Something a bit different for you today on ITSZ, a new game! Now, I’ve been playing wargames for around about 15 years now in various forms with the primary focus during that time being Warhammer 40,000 – I’m going to go ahead and assume that anyone interested in gaming enough to find my small dark corner of the internet knows this game but a brief overview regardless; Warhammer 40k is a futuristic science fiction/science fantasy tabletop wargame in 28mm ‘heroic’ scale made by Games Workshop. For the past couple decades it has been the tabletop wargame, dominating the market year after year, pushing the boundaries of model technology and injection moulding, and generally just causing a whole lot of money to fly from wallets into the pockets of GW. In more recent times the game, and the company that makes it, has come under a fair bit of flak by the community for price gouging, overly complex rulesets, not bothering to balance their rules properly and generally just letting the whole thing go to shit. I will interrupt myself at this point to say that I am not one of those people, I am still very much in love with 40k and am in fact potentially planning a new army for the Tau release next month but that’s neither here nor there.
Until very recently the skirmish/mass battle hybrid of 40k was pretty much the only place you could reliably get your sci-fi tabletop fix. Plenty of people played it, it was pushed as GW’s prime game, 40k tournaments are regular calendar occurances throughout the year etc. etc. etc. However, in the last couple of years something very interesting has begun to occur; smaller and newer games companies have started to put up some serious competition. Most of you who have any interest in my blog are likely Firestorm/Spartan Games fans so you understand where I’m coming from. Out of the ashes of V1-1.5 of Firestorm Armada and the associated, shall we say, unpolished models that came with it (in general, there are some incredibly nice ships from the early days of Spartan but let’s be honest, they are the minority!) we have a really tight ruleset for spaceship battles in a fleshed out (ish) setting. But Spartan are only one example; Mantic are about to release Warpath, Infinity has been gaining ground in clubs the world over, and Fantasy Flight Games have knocked it out of the park with their lines of Star Wars wargames and board games (as well as pretty much anything else they touch…).
But these are the established players in the market. Today I want to introduce you all to a new setting and associated game: The Icarus Project. To give you a very brief overview of the mechanics of the game it is an alternating activation (Spartan fans rejoice), 28mm true scale, narrative driven, sci-fi skirmish game using the traditional d6. The game focuses on small scale Strike Forces of between 5-10 models (though larger games are possible) out to accomplish a specific mission objective ranging from releasing a captured prisoner, to an assassination of a key target to a good old fashioned punch up. All the models they are planning as a part of the initial offering have stats and an set of Beta rules are available for free download on the Kickstarter. The game seems similar to Infinity in a lot of ways which is not a bad thing; a mate of mine bought the Icestorm starter set and we played a few missions and I really enjoyed the game mechanics but I just can’t get on board with the models. Icarus scratches that itch for me by offering a low model count buy in with skirmish rules as Infinity does but the models are stunning. And I really do mean stunning. When they reached 200 backers on their Kickstarter (link here) they put out an offer on the Gabriel Cross mini they have already put into production and I picked one up. I received him today and I have to say that I have not been so impressed with a mini in a long time. I’ll put an unboxing up in the next couple days so you can see what I mean but he is great; the picture below is from the webstore to give you an idea:
If the rest of the models they release, and judging by the 3D Print tester for the Gunslinger I think they will be, are anything like the level of quality exhibited here then I’ll be a happy hobbyist.
All that being said there are a ton of new and upcoming sci fi games at the moment that are demanding attention from the world so why should you be paying attention to this one in particular? For me at least the answer is the setting. Considering that this game is in it’s Alpha state and on it’s first funding run at KS Anthony has have done a cracking job on building a coherent, believable world with interesting races, characters and conflicts. I won’t spoil the story as I think it is well worth a read (check out the rulebook and the blog posts on the Icarus website) but it details three huge wars, an exodus, genocide, betrayal, love, slavery, mercenaries and one race literally blowing up one of their own planets to assassinate an enemy leader (bit more to it than that but still!).
So, to bring my ramblings for the evening to an end, do yourself a favour and check out the Icarus website, read the blog posts there to get an idea for the story, the races and the main protagonists and antagonists and if you like what you see head over to the kickstarter and put some money down. The sets are great value and start at £1 so really what have you got to lose? I went for the £75 as it basically sets you up with a minimum of 2 starter sets (so I can run demos/battle reports for you lovely people) with the stretch goals adding extra minis for free!
Links for ease:
Icarus Miniatures: Here
Until next time!