INTERVIEW: Rick Priestley talks Kickstarting Gates of Antares

The first of January 2013 hasn’t just seen the beginning of a new year but also the birth of a brand new science-fiction universe as Rick Priestley begins his own Kickstarter to support his new game – Beyond The Gates of Antares (GoA).

Filled with mince pies and Christmas cheer we were able to catch up with Rick and ask him questions about his approach to game design and all about Kickstarter.

Interview by Steve

Tell me about the GoA game?

Well with our new game I’m determine to shed some of the shackles that have bound traditional tabletop game for years – it’s a chance to actually do things differently. So, the game won’t be restricted to D6’s with their rather limited range of results which cramps the opportunity for modifiers and usually obliges you to have endless multiple rolls. Instead I’m using D10s for the basic mechanic – and I’m going to make the game scalable – so you can add more details and use a D100 instead. That won’t happen straightaway – that will have to wait for our next add-on game – but the idea is built into the game from the start. Scalability! Battle game, skirmish game, RPG even – all based off the same core mechanics.

What do you mean by Real-Time Universe?

Yes that’s an easy one – practically all SF wargames are a fixed setting and any pretense of moving along the backstory is always something of a con really – with worlds invented specifically to be destroyed or not – but which make no real difference to anything. We will actually run series of online conflicts – I call them episodes – some very short and some lasting many months – and players can feed their results into the conflicts as they evolve. Depending upon the result of these conflicts – and sometimes opportunities within the conflicts – the various factions will gain access to new techologies or weapons, or momentary advantages during the episode or perhaps the next one and these will be presented on-line. In most cases these new items – let’s say a new weapon – will eventually be available to all the factions – but we’ll organise our model making schedules around the results – so as factions gain access to new weapons the models go on the schedule. We’ll also occasionally select particularly successful leaders – players characters – and make them to add to our range.

Is it an IGOUGO system along the lines of 40K?

Nope – the basic turn sequence is by alternating unit activation and individual units can be activated multiple times during a turn up to the total number of activations set for that turn – called the escalation level. As individual units take actions this can trigger reactions – such as a firefight or close quarter fighting – or opposing units can test to react with opportunity fire, return fire, and various moves including going to ground. Friendly units can also attempt supporting actions so that groups of units act together rather than in penny packets. So – no – it’s certainly not an IGOUGO system – it’s a fully integrated activation sequence that keeps the pace flowing and makes sure both sides are fully involved at all times.

What scale will the models be?

The models will be the standard size for what are often called 28mm models but which usually measure at about 32mm from sole to top of head. Obviously some will be smaller or larger depending on what they are.

Why use Kickstarter?

It’s the only practical way to raise enough funds to do the project – and it also gives us a chance to involve the players right from the start in the development of the game.

What will the new background be like?

It’s a hard-science background set way in the future – beyond anything we can really predict – with a multitude of human-descended species called Pans and even some ape descended hybrids called Sims – and mechanical types which are Drones.

How will the backers be involved?

Via the online forums – we will have development forums that will address specific aspects of the game and provide for feedback – then we will have an alpha and beta version of the rules ready for playtesting by the backers – and we’ll be organising events and offering opportunities for backers to meet the team.

How much work has already been done? I have an outline game and background – so we’re working within a framework – but filling out that framework is a big job and that’s where we need our backers’ help. We have quite a few concepts drawn up now – and we’ve just started model design – but until we have funding we won’t be able to press ahead with all the models we want to make.

This is the first of a two part interview. You can find out more here – and pledge your Kickstarter support here:

Beyond the Gates of Antares

Part 2 coming tomorrow. Have at it folks…

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