Homestar Runner was one of the internet’s first meme generators. There was a time when I would go out of my way to get online just to see if Strong Bad had answered any emails lately, or if Homestar had released any “TOONS!” in celebration of a holiday or season. The Homestar Runner franchise has been quiet of late, but no doubt still enjoys the favour of a legion of fans around the world, if the response to their recently launched Kickstarter board game campaign is anything to go by.
The character of “Trogdor!!” was a suprise breakout phenonemon for Homestar Runner – one of those characters that somehow, inexplicably, captures hearts and minds in a shared, cultural moment. Looking back, it’s hard to explain why it worked. It just did. There was a time when you’d occassionally overhear conversations about consumate v’s, or burninating, or how something was coming out of the back of someone’s neck there. You occassionally still do, but these days it is much less likely.
Watching the video that started it all, twenty years later, it undoubtedly holds up.
But, is there enough latent love and earnest nostalgia for Trogdor to launch a new product line? Even moreso, for the still relatively obscure product of a boardgame?
Trogdor the Boardgame released earlier this week on Kickstarter with a target of $100,000. Three hours later, it was fully funded. As I write, it is around six times its funding goal, and there is more than three weeks left in the campaign.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this campaign is that the game itself looks good. There’s a rule of thumb in board gaming that says any game based on a highly popular intellectual property is invariably bad. There are minor exceptions, but for the most part, such games don’t need to rely on mechanics, gameplay or innovation to sell copies. The same is true here – people would probably have backed this game on the love of the IP alone. But, at first blush, it looks like a genuinely well designed gateway game that shows a level of engagement with the boardgame hobby.
It is an area-control co-operative game that almost instantly reminded me of Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert. Two to six players work together to help the dragon completely decimate a kingdom – burninating the countryside using unique powers and items and defeating knights, archers and soliders sent to prevent your rampage.
I suspect that this is a game that will tickle that family game co-op itch, or will be a novelty game for those among us who remember the halcyon days of Homestar, and are looking for a game that’s easy to get to the table for a casual boardgame experience.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this one get a widespread release.