Forbidden Games

Railroad and resource barons are not strange themes for board gaming, but making an elegant and clean introductory economic engine dominated by anthropomorphic animal businesspersons is one way to make it all more appealing. Raccoon Tycoon, from Forbidden Games, is just that and it’s up for funding right now on Kickstarter. Anywhere from 2 to 5 players try to speculate the value of commodities and luxury goods, auction off railroad shares, and purchase buildings in an effort to be Top Dog.  The game has adequate depth for seasoned gamers while being streamlined enough to be a good introductory title to the genre, and it plays in about 90 minutes.

“In Raccoon Tycoon, players try to produce the most valuable commodities in an ever changing marketplace. They then use those commodities to build towns, or sell them at the best price to secure great profits that can be used to win auctions for the all-important railroads. The profits may also be used to buy powerful buildings that give the players power-ups or bonuses in production. Owning the best towns and railroads determines victory.”

Beyond being a game from veteran designer Glenn Drover, the artwork by Annie Stegg Gerard is downright adorable and hallmarks a solid and satisfying package. The campaign also includes some wonderful stretch-goals to shoot for, including premium currency-quality bills and bigger, better everything. The Dice Tower’s own Mark Streed recorded a Paid Preview of the game for those that want a quick view of how it plays. If you are interested in learning more about Raccoon Tycoon, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for a draft of the rules, more preview videos, play-throughs, community feedback, and updates.

Glenn Drover is a name known to most board game enthusiasts. He founded Eagle Games, designed many games, including Railroad Tycoon (AKA Railways of the World), Conquest of the Empire, and Age of Empires III.

The name Jason Kapalka may be less well-known in our circles, but his accomplishments are not. He is the co-founder and chief game designer at PopCap who make the insanely popular video games Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants Vs. Zombies.

Those two luminaries are coming together to found Forbidden Games, and they are bringing their unique design aesthetic with them. PopCap Games turned casual gaming on its ear, investing as much into the lighter end of games as most companies did only with their premium games, and making their games visually and aurally superior to others in the same market in the process. Eagle Games made a similar mark, producing mid-weight board games with large, lovely boards, miniatures and attention to detail in components.

Forbidden Games promises to continue this trend, with a mission statement that reads, “We believe a great board game is something you should treasure and play for years to come.” For their first game, Railroad Rivals, which will launch on Kickstarter later this month, they have hired veteran Disney animator Brian Kesinger, who has worked on movies like Tarzan and Moana.