Frontear: Questions & Answers
An Interview by Craig Andrews
Before it was released in January 2008, Orcs interviewed Alternative Armies' Gavin Syme about the new game.
The Game System
Q: Will it use the same D10 Engine system as Flintloque Reloaded ?
A: Frontear uses the same rules engine as Flintloque Reloaded with changes made to accommodate new types of creatures and also new types of weapons. This engine will be based on the ten sided D10 dice. The tried and tested D10 system works well for Valon and we have decide to base the Frontear skirmish rules on this system.
It is actually two skirmish areas in one book when I think about it. You have the black powder weapons and tactics, load and fire, pick your targets and then get in close; that’s the 4th Age. Then you have the new 5th Age, the time of Perkussion firearms, repeaters, pistols and shotguns, the Wylde West and the Civile Warre. Different feel but the same rules engine.
Q: Do the rules offer fast play or slow methodical tactical play?
A: Well that all depends on the players and their own styles. But, as with the flavour of Flintloque, Frontear is supposed to be played as a scenario based game so it is possible to have both forms of play if the scenario allows it.
If I had to choose, based on my own playing of the game I would say that it is as far as the wider rules market goes a fast play game, a normal game lasting half an hour, with tactical factors choosing when and where to shoot and so on. It has the same fun and humour as our other Valon games and is a solid evening’s entertainment.
Q: What sets it apart from available rules systems, especially your own Skirmish rules currently available (Flintloque D10 and Darkstorme D6)
A: While the rules engine and the fantasy races in Frontear will be instantly recognisable to any player of our ‘World of Valon’ games such as Flintloque and DarkeStorme; Frontear is its own game, no questions asked.
What sets Frontear apart from the rest of our family of games is its background. While set in the same game world as Flintloque in roughly the same time period it concerns a part of Valon never before officially covered by Alternative Armies. I personally think that David Underwood has done a superb job of tying up threads and laying out the New Worlde in all its glory; I am sure you will all agree once you read the book.
Of course the other thing that sets it apart is the introduction of the 5th Age of Valon and a whole fistful of new and exciting races that live in Amerka. Oh, and the guns…the guns.
Q: Will it be purely a skirmish game or will it contain some kind of campaign system (exploration/homestead building etc) ?
A: Frontear the Skirmish is itself a purely character driven skirmish game. This gives players the ability to create characters, equip them and develop them across linked scenarios. While this is not a campaign system it is sufficient to allow players to set up their own characters and take them on adventurers. While there was space in the Erin 2nd Edition book for a small campaign system, this was not possible for Frontear. So call it Character Driven Skirmish; it has role play elements like Flintloque.
If the demand is there then we plan on releasing, over time, free support materials for Frontear that will further develop the game (as we do for Flintloque). Possible subjects for these materials do include a sort of homesteading or small town system along with more specific gun fighters optional rules and of course more scenarios and background.
These support materials would look fairly similar to the types of free articles that feature on the Notables Yahoo Group and that are sent out with orders placed with Alternative Armies. If you have read things like ‘Journals of Valon’ or ‘Distractions and Asides’ then you know what to expect.
Q: Is it a rule set or merely a campaign book for Flintloque Reloaded ?
A: Frontear is a game in its own right. You do not need to own, or even have to have heard of Flintloque in order to play it. Though because its Valon, the same world as Flintloque it would help to know some of the 4th Age characters and nations. When you purchase Frontear you get a full rule system.
Even in the earliest stages of working on Frontear it was felt that the American part of the World of Valon needed its own entire game, not a small campaign book or a character set that only covered one tiny part of that nation’s past.
Q: Will there be a 'lite' version of the rule set released through the Notables Yahoo Group ?
A: But of course! You fine fellows reading this know that Alternative Armies puts you first. In fact I hope if space and files allow to put even more in the Frontear Lite than in the Flintloque Reloaded Lite rules. We hope to put this Lite version out a few months after the rules have been released.
Q: Will it contain rules for trains potentially allowing a Great Rail Wars type game to develop ?
A: No the Frontear book will not contain any rules for trains or other vehicles due to space constraints and really a feeling that these items really need more space than the core book can afford to give them.
But again if players want it enough then I do not see why Alternative Armies cannot release, at a future point, rules and fiction to cover the railways and the iron horses in general. Certainly it’s a good idea and where the Iron Rails went the trouble was sure to follow.
Q: Will there be ninjas (I promised I'd ask for a friend) ?
A: Your friend seems almost as mad as the lads here! I am told with certainty that there are no Ninjas in the Frontear rulebook. Can’t really see how there could be any...
Q: What can you tell us about the differences the 5th Age of Valon will bring ?
A: Well I cannot say too much at this point as once you all read Frontear it will become clear. But I can say that Frontear itself straddles two of the great Ages of Valon; the 4th and the 5th.
The game centres on the Great Rebellion (the American Revolution) and the War of Eighteen Bells (The War of 1812) during the 4th Age and passes a nod to the Alamorque (Alamo) and wars with Catalucia. The weapons and situations of the 4th Age will be familiar to players of Flintloque and Slaughterloo.
In the 5th Age we get to see how Amerka deals with the increasing pace of technology and social instability. What this means is the 5th Age is the Age of Perkussion, black powder’s day is waning and breech loaders, cartridge weapons and rifling becomes commonplace. Also the slip towards the two great theatres for Frontear in the 5th Age, these being the Civile Warre betwixt the Stattes (US Civil War) and the Gunslyngers / Wylde West.
So for Frontear the 5th Age is the second part of the book and contains new weapons, new situations and new chances for adventure. If you are hoping for me to tell you more about the rest of Valon during the 5th Age…sorry, no dice!
Q: After many different interpretations of the Natives of Eastern Valon (Baumann's Centaurs and Bowkett's Human's to name two), what did you decide upon for them and others ?
A: While we encourage all gamers to add to the lore of Valon, the official decisions on the natives of the New Worlde were made by Alternative Armies. I can say that there are no Humans in Frontear, they have no place in the World of Valon except as target practice. As you know they vanished at the close of the Darke Age (the 3rd Age of Valon). I do not want to give too much away, but there are new natives and they mainly come from the Injians and also from further away on Valon. Oh, and the Gruff…the slaves of the Grotton Fields.
So in answer… I ain’t saying ye varmit!
Don’t twist my arm… well if you must know….
In Frontear you see new races from South Amerka from the ancient temple peoples there, Avians for the most part. Also the Gruff, the goat like creatures who also hail from that mysterious continent. There are American Indians too, several types, species and so forth. After all some did side with the Britorcish during the Great Rebellion and they were also a real cause of the Civile Warre (though to know the terrifying reason why you will have to read the book). The Indians are based on animal totems, types not seen before on Valon…but also some of the ‘not breathing, but moving’ variety too. There is also the first contact with one of the social strata of that far off land Chyna…and they are stranger than even Orcs are used to.
Additionally if you want to see Centaurs then keep an eye on Slaughterloo (the 2nd Edition Army book) and the great walled city of Coltz during 2008.
Q: Will the Dracci be returning ?
A: As some will know and others guess the Dracci lurk far from the diffusing glow of the Power Ring, the absence of Magicke being death to these Dragon Children. They are not in Frontear…but in places further away….
Q: Is Magicke back in ?
A: Magicke is banished from Urop and the more civilised places of Valon in the 4th Age and in the 5th Age of Valon. That is large scale Magicke and also the creatures that depend on it for life. So you will see no Dragons or mages in Frontear. But as with Flintloque there is space for Optional Magicke rules for those who wish to use the small abilities that some characters retain from the Darke Age.
We will have some optional Magicke rules for Frontear for those who wish to make use of them.
Q: How many new themed miniatures can we expect at launch ?
A: When Frontear is released gamers will have the choice of a starter set of book and miniatures and also several packs of miniatures. All of these miniatures will be themed for Frontear. This will grow over 2008.
When miniatures are released, we will as always provide rules and material for them in the game, so that players know their names, their uniforms or clothing and what their weapons and or special skills they have.
As is normal with Alternative Armies all of the Frontear Miniatures will be available in both an Unpainted and a Painted and Based format.
Q: Is there a planned release schedule of Frontear miniatures for 2008 or does it depend on initial sales ?
A: There is a planned release schedule for Frontear over the next two years and we will support the game fully.
Q: Will the classic Davy Krokitt miniature be re-released ? (which you have told me yes before but I thought I'd confirm it for the readers :) )
A: Yes, you have been told Craig! The miniature in question along with all the other older Wylde West miniatures will be released over time for Frontear. This includes your favourite fellow with the Knife, Mr Davy Krokitt.
Q: Will it be a boxed set like the original few Flintloque sets or will it be a spiral bound book and blister packs like Flintloque Reloaded ?
A: Frontear is a spiral bound book. Feedback from our customers has told us that they prefer this format for our books, it makes them easier to read and use during play. Packing more in, more bang for your buck as they say.
The Frontear range will be released as a book and a boxed set with book and basic miniatures with starter scenarios. Further support will be in the form of small packs or single miniatures. All of these will be available in our Painted format too.
Q: Will there be different levels of start-up set (no minis, some, lots etc) ?
A: The level to which players wish to begin their games of Frontear is up to them. We will offer the choice to buy the book on its own or with a set of miniatures if they prefer. As the range grows then the choices will also grow.
Q: Finally, what is the expected release date ?
A: Frontear the game will be released on 14th January 2008.
Finally, our thanks to Craig and Orcs in the Webbe and all the best for 2008.
An Orcs in the Webbe Exclusive!
This article is an Orcs in the Webbe exclusive and first appeared here on the 24th December 2007 as part of the Christmas 2007 Advent Calendar.