If you’re looking for more ways you can immerse yourself in the world of Steampunk a new game from Reliquary Game Studios may be just the thing! Clockwork: Empire is a tabletop, card-based RPG that takes players into a rich world of social unrest, political intrigue, and the supernatural, all against a Victorian Steampunk backdrop.
The world of Clockwork: Empire has been painstakingly researched by creator Zeke Coughlin, and kept faithful by writers like Ennie award nominated author Nathaniel Dean (known for his work on Eclipse Phase) and Doug Hagler (known for his work with Parsec and Jolly Roger Games). Though it is “an alternate version of the British Empire of 1896” the goal was to keep the world of the game true to actual historical events, technology, and, most importantly, the social and political climate of the era.
The historical authenticity not only makes the game feel more real and immersive, but it also factors into one of its most exciting and unique features. Those familiar with traditional tabletop games will be surprised to learn that the mechanics of Clockwork: Empire focus on social conflict more than physical conflict. The Victorian era is known for having distinct class structures, and to get ahead one had to play the game of manners. In Clockwork: Empire most confrontations are goal oriented and require problem solving and social graces. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for players to really think on their feet, and breaks the monotony of the “roll-stab-repeat” routine of other games.
Another unique feature is the non-linear system that allows players to jump in and act at any time. Not having to wait for a turn to come up means players are always engaged and paying closer attention to how they can make things work to further their character’s interests.
Reliquary has released artless print-and-play cards as part of their free Quick-Start Rules download. The guide gives an introduction to the basics of game-play in an easy to follow format, and includes lots of examples of how the rules translate into actual game scenarios.
The research and attention to detail is extremely evident and pays off handsomely in the Quick-Start adventure “Idle Hands.” The writing is engrossing and paints a vivid picture of Victorian Edinburgh. Players can choose from a variety of well developed characters, each with their own skills and strengths. Stats are mapped out on sheets included in the guide. The adventure manual is colored throughout with important facts, period drawings, and quotes from different historical figures of the era, all of which add to the experience.
Reviews from test players were so enthusiastic Reliquary launched a Kickstarter Campaign to bring the fully realized game to life. The response was overwhelming and the game raised over $4500 in the first twenty-four hours. This prompted Reliquary to initiate “stretch goals.” If the initial funding goal was reached before the Kickstarter deadline, any additional funds would go towards exciting new expansions and storylines for players. Donating to the Kickstarter campaign also makes donors eligible for thank you gifts and exclusives for the game.