What's the big idea? Our big idea is to fill a void with a new magazine that combines a standalone, unique, playable board game with a collection of spectacular, new science fiction in each issue. We need your help producing issue #1.
Ares is a full-size (8.5" x 11") magazine that includes 80 pages of fiction and other content which will wrap around a complete and ready-to-play board game.
The development of the game in issue #1 — War of the Worlds (WotW) — is almost complete. WotW is a new game from the sinister mind of world-famous game designer Bill Banks. It is a two-player game that borrows heavily from HG Wells’ classic story of the same name.
The map is a top-down view of London from the 1880s. Here is an early draft of a map section. We have not yet filled in most of the color, bridges, street names, park terrain, and water details.
The Martian player secretly chooses one of five objectives: Murderize all of the humans (a personal favorite), Crush the Army (Exterminate!), Colonize (19th century Britain colonized — just a bit of irony), Create a Peace Treaty (boring!), or Abduct the Heroine (because Mars needs women). The Martian player has twelve turns to achieve the objective. The human player tries to identify the Martian player’s objective as soon as possible in order to thwart it.
Each player gets ten points to spend to purchase troops and cool gadgets. The game provides both sides some forces for free.
Martian troops and gadgets include the standard Walkers (Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!), Saucers (weaker than Walkers, but flying is cool), a Missile Base (Boom!), a Death Ray (Zap!), a giant Martian Monster (Raarrr!), a Bio-Lab (to cure those pesky Earth diseases), and finally an HQ (because even Martians have cubicles). The HQ houses several Martian Heroes, including a few human traitors and the Martian Queen — Bea, each with his or her own special ability.
Human troops and gadgets include Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Firefighters, Police, and several Infernal Machines, including an Airship (Oh, the humanity!), a Juggernaut (no stopping any time), an EMP Generator (Buzz!), and a Super Gun (BOOM!). Human Heroes include a Hero named…um…Hero, a Heroine , a Priest, and a Superhero (Yay!).
Most units have a Combat rating and a Speed rating. Combat is resolved by comparing an Attacking unit’s Combat rating with its target’s Combat rating and expressing that comparison as an odds ratio. The designer created a novel Combat Results Table that makes “million-to-one” and “certain kill” shots flavorful and fun.
The Thames River and buildings affect movement for many units. The Stacking limit is one unit per hex. Most units can only attack forces in adjacent hexes, but some units — like the Super Gun, Missile Base, and Death Ray — can attack from several hexes away.
Playing time is about an hour, so you’ll have time to switch sides or Objectives before the rest of the group rolls in.
As with any game published in Ares, players may have to supply common objects, like six-sided dice or pencils and scratch paper, in order to play.
The magazine is 80 pages in length. Each page of text holds about 1,000 words. About 60 pages are devoted to fiction, the majority of which is science fiction. We will publish select other genres, including pulp adventure, alternative history, and fantasy. This should average 16 new stories in each issue.
The remaining pages are composed of interviews with appropriate smart people, articles written by other appropriate smart people, and advertising.
Our intention is to publish every other month. By getting in now, you take advantage of the discounted price and have various add-ons to choose from — some of which will only be available for Kickstarter backers.
There are four add-ons currently available. To receive them, just increase your pledge by at least the corresponding amount. (Please remember, Kickstarter places a maximum limit of ten on any given item.)
If you just want add-ons, use the METIK pledge level.
1) Button: $3 (Add $3 for International Shipping)
2) Tote Bag: $5 (Add $15 for International Shipping)
3) T-shirt: $20 (Sizes Small to X-Large), $25 for XXL (Add $15 for International Shipping)
4) Multiple copies: $20 per additional complete copy of Issue #1. (Add $15 per copy for International Shipping) [Higher reward levels do not get this as an "unlocked add-on".]
We'll send a survey at the end of the project collecting all the information we'll need to fulfill your add-ons.
The Archon reward includes Politics as Usual & Politics as Usual: Unusual Suspects ($35.90 combined retail value)
Note to authors: Thank you for your patience as we continue the story evaluation process. We are also still accepting new submissions.
If you're interested in advertising in Ares, here's our promotional schedule.
Risks and challenges
While there is no way to predict every possible negative event that can befall a project, the Ares staff is composed of professionals who have collectively occupied critical editorial positions in six game-related magazines.
There seems to be no difficulty gathering enough quality fiction, but good game designs are in shorter supply. Fortunately, Ares publisher — One Small Step Games — has a vault loaded with near-complete designs, some of which are ideally suited for Ares inclusion.
We have not yet selected a printing vendor. This won't be a pressure point until late March, as the deadline to send layout files approaches.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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