Ragnarok comes to us with great anticipation. It’s got great artwork, a cool theme and some really interesting ideas. The book officially releases on May 30 (2019), but I know a number of people received the book early through various retailers (such as Amazon). Osprey Games was kind enough to send me a preview copy of the book a while ago. Today’s post is my second preview for the game. In my first preview, I discussed Warbands and God Powers. In this post, I conducted an email interview with the game’s creator, Tim Korklewski.
Without any further ado, let’s get to that Interview.
Jacob: Hi Tim,
Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I was lucky enough to get a preview copy of your new rule set Ragnarok from Osprey Games. The book looks great. The artwork is impressive, the setting is cool and the rules are very interesting. Having read the book, I have some questions that I am hoping you can answer for both my audience and I.
My first question is – can you tell us about the setting of Ragnarok?
The Game’s Background
Tim: Sure thing, Jacob!
In Ragnarok, the world comes to an end in a different way. Nidhogg, the Malice Striker, still escapes from Yggdrasil, but he has grown far more powerful than even the Norns imagined. He breaks free with such a force that he rips the roots of Yggdrasil free as he flies into the Abyss. Yggdrasil literally falls on its side, smashing the realms together. Asgard, being at the top of the tree, took the most damage. It hit with such a force that it literally exploded, killing all of the Aesir in one calamitous act.
Now all of the remaining realms are in total chaos after The Shattering. Giants are able to just march freely between realms conquering and destroying as they see fit, legions of undead are crawling their way out of Hel and wreaking havoc everywhere.
The War Clans that each player controls start out as mere mortals, but through combat and resolve they will rise to become the New Gods of the Fractured Realms.
The Rule of Awesome
Jacob: I like your Designer’s note on page 18 of the book describing the Feel of Ragnarok. I am just going to quote the last paragraph here from that section.
The battles in which your War Clans take place are over-the-top and epic. Ragnarok’s design embraces the rule of cool – whether you slaughter your opponent’s forces or receive a savage beat-down with enormous weapons, the statement “That was AWESOME!” should be prevalent at the gaming table.
Can you talk a bit about the “that was awesome” elements of Ragnarok?
Tim: The biggest thing to point out on this one is that as your War Clans improve throughout the campaign, your God Powers can improve as well. God Powers allow for models to do things that “normal” models cannot, such as completely teleporting out of combat when faced by certain death, smashing your enemies across the field with enough force to knock down any other models that may cross their path, ripping terrain out of the ground and using it as a weapon and many other things like that. On top of that, I really wanted to give a bit more of a Mortal Kombat feel on things and I added rules to allow the players to weaponize terrain- such as having the ability to impale models on sharp objects such as broken trees, sharpened tips of palisades, and anything else that the players are cruel enough to create. Overall, it gives the whole experience a much more cinematic feel than “I hit you, I deal X damage. Remove the model from play”.
The Morpheus Engine
Jacob: Throughout the book, you make mention of your gaming engine used for Ragnarok as the Morpheus Engine. Can you talk about your development of that gaming engine? Also, can you give us any hints on future projects that will use the same engine?
Tim: The Morpheus Engine was in its inception an experiment to create a generic set of rules, a “GURPS for miniatures” if you will. Once I kicked the idea around, it really started to take shape. On its surface, the Morpheus Engine is a very easy system to play. However, if you just stick to the basics of the system it can come off as quite bland. Where it shines is allowing the various Special Rules from each different game to “plug in” to the Morpheus Engine and add the flavor that that particular game should have.
Development took a LONG time on the Morpheus Engine itself. It took about three years to get it to the point that it is now. Like many designs, things always look good on paper but do not translate well to the tabletop until playtest. This led to a LOT of rewrites and in many cases just scrapping portions all together and going back to the drawing board.
As far as projects, there is Ragnarok, a Fantasy Pirate game, historical mass battle, modern warfare, and a few others that I can’t talk about quite yet. Sorry!
Use Whatever Miniatures You Want
Jacob: One of the things that I love about many of Osprey Games’ books is that they are miniatures agnostic. Ragnarok is the same way. Why did you decide to make it agnostic? Secondly, if you could take any force you wanted in the game, which miniatures collection would you be bringing to the battle?
Tim: I have really liked the idea of a miniatures agnostic game for a long time. If you are like me and have played lots of various miniatures games throughout the years, you have built up a pretty large miniatures collection that you would like to dust off and use again. In addition, there are so many great sculptors out there making miniatures that I would much rather give them the glory on that side of things. I am a firm believer that a rising tide floats all boats and if there are companies out there making amazing miniatures that would work with any of my games I will be there to point people in their direction and give them the proper credit.
To the second part of your question, David Soderquist at Bronze Age Miniatures does amazing work and he is primarily featured in the book. You will also find me fielding Footsore Miniatures Vikings, Bad Squiddo Vikings, and LOTS of Reaper miniatures for the various monsters.
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What about Base Size?
Jacob: Although the game is miniature agnostic, I see that you decided to assign base sizes to the miniatures. For my readers that haven’t seen the book yet, common figures will be on 30mm bases while some of the creatures and monsters are set for 40mm, 50mm and 120mm bases. Will the game still work if people have the models based on different sized bases (i.e. 25mm rounds for common soldiers)?
Tim: Don’t forget the 80mm bases as well! As far as basing, I have mentioned this a few times on our Facebook Group Ragnarok Worldwide. All measurements in the game are from closest point of the base to closes point of the base so there is wiggle room there. For your typical “human-sized” miniatures on 30mm bases, you can easily wiggle from the 25mm all the way to the new GW 32mm as necessary. That rule applies to the other base sizes as well as long as you are still close to the original base size listed and the base is circular.
More on the Story
Jacob: Back to the story of the game, the players are running war bands looking to tap into the powers of the dead gods. Can you talk about God Powers and Godspark in Ragnarok.
Tim: Sure. So when the Aesir died, their mortal bodies literally exploded. Upon their deaths, their essence, or Godspark, scattered to the remaining realms. Your War Clan has learned how to absorb the Godspark and use the energy to power the various God Powers they discover of the dead Aesir. There are thirty God Powers in the Core rulebook to use and each one has unique ways of changing up the tide of war. On a mechanical level, Godspark is generated by doing awesome stuff during the game. The better you roll, the more Godspark you generate. Each God Power has a Godspark Cost associated with it. Simply spend the Godspark from your generated pool and you can use the God Power.
Jacob: Can you tell us about the Bestiary in Ragnarok (i.e. creatures, demimortals and other such entries)? Can you also tell us how we might end up recruiting those beings into our war band too?
Tim: I dove deep into Norse mythology to pull many different Encounter Model types. There are the staples, such as Valkyrie, Dwarves, Aelves, Svartaelves, Jotunn (Giants), Linnormr, Undead, and many others. There are a total of 67 unique Encounter Model entries in the Core Rulebook. You unlock the ability of hiring Encounter Models into your War Clan when you defeat them during a game. Once you acquire enough Glory (the game currency) to meet their Glory Cost, spend it and they are now Warriors in your War Clan that can use Godspark, use God Powers, Improve Stats and Abilities, and go on raids in the Raiding Phase.
The Scenarios and Campaign
Jacob: There are six scenarios in the book to base your battles upon. Can you choose a favorite of those missions and tell use about that scenario and what makes it your favorite?
Tim: For me it would have to be Rampage of Trolls. It is a Scenario where things can get crazy due to the fact you already have bigger creatures on the battlefield trying to kill all War Clans equally as well as the fact that many other creatures can wander onto the battlefield during the Encounter Phase.
Jacob: I absolutely love campaign games and I really like it when games include campaign rules in their systems. Can you tell us about the campaign system within Ragnarok?
Tim: The basis behind it is the currency of Glory. Glory is earned by playing in Scenarios and winning Minor or Major Victories, scoring Secondary Objectives, defeating Encounter Models, and can also be earned in the Raiding Phase. After each game, players have the opportunity to spend Glory to hire new War Clan members (to a maximum of 20), improve Stats on models, Improve God Powers on models, Equipping new weapons and armor, improving the use of Special Abilities on models, and many other things. The more games you play, the quicker your War Clan will improve.
Wrapping it up…
Jacob: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Ragnarok?
Tim: For now, look for the game to hit retail shelves on May 30th, 2019. In addition, this is NOT the only book in the series! Book Two: The Vanir will be out towards the end of the year and Book Three: The Abyss will follow after that. Each book will include more Warrior types, more weapons and equipment, more God Powers, new rules, new Scenarios, new Secondary Objectives, new Encounter Model types, and Avatars.
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Jacob: Thank you so much for your time Tim. There is a huge amount of excitement about this game on the net and I am really looking forward in seeing what comes of the system. The game releases this May 30th.
Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!