Update: Clockwork Kingdom successfully met its goal with a revamped Kickstarter campaign this week, after failing to raise funding in its original effort.
"I can only speculate possibly going back to school, returning from Gencon and all the summer hoopla, that perhaps we were overlooked?" Mr. B founder Sean Brown wrote in an email to Westword. "Data would suggest all Late August projects were down across the board, so it could be just a slow time [of] year."
The new version of the Kickstarter expanded the game to five players and lowered the game's funding goal, from $20,000 to just over $13,000.
Original post: If you read fantasy or watch HBO, the story of upcoming board game Clockwork Kingdom will be instantly familiar. The king is dead, and without a successor, the nobility of the titular realm has begun to fight over the throne. But instead of dragons, these lord and ladies duke it out with Victorian-style robots.
"For me, theme is very important to a game, almost as much as it's mechanics and fun," says Sean Brown, founder of Clockwork Kingdom's Aurora-based publisher, Mr. B Games. "I want to feel immersed in the universe I am simulating."
The brainchild of designer Brandon Allen, Clockwork Kingdom is a steampunk strategy game that puts players into the roles of aspiring kings and queens. They try to out-maneuver their opponents by training artificers and alchemists, building automatons and sending forces to fight in airship battles and skirmishes around the kingdom.
Mr. B first became involved with Clockwork Kingdom after Allen, impressed by the success of one of the company's earlier releases, Alien Uprising, approached Brown. The pair had briefly worked together at Kentucky-based Eagle Games, where Brown had been a salesperson and later one of the principals before striking out on his own last year.
"He called me up and said, 'I have this game -- I've been working on it for a couple of years,'" remembers Brown. He wasn't in the biz anymore -- Allen works in marketing now -- and wanted to team up on the project.
Mr. B itself began in 2005 as a solo venture by Brown, who started the company to self-publish Teraforming, a space-themed card game that he created while recovering from knee surgery. The company would go on to publish several other well-received titles, including the Western-themed Spurs and Realm of Heroes, a fantasy strategy game by local designer Scott Demers.
Since first wading into Kickstarter with Alien Uprising, the publisher has had a successful run on the crowdfunding site, raising cash for four games. In July, Dungeon Lords, an anniversary reissue of a five-year-old game by respected Czech designer Vlaada Chvatil, garnered more than $240,000 in contributions -- over 1,200 percent of its goal. But others barely made good: Realm of Heroes beat its mark by just $61.
With less than two weeks left in its campaign, Clockwork Kingdom is just over halfway to its $10,000 goal; if successful, Mr. B hopes to ship the game next June. You can back the project or find out more information on its Kickstarter page.
Follow Adam Roy on Twitter @adnroy.
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