Monday, 25 August 2014

Gav Thorpe Marked for War in latest Kickstarter

Warpforged Games have launched their Kickstarter project Mark of War on 25 August.

Mark of War (on Facebook and Twitter too) is a virtual tabletop battle game that will allow you to collect and command an army to battle for control of a war-ravaged world.

Combining all of the hobby appeal of tabletop miniatures gaming with the versatility and interaction of video gaming, Mark of War puts you in control of every aspect of your army, from the overall strategy to the look of your fighters, to the very dice rolls that will determine their fate!
The main angle for Mark of War is that it is a turn-based PC/MAC Wargame where you collect, build, customize, and command armies playing head-to-head battles online. They say
Being on the PC you will finally be able to see your army march upon the battlefield, hear your heroes issue commands, and watch the animated brutality of clashing swords and shields. In Mark of War, players take turns commanding their troops across the battlefield until the enemy is defeated or the mission objective achieved. During a turn you’ll strategically move and position units, claim and defend objectives, pick targets for your archers and war machines to fire upon, cast powerful wizard spells, charge into combat, and battle against enemy heroes! 

The Gameplay Features are
  • Easy to Play / Hard to Master – Simple controls with an intuitive interface ensure easy accessibility so players can focus on mastering the deep strategies of the game. Fast & Tactical – Battles will be fast and bloody, but also filled with deep strategy and tactics requiring even the most grizzled commanders to think twice. 
  • Turn-Based – Plan your moves, control the battlefield, exploit your enemies’ weaknesses and crush your opponents with turn-based gameplay. 
  • Tabletop Feel – With models on bases, templates used for area attacks, and loads of dice being rolled, Mark of War will bring the complete tabletop wargaming experience to the PC/MAC. 
  • Collecting – Battle, adventure, trade, and craft to unlock hundreds of troops, spells, weapons, and armor to add to your personal collection. 
  • Build an Army – Build an army of troops, knights, warmachines, monsters, and more to destroy your foes. Choose which spells your wizards will use and equip your heroes with powerful magic items. 
  • Customization – Choose the colors of your army, the patterns of their standards, the music they march to war with, and even the dice you roll. 
  • Living World – See your army come to life as it marches upon the battlefield. Hear your units and heroes issue commands, and witness the devastating spells of your wizards. 
  • Competitive Play – Focusing on competition and game balance Mark of War will feature competitive play, ranked games, hosted events, and Grand Tournaments with prizes.
  • New World – Explore and delve into the rich new fantasy world created by the legendary writer and designer Gav Thorpe.

Players begin with a Starter Army from all factions so they can play the army that appeals to them the most. Then through fighting battles, completing quests, and crafting new troops, spells and magic items will become available. Using the in-game army builder players will assemble their forces from a selection of troops, heroes, warmachines, monsters and more. Players will choose which spells their wizards will use and what magic items their heroes will wield. Basic customisation will include background, hero traits, and armor selection. With the addition of the Army Painter players will also be able to further customise the colours, details and look of their troops for a truly unique force.

Now, to be honest when I first saw this I just could not see the point. We have had games like this before Total War for one, and the units were not stuck on bases! There was Mark of Chaos and many others that I can't remember.  So what is going to be so great about Mark of War? the virtual dudes are going to be on bases - is not being on the computer one of the points to see full animation in all its glory? Maybe i'll just stick with my plastic on the tabletop.

So then we had a great debate about the pros and cons the other night and while I started on the 'This is never going to work' side by the end I suddenly wanted to buy a copy of the game. NOW!!

Why the change? Well starting off as a complete grognard type grumpy gamer I just did not see the point in tabletop gaming in virtual space. I want my minis on the table. 


However, we started looking at why we should give it a chance. For one we don't have to spend hours painting (or indeed having unpainted minis on the tabletop), getting the shading right and then worrying about chipping the paint. Nor have to worry about transporting them or buying lots of scenery.

Another bonus, hateful as I find it I just can't help myself, the collectibility of the game.  Being able to begin with a Starter Army from the different factions so I can test them all and then play the army that appeals to me the most (without having to buy loads of army books and Minis). Then through fighting battles and completing quests, new troops, spells and magic items become available. Kind of like leveling up - something we are used to in many online games (especially mobile ones).

I will be able to customise background, hero traits, and armour selection. And with the digital army painter option I will be able to customise the colours, details and look of my armies.

There will be a full background to the Mark of War world, courtesy of Gav Thorpe of GW fame. So the game will have a grounding in its own world and a basis for the normal background geopolitical shenanigans that we all secretly enjoy.  that kind of makes me happy that there will always be the option for both fan made and official stories. Just to add more colour to the proceedings.

It will also help ground the game, making it easier for players to connect, rather than just having generic battles for the sake of them.

This also leads on to the ability to have tournaments.  Now I have always enjoyed tournaments, a good excuse to have a good number of games with few distractions.  And more and more people are familar with having online tournaments. So this will open it up for structured play as well.

The only thing i would like to see happen is that it eventually goes cross platform with tablets as well. Play your friends from anywhere - which is possibly how this type of game will develop and tempt non-wargamers into our little world.  I don't see this as replacing the traditional wargame, but it has real potential to open wargaming up to the masses as never before, as well as enhance wargaming for those of us who still buy little pieces of plastic to daub paint onto.

Sometimes, you just don't have the time to get everything ready for a game that should only last a couple of hours but you know is going to be at least twice as long. Over the interwebs, you can arrange a game that suits you and your friend to have a game with no prep and no tidying up after. 

I can definitely now see a host of opportunities that Mark of War can bring to the PC/MAC virtual tabletop and you never know, the possibility of being able to download the rules to play with your own miniatures. They are producing physical copies of at least some of the available characters and units.



Though the $500,000 goal may be ambitious, I really hope they can do it and I have the chance to play this game.

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