Blue Shift is a new miniatures game, set in a tiny corner of our Reality Tech Storm universe (the main Reality Tech Storm set, a 6mm sci-fi game with a real twist to it, will appear in 2013 – stay tuned…).
Reality Tech Storm is a futuristic setting, where humanity’s technology has allowed him to spread across the stars. However, the acquisition of territory and resources continues to drive us, and that leads to inevitable conflict.
For its part, Blue Shift is set in a remote sector called Nethersky, on the border of the Persephone Defence Alliance. A strange cluster of stars, Nethersky represented a boom time for the Alliance, as it was rich in resources locked within both asteroids and gas giants. Great corporations, working tightly with the military, set about strip mining these systems until the resources dried up and pressure on its borders from other empires forced the Alliance to withdraw.
Now, Nethersky is a poor shadow of its former self, filled with small corporations forced out of Alliance space by their competitors, and independant miners and prospectors, all trying to scratch a living from what the Alliance left behind. It is a natural breeding ground for pirates… and mercenaries.
With no great warships left in Nethersky, force is best delivered by nimble fighters. In Blue Shift, you take the role of a mercenary leader commanding a squadron of fighters and their pilots. With an integrated campaign system, you will be able to hire and fire the best pilots you can find, train them up, and equip them with the finest fighters you can lay your hands on.
This is the Warlord Heavy Attack Fighter, a real bruiser of a craft. Originally designed to make attack runs on transports and static bases, many mercenaries have found it is also a superb weapons platform. Properly equipped and defended by space superiority fighters, the Warlord can hang back from an engagement and hurl missiles into the fray from its many, many hardpoints. Even if the enemy does break through, the Warlord is surprisingly agile at slow speeds and tough enough to shrug off all but the heaviest damage.
This is just one of several fighters that will be available for your squadron upon the release of the game. However, what makes Blue Shift special is the extent to which you can customise your force. Your mercenaries will have their own paint schemes, of course (and ace pilots will likely have their own decorations), but you will be able to fully equip your fighters as you see fit.
When you buy a fighter for your squadron in Blue Shift, all you get is the fighter itself and whatever internal equipment it comes with as standard from the manufacturer. From there, you can add whatever weapons and other enhancements that best suit your squadron and their combat doctrine.
This picture will give you some idea of what is possible. Even internal weapons, such as rotary cannon and plasma blasters, are bought seperately. And the individual hardpoints truly open your options up, allowing you to mount anything from dumb rockets and long-ranged guided missiles, to recon pods and rocket boosters. Beyond that, you will be able to equip a fighter with range-finders, armour plating, auxiliary thrusters – on some fighters you will even be able to mount a twin-cockpit and add a new crew member! All of these will be released in ‘Weapons Packs,’ several of which come in the core box set, which also includes the rulebook and four fighters for just $39.99.
Throughout the development of Blue Shift, we have concentrated on what makes fighter combat different from anything else. Principally, speed. Turns for each fighter are very, very quick to play through, allowing you to see a dogfight unfold as fighters zip across the table, perform breathtaking manoeuvres, and settle on the tail of an enemy before blowing it out of the sky. The rulebook has been specifically designed to aid this, with one page holding all the information you need for every fighter, from its speed and turning ability, to its individual critical hit table. There are no ‘damage points’ to track as, being fighter combat, all we are really interested in is a fighter’s ability to carry on, well, fighting.
As with all our miniatures games, the core rules of Blue Shift are extremely easy to get into, but there are a wealth of options and additions to continue breathing new life into your games. Add to that a drop in/drop out campaign system, and you will have everything you need to wage war across Nethersky and get rich in the process…
Look out for more previews over the following months. Blue Shift is set for a winter 2012 release.