For years, when I tell people I'm a gamer, I have had to explain that I'm typically a tabletop gamer, not a video gamer. I then have to go on and explain that I do play video games, but when I do it is usually on a PC, not a game system but I do have a PS3 and occasionally play games on it...blah, blah, blah. Well thanks to Flying Helmet Games, having to make those distinctions may become a thing of the past.
Flying Helmet Games have created a tabletop video game. Yep, I said it. A tabletop video game. Worlds have collided, dogs and cats are living together. Edward J. Douglas, Scott Penner, and Lukas Reynolds grew up playing traditional pen and paper role playing games. As adults with professional experience with some big names in video gaming (Bioware, UbiSoft, and Electronic Arts) they realized that what video gaming was missing is the social element that comes from traditional tabletop games. So they pooled their experience and developed a video game that plays like a hyped up table top game. Using a central tablet and your personal smartphone as your controller, you and a group of friends join together to explore dungeons in world of Eon Altar.
Since I come from more of a tabletop background, there are so many things about this project that I find super exciting. First off, many of the best tabletop games are labor intensive. By the time you punch and sort all the parts and set up the board, a huge portion of your valued play time has been eaten up. With Eon Altar, the set up is done. Second, the method of play is approachable for experienced gamers and noobs alike. Especially considering that everyone will be playing with their own smartphone. Additionally, the characters have depth. Each of the 5 playable characters have their individual story that revealed as the game progresses. Details are shared with the players individually and you can decide whether to share the details with your teammates or keep your secrets. Each character will have a variety of skills to aid themselves and the team in battle.
When talking with Scott Penner, co-founder and lead designer, he explained what makes Eon Altar special as a hybrid of video games and tabletop games. There is something unique to tabletop gaming about sharing space around a table and feeling the anticipation in the air as a player rolls the dice for a much needed critical play. Each player holds their breath as the dice are dropped and roll to their random determination and the table shares the glory or despair with the outcome. Video games, even MMORPG's, can't duplicate that because we simply aren't there, shoulder to shoulder with our teammates. But Eon Altar has that experience. The dice roll is a tangible group experience as a player shakes the dice on his personal controller and releases them to the central tablet. Everyone watches and waits together as the dice roll to determine the team's fate. Really. Watch the video. It is awesome.
Gameplay is turn based and you control the combat on your personal handset. Cinematics and group strategizing takes place on the central tablet. The game will support iOS, Android and Widows.
Eon Altar's Kickstarter campaign runs until December 8th. Check it out and spread the word.