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Thunder Road: Vendetta returns to Kickstarter with a full tank of crowdfunding gas

Putting the car in carnage.

Thunder Road: Vendetta relaunched its crowdfunding campaign on Jan. 25th, hoping to better show off Restoration Game’s reimagining of the classic racing board game. Fans have so far responded positively to the second Kickstarter attempt, which better showcases what’s inside the box.

The game originally planned to raise funds through a campaign in October 2021, but both the presentation and the rollout garnered a relatively tepid response from backers - though Restoration Games managed to raise over half its $500,000 ask, the comments were full of questions about how the game played and criticism of the lack of clarity on what their money would actually support.

Owner Justin Jacobson posted an update to the campaign’s page shortly after Restoration Games decided to pull the plug. “To be transparent, about a month ago, on a team call, the question was asked if we should postpone the launch. I replied with a firm ‘no.’ I was concerned that delay would cause problems in other ways. I was wrong, and I should have listened to the team,” he wrote.

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Jacobson went on to explain that the next time Thunder Road showed its face, it would be packing a trunk full of updates and improvements - finalised models, more artwork, amended funding and stretch goals and some playthrough videos of the board game in action were all mentioned as part of their future plans.

Speaking to Dicebreaker at PAX Unplugged in Nov. 2021, Jacobson said he and the team could see the numbers of the backend, and it showed too many people clicking on the campaign page and then leaving without backing or following the project - more than the company had experienced before. It was a clear sign that their pitch was fundamentally broken.

“You want to see people playing the game. You don’t want to just read the rulebook or a couple of pages. That’s hard to visualise for a lot of people,” Jacobson said. “And if there’s only one picture of cards or other components they aren’t going to drop money on that game.”

The new Kickstarter campaign looks as though it delivers on its predecessor’s shortcomings. The introduction video not only sells its Mad Max-esque theming but breaks down the quick-and-dirty gameplay in a way that’s easy to understand, even if you’ve never played a game like this one before. “You’re not on some Milton Bradley freeway anymore,” the narrator says, poking fun at the 1986 original.

Thunder Road: Vendetta’s four-player mayhem packs a lot of action into short play sessions. The goal of reaching the end of the deadly highway first is complicated by every other moving vehicle, most of which will either crush you underneath its bulk, push you off into the sands or else reduce you into a flaming metal wreckage. Each action has the chance to create a cascading chain of mayhem as cars knock into each other, land on top of others and slide across road hazards. The unpredictability is leavened by how quickly things can devolve into chaos for all involved.

This second Kickstarter campaign runs through February 14th and has already well surpassed the lowered funding threshold of $300,000. Backers can secure a physical copy for $50, and Restoration Games currently expects boxes to start shipping out in November of this year.

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