originals\ Jul 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Kickstarter Interview: WARMACHINE: Tactics shifts the tabletop game into tactical, turn-based cyberpunk goliath


If you’re a WARMACHINE tabletop junky or simply a fan of turn-based tactical games like X-COM, you’re going to love WARMACHINE: Tactics.

Welcome to the continent of Western Immoren filled with war, strife, religious, conflict and massive robots known as Warjacks. Based off the award-winning table top game WARMACHINE, this new game takes that world and throws it into a single-player and multiplayer video game.  

The first story will feature up-and-coming Warcaster Lt. Allison Jakes, telling her story through the campaign entitled "No Man’s Land." Through battles and the progression of her military successes, she’ll develop into a far more battle-hardened military commander.

The multiplayer aspect will include live match where two players will create their own squad and then face each other in a turn-based head-to-head type match. The other multiplayer mode will include an asynchronous or "play by mail" mode where to you send your turn to your opponent, they respond at a later time, send their move back to you, and so forth – a longer match but far more casual.    

So if you love yourself some WARMACHINE, are all about tactics games, are into compelling single-player campaign stories, or simply a multiplayer fiend - you are going to want to check out WARMACHINE: Tactics. Do yourself a favor and take a gander at their official Kickstarter page, watch their video, and check out the interview below. If you like what you see, back the project and support the Privateer Press Interactive team. Enjoy!

What exactly is WARMACHINE: Tactics?

WARMACHINE: Tactics is a turn-based tactical combat game based on the award-winning WARMACHINE tabletop game by Privateer Press. The game takes place in a setting called the Iron Kingdoms — a fantasy world where magic and steam-era technology work together and have changed the landscape of war.

In WARMACHINE: Tactics, you'll control a squad of warriors, steam-powered robots called warjacks, and a superhuman battle mage that leads the squad and telepathically controls the warjacks, called a warcaster. You'll be able to play the game in asynchronous and synchronous online multiplayer, as well as in a single-player story-driven campaign mode. There is also AI-skirmishing and multiple game modes to suit any preference.

Where did the idea for WARMACHINE: Tactics stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?

As mentioned, WARMACHINE: Tactics is based on its tabletop game namesake. We've wanted to make a WARMACHINE video game for years, but the traditional route dealing with publishers and financiers was slow and turbulent. So, we turned to Kickstarter as a way to promote the project and raise funding in hopes of creating this game on our own terms and timeline.

What games inspired you for this project?

We're all fans of the great games that make up the "Tactics" genre of video games; X-Com (the classic and the most recent versions), Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles, Fire Emblem. My first exposure to tactics video games was a game I used to play on my now-ancient Mac Classic II called Breach. Can't even tell you how many hours I spent with that game alone!

What can you tell me about world of WARMACHINE, Immoren, and the Iron Kingdoms?

WARMACHINE takes place on the continent of Western Immoren, which is largely covered by several nations, collectively called the Iron Kingdoms. These kingdoms have a long tradition of war, motivated by territorial disputes, religious differences, and conquest. Wars are fought with traditional armies, but are led by these superhuman warcasters, each of whom has a unique set of spells, abilities, weapons and armor. The warcasters go into battle with a battlegroup of warjacks — massive, 10-ton steam-powered robots who are outfitted from a wide arsenal of devastating weapons.

In the Iron Kingdoms, magic and technology work together, and this is the warcaster's greatest strength. A warcaster can use his or her arcane power to cast spells or enhance combat abilities, but they can also channel this power into the warjacks themselves to boost the combat performance of the machines and allow them to execute amazing power attacks that make the battles incredibly dynamic.


What can you tell us about Lt. Allison Jakes and her Warjack? Will there be any customization with them in the campaign?

Lt. Allison Jakes is the hero of our first campaign, called No Man's Land. She's a novice warcaster, also known as a journeyman. The campaign follows her journey from novice to full-fledged warcaster, and it's not an easy path to travel by any stretch. 

Allison is accompanied on this adventure by a few warjacks and several warriors that make up her squad. The warjacks come in a couple different sizes — heavy and light. The big one is called an Ironclad. He's a massive wrecking machine that carries a giant hammer that can create minor localized earthquakes, shaking his opponents to the ground. 

In both the campaign mode as well as multiplayer, warjacks will gain experience. Over time, they'll form what are called "bonds" with the warcaster, which affect their personality and combat performance. Warjacks are kind of like dogs — they're very obedient but are technically autonomous, and just like dogs, will develop traits over time that make them feel much more like fully realized personalities than just simple machines.

In the multiplayer game, you'll be able to customize your squad using the bonds you have unlocked, customizing the performance of your warjacks to your taste. Similarly, warriors will be able to choose from "tactics" that can be customized during squad building to give your warriors more options on the battlefield.

What roll do mercenaries play in this world?

The Iron Kingdoms has been a very profitable place for sellswords. Mercenaries are warriors who can be used by two or more factions in the game and each one offers a suite of specialized abilities that can be found nowhere else. You'll also be able to play a completely Mercenary force once that faction is fully built and fleshed out in the game.

Thus far in the development, is the game panning out how you always imagined the action of the tabletop to be?

I'm thrilled with where the game is right now, considering the last few months that we've had to work on it. But we've got a year of development ahead of us, so things are going to continue to become more and more realized over the coming months. WARMACHINE: Tactics offers a whole new way to experience WARMACHINE. While it has a lot of similarities to the tabletop game, the experience is entirely new, and I think both expressions of the game will complement each other very well.

At this moment, supporters have crushed your initial goal to fund WARMACHINE: Tactics. How excited are you to add in some of these stretch goals such as new factions?

Naturally, we're incredibly excited. We never expected to fund so quickly, and the support we have received from our community of WARMACHINE players has been overwhelming and inspiring. Fortunately, we had planned our stretch goals carefully, and every one that we've unlocked so far has just energized our team more and more. The game has gone from a very streamlined concept to something that will be able to offer robust and fleshed out experience, which is what we had hoped we'd be able to achieve from the beginning. We're not even halfway through the Kickstarter, but we're 171% funded. With over two and a half weeks to go, who knows how amazing we'll be able to make this game by the end of it?


How will multiplayer work? Can you play the new factions? Will you be able to customize your squad?

Multiplayer can be played online in synchronous mode, where you take your turn, then your opponent takes his or hers, and back and forth like that. Matches are expected to take 30 minutes to an hour. Or, you can play asynchronous or "play by mail" mode, where you take your turn and then your opponent can take his or her turn when it's convenient. We're trying to build in as much flexibility as possible to make sure you can play WARMACHINE: Tactics on whatever terms work for you.

You'll be able to customize your squad from the roster of whatever warcasters, warjacks and warriors you have available to your chosen faction, as well as any mercs you have that will work for your faction. There is a great deal of strategy in squad building, because each distinct unit brings with it different specialties and abilities that support the squad. Creating a squad that works synergistically is essential to a winning strategy, and you'll be able to tailor the squad build to your taste and style. As mentioned, you'll also be able to, through experience, unlock bonds and tactics that can further be used to customize the performance of your squad.

Is WARMACHINE: Tactics on Steam Greenlight? If not, do you have plans to submit it?

Indeed it is! And it's already charting really well! Check it out here and give us a vote!


About The Author
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
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