The Drowned Earth Guide

Last Update: June 12, 2020 4:27 AM /


The Drowned Earth

The Drowned Earth is a tabletop skirmish wargame by Olmec Games. TDE is set in the future of a post-apocalyptic world, where nature has taken hold again. Species have evolved and while some work with humanity, others roam looking for prey.

A Drowned Earth Game in action.

The Drowned Earth - Mechanics

The focus of The Drowned Earth is exciting action and dynamic movement. Game's use a small number of figures, 5 to 10 so the focus is on the individual actions of the characters you have.

Tests are carried out using 10 sided dice (D10). 2 are rolled for each test, 1 is for the main attribute test, and the other is a Feat dice. To pass a test, the attribute dice needs to roll equal to or under the stat being tested. If the Feat dice also rolls under the stat, then a better result, known as Nailed It, gives a bonus to the action, like a few more inches of movement or bonus damage. If the Feat dice rolls a Feat symbol (which replaces the 1 on the special Feat dice), then the result is a critical success with special bonuses, like regaining an action point after moving.

The Drowned Earth Dice Results Table
The full Drowned Earth test results table.

The movement options in The Drowned Earth allow units to move normally, jump, leap, crawl, climb or swim. This gives a range of options for moving between scenery. Pre-measuring is allowed, and if attempting dynamic movement like leaping or jumping, the test is rolled first, allowing your character to progress along the line of movement as far as they can depending on the test result.

Dynamic Movement in The Drowned Earth
Kaneda on the high-ground weighs up their options for lighting up Juchita.

Other actions can be combined with movement as Nested Actions and by spending Action Points, you can react to enemy actions. This can lead to some fantastic action sequences with your heroes leaping off scenery and lighting up their enemies as they fall.

The Drowned Earth - What do you need to play?

To play The Drowned Earth you need:

  • The rules (available in free pdf or in an awesome hardback with a huge chunk of background lore for TDE)
  • Faction miniatures (including Unit Cards)
  • Tokens and Templates (these can be printed from the back of the rulebook or bought here)
  • D10 (at least 2 with different colors, but more for marking action points and health are helpful. You can buy the official custom dice here)
The Drowned Earth Essentials.

If you want to try out the Drowned Earth, with the rules and cards available for free, you can use other miniatures to represent the TDE units to see if you enjoy the game first, before picking up the official miniatures.

The Drowned Earth Firm

Each of The Drowned Earth factions has their own starter-set available. The starter-sets each have a 100 point force. These can then be expanded with individual units that, the mounted leaders, or the beasts/Wayfarers that are available to all factions.

Next Steps

Drowned Earth Scenery

If you enjoy the Drowned Earth, then games are enhanced with multi-level scenery. We recommend Battle Systems for scenery. Their Shanty Town set lets you build several multi-level terrain pieces and includes loads of scatter terrain.

The Shanty Town also goes well with the official Drowned Earth gaming mat from Deep-Cut Studios, which we looked at in detail in our article.

Drowned Earth Factions.

The Drowned Earth - Factions

The Drowned Earth has several factions available and each has their own unique flavor.

  • Artefacters - Treasure hunters and adventurers. Great agility, low toughness, with stealth and mobility abilities.
  • Firm - Gangsters and criminals. High combat traits with some good ranged and ambush abilities.
  • Militia - Community protection units. Solid ranged abilities and weapons.
  • Bondsmen - Bounty hunters and hired muscle. Awesome melee abilities and weapons.
  • Wayfarers - Mercenaries for hire. A mixture of abilities and skills. They can be their own faction or included in other factions.
  • Beasts - Ulaya's dangerous wildlife. Beasts  of various sizes can be included with your factions, from the small Dilos, up to the huge Keratosor

All of the Drowned Earth products used for this review were provided by Olmec Games. The Drowned Earth gaming mat was provided by Deep-Cut Studios and the Shanty Town scenery set by Battle Systems.

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A Potts TechRaptor
| Senior Tabletop Writer

Adam is a Tabletop Specialist for TechRaptor. He started writing for TechRaptor in 2017 and took over as Tabletop Editor in 2019 and has since stood down… More about Adam