Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Introduction to Beyond the Gates of Antares

... Or Rick Priestley please take my money!

For those of you who know about this game, great!  But far to many of us gamers aren't aware of this game, and we need to be.  Beyond the Gates of Antares is a squad based Sci-fi game.  It's been in the development phase for some time (years if you ask Rick).  And in all honesty, when I began my search for some new alternatives to the big games out there, this is the one I wanted to play.

Ok, so let's start at the beginning.  This game is being developed by Darkspace Corp., and is the brain
child of Rick Preistley.  For those of you who don't know, Rick is the creator or co-creator of Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Necromunda, Warmaster, and Lord of the Rings.  He now is out on his own exploring new mechanics and a new universe.  Now one of the greatest things about his new project is that he has invited us to be part of it.  Let me explain...

About 3 months ago, Darkspace Corp. launched a Kickstarter for Beyond the Gates of Antares.  They outlined a revolutionary plan to change the gaming environment.  Their goal was lofty to say the least (300,000 pounds if I recall correctly) but I thought it worthwhile.  Unfortunately they cancelled the Kickstarter when it became apparent they weren't going to hit that target.  They said it wasn't the end of the project and their recent activity is proving this statement true.  So let me outline where things are.

First of all, the game uses 10 sided dice primarily, but all the polyhedrals make an appearance.  From a design point of view this allows for easy expansion into skirmish and role-play games, as well as scaling up, using decimals.  If stats and rolls are based around a decimal system taking the number 4 easily becomes 40 when a higher sense of refinement is needed (like in a role-playing game).  It's interesting to see a game built from the ground up with scaling in mind.

Darkspace Corp. then opened their forums to the community to have input from the beginning.  Everything from background, models, even mechanics was put on the table to be discussed.  This was going to be a game where the community had unprecedented influence on development.  Rick wanted our opinions on his ideas.  And during the kickstarter the community bit into the meal of games development with an appetite that was something to behold.

Now it's about a month after the Kickstarter was canceled, but a new plan is emerging.  Rick has released an outline rulebook for download, here.  In it he gives us not only rules to play the game with, but tells us the thinking behind the choices that they have made.  Having read the outline, these insights are probably my favorite parts.  Rick then asks for feedback on these thoughts, he still wants our input in the process.  There are a few companies giving the community input, but I have to admit having someone as prominent in the industry open to this, is refreshing.  He could have just as easily said, "I'm Rick Preistley, I've created some of the most successful games in tabletop wargame history.  I don't need the community second guessing my decisions."  That he didn't makes we want to support him all the more.

I saved the most exciting part (to me at least) for last.  Beyond the Gates of Antares was designed to be played in a dynamic gaming universe.  Where each game played had an outcome on the evolving story.  They were developing a system that allowed game developments to be controlled by the players.  We, the players, would submit our results into various theaters of the ongoing campaigns, and our factions would gain or lose based on our input.  And this wasn't just a one time a year campaign, it was each day all day.

Now you may have noticed that all of that last sentence was in past tense.  That is because, unfortunately, this part of the idea is the part that has fallen to the back burner with the Kickstarter cancellation.  They were forced to focus on getting the game up and running (with model support) first. Can't say I blame them.  But I intend to support them as much as possible.  Any company that wants to involve it's community to this degree, needs to be supported, as I think this is the most fundamental thing missing from the industry, community engagement.  If you agree, you need to check out this game.

No comments:

Post a Comment