Interview with the Guys of "Star Saga - The Sci-fi Dungeon Crawler"

When most people think about tabletop wargaming they think that the price to get into this hobby is astronomically high. Not the case with a company called Mantic Games as they release core sets for very low prices. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Adam Levine, the Global Head of Marketing at Mantic, to discuss their latest offering on Kickstarter which is Star Saga.

Tell us a bit about Mantic Games

Mantic was founded in 2009 by Ronnie Renton and in the past seven years, we have become known for games that offer great fun, great value and great quality.  Whether that’s a fantasy wargame like Kings of War, a sci-fi skirmish game like Deadzone, or a more casual adventure game like Dungeon Saga.   

We’ve also done two licensed games for a broader audience—Mars Attacks with Topps, and The Walking Dead, which is hitting retail soon, with Skybound, and based on the hit comic book series by Robert Kirkman.

Mantic has loads of great games – what is one of the more popular ones right now?

Dungeon Saga has been huge for us, and that’s a big reason we’ve launched Star Saga, to expand on that concept.  Dungeon Saga was designed to be a modern take on the classic fantasy games from the 80s, and we built it with simple, easy-to-learn mechanics so that almost anyone could pick it up and play.  But it’s also a strategy-based game, and so it attracts players at all skill levels, and so far has been our biggest hit to date.  

We do think The Walking Dead will eclipse that, though, and already are seeing tons of interest for it online and at retail.  Like Dungeon Saga, it’s a game players of all skill levels can enjoy.  Kings of War has also been a big success for us this year, as it fills a huge void in the genre of mass-battle fantasy gaming and fans are just eating it up.

You currently have a Kickstarter for Star Saga. Tell us more about this universe?

Star Saga is set in our existing Warpath universe, which covers all of the sci-fi games we’ve done.

The Warpath Universe is a dynamic, hard sci-fi setting, some years in the future, where corporations run everything, from products and manufacturing to people, star systems, and even entire civilizations.  Outside the wealth and glamour of the core worlds, the galaxy has a feeling of lawlessness, so in one sense it’s very much what I call a “cowboy future.”  Bounty hunters and mercenaries are powerful and wealthy, and work both sides of every conflict.

We have three tiers of games within this universe:  the bigger, broader games like Warpath, that play in terms of vast armies and entire planets waging war; the mid-level skirmish/battle games like Deadzone and our upcoming Firefight that tell more focused stories; and then we have Star Saga for more detailed, character-driven stories within the larger Warpath universe.

What will be included with the core pledge?

It hasn’t been fully determined yet, and won’t be finalized until after our Kickstarter completes, but right now it stands at 37 miniatures, including 5 mercenary “heroes” (although we are loath to call them heroes—they’re more anti-heroes, really), 4 enemy bosses, and 24 minions, one Kickstarter Exclusive Bounty Hunter and 3 bonus security guards; 3D sculpted scenery including doors, tables, computer terminals, ammo crates, loot and more; a variety of full color floor tiles, and of course everything needed to play, like the rulebook, game cards, counters, custom dice, and range ruler.   

The Kickstarter pledge also includes some other exclusive items like a dice bag and an autographed art print.  The core pledge will come with the first two expansions, the Star Saga Mission Creator and Star Saga Character Creator, which allow you to build your own teams of mercenaries and design your own campaigns.

What are some of the stretch goals you want to unlock in this Kickstarter?

Well, we’ve already unlocked 5 stretch goals which added many of the contents listed, like the 3D scenery and extra miniatures.  We have many more planned, including some more expansions, loads more miniatures, scenery and bonus items.  One upcoming goal is to update the rules of our previous game, Project Pandora, which we’ll make available to everyone for free (even if you didn’t back the campaign) to bring it up to date with Star Saga’s new mechanics.

What are some of the exclusives that might be available to people who fund this Kickstarter?

The core pledge includes a Kickstarter miniature of Blaine, the dimension-hopping bounty hunter we’ve featured in nearly every one of our campaigns.  We’ve also included a printed dice bag, signed art print, and at our next stretch goal we’ll be adding and another exclusive mercenary figure.  Lots more exclusives are planned, too, as our total rises.

Would you be able to cross over with other games/universes such as Dungeon Saga?

Not Dungeon Saga specifically but definitely other games in the Warpath Universe, like Deadzone. We’ve already got plans, if we get far enough, to cross over not just these characters into those games, but to adapt the characters and figures from those games to be playable in Star Saga.

Is there a chance that Project Pandora Grim Cargo would be remade?

Somewhat.  Our 250K goal will see us update the rules for that game to be in line with Star Saga, and make those rules available as a free download.

Have any other projects coming up that you would want to talk about?

Nothing beyond Star Saga, though our retail launch for The Walking Dead: All Out War is coming soon and we’re all very excited about that.  We have plans for a launch day organized play event, with giveaways and promotional items, too.  We think this game will be something really special.

Any dream projects you would love to see made?

Dream projects?  Well, as a fan myself, I’d love to work on some miniatures games based on my favorite video games or movies, and now that we’ve got some really great experience with licenses…who knows? 

And there you have it! If you want to check out the Kickstarter for this great project, go here. This looks like a blast to play and if you love watching sci-fi movies I encourage you to check out this great offering from Mantic Games.

Also read: 5 Ways MAFIA 3 is a Different Open World Game

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