We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Why Undaunted board game dropped WW2 for hard sci-fi

We spoke with Osprey Games at UK Games Expo to explore Undaunted 2200 Callisto, the WW2 board game series’ first foray into science fiction.

Undaunted 2200 Callisto unit cards

The next Undaunted board game release, Undaunted 2200: Callisto, is a rapid departure for the series. Previously this strategy game, which blends elements of deck builders and wargames, has explored different battlegrounds of WW2. But now it’s gone full sci-fi, depicting a fictional conflict between miners and corporations on a Jovian moon.

We spoke to Benji Corless, Osprey Games’ senior marketing executive, to learn more about this strategy board game, which comes out September 2024, and find out what was behind the sudden change.

Apparently, a less historical setting was always on the cards. “David and Trevor, the designers, are big sci-fi nerds, so right from the beginning, this was something that was in the back of their minds,” Corless says. He adds that Osprey Games encounters a lot of people who like the innovative deckbuilding system of Undaunted, but either they, their friends, or their partners are put off by the theme.

Undaunted 2200 Callisto box

Perhaps this desire to bring new players on board is why Undaunted 2200 looks to have a greater focus on accessibility than previous instalments. Corless says this is one reason why Callisto drops the build-your-own-battlemap element, allowing for easier, speedier setups. There are other advantages to this too; Callisto adds new map elements like height elevation. We’re told the maps are “able to be much more detailed than previous encounters”.

While Undaunted 2200 is aimed at fans who don’t like WW2 board games and want something more fantastical, Osprey has kept its new setting somewhat grounded. Corless explains it’s avoided aliens, aiming to create a realistic, human conflict of the future – which hopefully will still resonate with the historical fans. “I think it also helps make characters that people can identify with in some way,” he explains.

On that front, delving into fiction allows greater opportunities for diversity. “There’s finally full diversity in our games,” Corless says. “We’re able to have characters of all genders – and races as well, there’s a big mix of people.”

While at first glance Undaunted 2200 Callisto seems to stick quite close to the series’ formula, it’s more than just a sci-fi reskin. One new gameplay element is mechs, which use a similar “but improved” system to tanks and vehicles in the more traditional games. You have a crew of different people inside the mechs, performing different roles. Mechs stand out on the battlefield thanks to their standees. “The idea is they’re huge, and you feel their presence because your human troops are still flat tokens.”

Are fictional settings the future for Undaunted? It will probably depend on how Undaunted 2200 performs. “[The designers] have done all the main areas that they want for now with WW2, Corless tells us. “That’s not to say that there won’t be more, because there is demand for it.”

For related content, check out our Undaunted: Normandy review and Undaunted: Battle of Britain review – and to keep up with all our UK Games Expo coverage this weekend, follow Wargamer on Google News.