Privateer Press Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Privateer Press RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Level 7: Omega Protocol Creates a New Kind of Dungeon Crawl Wed, 23 Oct 2013 15:11:14 -0400 Landon Sommer

Level 7: Omega Protocol is the big brother of Level 7: Escape. Set in the same story line, instead of the escaping research subjects, you are now a playing a team of highly trained commandos sent to make sure the alien insurrection, led by Dr. Cronos, ends inside Subterra Bravo. Omega Protocol shares storyline with Escape, but the games are very different.

Escape is similar to other horror survival games like Mansions of Madness or Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill. Running away from the baddies and hoping that you can outsmart them long enough to find a way to escape. In those games, you're not so worried about killing the bad guys, but more concerned with finding a way to avoid them. 

Omega Protocol brings in the guns. Instead of thinking a pistol is your only hope of survival, you have grenades, countermeasures, armor and plenty more at your disposal. This game is much more like Descent or Space Hulk. Your group of commandos must go into the facility and clear out the enemies while meeting their mission objectives.

Like most of these games, you'll be digging a lot of bits out of the box in order to set up, but it's something the overseer, or the bad guy, can and should do before the commando players sit down to play.

Omega Protocol includes a nice variation on how rooms and doors work. First, doors aren't permanent. There is no keeping up with doors being open or closed or locked. They share tiles similar to the rest of the map and have challenges on the hidden side for the players to beat before they can enter the room. Once the challenge has been beaten, the door marker is removed from the game.

Each room has a stack of room cards. The rulebook sets which stacks may be used, but it does not say where the stacks must be placed. These cards will include dangerous gas clouds, enemy spawns or other hazards awaiting the commandos. They will also include any mission objectives in the room.

All these cards are revealed and resolved when a door is opened. If you are on the commando team, you'll want to open the doors early in your teams activation so that you can respond to the new threats you just uncovered. If you open a door as the last thing you do, the overseer will have plenty of room to attack your team. This creates a fog of war and gives the overseer an opportunity for a little strategy in objective placement. The players can't play the same mission twice and know for sure that the objectives will be in the same place each time.

The missions often include downloading data from a specific computer or shutting down the ventilation systems that help the aliens breathe, but there will be plenty of alien fighting as the overseer gets to spawn enemies and cause cave-ins with his "dashboard" of abilities.

The commandos "spend" adrenaline by adding it to their pool each turn to take special actions, attacks, and heal. On the following turn, those adrenaline tokens get handed to the overseer for him to use on abilities. The harder the commandos push through the level, the more resources the overseer will have to spend on his turn to spawn more aliens, monsters, and traps.

Similar to Descent, this game has colored dice for attacks. Fortunately, they only come in two colors; red and black. Red is a more powerful die and used much less often than the black die.

Combat is simple. Roll enough hits on the dice to equal or exceed your targets defense, score a hit. For the weaker figures, this will outright kill them. For the tougher figures and the commandos, they will receive wounds until they are incapacitated.

Just like Level 7: Escape, the art on the board is excellent. The minor details such as trails following bodies across the floor or destroyed paneling keep true to the environment from Escape. The miniatures improve upon the cardboard standees from the previous game. From a company already familiar with miniatures, they manage to get some solid detail from the plastic figures.

Overall, it has proven to be a solid game, plus with the scenarios being replayable by mixing up the location of objectives, even experienced players shouldn't have a problem playing certain missions over again. Omega Protocol should be entertaining from start to finish.

Both of the missions we have played so far vary drastically in how they play. If each mission continues to be unique and pose different challenges for the players, this game should last a while.

Plus, who wouldn't expect an expansion or two? I mean, the fiction mentions at least two other Subterra bases that need to have the Omega Protocol enforced...

WARMACHINE: Tactics Kickstarter Launches, Off to a Great Start Wed, 10 Jul 2013 18:18:25 -0400 Wokendreamer

When Privateer Press announced they would be launching a Kickstarter campaign to create a turn-based game based on their tabletop miniatures wargame, Warmachine, I was excited.  Now the Kickstarter for WARMACHINE: Tactics has actually launched, and I am ecstatic.  The game itself will be produced if they raise $550,000, and as of the writing of this sentence, they have raised over $242,000 in the less than the six hours this Kickstarter has been live.

Ultimately one of the main contributors to Kickstarter's success is the flexibility of letting players pay whatever they like, based upon which tiered benefits they want.  The tiers for WARMACHINE: Tactics range from the almost obligatory $1 backing thank you all the way up to the $5,000 option of getting ones own likeness illustrated on canvas in warcaster armor.  The $5,000 tier already has two of five backers, by the way, and the tier beneath it at $3,000 is full.

For the tabletop players, multiple tiers offer access to Kickstarter-exclusive sculpts of as-yet unreleased characters for Warmachine.  While the characters themselves will eventually see a full release, the sculpts used in the Kickstarter will have their molds destroyed before mass production begins, making their posing unique to backers.

It is always exciting to consider combining multiple hobbies or habits.  This is one of the rare occasions of it being done the right way.

Tabletop Game Warmachine Coming to PC Through Kickstarter Thu, 27 Jun 2013 13:26:23 -0400 Wokendreamer

Tabletop wargaming is a hobby with millions of avid fans.  The hobby was brought to the world of video gaming through the various games for the Warhammer universe.  Titles such as Dawn of War, Chaos Gate, and Shadow of the Horned Rat have sought to bring a similar sort of experience as what gamers find on the tabletop to their digital environments.  Now Privateer Press has formally announced their own upcoming attempt to bring a new tabletop universe to the digital realms with Kickstarter called WARMACHINE: Tactics.


Warmachine is a steam punk styled skirmish wargame, and is named after the massive warjacks that serve as the centerpieces in its armies.  It is one of the major tabletop miniatures games in an industry largely dominated by Games Workshop and its various franchises.

Technology in the world Privateer Press has created is often a mingling of steam power and sorcery, with each of the major factions adding their own twists.  Cygnar incorporates its technologically advanced electric power into its weaponry while Khador stacks on as much armor as its warjacks can carry.  Stretch goals proposed for the Kickstarter would also bring in the other factions, with Cryx bringing its necromancy and the Protectorate of Menoth its holy fervor and fire.

What's the difference?

What sets this attempt to take a tabletop game digital seems to be how closely it seeks to mirror the tabletop experience.  Dawn of War and its sequel are both loads of fun, but they are very clearly not the same experience.  The only game I have seen brought in a direct port from its tabletop equivalent is Blood Bowl, and while the game is a load of fun, it has built-in imbalance openly admitted to, and is a different sort of game on its own.

WARMACHINE: Tactics is looking to create a turn-based version of its tabletop game, not simply a digital game based upon it.  A single-player campaign can give players a chance to ease into the game and its (surprisingly simple) systems, while multiple varieties of multiplayer might actually deliver something the table gaming community has been seeking for ages.

A familiar experience

Magic: the Gathering has been done in many games as a direct port from its tabletop version, and every one of those games has people flock to it to experience their hobby from the comfort of home.  It does not give them a similar experience, it gives them the same experience.

These games are, by their very nature, games of infinite variable capacity.  In a game of Warmachine for example, I pick my faction, then my warcaster, then my warcaster's warjacks, then the rest of the army.  Each configuration plays entirely differently, not simply by changing faction but even within individual factions.  If done properly, each warcaster completely changes how their army plays.

Perhaps most obviously, the game is fun.  Warmachine has millions of players all across the planet, but many of them are unable to interact with more than their local area.  Even within those small groups (my own gaming group has about ten people) we keep coming up with new ways to build our forces, new ways to apply them, new ways to enjoy the game every time we sit down to play.

Why wouldn't we want to be able to do that online with all those others players and people all over the world?

Privateer Press is creating a new publishing entity within its infrastructure specifically for digital media called, obviously, Privateer Press Interactive.  They are teaming up with Whitemoon Dreams to create WARMACHINE: Tactics, a company with veterans from the Ratchet and Clank, Fallout, and other games.  The two groups will be starting a Kickstarter funding drive soon to get the game made.

Tabletop fans... our fix is coming.