Sentient Cow Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for tabletop board game, Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce.
Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce is the first in a planned trilogy of collaborative sci-fi dungeon crawler tabletop board games, for one to five players.
The game’s developer, Sentient Cow Games, has been working on this project for the last two years. Escape from Dulce may sound familiar — Sentient Cow Games created a Kickstarter campaign for this sci-fi dungeon-crawler tabletop game last year. The campaign was unfortunately not successful, and Sentient Cow Games has spent the last year improving the game with playtesting as well as feedback from visiting and demonstrating at conventions, all as to make the new version of the game even better. With a $35,000 USD goal, the current Kickstarter campaign is now up to $31,129 (at the time of writing) with seven days left to go as to raise the final funding.
So what is Escape from Dulce?
Players choose from eight characters who have been imprisoned on the bottom level of the Dulce Base each having awoken after a cryofixation pod malfunction. They then must fight their way through the seven levels of the Dulce Base and escape to freedom. On each floor, players must locate the Computer Terminal and Portal to advance to the next board, as well as defeat the boss on each floor. Players will lose the game should four characters die.
The eight player characters are all very distinct — they include Adam Starblaster, a hybrid super soldier, Amelia Earheart (yes, her), Dr Donna Haskin (an engineer and scientist), Hattori Hanzo (the samurai), Raylock G’ylax (a rebel alien) and Reb Buford (a rebel base guard). My favourite two, however, are Snippy Von Bell, a two-headed cow wearing both a top hat and a flowery hat which has a machine gun strapped onto her back (and is a WWII war hero!), and the Smith Family, a 1950s family who were test subjects and became melded together into a giant tentacled mass — subsequently being driven insane by the transformation! Each of the characters have their own strengths, weaknesses and come complete with colourful back stories about how they came to be locked in the Dulce Base.
The variety of enemies in Dulce Base is equally impressive, and includes Lizard Men, aliens and guards, as well as Mutants and Robots on the higher levels. Each Portal to the next floor is guarded by a Commander, or the more powerful ‘mini boss’ version of each enemy. All enemies in Escape from Dulce are self-strategising, with unique attack patterns shown on each Enemy card.
There are also potential allies scattered throughout Dulce base that can join your party — and will stay for longer periods if you have found selected items.
The first thing that struck me when looking through the Kickstarter page was the huge amount of stuff which you get in the box. Even for a tabletop game, it looks very impressive. As well as the standard game cards (player file folders, weapon cards, armour cards, ability cards, item cards, enemy commander cards, ally cards and so on) to play the game with, you also receive figurines of each of the players, the enemy commanders, various different die and tokens — plus a huge, six level double-sided game board of the Dulce Base.
This may make the game sound complicated — but the creators, Sentient Cow Games, have made the rules very simple with a short, visual ‘quick start’ guide to get players up and running straight away:
Following feedback from players they have also created three different game modes, dependent on how much time the players have.
The Short Campaign is designed for new players and will take around an hour and a half to two hours to play. The Epic Campaign is for more experienced players, and has 39 floors to explore, being designed to take three to four hours. Sentient Cow Games has also created eight Special Missions: short campaigns for between 30–90 minutes of play, with a choice of fun missions, a hunting party and even PvP.
Escape from Dulce is the first in the Secret Unknown Stuff trilogy — Sentient Cow Games aims to release The Hollow Moon in Spring 2019, and the final game, Lost in Time, after that (launch date TBC).
Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce has raised $31,129 of their $35,000 goal, with the Kickstarter campaign ending in one week’s time on the 1st April 2018 at 8pm GMT. Its full release is anticipated in December 2018. Visit their Kickstarter campaign page to find out more and back the project, or visit the Sentient Cow Games website for more information on the character backstory’s and newsletters.