kindom-death

Currently sitting at a tasty 12,267 backers pledging $5,643,130 – a cheeky 5643% – Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 isn’t going to break records, it’s going to shatter them and grind the fragments into powder.

Did I mention it has 39 days to go?

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is almost definitely going to smash the current Kickstarter tabletop record of Exploding Kittens’ $8,782,571. If it keeps going at its insane current rate, it could even hit $50 million.

The original Kingdom Death: Monster isn’t a game you’ll find at every game group in the country, it isn’t even available to buy at the moment. But the game is so renowned within the tabletop community that as soon as it hit Kickstarter again it exploded.

Let’s get you caught up.

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is a fully co-operative tabletop game. Models are involved but you can’t call this a miniatures game. Some of the monsters you take on tower over the table, coming just shy of a foot when fully assembled.

More than just a game, Kingdom Death: Monster is a unique experience and almost an entire hobby in itself. Miniature gamers will hold back tears of joy when they crack open the obscenely huge box and see almost eight kilograms of game in front of them. 232 pages of rule book, two game boards, ten dice, almost 150 tokens, over a thousand game cards and 17 sprues of miniatures.

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Either on your own or with up to four friends (in vanilla, you can play with up to six with a variant) you’ll wake up in a nightmarish-horror world with only a lantern to keep away the eternal dark. Together you’ll try to develop a settlement, hunt monsters, and most of all, you’ll just try to survive a 25 Lantern Year long campaign. Each Lantern Year consists of a hunt, a showdown and a settlement phase.

In the unambiguously-named Hunt phase players hunt their prey. The monster the players have chosen will have its own deck of Hunt Events that the players will have to take on. This is added to by random Hunt Events from the huge rulebook.

In the Showdown phase the party take on their chosen monster. An AI deck controls the monster and acts as its health. This can be particularly dangerous towards the end of a fight when cards have been removed and the monster can either be left with a few weak cards or a deadly combination without any respite that’ll turn the tide of a battle.

After the Showdown comes the Settlement phase. Here the players will tackle random events, try to develop their settlement by making new buildings, train their skills or craft loot harvested from monsters to make new equipment. One of the best things about Kingdom Death: Monster is that when you craft and equip a new item made from looted monster parts you’ll take that item off the plastic sprue and physically attach it to your model. Over the course of your 25 Lantern Years you’ll see your characters grow and start to look like a nightmarish trophy cabinet – if they survive.

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As you progress through the campaign these 25 Lantern Years will take longer and longer to complete. For a full campaign you’re looking at 30+ hours of game time and there’s plenty of expansions to keep you coming back for more. Not to mention the random events making no two campaigns the same.

So far Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 sounds like a settlement building add-on has been bolted onto almost any other miniatures based campaign tabletop game, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s something darker than that. You will die. You will fail and you will die and all of your hard work will turn to ash. It won’t be fair, the monster will have killed you using the same overpowered combination over and over again because you unfortunately took away all of its rubbish cards as you did damage. But, instead of being frustrated and throwing the game to one side you’ll wordlessly reset. Ready to start again and fight until you’re beating bloody hands against the unbreakable object of this game.

Sounds good? Best get a copy. Head on down to your Friendly Local Game Store and come back disappointed. Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is such a mammoth of a game and such an undertaking to produce it’s only feasible to make it by crowd funding.

Adam Poots, the man behind Kingdom Death: Monster explains in 1.5’s campaign details:

“Initially, I brought the concept for Monster to Kickstarter in order to make a far-away dream into a reality. The runaway train of success helped pack the game with more original art, in-depth gameplay, and fantastically sculpted minis than even I dreamed of. A game this size could not feasibly be made without the community of supportive backers we found on Kickstarter. It’s too expensive to produce and too vivid for distribution.”

He also says that there isn’t a single copy left of the original game. He’s brought this labour of love back to Kickstarter due to overwhelming popular demand. At time of writing, over three thousand people have backed the update pack just to get the additional content to expand the core game. Over seven thousand have backed rewards that include the 1.5 version of the core game.

Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 isn’t just a game, it’s an institution. It’s an example of everything Kickstarter can do right. Truly quality components on a game that has been loved into existence, not churned out in a meeting room of a publishing house. We can only hope that Poots can get enough backing to maybe be able to continue to produce copies after he’s fulfilled the Kickstarter orders. The best thing, though, is that even if he could, he wouldn’t unless it was guaranteed to keep the impeccable standards set by the games history.

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