Tuomas Pirinen, best known for designing the classic Warhammer skirmish game Mordheim, is making a new skirmish wargame set in the horrific Trench Crusade alt-history universe of MTG card artist Mike Franchina. Pirinen made the announcement on his ‘Brutal Deluxe Game Design’ Facebook group on Monday.
Pirinen describes the new game as “old-school, grimdark skirmish action with full campaign rules”, though there are no samples yet for us to judge by. The post summarises the Trench Crusade universe as: “the armies of World War I, bolstered by divine powers, wage endless battle to stop the Legions of the Arch-devils from overwhelming the Earth”.
Mike Franchina is a professional concept artist who has developed the Trench Crusade setting for over seven years with his own art and lore. If anything, it’s even darker and grimmer than the nonstop battles between the Warhammer 40k factions, and the Trench Crusade’s forces of Hell and Church are every bit as horrific as the Warhammer 40k Chaos Gods and the Imperium of Man.
You might be familiar with Franchina’s artwork from the recent Magic: The Gathering: Phyrexia All Will be One set, where he contributed the Swooping Lookout, Mandible Justiciar, and Gulping Scraptrap cards. He’s also contributed concept art to video games including Path of Exile and Diablo 4.
Models for Trench Crusade will soon be available to customers, though they actually predate the wargame they’ll be used in. In August 2022 Franchina collaborated with sculptor James Sheriff to produce a small range of Trench Crusade miniatures via Kickstarter: those are set to arrive with backers this year. Pirinen joined them after that project was successfully funded.
Pirinen’s post doesn’t indicate when we can expect to see the rules for Trench Crusade, only that he’s been collaborating with Pirinen and Sheriff “for the last 6 months”.
It’s truly a golden age if you like grimdark science-fantasy wargames. Warhammer 40k 10th edition is coming soon, and this Summer brings a narrative expansion for Kill Team with models inspired by the classic Inquisitor skirmish game. Then there’s The Doomed by Chris McDowell, an indie skirmish wargame we described as Warhammer 40k meets Monster Hunter.