Parks and Recreation fans rejoice! Ben Wyatt’s incredibly complicated sounding board game “Cones of Dunshire” may just become a reality, but it needs our help. Mayfair Games, publisher of two of my favorite games, Settlers of Catan and Family Business, launched their Kickstarter in conjunction with the new season of Parks and Rec earlier this week.
After being revealed at gaming convention Gen Con in 2014 as part of a charity event, Cones of Dunshire has gained something of a cult following. Made up of a seemingly randomized hexagonal system, numerous small pieces, and of course, cones, the actual playability of the game is suspect. Alex Yeager, a Mayfair Games representative, described it as something that “walk[s] a line between something playable, and something still rooted in the crazed imagination of an unemployed geek.” However, the game was reportedly so well received at Gen Con that Mayfair Games decided to roll the dice and see if Parks and Rec fans are crazy enough to back it.
The Kickstarter is asking for a whopping $300,000 pledged by March 15, which seems incredibly ambitious for a game that is openly mocked in the show for being overly complicated and confusing. The rewards are also lackluster, as backers will not receive a copy of the game if they pledge $500 for the larger than life “deluxe” version printed on a 10′ x 10′ carpet. It’s almost enough to make the casual observer ask: “Are they joking?”
To answer this question: they must be. The Kickstarter is littered with references to the show, and highlights the make and craftsmanship of the game with a tongue in cheek sensibility. The video itself would almost be at home as Tim and Eric sketch. It’s a hilarious video which does nothing to highlight the game or why the company would need crowdfunding. Additionally, the regular version or “Home Edition” showcased in the video is nowhere to be seen as a backer’s reward.
All of this leads us to wonder if the Kickstarter campaign is a publicity stunt for the real release of the game in coming months. A game that is already prepped and ready to go hopefully wouldn’t need a Kickstarter campaign, but the publicity certainly couldn’t hurt. It’s also possible there is no plan to release the game for retail, and this Kickstarter is simply a limited run to have fun with a piece of pop culture. The high price and low rewards for backers does make this seem like the crowdsourcing effort is destined or even intended to fail.
Either way, we’ll have to wait until at least March 15 to find out. Check out or support the Kickstarter campaign here.