Update October 6, 5PM: Frostpunk: The Board Game was successfully funded in 54 minutes, and (at the time of this writing) has almost doubled its starting goal with over 4,000 backers. The campaign still has 22 days left to go.
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Video game studio 11 bit studios are teaming up with board game publisher Glass Cannon Unplugged to launch a tabletop adaptation of 11 bit's famed survival city-builder Frostpunk. Frostpunk: The Board Game has now launched a campaign live on Kickstarter.
The original video game is set in an alternate history where the world is plunged into a frozen apocalypse in the late 1800s, and the player (deemed "The Captain") acts as leader of a city built around a generator. The goal is to keep the city and its residents alive and in working order, while trying to save off death, rioting, and chaos. Full of moral dilemmas and difficult choices, the game asks players the tough question: how much of your humanity will you forsake to survive.
This new tabletop adaptation can be played solo or cooperatively with up to four players, and, according to the press release, features "decisions have both strategic and narrative outcomes as the game supports scenario-oriented gameplay with a strong story layer."
Players take on the role of leaders of the city around the generator, with each player choosing from roles as advisors focused on the social aspects of the city, general health, resources, and the generator. Though we don't know full details yet, the press release hints that these four different roles with each come with different difficulty levels, allowing newer players to get into the game easily while giving a fun challenge to experienced players. With an eye toward strategy and planning, Frostpunk: The Board Game hinges on balancing the infrastructural needs of the city with the interpersonal needs of the city's citizens, who can get sick, grow hungry, and respond to ethical and social choices the players make. Can you manage all these needs while keeping an eye on the generator (displayed as a highly detailed cube tower in the center of the game board)?
Combining traditional worker-placement gaming mechanics with society-building and tricky moral questions seems like the perfect way to adapt Frostpunk into a board game, and with an ongoing scenario campaign players will only get more invested in their towns as they continue to grow. Though we don't know much yet about further stretch goals for the Kickstarter campaign, we do know one of the first will be a digital companion app to aid play.