Jump to content
Broadcast

Introducing the Rules Team for Third Edition

Recommended Posts

DW Adepticon FB.jpg

For several months now, we have been busy developing Dystopian Wars Third Edition. Though we knew that the new edition would be a complete overhaul of the game engine, miniatures, and the narrative, we wanted to make sure that this new edition still felt like it was Dystopian Wars. 

As the Alpha testing is well and truly underway, we are pleased to reveal two key members of the rules development team; Derek Sinclair and Josh Le Cheminant, two games designers with a long pedigree with Dystopian Wars and who are now part of the Warcradle Studios team supporting the development of the Third Edition. 

With Adepticon underway, Derek took time out from his day job of fighting dragons in the Scottish Highlands share with us some of his thoughts as he returns to the roiling seas of Dystopia! 

Derek: “Following the sad closure of Spartan Games, I and the rest of the design team from the company have always endeavoured to keep in touch. Everyone involved in Spartan’s Design Team are extremely creative individuals with a passion for wargaming and writing rules, and I was lucky enough to make a number of really good friends within Spartan’s community in my time as the lead designer for the games. 

For a week or so after the closure of the old company I personally went into a bit of a gaming-funk, avoiding wargaming of any sort. All the while I was looking forlornly at my thousands of Dystopian Wars models within my gaming cabinets and sighing in melancholic loss. You see, Dystopian Wars was my re-entry back into wargaming all those years ago (as it was for many people I think, once all the ‘having a family’ and ‘collective mortgage responsibilities’ become less pressing…), and so I felt its departure most keenly - Dystopian Wars was part of my gaming blood, and without it I felt empty. Of course, the rules and my models hadn’t gone anywhere, but for one reason or another, I was worried I had lost the heart for it.

When Warcradle bought the licence, I was more than a little surprised. I had no doubt somebody would buy the game as the models and its universe are fantastic. But I must confess I never really thought Warcradle would be interested in the game, given it was a departure away from the skirmish-game-focus they have had with their new edition of Wild West Exodus. 

I’m sure some were thinking:

  • What do Warcradle know about Dystopian Wars?
  • How will the game I love change under their stewardship?
  • Will they dumb it down?
  • Will my Kingdom of Britannia changing to the Crown make them the unstoppable force I always wanted but couldn’t have because the other members of the Design Team stopped me beforehand!” 

*cough* 

Moving on, I recognise the concern from some in the community in the early days of the acquisition – we were all hurting after the loss of Spartan (both in terms of our gaming and in some cases financially due to the Kickstarter) after the previous company wound up. Lashing out is part of the loss of such an event, especially given how quickly it all transpired. I know, because I felt the need too and wanted to join in. But other than selfishly blowing off steam, what would I really accomplish?

So rather than wading in, I reserved my judgement until I had heard more from Warcradle regarding their direction and delivery regarding the future Dystopian Wars. Not that I expected to hear anything from them directly since they didn’t have any contact details for me (and because I so rarely use my Facebook page that it has dust on it!)

Imagine my surprise when within a week of the acquisition, I was approached by Stuart and the Warcradle team asking if I would consider getting involved with their new Dystopian Wars project. In truth, I must confess to a degree of mixed feelings at this. On the one hand, I felt a wrench of guilt regarding a ‘betrayal of the Spartan Games memory’ tempered with the intense desire to keep the Dystopian Flag flying. After discussions with my friend Josh (one of the Core Design Team from Spartan Games), I felt it was important to talk to Stuart to get a clarity of vision from him as regards where he wanted to take Dystopian Wars in the future. Most importantly I wanted to understand where he saw our interaction in that vision and if all this was consistent with both Josh’s view and my own – there would be little point in starting a process like this if we fundamentally disagreed with the direction they were looking to head in.

Following a number of conversations, it became clear he had lots of thoughts on the game and where he and his team were looking to take it. A large number of these observations were viable, coming as they did from an external view rather than our normal design sphere. Some comments were rules orientated (he IS a gamer after all) and we were able to have a good discussion as to the reasons why existing rules-situations existed and what changes Warcradle were aspiring to. 

This served to allay some of the trepidations I had regarding Warcradle’s knowledge of Dystopian Wars. But the thing I found the most reassuring was that nothing he or the Warcradle Team said was dictatorial and that there was a good atmosphere of collective thinking with no areas of their thinking that were fenced off by ego.

“So, Warcradle are gamers who love Dystopian Wars, but can they actually make it a success?”

The first thing was for us to look at their production capability – Can they make 25,000 Frigates on demand? In order to find out Josh and I visited the Warcradle Studio in January and were given the tour. And the answer is yes. Yes, they can. They have a production capability that is more than equal to Spartan’s previous capabilities, with access to plastic manufacture too…. Which is really exciting from my point of view.

“OK, so, we have established they love the game and are passionate about bringing it back into the marketplace again and they can make the models and can keep up with the demand. But can they design the ships to the exacting standards that Spartan Games could?”

Some of the models that the Warcradle team have created have been really good, moving the aesthetic forwards in interesting ways, and others have taken more getting used to as they were more of a departure from what had come before.  Watching as they take inspiration from older models and reinterpret them with new 3-D sculpting techniques, I am willing to cut them a little slack. Taking risks is the only way to improve, and taking risks will always put certain types of people’s nose out of joint. So, I’m OK with Warcradle putting their test sculpts up for public feedback – although I would hope we can encourage more constructive feedback from certain individuals in the community who could contribute in a positive way. 

“OK, so, we have established they love the game and are passionate about bringing it back into the marketplace again and they can make the models and can keep up with the demand. We have also seen that they can design the ships to the exacting standards that Spartan Games could, especially if the gaming feedback from the public is constructive. But even with all this going for them can they reach the ex-Spartan Player Base?“

Well, I guess that’s where Josh and I come in. We are the ones who brought the game to you all – Josh from v2.0 and me from v1.5. We have run the statistics, modelling for thousands of ship and aircraft designs over the years and in terms of our playtesting logs alone, I would say that no group of gamers exists anywhere who can match our feedback data and design providence. I know that sounds like me saying “Trust in me….” In the sibilant tone of Kaa from the Jungle Book but bear with me.

One of the clear weaknesses we had at Spartan was the poor communication standards we had with our gamers. I think we all have to collectively take responsibility for that, as we should have driven things forwards more actively when we were at Spartan HQ. Spartan had a forum, but that should not have been the beginning and the end of our interaction/delivery to everyone. There should have been a much more cohesive delivery strategy that had to be more rigorously maintained. The delivery and interaction must be much wider. 

Having talked to Stuart at Warcradle I am much happier that the submissions we make to the community can be put up, along with (and this is most important) any submitted by our gamers themselves – Dystopian Wars was a community game when I first came to it, and it was the memory of that community that encouraged me to return. Warcradle are clear of the importance of community involvement in this modern age of joint interaction MUST be 2-way.

So, what does Warcradle want from a ruleset? And how will things change for those players moving from Spartan’s vision of Dystopian Wars into Warcradle’s vision?

I think the hardest thing for people to get their heads around is that it isn’t a Spartan Game anymore – it’s a Warcradle Game. This means change will (and in my opinion MUST) happen. But where? 

The background will have to change as the game takes its place as an important part of the Dystopian Age setting alongside  Wild West Exodus, Armoured Clash and other (as yet unannounced) games.  

Factions Names will have to change (although I am still struggling with the Kingdom of Britannia -> Crown change... but I’m working on it!). So will Factional Focus, take the Celestials who are an alliance of the Chinese and Japanese forces (as well as several new nations)– this will take some getting used to, especially for those players who exclusively played the Japanese/ Empire of the Blazing Sun (EoBS) who could be forgiven for feeling they are losing out. Of course, in time the Japanese naval forces for Dystopian Wars will be released to allow more diversity in the Celestial faction as a whole.

Game Mechanics will change. There I said it. Don’t tell me you didn’t think they would! But if change IS inevitable, will the game dumb down to? No, the aim is to simplify gameplay and extend game mechanics/statistics to allow us to move beyond some of the triple-math-locks we had in the game.

In future blog articles, we will explore what Third Edition will be bringing to the game. Until then, dust off your Battleships, find those loose turrets for the Cruisers you own, and root about for those Frigates at the bottom of your games case…. Dystopian Wars is coming back!”
 

 

DW InstaGram.jpg   Instagram.jpg   warcradle event_ig.jpg   LIVE Instagram status image.jpg

 

 

View the full article

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/03/2018 at 9:48 AM, Hannibal said:

Speaking of Communication: I hope we can ave some informations on V3 soon...

2

We will update you as we can :)

It gets really exciting when we are ready for the Beta to drop for the community to take part in :D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to have Derek back. Now, I think the rules will be ok.

So please, really please,  dont f...  up with the models. I'm really afraid with the salute photo I saw.

This is not a Frontier extravagant skirmiches game, this is a uchronian victorian science univers, it's totaly different.

.30742210.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a new Dystopian Wars game, it is not a continuation of the original. New factions, new rules, new nations, new histories, new designs. There will be some familiar designs, but yes they will have much more detail and a stylised design to them than before. This is not right or wrong, just different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind "important" models (flagships, etc) getting made extra pretty. It just becomes a pain to paint, if all of them get that much detail.

For example, my Mississippi Sky-Reaper (I'd give you its name, but the Australian term for an AA battery is offensive) is the only ship I've given red/white/blue decorations to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember these are meant to be weapons of war, sleek, elegant and efficient, not pleasure steamers.  Also less room too differentiate from the showier fleets like the Italians and the League of Crimson, and the serious boys mass producing waves of warships.  The Sigil spam also makes lend lease and converting allied fleets more difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the extra detailing bothers people a simple solution is too simple file/cut it off, nothing says a model has  to stay the way it is once you've bought it. 

Were looking at a global stand off in the world, why wouldn't you want to try and out do you neighbours is showmanship. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Asuo said:

If the extra detailing bothers people a simple solution is too simple file/cut it off, nothing says a model has  to stay the way it is once you've bought it. 

Were looking at a global stand off in the world, why wouldn't you want to try and out do you neighbours is showmanship. 

Sometimes it's difficult/to much time consuming to do this work. I'm more on the I like / dislike this model so I buy /pass approach.

If DW is no more the beautiful models it was, I'll play dropfleet instead and that's all...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny thing about alternate histories, they can be whatever notion you wish them to be. You can have an alternate history where women were the dominant gender, or where the continents of the Earth looked different or humans had feathers or the Battle of Hastings never took place and European development was radically different. Perhaps Queen Victoria was actually King Victor, perhaps it was the Japanese that settled Australia, perhaps Hellesdon North West joined an alien federation as an independent state within England,  or we colonised Mars in 1799 and our world has changed radically since then. Or maybe all of those things happened, but our world is largely still recognisable as it is now (though for the record, none of those things happened in the Dystopian Age).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Youenn said:

Sometimes it's difficult/to much time consuming to do this work. I'm more on the I like / dislike this model so I buy /pass approach.

If DW is no more the beautiful models it was, I'll play dropfleet instead and that's all...

Rather than you worry any more, let me reassure you that DW is definitely changing its aesthetic slightly towards a more detailed look. It is not going to be 100% like it did before (though you won't find they look too dissimilar of course!)  Once you see the actual miniatures I'm confident you will find a great deal about them to enjoy. But if not, I wish you all the best with Dropfleet. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair Stuart, alternate history can be whatever the writer wants it to be. That is a fact. The difference here is that you purchased the IP of a game that had it's alternate history well established, or at least established enough for the fans of the game to get behind and to enjoy playing their games with.

This baggage was inherited with the IP, and just like if a tv show switched show runners and writers who decided to completely ditch the established canon in favour of what they want to write your going to get push back from the existing fans. 

The problem with this is that you run the risk that, In the effort to make things seem more exciting or appeal to a wider audience, you've actually done more harm to the property overall as those old fans are likely to tell potential new people to stay away as it's no longer as good as it was.

 

What a good writer would, or at least should, do with an existing canon is work with it, expand on it and try to coax the existing fans into taking the new journey with them, without invalidating everything that came before.

 

The evidence so far shows you to be doing the former. Just wiping the slate clean and, from my perspective, just expecting a niche game to flourish with a completely new background making everything that existing fans knew completely irrelevant.

Sure, your writers have thrown a bone to those fans by implementing some of the old DW fluff into the new narrative, but it doesn't feel natural.

 

Sometimes hard reboots are good. Sometimes they are train wrecks. And for a game as niche as DW was and probably will forever be (28mm games are just far too popular, and I expect armoured clash to surpass DW in every respect when it comes out as land games are just so much more popular. Especially 10mm games) I don't know if a hard reboot will work or not.

 

I remain hopeful that all will be fine, but I am also keenly aware that the game I like to play the most might not turn out the way I hope it does. And unfortunately the more the months go on and the little snippets you release, the more my confidence in Warcradle lowers.

 

All of that is about DW only though. Armoured Clash looks like it might be fun to play on the table, for the models if nothing else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try to be as fair as I can here, and reduce the snark.  

There is one big comms mistake WC has made.  There have been previews in video only, or via sketches shown solely on a facebook group that show WC can manage models that fit the original setting, and show a respect for its style whilst still fitting the desire for higher detailed models.  The planes for example for Armoured clash, or the Non Union tanks with the exception of an awkward Lion's head.  It is frustrating are that these promising designs that might build support for WC's vision aren't released into the ether.  Yes you'll lose control of the narrative and have to trust people, but it also means free publicity and generates excitement, such as the release of images for UCS did.  We might be more forgiving of the language of the clean slate if we knew we would get models that would fit with existing collections, or at least some idea of what comes after.  It shows that there is a vision for this game that reflects what has gone before it, without the gap that the language of the clean slate creates.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im pretty sure their not planning on keeping the Designs and models they showed at Salute hidden, im sure we'll see somthing soon,  just a little patients, though i have to admit i am getting a little excited. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Asuo said:

Im pretty sure their not planning on keeping the Designs and models they showed at Salute hidden, im sure we'll see somthing soon,  just a little patients, though i have to admit i am getting a little excited. 

Shhh, that doesn' fit into the narrative that we can't build excitement or communicate properly!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Merlin said:

To be fair Stuart, alternate history can be whatever the writer wants it to be. That is a fact. The difference here is that you purchased the IP of a game that had it's alternate history well established, or at least established enough for the fans of the game to get behind and to enjoy playing their games with.

This baggage was inherited with the IP, and just like if a tv show switched show runners and writers who decided to completely ditch the established canon in favour of what they want to write your going to get push back from the existing fans. 

The problem with this is that you run the risk that, In the effort to make things seem more exciting or appeal to a wider audience, you've actually done more harm to the property overall as those old fans are likely to tell potential new people to stay away as it's no longer as good as it was.

3

 

I think this here is a key mistake. This is not the continuation of a show. This is not the original series of (for example)  Dystopian Wars picking up a new creative team between season two and three. This is an all-new series of Dystopian Wars.  The new production team, new cast, new writers and new design sensibilities.

Now a miniatures game really isn't a TV show, but you started it so let's take this over-extended metaphor further... 

The new show of Dystopian Wars does not stop you from enjoying the original still  (and in your case making 3D sculpts vaguely reminiscent of former showrunner Neil). It does mean that there won't be any more of the classic Dystopian Wars episodes. It also means that if anyone tries to make classic Dystopian Wars episodes, or edits classic Dystopian Wars episodes to make them stand up to modern viewing that they will get a visit from the new company's lawyers with a cease and desist pretty sharpish! 

But there will potentially now be a host of new fans for Dystopian Wars, and whether or not you personally enjoy the new series or its designs, you can at least appreciate that while the original is at an end, you can still enjoy it. But that there is a new version to enjoy for its own merits too. 

 

Now we aren't actually talking about a TV show, we're talking about a game. And the good news is that it's an even better situation for you. While your DVDs and memorabilia of the original series of Dystopian Wars were only relevant to that show, with Dystopian Wars as a game you can use your miniatures in the new edition too as we'll be providing some 'counts as' material for you to proxy with.  Now of course stylistically they won't be a perfect match, but they'll (mostly) be close! 

While it is true that the community *could* tell new players not to get involved (as happened with Age of Sigmar), the game was in such decline that even with that kind of selfish and self destructive action from the community I'm confident that the property would bounce back as part of the Dystopian Age and that we would be seeing not only a host of new players who the second edition was offputting to, but also to many of the original community who spoke out against the new edition but when the new models are released and faced with the alternative of 'no Dystopian Wars at all' decided to jump on board and have some fun anyway!

Now I could be wrong about all of this (and I'm sure the double-act of D & J will assure me that I am!) but the thing about being the game studio rather than the community is that the risk is ours, not yours.  I'll let you know in a couple of years how it has played out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my perspective, its not that you can't build excitement or communicate. It's that your not trying to do any. Or at least that's what it appears to look like.

 

For example, you say the beta is coming in the summer as if that's just a throw away line. Where is the official announcement for That? Where is the attempt to get players to mark their calenders and wait with anticipation for what is to come? 

Nowhere. You mention that bit of news in a comment on facebook. That is something that should be bellowed from the rooftops. Not the news above that Derek is back as a rules writer (which was a big mistake on your part, btw).

 

By this point you should be releasing the concepts for the factions by yourselves. Not letting Saltue attendees post up a few images they managed to get.

 

I don't know, but from my perspective it just seems like your not trying to build hype.

 

There's been plenty of news about WWX recently, but nothing about the old Spartan Games. While I don't expect a minute by minute run down of everything that is going on, a blog post every week, two weeks, month about what's been going on would be nice. At least a bit more frequent and more interesting content than news about a rules writer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Warcradle Stuart said:

 

I think this here is a key mistake. This is not the continuation of a show. This is not the original series of (for example)  Dystopian Wars picking up a new creative team between season two and three. This is an all-new series of Dystopian Wars.  The new production team, new cast, new writers and new design sensibilities.

Now a miniatures game really isn't a TV show, but you started it so let's take this over-extended metaphor further... 

The new show of Dystopian Wars does not stop you from enjoying the original still  (and in your case making 3D sculpts vaguely reminiscent of former showrunner Neil). It does mean that there won't be any more of the classic Dystopian Wars episodes. It also means that if anyone tries to make classic Dystopian Wars episodes, or edits classic Dystopian Wars episodes to make them stand up to modern viewing that they will get a visit from the new company's lawyers with a cease and desist pretty sharpish! 

But there will potentially now be a host of new fans for Dystopian Wars, and whether or not you personally enjoy the new series or its designs, you can at least appreciate that while the original is at an end, you can still enjoy it. But that there is a new version to enjoy for its own merits too. 

 

Now we aren't actually talking about a TV show, we're talking about a game. And the good news is that it's an even better situation for you. While your DVDs and memorabilia of the original series of Dystopian Wars were only relevant to that show, with Dystopian Wars as a game you can use your miniatures in the new edition too as we'll be providing some 'counts as' material for you to proxy with.  Now of course stylistically they won't be a perfect match, but they'll (mostly) be close! 

While it is true that the community *could* tell new players not to get involved (as happened with Age of Sigmar), the game was in such decline that even with that kind of selfish and self destructive action from the community I'm confident that the property would bounce back as part of the Dystopian Age and that we would be seeing not only a host of new players who the second edition was offputting to, but also to many of the original community who spoke out against the new edition but when the new models are released and faced with the alternative of 'no Dystopian Wars at all' decided to jump on board and have some fun anyway!

Now I could be wrong about all of this (and I'm sure the double-act of D & J will assure me that I am!) but the thing about being the game studio rather than the community is that the risk is ours, not yours.  I'll let you know in a couple of years how it has played out!

For a niche game like this, bouncing back might be tough. Everyone here had difficulty getting new players to play the game back when Spartan was around. That might not change with the new edition. 

Not the fault of the rules or the studio, just that many gamers just aren't interested in a game of boats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Warcradle Stuart said:

Surely better that we show you lots of new stuff too?  I think a Q&A is overdue!

 

Well now im going to have to sit here mashing my F5 key, aren't I. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.