Weekly Waffle #151

I’ve been a bit more organised this week and stolen a bit of time throughout the week to put this week’s update together. So this week’s update will be a proper waffle, and it’s quite a specific waffle. It’s loosely based around what happens to a game when someone else takes over the IP. I’m bringing this up because Warcradle studios now owns the IP for both Wild West Exodus and Dystopian wars, both games I own and really enjoy. They had already made some big changes to WWX but now that they have taken over Dystopian Wars they have announced that they are going to merge the background for both games into a single universe. I can see the sense in this because they both have a similar feel and with some creative writing I can see this approach working. But there are a couple of issue with this approach.

The most obvious is that if you have invested, and by that I’m referring more to an emotional investment rather than a finance one, in a game and someone comes along and changes it it’s going to upset people. The background that is in place for WWX at the moment is really rich and is supported by a number of novels and graphic novels. This rich background really give the game a unique feel and give each of the factions a unique reason for behaving in the way they do. The way the use of RJ twists the user is a key feature of the background so it will interesting to see how this is dealt with when they backgrounds are merged.

For those that are more interested in the game play there have been big changes here as well and if they go down this route with Dystopian Wars this could be a killer for me. Now I have to admit I’m not really happy with the way the factions in WWX have been changed around but as I’ve not played any games yet with the new rules I’m reserving judgement on this front. But the game play changes aren’t subtle and coupled with the change in background it feels to me like it’s a new game using an existing miniature range. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing but it is going to take a bit of time to get used to and it could well alienate a number of players.

On the Dystopian Wars front there are a lot less details at the moment but the way they have explained things is that the Navel battle in the new world are where the powers can really unleash their most devastating weapons with little to no collateral damage. So it looks like the feel of the game will stay the same with fleets clashing on the open ocean and wiping each other out. I’m not a precious with the background of Dystopian wars to changing this around to merge with Wild West Exodus isn’t as big of a deal for me. However making changes to the game mechanics could be a killer for me. To be more specific the rule that really makes this game stand out is the ‘exploding six’. Get a bit of look from the dice gods and things can become very interesting very quickly. A tiny little ship has the chance to take down a much larger ship if the dice go the right way. Likewise that ship that looks like it’s going to be a new fish hotel can somehow survive a hail of fire and come out the other side unscathed. I think I can accept changes to most things but if the exploding six were to be taken out of the game I think it would break me.

The new piece of the puzzle is the change to the land game. It moves from being the same scale as Dystopian Wars to the more common 10mm scale. I’d don’t have an emotional or financial investment in the land game so from a purely selfish point of view I’m not really bother what happens here. I do like the idea that you could start a campaign out at sea and then move onto the beaches and eventually translate that into a land battle and even throw in some Wilde West Exodus to drive the final details when gets mano a mano. So whilst there are some potential pit falls there I’m trying to be positive and give Warcradel the benefit of the doubt and see how things turn out.

Now then that was my gamer view of things but I think as gamers we also need to understand that the games we like also need to be a financial success. The reason we find ourselves in this position with Dystopian Wars is because for whatever reason Sparten Game wasn’t able to stay solvent as a business. So without the intervention of Warcradel the game would have died there and then. They have stepped in to take on a game they think they can make work and to do that they want to make some changes. A very reasonable approach. By merging the background with Wild West Exodus they can drive one narrative that covers all of their high-tech steam punk type games which I would imagine will be easier and cheaper to manage. If you like the overall universe it gives you a number of games that allow you to explore the world in a number of different ways.

So there you have it, a few paragraphs of absolute drivel with this upshot being there are two games out there that have had changes and I need to give them a go to see if I like the changes or not. And on that note I’m going to bring things to a close. I’ll have a lot more time for hobby next week so hopefully I’ll be able to bring you a long overdue proper update. In the mean time have a good weekend and I’ll see you all again next week.

Steve

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