Lately I'm a bit bored of just playing games, I miss a bit doing something more creative. I also miss my miniatures. So when I learned about a new game, Talespire, that allowed you to setup and play "boardgame" scenarios as if you had real painted miniatures (with amazing graphics), I wanted to give it a try.
I learned about the game by a blog post, once it was already available at Steam (it's in Early Access), but researching for this post I found that it comes from a successful Kickstarter. Both sources are a good starting point, but check the Steam early access trailer to see why I fell in love with it:
You easily add tiles, walls, props (furniture, decoration) and entities (human-controllable miniatures, NPCs and monsters), save it (everything works online), and then can play, alone or with friends (no AI, though), in a turn-based fashion. It struck me both as how simple it appeared, and really is, you decide how far you want to go adding detail. But the visuals are incredible, it really looks as if you had real high-quality painted miniatures. The die roll realistically, music and sound effects help immerse, and special effects and "atmospheric controls" (time of day, weather, and other visual and lighting conditions) allow to create the perfect setting no matter if you are exploring dark sewers, a dungeon or a mountain on a sunny day.
I encourage anyone interested to read the terminology guide and the player's guide to properly understand what you can (and can't) do. For example, the combat system is as good as many normal computer RPGs, with 4 stats, combat resolution, initiative-based turns and other tweaks, but it is not Dungeons & Dragons. I find it a great balance between a not-totally-freeform game engine (like Vassal) and Baldur's Gate.
Oh, and remember what I mentioned before about the Kickstarter campaign? You should check it out as it hints of things to come later, like character editing (at minimum changing the colors), or a Cyberpunk/sci-fi setting which looks as amazing as the main medieval one (and exactly what I thought, "I'd love to have a Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent!").
This is an example screenshot I took exploring an amazing castle uphill I downloaded from the community:
This was my first experiment, a small tavern made in a few minutes just after finishing the (in-game) tutorials:
And my last screenshot is a work in progress of a bigger experiment, a HeroQuest board. Need to learn to play with tile sizes to see if I can keep corridors same size as the original, while having cool walls and room dispositions, but still I think end up quite similar:
Of course the game is meant to be played with other people, but for now, to me it is a great way to relax assembling maps. I can pick any map from an adventure, or even cool randomly generated maps. Having your friends purchase the game to be able to play the campaigns can be a handicap, but the game is cheap, way less than any boardgame these days.
Before I finish, I wanted to also share a few great resources for inspiration and maps:
- Tales Tavern: Official website, acting both as a hub of player-created content, news, and tutorials (see next point)
- Tales Tavern Training Grounds: An official list of resources
- TaleSpire reddit: All things related with the game, from news to newest creations by people.