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The Warp

[The Warp]

Thomas Snauwaert


No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Exactly four years ago, Tom Delmé from the Belgian publisher JUMPING TURTLE GAMES took me aside during SPIEL and introduced me to Thomas Snauwaert, an author who was presenting a sci-fi conquest game as a prototype at that time. Tom wanted to release this game, but it was a really big number for the small publisher. So partners were needed and one of them became GRIMSPIRE, which is now releasing the title in German after further development.

And now it's here, in front of me. Always a special moment for me. When you've tried out the prototype together with the author some years before, that`s somewhat emotional. As you can read in our coverage of SPIEL19, I was already very impressed with what I saw at that time. But holding the finished game in your hands is something else again.

[The Warp]

Well, let's talk about the game itself: In The Warp we play different races that have to explore the planet after a catastrophe with several gravitational distortions. Starting from a small colony, gold mines, energy refineries and trading posts must be built and the land must be recaptured from exiles. For this purpose, troops are needed that can be reinforced with various military products such as laser cannons, watchtowers and attack ships.

We all start at the edge of a hexagonal colony map, with the Warp Gate in the middle, where the Warp Guardians, probably the cause of the catastrophe, have their headquarters. Our turns consist of three consecutive phases: the Income Phase, in which resources and troops are generated and research is conducted; the Action Phase, in which attacks, terrain movements, and further developments of our peoples are carried out; and the End Phase, in which troop movements are carried out and new missions and exiles that have now come into view due to our expansion are revealed.

[The Warp]

In the Income Phase, we receive resources depending on our spread on the game board and thus the number of mines, refineries and trading posts we have built and our developments in those categories. If both (number and development) are advanced, a maximum of resources and military forces is generated, but it is also possible to get a significant output by developing only one of the multipliers (e.g., good progress in the gold development bar with only a few gold mines). In the Research Phase, additional resources can be earned by playing cards from our hand, however these cards are then no longer available for the following Action Phase.

In this Phase cards must be played to take actions. On the one hand, new constructions can be built on one's own colonies on the game board or progress can be made by developing (so that gold mines bring more yield in the Income Phase). Finally military equipment can also be bought and placed on the game board.

[The Warp]

Terrashifting is another possible action that allows two districts to be changed in height. Now, why should you do that? The answer lies in the military advantage that a higher position gives in combat. And that brings us to the last possible action, the attack: here too, cards are helpful because they can bring an additional combat bonus and thus decisively influence the battle. Otherwise, as mentioned, the height of the landscape and the number of troops greatly influence the combat value. Okay, there are still some other military facilities that have an impact, but initially the number of hits multiplied by the terrain height has the greatest impact on the combat value. Mathematically, however, the combat result cannot be determined because the number of troops only determines the number of dice that may be rolled. And of course, not every roll is a hit.

The winner of the battle not only takes over (or retains) the district but can also receive trophies that bring certain advantages later in the game and can be useful to fulfill missions. The round ends with further troop movements and requesting new missions if needed.

[The Warp]

This need should actually be present, because missions are our actual means of obtaining victory points. Victory points can also be obtained by successfully attacking and conquering the Warp Gate, but that is not as easy as it sounds at the beginning of the game. And of course, there can always be only one player holding the Warp Gate.

So you see, The Warp is quite a complex conquest game that still plays smoothly and is a lot of fun. And conquest is not at the forefront either. Progressive expansion is one of the possible options to win, but I have already played games in which a player who has spread very little on the board has won, instead focusing on development and fulfilling the missions quite early before other players even thought about it.

There are still a lot of things to explore in the game. For instance, there are 16 different alien species in the game. Each player plays one of this species and two are given to the exilis. Of course, all of these species have their unique abilities. For the players this means a unique permanent advantage and abilities that can be activated with trophies. For the exiles it determines unique abilities that influence the way the exiles are fighting. Especially the abilities of the player’s species influence the way you play the game. That’s quite cool, although I had the feeling that they are not perfectly balanced, so that sometimes a special ability was less important than another one. Apart from that there are also 16 different warp guards, again determining their way to fight the players.

Overall, The Warp has impressed me very much. Especially for sci-fi enthusiasts and Twilight fans this game should be more than a must-see. Hats off to the author, and all the other participants for creating such an interesting game.

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