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Lancer Tactics turns the mech tabletop RPG into a gorgeous Advance Wars-like video game

A perfect example of what a truly open third-party licence allows.

Image credit: Olive

A new video game based on mech RPG Lancer is headed to Kickstarter - and you can play it right now.

Lancer Tactics combines the sci-fi universe and combat system of Miguel Lopez and Tom Parkinson-Morgan’s acclaimed tabletop RPG with a turn-based tactics video game á la Advance Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics.

Image credit: Olive

Players control a squad of mechs, before moving around grid-based maps with destructible terrain and unleashing attacks with assault rifles, nanocarbon swords or just big ol’ robot fists to take down enemies. Attack hits and damage are calculated using Lancer’s dice-based combat rules, with the in-game maths (eg. 2d6 +3) shown to players before they take their shot.

As in the tabletop game, players can overcharge their mechs to gain additional actions - but doing so generates additional heat and risks causing stress, leaving the suits vulnerable or even leading to a complete meltdown. Players will be able to swap their mechs’ loadout of weapons and gear, with the ability to acquire talents and customise their pilots to influence their mechs’ performance.

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The game’s gorgeous artwork hews close to the classic pixel look of Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics, with a similarly retro soundtrack. During my short time with it so far, it looked and sounded fantastic - and felt very satisfying to play, too.

Developer Olive says she initially created Lancer Tactics to become familiar with game engine Godot - as well as indulging their love of Lancer - before the project grew into a full release with regular updates.

Image credit: Olive

While not an official adaptation, the game makes ample use of Lancer’s generous third-party licence, which allows creators to utilise lore elements of the setting - such as specific characters, story events and locations - and the tabletop RPG’s entire ruleset in their own commercial products.

An in-development beta version of Lancer Tactics, including a tutorial and combat missions, can be played in your browser over on the game’s page, with PC and Mac downloads available. A Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund a full release is set to launch later today, March 1st.

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