Tuesday, February 25, 2014


You will have gathered by now that something rather big is afoot. It will all soon by made plain, as our plan is to bring this game to world properly by the end of March... In a word, Glory.   

To say that we are excited is to miss the mark entirely. Elated. I’m not sure. It’s a complex cocktail. Enthused. Bursting at the seams. We are now knee-deep in Beta playtesting and feel that we are really pushing through the final-stage revisions on this long and wonderful project. You might be wondering what this behemoth is exactly. Well, here is a first, modest introduction to the game that we have built in the long winter of these last two years. 

Aetherium is a tabletop miniatures board game set in the virtual shadow of our own desperate future. The premise is a simple one. Assemble your collective of hackers, agents, activists, or anarchists and lead them on hyper-fast runs into a dangerous virtual reality. Players are encouraged to use cunning, wit, will, and bloody-minded determination to carve a space in the wild virtual frontiers of the Aetherium.

Aetherium unfolds on a customizable battle map and tile dynamic, and requires about an hour to play a standard game. The unique modular schematic tile system responds directly to the will of the players during the game, so the virtual landscape remains constantly in flux.

For our initial release, players control one of two evocative factions: the Axiom, a dominating presence of rigid governmental authority, and the Nanomei, a decentralized collective of wild and desperate resistance.

The game uses a dynamic, intuitive d12 mechanism, and a brand new turnless (in the conventional sense) interactive mechanism that holds each player in the game for its duration. We have compiled a rich and evocative sequence of scenarios to take you through the game itself, but the structure ensures that each experience, each game, is completely unique. 

In the Aetherium, players will: 
- Control between 10-25 highly detailed, beautifully sculpted miniatures to represent your unique cadre of hackers and affiliated programs.

- Engage in a daring struggle for control of an ever-shifting landscape, set against a backdrop of mind-crushing quantum noise.

- Strategically program your activation deck cards in order to anticipate your opponent’s movement, and to sequence your software as you lead your team on a bold run into the Aetherium.

-  Struggle for control of the psychological reality itself, while utilizing your free remaining resources to stay in the fight to the bitter end.

- Revel in unmitigated glory.

... The Next Phase:
We have two years of work behind us, but we are already looking ahead, and working extraordinarily hard on several new and tremendously exciting factions to expand the Aetherium experience: Menacing Corporations, Rogue Viral Programs, Corrupted Research and Development Operatives, Flatlines, and so much more. 

These are only the first bold steps into the Aetherial universe. Further exploration awaits in the form of expanded play possibilities, new personas, new miniatures, fantastic new landscapes, brave new factions to unleash upon your virtual reality! It’s all happening. 

Naturally, all work here is Copyright of Anvil Eight Games. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I left you last time having introduced the long road to a new beginning – the origin of Anvil Eight Games.

Now, I would like to introduce the broadest strokes of the game toward which we have been working tirelessly for the last two years - Aetherium. It has, I should mention, been absolute torture not to write about this even once in these the last two years; however, I was extremely keen that this project be very close to reality before sharing it at all. I wanted to introduce you to the game itself, not to a dream of one. Well. Now. Here we are. 

The year is 2247… and has been for as long as anyone can remember.

Now. Time is irrelevant The material world is crumbling. A handful of remaining government behemoths are locked in perpetual war with one another and with the massive corporate houses bent on the domination of the only meaningful currency left to humanity. The Aetherium.

The slow unwinding of human progress began with a brilliant and blinding scientific discovery - the AutoExtremus Technological Hyper-Extended Reality, the A.E.T.H.E.R.– a digital landscape of countless dimensional frontiers, a virtual reality so profoundly vivid as to be indistinguishable from reality itself. And indeed for many devotees, the Aetherium became the real world, a quantum psycho-social connection that was both beautiful and profound. Existence was better there: sound more crisp, color more vivid, life more visceral. The collective attention of humanity irrevocably shifted.

Once pioneered, the system opened a boundless but delicate universe; humanity flooded in reckless waves afterward. It was a wild and willing virtual landscape, where reality was malleable to the human will, where free thinkers and creative minds could better their world, where radical individuals were free to realize their greatest and most extraordinary desires, where humanity pushed itself into unbridled, extreme psychological states. No sense went unrewarded. No aspiration was left unrealized. No depth unfathomed. People were free to be their very best and painfully worst selves. The material dimension suffered. The Aetherium thrived.

But like all systems, the Aetherium had its limits. In its natural state, the immateriality was both wild and tempestuous. Its raw quantum noise could crush the unprepared human consciousness, and the first efforts to project the human mind into this waiting reality were catastrophic, horrific. The first ambitious steps into the Aetherium ended brutally.

So souls willing to transfer their minds into the Aetherium clustered around nodal safe havens that were as much discovered as created within the quantum noise – the Casarmitage Nodes. Around these hubs, Aetheritects built a network of pylons – humanity’s best effort to emulate the sheltering psycho-brilliance of the nodes. These networks became safe havens for data and consciousness transference and soon came to resemble the material city hubs that humanity had left behind.

The governments and corporations whose massive capital and human investment broke the Aetherium open worked ceaselessly to control the bounds and terms of this promising new landscape, and they did so by searching out and creating the network hubs in-and-around the Casarmitage havens. It was beginning of a grand new colonial age. For better and for worse, the innate human desire to push deeper, to explore, to cast the yoke of oppression, pushed the human experience into spontaneous frontiers of Aetherium; however, these same instincts set the stage for a fundamental dissatisfaction and resistance to the interests of order and of control. The problems were there from the very beginning.

2247. The virutal stage has become humanity’s fathomless battleground between freedom and control, order and change, survival and exploration, consumption and balance, profit and stagnation.

It is a place that is no place at all. It is known as the Aetherium.

Graphics: Mike Reynolds
Artwork: David Auden Nash and Jason Engles
Copyright: Anvil Eight Games
all rights reserved