GARPA 31 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Authors: Lloyd Sabin and Jim Zabek

Next Monday, November 10th, will mark the 38th anniversary of the date the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank. What does that have to do with this latest installment of GARPA? Not much, as best I can figure, other than that the gales of November seem to have come early again this year. At least around these parts, it’s colder, windier, and wetter than usual and Gordon Lightfoot’s lyrics were ringing in my ears as I sat down to start to pen this edition of GARPA on a Tuesday night. Rest assured we’ll be checking the various crowd-funded sites up until the last hours that we publish – but on a cold fall day it seemed like a good time to start my search for the next column.


Tide of Iron core set & Stalingrad expansion by 1A Games LLC

$9,088 pledged of $22,000 ending November 26th

GARPA-31-Tide-of-Iron-RelaunchBack in 2006 Fantasy Flight Games launched Tide of Iron. Set during the Second World War, it was a wargamer’s dream: big maps, lots of minis, and a fun rule system. Now out of print, 1A Games is attempting to bottle some of the magic, but in a smaller box.

Their relaunch of Tide of Iron doesn’t attempt to change the game, but rather enhance it. They are offering tutorial scenarios in a smaller size to help ease players into the game in a more streamlined fashion.

In addition, 1A already has an expansion to Tide of Iron on the way in the form of a Stalingrad game. However, to generate some extra excitement 1A is offering some Kickstarter-exclusive items for the Stalingrad expansion. These include Special Operations cards, Initiative cards, and even exclusive minis such as the sIG 33B. Stretch goals have already been established in case they get overfunded.

With the original Tide of Iron out of print 1A is hoping to sell copies of its game to folks who missed getting in on the action of the original. And players who own the original will have the ability to buy some of the cool new items on an a la cart basis for a modest pledge level. If any of this sounds tempting head over to 1A’s Kickstarter page and check it out.

 WARFIGHTER – The Tactical Special Forces Card Game by Dan Verssen Games

$12,841 of $7,000 ending November 27th

GARPA-31-WarfighterDan Vessen has found a sweetspot on Kickstarter. His Cards of Cthulhu was well overfunded, and that wasn’t his first success. Warfighter launched this week and within three days it was already fully-funded and kicking in the doors of a number of stretch goals with nothing but good stuff to come.

A card-driven game of modern warfare it can be played either solo or with up to six players. It is a cooperative game where players work together to attempt to accomplish missions. Players equip each soldier with a variety of loadouts. Players select a mission randomly which assigns the number of resource points the squad can use. If this sounds familiar to Dan Verssen Games it’s because it is. The technique has been used in other games including Thunderbolt Apache Leader. In Warfighter the player(s) select soldiers and the soldier skills, weapons, and equipment they’ll take with them. Each selection costs a number of resource points to keep the game challenging – you can take everything you want so you have to choose wisely to bring what you need.

The stretch goals have already unlocked campaign rules and bullet-shaped dice. Further goals are hoped to include miniature figures, so players should keep an eye on Warfighter to see what other goodies may be on offer.

GARPA-31-Bobby-Lee Bobby Lee by Columbia Games

$20,946 of $20,000 ending November 11th

Seven score and ten years ago this month, Lincoln delivered a short, yet powerful speech known to history as the Gettysburg Address. The speech, lasting less than 2 minutes, was given on November 19th, 1863, at the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery dedication ceremony, some six months after the battle there. Though the speech received little fanfare at the time, the Gettysburg Address has become iconic of President Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

So went the latest newsletter discussing Bobby Lee from Columbia Games. Bobby Lee is the third edition of this classic game of the American Civil War, and they are a blend of the First and Second edition rule sets. Also improved are the maps which are mounted on thicker material and are larger than the original. Also included are new “Dixie Dice” (in blue and grey), and new blocks. Wargamers are likely already familiar with Bobby Lee but for those who aren’t or those who are looking for an improved game and components, Columbia’s Kickstarter page has been successfully funded but it’s not too late to get in on the action.

Stalin’s Triumph by LNL Publishing

$13,324 raised of $14,500 ending November 14thStalins_Triumph_GARPA-31-Features

Stalin’s Triumph takes the rule system for Nations at War (previous titles released under the system were Operation Cobra and White Star Rising) and moves them to the Eastern Front. It is being offered via the I Want This Game crowd-funding system. I Want This Game has honored the P500 pledges which were made under Lock n Load’s system, but has ported it to a monetary pledge system instead of a fixed unit pledge system. Focusing on the action around Kursk Stalin’s Triumph will offer 16 scenarios. Treadheads will have a lot to look forward to as the tanks in the game will cover the standard T-34s and Tigers as well as the exotic such as the Elephant. Rules will also include troops mounted on tanks, Goliaths, Commisars, and more. Five 11 x 17 inch boards will also be included. Crafted for solo as well as head-to-head play, Stalin’s Triumph is looking like a tank brawler’s dream. Check it out at the I Want This Game website.



PC Games

Windforge by Snowed In Studios

$5,082.00 pledged of $50,000.00 goal, funding ends December 6th

WindforgeDo you like building things? Do you like destroying things? And steampunk, how about that stuff? We thought so. Windforge will allow you to do both build and destroy steampunky things in a 2D, ever-changing world. Use your brain to get out of difficult situations, and think on the fly as you scroll through the RPG elements of the plot and try to stay out of trouble. The developers bill Windforge as ‘Contra meets Minecraft,’ with hundreds of craftable items, pilotable, buildable airships, and 360-degree combat. Resources can also be pulled from airborne meat blocks and minable sky whales. Yes you read that right.

Snowed In Studios promises an open world with no barriers holding the player back at all. Create, explore and go anywhere within Windforge – just make sure you have the skill and equipment to survive. In so doing players will discover the 500 different creatable, useable items, and of course, destroy others with them. The world of Cordeus will change dynamically as the player’s enemies do the hunt the player with their own crafted items, changing the environment continuously while working against you.

A highlight of the game will be the airships – giant airborne fortresses that will be customized and used in combat while being relatively easy to create and control. Think Guns of Icarus, only side scrolling with a bit of a different style – more like airborne houseboats held aloft by Victorian helium (maybe hydrogen to stick with the steampunk mood) balloons. Also think of Dishonored, as the technology and economy of Windforge is whale oil based: sky whale oil, to be exact.

That sky whale oil is precious and more of it disappears every day in-game, which leads to the main source of conflict: resources. Just like in our own world, valuable commodities are valuable because there is not enough to go around, and that’s what makes the world of Cordeus tick. As the protagonist, your main mission is to find an ancient alternative to sky whale oil that is rumored to exist somewhere in the game world. Fail, and Cordeus collapses.

Developed by a team composed of game industry veterans, Windforge will also have its own soundtrack and will be available for pre-release next month! Much of the development of the game has already been completed and it looks like Windforge will be hitting Steam Greenlight shortly. In any case check out Windforge’s Kickstarter page for more info and the chance to back the game.


Insomnia by MONO

$1,721.00 pledged of $70,000.00 goal, funding ends December 25

InsomniaBad news out of the way first: there are no sky whales in Insomnia. What players do get is a co-op role playing game set in a charred, blackened, unpalatable dieselpunk world.  You know, dieselpunk: like steampunk but fifty years later without the steam or Victorian doo-dads and doused in some high grade, aromatic gasoline…like your Grandpa but cooler.

Upgrades to your character and technology abound, as does conflict and darkness. Insomnia abandons any shiny happy pretensions and drops players into a desperate RPG world of non-linear stories, unexpected outcomes and hidden gameplay gems. Players will get the choice of attempting the online single player quests alone, which the developers promise is doable, or playing coop with 2-3 online friends in multiplayer online missions. Insomnia promises to host as many as 60 online players in one mission at any given moment, if that’s your thing.

The combat will be in real time like the classic RPGs you know and love, and good tactics are to be the core path to success. Distribute your earned skills, apply them correctly and deploy members of your team in an intelligent way to successfully take on the enemies who are out for your blood. The enemy AI is promised to be “human-like,” with sandbox-style, randomly generated events and missions that are to be unique to each individual player. There is also a main storyline that a player can stick to if he wants to, organized into chapters, which allow the player to affect real change on the world.

The world of Insomnia is a mostly abandoned space station called The Ark, inhabited by a people called Nomans. The Nomans have been fighting their enemies the SORG for centuries, and you have just awoken from a long-term medically induced sleep with The Ark drifting in the Evacuation Point, a safe zone. The space station is designed to be psychologically confusing and dark to the player, with a permanent feeling of unease and confusion…like most modern offices. The player begins Insomnia hoping to find clues about themselves, the Nomans, The Ark and the game world in general, all while combating a shady enemy and the unknown.

The game looks heavily inspired in its setup by Black Isle Studios RPGs, with an original setting that takes cues from Fallout, both the Interplay originals and the later Bethesda Softworks games. The dieselpunk setting really turns me on too.  It’s very early in its Kickstarter campaign, but Insomnia has enough original content going into to make it one to get excited about and keep an eye on.


One Response to GARPA 31 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

  1. Thanks for helping spread the word about Bobby Lee from Columbia Games on Kickstarter.

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