Playtesters Needed! Let us know what you think…

box cover image - alternate

Yes, we’re a small publishing company with pretty much one guy doing all the writing. Yes, he’s supposed to be finishing a novel and also a short story collection for publication this summer and not dorking around with a tabletop wargame.

But we’re taking a diversion to build a unique game based on our intellectual property that has turned out to be a lot more fun than we’d originally imagined. We’ve posted about it here and here if you want to see some early development work and thoughts. Thanks, by the way, to the folks who’ve chipped in with thoughts and comments on the aesthetics and early card designs.

The manifesto is as follows:

  • A tabletop wargame based on trading cards that are placed on terrain like miniatures would be, with consequences for the orientation and placement of each
  • Unique characters coming alive on cards with gorgeous artwork and card mechanics that affect gameplay in a way meaningful to the overall story
  • An over-arching narrative that makes sense of the series of battles, who’s fighting and why, and what the consequences might be either way
  • Every single character, weapon, and vehicle has a backstory. Nothing is given as plain vanilla fluff. Even the scratches on a cannon barrel came from somewhere.
  • Adaptable narrative and game mechanics that allow for a continuing storyline that is easy to relate to and understand

We want games to go fairly quickly…a little less intense than wargames with miniatures. More ‘beer and pizza’ and less ‘chess’. Imagine playing Warhammer 40k with Magic: The Gathering cards where some dude’s relentless and intricate strategy just gets blown up by your surprise smackdown – and you clear his entire board with a malicious laugh. Mwahaha.

Internal playtesting is far enough along now. We think we’ve nailed the card design and general ruleset enough to put something in the wild for external playtesting. We admit not all the art is done, so there are blank placeholder boxes on some of the cards. They’re all playable, however. We’re interested in feedback on all of it – playability, things we forgot, hidden strategies you figured out, and suggestions on how to make it as fun as possible.

Here is the rulebook – more like a small pamphlet. Let’s keep this whole thing simple, yes? Salt Mystic rules

In order to play, and in addition to the cards, you’ll need:

  • Sleeves for the cards, since you’re printing them out (like these!)
  • At least two pieces of terrain (like a small hill or wall or ruins) or something you’ve got laying around to represent them since terrain is kind of the point.  Use wadded up paper or drawings if you want – we offer some printable terrain pieces below.
  • A 3ft x 3ft tabletop, your living room table will work fine – just find a flat space
  • A ruler or measuring tape, preferably marked in inches
  • A few six-sided dice

There are two factions in the starter set, so here’s what you need to print and fold to put in the sleeves. It’s best to print in color on card stock with no scaling.

If you pick the the Mountains Faction, print these:

print sheet-mountains 1

print sheet-mountains 2

print sheet-mountains 3

print sheet-mountains 4

If you pick the Salt Flats Faction, print these:

print sheet-salt flats 1

print sheet-salt flats 2

print sheet-salt flats 3

print sheet-salt flats 4

These are the vehicles the different characters can man throughout the game, and special technology or weaponry you can equip the vehicles with. Both factions need to print these, as they’re common to any faction:

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 1

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 2

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 3

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 4

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 5

print sheet-vehicles-attachments 6

And finally, here are the special rule-changing cards that will drive you crazy when your opponent plays them (but makes you the big muchacha when it’s you playing them). These are common to all factions:

print sheet-breakers and specials 1

print sheet-breakers and specials 2

print sheet-breakers and specials 3

If you prefer to have some papercraft terrain, here are some quick and easy templates:

Papercraft tower

Papercraft wall

Papercraft wargame hill

Rough terrain

And that’s it!  Feel free to reach out with questions or feedback. We can’t justify printing and distributing any of this ourselves yet, so please don’t ask about that just yet.

All rights reserved to Grailrunner Publishing, so feel free to distribute to your friends as you like, just include our name and make sure nobody’s trying to sell this stuff. That would be much appreciated.

We honestly can’t wait to hear what you think and how the games go. We haven’t seen anyone get down to just two War Marshals going at it yet, or both players raising their Guardians at the same time. Those scenarios made us really curious. I’m particularly interested in seeing someone stack their deck with Ephemeral Torpedoes to try and win the game that way.

Anyway, get back to us with your thoughts. Draw well, and stay sane!

(c) All rights reserved to Grailrunner Publishing 2019

Update 7/15/19:

  • Initial feedback on the card design and general rule set is very positive, so thanks for that!
  • We were asked to add some terrain, so a few papercraft pieces were added here. That was a great idea, honestly.
  • As soon as we posted this, we were asked where our Tabletop Simulator version is. Honestly, we were surprised by this one. I get that it’s a great place for expanded playtesting, so we’ll get to it. It’s easy enough to import the cards in; and dice, terrain, and built-in distance measuring for moves is readily available. Our key issue is that the game requires placing cards on top of each other, offset by a small amount; and TTS keeps aligning the cards on top of each other. We’ll have to figure that out. Let us know if you have a work-around.
  • We juiced up the graphic design on the rules pamphlet with some texturing and art.