Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A to Z: World of Twilight

The World Of Twilight
Have you heard of The World of Twlight ?

If you haven't it is high time that was corrected!

First of all it has nothing to do with sparkling vampires. The sooner that nonsense fades from world culture's memory the better.

But it also has nothing to do with vampires of any sort.  Yet it is a fantasy setting.  For that matter you won't even find elves, or orcs, or goblins, or dragons, or demons, or dwarves... and as much as I love dwarves, it is o.k.: it really is.  There are an abundance of good games & settings for those things.

This is something else.  Something highly original.  Unique.  Inspired.  Addictive.

The World of Twilight is a setting of a terrestrial world populated by several egg-laying races that have a look about them that makes me suspect that Jim Henson & Brian Froud are a couple of gods in an alternate dimension overseeing their dinosaurish chosen peoples.

High praise well deserved.  Creator Mike Thorpe has created not just a game and some appealing sketches, but fleshed out an entire world with histories and cultures, and more in store than has been revealed yet.

So what is it about?

The setting:

There are three main factions currently, with a couple more (at least) planned.

The Fubarnii are small in stature, bipedal, and let's face it: cute.
They are the protagonists of the setting, though to be fair, the others see themselves this way too.
They have a culture and technology reminiscent of Medieval Europe. In the past, they were slaves of the Devanu, but they secured their freedom and have built an empire of their own.  They rely on well trained troops, and coordinated attacks to prevail in battle.

The Devanu are the villains. Larger and physically much more powerful than the Fubarnii, they are fast and fierce. The Devanu have a social structure that reminds me of lions: dominated by an alpha male, with several capable female hunters and youth that are still quite dangerous.  They also use Grishak hunting beasts, as well as flying beasts and surely more to come.

The Delgon are a rival civilization, of the same species as the Fubarnii of the Enpire. Their culture is dominated by shadowy priests and an even greater reliance on the devices of the engineers.

The Game:
The game is a fantasy skirmish game that is scenario-driven.
The rules are free as pdf on the World of Twilight website: so you have nothing to lose in checking them out!

I quite like this game.
Not to sound too much like the D6G, but it has an Innovative Mechanic. Several actually.

For one thing, players 'alternate' activation.. but not truely alternating, because activation is determined by drawing activation stones from a bag: if your color is drawn, then you may activate a model, or selection of models if able to command more than one with the one you select.  Then another stone is drawn.  Likely there will be some back and forth, but it does allow for the unexpected, and any game that makes you plan for the unexpected is a good thing!

Combat is determined by casting rune stones. In simplest terms, unit types have a certain amount of stones they may cast and can chose either defensive or offensive stones which when cast will either come up successful or not.  Both sides do this in combat, and as you might expect, successful defenses and offences cancel each other out. If there are more successful attacks than defenses then damage is done, toughness checks are made and results are determined.

But that isn't all.  Model types have various skills they can chose to use, some of which require using a limited resource this model has.   This makes for even more tactical choices.  But not in the way of some games with 'one trick pony' overpowering/game changing skills. On the other hand, many games feel like a pretty dice game, where it's more about how many high numbers you can roll than your strategy and tactics, but not this game.  There is a real depth: if you enjoy tactical challenges you will be pleased. This game has the perfect balance between chance and tactical selection of skills.

The game is also based around scenarios, so it has a lot more behind it than 'line up and see how many get killed the fastest'.

The Miniatures

I'm a minis-junky, so this is important to me.  It isn't hyperbole when I say it doesn't get any better than this.
The miniatures are quality in every way: in design, sculpting & casting.  The only drawback issue I found was the original Fubarnii knights have spears that are thin to the point that I've had trouble with them bending.  But looking on the forum I see that is being addressed and newer ones will have thicker spear options if you prefer.

It's hard to evaluate style objectively.  Actually it's probably impossible by definition.  So all I can say is that I love these miniatures.  From the first sight of them on TGN a couple years ago I knew I was going to buy them.

They're sold by Hasslefree Miniatures and currently there is no distributor in North America.  But the folks at Hasslefree are really good people and shipping has always been fast for me.  Plus they often throw in little bags of candy!

The price point is high, but that's to be expected for a boutique miniatures line.  But considering the quality and highly original look, they're easily worth the cost, and it is comparable to some of the other metal miniatures for popular skirmish games, so you shouldn't have any sticker-shock.  Besides, you don't need many miniatures to play the game.  The large introduction set Hasslefree offers is more than enough for many good games, and includes two factions.

The other important concern many have is "Is it an active product?" The answer is Yes.  They've had several new releases this past year and looks like they have even more coming soon.  They'll be adding light cavalry for the Fubarnii, shock troops for the Delgon, a new juvenile for the Devanu and an entire new faction is in the works too.   I get the impression that the creator loves this project so much, that it isn't going away, one way or another, it is going to go forward and expand.

There is also Brandlin's terrain specially designed for Twilight.  If you weren't following his amazing terrain board he was making for Salute this year, get over to his site to check it out and his products.  I have my eye on some of those: they're on my list.

Here are some of my Devanu:

You will also find an entry for these under the 'Twilight' tag, here on my blog.

I still have to paint my Fubarnii... work has been keeping me too busy:

And I have a plan for a Delgon force too, they are also great miniatures (painted picture from WoT site):

To wrap it up:

Would I recommend this game?  Yes. 10 out of 10.

If you enjoy fantasy skirmish games and find tactical challenges rewarding, then this is a good game for you.
If you want to try something different than yet another Tolkienesque setting, then this could be the refreshing change you're looking for.

If you like games like Songs of Blades and Heroes, Mordheim or Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, then this will stretch your field command skills but still be light and enjoyable.  If you enjoy games like Malifaux or Warmachine, you'll be comfortable with the type of decisions you are called upon to make, yet can relax from some of the micro accounting required and be rewarded by being fast on your feet with the unexpected activation orders.

Aesthetics and Quality of the Miniatures: Excellent.  10 out of 10. 

They are highly original.  I am not overly fond of miniatures that are covered in detail for the sake of detail.
These miniatures are very well done, without superfluous detail and are a joy to paint.

If you haven't tried the game, download it, run it with some proxies to get a feel for it.
Check out the World of Twilight sight, forum & Hasslefree.
I hope this game & range grows in awareness and catches on.  Quality & Talent should be rewarded.


ArmChairGeneral said...


Brandlin said...

Thanks for the name check and positive comments mr ferret sir!

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