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The biggest Kickstarter of the year, at $6.2M, is a board game

Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon comes from the same team behind This War of Mine: The Board Game

Art from the prototype cover of Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon.
Art from the prototype cover of Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon.
Awaken Realms

The largest Kickstarter campaign of the year has just closed after raising more than $6.25 million. The project is for Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, an elaborate board game by Poland’s Awaken Realms, the same team behind This War of Mine: The Board Game.

Tainted Grail feels like a game that only Awaken Realms could produce. Based on a blend of Arthurian legend and Celtic mythology, it’s a cooperative experience with card-based combat. At its core is a 100,000 word game book that contains the entire narrative arc of the experience. The base game is played across 15 chapters, some of which can take as long as four hours to complete. But, thanks to what the team stresses are multiple, divergent paths, the game also has a lot of replayability.

Adding color to the experience are more than 1,000 pieces of original art and 50 mm miniatures.

Making the project even more ambitious, Awaken Realms will also be internally developing a digital version of the game.

The delivery date for the first wave of physical product is set for August 2019, just in time for the Gen Con convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The PC game is expected to enter early access that same month.

This is Awaken Realms’ eighth Kickstarter campaign overall. Its next most successful effort is a cooperative science fiction-themed horror board game called Nemesis, which raised nearly $4 million in February.

When I reviewed This War of Mine: The Board Game, I noted that the final product hewed a bit too closely to the original source material. The result was a grim experience that was made all the more daunting by its challenging documentation. Since that time, Awaken Realms has learned a lot, especially about production quality. Lords of Hellas, with its massive, multipart miniatures, is probably one of the most beautiful products published in the last few years.

Kickstarter has become the go-to site to launch new board games. The crowdfunding platform helped creators earn more than $137 million for tabletop game creators in 2017, compared to just $17.25 million for video games.

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