Designer Interview: Wreck Age‘s Anton Zaleski

Back in January I was contacted by Matt Sears and Anton Zaleski of Hyacinth Games. They have a cool game called Wreck-Age, a RPG and miniature wargame set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with factions all with their hearts set on different goals… It’s a bit like Fallout where the world has been ravaged and almost left for dead…

Wreck-Age cover -Hyacinth GamesLike cockroaches, we managed to overpopulate the earth and devour its natural resources. It suffered as a result. And by the 23rd century it was easy to see none of the solutions we’d come up with to save the planet were going to work. But there was a glimmer of hope – the Exodus. Ensure survival of the human race by leaving the planet and colonizing new worlds. Everyone bought into the plan. The plan was going to work!

The plan was a lie.

Once the rich and powerful headed out in the first wave, they left everybody else behind. As you might expect, the rest of the population was none too pleased by this. Anarchy raged across the world at the same time the Earth itself staged a revolution. Natural disaster trimmed the herd. Species perished. Environments crumbled. And humankind itself became an endangered species.

But we humans are tough to eliminate entirely. We’re staging a comeback though recovery is slow and painful. Islands of civilization exist. The powerful rule. The weak struggle. And the players work to survive.

It’s dark, brutal, and very cool. So of course I had to ask Adam a few questions…

Q: How long has Wreck Age been in development?

A little over 2 years. I approached Matt with the initial concept sometime in late 2011, but work didn’t get underway until sometime later.

Q: What came first? The rules system or the setting?

They were designed simultaneously, so there would be a good level of integration. This was actually an integral part of the concept, that a game’s rules system should match it’s setting, rather than just taking a plug and play system that added no depth to the back story.


Q: What were your inspirations and goals for this very dark setting?

There are some levels of social commentary, inspired by the classic sci fi masters. One of the hopes I had was that we could make a game that was fun to play, and unlike anything else on the market. I think in many ways, we have succeeded at that. The darkness is the undertone, and the weight that the setting carries, but we also tried to incorporate a good amount of hope, as “the Resurgence” implies.

Q: What are your favorite factions or parts of the setting?

I am drawn to Unicephalon and the Reclaimers, mainly because I’m kind of a little of a tech geek, although I admittedly don’t know all that much about it. Writing stuff for those factions has led me to do a lot of research and reading on cool science and technology though, so maybe I just needed an excuse to do that.

Q: The book features some fantastic art. Do you have any favorite pieces?

That would be tricky to pick just one. I think that Kostas and Ksenia did some amazing work throughout, and I’d be hesitant to pick just one. One of Kostas’ final pieces was a suit of heavy armor that I just needed to put behind a splash narrative was drawn in a few hours, and just showcased to me what talented artists that we’re working with.

Q: What are your plans for the game going forward? Expansions?

We have plans for several campaign setting books, and an expansion giving more background and rules for the four of the factions mentioned in brevity: the Arhk, the Church of Fun, the Vale, and Unicephalon. We’re hoping that will come out towards the tail end of this year.


Q: How has the game been received so far?

People are still really digesting the rules, so I’d say it’s still too early to say. We have had a lot of positive feedback so far. The majority of the negative feedback comes from the fact that I really really need good editors to double check my work, which luckily we have in spades, but I think I overwork them with my spelling and grammar errors. 😉

Q: What are the things folks should know about the game?

  • It’s designed to be a tabletop miniatures and RPG hybrid, or it can be played as either.
  • We publish under a Creative Commons license, because we want people to take the setting and run with it in whatever direction they want. We really believe in building and supporting a community, and that’s just one facet of it.

Q: What were the biggest lessons learned during development and playtesting? Any advice for other game designers?

This stuff doesn’t create itself. I realize that might seem like a very obvious statement, but I put thousands hours into rules development and writing for the book. If you’re not driven, disciplined, and motivated, you’re not going to get it done.

Q: Any questions you wish you’d have been asked? What are they and what would their answers be?

Which one of us is the sexiest? The answer is me, Anton.

Thanks Anton for answering my questions! Congrats on the success of the game and I hope to read more about all the amazing factions fighting for supremacy in the Resurgence. Hope springs eternal! Especially when you have a bigger gun than the other guy!!

For more about Wreck-Age, be sure to check out…


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