Rome

From Century Spice Road designer Emerson Matsuchi comes Foundations of Rome, a deluxe board game of the classical age. What makes it deluxe? Well.

A board filled with miniatures of Roman buildings, statues, temples, and gods, Foundations of Rome promises elegant and intuitive gameplay married with absolutely ridiculous levels of table presence. Build your city without everything crumbling to ruin - lay the Foundations of Rome.



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10 months ago

Production is through the roof!  The price of course follows. I’ll wait for general release and reviews at that price. 

Supporter10 months ago

Did you end up backing any of them Calvin?

10 months ago

I'm not the target audience for them, except maybe Dark Tower since I love a good medium co-op. But it's too expensive right now given I just got back from Germany.

10 months ago

I have not looked toooo in depth on Foundations or Dark Tower, but they both look like standard Kickstarter games. High production with ambiguous game play. I know Dark Tower plays on the nostalgia (i think) but its a lot of fancy production for high price.

I would honestly rather back Oath for the sole fact that I know it will be a clean finished and tested product. 

10 months ago

Dark Tower was in development for 3 years and Matsuchi has a significant pedigree with his designs. I think all three will be excellent games for the audiences they're serving.

10 months ago

Dang! I clearly need to do some more research! 

10 months ago

Man, Foundations of Rome looks incredible. Too bad it’s $100 for the base level. I will day though, I would much rather spend $10 more on Foundations than $90 on Oath. Oath looks and sounds great but doesn’t look at all worth $90.

10 months ago

Wood is significantly more expensive to make than plastic.

10 months ago

I can see that, however the meeples in oath just look pretty standard and so does the box. Whereas Foundations looks like there’s at least 100 pieces along with all of the other components, the most notable feature being the massive box with plastic storage trays (super cool by the way). 

10 months ago

I would be curious to see the quality of the plastic bits. If the are the plastic used for most standard mini's you are for sure getting a good deal, but if they are the plastic used for Ticket to Ride then it might be a little cheapy and I would prefer the wood bit quality. 

You also get metal coins, resin magic tokens and a neoprene mat with Oath, so very high quality components. If they had linen finished cards that would be the topper. 

10 months ago

Yeah that is for sure true. Ugh it really is so hard to choose. Right now I’m trying to figure out if I can sell a few games I haven’t played to back one of these but I don’t know how likely that is to happen haha 

10 months ago

I am not going to back any of them unfortunately, just not the right time. I was holding out hope for Oath but it was just too pricey and I am not even positive I would enjoy it!

10 months ago

Oath for me looks really good but something about it makes me not trust that I’d like it, if that makes sense haha 

Foundations looks great to me but is so much money! The only way I would even consider either would be if I sold like 5 games because there is no way I’d pay for that..

10 months ago

Oath seems very opaque in why you would do certain things...That is what drew me away from Pax Pamir 2E and is what has kind of made me disinterested here. 

Foundations seems to me to be an overproduced simple game. It functions like Acquire in a way (not as random) but costs 4x what Acquire is. 

10 months ago

Yeah I would totally agree with both of those things.

I think that is what Arcane Wonders is known for, beautiful games that aim to draw you into the theme with its quality components and bold art. I like it a lot, but I could for sure see how they could scale back and make it cheaper. I do think that everything about it makes sense since it looks like they are trying to meet the top marks for all criteria like component quality, theme, convenience/storage, simplicity in gameplay. 

10 months ago

I might be jaded because of listening and watching Heavy Cardboard a bunch, they always talk about, "does a mini add to the game or would I enjoy the game if it was a cube instead of a mini" mindset. I think the game seems beautiful but superfluous. 

10 months ago

But that is super good to consider... I appreciate your selectiveness haha

10 months ago

It is a balance! I want it to be a good game first!

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