RB – Projekt X marks the spot

The biggest miniature in the game is a long way from being “miniature”: it’s the huge Projekt X. As you can see from the pictures, he towers over the Heroes, and we’ve been working on ways to make him as awesome in the game as he looks.

Firstly, I should apologise for not bringing you this update sooner. We wanted to wait till we had a copy of the miniature in our hands to show you. Unfortunately we’ve been having a little trouble printing him on our 3D printer. We’ve got renders of the sculpt to show, but we prefer to show photos of the actual miniature so you can see something that’s closer to what you’ll get in the end. The print is huge and complex and takes 40 hours each time, and so far we’ve not had any luck getting it to come out without any errors. Of course, you won’t have this issue as you’ll be getting yours pre-assembled. You just take him out of his box, and off you go!

We’re currently running the 3D print again, and hope to be able to show you the results of our efforts tomorrow. However, we can’t guarantee that it will work this time either, so rather than leave you waiting any longer, here’s some more info about the big guy.

 Projekt Vril was never expected to amount to much by the Nazi High Command, and it’s come a long way. Little by little its scope has expanded, and once the pfennig dropped about the potential vril offered, then the concept was grasped with both hands. They could make the ultimate weapon – the one that would win the war for the Nazis. This weapon would be called Projekt X.

In some ways this called the bluff of the vrilmeisters. Having somewhat overstated the degree of control they had over vril (to get the funding in the first place), they now had to deliver. The entire fate of the Third Reich was in their hands. No pressure.

Given the success that they’d had with the smaller vrilpanzers, Project X was envisaged as an upscaled version. Early tests were disastrous. The pilot found it far too large and complex to control on their own, and a 3-man crewed version fared little better. With no time for careful steps, and the news from the front getting worse by the day, it was exactly the sort of desperate times that called for the most desperate of measures.

So it was that Jürgen Boltz volunteered to be melded with the huge machine. The mutation technologies alongside the psychic research and other esoteric vril studies indicated that he would be able to form a sort of bond with the machine itself. Once this was done, he should be able to control it as if it was an extension of himself. Much to the vrilmeisters’ collective surprise, this worked perfectly first time. It was unfortunate that Jürgen’s personality was almost entirely lost, but the overall effect was superb. Suddenly the Nazis had a vast war machine that could smash Allied tanks like old tin cans. They would make another, and another; a whole army of them. Then, just when the Allies thought they were victorious, the tide would turn. A squad of Projekt X clones would lead armies of vrilpanzers into battle at the head of an invincible legion of vril-enhanced soldiers and mutants. Nothing would stop them.

Then the Reichbusters arrived.

Nobody had heard anything of Projekt X before they entered the castle, but it was pretty clear that they couldn’t allow it to stay in one piece once they found it. The problem was how to destroy it…

In terms of game design, Projekt X poses a few interesting challenges and we’re still nailing down the details. These are all down to its size (which is huge – I may have mentioned this).

First off, there is the faction issue. He is so powerful that there is little room for much else and we weren’t initially sure that would work. Luckily, it’s fine. He doesn’t need a separate vrilmeister, and only has a few guards, so balance can be maintained. The faction revolves entirely around Projekt X, and not needing to dilute this feeling by adding more units for balance means that it’s full of character. In the game this is a nice change from fighting lots of smaller things, and forces players to adapt to a new challenge.

The second issue is simply fitting it on the board. It is so big that it can’t squeeze down every corridor, so very careful planning has to be done in order to ensure that it has enough tactical options during play. This is far from being all bad though – it actually gives you really interesting games where one side can only access part of the board. The Heroes get to hide in certain parts of the map, at least hide from Projekt X. That gives quite different gameplay, and that’s a good thing.

Obviously Projekt X has to be both harder to kill and more shooty than pretty much anything else in the game. Definitely it has to be more dangerous than the other Nazi units, and also more than any single Hero.

Offensive output is relatively simple to organise and fits right into how the game works normally. The challenge is how to represent toughness. We’ve tried a couple of different ways so far, and are in the process of testing and streamlining now. The key idea is that you can’t just kill it with a single shot. Instead, it’s treated as a collection of subsystems, each of which has to be attacked and “killed” individually. Thus you can blow an arm off it, and this will take away some of its weapons, but it won’t stop it. Only when you destroy enough critical parts will you be able to claim victory over this metal giant.

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