GARPA 28 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

GARPA #28, Grogheads Staff

Fall is the best time of year…this is not even debatable, primarily because the heat of summer has been broken and the weather is cooler. But there is so much more that fall has to offer! Like fear. Fear brought to you by darkening days, the harvest possibly coming up short and the impending onset of winter…even if we don’t farm, there’s a natural connection to autumn that brings both excitement and a niggling sense of unease. All of this culminates in Halloween, The World’s Best Holiday.

You probably think we are going to bring you a series of planned board and PC games that intend to scare the crap out players. But would we be the GARPA guys if we were so obvious? Maybe. But that’s not what we’re doing in this installment…plenty of time for scares in the next few weeks. For now, enjoy the seasonally appropriate impending doom evident in the following planned projects!

Board Games

BattleAxeBattleAxe by Nick Ryan

$3,135 pledged of $110,000 goal, funding ends Wednesday, October 23


If you are 35 or older, you may remember an awesome game from the early 1980s called Crossbows & Catapults in which players literally hurled miniature projectiles at each other’s medieval strongholds in hopes of capturing their enemy’s keep. It was a violent but awesomely fun, basic game. BattleAxe appears to be in a similar vein, but hopes to be more advanced.

BattleAxe is set during the Dark Ages (I don’t care what people are calling it these days, they will always be the Dark Ages to me) and, like Crossbows & Catapults, players will assemble and command armies, build a keep, and attempt to kill the enemy king. Think chess but in three dimensions, using armored spearmen, axemen, swordsmen, and cavalry in your army and towers, walls, trenches, and fire for defense. An oversized battlefield map and custom dice are also included. The game takes a realistic angle and makes a point in not including fantasy elements of any kind…this is a game of Dark Age combat and tactics.

Nick Ryan, the developer of BattleAxe, assures potential players that the game itself is already 95% done and has been in play testing for two years, with “only funding” required at this point. That’s a big missing link, but if the game plays well tactically and strategically as promised, it will be worth investing in. Let’s hope BattleAxe can capture some of the magic that Crossbows & Catapults had for us older guys.

GARPA 28 - ReluctantPre-Order: Reluctant Enemies (MMP)

766 of 640 orders needed, Pre-order price of $39.00

Reluctant Enemies is designed as a ‘gateway’ game into the OCS series, but it also covers the rarely-gamed Middle Eastern ‘front’ in WWII, as the British sought to shore up their territories on the eastern edge of the Med.  The reluctant enemies in this fight are the Brits – with their Australian, Indian, and Free French allies – opposing the Vichy French seeking to make mischief in Lebanon and Iraq.  Once the Vichy French allowed German aircraft to overfly their airspace en route to an anti-British coup in Iraq, well… it was on!

The OCS series is known for its monster Case Blue-like games, but Reluctant Enemies is a one-map “son of OCS” specifically designed for players new to monster gaming’s premier system.

Get your pre-orders in before the price jumps.

Upcycled Machined Dice

$1590 of $6,600, ends 10/23/13

Gamers love them some dice, right?  Well how about dice that “clink” instead of “thud”?  Upcycled’s new machined dice are made from recycled aluminum, and come with a drawstring bag.  That’s it – nothing fancy.  Just cool dice in a few colors, but made out ass-kicking metal, and saving the world while you’re at it.  Getcher pledges in over at their Kickstarter page.

GARPA 28 - upcycled dice



Encounter Dice – The NPC Pack – Adventure in Full Colour

£ 2649 of £ 1800, ends on 10/31/13

What? More dice? Yep.  These are also tres cool, too.  Encounter dice give you a full NPC in one roll.  That’s right – you get a die each for class, race, alignment, armo(u)r, weapons, and loot.  One roll and you’re ready to spin the tale of the brutish orc with a shield and crossbow who has an unexpected heart of gold (alignment, not loot, people!)  Stretch goals will include dice for gender, social status, and quest types, among others.  They’re shipping from the UK, so make sure you pick the right pledge level for where you live.  Plunk down your shekels over at their Kickstarter page

GARPA 28 - Encounter Dice



PC Games

TheLongDarkThe Long Dark by Hinterland

$78,484 (CAD) pledged of $200,000 (CAD) goal, funding ends Wednesday, October 16


Now onto a Dark Age of a different type. The Long Dark is a first person game set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the player is charged with survival. Sound familiar? The apocalypse has been all the rage in games, books and movies for decades, with each new entry in the genre attempting to present a new twist on the theme.  The Long Dark will try to bring something new by setting the game in the isolated and deadly quiet northern Canadian wilderness.

Crash landing in the deep Canadian woods, game protagonist Mackenzie is left to his own devices immediately when The Long Dark begins. Simple survival against predators and nature is all that is required in the early phases of the game. This won’t be Fallout, with the player set against the heavily armed minions of Armageddon. The Long Dark features “the quiet apocalypse” where isolation and silence may drive the player nutty long before he is in any real physical danger.

The campaign is set to be built in a sandbox style, offering the player freedom of movement as long as they have the skill to navigate through what is thrown at them. The art style is stark and haunting with lots of blue and gray hues, as is the post-digital, snow-covered world it represents. All modern communications and technology are dead, and the only hints that the player gets as to what happened are eerie “lights in the sky” in the form of the aurora borealis.

The Long Dark will be a game about decision making and ambiguity. The player has total freedom to act as they want and survive: what you do is up to you. Exploration and character interaction will be key, and the game will be constructed around episodes so the player always feels like they are making progress whether they have just a few minutes or an hour to invest each play session.

Developers Hinterland are an independent studio made up of a team of games’ industry pros who have collectively been involved in the production of 25 big name PC game releases over the last ten years including the God of War series, Far Cry 3, Mass Effect, Neverwinter Nights, Descent: Freespace, L.A. Noire and the Dawn of War series…pretty good pedigree right there. It will be cool to see where they can take their audience in The Long Dark, a game that promises to be subtle, intriguing and terrifying all at once.

Handheld Device Games

MEG-RVOMEG-RVO by Skunkwerks Kinetic Industries, Inc.

$363 (CAD) pledged of $3,500 goal, funding ends Saturday, November 9


MEG-RVO is the first phase of what is planned to become a large gaming franchise based around the fictitious Slate-Kinetic space exploration company. Players will be responsible for piloting remote exploratory combat vehicles on distant planets. MEG-RVO will be multiplayer and top down, and the remote rigs will be customizable with different armor, weapons and engine configurations.

Right now the project funding on Kickstarter is for a single map for the larger game on the iPad tablet, but if things go well then the MEG-RVO game universe will be brought to more platforms and expand from its current humble state. The premise is solid and the current screen shots and in-game clips look good, so MEG-RVO looks to be more than just a pipedream…one to keep an eye on.

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