Verge of War is the latest science-fiction skirmish miniature war game hitting Kickstarter, by the team at IFG gaming. Combining similar mechanics from other games of this ilk with RPG elements, Verge of War is lining up to be your next addiction.
Let’s start from the beginning: What’s Verge of War about? To put it simply, there’s a bunch of different races looking or a space sword, which is apparently super OP, to be able to get the upper hand in the current stalemate for power.
As Verge of War is creating its lore on the fly, it is hoped that game play reports from players will actually feed back into to the world. The aim here is to drive the story and give the players a sense of ownership. A lofty goal and in theory, is quite exciting, but weather or not Verge of War can pull this off is another thing.
So we have the setting: who’re the protagonists? In the Kickstarter we’re given details of three different factions (though there’s plans for ten total):
- Seit Aggression Force – little grey, psychic aliens. They couple with hulking Shork who were a primitive race that worshipped the Seit. Now the Shork have space guns and space armour and the Seit have meat shields. Oh and the Seit have bred / trained space raptors…
- Forces of Humanity – doing what we do best, the humans accidentally stumbled into a conflict that didn’t concern them, decided that they liked the area and colonised a good chunk of space.
- Pirates – not much info has been given about the Pirates but I’m guessing they’re after space booty and space plunder while drinking space rum.
With that down and interests piqued, lets get onto the second wall of this gaming pyramid: the rules.
Any tabletop wargamer will be able to pick up the starting rules in a matter of minutes. Army selection, deployment and phases are all pretty similar to other science-fiction ‘pew pew’ games like 40k or Antares.
The game phases are broken down into just two: movement and actions. Each player runs through each of their units, one at a time, activating them, moving them and then performing an action. Actions include ranged and close combat, any special abilities and free actions (which are any action labelled as such – a command unit giving out command bonuses for example).
The Human Knight. No affiliation with those other “grey” knights from that other space game.
What makes Verge of War a unique beast is the way commanding units “level up” and grow. As a player racks up the games their commander grows in power accruing additional abilities and buffs to units in their army.What i think is really cool though, is that there are different skill trees a commander can travel down.
The Seit commander for example, can choose between 3 different science groups. One buffs Shorks by reducing their point cost, increasing their basic stats, or unlocking new skills.
Another science group focuses on drones which increases their survivabilty, damage output and also unlock the ability to deploy anywhere on the table.
If you prefer to not have to wait to level up your commander there’s a table that auto-levels your dude based on the point size of the game you’re playing.
Combat involves dice rolling and chart checking like most games and is pretty straight forward. Roll a dice, add the relevant stat (close comabt or ranged), add any armour penetrating modifier then see if that combined total beats the opponents’ defence stat.
Cover is also streamlined: can your figure see the opponent without obstruction? If yes = no cover, if no = cover. Any cover just adds a Defence bonus to the defender.
Once hits are made, damage is dealt and that is determined by the type of weapon. Just look at the weapon chart which clearly points out the amount of damage it causes. reduce the HP of the defender by the damage and hope it’s still alive to fight back in your turn.
Without going into too much details, that’s Verge of War in a nutshell. The game flows quickly and the quick start rules are easy to digest without much need to reference or cross check any rules.
One thing I am a little disappointed in is the amount of variety in the missions. With only five to choose from which basically just rearranges objection points, i could see Verge of War getting stale quickly. Add to that, there are only three different deployment types; start on the opposite sides of the board, a slight variant of that and the “you might as well not bother” deployment map (half the board essentially).
Space Pirates!! Well, Pirate… there’s only one so far.
That brings us to the final wall of this wargame pyramid: the miniatures.
Verge of War uses 28mm scale resin miniatures of varying quality. Aesthetically, they are styled in a clean science-fiction look similar to Antares or Infinity (no skulls on armour present). The few figures that I received for the Seit and human factions ranged from simple-to-assemble to Wyrd-games-frustrating.
The Seit space raptors for example (or just “raptors” to be technically correct) arrived with little clean up needed. Feet glued to legs, which sat flush to the body. Upper jaw fit neatly to the lower jaw and neck which in turn was easy to pop onto the body. Then you have the Seit multi-pose tribal warrior… feel onto ankle hinge, ankle hinge onto calf, calf onto thigh (with armour that overlays and in between. Then each individual finger to be placed into the hand, which then goes onto a wrist and so-on. Trying to get the piece to stay without them slipping was all i could manage. They multi-pose figure ended up looking like a stock armature for a video game (the standard “T” pose before the model is rigged and animated. As the Seit warriors are so beefcake, i doubt anyone could pose it in any meaningful way.
The “instructions” beside what I’m actually working with. Whats in the little bag? Hands and fingers…
The human figures were pretty straight forward for the most part but not without flaws. While the human Knight (think oversized Grey Knight from 40k) is my pick of the bunch, the human four-legged weapon platform was an eyebrow raiser. This also wasn’t helped by the lack of assembly instructions. No identifying marks on pieces or where they should go. Instead just a single image of the model dissected.
Details on both factions were okay, if a little shallow. Lines and recesses could be deeper and edges could be more crisp. The resin itself was of good quality with very few defects found. It isn’t super hard and removing mold lines was quickly done with an emery board.
After all said and done, should you check out Verge of War? Well I can’t think of a reason not to. The game is easy enough to play, the figures are pretty cool (space raptors, that’s all you need) and there is lots of potential, especially if IFG gaming can pull of their “Intelligent Feedback System” to push and evolve the story. If nothing else, the figures could be used as proxies for other games (those space raptors… I just can’t get over them).
I guess time will tell if IFG games an provide an aggressive release schedule so that players don’t tire of using the same few units and factions.
Verge of War Website – http://www.vergeofwar.com/
Verge of War Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1560931765/verge-of-war