One of the biggest opportunities afforded by games showcases, especially like Indiecade are the bevy of smaller companies and independent game ideas that get the opportunity to demo more unusual or original game concepts that go beyond standard rules and ideas of their given medium. Developers who attempt to blend different mediums for a gameplay experience or who rethink how the very board you play on operates, exactly like our next indie feature; The Larklamp Game Lantern.
Created by season developer P.D. Warne, whose resume includes DoubleFine, Ubisoft and Lucas Arts game studios, the Larklamp isn't a game on its own but rather a light engine casting predetermined shadows through the clever design of the lantern's outer panels, changed for the different games simply by replacing the outer panels as needed. Allowing any table to become the game board for a number of shadow games designed in turn by P.D. Warne's studio, Lumo Amuzo, founded in 2015 by Warne himself, The Larklight Game Lantern is its flagship project, being showcased at Indiecade East.
The first game built for the Larklamp, and the one being shown off at IndieCade East was Synxtrap; a 2-4 competitive game based around leading a mischievous fairie knowing for stealing money and being nuisance around the lantern in an attempt to be the first player to capture it in their trap zones, which are located closest to the lantern. Thorough matching pairs of spell cards, a player wins the ability to play that spell each turn, either changing the direction of the Synx, stealing another player's card, or my personal favorite; raising or lowering one of your panels to bring the Synx closer to your side of the lantern. Seeking the glory of catching the Synx, the first player to lure the Synx into its trap zones of light wins.
This is a great game to draw in folks who see boardgames as a kids toy still or those friends that you've found hard to draw into games like Catan or some other tabletop games. The visual flair of the board lighting up with the Lanterns alongside its simplistically adorable design makes for an easy pull on folks new to tabletop games or younger gamers and its small set of rules makes it a gem to pick up and play. Watching the shadows changes and warped across the able mixed with the need for a somewhat dark environment conjures the feel of friends around a campfire, joking and laughing.
Beyond its paper construct, the Lantern is highly portable, needing only a small led light to work and just the cards/panels for each game you would want to play. This is something I can definitely see played inside a log cabin during winter or camping away from electricity that wont disrupt the sense of nature
The Larklamp Game lantern was successfully back on Kickstarter and is currently slated to be available to the general public in 2017 May, though you can signup on Lumo Amuzo's website for updates and upcoming events where they may be demoing the Lantern and new games beforehand. Though no pricing has been announced yet, the studio plans to ship one free game alongside the purchase of the Lantern.
Updates on the Larklamp can be found on their official Twitter
As always, let me know what games I missed, especially if you want to know more about them, and come back here to see more about the ones you missed.
Stay happy folks.