Without the constraints of corporate world, some of the best Kickstarter board games are often passion projects that have innovative play styles and interesting themes that intrigue the masses.

This interest often translates to a massive amount of funding from backers. For instance, Exploding Kittens became the most funded Kickstarter board game in 2015 at $8,782,571 despite it being a very casual card game. Some heavier games like Massive Darkness, Gloomhaven, and Zombicide: Black Plague made upwards of $3,500,000 – not bad for tabletop games catered for real board gamers.

That being said, even the most successful Kickstarter board games can be hit or miss even if you get enough backers to help you achieve the project goal and bring the board game into the masses.

Bears vs. Babies – A Card Game project, delivered by the creators of the phenomenally successful Exploding Kittens, suffered a slew of bad reviews from multiple tabletop reviews sites despite getting $3,215,679 from crowdfunding.

In fact, the most funded Kickstarter board game to date, Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5, hasn’t even been released yet even though it had generated $12,393,193. No one knows if it will live up to the hype until it is actually released. It will also be the most expensive board game Kickstarter has ever seen. The project is loaded with challenges especially with board gamers’ expectations, component quality and the overall thematic of the game. We hope that it does not happen, the project is a success and the expectations of the long wait are well worth it.

To help you make the wisest investment picking the top Kickstarter tabletop games, here is our top 10 list of Kickstarter projects that will live long and prosper on your gaming table.

ImagePlayer Count / Duration / Money Raised / BackersTop 10 Kickstarter Board Games

Best Cooperative – Gloomhaven

Full-Scale Cooperative Experience – Gloomhaven

A game of dungeon exploration and tactical combat in a thematic world of shifting motives. Players are adventurers with unique skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world.

1 – 460-120 Min$3,999,795
40,642

Card Game For Small Groups – Exploding Kittens

Card Game For Small Groups – Exploding Kittens

A kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. A card game for people who love kittens and explosions as you have to take turns drawing cards until someone gets an exploding kitten and loses.

2 – 515 Min$8,782,571
219,382

Sci-Fi Theme With Traitor – Nemesis

Sci-Fi Theme With Traitor – Nemesis

A survival Sci-Fi tabletop game inspired by the Aliens movie. Players wake up from hibernation on a space ship and need to find a way to escape. Some maybe traitors and have a different agenda.

1 – 590-180 Min£3,080,833
30,553

Politics & War – Rising Sun

Politics & War – Rising Sun

A fine example of a beautiful art and a balanced political war game set in the feudal Japan. Lead your clan to victory by negotiating, making alliances, brutal force and worshiping the Kami to gain their favor.

3 – 590-120 Min$4,228,060
31,262

Zombie Trashing – Zombicide: Invader

Zombie Trashing – Zombicide: Invader

A 6th installment of a highly successful cooperative Zombicide series of games. Find the best weapons, learn new skills, and team up to outlast an invasion of deadly zombie aliens!

1 – 660 Min$3,352,208
18,486

Card Game For Large Groups – Secret Hitler

Card Game For Large Groups – Secret Hitler

A unique card game of a dramatic intrigue and betrayal between two political parties set in pre-war Germany. Players are secretly assigned to be either a liberal or a fascist with one player being Hitler himself.

5 – 1045 Min$1,479,046
34,565

Fantasy Dungeon Crawler – Massive Darkness

Fantasy Dungeon Crawler – Massive Darkness

A classic fantasy role playing game with a modern touch. Streamlined gameplay, engaging campaigns and gorgeous miniatures. Fully coop play against AI driven game master and forces of darkness.

1 – 690-180 Min$3,560,642
22,361

World Of Sci-Fi Steampunk – Scythe

World Of Sci-Fi Steampunk – Scythe

A gorgeously steampunk themed engine-building tabletop game set in an alternate-history of 1920s. Research facilities, gain resources, build structures, and use monstrous mechs to fight for limited land.

1 – 590-115 Min$1,810,294
17,739

Perfect For 2 Players & Couples – Santorini

Perfect For 2 Players & Couples – Santorini

Santorini is a highly accessible and competitive strategy game for two players. It is simple enough for newbies and deep enough for hardcore gamers to explore, enjoy and have fun.

2 – 420 MinCA$700,524
7,112

Complex Full-Scale Coop – Spirit Island

Complex Full-Scale Coop – Spirit Island

A complex thematic cooperative game based on the ‘tower defence’ mechanics. Players take on roles of unique spirits of the land to defend the island from colonizing invaders

1 – 490-120 Min$795,104
8,080

1. Best Overall – Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign driven dungeon crawler that has become a staple in many people’s board game closet.

In fact, it can be easily considered the most successful Kickstarter board game as it currently enjoys being the #1 board game in the world according to BGG.

Unboxing Gloomhaven feels like opening a treasure chest.

It is a gigantic box packed to the brim with character cards, map tiles, tokens, and miniatures.

Gloomhaven base game is one of the most expensive board game Kickstarter has brought to life

If you are looking for a box you can barely carry and a tabletop game you can enjoy for months, this is as close as it gets.

In the game, players take on roles as one of the four heroes to complete quests on their adventure to explore dark corners of the fantasy realms.

Gloomhaven is made with a lot of world-building in mind featuring exquisite details both in physical components and campaigns. With 95 scenarios to go through in the base game, Gloomhaven has epic stories upon stories to keep you occupied for a while.

Every character has a unique and compelling backstory and motivations. Even the miniatures designs fit into the beautifully complex world of Gloomhaven. Moreover, picking characters with complimenting skills brings the gameplay out to the whole new level. They support each other to create a balanced coop team and create a feeling of a joint dungeon crawler adventure.

Gloomhaven is one of the best kickstarter board games of all time

Besides that, Gloomhaven also deviates from the manic dice-chucking combat system that is typical of dungeon crawlers. In Gloomhaven, players use cards to resolve battle encounters. Your adventure starts with a finite amount of cards determined by your character but you earn more as you progress throughout the campaigns, which makes it feel like character progress in a classic RPG tabletop game.

However, you win some, lose some. The cards you play might be discarded temporarily or removed from the game altogether. As a legacy board game, every change you make is permanent. We loved how this forces you to be tactical and strategic, as your future self might give you a side-eye if you make the wrong decisions now.

The tabletop game has also introduced an innovative concept of character exhaustion. As you level-up your characters throughout the campaigns, they become more experienced and skillful, yet there is a time when they get thematically old and you have to replace them with a different character starting its development from scratch.

Lastly, Gloomhaven is the most awarded tabletop game on our list. With dozens of international awards and nominations, extremely positive community reviews and number one board game rating from BGG – this is a Kickstarter gem everyone should give a go to.

Bottom Line
Gloomhaven is a campaign driven cooperative dungeon crawler for up to 4 players. If compelling storylines, multi-dimensional characters, and RPGs are your things, you would love the rich, dark and thematic world of Gloomhaven. With more than 100 hours worth of trying campaigns, there is more than enough for most players to enjoy and hardcore board gamers to rave about. It is one of the most expensive Kickstarter tabletop games on our list, but every penny spent on Gloomhaven is well worth it.
PROS

Compelling theme, scenarios, and characters

card driven combat design

Unique card-driven combat system

the campaign driven gameplay is a work of art95 campaign long narrative
plays with characters that exhaust

Characters have limited life

CONS
Long set-up
Expensive

2. Best Card Game for Small Party – Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is the most funded Kickstarter card game on our list and the second most funded Kickstarter board game of all time.

The original funding requested from the backers was $10,000, yet the card game has managed to beat all project goals and reach an epic height with collosal $8,782,571 funding to help bring the project to life.

In addition, it was supported by a staggering 219,382 backers, which is at least 5 times greater than a second-placed tabletop game by backer count.

Exploding Kittens is the most funded card game on Kickstarter and an extremely popular game on Amazon

It is essentially a simple card game featuring a cat-themed Russian Roulette. With exploding kittens hidden in the deck, your job is to avoid them at all costs for as soon as possible.

The gameplay is simple: you play a card (or not) and draw a card. But as soon as a draw an exploding kitten, it’s game over for you unless you have a defuse card.

The defuse card is an absolute godsend. After you defuse an exploding kitten with the defuse card, you slot the kitten back into the deck and discard the defuse card permanently.

Power cards are also littered all over the drawing deck among other absurdly cute felines whose jobs are to look cute. These power cards give you powers to dodge the dreaded exploding kittens. You can look into the future, rearrange the top cards of the deck, or even force your opponents to draw cards.

With no limitations on your hand or the cards you can play, you can hoard power cards and defuse cards to guarantee your own safety, or sabotage your friends.

Exploding Kittens is a popular card game with funny art covering all categories of cat life

Our personal favorite is the ‘nope’ card, which is a huge game-changer. You can go in with a powerful hand of cards, only to be ‘noped’ out by other players. You can try to predict where the game goes. But with so many interesting cards, the only thing you can be sure of is that every round of Exploding Kittens can be a twist.

The exploding kittens always go back into the card deck unless they got someone in their Kamikaze suicide mission. This means that your chances of survival get slimmer when the deck does. You have to be quick on your feet, or risk dying a cat-astrophic death.

Bottom Line

Exploding Kittens is a fast-paced, easy-to-pick-up card game that changes as you play along. One minute you might be winning, the next you might be killed by a suicidal kitten. Thanks to the cuteness and humor, it is a casual small party game that is guaranteed to make everyone howl in laughter. And just for the record, it is the most financially successful Kickstarter card game project to ever hit the crowdfunding platform.

PROS
popular fast paced card gameFast-paced and simple
Can support up to 5 peopleGreat small party card game
card game with twistsUnexpected twists from power cards
the card game is supported by over 200 thousand backersSupported by a record 219,382 backers
CONS
original card game plays only with up to five players

Would be great for a larger party, but only supports up to 5 players

need to keep buying other card games in the series for repayability

Low replayability in one sitting

3. Best Sci-Fi – Nemesis

As a human in Nemesis, you wake up in your spaceship, groggy after a long cryogenic sleep.

You looked around, horrified to see that one of your crew’s pods had a giant hole in it. Judging by the blood, that creature is long gone. Or so you hope.

Well, you are not sticking around to find out. Time to prepare the escape pods at the other end of the ship!

‘Krrk…’ What’s that sound? Scratch that. Do you really want to find out?

Unfortunately, you have to. Every time you enter an empty room, you have to roll for the direction of the noise and place a marker there.

Nemesis is one of not many kickstarter board games based on a Sci-Fi theme and story

Two noises from the same spot mean your spaceship has been invaded by an alien.

Most of the aliens you encounter are tough to kill. You roll a die and hope your attack lands. Besides refusing to die, these aliens might infect you and clog your deck up with infection cards. If you are really sick, an alien might even burst out of your chest!

While you are getting to the escape pods, you might stumble across Exploration Tiles that cause special effects. We loved these special effects as they add so much tension to the already-tense atmosphere.

Nemesis is one of the most anticipated tabletop games of the year supported by over 30k backers

Speaking of the tense atmosphere, can’t your crew help you out? You won’t be completely alone since Nemesis is a semi-cooperative game. However, every character has to fulfill a secret objective to win. Let’s just say you should find the escape pod as soon as possible when you find your mechanic tinkering in the engine room.

At the same time, the survival adventure allows for backstabbing and bluff, so make sure you are fine with it and pick your company wisely. 

Bottom Line

Nemesis is an epic semi-cooperative Sci-Fi horror board game that drew inspiration from Aliens. Everything ties up to the survival space theme, from the infections you get to the noisy intruders and fires in abandoned generator rooms. The entire game screams of terror and tension despite a fairly simple gameplay. If you enjoy bluffing, backstabbing, and other elements of a science-fiction survival horror adventure, Nemesis is a must try.

PROS

Well-built components

Extremely thematic experience

Simple gameplay with lots of strategy

A hint of betrayal by your crew

CONS
Noise tokens can’t be taken away

4. Best War Game – Rising Sun

Rising Sun is set in feudal Japan where bloodshed and war tear the land in pursuit of the ultimate power.

As one of the seven clans, you are determined to seize possession over the country via the most amount of points, even if you have to make some very difficult choices.

The game is played over 3 seasons: Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

You have to draw 4 mandates from a shared pool of 10 mandates. Out of these four, you can only pick one to execute.

Rising Sun features a fine art of diplomacy and war only the greatest Kickstarter board games can deliver

Rising Sun is the only war strategy game in our list that features an amazingly balanced use of politics, negotiation and brutal force.

You can move your army, recruit monsters, battle or worship a Kami among some of the things you can do with your mandates. With 7 mandate spots on the board, some players can use two mandates in the season, which gives them a huge advantage.

Why?

Alliances are exceptionally important in the game since it can only be done at the beginning of the season. Having the advantage to use two mandates makes you a very favorable ally, so make that count for you! When you don’t get the mandate you want, you can also devise a mutually beneficial plan with your ally to progress.

Rising Sun's complete game board is based on original lands of Japan and feature beautiful art

Even though you can officially break an alliance with a “Betray” mandate, we all know real politics isn’t always played on the table. Throughout the game, you can get ahead by bluffing and making grand promises to other clans. Just make sure it doesn’t come back to bite you.

Rising Sun isn’t a typical war game that is based on ‘move your army on the map’ sort of mechanic. It is more about talking and utilizing all the components to become the most honorable clan in Japan, whatever it takes. You get to fine-tune your experience in becoming a skilled and successful negotiator, leader and strategist.

Bottom Line

Between making decisions to pick the best mandate for yourself and hiding with a dagger behind your back, Rising Sun embodies the term ‘political tug-of-war’. You will negotiate and bluff, conceal your resources, or even commit Seppuku for points. It’s complex, strategic, tactical and nuanced, making it one of the best Kickstarter tabletop games we’ve played.

PROS
interaction meet themeEncourages interaction between players
A lot of negotiating and bluffing
Thematic world with beautiful artwork and miniatures
CONS

Miniatures are beautiful but redundant

First game can be chaotic

5. Best Zombiecide Yet – Zombicide: Invader

Zombicide: Invader is the 6th installment of the successful Zombicide series.

For all you number nerds out there, the series has raised a collective total of $9,153,036, with Zombicide: Black Plague as one of the most funded Kickstarter board games of all time at $4,079,204 and Zombicide: Invader contributing $3,352,208 to the funding tally.

One of the main changes compared to other tabletop games in the Zombicide family is that Invader adopts a Sci-Fi theme. At the same time, as always, beautifully executed.

It takes on a tiny planet in the universe, where you have to fend off swarms of infected Xenos to escape death. You have to decide between slaughter and survival, often with minimal help from your teammates who have their own hidden agenda.

On your turn, you can move, attack, or search. Combat is dice-based, so be prepared for some randomness. You can’t defend against attacks though.

Searching is an interesting phase since it makes sense with the story. You have to look for resources like oxygen tanks to explore the map. You can also research weapons to make more powerful ones to win the war against the Xenos.

Seeing mold appear in this game gives you the same skip in your heartbeat as the terrifying battle piano tinkle in Breath of the Wild. Mold not only obstruct your vision, but it also spawns Invaders. We loved how it creates urgency and speeds up the mission. If you go too slow on the mold, you are going to get overwhelmed.

As you grow stronger, you also gain power-ups and abilities. But how will you deal with the Xenos, who are also growing in strength and numbers? The way the Xenos scale with you is pleasantly frustrating and proves that nothing is easy in this game.

Compared to previous games in the franchise, Zombicide: Invader has a much more streamlined rules and AI spawning. These rules and mechanics balance the game. More importantly, they focus your attention on the story and playing the game instead of a tedious piece moving.

Bottom Line

Zombicide: Invaders keeps you on your toes by throwing challenges after challenges at you. Sometimes you win by the skin of your teeth. Sometimes you get a headache from all the maneuvering. Regardless, with the beautifully designed miniatures, great game scaling, and detailed world-building, Zombicide: Invaders promises an out-of-the-world gaming experience.

PROS
Immersive storyline
Unique Sci-Fi zombie experience
Brain burning puzzles and strategies
Great scaling

The most streamlined edition in the series

CONS

Traditional Zombicide luck-based combat

6. Best Card Game For Large Groups – Secret Hitler

Imagine this. You are thick in the midst of political turmoil in 1930s Germany.

The fascists are gaining power; the liberals are fighting for freedom. Will you lie in self-preservation or will you revel in chaos?

Secret Hitler is a party card game where the role card determines your identity. You can be a liberal or a fascist, or even Hitler himself! 

Secret Hitler is based on political party rivalry in pre WW2 Germany.

Nobody but the fascists know who anyone is. Trust is expensive in this twisted game of political chaos and distrust where anybody could topple your party.

As a liberal, you have to pass 6 liberal policies to win. If you can work out who the Secret Hitler is, you can assassinate him and end his reign of terror. As a fascist, you have to pass 5 fascist laws. Alternatively, you can elect Hitler as the chancellor once you have established political power with 3 fascist policies.

The catch is that the chancellor must be approved by everyone after the president’s nomination. If everyone votes ‘Nein’, the president loses their presidential powers to the person on their left. As president, you discard a policy card from three random policies and hands the rest over to the chancellor. The chancellor then enacts a policy after discarding one.

Decide the fate of humanity and support a Liberal or Fascist party with Secret Hitler

The seeds of distrust are sown by the randomness of the policy card deck. Is the chancellor a part of the fascists, or is it just dumb, bad luck? This opens up a lot of room for bluffing (“They were all fascist cards!”) and manipulation.

As more fascist laws are adopted, the government gains abilities like peeking into other players’ cards or even ‘making them disappear’. The card game is constantly shifting depending on who sits on the most powerful seat, which makes it interesting to play, especially with a large party group.

Bottom Line

Secret Hitler is a fun party card game for anyone who enjoys having fun bluffing and lying. Its political theme, accessibility, and encouraged backstabbing to cultivate the right amount of tension and feelings of betrayal that will keep you on edge all night. Word of caution though, you might have to leave the table with no friends to call your own.

PROS
Takes no time learn

Simple but engaging card game

pays well with friendly small groups

Full of betrayal and distrust

Thematic voting cards

Perhaps the best party card game to come from Kickstarter

CONS
Hitler needs more abilities

7. Best Dungeon Crawler – Massive Darkness

Gear up for the adventur of a lifetime in Massive Darkness, a classic fantasy RPG that is not for the faint of heart.

In the world of Massive Darkness, you explore dark dungeons filled with terrifying beasts and enjoy the riches these dangers bring you.

You will join forces with your fellow table companions and go through the action-packed scenarios in the Darkness.

Massive Darkness is as close to an RPG game you can get, so consider it if you love RPG games.

Massive Darkness is an amazing fantasy themed dungeon crawler t

In fact, if you have ever experienced playing Zombicide, then Massive Darkness has borrowed its original gameplay system and introduced the dungeon crawl adventure and role-playing elements to it.

Unlike most dungeon crawlers, where one of the players takes on the role of the overlord, Massive Darkness features a mechanic that does not require a game master to control the enemies.

You start with your favorite hero class, get loot and XP points from defeating monsters in the dungeon, and upgrade your skill tree. We loved that you don’t need a game master for Massive Darkness. Everyone can play!

Besides that, the monsters in the game feature a tailored design that works perfectly with the overall feel of the game.

First of all, we can’t get over how diverse they are. You will find every kind of minions like orcs, human agents, and cockatrixes featuring exuberant attention to details and build quality.

Secondly, the Guardians, who are a special monster type spawned by any monsters on the field, elevates the feeling of the game. These guardians use equipment that could be difficult to counter, but once you get there, you will get a piece of valuable loot as a well-deserved reward.

Moreover, we also liked how random the mob spawning AI is. The monsters seem to be everywhere. Sometimes they jump out from a room you were exploring. Sometimes you run into them as they patrolled the corridors of the dungeons. These surprise attacks seals in the feeling that you are trespassing on their home turf, which makes it super exciting to play.

Bottom Line

Massive Darkness is an action-packed campaign fantasy board game that both experienced and hardcore board gamers would enjoy. Although the rules are simple and streamlined, there are many elements of surprise and excitement in the game that you can’t help being stoked for. Featuring an engaging leveling system, monster spawning AI, and thrilling campaigns definitely make it one of the best fantasy-themed Kickstarter board games that you can find.

PROS
Self-controlled enemies, no game master required
well designed and simple to read rule bookSimple and streamlined rules
Random monster encounters
Great narrative 
CONS
Long story mode

8. Best Theme – Scythe

Scythe is an engine-building board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period featuring a steampunk theme with stunning art.

The tabletop game is a winner of dozens awards and nominations and is highly praised in the board gaming world.

According to the storyline, the capitalistic city-state “Factory” has closed down. The technology they produce that has once been coveted by the five warring nations is now up for grabs. It seems like peace isn’t meant to be after all and people venture out to farm and explore new lands to conquer. 

As the leader of one of the five nations, your job is to defend your nation, send your people to work and to take over Eastern Europa as the final gesture of glory.

If driving giant mechs across the fields in 1920s Europe to steamroll your rivals appeals to you, you would love Scythe. It is a competitive 1-5 player puzzle game disguised as an area-control, resource management war game.

Scythe is a huge game. It comes with a seemingly unending number of tokens, stacks of cards, player boards, plastic miniatures, and more. There is a lot to take in, which means Scythe is not for the faint-hearted. You need to have a fair amount of experience with tabletop games to not be overwhelmed by Scythe.

That being said, it is surprising how much control you are given over the outcome by a game this huge and complex.

At its core, Scythe encourages strategic decisions from your HQ player boards. Spend too much on power and you will be defenseless against your enemies. Spend too little and you will not get anywhere in the power struggle between the nations.

You need to figure out what your opponents are doing and deliver fatal blows. Flailing around trying to get lucky is not going to cut it.

The aesthetics, component design, and build quality is sublime. Everything feels crafted, yet remains highly functional delivering the epic thematic and strategic feel not many other tabletop games could match.

If your regular gaming group is not into brain-burning puzzles, Scythe comes in a handy solo mode for you to explore at your leisure.

Overall, highly praised board gamers reviews, production quality and how well the game manages to integrate the array of different mechanics with the theme make it one of the best Kickstarter board games of all time.

Bottom Line

Scythe was one of the most hyped competitive Kickstarter board games in 2016 and it does not disappoint. It feels like a little bit of everything – area-control, resource management, and even a war game. But ultimately, it is the best Kickstarter game for anyone who likes complexity, steampunk theme, and brain-melting puzzles.

PROS
Deep, interactive puzzles to solve
Elegant strategic gameplay
Solo game mode adventure
Well executed steampunk theme
CONS
Overwhelming amount of components

9. Best For 2 Players and Couples – Santorini

Santorini is an easy-to-play and easy-to-teach abstract board game with 3D shape towers and domes.

The original tabletop game was released in 2004 and has seen a lot of praise for a simple and interactive design, but has always lacked presentation, visuals, and the overall product feel, until the revised edition was brought to life by the Kickstarter project.

At the beginning of the game, you scatter your Workers on the board while your opponent does the same.

Every turn, players have to move to adjacent squares and construct a building on it.

The idea is to build the tallest (level 3) house and win, right? Well, kind of.

The houses are built in three phases – the first, second, and the third floor. You can build any floor from any height. For example, you can build the third floor even if you are standing on the ground.

The catch is, you can’t jump to the third level from the ground floor. It is like taking the stairs. You have to work your way up to win.

But don’t worry if your opponent is getting close. You can also put the blue dome on the 3rd floor to effectively block your opponent from jumping onto it.

Besides that, you can also block your opponent from building anything to win.

So at first glance, it is a simple game that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower.

But when you delve deeper into it, you can sabotage your opponents to the brink of tears with the right play.

If you want to make it harder, you can also try the Advanced mode. This time, a Greek God bestows their powers upon you via powerful God cards, which makes it more interesting to play.

Bottom Line

Santorini is one of the top Kickstarter board games for two players and especially couples that want a quick, fun game. Its simplicity makes it a great game for both first-time and experienced board gamers. The Advanced mode kicks it up a notch with different God powers that makes you go deeper into the strategy of the game.

PROS
As simple gameplay as it gets
3D shape components
Layers of strategy involved
Exceptional experience for 2 players
Advanced mode for more challenge
CONS

Can get boring after a few plays

10. Best Complex Coop – Spirit Island

In ancient days when seemingly unoccupied islands were being colonized, what would you do to fight back as one of the powerful spirits of the island?

Spirit Island is a cooperative settler destruction strategy game for 1-4 player game where you and other players play as spirits of the island.

As a spirit, you have powers beyond mortal imagination.

Some of your powers are instant, but some take a while to manifest. This gives you an opportunity to play a long game that will sucker punch the invaders when they least expect it. 

Spirit Island also scales quite nicely the longer you play the game. Over time, you can expand your presence on the island and get more potent powers. However, the invaders scale accordingly as well, making it harder to defeat them despite your improvements.

Even though the invaders’ movements are quite predictable, they are ruthless and merciless. In every turn, more of them will come. The longer you drag on the game, the more dangerous it gets.

It doesn’t help that there are so many ways to lose in Spirit Island. You lose when one of your fellow spirits are killed. You lose when your island is overrun by blight brought by invaders. You even lose when you run out of invaders!

Spirit Island is one of the complex Kickstarter board games for sale

The overwhelmingly unbalanced nature of the game puts you in a precarious position. But it all makes sense to the story, which makes it that much more satisfying.

Think about it. You have never had to use your powers to destroy as a spirit of an undisturbed island. So when you are faced with enemies, the only thing you can do is to grind, persevere, and fight back the hardest you could.

More than a themed strategy game, Spirit Island is a journey of endurance and personal growth. You would love it if you are a fan of underdog stories and strategy.

Bottom Line

Spirit Island is a brilliantly conceived and implemented and beatifully themed cooperative game. It puts you in a highly disadvantageous start position, so you need some experience with heavy tabletop games to get the best of it. The journey of growth, high replayability, and wonderfully fitted themed mechanics make it one of the best thematic Kickstarter tabletop games on the market.

PROS

Replay value

Well-thought-out game mechanics

Great storytelling and theme

Great for solo play
CONS

Invaders seemed too mechanical

poorly designed rule bookPoorly designed rule book

So Which Kickstarter Board Games Should You Buy?

Kickstarter board games are raising in popularity and now there is something for everyone starting with fun and quick card games and ending with complex strategy games projects. Every game we have reviewed here is great in its own way for its targeted audience. To summarize the above detailed review, here is a quick recommendation on the top card games and the best board games Kickstarter has brought to life over the last couple of years:

Spirit Island and Gloomhaven are easily some of the best cooperative Kickstarter games ever released. There is really not much to nitpick – both games have beautiful themes and great game mechanics that work well for hardcore cooperative players. If you like campaigns and dungeon crawl, go with Gloomhaven for immersive narrative, otherwise Spirit Island.

Exploding Kittens is a great example of a card game everyone can play since it is so easy to learn. It also does exceptionally well in small parties up to five players, especially if you have fun-loving and easygoing guests.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a larger group of up to ten players, Secret Hitler is a card game of chaos, fun and laughter. It can help you with exploring your scheming side on the table tops.

If the blend of the legendary feudal Japan theme and an element of war and destruction raises your eyebrows, Rising Sun is one of the best Kickstarter games of strategy, politics and warfare.

Lastly, if you are having a fun board game night with your partner, the latest version of Santorini is a great choice for a quick and competitive fun. It is as simple or as complicated as you make it.

No matter what you are looking for, we hope amongst our list of the top Kickstarter board games, you found the one that ticks all the right boxes for you and you are ready to add it into your tabletop collection!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Most Funded Kickstarter Games?

The success of tabletop games on Kickstarter is predominant determined by the amount of funding raised and the number of backers pledged to support the project. Hence the most funded Kickstarter board games are also the most successful ones. Here is the list of top 10 tabletop games that have raised the most money.

Tabletop gameGoalRaisedBackersPublisher
Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5$100,000$12,393,13919,264Kingdom Death
Exploding Kittens (card game)$10,000$8,782,571219,382Exploding Kittens
7th Continent$40,000$7,072,75743,733Serious Poulp
Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon£40,000£4,940,03041,939Awaken Realms
Dark Souls – The Board Game£50,000£3,771,47431,178Steamforged Games Ltd
Zombicide: Green Horde$300,000$5,004,61427,236CMON
Etherfields£40,000£3,974,36232,582Awaken Realms
Batman: Gotham City Chronicles$500,000$4,403,19719,303Monolith Board Games LLC
Nemesis Board Game£50,000£3,080,83330,553Awaken Realms
Rising Sun$300,000$4,228,06031,262CMON

 * Based on the above projects and their respective figures, the interesting fact is that CMON and Awaken Realms represent half of the Kickstarter board games in the top 10.

Where to Buy Kickstarter Board Games?

All Kickstarter board games and card game projects are initially available exclusively on the Kickstarter platform. Once the combined effort from the backers pledged amount covers the crowdfunding goal amount, the tabletop game is considered to be successful and the project gets scheduled for production or print.

The next step for the community of backers is to follow the update on the project and the projected release dates. While tabletop games are getting printed there is no way to buy a Kickstarter board game as the crowdfunding support window would have lapsed.

Lastly, the successful tabletop games get published and dispatched to their backers. If you are looking to buy Kickstarter board games at this stage, they may or may not be available in retail or online shops depending on the strategy selected by the publisher.

Alternatively, some times board game publishers allows an option of a late pledge, which allows you to secure the Kickstarter board game after the project funding window for the Kickstarter campaign has closed.

There are times when additional releases or editions of the game are reprinted using Kickstarter, in which case the entire process would restart.

What are upcoming kickstarter board games

In the next year to come, some of the most anticipated Kickstarter board games are expected to hit the crowdfunding platform. Check out seven of the most notable Kickstarter projects in the pipeline:

  1. The 7th Citadel
  2. Dead Reckoning
  3. Zombicide 2nd Edition
  4. The Great Wall
  5. ISS Vanguard
  6. Hel: the Last Saga
  7. Transhumanity