(I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong section, but I couldn't figure where else to put a home-brew)
Hello, everyone. I’d like to introduce a home-brew digital tabletop game I’ve been chipping away at called Hellstorm: Air Campaigns in the 41st Millennium.
What is it?
Hellstorm is an UNOFFICIAL game set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. Focusing on the prosecution of air campaigns on an operational and theater level, it combines the fast-paced nature of air warfare with the scope and scale it deserves. Whether it is eliminating enemy air defenses to clear a path for bombers on the way to level an enemy armored column, terror bombing Imperial cities with incendiary munitions in order to spread fear and panic, or supporting the assault of Titan legions against heavily fortified strongholds, Hellstorm seeks to build on the existing lore and explore the possibilities of aviation in the universe of 40k.
Several years ago, Forge World published a game called Aeronautica Imperialis. While sharing the same setting and general performance of aircraft in keeping with established lore, Hellstorm is NOT an expansion or addition to existing Aeronautica rules. Rather, significant differences cause it to become a different genre entirely. Individual playing pieces are no longer single aircraft but entire squadrons, platoons, and columns. The scale has been increased dramatically, allowing for the strategic use of airbases and mobile air defense networks in addition to aviation. Technology and therefore play styles vary dramatically, ranging from the almost contemporary technology of the Tau to the swarm mentality of the Tyranids.
What do you mean "Digital Tabletop?"
As an unofficial project with no backing or affiliation from Games Workshop, Hellstorm is to be designed first and foremost as a digital, shared-screen game, using its own rules and custom playing pieces. While enterprising individuals may find ways of translating it onto a physical tabletop, the Hellstorm development team will never sanction or promote such actions. This is done for two key reasons:
First and foremost, Games Workshop’s intellectual property is at stake. Clear distinctions must be made to guarantee that Hellstorm is a derivative work rather than a modification of existing products, particularly Aeronautica Imperialis. As such, Hellstorm exists at GW’s leisure, and it is imperative that no significant challenge to their authority is created. Hellstorm will never be distributed in any official capacity outside of basic file hosting, nor will any form of monetary compensation be expected or accepted for its production. All of this is in compliance with GW’s current Intellectual Property Policy as stated on their website.
(It should be noted that if something is called “Hellstorm Official,” it does NOT imply the involvement of Games Workshop, but is only something created and approved by the Hellstorm development team. I would love it if GW actually took up the idea, but until such time as they do, Hellstorm will suffice as a free-to-play project.)
Second, it is difficult enough finding enough players in close proximity to play such games, and so the digital format, with implied use of the internet, is also a key design component. Hellstorm’s ease of access is meant to maximize player enjoyment, especially for those who are unable to play tabletop games due to location, time and financial constraints.
How does it work?
Currently, the intended platform is Google Draw, which combines the necessary features of object manipulation with real-time shared-screen capability. Hellstorm’s format will therefore be a simple compressed file containing transparent graphics. These are imported into Google Draw as required. Dice rolls and random chance are accomplished through the use of online number generators such as Random.org.
What's the objective?
In the end, the design philosophy for Hellstorm is as follows:
To combine existing Warhammer 40,000 lore with knowledge of contemporary military aviation to create an operational-level air campaign wargame, balancing simplified game mechanics with the unique and varied weapons systems of the universe, in an effort to make a fun, fast-paced, and demanding representation of futuristic air warfare across an entire front.
To these ends, some artistic liberties will come into effect, primarily in regards to technology: Stand-off weapons and electronic warfare will be added on a faction-by-faction basis. The firing ranges of rifles and cannons in the original 40k game will be comparable to the ranges of lasers and missiles, creating observable differences in the play styles of each faction using this scale. Special abilities will also come into play, guaranteeing that even the best air-to-air missiles can be countered.
Because of the scope, the sky is literally the limit: Whether you want to fight a single air battle between a handful of squadrons or fight across an entire continent for hours on end, Hellstorm has provisions for every conceivable mission profile. Get stormtroopers in dropships safely behind enemy lines, or invade a planet using space cruisers as untouchable airbases. The choice is yours.
How does it look right now?
Currently, Hellstorm is in the pre-production phase. The intention is to round off at least 3 factions in both aircraft and land units before openly publishing it as the “1st Edition.” Subsequent editions will eventually include all additional races, and as many land units as deemed reasonable for scenarios.
In addition, “expansions” are planned which will include paint schemes for units, rules for special/elite squadrons, and ideas for scenarios and campaigns, all in the best traditions of tabletop wargaming.
This is currently a team of one. I’m completely willing to do most of the heavy lifting in terms of both artwork and game mechanics, but I cannot play-test by myself, nor will I have the time to generate extra content such as scenario ideas on a regular basis. As such, I’m currently looking for people to act as alpha-testers to gauge this in its proof-of-concept stage.
If anyone is interested and willing to take part in this, please contact me via Skype at “quattro.bajeena77” or reply in this topic.