Star Wars Shatterpoint lead game designer Will Shick says that “speed and dynamic movement is core to Shatterpoint’s design” to such an extent that veteran wargamers may start the game “underestimating just how far miniatures can move during an activation”. In an interview with Wargamer, Shick explains that players will “likely have to unlearn” their assumptions about how their models can move in order to succeed.
Having run and spectated many demos of Star Wars Shatterpoint, Shick says “the number one comment I hear people make after seeing the game in action is just how fast everything is”.
He relates a particularly kinetic game against Michael Plummer – now the lead developer on Shatterpoint – after he had just joined publisher Atomic Mass Games.
“We were testing Padawan Ahsoka Tano on this maglev train table set up. The board was criss-crossed with all these elevated train tracks and I needed to take control of two objectives basically across the board from each other in order to win the struggle. Through a combination of Ahsoka’s abilities and combat tree results I was able to clear one objective, leaving a Clone Trooper in control and then have Ahsoka batter and jump her way across train tracks and using ingress points to effectively cross the table and overtake the second point”.
Atomic Mass Games has already published the rules for Star Wars: Shatterpoint, as well as blog posts explaining key systems, but here’s the spark notes on the ‘combat tree’ and how it makes Shatterpoint combat interesting. When models attack, net successes don’t translate straight into damage. Instead each success allows the player to advance along a branching ‘combat tree’, picking up effects at each stage. Damage is on there, but so too are things like healing, moving, shoving enemies around the battle, activating a force power, or jumping.
If that sounds like you’ll have to spend a lot of time lookingup cards, Shick says it’s “pretty equivalent to other character focused skirmish miniatures games”, and adds that “all the abilities in Shatterpoint… directly affect the tabletop in some important way”. Shoves and moves will “allow players to reposition the attacking character into advantageous positions” – or hurtle from one end of the battlefield to another, as in Shick’s example with Aksoka Tano.
This is the first article from our interview with Shick: we have more planned, and we’ll be putting up the whole interview transcript next week.
The Star Wars: Shatterpoint starter set is available for pre-order now. If you can’t wait for some Star Wars wargaming fun, Star Wars Legion has a full product line and a well-deserved place on our list of the best Star Wars board games. If the idea of kinetic combat appeals to you, check out Marvel Crisis Protocol – also designed by Atomic Mass Games, it has a spot on our list of the best miniature wargames.