Will ‘Mortal Gods’ be a Historical Tabletop Game?

Hello everyone!

It’s Phatis, your (finally caffeinated) guide to all things Mortal Gods!  Yes, the denizens here at War Banner have finally paid their coffee debt to me, in no small part due to the many lead curse tablets I left lying about in not-so-subtle places throughout the office.

On a completely unrelated subject, does anyone know how to cancel a curse? If so, please drop me a note in private. Not for any specific reason or anything, but do hurry.

A lot of people on social media have been asking us questions about the game, but one question in particular seems like it comes up more than others: Is this going to be a historical tabletop game or not?  This is a simple question with a complicated answer. The short answer, without any explanation, is summed up this way:

No. Well, wait…I mean, yes. Maybe?

That was helpful, right? Okay good. Catch you later folks. Don’t forget to like, share, and… hmm? I’m not done, yet? What do you mean that didn’t answer anything? Fine, fine. I will go into the longer version.

When War Banner began working on this game, they went into it with two prominent concepts: (1) Respect the history with it’s rich, fabulous setting and (2) make this a skirmish game with rules that are easy to pick up, with fast-paced scenarios that are enjoyable to play. In other words, the emphasis was on game mechanics without destroying the historical grounding and immersion into a Classical Greek setting.

 

Mechanically, as a skirmish game, there is a whole lot War Banner wants to do that would be more difficult if the game were to follow rigid historical guidelines. For example, War Banner wants the players to have the ability to mix up certain unit types and elements which never would have worked well historically.

That isn’t to say that the player can’t play historically–they certainly can! There will be flexibility in the rules to allow for this. And the game will follow certain historical realities (the existence of the Classical city-states and leaders and historic heroic figures), but there will be no dogmatic adherence to it.

What does that mean exactly? Well, if you have ever read any of the Classical Greek historians, like Herodotus or Xenophon, you will find that even for events that witnessed, or were contemporaries of, they embellished (Babylon’s city fortifications), fabricated (Pericles funeral oration), or changed the narrative (bias in the retelling of the Peloponnesian Wars) in order to make their tales more engaging to their readers.  They often include mythological elements and even went to the trouble to fit them into real geographical locations on a historical timeline (cyclopes, griffons, etc…) and there seemed to be little care taken with the blending of history and fiction.

In a sense, War Banner wants to accomplish something similar. The real history of the Greek world in antiquity (I know, I’m dating myself) is engaging and wonderful. But part of the luster of Classical Greece, at least for me, is its μῦθος (mythos).  Perhaps this has always been the case, which might explain why the Romans did not feel a need to destroy those myths, nor the history, and why movies like Troy and 300, and games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, are so incredibly popular today.

So for the time being, War Banner will focus on the historical. Besides the core box set there will be supplement sets for Athens and Sparta, there will be Mercenary Lochoi, an Athenian naval raiding force, a Spartan scorched earth Lochos, Persian military advisors, and Macedonian mountain bandits.

In the not-too-distant future, however (spoilers ahead), the plan is also to release a highly anticipated mythic supplement as well, which will incorporate the use of the Minotaur, harpies, skeletons (undoubtedly raised by a sinister magician), and even heroes riding Pegasus into battle! Also included will be Jason and his Argonauts (yay!), Theseus, Heracles, and Perseus! And it doesn’t end there.

In preparation for writing this article, Andy Hobday told me that the historical context is important, but “we don’t want people to get hung up on it. We want you to be inspired by Ancient Greece and explore its rich background adding what interests you to your Lochos.”

I think that is a perfect place for this piece to conclude. So this is what I’m like when I get my coffee? Hm. Well, hopefully this answered your question!

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About the Author

Phatis
Hi there! I'm Hippias Phatis--or Phatis for short (only my friends call me Hippias). So there I was, minding my own business in Hades, when the War Banner gods summoned me by some ritual or another and bound me to this thankless Fate--writing about Mortal Gods: Test of Courage. But fear not, mortals! I do enjoy my profession, even if I am only compensated by way of caffeinated drinks.

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