Playing the Game
- Is there a tutorial yet?
- Yes! We have uploaded a video to YouTube demonstrating Fractured Empire’s gameplay that serves to highlight both the interleaving style of play and the orders system, as well as various other facets of the game. It’s just over 8 minutes long, but covers a lot of ground. Well worth a look, particularly if you’re not familiar with activation-based games.
- What is a formation? How do activations and orders work?
- The difference between a rabble and an army is organisation. Professional soldiers fights as a cohesive whole.Exodus Wars is a tactical war game. For this reason, the rules revolve almost entirely around groups of combat units (an infantry squad, for example), which we call formations.
Depending on the force you are playing (for example, Royal Empire of Mankind or the Guild) and the structure of its Army List, formations typically range between four and twelve units, but may be more or less in special cases.
- How does a turn work in Exodus Wars?
- The Exodus Wars 6mm rules break the Turn down into three phases: Tactics, Orders and Finalisation.In the Orders phase, the players take turns giving orders to their formations, passing the Order Opportunity between them.
When you have the Order Opportunity, you must attempt to give an order to one of your as-yet-unactivated and non-routed formations to give those units an order before you can pass the Order Opportunity back to your opponent.
Each order given to a formation requires an activation, the success or failure of which is decided by an Order test, which is a roll against your formation’s Command and Control value. Once you have ordered your formation, you pass the Order Opportunity to your opponent. This is often called an activation-based play style.
Exodus Wars provides a very important exception to this activation-based play style, however, by allowing a player to order one formation, and then attempt to maintain momentum and retain the Order Opportunity to order a another formation. This incurs a penalty to your Order test, however, that makes it more difficult for you to successfully order the successive formation.
This is what Exodus Wars is all about. It is the sequence in which you activate your formations and how you chose to manoeuvre them that lies at the heart of the game. Activate the wrong formation at the wrong point in time, and it can cost you.
At this time, Fractured Empire has not yet implemented the majority of the rules involved in turn progression. What you can see currently is “the thin edge of the wedge”, being the activation-based play of passing the order opportunity back and forth. You cannot yet attempt to maintain momentum and retain the order opportunity, for example, and the Finalisation phase is simplified. There is much, much more yet to come.
- Why is my unit surrounded by a red circle? Why can’t I click Commit?
- Soldiers and tanks don’t just hang around—they fight as a cohesive whole. In Exodus Wars, a group of solders and vehicles fighting as one is called a formation.
At the start of the game, units are deployed in formations. Every unit in a formation must be within unit cohesion; that is, their larger green circle must be touching at least one other unit in the same formation.
Stands in a formation can be forced outside of this 5cm cohesion distance (such as by casualties). If that occurs, the formation must reform and regain unit cohesion when it next passes the Order test. This will naturally require the formation to receive an order that includes movement.
When you choose an order that includes movement, so long as all the units are green and in cohesion (that is, all the circles are touching—you will know cohesion is good when all the circles are green), you should be able to Commit the order and see it execute.
- How does suppression work?
- In the Exodus Wars 6mm rules, you reduce the effectiveness of enemy formations by increasing their suppression count.In the rules, suppression count on a formation is increased whenever it
- is shot at (even if it takes no casualties)
- takes casualties
- loses a Close Assault (not yet implemented in Fractured Empire)
- fails to activate (that is, fails to execute an order—also not yet implemented)
Suppression count on a formation is reduced when
- it (successfully) regroups in the Finalisation Phase at the end of the turn
- it regroups by (successfully) performing a Regroup order (currently partially implemented only in Fractured Empire)
With a standard formation (that is, one with a Competency rating of “Green”), for each suppression count upon the formation, one of its units is suppressed and cannot shoot at range.
If a formation ever finds itself with a suppression count equal to or greater than the number of units currently in that formation, the formation routs immediately and must flee.
EXAMPLE OF SUPPRESSION IN ACTION
Let’s say you have a REM Conscript formation, which consists of 12 units. If that formation has a suppression count of just 1, one of its Conscript units is suppressed and cannot shoot. If the same formation was shot at and took one more suppression count (so no casualties), it’s total suppression count would be 2. This would cause one more Conscript unit in the formation to be suppressed.
There’s quite a bit to suppression, and its definitely one of the cooler aspects of the Exodus Wars 6mm rules, but hopefully the above gives you some insight into how it works—and the tactical opportunities it might introduce.
- Unsure if this works as intended…but 2 suppression = 1 unit suppressed?
- This is correct for Guild Legion. In the Exodus Wars background, the Guild Legionnaires are described as highly trained, highly motivated and well armoured veterans. In the Exodus Wars 6mm rules, this is reflected by their Competency 2 rating, which in game terms means it takes two suppression counts each before a unit is suppressed.
EXAMPLE OF SUPPRESSION FOR GUILD LEGIONNAIRES
Let’s say you have a Guild Line Platoon formation, which consists of 6 units. If that formation has a suppression count of just 1, none of its Legionnaire units is suppressed. If the same formation was shot at and took one more suppression count (so no casualties), it’s total suppression count would be 2. This would cause one Legionnaire unit in the formation to be suppressed (unable to shoot at range).
- What is the Close Assault order? How does it work?
- In the Exodus Wars universe, certain armies, such as the Guild Legions with their hulking portable-cover armoured death-suits, favour close quarters battles. These engagements are captured with the Close Assault order.
Close Assault execution is perhaps the most critical area of the Exodus Wars rules. Close Assaults cover all the action of your formation (and any nearby friendly formations with supporting fire) as contact is initiated with the enemy, resulting in a close quarters firefight and even melee (hand-to-hand) combat.
Close Assaults are absolutely deadly, usually resulting in a pile of casualties, and the losing formation ends up routed. Depending on how deadly it was, even the attacking force can end up routed! For this reason, Close Assaults tend to be decisive and have a great impact on the game, often featuring as significant turning points in the game’s narrative.
The Close Assault order allows your formation to move once (like a Cautious Advance order) to bring an enemy formation into Close Assault range, and then, instead of shooting at-range, you can engage in a close quarters battle.
Both sides get to either fire or wail upon each other using their Support Fire (S) stat or their Hand-to-hand (H) stat if their bases are touching. As mentioned, these things are deadly, and casualties on both sides are to be expected. At the end, a test is made to see which side dominated the Close Assault, and the losing side is routed. The winning side takes additional suppression count equal to the number of casualties it took, and so may also end up routed.
In this way, Close Assault provides a decisive tool for forcing a formation to fall back, such as you might need to in order to push a defending formation off an objective.
To employ Close Assault, you must be able to get at least one of your selected formation’s units into Close Assault range (small amber ring) with at least one unit in the target enemy formation on an Advance order. Then, in stead of clicking Commit, you click Close Assault to execute that action.
- What have you guys been doing recently?
- We’ve recently released a range of new features and units, including Force Selector and Deployment, new units, a new map, a Skirmish mode, and a shiny new AI that will give you a run for your money.
Our crowning achievement to-date is the inclusion of Close Assault and the full Suppression/Routing mechanics from the 6mm Exodus Wars tabletop game.
- If crowdfunding is an experiment to test market viability, why are Membraine Studios and Steel Crown Productions investing further into Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire?
- While it’s true that our crowd funding campaign did not achieve it’s goal, we put this down primarily to the fact our campaign only got in front of 10,000 people, most of which are most likely not gamers.
Even so, we managed to return an average of almost 75c per unique visitor—that’s a very respectable figure in gaming commercials terms, and it demonstrated to us that the gaming community wanted Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire. We just needed to make the game.
Going to Market
- Is there a way for me to contribute beyond buying more copies of the game?
- Absolutely! Several members of our community expressed interest in contributing to ongoing development of Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire. For this reason, you’ll find you can contribute from the home page by purchasing Additional Development Funding, which is available in $5 (USD) increments.
- Membraine Studios wants to engage closely with the community during development. What does this mean?
- The Membraine Studios team is committed to staying in touch with our community. Predominantly, this will be via the forums—most notably the Developer forums—but we will also be reaching out via other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, a newsletter, and even direct emails to individuals where appropriate.
But such communications will not be one-way. We will always be open to and invite response, commentary and criticism, and in this way we will all of us together make Fractured Empire a better game.
- Why Steam Greenlight?
- Being available on Steam is all about being able to talk to a wider cross-section of the gaming market, and about being discovered by gamers who would otherwise never know Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire existed.
Steam is the preeminent PC gaming online store, but more than that we really like Valve and the way they operate, so if we have the opportunity to be on Steam, we’re going to take it, and Project Greenlight seems the best avenue to take.
- Would you consider another Crowdfunding campaign in the future? Kickstarter accept UK accounts now…
- It’s not part of our go-to-market strategy, no—and we are instead focussed on producing a great playable build that people want to play and are happy to pay for (at a discount, of course, given it’s non-final state).
- It sounds like I’m getting an unfinished game! Why would I want that?
- Due to the size of our team, “crowdsourcing” our QA is the most efficient and cost-effective way to improve the quality of Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire.
We’re not just after crash and bug reports, though. We honestly believe that you, the players, have awesome ideas on how to make the game better. By participating in the Alpha test, you can help shape Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire from the very beginning — right now, while it’s early in the development cycle, this is when we have the ability to make large-scale changes quickly.
As the game development progresses, parts of the gameplay and design become harder and harder to change — our Alpha testers will be able to help Membraine Studios make Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire the definitive tabletop wargame experience, just without…you know…the tabletop.And, of course, you will get bonus content and in-game recognition of your contributions as an Alpha tester!