Collins Epic Wargames
Way back in March 2014 we interviewed a very charming chap called Ken Whitehurst on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast about a game he was designing called Polyversal, this game was of interest to me as it was a large battle sci-fi game played using 6mm figures and I really like 6mm sci-fi. Well over the last few years Ken has been working away on the game with Byron Collins (of Collins Epic Wargames who we interviewed on episode 165) and in January this year they finally put the game up on Kickstarter.
Unfortunately, the game didn’t make its funding and so Byron and Ken are now looking at rebooting the KS to get the game produced which hopefully will begin again soon.
The thing that makes Polyversal stand out from the crowd is its being designed as a toolkit game, i.e. players can create army lists themselves and can take any miniature they own and use them in the game, but they are also planning on releasing the starter set of the rules with miniatures from different manufacturers to show players what’s being produced these days and also allow players to get a game going quickly whilst they start designing their own armies.
So it’s the best of both worlds and something that hasn’t been done before.
Now as I said earlier, I was lucky enough to interview Ken on the Meeples show back in 2014 and we got on really well, so well in fact that Ken invited me to join his playtest group which meant I’ve had the chance to play the game and go over the army creation rules in some detail. I am still covered by a non-disclosure agreement on a lot of stuff but I can at least give my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far and so in this post I think I’ll tell you all what I like about the system and how the army creation works (well at a high level anyway)
So first up, don’t think that Polyversal is a game system that’s been chucked together at the last minute, this game has been in development for a long time and has been playtested a lot. Now I’ve done a fair bit of playtesting and usually the playtest rules I get sent are short, most of them are 10 -20 pages long and just cover the basics, but Polyversal was 70 pages long and packed full of information. The rules covered the first 30 pages and the unit generation system was another 25 pages long with the remainder of the document covering scenarios and background. When I started reading through it I just kept thinking to myself that these rules were ready, that there was nothing left to playtest? And indeed the basic mechanics were really mature and didn’t need much work, but Ken being a perfectionist wanted another round of playtesting done just in case he had missed something. (he hadn’t)
I don’t want to go too much into the game rules themselves as Byron and Ken have produced some great intro video’s which describe the base mechanics so much better than I can, but just to let you know the videos only cover the basics, the game is really deep and rules go on to cover all sorts of advanced stuff that players can use in their games. What I thought I would chat about is the unit creation system as this allows players to make their own units and really tailor their games.
So this is how it works:-
Step 1 – Classification
This is nice and easy you just need to decide what kind of unit you are creating, is it infantry, Cavalry or a vehicle, vehicles are further classified by size.
Step 2 – Mobility
Again you just need to choose how mobile the unit is from predefined lists, depending on the classification you’ve picked from step 1 (oh and there are lots of options here, that cover everything) also in this step you decide on a tech level as the technology has a bearing on the movement rates for a unit
Step 3 – Targeting systems
Another choice, this time how good is a unit at targeting an enemy (this works out the combat dice you use)
Step 4 – Assault Capability
How good is the unit in close assault? Your choice decides the dice you use when close assaulted
Step 5 – Armour
The armour level does depend on the classification of the unit but you have choices to make for each type
Step 6 – Weapon systems
Ah the fun bit, you get to choose what weapons systems a unit has and for each one you get to decide the following
- Category of weapon
- Weapon size
- Firing Arc
- Is the weapon linked?
As you can guess you get lots of options here and each one has different stats
Step 7 – Special abilities
Again dependent on the classification of the unit you can get to include extra abilities, e.g. your infantry unit might have jump packs and a system that jams enemy comms, or your tank might a special defensive system or specialized armour.
Step 8 – Damage Effects
Here you create the damage track the unit has which is used in combat to work out the effect of hits against it. But don’t worry Ken has included some vanilla damage tracks for you to use dependent on the Classification of the vehicle
Step 9 – Unit Size
How many stands/models make up the unit
Step 10 – Effectiveness
This is the starting morale level of the unit
Step 11 – points cost
Once you’ve worked out everything you can determine the points cost and there is a system for doing that which takes all the options you picked and gives you a final figure
Ken did produce a short video describing the unit creation system which you can watch here now whilst there are a lot of options you can have for each unit, once you get into it it’s pretty straightforward, you just have to ask yourself the question “What do I want this model to do in the game” but you can see why they want to produce a web based application to allow people to manage this as that will produce cards like this
What I really like about this game is by using the combat tiles all the information you need in the game is in one place and you don’t need to have loads of counters on the table, the game is quick, it’s tactical and has a great command and control mechanism, so it’s perfect for playing large sci-fi games.
The other really important thing is whilst the unit creation system allows you to create your own armies, Ken and Byron have realised that some people will just want a pickup game and have created the starter game with predefined unit cards and also included the models to allow you to do this. So it really is a win-win situation, you can play the game out the box and then when you are ready you can start to create your own armies either using some new models or ones you’ve had stuck in a box for a few years. I’m really hopeful that the game is funded when it gets to Kickstarter again, its a game that deserves to be played and its nice to see someone do something different and involve multiple manufacturers instead of just pushing their own models.
If you want to know more about Polyversal have a look at the site http://www.polyversal-game.com/ and take a look at the videos below
Command and Control –
There is also a print and play intro game that you can download and try out – Download from here