Warcradle Studios will add a new edition of Dystopian Wars to its Dystopian Age universe, joining Wild West Exodus in a multi-game product line across a common setting.  The two game systems were both added by acquisition, with Wild West Exodus (see "‘Wild West Exodus’ Miniatures Game") acquired in 2016 from Outlaw Miniatures, and Dystopian Wars (see "‘Dystopian Wars 1.1’") acquired from Spartan Games last year.

The concept for a shared universe was developed as the company acquired Dystopian Wars, Studio Manager Stuart Mackaness told ICv2.  "I could see that there was an opportunity to create something that hadn’t really been done before, which was to create an umbrella, a setting with multiple known brands operating in the same universe."

A new version of Dystopian Wars, sharing a common background and world with the new Wild West Exodus, is currently under development.  The company plans to launch a public "beta test" of the new system starting next month, and will integrate feedback from that test into the final version of the game, which Mackaness hopes to early next year in a similar format to Wild West Exodus, which has a low-cost entry product supported by monthly releases.

Warcradle was formed in 2016 by Wayland Games, which Mackaness described as "the largest online retailer for tabletop games in Europe."  The studio was formed to become "a creative part rather than a commercial part" of the business, Mackaness said, while emphasizing that Wayland’s experience helped drive decisions at the studio.  "We had a commercial understanding because of what we knew sold well with Wayland Games so that when we’re designing and developing games, we do them with a commercial emphasis," he explained.

Shortly after the studio was formed, it acquired the intellectual property for Wild West Exodus from Outlaw Miniatures   After spending a year developing and updating the game, Warcradle released its version of the alternate-history Weird West miniatures game in September 2017.  The new edition maintained aesthetic consistency with the original, with concept artwork by original artist Roberto Cirillo, but as Mackaness explained, "It’s a completely reworked game engine.  It doesn’t really share anything with the previous edition.  In the background, it’s not a continuation really of what it was before.  It’s really a complete reboot."

The new Wild West Exodus uses a more streamlined game system for faster, deadlier play, and was designed to have a low cost of entry.  The core set, Rules & Gubbins, has an MSRP of $25.00, and a player can pick up a starting "Posse" for $44.00.  Warcradle currently continues to support the line with two or three Posse Sets each month.  The game currently has eight factions, with six Posse Sets available for each faction.

Although both Wild West Exodus and Dystopian Wars had at least one Kickstarter release, that’s not the model that Warcradle is using.  "We like Kickstarters for certain types of products," Mackaness said, “but for games… where you’re building out the whole retailer buy-in, and the distributors that you want on board, Kickstarter’s going to be quite difficult for that kind of relationship.  We’re not so keen on that."

Warcradle picked up multiple IPs in the Spartan Games acquisition, including space combat game Firestorm Armada, which the company plans to revive.

Asked whether Warcradle plans additional acquisitions, Mackaness admitted that the company was evaluating additional opportunities, but said that it wasn’t the goal."  "It’s not our primary way of doing things," he said.  "We had an opportunity for two very quick acquisitions, which actually have let us set the foundation now for a much bigger setting that we’ll be developing."  He went on to tease the fact that the company already has "another six games planned that are also going to be part of this greater world" of the Dystopian Age.

Click the Gallery below for miniatures in development for the two games