Drone tanks, programmed orders, constructing new units. This 1/100 scale skirmish wargame brings the future of warfare to the tabletop!
Well into the future, humanity’s labourers nearly killed us. We had entered into a golden age of no work, no scarcity and no pressures. People were free to think, to create and to dream, with the basic needs of life and society managed by an army of drones and their AI overseers.
The revolt against this utopia was a simple one. The original programmers of the AI security codes, cast aside as they were replaced by younger programmers, could not adapt to the work-free future. There were too few jobs available for people who wanted to work, and they were considered too old and inflexible. In response, they pooled their skills and resources and hacked the security codes. They’d not intended to unleash everything. All they wanted was to stop people trusting the AI so completely. And so they removed the restrictions on operating range and protecting humans.
The AI ran with their core programming, trying to manage crops, mine minerals, build infrastructure, etc. The only problem was that now a mining AI would no longer care about the city that stood above the minerals it was seeking. An agricultural AI would regard those humans picking fruit from its orchards just like any other pest, and eradicate them.
Humanity fought back, escalating until the military were called in. The AI hacked and re-purposed the army’s remotely operated tanks, trying to remove resistance so that they could continue their core functions. The war escalated, with some of humanity siding with the machines. Our species was steadily losing its grip on survival.
It was then that we discovered Digipaths. An experiment with an autistic child showed that some humans were able to reprogram a computer as easily as you or I might ride a bike or throw a ball.
These individuals were trained and put into the fight to hit back against the AI. We had a new and effective weapon, one that the machines could not merely adapt to and learn from. They resorted to using captured nuclear weapons, as did we.
Now, the Digipaths are without commanders. Humans live in small groups, behind walls in enclaves or on the move in vehicle-mounted tribes. The surviving AI live out in the wild, still trying to achieve their objectives. The Digipaths are no longer taking orders… now they are making up their own minds.
Will you fight to save the remnants of humanity, or to enslave them? Do you withdraw from humanity or embrace it? Are you driven by honour or curiosity? Don your neuro-link, climb aboard your command vehicle and pick your path. For to the victor goes the future. To the losers, there is only Absolute Decimation.
This is a tabletop miniatures game that uses several unique mechanics to give players an engaging, tactical experience.
The first of these is the programming orders mechanic. Each side in the fight has one to three human commanders and everything else is a drone. Commanders on all sides have a limited number of orders programs that they can queue up each turn and transmit to their drones. Players have to choose the set of orders that best suits them, their force and the tactical situation at any given point in the battle. The game is designed to reward players who can remain flexible enough to adapt to changes in the battlespace. The orders cards used in the game also mean that it is very quick to learn, with players often up and running by turn 2. However, there is a large amount of depth offered by the large and growing number of different cards available to players, meaning that no two games will go the same way.
The second is the ability to build new units during the game. While this is a staple of computer games, it has not featured in tabletop games to date. Using a production unit and collecting resources from a central mine, players can replace their losses or adapt their force mix to try to achieve their mission.
Along with the ability to build new units, the game uses a points-free balance system. Every unit within its class has an equivalent ‘power level’, while maintaining distinct roles and abilities. This allows players to swap in or out their units for other ones in moments, simplifying list building while still allowing a deep customisation experience for players. This also allows players to expand their collection without being forced to leave large parts of it on the shelf.
There are major expansions planned for the game into the future. These include the addition of walkers, hovercraft, aircraft, super-heavy units, a full-scale war game mode, tactical missions, a campaign system using a companion app, and more.
This game is intended for tabletop gamers. Primarily it is aimed at existing tabletop wargamers (those who play other games), a niche but highly engaged market. However, the game is developed so that new players can be introduced to the game and start collecting easily.
While this demographic is predominantly male, white and between the ages of 15 and 45, care is taken to ensure that this game is inclusive of all potential players. The characters within the game are distributed across gender and racial grounds, allowing players to have an inclusive experience. Female characters are not sexually objectified (as often happens in other games), and characters from various minorities (like LGBTIQ) are included. The game does not make a big point about this, as it’s not a core concern of ours to labour on the point, but we are working to ensure that any player from any background feels included in the game.
This game is intended for worldwide distribution. The game is developed in Canberra, with artists from around the world contributing to the models, artwork and game components. The game will be manufactured and published in the UK for this reason. Players will be found and reached in gaming communities across the world, with the intent to translate the game into languages other than English as communities are formed.
This project will create a new game for players to enjoy. It will broaden the base of skills and abilities within both Canberra and in other parts of the world for the design, production and publication of tabletop wargames.
For myself personally, supporting this game will allow me to gather a larger audience and reach more players who may be interested in the game itself. It will also allow me to complete the launch and develop the future game expansions that I have planned.
In addition, it will allow me to develop the setting of this game and complete writing novels within that setting. It will also allow me to move on to develop new games in the future, including board games concepts that I am already working on.
We are in the final ramp-up to our launch on Kickstarter. The game’s rules, 3D models and backstory are complete for launch. Game components are at 85% ready, just awaiting confirmation of some card details and the final graphical touches. Artwork is around 70% ready, with opportunities being explored with various artists to make up the shortfall. The miniatures themselves are at 80% ready, with professional painters nearly complete and the first full production models cast.
At this stage we’re mostly complete for development of the product. Now, our focus is on media and marketing.
The additional resources would be put to completing artwork, pitch video and promotional materials. They would also be used to advertise the game in the lead-up to the Kickstarter.
The artwork that we are producing at this stage will be used for both packaging and game cards. This includes ‘action shots’ of the tanks in action as well as character studies.
The pitch video is already underway, but additional resources would ensure that we can add all of the various elements that we need (like the logo presentation, the representations of gameplay and box contents, and soundtrack) at the level of quality needed to succeed.
Promotional materials would be used when putting on public demonstrations of the game and advertising in specific locations, like at large conventions and in games stores and clubs.
Advertising money would be put to generating leads for our mailing list, by advertising on major games websites and on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
If the project succeeds, I will progress on to an ongoing support model. This includes regular releases for the game itself, organised play events and online community management. Of course, the most important part of this is the ability to play this game that I rather enjoy (I know, I’m biased!) amongst an engaged and enthusiastic community of players.
My next projects would branch along two lines. One is to develop new board games well outside of this setting. I have concepts for two new games that I will look at developing for publication with a partner company or even through self-publishing. The other is to write novels and short stories within this setting, enhancing both player’s experiences and the number of fans of the story.
Into the future… well… the possibilities are endless. I plan to continue both writing and games design.
My Skills: My ability to build systems, stories and worlds. Also my ability to market the game.