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GARPA – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

by Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

 

‘Tis the season and the GARPA boys are back with another edition packed full of projects for those of us who enjoy the delayed gratification of crowd funded projects. They say that anticipation always makes it better, right? Maybe.

Tomorrow is the 21st of December and according to many this is when the Mayans predict the end of the world will occur. Well here at the GARPA headquarters we say balderdash! I mean really if we believed this nonsense would we be writing a bi-weekly article about people asking to front money to fund projects which are promised to be delivered in the future that just so happens to be after the Mayan Apocalypse? … of course we would! Oh wait...

Board Game Projects

Tomorrow: An Apocalyptic Nightmare by Conquistador Games

$35205 of a $15,000 goal funding ending January 8th, 2013

If the Mayans are wrong and the world continues there are plenty of other ways to bring on the apocalypse. Take for instance the game Tomorrow: An Apocalyptic Nightmare. It’s the not so distant future and the world has become overpopulated. In this 4-6 player semi-cooperative game you are the leader of one of the world’s powers. Along with the other powers’ leaders you must figure out a way to depopulate the world together in order to survive. But what fun is depopulating the earth if you cannot achieve global dominance and become a superpower in the process? At your fingertips are an array of biological, nuclear, military, and cyber options with which to destroy your opponents. Destroy the population of the planet or save them, it’s up to you - but in the end watch out for what the ‘other guy’ is doing. Find out what you would do with the fate of the world and go check out the project.

garpa8

 

Guilds of Cadwallon by CoolMiniOrNot

$94,753 of a $5000 goal funding ending December 22nd, 2012

Set in the medieval fantasy Confrontation universe, Guilds of Cadwallon is a fast playing tactical boardgame. Using your guild’s agents, the player must accumulate guild points while avoiding militia patrols in the City of Thieves. Sounds easy enough, and it would be but for the fact that the playing surface is randomized each round using a deck of district cards. You must then place your agent pawns carefully in order to control districts and gain points. Personality and optional condition cards add to the strategy and replay value of the game. If you are looking for a quick game that offers a strategic challenge then check out Guilds of Cadwallon’s project page.

garpa8

 

Through the Breach: A Malifaux RPG by Wyrd Miniatures

$182,944 of a $30,000 goal funding ending January 10th, 2013

garpa8The fans have spoken and the widely popular miniature skirmish game Malifaux is now getting the RPG treatment. Malifaux is a story driven skirmish level miniatures game that is set in the crumbling other worldly city of Malifaux. In this city, a number of factions having been telling their stories through battles on the tabletop. Through the Breach takes you from the tabletop battles and puts you right in the midst of the intriguing stories of Malifaux as you try and decide your own fate.

This is a card driven RPG, with actions taken from a community Fate Deck, although each player has their own deck to help swing fate in their favor. In the end, however, it is all up to the Fatemaster who is ultimately in control of where the story takes the players. Try your hands at changing the winds of fate in Malifaux and make your own contribution to the project.

 

 

 

Pax Baltica by GMT Games and Three Crowns Game Production

Orders to Date – 642 Charging – Final Production

In our search for something new and outside the normal wargame fare we came across Pax Baltica, a grand strategy game set during the Great Northern War of 1700-1721. Great Northern War? Yeah we had to go look it up too [heh maybe you did – ed.].

While not one of the better known wars of military history, the conflict does make for an intriguing wargame. The three kings of Denmark, Saxony and Russia all trying to put an end to Swedish dominance in the region certainly sounds compelling enough. The game ships with four scenarios which are fought over a simple but effective map that covers much of northern and eastern Europe. Units are modeled by wooden blocks which help create the fog of war and increase the strategic possibilities within the game play. If you need a break from German Panzers and American GIs then head over and check out Pax Baltic.

garpa8

 

PC Game Projects

Skyjacker: Starship Constructor by Digitilus

$8,888 pledged of $30,000 goal, funding ends Friday, January 25th

garpa8The Skyjacker Starship constructor is a component of a game that did not meet its Kickstarter goal earlier this year, but Digitilus is not giving up. This construction application lets the player explore and dissect over 100 types of spacecraft and analyze their innards, viewing what makes each ship tick. It also illustrates how the next iteration of Skyjacker will visually represent the construction and destruction of ships and the in-game environment.

The stretch goals of this app go a bit further, including a planned arcade shooter game and modding tools. A demo is also available. A variety of ships will be included, from ‘organic’ living alien craft to huge steel dreadnaughts, built with a series of different architectural styles.

It’s difficult to tell from the current Kickstarter page but if this Skyjacker project is successful one would hope that Digitilus can once again move on to producing a larger production. With more than a month left to raise funds this seems doable right now.

 

Forsaken Fortress: The Survival RPG by Photon Productions

$101,891 pledged of $100,000 goal, funding ends Saturday, December 22

garpa8Covering a post-apocalyptic game project the day before the end of the world? Sure why not! If the world does happen to end no one will be reading this anyway. And if it doesn’t end then this looks to be a very promising title that is already fully funded. No losers in this equation!

Forsaken Fortress is billed as ‘special.’ What does that mean exactly? Well to begin with: yes it’s an RPG in a similar vein as Wasteland and Fallout, but it also has a large base management component. Beyond assembling and caring for a small group of survivors, the player will also collect needed resources to build and maintain a base for his team to inhabit in a tower-defense style. Options range from putting together the needed living quarters, storage rooms and kitchens for your team, to arranging the security components of your new base. Upgrade weapons and get ready for sieges, because the world of Forsaken Fortress is not a kind one.

The phrase ‘collecting resources’ usually elicits groans from grogs, but in Forsaken Fortress the player doesn’t simply ‘find’ what he needs. He must fight for it. Whether against other armed groups of survivors or freakish mutated creatures, Forsaken Fortress promises to make getting what you need…difficult.

For your team’s characters, a host of crafting, weapon-smithing and uniform options are promised, and for the Sims aficionado in all of us, the developers even promise that characters can fall in love. When you see how good looking most of the avatars in Forsaken Fortress are, this will become more important to you, I promise. Beyond love in the ruins, tactical, squad-based combat, like that seen in Fallout: Tactics, is also planned.

Taken together, Forsaken Fortress is promising a lot, all wrapped up in a dynamically evolving world. The final game is planned for release at the end of 2013. And since the game has already met its goal, we are all one step closer to playing through Forsaken Fortress’ own version of the end of the world.

 

Meriwether: An American Epic by Sortasoft

$16,550 pledged of $35,000 goal, funding ends Sunday, January 6

I didn’t want to end this GARPA on a down note with all the apocalyptic, tin-foil hattery going around, so what better way to cheer up then to discuss the discovery and exploration of America, and the birth of a new world? None, I say. None.

Meriwether: An American Epic takes players back 200 years to the early 19th century at the moment just after the Louisiana Purchase. Typing that out, it is hard to grasp that it was only 200 years ago. Anyway, back then, many people believed that the American West was a land of mythic proportions, populated by bizarre people and creatures. Kind of what it is like today, but different.

The player in Meriwether is charged with taking on the persona of Captain Lewis, forming the U.S. Corps of Discovery with William Clark, and begin a two and a half year journey exploring and documenting the American West. The primary goals of your mission will be:

garpa8• Finding an all-water route to the Pacific Ocean

• Assembling accurate maps of the explored lands

• Build an enduring peace with encountered Indian tribes

• Chronicle all plant and animal life you come across

• Return east in one piece after roughing it for more than two years

No easy tasks, any of them. Meriwether is dripping with historical flavor but is also developed by gamers, who have put in elements of role-playing, exploration, and diplomacy. Two game modes are described: “Lewis” and “Travel.” The Lewis mode is described as a shorter campaign, where players control Meriwether Lewis as an in-game avatar and do all the actions that he performed historically: hunt, study plants and animals, act as the Corps of Discovery’s doctor, trade with the French, and make peace with the Indians. All of this will be done in a third person perspective.

“Travel” mode has the player take control of the entire Corps of Discovery and attempt to complete one potentially grueling week of the 2+ year historical journey. In this larger game mode players will navigate Western rivers, map the natural features, and mind the dwindling supplies of the Corps. The developers promise dynamically generated levels for a different experience each time the game is played…which doesn’t necessarily make much sense to me since the game is based on the set of historical parameters. I am curious to see how this is developed.

One thing is sure though: Meriwether Lewis is one of the more interesting figures in American history, with a personality that changed regularly as recorded in his journals. Meriwether promises to capture the unique personality of Lewis, with a game system built around his character traits including skills as a leader, scientist, diplomat, soldier and even his well-documented melancholia. More options become available to the player as the game progresses, and if things are not going particularly well the player may only be left with one or two possible responses to a situation…melancholy being one of them. Don’t let the bastards get your down!

Finally, everything the player encounters in Meriwether will be logged in the in-game journal, the Wunderkammer. Beyond being a log of the in-game goings-on, the Wunderkammer promises to immerse the player not only in 19th century science but in 19th century thinking too. Most games present different worlds to us as gamers, but it takes a special game to really attempt to get us thinking as its protagonist would have, or even give an insight into how or why the protagonist saw the world and what his times were like. Meriwether looks set to do that.

Needless to say, Meriwether is an ambitious project and its funding goes beyond Kickstarter. University programs in Iowa and Montana have contributed, as have other private donors. With any luck, historical gamers may have a modern version of The Oregon Trail to enjoy soon!

 

And that concludes what could be our last GARPA column, and the world as well, if you believe what your tin-foil hat and the Mayans tell you. If not, we’ll see you in two weeks. Hopefully. Until then we wish everyone a happy, safe and relaxing holiday season!

 

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