> Where did your staff find inspiration for AE WWII: Euorpean Theatre?
The bulk of our inspiration comes from true events. A lot of the weird elements of AE-WWII are based on real things that happened during WWII. Few people know how weird the war really was and it’s with just a little creative license that we can turn these true events into the amazing occult and sci-fi elements you find in the game. Wonder weapons, occult rituals, secret operations – these all took place in surprising frequency during the war and it’s these events that we twist just a bit to become true ‘Weird War II’.
> How long have you been creating the project?
AE-WWII has been around for about six years. Rob Kingery and I put out the core rulebook in January of 2007 and we had models and playtest rules out in 2006. Along with Clint Werner we put together a great game with a rich background that gamers really enjoyed. I’m very excited to be reviving the line with the second edition.
> What is your favorite experimentation?
If you’re asking what my favorite ‘weird’ element of the game is, I’d have to say the Soviets psychic soldiers. In our timeline people in the Soviet Union have begun to develop psychic powers that are quickly put into military service through the NKVD. Psi-Cannons that fry the enemy’s brain, Psi-Commandos that are nearly invisible, Banshees that emit a psychic scream and the half-man, half-chimp Chumans are a lot of fun to use and very tactically diverse. I’ve got a soft spot for my communists.
> What has your largest hurdle been?
Our biggest hurdle with AE-WWII has always been getting more people to hear about the game. Getting exposure as a small game company with an ‘indie’ miniature game is always tricky. Without a big budget for marketing, we rely on word of mouth and the support of our fans. This is one of the many reasons we chose to use Kickstarter for the second edition: it helps us fund the project as well as let everyone know the game is out there.
> With the kick starter funded what do you believe is your biggest challenge?
After meeting the goals of the Kickstarter, our biggest challenge is taking that success and getting the game out into retail stores. We’re working with distributors to begin a new push for AE-WWII and it’s our hope that a new edition coupled with the success of the Kickstarter campaign will help bring new attention to the game.
> What is the story background?
Wow, that’s a big question. Clint Werner has put so much work into the alternate history of the game, there’s a lot there. But the biggest changes revolve around the failure of the invasion of Normandy and the war dragging on into 1947. All sides turn to wonder-weapons to win the war and, coupled with occult horrors brought to bear by the Axis and the Allies, the war becomes very strange indeed. Each nation has sci-fi elements as well as the many occult branches of the various military organizations across the world. The setting is one of my favorite components of the game and there’s really far too much to go into here, but I encourage any fan of history or weird history or just general weirdness to look into the alternate history Clint has created.
> Many of your models show a tremendous amount of detail, how much historic research went into their design?
Quite a bit. For all our ‘normal’ models we try very hard to stay true to the uniforms, weapons and appearance of the soldiers of WWII. We obviously can’t get every detail right – especially with the weird elements mixed in – but we do our best to have our models reflect the fighting men of the war.
> Will you have quickstart rules?
Absolutely. For the first edition of the games, our QSR was available online as a free download and included in the starter packs. We will continue that tradition and include the QSR in starter and detachment packs as well as being available as an online download.
> What are the basic mechanics of the game?
It’s a simple d6 mechanic. Players roll 1d6 and either compare the results to an attribute or add an attribute to the total.
One of the most unique elements of the game is our morale, or Drive, mechanic. Units have a Drive value that slowly decreases as their detachment suffers casualties. When a unit’s Drive reaches zero, they rout. This causes additional Drive penalties in friendly units and creates a cascade effect whereby the entire detachment will run off the battlefield. These penalties are mitigated by models with the Command ability – officers and sergeants – who will spend action points to boost falling Drive scores. No rolling involved, just a struggle to constantly keep your men from fleeing the action. I’m quite proud of this mechanic and I have yet to see another game that uses anything like it.
> How many models will a basic game need?
The game is skirmish-scale, so each player will field a detachment with an average of 10 models. We’ve seen lists with as few as 3 models and a vehicle or lists with as many as 20 models for a Soviet ‘horde’ detachment.
> What is the average game length supposed to be?
The game plays quite easily in an hour. Depending on the scenario, some games can be much faster or a bit longer. But the average play time in around an hour.
> What about the table; what size is the game designed for?
We recommend a 4′ x 4′ table.
> How much terrain does the game use?
Terrain is vital in this game. We’ve captured the essence of WWII where a soldier in the open is going to get killed. Players that don’t take advantage of cover will find themselves fighting an uphill battle. That’s why we recommend a good amount of terrain – a few pieces for every 1′ x 1′ table section.
> Now that the kickstarter is funded are you looking to an expansion yet? Will we see vehicles?
The core rules have always had vehicles in them and they will be included in the second edition. The focus will remain on light and medium vehicles; jeeps, halftracks and light armored cars. We will not be including rules for tanks in this book.
As for expansions, we already have a few things in the pipe. Due to space/budget we are unable to include a full British Army list in this book, which is something we really regret. Rest assured that they are first on the list for expansions and we’ll be looking to ’round-out’ Europe before moving on to the Pacific Theater.
Let me know if you have any other questions or any comments. Thanks Matt!
If you have more questions you can check out the kickstarter on the right hand side of the screen or check them out at Black Ball Games.