Every once in a while, a new game pops into the hobby which makes you go “oooh”. So it is with The Drowned Earth (TDE), The debut skirmish wargame from the UK’s Olmec Games.
Based on the land of Ulaya, TDE takes place several hundred years after “The Event”, a cataclysm which devastated the advanced civilization of the planet. The game mixes familiar post-apocalyptic styles we’ve seen before with… dinosaurs. What’s not to love about that?
Olmec really want you to play this game. So much so, you can get the rulebook for free directly from them as a PDF download. But, of course, there’s a gorgeous, hardback rulebook available which is almost 50% rules and 50% background/ fluff for the world. This might be a new game, but they’ve made some engaging and compelling lore for this world which you won’t want to miss.
It’s worth taking a moment to mention the artwork in the rulebook. Few first editions have the quality and volume of lovely images that you’ll find in TDE’s pages.
Featuring six different factions brought to life with 35mm scale, white metal miniatures. There’s a lot going on with TDE, but is it actually any good?
The game is clearly focused on two things, fun and cinematic moments. But don’t let that make you think it lacks depth; you’d be mistaken if you think TDE doesn’t have competitive play potential.
TDE is skirmish scale, so you’ll typically be using between 5 and 15 miniatures (including dinosaurs) in a game, depending on the point size of game you play. The game is played on a 3’ x 3’ table for a standard game and does require quite a lot of line of sight blocking terrain with the rulebook giving you recommendations of density and type. However, it’s recommended that at least 25% of the table is water… this earth has, after all, been drowned!
The game takes place over 4 to 6 turns, depending on the scenario. TDE is very much designed to be played with scenarios and missions, the straight “kill the other guy” style game isn’t really suitable for this type of system. So, get ready to be booping boxes and assassinating targets in no time. The rulebook comes with five core scenarios, but more are available online and coming soon from Olmec.