Lost World Exodus an upcoming wargame from Warcradle, that while it has a very different setting, is entirely compatible with their other popular wargame, Wild West Exodus. As part of our Nautical Tabletop Season, we looked at one of the first crews for LWE, the Wrath of the Nautilus. In this article, we're going to look at the latest release for LWE and WWE, the Pride of Nekomata detachment that can be used with the Empire and Warrior Nation factions. We'll also introduce Lost World Exodus, for those unfamiliar with the system, and also talk to Chris Pond, Assistant Studio Manager at Warcradle about using the Pride on the tabletop.
Lost World Exodus / Wild West Exodus Introduction
The icy wilderness of Antarctica holds a centuries-old secret buried in its frozen depths. This alien structure, known only as the Vault, contains marvels beyond human understanding. Now the Vault has been breached and an inexplicable transformation has created a Lost World of dense jungles, vast labyrinthine chasms and fiery volcanoes.
Fuelled by rumour alone, the mighty empires of the Dystopian Age have sent expeditions to the distant shores of Antarctica. Traversing the exterior’s miles of ice and rock, these expeditions have finally reached the wild and wondrous interior of the Lost World. Scattered throughout this rich and varied landscape are seams of fabulous minerals, hyper-evolved megaflora and the menacing roar of new and terrifying beasts that call this Lost World home.
Even though Lost World Exodus hasn't been released yet, the compatibility with Wild West Exodus and sharing of core rules suggests that it will have the same test and action mechanics using dice and cards. In Wild West Exodus, players need to score 10 or more to achieve a test with a 10-sed dice plus their skill score, and actions and initiative are controlled with Action Cards drawn from a deck. Action Cards have 2 numbers, a large central number that shows how many action points a unit gets when it's activated, and a smaller number that is used for determining initiative order.
WWX can be a brutal game, as characters and units don't have wounds, so if they fail a saving throw, then they're removed from the game. Special characters have a few tricks and abilities to give them a little more staying power, but a determined effort on your opponent's half to remove a unit can be deadly if the dice don't go your way.
A couple of unit sets have been released for Lost World Exodus already, which can be used in Wild West Exodus. There are also several more are planned, along with the rules and gubbins set that will probably be similar to the Wild West Exodus box.
Pride of Nekomata
The Nekomata are a group of warriors, bonded with spirits from their native island off the coast of Japan. Along with improving their martial abilities, the warriors have taken on physical animal elements of the spirit they joined with. There were only ever twelve Nekomata, but something has changed, and no new bonding has taken place, leaving only six remaining. Seeing an opportunity, their leader Kamanu allied with the larger forces of the Empire, gaining protection for retaining the seclusion of their island, in return, the Nekomata became available for military operations as the Empire explores and expands. The Nekomata are a perfect force of elite operatives, and they have used the opportunity to travel to reach out to their spiritual cousins in the Warrior Nation, to seek out answers as to the decline of the Nekomata.
The Pride are officially part of the Empire faction for Lost World Exodus, but they can be taken as part of a Warrior Nation or Outlaws force in Wild West Exodus. If taken as part of an Outlaws or Warrior Nation force, they can use their special Pride faction posse card, which gives them the Dispersed Deployment special rule, allowing them to deploy after other units, and anywhere on the play area, but not within 12 inches of an enemy fighter. This allows the Nekomata to get straight into the action, commanding areas and controlling zones from the start.
The Pride of Nekomata detachment includes 6 fighters:
- Komanu Rayon - Komanu is the leader of the Nekomata and is incredibly effective in close combat, but also has a huge amount of support abilities including reducing your opponent's adventure card hand by 1, once per activation, nearby friendly units can re-roll dice and can also deploy spirit totems (and we really hope to see some samurai-themed totem releases).
- Yurona Chitai - The Nekomata are fast, but Yurona is faster still with a move of 8 which can be focused for an extra 2 inches for free, and with a 22-inch bow range that ignores the penalty for long-range, Yurona can threaten a huge amount of the battlefield. Yurona also gets additional actions after taking enemies out, so it's a brave opponent that leaves their units out of cover.
- Kenzai Hyo - Kenzai is a solid lump of muscle and as a result the slowest of the Nekomata. Kenzai is decent in a fight, especially as his Nunchuku has a rate of attack of 4. But Kenzai's real ability comes with the Repair and Sawbones abilities that lets any allied unit within 5 inches reroll failed Grit checks.
- Tora Kokan - Tora is a stealthy warrior. Brutal in a fight and able to attack again for one less action point. Trailfinder lets Tora get towards the enemy quicker, whilst Shrouded and Shadowstep help to protect from incoming fire.
- Yama Mimi - Yama is another solid fighter, and Teamwork allows Yama to activate immediately after another Nekomata ends their activation within 8 inches. Yama has a deadly combo attack, first with the 3-inch ranged Metsubishi to give the target the Disorder condition, then Quick Strike allows Yama to attack again for 1 less action point, with Dead or Alive giving all attacks against a Disordered enemy Lethal. If Yama can close the distance, her Kama attack has a rate of attack 3 for a devastating follow-up.
- Ichiko Kuga - Ichiko is a good a fighter as the rest of the Nekomata, but also has some incredible mental abilities. With a Mind of 8, which once per turn can be used in place of any other attribute. This is incredibly effective for either offense, boosting movement for positioning, or Grit on defense. Ichiko also has a compel ability, which can be used to force a friend or foe to take a free action of Ichiko's choosing, which can be insanely powerful. Ichiko also has access to totems which combines well with Komanu, as well as Portal Mastery for control of them.
If you're looking for an easy expansion for the Nekomata before Lost World Exodus releases, then Nakano Gozen, who has been available in Wild West Exodus under the Outlaws faction for a while, is a perfect fit. Nakano is an Empire emissary and is linked to the Nekomata in the lore. Including her with the Nekomata bring them to a nice 985 points.
Pride of Nekomata Developer Interview
TechRaptor: Hi Chris and welcome back to TechRaptor. Today we're looking at the brand new Pride of the Nekomata box. Could you give us a little introduction to them and where they fit into WWX and LWE?
Chris Pond: The Nekomata are both part of The Celestian Empire and the Warrior Nation. WWX players will obviously be familiar with the Warrior Nation from that game, but those featured in WWX are the indigenous people of that part of the Americas. The Warrior Nation can be found all over the globe and their ways and abilities are similar, if not their cultures and beliefs. The Nekomata are Spirit Walkers who belong to our own Dystopian Age version of the Ainu culture, the people of Hokkaido. As they are also part of the Empire and the Emperor of Japan often has use of their particular skills it makes them fit into both WWX and LWX perfectly.
TR: How do the Pride play on the tabletop? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
CP: The Nekomata are a group of highly skilled characters. They can all pack a punch or stand their ground well, there are, however, a few nice synergies thrown in there but I’ll leave those for the players to discover. All in all, they are a powerful team.
TR: The Pride can be used with the Empire and Warrior Nation factions. Where do they fit into both of those?
CP: In LWE the Nekomata are scouts, assassins, and elite troops and can fill all three roles capably. They will provide an interesting counterbalance to the more troop-heavy Empire Forces. In WWX they are a formidable Posse that can add some flavor to your existing Warrior Nation forces.
TR: Thank you very much for talking to us Chris. We look forward to seeing what's next for Lost World Exodus and Dystopian Wars.
The copy of Pride of Nekomata Detachment used to produce this preview was provided by Warcradle Studios.