There is simply not enough time in my year to play every wargame that I would like to try out, but I’m itching to play the new World War Tesla from Fat Dragon Games. Created by Tom Tullis and James M. Ward (the creator of Metamorphosis Alpha, the very first science fiction roleplaying game), this is a tabletop wargame that also features custom-created sculptures that feature in the game’s rules and that can be downloaded and printed using a 3D printer.
Here’s the basic idea behind the print-and-play World War Tesla game as described in the rulebook:
World War Tesla is an alternate history skirmish wargame, where Nikola Tesla’s more radical ideas such as death rays, anti-gravity engines, force fields, and more were brought to fruition and changed the course of world history. The year is 1914, and the Trieste Coalition of the United States, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and France is at war with the Baltic League of Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and Italy. Tesla technology is everywhere, with giant walking tanks, soldiers with rocket-packs, and flying machines armed with death rays ruling the battlefield!
Fat Dragon Games had me at Tesla and death rays!
For a wargame, World War Tesla is EXTREMELY easy to learn. It’s all tucked into a short 14-page rulebook (PDF). With the Starter Set, you also get a special collection of reference cards (see images below) that you keep on the table during play AND a single-page Reference Sheet that really demonstrates how fast and easy it is to play this game. You also get numerous STL files that are for 3D printing the game’s nine war machines PLUS seven additional STL files for trees, bunkers, and other random bits to toss around on the battlefield. (Be aware that most of the war machines are broken up into multiple pieces that are printed separately and then glued together.)
The rules cover everything from layout out the 3′ x 3′ play area to movement and firing to carrying troops. The game is based on a point system, so you can keep it simple with a small challenge between players (300 points each) or go with more points if you want a lengthier game. The game can be played with more than two players, but keep in mind that there are only two sides — the Trieste Coalition and the Baltic League — so teamwork is crucial when controlling one’s miniatures.
A player will control a mix of war machines such as the Austro-Daimler Mk. I or the Chenault Mk. II. Depending on the models you choose to play, you’ll have a matching card like the one shown here for the Austro-Daimler Mk. I. These cards help you monitor shields, armor, weapons and other vital stats.
The World War Tesla Starter Set includes the following:
Rulebook (14 pages)
Reference Sheet (1 page)
Scenarios 1 and 2
3D Models – war machines
3D Models – Accessories
Cards – 9 in all, one per war machine
Model Assembly Instructions (9 pages)
My 3D printer is down right now (damaged hot end — the dangerous end where the melted plastic comes out), but I’ve got a replacement on its way and I’m hoping to get printing these models soon so I can start playing. Tom Tullis tells me there will be expansions offered — two are out now (Land Torpedo and Crater) and he’s got a new expansion releasing every month for the remainder of 2018.
Once I get some games completed, I’ll post a battle report or two. This game looks incredibly fun, and I like the setting and the 3D models. If you’ve never played a wargame, this would make a great introductory game as the rules are short and easy to follow. If you’re an experience wargamer, you’ll likely find World War Tesla a nice game to add to your roster for when you want something fast and light to play.
Note: I’d like to thank Tom Tullis with Fat Dragon Games for providing me with the Starter Set to review.