Tribe 8 Liberation™: The Stillborn T8 Wargame

A few years back, the game industry went through another of its fad periods: everyone seemed to be publishing a miniature game that summer. Alas, miniatures are an expensive hobbies, and many games fell by the wayside. We already had some miniature-oriented games in our line-up (Heavy Gear, etc.) but we nonetheless examined the possibility of adding another one to maximize the use of the casting shop.

The project outlined below was one such proposal (keep in mind that since this is an internal design document, it is not polished, text- and idea-wise). It never went past this document, and is very unlikely to see the light of day now, given the number of entrenched competitors in this tiny corner of the game market. Still, this text does contain a number of interesting ideas that can be mined for an alternate (or more combat-oriented) Tribe 8 campaign, and we thought it would be worthwhile to share. More enterprising souls can try to find appropriate miniatures on the market and put together the game themselves (Silhouette certainly lends itself to it).

If anyone does, we'd like to  rdubois [at] dp9.com (hear it)

! Special thanks go to Dennis Kirkpatrick for converting this file to HTML.


A proposal for a tabletop miniatures game

 

DP9 Staff: Phillipe R. Boulle, Marc A. Vezina, Hilary Doda

 

The Basics

Tribe 8, although designed as a roleplaying game, has many of the elements to make a fun and interesting tabletop miniatures game. There are multiple factions (a.k.a. armies) and lost of visually interesting types of people (a.k.a. units). T8 is also somewhat unique in its mix of fantasy, tribal and post-apocalyptic elements, ensuring that a bunch of Tribe 8 miniatures will be "T8"a; and not appear as Warhammer copies or some other derivative.

Also, given that much of the design work will be done for the RPG, it seems silly not to capitalize on them for the a tabletop game — especially if a basic Silhouette-based rules set is already developed for the tactical games.

Tribe 8 Liberation would essentially be a “historical” Tribe 8 game, set at the time of the liberation from the Z’bri’s concentration camps. This is an interesting time because it is one of all-out conflict between the tribes and the Z’bri, a clear-cut conflict well-suited for a wargame. The tribes are not yet fully formed or united either, so intertribal battles are also possible. The Keepers are around to provide yet another faction to play.

Possible Formats

T8L is possible in two general formats: a “million and one miniatures” format (like say Warhammer Fantasy Battle) or a “ten to twenty miniatures” format (like Necromunda). We think it’s better suited to the latter, where “gangs” based on a single tribe are possible, supplemented by secondary units from other factions. This would allow “out of the box” playability along with room for expansion. We do think that scaling things toward the 20 miniature range would be nice, because we want to leave some room for vehicles (mounted units, Keeper buggies, etc.).

It might actually be nice to include both possibilities. The basic game would be scaled for 20 miniatures or so, but given the speed of Silhouette, playing a mass battle shouldn’t be ruled out.

We think miniatures should be in 25-28mm scale, appealing straight to the wargaming crowd. [Note: possibly, 25 mm Fatimas and 15 mm Tribals, perhaps?]

The game should include Synthesis (magic), perhaps in the form of cards or special abilities. Thinks like relics, etc. would also be welcome.

There should be special characters — historical chieftains, etc.

We're not sure if T8L should have the character detail of campaign-oriented games (units developing skills, etc.)

Selling Points

T8L would be attractive for a variety of reasons:

  • Established RPG line means at least some crossover (although not huge) and name recognition.
  • Wide variety of diverse/funky units: twisted monsters, technopriests with uzis, tribal amazons, witch-like magicians, etc. This is attractive to players (high cool factor) and to sellers (potentially large product line).
  • Suitable terrain is widely available and easily made.
  • Fast-and-easy game system (like all our games!)

Possible Units

The key to T8L as a successful game line is, of course, miniatures. We need to be able to provide a constant flow of new and interesting figures, something made possible by the multiplicity of factions and subgroupings in T8, all of which fit into the basic Tribes vs. Z’bri conflict.

Needless to say, however, that T8L will require at least one very good human/organic sculptor as well as someone into weird mechanics (the Fatimas).

Tribes

The basic “good guys” are the Eight Tribes around at the time of Liberation. Each tribe should be thought of as a separate faction with special strengths and weaknesses for the purposes of T8L, where the basic unit is a tribal party of say 20 people. Of course, using units from various tribes should be possible within some limits. Note that some tribes (say the Marians) will have to be “militarized” for the purposes of the miniature game, but that can be explained away — these are the people fighting it out, not the tribe as a whole.

We envision each tribe having the following basic types of troops:

  • Standard Troops: These are the basic footsoldiers. They have no real special abilities, although some may have distinctive weapons. Examples include Joanite warriors and Yagans with bows.
  • Special Troops: These are the specialist units that are always the most fun. Each tribe should have a few of these, but they should not be millions on the battlefield.

These need to be divided into two: Speed Troops and Heavy Troops. Each tribe should have the option of both, even if their focus is (ie. Joshua) on massive damage rather than speed or creativity.

Examples include Blades of Joan (big swords), Yagan Reapers (with scythes and spirit powers), Evan Wildriders (on wolves or other beasts). [Note: Agnites using animals as Agnes uses Her bear; Dahlians with Polearms (for vaulting)]

  • ‘Magicians/Shamans’: These are the “magic users” with Synthesis abilities.
  • Special Characters: These would be individual characters set out as leaders or special warriors, with special skills, abilities and equipment.

Fatimas pose an interesting problem. They are obviously too cool to leave unsculpted, but they are too powerful to have on the board as is. One solution is that we postulate that Fatimas can create temporary lesser avatars of themselves (or at least did, back then). These look like smaller versions of the Fatima and are very powerful, but on a human scale. These could form the center of large tribal war parties (25+ figures).

Z’bri

The Z’bri are the other big faction and break down into the four Houses. These should have unit types along the lines of the tribes. Human slaves (predecessors to serfs) could be part of these armies.

The Z’bri, of course, are among the most fun miniatures because they are so weird. Lots of twisted humans, monstrosities, etc. Chained Z’bri can be very fun.

Others

Other units and factions are also available. Keepers are especially fun, with firearms, buggies, bikes, etc..

(Potential unit types are listed in a big table at the end of this file.)

Possible Support Products

Support can be provided with a series of faction books or support boxes and campaigns. Of course it is the miniatures themselves that will provide the greatest amount of support.

Tribe 8, the Tribe 8 logo and Silhouette are trademarks of Dream Pod 9, Inc. Tribe 8, Fatima, Z'bri, Silhouette and all other names, logos and specific game terms are (c)1999-2003 Dream Pod 9. All Tribe 8 art and designs are Copyright (c)1998-2003 Dream Pod 9, Inc.

Dream Pod 9, Inc.
5000 Iberville, Suite 332
Montréal, Québec
Canada H2H 2S6

Possible Miniature Units for Tribe 8 Liberation

 

 

Faction Rank and File Speed Troops Heavy Troops Magicians
Dahlians Strike-and-run tactics, built for speedy guerrilla warfare Night Dancers(highly athletic, invisibility powers) Thunder Riders(Massively decorated chariots - reflect light to blind, etc) Tricksters (Illusion and Motion. Distorting perception and increasing a unit’s traveling speed.)
Evans Strength in numbers, but alone are pretty insignificant. Can ally together and get bonuses from working in groups Beastriders(cavalry on wolves, stags, etc.) Beastkin (humans transformed with some animal characteristics - eagle wings, etc.) Shamans (Life and Empathy. Growing plants up to smother enemies/block terrain, perceive/change enemy’s morale)
Joanites Your basic swordsmen, with incredible defenses. Armored up to all heck. Blades of Joan(two swords – devastating in HtH) Silver Knights(cavalry units with lances & swords) Templars (Devotion and Fury. Increase damage potential of friendlies, take another’s wound onto themselves)
Joshuans Full-frontal screaming berserkers. No subtlety, no subterfuge, just rampaging guys with hammers, maces and shields. Ravagers(berseker lone warriors) Hammerkin (wield huge hammer, can knock people down by hitting the ground) Desecrators (Force and Vengeance. Can bring rivers of magma up from the ground and turn any attack back on the attacker)
Magdalites Wiry and sinewy - acrobatic leaps, camouflage skills - easily concealed. Assassins(infiltration & “backstab” abilities) Iron Roses (hand-held claws, close-fighting) Dentata (Conflict and Passion. Seduce & distract enemies, turn enemy troops against each other)
Marians Back-line distance types. Javelins, bolas, anything that can be flung and/or whirled. Child Crusaders(kid soldiers, fast and deadly with spears) Wreathed Ones(fortressed types - catapults, war engines barricades) Forgivers (Blessing and Purity. Heal friendly units, break hold on Z’bri slaves)
Shebans Solid front line troops - pikemen and crossbows. Owlkin (have owl familiars. can take short flights across the field. Also keen distance sight and night vision) Inquisitors(horseback riding axe-wielding close-fighters) Judges (Truth and Wisdom. Convert enemies over to the Sheban side, learn next move of enemy)
Yagans Flesher types - bone machetes, short swords, etc. All wear death masks of various types. Bone Archers(use bone arrows, precise long range) Reapers (use scythes, short range with dispersal abilities) Mordreds (Fate and Death. Sudden death, reviving dead troops as zoms)
Flemis Fleshy borg - act in unison, overwhelm, suffocate and absorb the opposition. Polyps (flying bloated sacs - scatter infectious spores on battlefield) Juggernauts(massive but slow Flemis collectives, crushing anything they don’t absorb.) Ambassadors (Assimilation and the One Thought. Absorbs enemies into the Hive Mind, controls own troops – as though they always had line-of-sight?)
Koleris Constantly mutating beasts with claws, teeth and bone-shard weapons Order of Razors(multi-legged hyper-muscled beasties with immense blades in place of their forearms) Warmongers(massive serf constructions of four or more bodies, all the arms carrying some form of crushing weapon) Shackled Ones (Shattering and Exsanguination. Can violently purge all the fluids from an enemy’s body, or break every bone in said body. Bound in chains to prevent them from tearing themselves to pieces.)
Melanis Quick and agile, with massive numbers of animal helpers/tools Symbiots (able to move ‘through’ one shadow to another, use poisons to take captives from enemies) Doyens (ride beast vehicles created out of hundreds of serf bodies) Deacons (Chaining and Animation. Can erase the memories of enemy troops, warp physical reality by chaining enemies to objects and beasts.)
Sangis Average rank’n’file human serfs, armed with bows, spears, etc. Distance fighters. Almoners (point men - dive in, and prepare the way for the rest. Spears, pikes, javelins, knives…) Fleshcrafters(walking distractions. One holds the attention of a squad while the rest grind them into paste.) Entrancers (Appeasement and Soul-stealing. Can change the physical features of an enemy - remove a bowman’s eyes, for instance - or control their actions for a little while.)
Keepers Guys with Guns - rifles and jury-rigged pistols and other neat firearms Wheelers (ride patched-together motorbikes and dune buggies with vehicle-mounted weapons) Boomjacks(entrench themselves behind barricades with massive bazookas and rocket launchers) Technosmiths (can rebuild damaged weapons/vehicles, generate and channel electricity through their bodies)