Dark Age – Interview with Ross Thompson
I recently had the privilege of conducting this interview with Ross Thompson from “Cool Mini or Not” about the recently re-released table top miniatures game – Dark Age.
Paul: Let’s start with some of the most basic questions about Dark Age. Could you share a little bit of background on Dark Age. When was it conceived, a bit about its history and the most recent changes to the game.
Ross: The current game of Dark Age has it’s beginnings in the CCG Dark Age: Feudal Lords.
Using Brom’s art we turned the CCG into a Table Top miniatures game, this was in 2000. The game existed for a long time as a free for download game until the first print of Dark Age: Genesis in 2005.
Since then three more books were released under those rules, Exodus, Evolution and Essence. In 2009 we decided to collect all the books into one rulebook, at first it was just going to be an Omnibus, but we took a step back and decided to make some changes to the game. Two of the major changes were moving to inches, and making LoS 360 degrees instead of having a front and back arc.
Today we have two, full color, hard back rulebooks, a 96 page book that has all the basic rules to play the game, plus advanced rules, the Core Rules book. And the Forcelist book, a 356 page book that contains all the rules to play forces from five different factions.
Paul: What makes Dark Age different from other tabletop miniature games?
Ross: The setting for Dark Age is what makes it unique. With its Post-Apocalyptic universe and concept inspired from Brom’s Art. Dark Age is a skirmish game that allows you to tailor your faction to play style and look.
Paul: Dark Age is played with just one D20 die, is that correct? How is that facet of the game unique?
Ross: The way that Dark Age uses a D20 is the D20 gives you a wider range of variables to work with, two extremes with an average die roll of 9-12.
Paul: Let’s dive into the five factions in the game. How would you summarize the main theme / story of each of them?
Ross: Before I talk about of the five factions let’s look at the setting: The Empire of mankind has reached to the stars, planets are colonized, and business is what runs the worlds.
Powerful corporations and governments have their own agenda. Samaria due to it’s harsh conditions, could support life but not very well. Governments and corporations saw this planet as a means to do their illicit activities without any oversight. Over time huge cities sprang up to support the factories and laboratories that sprang up over the planet. The planet not really being a planet supported at all is left to fend for itself. Civilization declines on the planet and over a course of 500 years the planet itself has declined into a Dark Age.
Forsaken – The Forsaken were founded by the combination of ancient religious text and modern leaders of society. Led by Saints, who command vast armies with their charismatic power and will, these Forsaken represent society of Samaria trying to find their way in the world and survive.
Dragyri – The original inhabitants of Samaria before the corporations came. The Dragyri embraced the elements and are defined by their Castes. They lived in vast underground caverns and are now exploring the surface world and finding that they don’t like what they see. They value honor over everything and find that these aliens on their world are without honor.
Skarrd – Are the dredge and scum that lived in the Forsaken cities. They were forced out of the cities and had to march the wastelands for survival. After encountering warehouses of radioactive weapons, which they thought was a food source. They mutated into the Baniss and later they joined forces with a fallen Saint and becoming the Skarrd, a group of cannibalistic cyborg mutants.
Brood – One of the laboratories on the planet was working on living bio-weapons, when it came time to abandon the laboratory the scientist simply turned of the labs and left, hoping that their horrific creations would just simply die off. One of the experiments turned the labs back on, and over the course of 500 years went insane and started experimenting on her own. The Broodmere tends to her children like any mother would dote on her favorite child.
The Brood are horrible scientific experiments gone horribly wrong, and they are curious why their Creator-Gods abandoned them.
Outcast – Tribes that live outside the Forsaken cities, they have learned to live of the land to meek out a meager survival. They do not subscribe to the Prevailers use of Religion for enforcement. They are so small in numbers they are tolerated, mainly because they do bring trade to the Forsaken cities. They are your atypical apocalyptic looking warriors.
Paul: Are the models based on points? If so, what’s a typical size army people play?
Ross: Each Unit, an individual miniature, has a Point Value (PV). Dark Age is a fast paced table top miniature skirmish system. Not too many models are needed to play the game. Anywhere from 5-15 models are needed for one force depending on the faction. A typical 500 point game takes anywhere from 30 -45 minutes to play and a 750 point game takes one hour to an hour and a half to play.
Paul: One of your taglines is “Everything Dies!”. Could you explain what that tagline means?
Ross: Dark Age is a brutal game where nothing is safe. The perfect game of Dark Age boils down to the last turn and there are only two models left on the board. Big nasty monsters can be taken out just as easily by the little scrub troops.
Paul: What is Dark Age “Apocalypse”? Is it a new version of the game, an expansion pack?
Ross: Dark Age: Apocalypse is the new Edition of the game.
Paul: For a brand new player wanting to start playing the game today, what would they need to pick-up to get started?
Ross: A new player would want to pick up both Rule books and a Warband Box for a faction.
Paul: You guys have some really amazing photos of your new miniature lines. Who paints those models?
Ross: The majority of our line has been painted by James Wappel, Jen Haley, and Natalya.
Paul: Are the miniatures plastic, resin or metal? Are the miniatures in the Warband boxes same as the others?
Ross: We have both metal and resin miniatures. The models in the warbox are the same as the ones in the blisters.
Paul: Approximately how many miniatures are out right now for Dark Age?
Ross: Over 100 unique SKUs, with 150 unique miniatures.
Paul: What’s on the horizon for Dark Age in the near future?
Ross: Expanding into the story of Dark Age, launching an organized play program and exciting new models are always on the horizon.
Paul: Is there anything else you’d like to add in that you’d like to share about Dark Age with my TabletopGamer readers?
Ross: We have a lot of exciting things coming in the next year, be sure to check out our Facebook Page to stay up to date on news. With a new faction on the horizon, and organized play program, there are new things on the way. If you have any more questions about the game or would like to be a part of the volunteer program contact us there!
Paul: Awesome. Thank you Ross for taking the time to do this interview and share the world of Dark Age with my readers.
If you guys haven’t already, check out our Tabletop Gamer Dark Age page for more information about Dark Age, or visit our Dark Age Online Store for all your Dark Age needs, including Dark Age Starter Sets and Rulebooks.