Lands of Ruin is a hybrid miniature game combining traditional tabletop wargaming with modern technology in the form of a companion Android tablet app. The game is played with two or more players. Each player controls a team of characters, selected from his or her tribe, and tries to complete an objective defined by the scenario that is being played.
The world of Lands of Ruin is full of dangers that will affect the games. Unlike most miniature games, LoR introduces NPCs (non-player characters) to the battles. Depending on the location of the battle, the amount of noise the teams make, and several other factors, hordes of zombies might appear. Also, these app-controlled NPC’s may already populate the gaming area. Zombies aren’t the only threat in the Lands of Ruin though. The wars that have now ended human civilization have left behind other dangers, like wandering, automated war robots and bio-weapons that might be alerted by nearby noise or just happen to have their patrol paths intersect with the game area. Corporations from the few remaining cities also have ambitions in the vast wastelands, so the sudden appearance of a highly armoured and skilled corporation patrol can cause more than a minor threat to the teams sent by the players’ tribes.
Lands of Ruin brings NPCs to tabletop gaming.
Lands of Ruin is an evolution of the tabletop gaming genre that utilises the recent advances in mobile technology. The game seamlessly combines the tabletop miniature gameplay we know and love with a tablet application, which allows us to bring features into the game that would not otherwise be possible. The main gameplay still takes place on the tabletop. The game is played with miniatures which move across the tabletop terrain according to the game rules. The tablet app acts as a set of resource/rule books, game tracker, and game master of sorts.
The companion tablet app takes care of most of the tedious modifier calculations, helps the player to keep track of wounds, assigned actions and character effects. These are things that would be possible to do with a traditional pen & paper approach, but through making these the responsibility of the tablet, the players are free to concentrate on the strategic thinking, enemy movement and general, overall immersion in the gameplay and story.
We didn’t stop there. Incorporating tablets into the game allows us to add depth and complexity far beyond merely what would be possible with pen & paper!
THERE IS LIFE BETWEEN BATTLES
Lands of Ruin continues between battles. All characters gather experience, learn new skills, acquire new equipment, carry over wounds, and heal between battles. You will see mini games resolving the results of the previous battle and its survivors as well as manage your tribe and focus your group’s efforts (such as scavenging the battlefield, fighting your way off the table through hordes of zombies after your opponent has fled, etc.). All of this is done on your computer using a browser. You don’t have to resolve any of this right after the battle, but instead you get to do it whenever you have time. This living world will also allow you to focus your tribe's resources on various goals like: replenishing ammunition, repairing equipment, training replacements for lost team members, etc.
Characters gain experience, skills, and equipment. These carry over between battles.
HIDDEN ACTIONS AND CHARACTERS
Playing traditional tabletop wargames is like playing poker with an open hand. Your opponent always knows everything that’s going on and where all of their enemies are (don’t get us wrong, we love traditional wargames and they’ll always have a place in our hearts, but we think there’s room for massive improvement and expansion on what is currently available). In Lands of Ruin you can have hidden models on the table, build boobytraps, secret weapons, reinforcements, etc. – all in secret from your opponent.
Hidden activity allows you to create much more complex strategies as neither player has full knowledge of the battlefield. Imagine creating and triggering traps by luring your enemy into kill zones covered by hidden snipers, machine gunners, or hidden explosives.
Hidden activity and unbalanced information allows for more complex strategies.
NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS (NPCS)
In most tabletop wargames, two armies line up and face each other on abandoned, isolated battlefields without any interference from outside forces. This type of war has not existed in reality for centuries. In modern (and presumably future) warfare, there are hidden dangers, civilian threats, and global strategic networks that extend beyond one particular battlefield. We wanted to create a living world that’s never truly empty, nor isolated. That is why Lands of ruin introduces AI (artificial intelligence) controlled NPCs. The battlefield will be infested with the left-overs from the final wars of civilization: zombies, automated droids & drones, bioweapons and, in the worst case, battlemechs. The control of these NPCs is given to the tablet. They follow complex, but intuitive, AI rules programmed into the app to behave rationally (or brainlessly in case of zombies).
Hidden dangers, civilian threats, environmental factors, and global strategic networks extending beyond the borders of the table edge.
FIGHT FOR A GOAL
Lands of Ruin battles do not need to end in the total annihilation of your opponent’s team in order to achieve victory (although it can happen). The games are played to achieve a specific goal, for example, scavenge a wrecked tank, save a wounded character from the enemy, kidnap an enemy character, etc. Teams might or might not be fighting for the same goal in the same game. It might very well be that two groups of survivors just happened to be in the same place same time. This contributes to the level of realism we sought to incorporate into this game: In reality, enemies often unintentionally send missions into the same location, without knowing their enemy is planning a mission of their own. The players play the game to get something done. Sometimes you might be trying to avoid your opponent, and sometimes you might be pursuing or fleeing from them. At any point you might decide to abandon your goal and leave the battle, if the price of achieving your objective is becoming too high. You don’t want to lose your characters for nothing!
Games are played to achieve certain, mission specific goals - not necessarily the annihilation of your opponent.