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Satirical fireteam RPG Planet Fist is essentially Helldivers 2 on the tabletop

Orbital Strikes: the not-so-silent killer.

Screenshot from Helldivers 2 trailer
Image credit: Sony/Arrowhead Game Studios

Sleeper hit squad shooter Helldivers 2 is enjoying an explosion of popularity on social media thanks in large part to the hilarious clips of players killing themselves and their teammates in goofy and inadvertent ways - orbital drops crashing through bodies, grenades bouncing off bugs and back into your lap, tactical dives that don’t take ledges over a lava pit into account.

If you’re living for Arrowhead Game Studios’ brand of shoot-die-repeat but want the same vibes on the tabletop, good luck: Planet Fist is right there. We previously described the RPG as a “satirical sendup of wargames” that combines Edge of Tomorrow’s narrative conceit with slice-of-life soldier relationships and a healthy dose of accidental friendly fire. When you’re made of recombinatory nanotech, fatal becomes a temporary status.

One of Planet Fist’s guiding principles is that “shootouts are stories”, weaving absurd situational comedy into what should be the tragic backdrop of endless war. Much like Helldivers 2’s nameless (and seemingly endless) soldiers, Planet Fist asks players how a functionally immortal front-liner differentiates themselves on the battlefield. Do they seek companionship amongst the faceless ranks? Can love, or at least gallows humour, soften the blow of constant mortar rounds and bullet fire?

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Depending on which warmongering faction owns the rights to your body, player characters will deploy with some fun extra toys. For example, the capitalists-turned-military state of the New Committee grant access to “repleted” uranium rounds and guns that explode when you aren’t physically holding them (to avoid physical rights infringement). The bio-augmentation obsessed Velian Ascendency, on the other hand, replaced their soldiers’ blood with ferrofluid and installed a second brain chockablock with military know-how.

Planet Fists knows its subject matter intimately enough to create a satire that is as sentimental and fond as it is cutting - Halo by way of Vonnegut, or put another way, Red vs. Blue if it was timely and funny. Yes, you can squash your friends with a hot drop pod. Yes, they will come back very pissed at you right before a laser-guided strike reduces them to ash for the third time this week. And somewhere amidst all of this you all will kill and be killed until it loses any meaning.

Creator Jess Levine plans to release a Faithless Edition of the book later this year that will contain a mess of changes and additions to the original, but it’s well worth checking out the currently available version on Once you’re done delivering some Super Earth-style democracy to those bugs and robots, take a turn in a military sci-fi world that’s a bit less adrenaline-pumping but no less biting.

Planet Fist narrative wargame logo
Image credit: Jess Levine/CLAYMORE

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