The Gradara Project!

One epic siege, one massive board, one massive new campaign system and 2 new decks! Join us at Salute 2024!

The Masterstroke team is proud to announce we will be collaborating with the town of Gradara, Oshiro Model Terrain and the History in Games Lab to bring their siege of Gradara project to life!

The Historical Gradara

The Marche, a mountainous area supposedly ruled by the Papacy but in truth was occupied by warlord families making the towns and castles their own.

Gradara was one of the chief fortresses in the region, a rich prize for any of the mercenary princes who sought to control the vital roadways that control travel between Rome and the Adriatic coast.
In 1446 the owner of Gradara, the dashing your Sigismondo of the infamous Malatesta family was called to Rome to accept the gift of a rich armour from the Pope. In his absence the Sforza brothers seized their chance, marching on Gradara with the full might of the Milanese war machine with many other allies behind them.
As the town came under siege Sigismondo rushed back, raising his cavalry to launch daring raids on the besiegers draining their supply and morale.
As the weeks wore on, it was only through courageous actions by Pandalfo’s men to break through enemy lines that they could reinforce Gradara and keep it out of Sforza hands. Some say the defenders used a magic ritual to call upon rain storms that kept the Sforza guns silent.

Finally, the endless raids and staunch defence forced the Sforzas to cut a deal and retreat to plot their next actions!

The Model

The town of Gradara, in conjunction with the Edinburgh History in Games lab, has teamed up to commission a playable 3×4 meter board of Gradara as it was during the siege of 1443. Oshiro models is producing the table to the specs of the town’s historians and even includes an add-on for the besieger’s camp.
The model is going to be presented first at Salute in the UK.

Our Part!

We have been asked by the History in Games Lab to help bring the table to life at Salute and to create a game experience to engage with at the model’s future home in Gradara.

A new Siege Deck

Force of Virtue doesn’t currently cover sieges. Sure we could just create some “scenarios” that give a static situation for both the attacker and defender, but that wouldn’t be the Masterstroke way! Where’s the room for different siege machine options? Different levels of vigilance from the defenders, more complex defensive works, what about pre-emptive bombardments? Also, what about rushing open gates or scaling walls by night? We aren’t even talking yet about all the fun stuff you can find in things like Bellifortis!

So this means we need a siege scenario deck to allow for these factors and to build upon for later!

A new Campaign System

Well at Salute we have 8hrs with which to game on the table, FOV doesn’t take that long to play so what can we do with such a long amount of time? The table is HUGE and FOV games are fairly small, so just doing a two-player game doesn’t make much sense.

So a multiplayer campaign system is our only option, the cruelty of such a fate is mindboggling, you all know how much we hate campaigns! I guess we could make a neat little pat campaign tree to allow a quick easy way to solve this and put out some content as a PDF to put a price tag on. That would be really easy…

But that would allow only one real resolution, maybe two or three. What about the many different ways a siege can be won, running out of supplies, wearing down support, storming the place or even raising a relieving army? What about different strategies from either side to achieve those ends? Can we figure out a system where people who might not even have siege terrain can affect the course of the siege?

Well, we’re creating a siege campaign system to go along with this where you take actions with your captains, agents and engineers on the siege map to improve defences, lead raids, raise support, destroy siege machines, mine, countermine and fight in the tunnels. We are so excited about this!

Since our friends from the TTRPG “Age of the Sword” are going to be at Salute too on the table you’ll also have a chance to do a roleplay scenario to resolve some of the siege actions like raising support, convincing a traitor to open a gate or inspiring your troops!

But wait… there’s more!!!

Remember how Sigismondo Malatesta was a daring cavalry commander and his cavalry raids were crucial to the resolution of the siege? Well, that has to go into the system too!

So I guess we are going to have to do a cavalry deck! Being riders ourselves we can’t just give cavalry increased movement and call it quits… that would be a bit anti-climactic. Cavalry combat is based on momentum, angles complex maneuvers, and managing the horse’s psychology. So cavalry combat will be template-based with special cards for school airs above the ground and other complex dressage manoeuvres.

How are we going to do this?

We are planning on launching a Kickstarter this spring! The Kickstarter is currently being set up but expect to be able to get the 2 new decks and possibly a third specific Gradara deck in the main launch possibly along with stretch goals for more cavalry decks.

We are a small company so some of these decks might be one-off print runs only available on Kickstarter, so don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to not miss out on the launch and your chance to be the saviour or maybe the bane of Gradara, that shining fortress on the hill!

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