GARPA 20 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Authors: Dan Pinkham and Lloyd Sabin

Ladies and gentlemen, and boys and girls of all ages…welcome to the 20th edition of GARPA!  Who would have thunk we would have stuck around for so long?  In celebration of this milestone we bring you … more of the same. Honestly what else could we bring you? As always, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and we hope you enjoy this week’s great gaggle of gaming goodness. And if you’re a developer or publisher working on a crowd-funded project, please feel free to contact us and let us know about it.

 Tabletop Games

Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 Eastern Front by Collins Epic Wargames

$3,778 of a $16,000 goal funding ending July 1st

GARPA 20 1 frontline general

Our informants here at GARPA tipped us off to this game which is the latest in the Spearpoint 1943 series from Collins Epic Wargames.  We even landed an exclusive intro to the game straight from Byron Collins himself.

“Heavy Tiger and Panther tanks thunder their way east to face T-34s, KV-1s, and the aircraft, artillery, and infantry that comprise the Red Army. Messerschmitt Bf-109s scream overhead and lock sights with Yak-9Bs, La-5FNs, and the infamous IL-2M3 “flying tanks”. Self-Propelled guns and fixed artillery fire countless shells miles away into the chaos of frontline battle. Waves of Soviet infantry charge forward to push back the Germans, many to their deaths.

This is 1943 on the Eastern Front. Inspired by the battles for Kursk, Belgorod, Kharkov, and other offensives staged by each side, Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 Eastern Front challenges you to take command in this light, fast, and fun tactical card wargame.”

That pretty much covers it.  Our work here is done, right? Hardly. We would do our avid readers a disservice not to at least briefly delve deeper into this game. Following the success of their first game titled simply, Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943, they are now using the same mechanics that made the original game so popular and promise an immersive game that can be played in as little as half an hour. This game is also compatible with the first by adding many new deck-construction options.  Not only that, but it also works with the Spearpoint 1943 Village and Defensive Line Map Expansion which adds cards and rules to the game for terrain, LOS, and additional scenarios.

The game comes equipped with unit, command, and damage cards totaling an impressive 175 cards. The game’s project page includes descriptions of each category of cards. Also included are four d10 dice, tracking counters, rule book, and over ten scenarios. Even with ten scenarios, replayability is almost limitless due to the mechanics and pre-game deck construction.  As if all of the above wasn’t enough to make up your mind, head over to the game’s Kickstarter page for links to a gameplay PDF and a video review of the original Spearpoint 1943 game.

 

Freeblades Fantasy Miniatures: Falkaaran Adventures by DGS Games, LLC

$3,046 of a $7,500 goal funding ending July 3rd

GARPA 20 2 freeblades

Some of you may remember hearing about the RPG and miniature wargame called Freeblades from DGS Games. With the popularity of the rules growing, the fantasy world that the game takes place in continues to be fleshed out. As the various factions within the Freeblades universe are expounded upon, the call for miniatures unique to each faction has grown.

When Freeblades was originally released a selection of 32mm miniatures were also made available. Choosing this scale made the selection of unique miniatures for this game hard to find but also opened the opportunity for DGS Games to pursue and expand upon its line of exclusive miniatures. In so doing they could design their miniatures to fit into the world and lore of Freelades.

In August of 2012 DGS Games launched its first Kickstarter campaign to bring a set of miniatures representing the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor. The project was fully funded and as of the end of April 2013 all the pledge rewards had been delivered. Now DGS Games has struck out again to bring a new set of miniatures to the public straight out of their game’s universe.

This set of five 32mm miniatures will include Falkaaran Adventures classes, “Jendal Bladeseeker, Karadal Bladesister, Knight Defender, Pikeman and Sailor.”  Jendal Bladeseekers are dangerous and experienced veteran swordsmen who have proven themselves on the field of battle. Karadel Bladesisters are faced with protecting Falkaar’s borders and fight with a particularly deadly technique that eschews style in favor of striking a quick, deadly blow. The Knight Defenders are primarily the bodyguards and personal soldiers of the royalty throughout Falkaar while Pikemen are the core of most Falkaar armies and the gateway to becoming a professional soldier for many young men of the region.  Finally the Sailors are the backbone of Falkaar’s maritime and mercantile trade.

All the figures will be cast in a lead-free alloy of white metal that “creates a high quality durable miniature with exceptional texture and surface for painting brilliant works of art.”  For more detailed information on the five miniatures as well as some great concept art make sure and check out the project’s Kickstarter page.

 

 

All Things Zombie – Final Fade Out Minis & More by Two Hour Wargames

$5,156 of a $5,000 goal funding ending June 14th

GARPA 20 3 final fade out

Final Fade Out is the latest edition of the famed All Things Zombie from Two Hour Wargames (THW). True to their name THW develops miniature wargames that can be played in two hours or less. Another unique feature of THW is that their “games can be played solo or same side (cooperatively) as well as head-to-head. With THW you can play with your friends as well as against them.” At the core of their game systems is the chain reaction system that gives the action in game a realistic and, at the same time, a movie like quality.

The system works as follows:  instead of one side taking its turn and moving its minis and taking actions one side activates starts to take an action…but if it is spotted by the opposing side this triggers a reaction. Whether it is coming out from behind a building or shooting, the opposing side gets a chance to react because in real life one would not wait for the enemy to finish their “move” before doing something about it.  In the end both sides continue to react until one side is killed or retreats and the opposing figures can no longer see or interact with each other. The system is a novel concept and adds a unique feel to their games.

The Final Fade Out project on Indiegogo wants to bring the rules and a new set of miniatures of the wargaming public. The figures will be in 15mm and 28mm scale depending on the pledge level and include such iconic zombie genre characters as the policeman, soldier, gang member, survivor, and of course who could forget the zombies.

Not only are the rules and new miniatures being released with the project but also two decks of custom cards that tie into the game.  The City Deck presents the player with an urban area with which to create scenarios for the zombie apocalypse.  The cards contain building layouts as well as relevant information on said buildings.  These City Deck cards can even be used in lieu of terrain for those with limited budget or space.  The second card deck is the Zombie Deck.  This deck really adds a lot to the game especially in connection with the City Deck.  The Zombie Deck simply tells the player what they encountered when their miniatures enter a building.  There could be zombies, survivors, gang members, or even loot in each building but you won’t know until you knock down the door.  Having just met their pledge goal the project has a number of stretch goals planned so make sure and check them out as well.

 

 

PC Games

Spintires by Oovee Game Studios

$72,246 Pledged of $62,300 goal, funding ends on Thursday, June 13

GARPA 20 Spintires

Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/358753914/spintires-the-ultimate-off-road-challenge?ref=category

Who among us does not enjoy driving through two feet of mud at ridiculous speeds in giant trucks? I thought so. Spintires is aimed directly at guys who can’t get enough off-roading in deep mud in giant military grade trucks.

Set up with a design similar to other four-wheeler games released in the last few years, Spintires begins in 1980 and gives the player a powerful four wheel drive truck, a compass and some logging work to complete. If the player delivers his cargo, keeps it relatively undamaged and has some fuel left over, skill points are awarded. Bonus points are awarded for ‘secret crates’ found and territory covered too.

Once points are awarded things get interesting for the discerning off-roader. A variety of goodies can be purchased for your truck, including winches, tire deflation systems, turbo chargers, and extra cargo capacity. Enough points can be earned to purchase entirely new trucks too.

Spintires promises to pull ahead of its gaming competition by being playable on a wide spectrum of PCs while offering replayability and unpredictability each time the player fires it up. Modeled trucks include Russian and European tractor trailers, 2.5 ton trucks, missile haulers and military grade tow trucks, and the mud looks to be copious and deep. I won’t have my mud any other way.

GARPA 20 Spintires2

The game is built on the proprietary VeeEngine that is specially designed with Havoc technology used to model mud, water, and other elements using DirectX 9, which makes the game playable on such a wide range of machines. The screenshots look great and a tech demo is available, so grease yourself up and get ready for some off road mud munching!

ARAIG – Multi-Sensory Feedback Suit by ARAIG

$87,539 pledged of $900,000 goal, funding ends Sunday, June 30.

GARPA 20 ARAIG

Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/141790329/araig-as-real-as-it-gets?ref=category

At first I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to feel everything that I have been gaming because I play a lot of violent games. Do I really want to feel a pike go through my guts, or a shotgun blast to the stomach or an arrow to the knee? Well, maybe depending on the day.

ARAIG promises more than that. The company claims that their feedback suit will simulate rain falling on your body, the rumble of vehicles and the rattle of weapons. Besides being cool in a techie way, the suit is designed to enhance the player’s awareness of what is going on around him. Similar to force feedback controllers, think of the ARAIG as force feedback for your body, with game companies programming different sensations in a host of different environments and activities. And keep your mind out of the gutter.

The ARAIG is made up of three components: the decoder, which receives information from the game and transfers it to the exoskeleton, which produces what the gamer feels, and finally the sim skin, which is a physical skin that is placed over the exoskeleton to customize its physical appearance. Sensory feedback is produced using Surround Sound technology, vibrations and STIMs technology, which stimulates and contracts muscles over the player’s body.

Sounds kind of freaky doesn’t it? Once game developers agree to implement ARAIG technology, the creators hope that ARAIG catches on in the same way that force feedback has. If the expense can be kept down, they may succeed. There is so much technology involved here that it is conceivable that parts of it may see the light of day, if not the entire ARAIG suit.

So the next time you take an arrow to the knee, besides being able to say that to everyone you meet, you may actually feel it too.

Abducted by Sunside Inc.

$1,695 pledged of $20,000 goal, funding ends Saturday, June 29

Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/abducted/abducted-1?ref=category

GARPA 20 Abducted

Abducted is currently up on Steam Greenlight and the innocuous sounding Sunside Inc. is actually made up of multiple members from the development teams of Borderlands 1 and 2, and Battlefield 2.

The premise of Abducted is simple – the player is cast as an ordinary person thrown into the extraordinary circumstance of an alien abduction. Your issues only begin there, though. Not only are you kidnapped but you survive and are taken thousands of light years away from Earth and held against your will. Your only mission from that point is to escape.

Set up as a combination RPG, FPS, adventure, mystery, and horror game, Abducted gives the player several tools to work his way out of his unfortunate circumstance, the primary one being “The Arm.” The Arm is the primary way the player interacts with the world of Abducted, through conversations, through reading, and through manipulating the environment and objects in it. Of course many objects in this alien environment can kill you instantly, so that’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

To defend against this hostile foreign environment the player has the Shield and the Pulse. The Pulse is described as an energy weapon that is fired from The Arm. The Shield is literally an electrically charged air tight bubble. The one catch with using it is that it can also kill you if kept on for too long.

Played in a first person perspective, the environments in Abducted are not the only things that are hostile to the player…there are a host of bizarre enemies to combat in real time and it appears that no one is particularly happy to see you. When not fighting for your life, Abducted wants to both scare you and encourage you to explore.

GARPA 20 Abducted1

The art of Abducted is being generated with SurfaceMimic, a tool used to capture and render facial features, movements and speech. Sunside promise that the work they are doing with SurfaceMimic is artistry more than industry, and that every art asset they develop has a certain degree of care and attention put into it. The head developer, Richard Cowgill, has been working on games for 14 years in professional, indie and mod capacities, and he indicates that he wants the structure of Abducted to be episodic without requiring the all too common long wait times between episodes. Per-episode pricing is still being calculated but it is indicated that they want to aim for one episode every 75 days once Abducted is launched, and from the Kickstarter page it looks like Abducted’s production values will continue to be very high.

And there you have it. GARPA 20 in all its glory. Bask in it. Bathe in it. Love it. See you in two weeks!

 

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