It goes without saying that Kickstarter has become one of the most dominant venues for the funding and creation of new board games. The crowdfunding platform was founded in 2009, and, since then, it has churned out campaign after successful campaign for board games.
Big and small, these projects have been showered with funds from excited tabletop gamers. It's difficult to accurately compare the most successful campaigns for board games given the length of time that Kickstarter has been out, but we've gathered some of the heavy hitters that have convinced thousands of backers to pledge millions of dollars.
10 Exploding Kittens
Over 200,000 backers pledged almost $8 million to make Exploding Kittens a reality. The box describes the experience as "a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats." If that doesn't give you an idea of what's in store, then you're out of luck. Which is unfortunate because you'll need some luck to survive this card game.
It plays like Russian Roulette, and you have to avoid drawing an exploding kitten card, which will kill you and knock you out of the round. It's a fast-paced card game that anyone can pick up and play. The absurd humor also helps.
Over 30,000 backers pledged roughly $30 million in support of this sci-fi thriller. That's less than a fourth of the backers for Exploding Kittens, but they committed almost four times the amount of money toward the project. Nemesis is "a semi-cooperative SF horror game where you and other crewmembers desperately fight to survive and fulfill conflicting objectives."
The artwork suggests a terrifying survival adventure similar to the Aliens franchise. Awaken Realms, who is behind the Kickstarter campaign for Nemesis, is one of the most successful companies on the platform so this was always going to be a winner.
8 Rising Sun
CMON, another heavyweight in the Kickstarter arena, has consistently brought strong games to the *ahem* table. Rising Suns had over 30,000 backers and over $4 million pledged during its campaign.
Set in feudal Japan, players act as "clans [who] must use politics, strength, and honor to rule the land." The use of force is not the only tool for players to wield. They must develop the proper alliances, strike at the right moment, and position themselves well if they want to win the game. Come for the game, stay for the amazing miniatures.
7 Dark Souls - The Board Game
Dark Souls is a series that is built around pain and sacrifice. The video games will induce the loudest shouts of frustration and the happiest cries of joy. And players will die. A lot.
Despite the brutal conditions of the game and the certainty of death, the series is immensely popular. So, it should come as no surprise that over 30,000 backers pledged almost £4 million to the board game adaptation of Dark Souls. If you're a fan of the game, then you should check out this tabletop adventure because it "delivers an experience that captures the very essence of the original video games."
6 Joking Hazard
The creators of Cyanide & Happiness decided to make a card game, and the online comic's fanbase was very much excited about the whole thing. Over 60,000 backers helped raise over $3 million. The original goal for the campaign was $10,000, so it was a pretty successful crowd-funding experience.
Joking Hazard is described as "a card game where players compete to finish an awful comic strip," and that's a perfect explanation. The comics are inappropriate, uproarious, and downright NSFW. If you want a party game that will make people laugh, then this is a good one.
5 Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon
Almost 42,000 backers. Almost £5 million in funding. This game is an absolute beast. Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon is "an unforgettable, solo or cooperative adventure experience for 1-4 players. Blending Arthurian legends and Celtic mythology with a unique vision, it allows you to impact the game world in deep and meaningful ways."
Intricately-detailed miniatures, a massive box, tons of pieces, and lots of rules. If you are searching for some complexity and depth in your tabletop games, then look no further. Awaken Realms has got just the thing, and it's the massive Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon.
There are a lot of Zombicide games. Millions of dollars have funded multiple iterations of this game. CMON has produced more successful Kickstarter campaigns for the Zombicide saga than most companies have produced for board games period.
The most recent game, Zombicide: Green Horde, has been the most profitable crowd-funded project yet and tabletop gamers have been most impressed with its mechanics. It seems like the series is only improving, so we'll likely see more Zombicide games on the horizon. And who doesn't want to play as survivors in a cooperative zombie survival game? Remember, aim for the head.
When Jamey Stegmaier makes a game, you should stop what you're doing and pay attention. Odds are, it's a good one. Nearly 18,000 backers pledged close to $2 million in order to create Scythe, and we're glad that the campaign went so well. It may not have received as much funding as other board games on Kickstarter, but Scythe is one of the best-reviewed games from the crowd-funding platform.
The worker-placement game blends the mechanics of several different genres into a wonderfully-fun experience. The replay value is spectacular, and you'll find yourself always coming back to Scythe.
Certain games capture the hearts of players, and Gloomhaven has remained a strong contender in the tabletop scene since its release. On the popular website BoardGameGeek, Gloomhaven is ranked as the number one game in the Overall category, the Thematic category, and the Strategic category.
That's absolutely insane to hold that much sway over the tabletop community, and its rating on that site is 8.9/10—ridiculously high. There is a reason why 40,000 backers pledged $4 million. It's a freaking good game, and you should play it if you have the chance.
1 Cards Against Humanity
Less than a thousand people pledged shy of $16,000 to Cards Against Humanity. Yeah, that seems paltry compared to the massive funds that other games haul in today, but the campaign for Cards Against Humanity occurred in 2010, not long after Kickstarter was founded. It was not the sure thing that the crowd-funding platform is now.
We have to give Cards Against Humanity credit where it is due, though. The game is everywhere. You're more likely to meet someone who has played it than someone who hasn't. The original NSFW party game has been highly influential. It didn't make a lot of money on Kickstarter. It made it everywhere else. The company also was the best Black Friday sales ever. That helps, too.
NEXT: Tabletop Games: 5 That Are Overrated (& 5 Everyone Should Be Playing)