Greetings Wargamers and Hobbyists, and welcome back to Targus, where this time around we have an opportunity to find out a little more about the thinking behind the game Sky Relics and the miniatures.
Recently I sent a few questions over to the guys at Sky Relics, and Derek, the Creator and Owner of the concept and the game setting, and Michael, Editor and Co-writer, were good enough to furnish me with their responses, which I have laid out below.
Also, I hope the guys don’t mind, but I have pilfered a few images from the Facebook page of their studio work, and shots of some of the miniatures painted by other members of the gaming community who were selected to take part in the painting contest.
On with the interrogation…
To give us an idea of where you are coming from in the hobby, please tell us about your miniature gaming background?
Michael: I started off playing some of the panzer series when I was very young, being taught by my uncles, and gradually progressed into Warhammer. I stepped away from trpgs in high school after a few bad instances but never lost the love. At heart though I’ve always been more of an RPG gamer.
Derek: I started playing Warhammer back early 90’s, when Warhammer 40,000 went to the box set with the Space Marines versus the Orks; my brother and I went have halves, he got the Space Marines and I got the Orks. We had a lot of fun playing.
Then we went on to 40K epic, talk about painting challenges so yeah, we had a lot of fun growing up playing various different miniature wargames, from Battlefleet Gothic to mutant Chronicles. Just fun stuff and using some miniatures for role-playing purposes. And of course who can forget about Heroquest? So my love of literature started at a young age.
What made you decide to take the step of creating your own miniatures game?
Michael: By nature I am a writer and creator, and the opportunity to create a whole new world and universe working with Derek seemed like a lot of fun. I loved his concepts and ideas. I had been working on video games for a long time but always wanted to go back to my tabletop roots, so I jumped.
Derek: A few years ago I made an airship game, based on the RPG world of Targus. All my friends and family and those lucky enough to play test loved the game, the problem was it was very costly at that time to produce a miniatures game. What I was bringing to the table was never seen before, and many game companies did not want to take a chance on what I was trying to do.
So even now I feel my best chance is to produce the game myself and CL, for I can take it with very talented people working with me and with the added help of my 3d design work and 3-D printing has been very reasonable to make this game now.
Mercenary Ships painted by Studio Daviuss
What is Sky Relics about?
Michael: In concept or story? In story I’ll leave that to Derek. That’s his baby, I provide the punch. In concept to me it’s about creating an original fantasy/ sci-fi world to explore and battle in. It is a wonderful world that Derek has created, but it retains enough structure to welcome new players to adapt easily, and enough flexibility for veterans to homebrew to their heart’s content.
Derek: What is sky relics about? It is based on the RPG world of Targus; we are playing through the early history of the game. I have planned 1000+ years of game to be played with the players in the next 10 to 20 years. The sky ships are the first stage to plant the seeds of this game. The game takes place in a world recovering from a massive war with the gods, where none of the gods had survived save one. The people of this world of Targus can live up to 1000 years, and some have walked with the gods, and others are born after and only hear stories of the greatness that once walked in the heavens. We are working with very talented people creating a story that hinges on the aftermath of a world torn apart by one God’s anger and malice; welcome to Sky relics.
But what is a sky relic? The God of steel and forge had made great ships for transport when the world was in a peaceful state. But as in all things, peace is never to last, and so great machines used once for transport of people and trade goods were refitted for war. This is where the game takes place, in this time of great nations racing to recover as many relics they can, for the new war is about to begin.
How did you decide on the aesthetic of the game and miniatures?
Michael: Derek and Matt handle most of the design work and I’ll look things over and provide feedback on adjustments and critiques mostly relating to detail.
Derek: I wanted the ships to look very particular. I didn’t want them to say ‘hey that looks like a Star Wars ship’ or one from 40K. It’s very hard today to make original concepts. There are a lot of influences in what we see and do on a daily basis. As a designer I have to keep in mind that if I go too far, people will not see what I intend the image to be. The human mind has a folder of images in it, and when we look at something we see things that remind us of something we know that already exist. That is how the human mind relates to object that the eyes see.
When I work in 3-D I do not use any reference pictures whatsoever, for I want to have a fresh looking image that is my own, from my own mind. It is taking me quite a while to calm down on my designs from out of this world to something that people can see and go ‘oh that’s a ship’. The feedback on the ships has been amazing, and most people love the designs or like what I’m doing, and that is very pleasing as a designer.
What makes Sky Relics different from other games of it’s type?
Michael: Very easy to jump into and understand the game system. Players can jump in and roll up a character, getting a game going in minutes, or plan out an extensive long-term campaign. We are still doing a lot of rules lawyering, but we want to down the line provide variations of play. So like I said you can just roll up a quick campaign, plan out a long story, or maybe you just want to battle 1 on 1, or 2 on 2. Adaptability is a great point about Sky Relics. Secondly it takes a base idea of an RPG and combines it with great tactical battle play.
Derek: What makes this game different from others of its kind? Well based on a few ideas, I wanted a game to be fast and easy to learn and have many strategy ideas and tactics to develop or to learn. But most people say that about their own games, but this game uses only one die; a D20. When I was younger I interviewed police officers, special forces, Naval Seals and SWAT team members in my local area, and many people have experiences that offered really good advice, which helped develop the game system. I would be very egotistical to say that I want my game to be like chess, but in a way I do. After four moves in, the possibilities are endless almost. That game is the true masterpiece and many games have tried but will never come close to the possibilities.
That being said I’m aiming for a game in which two different people can play the game two different ways and have similar prospects of winning. using the point system and the tier system to keep the game fair. If we have a new player who just bought the game an experienced player who has invested a lot of money into it, I wanted it to be a fair game that the new player can have a chance to win. Based on tactics and strategy along with fair play, points and tiers.
Who do you feel is your target market for this game?
Michael: Any type of gamer from beginner to pro, rpg or tabletop.
Derek: No one wants to play game where they have no chance of winning, based on the status of today’s kids young adults. I am trying to market the game words cheap enough for anybody of age over 12 would be able to buy and play the small skirmish battles with their friends or other players at their gaming stores. It is the key to show the young people what this type of game is all about and how much fun it is to paint and own your own miniatures and be proud of what you do and in the work you have done. I think it’s a shame that most big-game companies do not support schools with art programs, for painting miniatures is definitely an art form and is fun for most children to do to the teenagers. As a young company we plan to donated art supplies and miscast and old casting ships to local afterschool programs.
I feel that the children and young adults today deserve to have a great future in this world, they might not be able to afford the miniatures they hear some are very costly but to offer this could show children or teenagers how fun the game could be.
Outcast ships painted by ‘Ned’
What is your single favorite thing about Sky Relics?
Michael: It doesn’t try to be another game or another system. Sure we are using a d20 but it is completely unlike any other d20 system. I’m having fun planning it and can’t wait for players to try it out.
Derek: What is my favorite thing about sky relics? Well recently the painting contest seeing all the ships being painted by different people is just awesome. I guess other companies are so used to seeing their miniatures painted by professionals. But to see real gamers painting the ships to be used in a game one day is thrilling to me. This is made my year and I am so glad that so many people have received these free ships and painted them for my delight. I am so honored that people are taking time out of their day to do this for me.
What are your hopes for the game?
Michael: I hope someday we can make it so Sky Relics can be found in every game shop, every where, and fans start organizing their own tournaments. As things progress I’m looking forward to going to conventions in the future and interacting with all the players.
Derek: What are my hopes for the game? My main concern and hope is that people see what were trying to do in this game world. It is the aim of the people working on this to make a world where your character can grow, and where you can see change as the world moves through time and space. And to be a part of that ever-changing world, and to be around the next 20 to 30 years or so providing people with fun and a hobby that is unlike any other, I take on some responsibility to keep this hobby alive and growing with future gamers, and it is my hope that more more people see how cool this great hobby is.
My sincere thanks to Derek and Michael for taking the time to provide answers to my questions, and thank you to all of you reading this for taking the time out to learn a little more about this game. Hopefully as development progresses, there may be more news and information to share with you.
I must say that the more I read about this game and see the miniatures and 3D sketches coming out of the Sky Relics design studio, the more intrigued I am about what the finished game and setting will look like. I am hoping that the game brings something new and fresh to the miniatures gaming market.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
I have since done another interview with Sky Relics regarding their 3rd Kickstart launch.