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This Warhammer-inspired strategy game is a love letter to the tabletop

Moonbreaker is a new strategy game from the Subnautica devs that seeks to capture the magic of figures on a table, and it’s got some great tools

A Moonbreaker captain model

Moonbreaker is a new tabletop-inspired strategy game announced at Gamescom 2022 Opening Night Live. It’s from Unknown Worlds, the team behind popular underwater survival game Subnautica. In what can only be described as a love letter to tabletop miniature games, Moonbreaker asks the players to form a crew and battle it out in the Reaches against AI and other players as they fight for control of a precious resource known as Cinder.

The turn-based strategy game will initially ship with over 50 individually crafted digital models, with more to be added with each in-game seasonal event. Players compose a small army made of a captain and up to ten other models pulled from the three different factions that will be present at launch. You also get to choose some ‘ship assists’, powerful off-map abilities, that can give you an edge in combat.

Each match will start with just your captain. You gain Cinder per-turn, similar to how you gain casting mana in Hearthstone, and over time you’ll have enough Cinder to summon more of your crew to the field, or call in ship assists. Most matches require you to eliminate the opponent’s captain, and tabletop concepts such as cover are also in the game. Moonbreaker will come with competitive PvP, as well as roguelike mode against the AI called Cargo Run.

Perhaps the coolest feature is the model painter. Moonbreaker ships with over 50 models, each with a default paint scheme, but you can also apply your own colour scheme. Unknown Worlds worked with professional model painters from the world of tabletop to test this system, and the granularity and complexity available is honestly very impressive. We doubt it will sell the game on its own, but this is the closest a game has come to recreating the tabletop fantasy in digital form.

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As for the final bells and whistles, Unknown Worlds wants to strike an honest balance. Everything available in the game can be unlocked through gameplay – you have to earn in-game currency to purchase things from the store, which will range from premium alternate model skins done by professional model painters to ‘booster packs’ for any new models released, and whatever else the team can dream up.

Moonbreaker will release on Steam Early Access on September 29.