For those not familiar with IDW’s series Kill Shakespeare, let me break it down: all of Shakespeare’s characters are real, and so is Shakespeare (also, he might be a wizard). There’s magic and intrigue and high adventure. I don’t really need to give you more details than that, right? Go read this book immediately!
The great thing about Kill Shakespeare is that it has such an epic, fantastic scale, and that is what seems to have transferred best into the board game version, currently being Kickstarted by IDW Games. The game itself is already done–this is just an attempt to make it even better and supplement the playing materials.
The board looks a bit like Risk, and players organize forces to traverse the fictive lands and complete tasks set by Shakespeare. Of course, the ultimate goal being to kill or save Shakespeare, eventually bonds must break and only player comes out on top. You know, for all that backstabbing fun nerd games so often offer.
In the adorable video posted by the creators of the series, Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col, they gush about what making the game means to them and explain some of the perks that come along with being a backer. These perks include: better game pieces, posters, and for the minimum pledge of $5, the creators of Kill Shakespeare will personally hurl a Shakespearian insult at you over Twitter.
Kill Shakespeare is a great example of the ways in which independent comics are branching out and approaching markets other than the single-issue or trade readers. Kill Shakespeare put on a stage show in 2011, which was met with such positive reviews that it did a short tour of comic conventions. With the board game, Kill Shakespeare is not angling the gaming market, beyond just popular TCGs or tabletop roleplaying games. This is a game that any fan of Shakespeare could enjoy, even if they aren’t a reader of comics.
As the comics medium strives for greater legitimacy, it’s encouraging to see intelligent, literary work get praise and PR. So, if you have any literature-fan friends, point them in the direction of this Kickstarter! Or else I’ll bite my thumb at you.