Discover the lands of Ulaya, evading deadly ancient predators that stalk the ruined overgrown cities of times long past. Gather your motley crew of daring adventurers and find fame and fortune in The Drowned Earth, coming to Kickstarter tomorrow!
James Baldwin, owner and head designer of The Drowned Earth has been painstakingly working on this immersive new science fiction skirmish miniature wargame for the last couple of years. Heavily involved in working out the unique background, skirmish gameplay and closely involved with the design and creation of the artwork and sculpting of the miniatures based on his original miniature wargame setting. With your help, James will now be able to put his creative work into production and onto your miniature tabletop battlefield!
The Drowned Earth Setting
Heavily influenced by The Lost World, Planet of the Apes, and Jurassic Park we can only expect loads of cool characters, deadly reptilian predators, lost ruined cities and miniature adventures of epic proportions! In The Drowned Earth setting the civilsed world has collapsed after a world changing cataclysm known as The Event. Flooding and earthquakes have reshaped the world as we know it and deadly ancient predators again roam the lands looking for unwary survivors to feast upon. In The Drowned Earth game, the Survivors have started to organise themselves, looking for ancient artifacts holding precious and vital knowledge to start rebuilding civilisation once more.
"Folk stories tell of boiling black skies raining fire while seas rose up to break the land asunder. Tales are told of the floods and devastation, death and destruction on an unimaginable scale, the earthquakes, choking winds and an entire world dying, wreathed in flame. The result: a timeless and world spanning civilisation crushed in an almighty cataclysm the likes of which has never been seen before or since. Known as “The Fall”, nobody truly knows what happened. Some say it was the retribution of the gods, punishing the arrogance of The Builders. Others say it was a terrible war to end all wars, but all agree that the once mighty civilisation that ruled The Drowned Earth was utterly crushed." By James Baldwin of The Drowned Earth
The Drowned Earth Gameplay
The Drowned Earth is a futuristic post-apocalyptic miniature skirmish game in which you control crews of daring adventurers and soldiers in search of precious artifacts. Each of these crews has a minimum of 5 models and rarely exceeds 15 miniatures when playing low cost troopers as named characters are more expensive. Therefore players can choose to employ a small force of elite characters, or a larger quantity of less effective models. The recommended tabletop size is 3x3 with loads of scenery to really enhance the gameplay. Below you can find more information about the unique gameplay features by lead designer James Baldwin.
Like a lot of science fiction skirmish games, cover is important, or your models will shoot each other to pieces in no time! The game has been advertised with loads of beautiful, jungle ruin themed terrain, but the creators say it works perfectly well with less terrain, provided there's lots of cover to hide behind! In a game with a name like this, water is also a big feature, but again, not essential. It's fun to leap off tall buildings, guns blazing, and then landing safely in water. Swimming slows you down, as you might expect, and provides some cover too. But not all areas of The Drowned Earth are under water, and theres no reason not to fight on dry land. So while the game might look like the terrain is a bit of a barrier to entry, I think most people who play games at home will have enough terrain to get by. This is especially true considering the board size is under average.
Lets have a brief look at the activation structure. The game is alternate activation, meaning that you each take turns in activating a single model. Each model has a personal pool of Action Points which they may spend during their activation. However, models can also use these action points out of turn, to react against their opponent's actions, provided they have line of sight to the action. This, combined with the alternate activation gives the game a really involved, immediate feel: you're constantly interacting with your opponent, facing off in "firefights" and "duels". What's more, the orders are somewhat fluid when it comes to moving and shooting: you can shoot in the middle of a move, which creates a very cinematic feel, and often creates those wonderful moments of epic story, where an important objective is contested in a split second of furious action!
So this is probably the "Unique Selling Point" of The Drowned Earth wargame. Movement is pretty different to most other games: it's very easy to climb, leap, jump off things, swim and otherwise be awesome. Remembering that you can shoot in the middle of these forms of movement, this is a game where some pretty epic things can happen! Honestly, when reading the movement chapter of the Beta rules (the rules are still subject to some change, although the creators have indicated the core rules will only need a few tweaks here and there), it can seem a little complicated, but actually its very simple:
You declare your chosen movement path, and if it includes "dynamic movement" (leaping, climbing, jumping down) you make a test. Each model has two movement values: if you get one success you move the short distance, and if you get two successes (called "Nailing It" in the game) you move your full distance. It doesn't matter how many different types of movement you encounter, you just test once, and measure. Of course you can fail as well, and what happens when you fail depends on the type of movement you are encountering. Typically you just move as far as you can, and stop at the terrain which made you take the test. Rarely, you can critically fail, when something really bad happens (like falling off the edge of the building), but these really don't happen all that often.
Other cool stuff!
There are a few other rules which really give the game character, which don't fall under the above headings. All models have special rules, which is where the tactics of the game really come in. Most characters also have a "class role" such as Mechanic, Medic or Leader. These are accompanied by special rules such as infiltration, repair, heal or, in the case of the leader, Command.
Command allows a leader to take a free Command test (it doesn't cost an action point to do this) to move Action Points between friendly models (including himself) provided he has Line of Sight to them. This can be extremely useful when building a turn strategy, especially as the leader can do this multiple times until he fails a Command test. We should also talk about the "Feat" mechanic: when taking a test there's a special symbol which overrides any other results rolled on other dice: it's an automatic success and grants the model another Action Point. This can suddenly give a model the boost he needed to achieve something significant, or even just to duck down out of danger.
There are also the usual flame templates, stealth mechanics and other little bits of fun... including... Dino models?! Well yes, indeed, apparently in The Drowned Earth, provided you rear them from egg, it's entirely possible to train and even ride dinosaurs. This isn't currently represented in the Beta rules (except for the odd tantalising reference to "troop" and "beast" models, and these will have to wait till the faction starter boxes and rulebook are unlocked. After then? Who knows!
The Drowned Earth Miniatures
As we all love our miniatures, I though it was a good moment to share some of the gems that can be found in the upcoming The Drowned Earth miniature range. This fully digitally sculpted miniature range includes all factions of the setting including the adaptive humans, the mighty Bereingii, the adventurous reptilian-like Sorrians and the hard-working Dverg. The full production of these metal miniatures will be funded through the Kickstarter so make sure to support The Drowned Earth so we can get all of these miniatures into production. You can check all miniatures and renders here
My absolute favorite must be the Artifacter Sage character, perfectly capturing the look of the intelligent yet imposing looking Bereingii while exploring and discovering the wildlife of Ulaya. Looking at the quality of the sculpting I must say that I'm very impressed with character, interesting pose and detail of this particular miniature. Below you can find the digital render of this majestic miniature.
Another favorite of mine, is the Papa Venk - Dverg character who is The Firm faction medic. This figure looks to be a mixture of crude futuristic and tribal features really making him stand out. Armed with his deadly decorated long rifle and tribal sword, he's able more than capable to stand his ground. In the picture below you can see the digital render of the miniature in all its glory.
Looking forward in supporting The Drowned Earth? Make sure to get ready for the Kickstarter tomorrow as the final countdown has started. Check the final countdown clock here and don't miss the start of this epic and unique miniature wargame!