Skyrim Arrives on the Tabletop in The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms
The new game has been developed by Modiphius, the company behind the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare miniatures game. While using the same core mechanics of Wasteland Warfare, the systems have been rewritten and reworked to fit The Elder Scrolls setting.
A skirmish game played with 32mm resin miniature characters (think Warhammer, just a little more Norse-y), players take control of a hero from The Elder Scrolls games and leads a group of henchmen into dungeons such as Dwemer ruins and Nord tombs. But while many miniatures games centre on the prime objective of defeating an enemy, The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is focusing on something different.
“We’re not trying to make a competitive wargame like everyone else does,” says Chris Birch, founder of Modiphius. “So we’ve gone very heavily down the narrative route. Battles will be part of that, because they’re fun, but you’re you’re pursuing a storyline. And you can play can play cooperatively together. The classic thing with wargames is two people go to a table to play on one walks away happy. This is different. Story has been really important for us, as much as it is important to the actual video game itself.”
Stories are played from a quest deck, which alters depending on the environment that you’re exploring. Beyond simple skirmish-like dungeon delves there are a variety of quests that unfold the tales of Skyrim and take you to a number of key Tamriel locations, allowing you to capture forts and rebuild them as your own, or hunt down enemies in the wilderness. And, also like in the video game, you can expect these quests to reward you with hero development.
A narrative angle isn’t the only route that Modiphius is pushing Call to Arms down. There’s also an emphasis on there being a variety of ways to play. “We’ve tried really hard to create a cooperative wargame experience that you can also play in versus,” says Birch. “You can also play solo. Maybe your gaming group doesn’t meet regularly, so being able to play a solo game just really extends the gameplay.”
In solo mode, enemies in the game are controlled by an AI system. Players roll a dice and compare the score against a reference sheet to plot the actions of enemy characters. Alternatively, another player can act as enemy characters in a more traditional dungeon master-like role.
The game will be expanded across a number of wave releases, but will start with arguably the most popular side of The Elder Scrolls’ universe: Skyrim. Players will engage in the Skyrim Civil War, siding with either the Nord Stormcloaks or the Imperial Legion.
“Skyrim is a good base foundation because of the civil war,” explains Birch. “It just seemed like the best place to start, with very strong, evolved factions.”
The two-player starter kit includes heroes like Hadvar, Ralof, Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced, Marcurio, Mjoll the Lioness, Ulfric Stormcloak, Galmar Stone-Fist, General Tullius and Lydia. There are also reinforcement sets that add Stormcloak and Imperial Legion troops.
Naturally this wouldn’t be a Skyrim game without a killer of dragons, so there’s also a Dragonborn set that adds a particularly swanky looking model to the game. “This is a solo player set, which is at a cheaper price point,” reveals Birch. “It’s just the Dragonborn against some Draugr wandering around an ancient ruin on a personal little quest. It’s a good starting point. And then from there you can say ‘I fancy adding in Stormcloaks because I really like those figures’ and then start playing as the Stormcloaks with the Dragonborn on their side.”
Beyond the first Skyrim-focused wave of releases, Modiphius plans to add a variety of characters that cover the races and famous faces of other games in The Elder Scrolls series, including Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls Online. Plus, like Modiphus’s Fallout game, there will be a variety of additional accessories such as metal tokens, dice bags, and other supplementary items.
The Elder Scrolls: A Call to Arms will be available from Christmas 2019, but the Dragonborn model is available now, so you can make sure he’s painted ready for your first game later this year. Modiphus plans to release other promotional miniatures in the lead-up to the game’s launch, although any you miss will be made available post-release.