A (Re)introduction to Mortal Gods
Phatis here again and this time with some important updates about Mortal Gods! That’s right, I’ve snuck out from the basement and broke into Mark Farr’s office. It’s easy to sneak about when you’re basically incorporeal at will. Being a shade has its advantages.
If you are new to the community, you may not know who I am. Let me reintroduce myself. I am Phatis (the greatest)! I was once an Athenian soldier during the Peloponnesian Wars—of course that was quite some time ago. But that doesn’t explain why I am here now.
You see, way back in October of 2018, Footsore Miniatures announced Mortal Gods as a new skirmish tabletop game under development. They soon realised how incredibly overwhelming and complex the history of ancient Greece can be, so in some bizarre ritual involving Andy Hobday dressing up in a bunny costume (allegedly), I was summoned from the Underworld in order to sort it all out for them.
As I was an eyewitness to the historical setting and the events around which the game takes place, the Footsore team promised me unlimited coffee and snacks (a promise of which is seldom delivered) if I slaved over the important details. And slave I do! Trust me, this is no easy work. They did make a really nifty resin (and now soon to be available in metal) miniature of me as a young Athenian promachos (I was quite the handsome living person, if I do say so) that you can use in your games. I strongly recommend you paint my likeness in Athenian colours.
It occurred to me (definitely not Andy Hobday—don’t let him tell you otherwise) that the success of the game since its release in April 2019 may have brought in new gamers who might not know what Mortal Gods is all about; if that’s you, you’re in luck! Your pal Phatis here is going to answer all your burning questions—even the ones you haven’t thought about yet. Aren’t you lucky? You sure are! Let’s get into it.
What is Mortal Gods?
As you may be aware, Mortal Gods has now been released for retail sale. This is quite an important announcement, being that the initial preorder sold out completely before it could go out to the general public and, honestly, this second round of preorders also went a bit mad. But worry not! We have plenty of boxes stocked and ready for you to order. So what exactly is this highly sought-after game?
The short answer is that Mortal Gods is a tabletop skirmish game which is set in the wonderful world of Classical Greece during the 5th Century BCE and during the Peloponnesian Wars. The primary combatants during this time were the Athenians at the head of the Delian League and the Spartans who led the Peloponnesian League. We have released both Athenian and Spartan starter sets alongside the core box!
But don’t be mistaken, this is no ordinary historical wargame! Our goal was to make this game feel cinematic. We wanted the game to have roots in the history without being tied down to it. It is a hard balance to keep, but we manage it and make it.
Right, so at the time the game was announced last year (2018), the team at Footsore Miniatures & Games had been working off of an idea to use similar mechanics from the popular game ‘Test of Honour’—a samurai skirmish tabletop game developed by Andy Hobday and Graham Davey—just set in the world of ancient Greece. But as they playtested the game it became clear pretty early on that the game can and should evolve beyond Test of Honour and stand on its own mechanics. After all, the game shouldn’t just look like a game set in ancient Greece; it had to feel like the player was immersed in ancient Greece. It had to have that very classical style of fighting, bringing about a very cinematic and tactical style of play. Although the two games share some similarities such as blind drawing activations and warriors grouped onto bases a conscious decision was made for the two games to diverge and head off down their own paths.
In this shade’s opinion, the coolest feature of the games’ unique mechanics are the special dice that are used. The Mortal Gods dice, for example, are standard-looking D6 dice, but instead of numbers, they have sides with swords (indicating hits), shields (indicating saves) and Pegasi (which are Wild Cards). Wild Cards are something special. They hold a neat little place in Mortal Gods; we can think of them as ‘Fates’, as if Destiny is handing out a save when it is needed most or a critical attack when it’s the last chance for victory. And depending on how the dice are rolled, Wild Cards in a certain amount can activate a character skill or a special attack. The game also uses dice known as Damage markers, which indicate the current hits a warrior has taken and also impact how many Mortal Gods dice are rolled.
The game consists of two types of warriors: heroes and companions. Heroes represent the leaders of your forces, starting with the captain of your forces (your lochagos). You recruit companions for your warband (known as a lochos) using recruitment cards which contain all the relevant information about your warriors—armor type, points cost, how many attacks they get, what special gifts (i.e., gifts from the Gods) they possess, and so on.
You and your mates can determine the total points value of the game you play; the amount of warriors on the table and the length of the game will depend on how many points are spent. If you want to duke it our with a handful of miniatures each or play a larger game with a larger force of dozens of miniatures, Mortal Gods gives you a lot of freedom to create a lochos to your own liking!
As for the miniatures themselves, the game uses the much-loved Victrix plastics for its core and supplements these plastics with miniatures sculpted by the insanely talented Stavros Zouliatis, who has continued to impress us all with his attention to detail. These miniatures are available in both resin (usually as limited releases) and metal.
Also introduced in Mortal Gods is the phalanx fighting system. Using triangular group bases, you can form up your groups of miniatures into a light, medium, or heavy phalanx (each of which grant their own bonuses to your warriors), creating a wall of spears and shields! You can use this formation to move around your companions, but watch out for flanking manoeuvres and skirmishing troops which can cause you some trouble!
That’s about the short of it; of course there is loads more this game offers and you should definitely check out the reviews and content online about this amazing game! But what about the future of Mortal Gods? Well, about that…
What is Next for Mortal Gods?
Admittedly the whole Mortal Gods team was pretty humbled about the success of the preorders (not me, though; I always knew this game was gold—you can call it an undead premonition). That success comes with a responsibility; we created Mortal Gods to be the definitive Ancient Skirmish game - one that we will continue to support!
And boy, do we ever have a lot of amazing stuff on the way. *sorts through some of the secret papers from Mark Farr’s office* Oh yes, this is going to be great. Right, so let’s talk a bit about this.
You may have seen we have begun to release the cards for new factions on the Footsore Miniatures website, like a 300 point Persian raiding company (known as a sataba, rather than a lochos) that will wreak havoc on your lochos if you do not treat them as the threat that they are. There is a decent selection of Persian miniatures on the website to get you started. And around the corner, likely within the next week, we will be releasing the cards for the Thrakians (you can already purchase some of the miniatures for this force on the Footsore website). This is only the beginning.
I created a tentative list of all the playable city-states and factions in the game, and we aren’t limiting ourselves to just mainland Greeks—Etruscans, pirates and bandits, Argives, Carthaginians, Latins, Samnites, Celts, and soooo much more—which we hope to release over the course of the year. We will start making all the cards available soon enough and we will be supporting them all with a wonderful range of miniatures sculpted by Stavros as we plug along.
At the same time we are also playtesting the Mortal Gods: Mythic supplement right now (which has since been released)! Yes, yes we heard your pleas and we have a lovely range of badies and monsters for you to test your lochoi against! Did we mention the Trojan War? Ancient Egypt? Yep, we have those coming along too. Celts and Skythians? Yep. Amazons? You betcha. Late Republican Romans? OH yes.
We have a lot in store for you and we will be telling you more about it over the next few months. So be sure to follow and subscribe to our blog, check out the new inventory that periodically pops up on the webstore, and join us over at the Mortal Gods Facebook group so you can see what others are doing with their miniatures and games (and share a bit of your own Mortal Gods content).
Until next time, this is your friendly neighbourhood Phatis signing off from the basement of Footsore Miniatures & Games.