- What is this 'Spire of Apophis' that you speak of...?
(pictured - working prototype rulebook cover, illustrated by myself)
Eagle eyed viewers of my website's cover page may have noticed the brief entry mentioning Spire of Apophis - the game that I have been working on for the last 18 months in my spare time between full-time work, general day to day commitments and hobby time.
Why would I take on such a large task basically single-handedly, given my already time-poor situation? A good question! And one with several reasons as an answer. I suppose I should start with the fact that this isn't the first such rule-set/game design I've been involved with and I've always had an interest in home-brew rules for games and being able to indulge my creativity to extend and enhance the gaming experiences that I've enjoyed over the years. I have no less than 5 other game projects at various stages of completion which have been shelved, some temporarily and some permanently, all for varying reasons.
The motivation to add another game to this list was simply the overwhelming level of questioning by the supporters of Wereweevil Miniatures asking if I had a game to support the range of figures I'd produced. On top of this, I have listened to a number of people provide feedback and comments about how they love my figures, but didn't want to commit to purchasing figures that they could not 'use' and couldn't justify buying them only to have them sit on a shelf (which is funnily enough what all mine currently do - but I don't mind that as mine are all painted for display/collection purposes anyway, at least for now...). So what to do...?
Well... the first thing to do was think about what I had made in my range and how any of it could possibly be used in a game setting. In addition, I wanted to make sure that as much as possible of what I had produced could ultimately be used in the game setting I created. Given that I had already created a fairly eclectic mix of figures, I needed to trim it back a little and focus on an initial base to start from and then allow myself plenty of scope to continue to expand from that point.
I think my master plan fits the bill well on that front as the initial base game will centre around two key protagonists, the doughty Termineggs tasked with eradicating the virulent and disgusting Rotten Entities, whose sole purpose is to infect every living being in the Spire of Apophis, from the underground sewers up. Future expansions will see different factions (both good and evil) revealed for each higher section within the Spire all the way to the very top. All of this of course will depend on the initial success and take up of the first base game which allow me to reinvest into subsequent expansions. Ultimately, this could see hundreds of different options available for use in the game and its expansions.
The base prototype and ruleset for the game is almost complete and game testing has been underway for almost 12 months now. From my own play experience and also the feedback from those who have also play tested, it looks like it's shaping up to be a cracker! Each game involves the completion of a set Mission, with one or more objectives, some of which are time critical and the outcome of which relies on both sound tactics and a little luck, regardless of which side you are playing as.
The design of the game revolves around the use of 12"x12" Tiles covered by 1" square grid that each have different designs representing different areas of the Spires under bowels, such as sewers, refineries, water treatment plants and other dark and dank areas. These Tiles can be arranged in hundreds of different configurations allowing many different maps to be played over. The models each occupy a 1" square on the Tile, except for large models which occupy up to 4 x 1" squares and each model may have differing strengths, weaknesses and abilities depending on what it is.
(pictured - the vile Rotten Terminegg and his nemesis the Imperial Terminegg...)
If you've never played tabletop wargames or board games, imagine a more interesting game of chess where the (far more detailed and interesting) pieces use the outcome of dice rolls to be able to take out opposing pieces in some case from the other side of the board, that will give you some inkling of the experience! The rules have been designed to be simple enough at their core to be able to learn quickly, but with enough tactical nuances, intricacy and re-playability to be challenging and different each time.
The scope for Spire of Apophis is huge and by expanding on what I have already created, it has the potential to quadruple (at least!) my current range of figures and give me a focus on continuing with future sculpts which tie in with the game. With the background and setting, there is plenty of material to allow all kinds of protagonists of all shapes, sizes colours and creeds! Here's a bit of a sneak peek for those that haven't seen it, which are pics of the prototype. If you are interested in playtesting at all - send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you all the information on when and how you can be a part of it.
(pictured - all nine floor 12" square Tiles arranged in 3x3 pattern for full-scale game) Until next blog - happy painting and gaming!