GARPA 23 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

It‘s that time again, whether you like it or not.  GARPA is back for another Friday of gaming projects funded by you, the fans.

Come watch Lloyd and Dan explore new projects or at least watch them talk to themselves about what, in their minds, constitutes a cool project. Cool is the operative word here since it is presently hotter than a snake’s arse in Arizona in the summertime over most of the known world right now. Remember…cool.

Like what you see or think we missed something, make sure and leave some feedback on the forums, if for nothing else than to boost our egos.

Stay cool!

GARPA-23-July-19-2013-1 I AM ZOMBIEI AM ZOMBIE: Field Manual & RPG by Make-Believe Games

$23,343 pledged of a $30,000 goal funding ending July 31st

I AM ZOMBIE is a very unique take on the zombie genre.  As you can tell from the title you are a zombie, well sort of.  It is better if I let the game designers explain it.

“You are a Toxic, a victim of an age-old disease, the Scourge. The cycles of your life revolve around picking up and getting rid of Odium, a by-product of that which ravages your body. Odium build-up threatens to transform you into a mindless zombie – a Skag – whilst granting physical prowess. You might (sic) half-dead, but if you control your Odium, you can retain your humanity, at least some of time.

When your Odium is high you start to rot and decay, accumulating syndromes – symptoms of various human diseases: a bad rash, blotchy skin, boils, gangrene, and even necrosis. When Odium is absent, such as after the ritual of Purgis, you will look nearly human and the best possible version of yourself. For a few days you can live like a rock star, but then, inevitably, you decline again.”

Based on an old book, I AM ZOMBIE: Manifesto of the Risen, which was published in 1962 this guide and RPG put the players in the middle of a world that is in danger of one big outbreak.  The government has known about Toxics and their threat to the “breathers” as uninfected people are called.  In fact they have known for a very long time and blamed many things on the Toxics.  In the words of the Toxics, “Flesh eating bacteria? That was us. Chemical spills? You guessed it, us too. The Black Death? That was the big one, guilty as charged. Mad Cow disease? Yeah … that’s not us.”

The game puts you in the role of one of these Toxics who is being hunted by the CDC and “a clandestine, militarized disease (Zombie) control government agency” called BLEACH who wants nothing more than to wipe you from the earth.

The RPG portion of the project uses a system called Axiom which is simple to learn for beginners but allows seasoned role-players to create a fun game. The RPG is focused very much on the story telling aspects of the game and includes some unique mechanics. Instead of character sheets, there are cards that are used to create you character and can be moved around and modified to role-play during the game. Different cards call for varying die rolls which are done simultaneously by all players who then must work together with the completed dice rolls to stay alive as zombies in a world out to get them.

If you find yourself confused or intrigued by all of my ramblings then go check out the project’s page and watch a video of I AM ZOMBIE playtest session.


Press Start Pocket by Michael Scott GARPA-23-July-19-2013-2 Press Start Pocket

$6,168 pledged of a $7,500 goal funding ending August 2nd

Before you ask no: not that Michael Scott.

Now that’s out of the way we can talk about Press Start Pocket which is a game “made up of three 56 card decks. All three decks are standalone, two- player games. Decks can be combined together to make a 3 – 4 player or 5 – 6 player game.”

Ok you say, so what makes this game special? Well, all the artwork is homage to the 8-bit graphics days of early computers and arcades. The game even comes with metal arcade like tokens used to mark the total victories players achieve.

The object of the game sounds simple enough but is hard to achieve. The player must win three battles or earn four warrior cards and be holding them at the same time. Turns consist of drawing cards and using them to gather warriors, attack or discard. During an attack both players play weapon, super, or cheat cards to destroy their opponent’s warriors. Play goes back and forth like this destroying each other’s warriors until one player reaches the victory conditions. Very simple to learn, and in fact all the rules for the game are printed on the front and back of one playing card.

Another cool feature of this project is when you pledge to support the game you receive a free download of the Press Start Pocket app. That app is not the game itself in a mobile version. Instead it is a sound board to enhance the game play experience. The app includes weapon sounds, warrior jingles, and fight music all in great 8-bit sound reminiscent of old school arcade games. To check out all the cool art work and hear some sample sounds head on over to their project page.


GARPA-23-July-19-2013-3 ExcelsiorExcelsior – An Inspired Steampunk Pen and Paper RPG by 2Die10 Games

$1,516 pledged of a $13,500 goal funding ending August 4th

To me there is just something about the idea of steampunk that demands that it be role-played and I’m not even that big of a fan of the genre [WHAT?!?! – don’t look at me. – Gus] The imagery that comes to mind when talking about anything steampunk is quite vivid and, more than that, the possibilities for settings, characters, and encounters seems limitless.

Excelsior is a pen and paper RPG “set in the Victorian era in the midst of the rapid population growth brought on by the advances in technology and medicine during that age. The leaders of the world realize that exploring the remaining uncharted areas are their only hope to deal with this population explosion. World governments have pooled their resources to create the three largest exploration and colonization ships in history in order to find a new part of the world that man can colonize and harvest resources.” As you can guess not everything goes according to plan when the ships arrive. These explorers must contend with new dangers that arise as well as dangers they have always lived with.

The players are thrown into this world with many possibilities to explore. New and veteran RPG players will recognize many of the combat and skill test mechanics and quickly adapt them to the steampunk setting. A unique feature in this RPG is “detailed rules for using and creating inventions and provide rules for characters that want to enhance themselves using BioMechanics.”  Like I said possibilities are nearly limitless especially with these rules included.  Within the game, players can play characters from the following classes:

The Scrapper: You are the brute squad! You’re in the front lines of battle taking on dangerous enemies with the biggest weapon you can swing with both hands.

The Punk: Who needs to work when there are so many pigeons to pluck! You come from out of nowhere to make precise, surgical strikes, only to fade back into the shadows.

The Marksman: You’re a big game hunter that prefers to use his trusty shooting irons to take foes down while the “riff-raff” gets their hands dirty with the toe to toe fighting

Physician: You’re responsible for keeping your comrades stitched together and making sure that that your opponents are having a very bad day.

Aegis: You are the pilot of the group and can navigate the world using a variety of vehicles, including mechanized suits of armor capable of absorbing and dealing out massive amounts of damage.

Inventor: You create devices (that mostly work) to enhance your own abilities or those of your comrades. You can partner with a Physician in your party to install Biomechanical enhancements on other people.”

Even for a guy who is admittedly not a huge fan of the genre this sure sounds exciting.  If you want to really get a taste for the atmosphere of the game make sure and check out the project’s Kickstarter page to see some art detailing each of the character classes and read more about the game.


Space: 1889 by Angus Abranson/Chronicle CityGARPA-23-July-19-2013-Space1889

$19,926 pledged of $22,890 goal, funding ends August 25, 2013

Kickstarter link:

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Gus is going to pack this GARPA with more steampunk than a typical dude can handle because of what Dan said above.” And you’d be right. But you also might be thinking, “Is this a game based on some weird variation of the old sci-fi show Space 1999?” The answer is a solid “no.” It is however related to the book series of the same name, which is rather fantastic.

Space: 1889 is a remake of the original role playing game from the late 1980s by Frank Chadwick, based on the writings of Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and HG Wells and published by Game Designers Workshop, which is now out of business.

Frank Chadwick is back for this new version of Space: 1889 and he is working with Uhwerk Verlag, Clockwork Publishing, and Chronicle City.  Set in an alternate Victorian era, space exploration is led by the creation of Thomas Edison’s ‘ether propeller’ which allows the Great Powers we know and love to begin to colonize Venus and Mars in the same fashion that they carved up Africa and Asia. Classes available to play include missionaries, explorers, Martian and Venusian royalty (hard to top that), Royal Army officers, inventors, journalists, and diplomats, with even more classes promised if the funding is successful and subsequent modules are released.

The Space: 1889 rulebook is not a reprint but a new book, with new art, new rules and new gameplay system. If steam flows through your soul, Space: 1889 is a no-brainer.


PC Games

GARPA-23-July-19-2013-Wars and BattlesWars and Battles by Kermorio

$13,671 pledged of $50,000 goal, funding ends August 25, 2013

Kickstarter link:

Ironically although I have been working for wargaming sites for 10+ years and consider many of the staff and forumites some of my closest friends, I have a filthy secret. I am not that hardcore of a wargamer. I have never played a Gary Grigsby game. Never played Steel Beasts. And I get routinely beaten by both human and AI opponents in games ranging from Commander: The Great War to Civ V. But I do love me some history and almost all things military, so that’s why I think I’ve stood the test of time on niche wargaming sites.

“That’s a great story but WTF are you talking about?” is what you’re thinking, I know. Well I have always aspired to become more groggy. The idea of a complex sprawling wargame appeals to me. It’s just that I’m not that good at them and I don’t have a lot of time to learn new complex systems. Wars and Battles therefore seems targeted precisely at me.

Kermorio claims that Wars and Battles is “made for wargamers.” To me this implies that it will contain that complexity that grogs love. Simultaneously it also promises to be easy to use on modern portable devices like smartphones and tablets and be accessible by to all gamers.

The game itself is set in the modern era and includes 400 ground units and 50 air units (I didn’t see mention of any naval units yet). There are also a variety of terrain types and weather effects and ambushes, reinforcements, supply, and fortification will all be modeled.

All of these features have been created by a “combined-arms” team of tabletop game designers and video game designers who are striving to make Wars and Battles as intuitive as possible, easily-embraced by non-grogs like me who enjoy military history. The game will launch with two battles included: Gettysburg 1863 and Normandy 1944. After launch, the developers plan to release a new battle every two months, with Austerlitz 1805, Kharkov 1943, Market Garden 1944, The Korean War 1950-51, and the Yom Kippur War 1973 all in various stages of development and plans to launch in early 2014. Stretch goals include a wider branching out of content including First World War, medieval, Roman era and even fantasy conflicts and a detailed in-game encyclopedia.

The developers are promising an immersive yet easy to control game, with detailed units that include dozens of characteristics including vitality, quality, attack, defend and movement. Turns are divided into “impulses” where a limited number of units can move, attack and defend. Game maps are 3D and are divided into hexes, and the game view itself can be viewed in either 2D or 3D. From the sample images you’ll see that the game visuals are very high-quality.

With both single-player and multiplayer modes available, it looks like this type of high-quality design will draw in both the grogs and potential newbies, and try to satisfy everyone with AI and rules that are internally complex to make Wars and Battles interesting while being accessible enough for almost anyone (even me) to play. It’s always interesting to see if a developer delivers on a promise like this in the finished product.

Warmachine: Tactics by Privateer Press

$882,919 pledged of $550,000 goal, funding ends August 10, 2013GARPA-23-July-19-2013-Warmachine


Anyone who doesn’t like steampunk is a nancyboy. I made that clear above. With that out of the way, I have the pleasure of showing you what looks to be one of the most promising steampunk based games that I have seen in a very long time.

Warmachine: Tactics is based on the popular miniatures game of the same name.  This electronic version is set to be a tactical, turn-based game set in the dynamic world of Warmachine, with the player in command of steampunk inspired troops, spellcasters, vehicles and even mechs. As stretch goals have been knocked over like cheap liquor stores, more features have been added including additional factions, mercenaries, an army color customization system and a network of special features and powers for each faction. Additional features to be added as stretch goals continue to be reached include multiplayer game modes, more troop types, more spellcasters and cinematic cut scenes.

Warmachine takes place in the world of the Iron Kingdoms, where conflict has never abated and both magic and science, combined in the form of mechanika, have been embraced by all warring factions as an industrial revolution churns on. Humans are the dominant race but they control gargantuan metal constructs known as warjacks to help them fight…think of a mech or a WH40K Titan with a 19th century look, powered by steam, naturally. Warcasters are military wizards who can singlehandedly change the flow of a battle. There is much more detail to the Warmachine world that can be found at

GARPA-23-July-19-2013-WarjackWarmachine will include a single-player campaign as well as PBEM and live multiplayer support and will be centered around the player’s squad, made up of warjacks, warcasters, and other specialized troops brought together to form a cohesive unit. Each campaign will be based on one of the four factions included with the game, following a warcaster through their careers fighting for their faction. Future campaigns are also planned after initial release.

That’s all fine and good but Warmachine is one of those games that has to be seen to be appreciated. Take a gander at a few of the shots here, and I dare you to not get excited.

And on that note, we close our 23rd(!) installment of GARPA. Be sure to keep checking back with us…we are constantly on the prowl for the most exciting crowd-funded games on the horizon.


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