Introducing Ross Rifles - a tabletop roleplaying game set in the Canadian trenches of the First World War. From 1914-1918, Canada played a major role in assisting the British Empire in winning one of the fiercest wars in history. But victory came at a cost. The First World War took the lives of over 60,000 Canadians. It was from this vast entanglement of international alliances, leaders, and agendas that Canada emerged as a modern fighting force on the brink of nationhood. In Ross Rifles, you play as soldiers from the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) struggling to survive the horrors of trench warfare during the First World War. Sent overseas to fight for crown and country, your characters will make personal sacrifices in the name of Canada.
Ross Rifles enables you to create dramatic war stories like those of All Quiet on the Western Front, Storm of Steel, Journey's End, and War Horse.
In February 2018, we released v.1 of the Ross Rifles quickstart. Since its release, we've extensively playtested the game and have made significant changes to the rules based on player feedback - resulting in the release of an updated quickstart guide (v.2 - which is available for free download below). Once the funding of this project is complete, every backer will receive a free PDF copy of the quickstart v.3 rules so that you can begin learning the fundamentals of Ross Rifles!
The final version of Ross Rifles will contain everything you need to play through a one-shot session of the game or even a campaign spanning the entire war. In addition to what is in the Quickstart v.3, it will have in-depth explanations of moves, basic mechanics, and how to structure a session of Ross Rifles. It will also contain a lengthy historical background in order to help people find out more about the First World War and the Canadian experience. So, if you feel like you don’t know a lot about the setting, don’t worry! Finally, the book will contain 4 missions that contain historically accurate descriptions and objectives, right down to the weather conditions. These are based on 4 of the largest battles Canadians participated in: The Second Battle of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele. Each of these scenarios has a unique feel and you can choose to play through one small objective, an entire battle, or even the whole war depending on what stories you want to tell!
The funds raised by this campaign will go towards finishing the production (graphic design, layout, and printing costs) of the physical book as well as paying the writing team. Ross Rifles is a 6”x9” , roughly 200-page black-and-white softcover book containing everything you need to play the game. It will also be available as a PDF through the corporal tier, as well as on DrivethruRPG.com following the success of the campaign. Our goal is to deliver the book by June of 2020.
Ross Rifles focuses on using heroic, tragic, and violent adult drama to tell war stories from the perspective of individual soldiers and their comrades. The gameplay is structured around life in the trenches and the dangers of no man’s land.
Having all worked in museum education, we wanted to bring the First World War to life in an engaging way. We want to empower people to tell the war stories that they want to tell. We want people to play the character they want to play. Ross Rifles is our solution. A major tenant of Ross Rifles is remembrance. Through roleplaying, players will be able to inhabit the lives of soldiers who fought and died in one of the most senseless wars in human history. We hope that by bringing their experiences to light through this game, we will be able to continue the legacy of the soldiers who fought in the Great War and ensure in our own small way that the stories of regular Canadians at the Western Front are never forgotten.
The rules for Ross Rifles are based on Apocalypse World - an award-winning roleplaying game by Vincent Baker that features streamlined rules and class-based character creation. Inspiration for this game was drawn from Night Witches by Jason Morningstar, MASHED by Mark Plemmons, Dungeon World by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel, Urban Shadows by Andrew Medeiros, and The Regiment by John Harper.
Although the characters in your game will be one of the hundreds of thousands fighting for Canada, each of them is a unique human being. In Ross Rifles, we’ve called what would be a “party” in other role-playing games a section – a term often used as an alternative name for a squad. As a player character, the soldier alter-ego you inhabit will be yours to create. From their rank, the town, township or city they were born in, their pre-war trade or calling, or status as a volunteer or conscripted soldier, your character will be your own unique creation. There are six playbooks in Ross Rifles, each representing key historical figures in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
*We will be updating this section as the campaign progresses! Stay tuned!
Over the years, the DWG team have individually supported many projects on Kickstarter. While this platform is enabling us to create games, we recognize that a union is best for the company and its employees. Dundas West Games supports Kickstarter workers' right to unionize. Kickstarter United is NOT calling for a boycott of the platform and one of the primary organizers has advised the community to go forward with their October campaigns.
Shipping for all physical products will be charged separately once the Kickstarter campaign is over to most accurately reflect current costs. Shipping costs will be calculated and charged in BackerKit. We will also be using the Backerkit pledge manager to collect address information and handle add-ons and pre-orders. We ship to all regions worldwide, but areas outside Canada, the US, and the EU may incur import tax.
Risks and challenges
Since we started working on Ross Rifles, we've published 4 products (Zany Zoo, Wolf of the South, and two Ross Rifles quickstart guides) to ensure that we had a good workflow leading up to this Kickstarter campaign. That being said, we've worked hard to ensure that the majority of the Ross Rifles core rulebook has already been written by the start of this Kickstarter. That way, we can focus on the additional campaign deliverables and the production of the Ross Rifles books.
We understand that no matter how well-planned a crowdfunding campaign may be, there is always the chance that unexpected factors may arise as we are finalizing the reward components for printing and shipping. Delays can occur, and potential challenges include final rules revisions, printing problems, or delays in art delivery and layout. We have worked hard to account for any delays in production and will do our best to minimize the chance of backers being affected.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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