Why Make Strike Fleet Zero?

Where to start?

I wanted to take this time and explain why I decided to create a game.  A RTS styled, turn-based, tabletop strategy game…..In space.

In February 2014, I began to realize that there weren’t any decent RTS games I could bite into (or that i haven’t played to death).  Command & Conquer vanished, Evil Genius was gone, Simcity didn’t do it for me anymore, and the remaster of Homeworld would not come out for another year at this point, and even though no one seemed to like this one SNES title, I would sadly, never see Metal Marines ever again.

My options for tabletop strategy games were few, though top quality.  However, they were breaking my bank account.  So on a day like any other, on my way to work, I had an idea.  I thought, why don’t I make something that I would want to play?  Maybe I could even give my friends something new to play?  So I began to think of what I would want to see in a tabletop strategy game.  I put pen to paper.  Some random doodles came about,  some basic rules, some neat ideas, and BAM!  I had a vision.  Bases, space ships, nightmarish galaxy spanning type weaponry, construction yards, Armoured Terror Mechs, refineries, and an epic campaign system with an awesome tech tree!  Oh the spectacular joy!

Not just that, but through the excitement, I had a vision of humanity and it’s future would be!  And this became the story to Strike Fleet Zero!

Just Imagine,

A civilization, guided by three strange beings known as the Grand Dreamers, at the zenith of it’s Utopian state, destroys itself through it’s own hubris by attempting to evolve into gods.  With the successful transformation of one such young girl, earth is torn to pieces as she gains the power to witness hundreds of dimensions at once, however unable to control her power.  With but a thought, the laws of the universe reform.  Planets are no longer where they used to be.  Sense becomes nonsense. 

Humanity escapes Earth, but without the Grand Dreamers, and with resources running out, humanity falls into a state of barbarism.  This continued until groups were formed, and with their leaders, decided to split off and try to find a planet to restart on in their own image.  The three fleets separated, and over the course of thousands of years, began to rebuild.  However, the Grand Dreamers did not perish, but instead reach out across the cosmos, beaming visions of power and godhood to the humans spread out across the black sea, all pointing to one place that has the crystal necessary to achieve this power…

I began to work on a wide variety of concepts as to how the game would appear on the table.  Miniatures?  While cool, were extraordinarily expensive to manufacture for ones own bank account in the quantities that I wanted (but a great idea for the future!).  Perhaps a deck building card game?  Nah…

It then occurred to me as I looked at some of my prototypes.  And I said, “hey, Unit Tokens!”  I loved how little room they occupy compared to some of the other games out there.  Plus, they’ll be way less of an investment for younger players to get into the tabletop strategy genre.  Because I’m a huge collector at heart, I decided, it would also be fun if they came in random packs.  Players could even trade units with your friends if they were playing a particular faction.  But I also didn’t want people to be intimidated by having some massive, hard to acquire collection.  I wanted to keep it simple and small.  Perhaps 3-4 Factions, with a variety of Fighters, Bombers, Gunships, Destroyers, Cruisers, Carriers, Dreadnoughts, and Structures.  All of which would play a specific battlefield role.  Add a hint of upgrades, and a new level of customization would be born to allow players to fine-tune their style of play even more.

I envisioned two levels of play;

The Strategic Mode, and the Tactical Mode.

The Strategic Mode is where up to 8 players can build up their main bases, which would include refineries, tech centers, warp gates, armouries, construction yards, mech bays, psionic training centers for the pilots, crazy nightmarish missiles or fold artillery that can fire across massive areas of space against the opponents base!  Which is when you would move in your Strike Fleet and attempt to wipe that player’s faction out or take over their bases!  Between battles, your refineries would collect several types of resources which could be used to either build up your fleet, upgrade your forces with a Tech Tree, or expand your control over an area.  Veteranized Units you acquire during the tactical version of the game would be able to form deadly spearheads, and perform a whole slew of annoyances to the enemy commanders.  Once some of the larger Battleships and Destroyers come in, they can obliterate enemy forces at a safe distance with their super lasers and gravity weapons capable of creating miniaturized black holes!  Commanders would have access to some strategic abilities that can change the course of battles.  Some are simple such as sending in an awaiting fleet to support an advance, or simply cut all restraints and order an Armoured Terror Mech, piloted by the viciously divine Elysian Being to annihilate the entirety of the enemy Fleet!  Their power over the elements which form our universe are honed in and used against entire enemy fleets, all while they jump between capital ships and simply put their plasma blades through the bridge!  To have to face such a Godbeast, is beyond words….

But more than that, I want people to envision what massive space battles would look and feel like.

This is where the commander’s skill will truly be put to the test.  The Tactical Mode is where the real action is.  Players will use points to build their fleets, and upgrade them as needed.  Abilities from Tech Trees will also be added, such as extra firepower, or cloaking!  Once a Strike Fleet engages another fleet or the defenses of an enemy base, a game with a focus on maneuvering and target priority will ensue.  The individual star ships are then used like a razor blade to cut up the enemy forces by use of Dog Fight action, overwhelming them with hot lead or capturing the enemy vessels!  As pilots become more desperate and gain some kills, they will veteranize and gain new abilities.  Depending on how badly the enemy force was defeated, the victor will gain their empire bonuses during the Strategic Mode of play and potentially even demoralize their opponent’s forces!

And thus the great search for artists began.  Problem is, you have to pay these people (Preposterous, I know)!  So while I began this as a hobby, and with the hundred ideas I had and could not agree upon, I decided that I could no longer afford the artists.  Sadly, I thought that this was the end of my idea.

But Strike Fleet Zero was beyond just me now (I may have lost my mind at this point).  I wanted to share this with not just the people around me, since it was slowly growing into something more interesting.

An incredible story for the game began to form, and I decided to focus on what I really wanted the units to look like since I had the fundamental rules down already.  So with some help, I slowly learned to draw.  A whole year went by, and I was finally done.

I looked at what other game designers were doing and noticed that kickstarter became popular.  So I thought, hey, why the heck not?  So without having anyone know about my project except for the people that playtested it, I launched the kickstarter campaign.  And boy did it crash…

But my zealously would not allow such a simple oversight.

So instead, I began to look at what I have created, and with my newly founded experience, I decided that I could make it even better.

I redid the story, the artwork, the game mechanics.

I began to take it out to the world and have even more people playtest it.  I had some great people suggest wonderful ideas that would surely enhance the experience.  And now I am just adding the final touches to the game while continuing to playtest with the community.

Everyday, I work tirelessly, making this a second full time job.  All because i believe I have something that people will really enjoy.

There is so much more to say about what I want to do with this game and the direction I want to take it in.  There are already plans that I’m working on doing once I have a bigger team.  My dream is to give players an immersive world.  One where they can command more than just space ships.  I want planetary sieges with ground battles, orbital bombardments on enemy planets, neutral factions of pirates and bounty hunters.  There is simply so much potential here!

The vision I have prepared for Strike Fleet Zero is going to blow your mind.

 

Max Ginzberg,