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Armageddon 2089: Total War is a 304 page hardback RPG concentrating on mek-based warfare and the mercenary/corporate companies who use them. Using the d20 System to its fullest, this is the most detailed game of its type to date, and no expense has been spared in ensuring that it is also one of the best looking games available.
The rulebook kicks off with a 'Welcome to Armageddon 2089' mini-chapter that is fast becoming a common feature in our rulebooks - basically, it tells you everything you need to know about the setting in three pages. Political events of the 21st Century have been spinning out of control and by 2089, the world faces the Armageddon War, a devastating conflict between the United States of America and the European Federation. In such a war, there can be no such thing as neutrality and every nation has been dragged into the conflict as the two superpowers fight for complete domination of the globe and beyond.
Characters in Armageddon 2089 details everything players will need to know in order to create their own characters for campaigns in this war. The main rulebook assumes players will be officers piloting the giant WarMeks and classes available include Field Officers, Assault Officers, Comms Officers, Scout Officers and WarMek Weapons Officers, all with their own unique traits and talents - any new mercenary company is well advised to include a variety of specialised personnel to adapt to rapidly changing conditions on the battlefield. Other character classes, used to flesh out other personalities the players may encounter include the Civilian, Officer and Soldier. However, options for characters will not stop here and there is far more going on in the Armageddon War than fighting within the cockpit of a giant WarMek. Future supplements for Armageddon 2089 will take campaigns in new directions, permitting players to take the role of mercenary armoured companies, espionage agents or special forces risking all in desperate combat without the benefit of a 145 ton WarMek.
Skills and Feats provides everything else a player needs to round off his character in Armageddon 2089, with a collection of new skills necessary for the game, as well as many new feats designed for mek warfare. There are far too many to detail here, but to give you a smattering. . . Close Assault Gunnery (take advantage of short ranges in mek combat), Defender (provide vital cover for your team mates in battle), Killer Instinct (hit your enemy where it hurts the most), WarMek Stealth (it _is_ possible!), MRSI Artillerist, Tenacity (refuse to eject until the last possible
In Armageddon 2089, players get to mess around with far more than just a character - they each have a WarMek, of course, but they also have to work together as a mercenary, corporate or military company. This is an additional level of character creation that all players will have to work together on. The Mercenary Companies chapter gives everything players need to know about this process. At its core, designing a mercenary company is a matter of balancing budgets, making sure that all players have the WarMeks they want, as well as retaining enough funds for repairs and upgrades later. However, five or six WarMeks walking across the battlefield unprotected and unsupported are never going to last long in 2089, and a mercenary company can be far more than the sum of its parts. Satellite and Air Assets are going to be of great interest , and the ability to buy armour, artillery and even private armies will take combined arms tactics to new levels in 2089 - all this is possible for mercenary companies. In addition, players will also have to consider the potential benefits of having the very latest computers and software in their WarMeks, as well as purchasing repair facilities and intelligence assets. In Armageddon 2089, you are not just playing a WarMek pilot - you have to run a business as well! Full rules are given for recruiting (or headhunting) staff, as well as useful guidelines to help players through negotiating mercenary contracts.
Personal Equipment provides players and Games Masters with a wide variety of items for their characters, from simple melee weapons, to the highest technology computerised aids designed to give a vital edge on the modern battlefield. As the setting behind Armageddon 2089 is firmly rooted in the real world, many of these will have a distinctly familiar ring to it. H&K is still very much in business (though its parent company, Royal Ordnance, has a new direction in arms - see later chapters!), and the PSG-3 is the updated model of everyone's favourite sniper rifle. A wide range of medical kits, combat suits and multispectrum ghillie suits can also be found in this chapter, making decking any character out for combat a quick (but fun!) process.
Personal Combat contains all the rules necessary to fight in Armageddon 2089, and a variation of the Defence Value rules first used in the Judge Dredd RPG is used here to reflect the capabilities of armour and weaponry of the modern age. Dangers other than combat are also included, including the most complete list of poisons and diseases that I have yet seen in a d20 game! Want to inflict CS or nerve gas on your players? No problem! If they are still standing after that, a dose of Anthrax or Weaponised Ebola may have them running for their WarMeks in very short order. . .
A sizeable portion of this rulebook is taken up by, predictably, the WarMek and Vehicle Combat chapter. After all, this is a game of mechs! It is here that the d20 System has been tweaked the most, for while the basic concepts of combat remain the same (Initiative, 6 second rounds, etc. . .) a lot has been modified to give combat between huge WarMeks is own feel – in Armageddon 2089, you will know the difference between fighting on foot and
within the cockpit. . . Every WarMek is divided into several locations, each of which has its own set of Armour and Structure Points. In addition, WarMeks are incredibly power hungry and players must keep a constant eye on the power output of their machines, lest they be 'caught short' just when they need to fire their main weaponry. Full rules are given for burning Meks, difficult terrain, collisions, falling prone, indirect/artillery combat, ripple firing rockets, missile countermeasures, defensive fire, mines, damage control, repair workshops, combat engineering, bridge building (something WarMeks excel at. . .), fortifications, obstacle clearance and much more. We really have tried squeezing every aspect of warfare Meks should be capable of into this rulebook, meaning that players will likely
have far more to do than just hunt down their latest mercenary contract. . .
The next chapter, Electronic Warfare, Communications and Scanning, is one of my favourites, as it demonstrates just how much detail you can include in your games, if you so wish - it also lends itself to players creating ambushes by minimising their own signatures while scanning for the enemy, leading to some very tense situations. Visual scanning (looking out of the cockpit) is covered first, enabling Games Masters to set up realistic encounter distances, while applying the effects of light, camouflage and weather. However, no self-respecting WarMek pilot operates on sight alone. The entire electromagnetic spectrum is available to the skilled WarMek pilot, and the best learn how to track enemies through the use electromagnetic, infrared, radar, magnetic and seismic signatures while minimising their own. Also detailed are various forms of electronic attack, codebreaking, jamming and deception through a variety of different means - Comms Officers can be fairly said to be the new 'wizards' of Armageddon 2089 and their highly specialised machines, while often undergunned, can swing entire battles by their mere presence. Who said the assault guys get all the glory!!!
I have to confess, at the GAMA trade show last week, whenever someone asked about Armageddon 2089, I always turned straight to the WarMeks of the World chapter as it is pure eye candy! Over thirty mek designs are provided, all in glorious CGI and complete with rules, histories, design flaws and special traits. When we began designing these meks, we decided very early on to base them on the corporations that build them - so, the meks from one manufacturer will all have certain common features. What this means in game terms is that one 85 ton mek is going to be very different from another of the same size, even if it has similar armour and weapons capabilities - think of it as comparing cars of the same spec between Toyota and Ford! Most Meks are built within the Tiger Combine and then sold to the forces of the USA and EF, though a few manufacturers have sprung up to provide home-built designs - Volksmecha of Europe, Royal Ordnance of the UK and Moore Limited of the US, for example. Designs range from the 15 ton Ultralite 'Spyglass' Scout/Comms WarMek to the massive 196 ton Royal Ordnance 'Survivalist' Heavy WarMek.
Of course, you are not going to be satisfied with thirty-odd Meks, are you? Not by a long shot! The next chapter, Mek Construction, provides full rules to allow the use of custom WarMeks in the game, allowing players to specify
their fighting machines down to the last nut and bolt. Power plants, for example, range from gas turbines, through fuel cells, right up to the latest Tokamak designs. . .
WarMek Technology does for Meks what Personal Equipment did for characters, and there are a lot of cool 'toys; to play with here! Control systems, Vulcan Autocannon, 200mm Howitzers, Hybrid Cannon, Minelayers, Particle Accelerators, Rockets, SAMs, SSMs, Combat Engineering Tools, a very wide range of howitzer shells (including taknukes!), Drones, Smart Armour, Armour Coatings, Comms Processors, Air Tracking Radar, Quantum Processors, Anchoring Spikes, Power Capacitors, Orbital Alloy Chassis - these are just a tiny fraction of what is available to the dedicated Mek pilot. And how is this for something seriously cool - being able to launch a shoulder-mounted UAV to scout the terrain ahead, launch pre-emptive attacks or even correct your own artillery fire? Of course, your enemies get these choices too. . .
Ground Vehicles and Aircraft provide a core range of lesser vehicles with which to challenge or support players, including the B3 Heavy Bomber, F-35 Joint Fighter, LCS-7 Light Tank, INCA-10 Self-Propelled Artillery and Sovtek Tsunami II Submersible Transport, all spread between the forces of the Tiger Combine, USA and EF. Full rules are also included for the use of UAVs and robotic followers designed to support armies in the field.
The World of 2089 is a chapter packed with information describing the nations and politics of the modern age, and how the Armageddon War inevitably came into being. From the aggressive rise of the European Federation to the trade wars and skirmishes that soon followed as it began to compete directly with the US, the course of the war has been plotted, leaving players right in the middle of the conflict. Students of real-world politics will find much to get their teeth into here, for everything has been based on speculation and extrapolation of actual events - take it as a
warning if you wish! Also covered are the other areas of the world and how they have been forced into polarisation with the EF or USA. This leaves many interesting areas for players to be based or forced to wage war in, and I have a feeling that Kazakhstan (also featured in the first campaign pack to be released for Armageddon 2089) will be a popular choice for Games Masters who like to inject a heavy dose of political intrigue into their games.
Following this, the Corporations chapter takes a good look at the real movers and shakers of 2089, those powers who can hold entire governments to ransom. Many corporations hold sway over various regions of the world, from those producing computer hardware, weapons and WarMeks to food producers, medical services and housing. Any successful mercenary company has to understand the complex relationships between rival corporations if it hopes
to profit and survive during the Armageddon War.
Finally, a complete chapter is dedicated to helping Games Masters run entire Campaigns in Armageddon 2089 - information is provided as to how mercenary companies usually operate, what tactics are used and how scenarios should be structured to realistically portray the world of 2089. Advice is also presented on how to handle weapons of mass destruction in games (and how to avoid party wipe-outs!), as well as setting the mood and pace of the
Armageddon 2089: Total War wraps up with a detailed glossary, a full index and a stunning set of character and record sheets, all ready for play.
This is by far the most ambitious project Mongoose Publishing has produced to date and many hundreds of man-hours have gone into the production of this game. The level of detail available to players is incredible but things
won’t simply stop here - as well as being a mech-based game, Armageddon 2089 is also an entire setting within itself and we will be looking at different aspects of this new world over the next few months. The first supplement,
War Machines of 2089, is following hot on the heels of the main rulebook and provides over 50 new WarMek designs and special rules, including the appearance of four-legged meks. Armoured Companies does for tanks what the main rulebook has done for meks, while the Soldier's Companion allows players to take the part of special forces or espionage agents in the Armageddon War.
On top of all this, full campaign packs will soon be available, as well as an all new range of novels designed to flesh out the world of 2089 yet further and introduce you to some of the heroes and personages of power present in the war. Mystic Eye Games have also committed themselves to supporting Armageddon 2089: Total War with their own range of supplements and scenarios, making this one of the best supported d20 System RPGs available.
Warfare has never looked so good. . .