This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, February 14 2019 12:17 PM UTC +00:00.
Two players clash head-to-head, or teams vie for dominance, in this maneuver warfare sandbox tabletop game that combines historical and modern warfare doctrine with fantasy.
Long ago, the Greater Dragons—creators of the people—departed from the lands. In the ages since, lacking the benevolent guidance of the Greater Dragons, civilizations struggle for identity and control, in a perpetual conflict known as the "War of Eternity". In Warline, you command and control a mighty army in effort to stand victorious in the war, establishing your superiority. Skill and cunning determine the victor—no luck is involved—you must assess the battlefield, then manipulate the opposing army, both physically and psychologically. Warline gives you tools to craft your own unique and expressive strategy, and to ultimately prevail on the battlefield!
Across the ages, warfare has evolved. Hundreds of years ago, militaries operated on doctrine that we commonly refer to as "attrition warfare"—dominance through sheer numbers and more potent weaponry. However, operating under these ethos is costly for any civilization: Money and resources are consumed wantonly, and thousands of lives are committed.
With experience and advances in technology, warfare doctrine has progressed toward methodology that instead embraces craft, creativity, and individualization. This new doctrine is known as "maneuver warfare". Recently codified by retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot, John Boyd, the "Maneuver Warfare Theory" has evolved our ways of analyzing and approaching warfare, leading to meaningful advances in efficiency and efficacy.
The Maneuver Warfare Theory is a fascinating way of approaching conflict—so much so that I was compelled to translate the practice into a tabletop game design. I feel that the rich palette of ideas presented in maneuver warfare accompanies a perfect canvas on which players paint their own creative means to succeed. These ideas also make possible game play brimming with surprise, variety, and incidental narrative.
My efforts to design a maneuver warfare game were not unchallenged. Converting a theory as deeply complex as Maneuver Warfare into a game design was no straightforward task—nor was it easy to prevent the result from being complicated and overwhelming. I spent the better part of three years researching, experimenting, testing, and refining—overcoming challenges—and ultimately arriving at what, I feel, is a beautiful and elegant expression of maneuver warfare. You can find more detail about how Maneuver Warfare is integrated into the game design, and about my design process, in the Warline design diary on Board Game Geek.
Throughout my efforts, I was fortunate enough to have the support of a burgeoning community (both online and in real life), who put Warline through the ringer in play ranging all the way from casual to organized competition. The community helped improve the game design in unimaginable ways. Now that you get a chance to experience Warline, I hope you enjoy the game as much as I and the community do.
Following a brisk two-minute set up, the meaningful decisions begin...
Custom terrain layout, variable outpost positioning, and tailored battle formations combine to create an uncountable number of battle-start conditions—no two games will ever feel the same. Once you and your opponent are prepared for battle (following deployment), the game progresses into the core loop. Battle is a streamlined, elegant loop in which you take turns issuing tactical orders to your battalions, until either you or your opponent achieve one of the five different victory conditions.
While the victory conditions help you frame an initial strategy, and ultimately determine how you prevail or fall in battle, you are never beholden to chase any single victory condition: You are free to pursue multiple victory conditions at once, and to shift your focus on a moment’s notice. In fact, you are encouraged to do just so!
- In a two-player game, each player commands an army in a head-to-head clash. Each turn, a player commands one battalion.
- In a three-player game, one player commands an army in effort to topple an alliance of two other players. Each turn, a side commands two different battalions (opening the way for awesome one-two combos). This is a great way to prove how good you are at the game, by standing alone and defeating a pair of collaborating minds.
- In a four-player game, teams of two battle one another, each team scheming together (a great social wargaming experience). As during three-player games, during each four-player game turn a side commands two different battalions.
Warline is fully playable via Tabletop Simulator and Vassal. Download the complete learn-to-play guide and rulebook, then join the community on Discord to get a jump start on the competition! The video to follow is additionally a great learning resource, as I not only teach the game rules, but also play out an entire battle and discuss some finer points of play.
I have every intention of keeping the campaign goals clean and fair. Warline will, by default, include the highest quality iteration of all game components. Warline will also automatically include everything that you need to play the game according to my vision. While this decision slightly increases the base pledge level, it also guarantees that you get the best user experience—no matter what.
I am including only a couple of stretch goals, and each contributes to an increase in the amount of game play options you have.
*To contribute to the goal above, visit the Warline BoardGameGeek page and click the "Subscribe" button.
Note that the stretch goals are non-linear: It is possible that the second becomes unlock before the first, etc.
I have big plans for the future of Warline. By adopting the game now, you are at the forefront of it all. Below are some of the exciting ways in which Warline will evolve past initial launch.
- New kingdoms to play and master—there are three additional kingdom's currently in design, and I intend to release at least one new kingdom every six months following launch.
- Campaign play for those deeply invested in lore and the experience of telling stories through battle. The continent of Soroyland is fully mapped—all the way down to each individual battlefield zone—meaning that you can literally recreate any square mile of the land. Warline custom campaign rules are in design and testing, and I should be able to begin offering them shortly after I deliver the core game.
- Cooperative game play mode, in which two armies ally to face the Lesser Dragons of Soroyland.
- Warline has always been intended to facilitate a rich organized play community, and I have already started turning the gears in the machine—intending to have global organized play up and running within a year of delivering this campaign. (Refer to the "League of Champions" section below for more information.)
You can always keep up with the team and development of Warline by following any one of our media channels (the icons are button links):
(Are you a vlogger, streamer, or podcast host? If you would like to have a chat or stream a play session, please contact me via contact @ eljayplay . com)
The Warline League of Champions (WLOC) is a friendly organized play platform, offering both tabletop play and digital play. Members of the WLOC may enter tournaments and leagues, and also have their play statistics tracked in detail (a great way to analyze your growth as a Warline player). Currently, the WLOC is in beta form, hosted on a rock-solid third-party organized play platform. You can preview the platform right here.
As a backer (at any level) of this campaign, you will also be offered a lifetime membership (completely optional) into the WLOC. After the platform fully launches, other new members (i.e. non backers) will be maintained on a paid subscription basis. I am offering backers subscription-free lifetime memberships in order to bolster the platform at the outset, and also to express my gratitude for interest in Warline. (I will send registration information directly to backers, during the campaign.)
Two 8K resolution (8,000 pixels by 4,500 pixels) grand digital illustrations will be available to download* for all backers at the "Warline Connoisseur" tier and higher. With these digital prints, you could create your own posters of any size—maintaining razor-sharp imagery—or even use them to create custom gaming mats with Inked Gaming (or similar services). Below is a preview of the two prints—imagine these hyper-detailed images adorning your walls and gaming tables!
*Digital print downloads will be made available via the pledge manager, shortly after campaign launch.
Risks and challenges
The primary challenges that I face are those common to the development and production of any tabletop game: Delivering at a pleasing price point and shipping on time. However, I have production under complete control (I have been fortunate enough to be able to regularly meet in person with a manufacturing liaison), so any challenges that arise will be easily mitigated. I am working with one of the top tabletop game manufacturers (well versed in manufacturing for Kickstarter games). On top of that, our collaborators are some of the most experienced and talented out there.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter