Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

Kickstart Your Week: 4/15/2012

It’s time for another installment of Kickstart Your Week! Now featuring videos in state-of-the-art Technicolor! It’s a shame Mike is on vacation this week, since there’s a number of projects in this batch that’d tickle him just the right way. Board games, dice, and high fantasy are abound. Here goes!

Shadowrun Returns

Another week, another vintage game franchise resurrected from the dead. Grizzled game design veteran Jordan Weisman is bringing back Shadowrun, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Shadowrun is a classic roleplaying game franchise that merges high fantasy and cyberpunk. Asides from a lackluster first-person shooter installment in 2007, the series has remained dormant on the computer since 1995. The new game – aptly titled Shadowrun Returns – will be a 2D turn-based roleplaying game, a welcome return to form.

The game has already reached its $400 000 goal (and then some), so it’s already a sure thing. You can still drop a measly $15 for a full copy of the game on release to show your support.

The Ultimate Store and Play Board

Since its release in 1995, Settlers of Catan has become one of the most popular board games in the world. There are usually several projects related to the agriculture-themed game floating around Kickstarter at any given time, and The Ultimate Store and Play Board is one of the most recent. Supporting the project will net you a wooden frame to keep Settlers of Catan’s finicky hex tiles in place, a pedestal with drawers to store the game’s cards and loose items in, and a set of acrylic playing pieces.

It’s a nice set for the Settlers of Catan aficionado but a luxury at $200 dollars for the whole shebang. I could never rationalize the purchase given my abysmal track record with the game.


Roll20 is an online tabletop gaming platform. A number of these programs exist already, but Roll20 is the best executed out of any I’ve seen. The program isn’t constricted to any specific rule system, and the interface is simple and straightforward. Organizing each element of a campaign into a “page” of a virtual storybook is a stroke of genius. I can see myself adapting Pathfinder adventures to Roll20 with ease.

The donation incentives for this project aren’t great, but that’s because the program itself will be free. The goal for this project is so low that I’m sure even a $5 donation would be appreciated.

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By Mathew
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer