TR Member Perks!

Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter! This week, we’ve got conquest on ancient battlefields, Cold War Cthulhu, and lightsabers!

Mare Nostrum – Empires

Latin for “Our Sea,” lead your Empire to victory!

In Mare Nostrum, players will lead their empires to victory and glory. Players choose leaders from history and raise their respective provinces. Different provinces have different resources available. Resources can build anything from markets (which double the goods collected by your caravans), to temples (which double your city’s tax resources).

As your empire grows and acquires new heroes, wonders, etc., you move up the trade, culture, and military markers. Through specific requirements, players can claim the leadership titles of these three markers. The ultimate goal is to obtain political dominance via claiming all three trade, culture, and military leadership titles.

Mare Nostrum looks truly fun, competent, and intelligent. 90 minutes seems like the perfect length for a game like this, keeping things moving without letting up on the slow, methodical strategy a game like this demands. The various elements players must take into consideration, combined with the many roads to victories they must consider, makes this an enticing title to keep an eye on.

T.brush – The Damn Coolest Electric Toothbrush in the World

A fashionable electric toothbrush, with a lot of improvements under the hood.

The electric toothbrush, well, it looks bulky, plain, and dumb. Like a cellphone from the 80’s. The T.brush looks to fix that, along with a variety of other improvements to your electric toothbrush—improvements to battery life, performance, charging, convenience, and style.

The T.brush is the slimmest, lightest electric toothbrush in the world and looks to add “style” to your morning and nightly routines. Polkadots, neon, adventurer, retro, and more styles are available for the slim device. The T.brush also packs a better battery lasting up to two weeks on a single charge. It comes with a travel case that’s 60% more compact and lightweight, with universal voltage and a USB charger (you can charge this thing from your laptop!). The brush also features oscillate-and-rotate technology, which removes 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush. It’s built-in time paces your toothbrushing routine for optimal time spent per area of your mouth.

This seems like one hell of a tooth brush. What really sold me was the toothbrush pacing your brushing so you don’t spend too much or too little time on each part of your mouth. The better battery and charging case are also a really awesome inclusion, and its unique designs are a definite plus. At $99, it might be a little too much when some people are fine buying toothbrushes for $1, but for the dedicated oral hygienists, this could be the next big thing.

World War Cthulhu: Cold War for the Call of Cthulhu RPG

Cold War espionage sets a backdrop against a Cthulhu themed RPG.

World War Cthulhu: Cold War is set during the paranoid and conspiratorial era of the Cold War. As the major players hold their proxy wars, a shadowy unit lodged parasitically in the western intelligence struggles against an ancient evil. While operating on the front lines of the Cold War, players must also work as part of the infamous “Section 46” to counter the influence of the Cthulhu Mythos, under the directions of the spymaster known only as “N.”

The core book is hardcover, ~240 pages, and filled with exquisite black and white drawings. Players will have access to several different scenarios for their adventures on both domestic and foreign soil. Dangerous missions, unreliable allies, confused agendas, and blatant falsehoods await those who dive into World War Cthulhu: Cold War.

I’m  personally not a fan of the “badass agents” motif for something like Cthulhu; I tend to think anything cool or thrilling doesn’t really belong in a story that involves gods which are supposed to make you go mad at the mere sight of them, and that “the point” is that you really don’t matter to them and can’t do anything to stop them. That being said, I have to admit this is one hell of a unique setting. Cold War antics as the backdrop for a Cthulhu RPG is just too good a selling point to pass up. I’d really be interested in seeing what kind of inventing and unpredictable campaigns this game comes with.

Here Active Listening – Change the Way You Hear the World

Augment your hearing with two tiny buds that let you control the noise around you.

Here are two little buds that might make a big change to the way you experience the noise of the world around you. By manipulating what sounds you do and don’t hear, you can be fully immersed in your audio environment. Here isn’t a pair of headphones, instead the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) in the device acts as a “studio in your ears” by providing volume, equalizer, and effects for real world audio.

Here you can suppress the jet engine on an airplane, reduce a baby crying, or boost the bass at a club. You can live mix a concert by adding some reverb too. You can increase or decrease the dB of the general volume around you and equalize audio you’re hearing.

This sounds like a pretty tough sell for a lot of people, simply because you might need an extra couple sentences explaining what these exactly are. Getting past the barrier of “no they aren’t headphones,” however, I could see a lot of utility for people. Just like your eyes are taking a beating from laptops and cellphones, most people don’t realize how much abuse their ears are putting up with. Protecting your ears alone makes this a real interesting project, but getting to mess around with world audio sounds really cool in a sci-fi made real sort of way.

Shape of the World

An exploration game that grows around you.

Shape of the World is an exploration game where a colorful and fantastic world grows around you as you walk through it. The world is procedurally generated as you reach permanent monuments that mark your journey. The entire trailer is made of in-game footage.

In Shape of the World, the focus is squarely placed on exploration. You’ll be encouraged to move about, ever marching to your next marker. The game is designed to be deliberately disorientating. Even as you retrace your steps, you may find some new things and others that have been shifted.

I realize games like these aren’t everyones cup of tea. The popular nickname “walking simulator” could easily, and justifiably, get attached to this game. However, I’ve always enjoyed games that try to break away from the conventions video games have held for so long, such as health bars and death states. Of course, I always love a challenge, but if every game was challenging that could get boring too. Sometimes it’s nice to have a “sit back and think” experience, and just based off what I’ve seen of this game, I’d feel ready to place that label on this game.

Adaptive Saber Parts – Make Your Dream Lightsaber a Reality.

High quality, modular lightsabers.

Adaptive Saber Parts lets buyers easily build their own lightsabers through a modular system of parts to customize the blade to their liking.  No experience in soldering, prop making, or expensive machinery is needed. At initial release, there will be over 100 unique metal parts in three different finishes, adding up to millions of different design configurations. Every month a new expansion set will be released, making for practically endless configurations.

With a frosted outer blade and a brightness boosting internal film, ADS has the brightest blades on the market. The blades are so sturdy you can use them against kendo swords and oak wooden bokkens. They are also the only saber company that offers a one year warranty on everything they sell.

I own a high quality saber myself, and just based off this trailer I can see the advantages of buying from them, most notably that they have the brightest blades on the market. But in addition, the threaded tip and being structured tough enough to be used against bokkens and kendo swords is pretty neat. Of course, the main feature of easily constructing your lightsaber is fantastic and will probably let people feel a special connection to their saber since they made it. Also it lets you feel like a Jedi since you built it.

Disclaimer: The author (Bryan Heraghty) does not back any Kickstarter projects he writes about, nor are any of these inclusions sponsoring TechRaptor. These projects are included solely because the author thinks they are interesting.

What are your thoughts on some of the Kickstarters we saw this week? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! If you have a game or technology Kickstarter you think deserves attention, you can either comment below, email TechRaptor, or tweet @techraptr or @greyhoodedbryan your suggestion!

Bryan Heraghty

Staff Writer

Avid shooter and platformer fan. Coffee is the only power up I need. In the spare time I have I will listen to more podcasts than has scientifically been deemed healthy. Hit me up on Twitter if you ever want to chat with me about games, tech, or whatever.