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Dakkadakka to release their own Sci-Fi Game - KS is Live!


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It is with great pleasure that I can at long last announce that Dakka has been working on a game and it is coming out soon - <a href="http://www.maelstromsedge.com">Maelstrom's Edge</a>.
Yakface, myself and a team of 6 others have been working on this project for over 3 years. We have injection moulded plastic models finished and ready to show, with tournament quality rules written by Jon Regul (yakface). It is a squad-based skirmish game (about 20-30 models per side), and every model is multi-part and multi-pose, so there is massive potential for easy conversions and part swaps.
We spent the first 18 months developing a science fiction universe unlike any other. Maelstrom's Edge is a distinct, unique and deep universe that can and will stand independently of the game. Enough talk, here's some teaser visuals!
Maelstrom's Edge is a far future science fiction setting where a golden age of exploration and innovation has been ripped apart and humanity is on the very edge of annihilation. The Maelstrom, a gigantic apocalyptic explosion of dark energy, is rapidly expanding out from the heart of the galaxy, destroying everything it touches. As worlds and stars are obliterated from existence, those who have the means flee towards deep space, while those left behind fight for the chance to escape.
For millennia before this catastrophe, humanity spread across the galaxy at sub-light speed, painstakingly eking out an existence in space and on barely habitable worlds. Then the cybel network was discovered. A gossamer web of dark energy threads stretching between every star, the cybel network allowed humanity to colonise thousands of worlds across the galaxy's spiral arm. All the progress that the cybel network brought, the Maelstrom took away. The Maelstrom erupted from the centre of humanity's worlds a millennium ago, racing down the cybel tunnels, splitting them apart and spilling their destructive energy out into real space.
The Edge is a stormfront, light years wide, where real space meets the Maelstrom’s tide of roiling, coruscating energy. The apocalypse is coming inexorably to every planet on the Edge. In the decades leading up the Maelstrom's arrival, every person is forced to make a choice about how they want to live the remainder of their existence. Unite or divide, give or take, fight or die. Those living on the edge are not bulletproof or elite. They are ordinary people caught up in a bewildering cataclysm, their only goal to survive as best they can.
The destruction wrought by the Maelstrom has led to conflict between many of the remaining organisations and governments. The competing corporations of the Epirian Foundation made their fortunes using advanced robotics and geo-engineering to alter worlds for colonisation. Now as the Maelstrom approaches, the Epirians are forced to abandon these worlds, using their enlisted soldiers and retrofitted robots to defend their interests.
Diametrically opposed to the Epirian Foundation’s interests are the Karist Enclave, a secretive group of religious zealots. They believe that if you are mentally and physically prepared, the Maelstrom will not destroy you, but instead you will ascend to a higher plane of existence. The Karists use vials of altered cybel energy to 'commune' with the Maelstrom, achieving a trance-like state they associate with ascension.
The refugees, revolutionaries, pirates and mercenaries that are left behind on abandoned worlds are collectively known as the Broken. Poor humans team up with abandoned aliens, desperately swarming worlds near the edge as they try to survive as long as they can. Against the implacable onslaught of the Maelstrom, every dockworker, farmer, CEO and mercenary is faced with the same dilemma: what will you do to survive?
We already have two novels <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=battle+for+zycanthus&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Abattle+for+zycanthus&ajr=1">available now (US link)</a> <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=series_rw_dp_labf?_encoding=UTF8&field-collection=Battle%20for%20Zycanthus&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text">(UK link)</a> so that you can start enjoying the universe in great depth before the game comes out. We'll have limited edition first print copies of the novels available for purchase at Salute and a short story compilation is due to be released in the very near future too. We've got some big names working on the fiction over the coming year.
Multi-part, multi-pose plastic is quite literally the hardest and most complex material to work in, and each model has been a huge undertaking. Every model we make has been superior to the previous one, and our first set of models are fantastic, so we can promise you that the latest stuff is absolutely amazing. We reject anything that does not make the grade for us as hobbyists, and will only ever release models that we want to build and use ourselves. The anticipation of getting our plastics in hand has been intense and there has been a constant flurry of paint and glue as we all love putting these things together and seeing the Maelstrom's Edge universe in the flesh. We've stuck to the 28-32mm sweet spot for scale to allow us to maintain compatibility with our existing bits boxes, battlefields, buildings and terrain. Talk is cheap though, so here are a few pictures of our earliest models. All of these are finished product (not prototypes), and 100% multipart plastic:
A game would not be anything without amazing rules. For many years, yakface supported the tournament scene with the INAT FAQ, fixing the rules of others and being personally thanked many times by many in the industry for his talents. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest rules authorities in the world and Dakka is largely built on the back of his rules knowledge and capability. It is no surprise that he's had a ruleset in the back of his mind for decades and it is now realised in the form of the Maelstrom's Edge tabletop game. There are so many unique ideas and concepts in the game that it can truly be described as a next generation wargame and will serve as a point of inspiration for other game developers for many years to come. We'll slowly leak out those unique points between now and launch to keep the excitement building.
Maelstrom's Edge is a squad-based skirmish scale game in which small units of 3-5 models are used alongside individual models. The turn mechanism features alternate activation (with a twist) so there is no waiting around for someone to move their entire force. The game features a great suppression mechanism through cinematic blast markers. Subtle front and rear firing arc markers are moulded in to the bases of the models making measurements simple. Most importantly, every unit is completely distinct in form and function, so there is no min-maxing as every unit has distinct strengths and weaknesses that complement and counter each other. At the same time, we guarantee that there will be no obsolescence of units and models, so when you invest the time and money in building a force, you'll know that it will be playable in some form forever.
We started this project before Kickstarter took off in the wargaming world and based on the strength of the team alone we were able to secure enough funding to create an entire starter box set in real plastic. As we saw kickstarter deliver huge audiences and secured funding to other wargaming companies out there, we adjusted our release plan to start work on additional plastic models beyond the initial box set contents with a view to running a Kickstarter to raise the funds for the physical production, shipping and marketing elements of the plan. It is safe to say that this will be an incredibly low risk Kickstarter for anyone who wants to get first dibs on the game as the project is largely complete at the moment and should ship well before the end of the year. Our only major projected delay will be the beta testing and printing of the rulebook and related shipping. The models are close to completion and have very little work left to be retail ready, with production moving at a great and stable pace. 
To show things off in the flesh, we'll be attending <a href="http://www.salute.co.uk/salute/salute-2015/">Salute 2015</a> in London's Excel centre on April 25th, so make sure you get tickets and come by our booth located at TE05 - Spiral Arm Studios (our UK spinoff company) to see the models, have a chat with us and see more of the Maelstrom's Edge universe ahead of its in depth release over the course of this year.
We'll be launching our Kickstarter at the end of April and can already confirm that it will be jointly shipping from the UK and US so there will be no customs duties to worry about for those of you living in the EU or the USA. More information will be slowly coming out between now and then in a controlled manner so that we don't end up with blank news periods, so thank you for your patience as we show more and more things at a slow but steady pace.
We know you will have many questions and you'll be eager to see as much as we can show you, but there will be a slow and controlled release of information over the coming month. Please have patience and enjoy our teasers as we show you our hard work!
Finally, please follow Maelstrom's Edge on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/maelstromsedge">facebook</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/maelstromsedge">twitter</a>. You'll see news there before anywhere else so it is the best way to keep up with the project. If you don’t use those, then please put in your email address at <a href="http://www.maelstromsedge.com">http://www.maelstromsedge.com</a> to get on the mailing list so you can see all of our updates as and when they happen!
Creating Maelstrom's Edge is the most exciting thing we've done with Dakka since taking over in 2007 and it is absolutely nerve-wracking! Your support is so very welcome as this game has been made for everyone who has been looking for a new world-class game and we know from the discussions here on Dakka that encapsulates a lot of people. We are building a sci-fi universe that will last for generations and you are here right at the start so thank you for standing with us and giving us the inspiration and base from which to build!
Thank you for reading this far!
 - legoburner and the Spiral Arm Studios team

<b>Are there aliens or is this universe exclusively human?</b>
The human/alien divide was a tough one to navigate but our universe is roughly akin to Star Wars in terms of the level of aliens and their integration with society, especially in the fiction and background. We've aimed for a nice balance of humans, aliens and robotics with our first load of miniatures though at the infantry level it is largely human due to market demand projections. 
<b>Are there any non-human infantry models planned?</b>
Lots! We are in the studio painting phase for plenty of beautiful aliens and robots at the moment and will be releasing images of them over the next few weeks. We find that the best looking forces across any game use a nice variety of compatible troops, and so we have been very determined from day one to avoid creating 'yet another generic sci-fi human force' for any of our factions.  
<b>What manufacturers are you using?</b>
We've used a few companies both inside and outside the industry, but they are all very clear that they do not like being mentioned for various reasons so we are unable to give specifics without risking our relationships and contracts. We are actively using three at the moment to help us mitigate any potential delays and have had good success with all three. 
<b>Will the story progress or be set in one instant in time?</b>
We are progressing the storyline but will not be invalidating any models. There will be a lot going on with all sorts of events and major changes of circumstances planned over the very long term, yet the forces you build at the start will still be viable in some form in the future as well. It will be a very slow pace of movement, but it will be moving forwards. 
<b>How many factions are planned?</b>
5 factions are in heavy development, but it will just be two for the first 18 months at least. The lead time for development, design and testing is huge so we are more focused on making the Epirians and Karists the best they can be, with lots of potential for off-shoot factions and blue vs blue fights. You probably wont see any other factions outside of the fiction until next year but The Broken, The Remnant Fleet and the Kaigus Pact are all in active development. 
<b>What kind of units can we expect?</b>
The game is focused around the infantry scale primarily. Tanks and similar tend to be big cash sinks and time sinks for development that we think would be better spent elsewhere for now, so there is no immediate rush on them though a few early designs and plans are floating around. There will be infantry, smaller scale stuff and larger things around the size of a small dreadnought in our first couple of release tranches. From personal preference, much larger things tend to mess up the feeling of scale on the battlefield as well which we are eager to keep 'tight' given the 20-30 model force preference in our ruleset.

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Thanks all, and great to see such passionate thought about the small amounts of the universe we've revealed so far :)
As promised, here are some more things to draw you in to our expansive universe and awesome model range:
To pre-empt questions we've been asked before on the model design choices:
The draw lines for making a two part mould meant that we had the choice of either splitting the legs at the hip, or greatly restricting the poses available. Additionally, merging the legs to the hips would have meant that some of the edges of the nice crisp armour plates would have to be blended in to the legs which is one of those really annoying things you see in sub-standard plastics.
As a result, we opted for splitting the legs and getting more sharp detail and more poses as a result. It does make assembly a touch more fiddly, but assembly only needs to be done once, whereas crappy detail is crappy forever. It also makes conversions a bit easier as there are more pre-cut places, so bending a leg, sculpting an addition, or adding a robotic hand from the bits box is much more straightforward.
The same logic is applied for the hands - the armour plates on the forearms of the Karists meant they would be out of draw line if we had hands on the arms, so there would be no finger detail without the split there. All other models we've done since have hands attached. 
We've now got the best of both worlds on our more recent plastics as we are using multi-slide core tooling to give us multiple angles of draw, allowing us to get crisp, extreme detail and have easy assembly. These images are of the very first sprues we did. They are great and we've only got better and more talented since then!
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One of the first things we did to start gaining competence with plastics was to design a sprue of terrain. Maelstrom's Edge benefits from a decent amount of terrain on the board, and as such, we wanted to be sure that we could get maximum coverage with a small amount of sprue space.
There are plenty of companies out there providing excellent MDF and full-building plastic terrain so simply doing what they have done with a different flavour did not appeal to us. Instead, we looked back in time at more efficient terrain building options and came up with a modular sprue which is scale compatible with most major terrain ranges that are already out there.
What we've created is this:
A large range of high quality plastic components, including but not limited to, doors, windows, fascias, panels, edging, pipe fittings (designed to fit standard drinking straws and small pipes), and much more.
Our terrain allows you to take a simple object, or build a simple shape out of card, balsa or foamcore, and cut some holes in it and stick in our plastic:
Then end up with a fantastic building once painted and weathered:
Here's a bunch more examples, all made using standard hobby materials and our terrain sprue: 
With our terrain sprue, we want to inspire people to be better hobbyists and build some truly creative things. The terrain sprue is not in the boxed set by default as it is huge (almost A4 sized), and very heavy and very expensive to produce. If we hit $45,000, it will be unlocked as stretch goal number 2 and we'll be able to get them in to the boxed set.
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