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Planet Fist smashes Edge of Tomorrow and slice-of-life drama into a satirical combat wargame

Love must bloom on the battlefield when there is nothing else.

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

Have you ever peered down at your collection of Space Marines - or other futuristic soldiers locked in a forever war - and thought about what life must be like for them between missions? Tabletop designer Jess Levine sure has, and her answer is a satirical sendup of wargames that combines the brutal existential recursion of Edge of Tomorrow with smart combat and a healthy dash of slice-of-life sitcoms.

Planet Fist is a narrative wargame constructed from a hack of tabletop RPG Fist and Powered by the Apocalypse design ethos in which players are soldiers constructed of nanorobots that can rebuild their bodies after death - they are, effectively, immortal soldiers locked in an unending war between three ruling factions.

Thanks to the gift (curse?) of immortality, the player-characters can view death as a minor setback, tactically speaking. Every battle is a meat grinder where the soldiers are encouraged to pull off their most audacious manoeuvres, die in the process, and revive on the next turn to try all over again. This 'derezzing' leaves characters with the memory of their death but without any of the inconvenient physical trauma. As Levine wrote in a press release, “0 HP is only an inconvenience”.

For a completely different vibe from Planet Fist, check out the team playing the official Adventure Time RPG.Watch on YouTube

While combat will take up most of a Planet Fist session, that doesn’t mean there’s no space left for roleplay. On the contrary, the rules and world are designed such that every moment is an opportunity to express your character’s personality or build relationships. This is a soldier’s life, without end or change, so moments of humanity must be seized between magazine reloads and in the brief quiet before the next inevitable engagement.

A system of bonds, roles and traits that comprise characters will prompt interactions between players and members of the three major factions vying to control the planet of Sixaura. What does flirting and love look like for immortal commandos whose bodies will never age or change - the occasional dismemberment or conflagration notwithstanding? Can you develop friendships or rivalries? Is there still enough joy in your life for a smile or shared laugh?

These are the sorts of questions Planet Fist wants its players to chew as they rip across procedurally generated missions. Even though Levine calls this a wargame, there are no rulers or gridded playmats - scenes play out fiction-first and empower players to take control of the narrative to chase their own bloody bliss.

Page spread from Planet Fist narrative wargame
A sample page spread from Planet Fist's rulebook. | Image credit: Jess Levine

Planet Fist is currently Itchfunding a 60-page rulebook, meaning all purchases of the game through November 30th will allows the designer to expand the work with additional features. Compared to a Kickstarter campaign, Itchfunding is normally quite a bit slower and focuses on sustainability over a FOMO-driven grind. You might recall Levine from her previous work on Star Wars-inspired dueling game I Have the High Ground and similarly evocative RPG Going Rogue 2E.

A full digital copy of the rules is now available for purchase on Levine’s Itch.io page. It contains a prewritten mission that the facilitator can use to introduce their new recruits to Sixaura’s apathetic military hellscape, along with a battlemap to aid those moments where theatre of the mind just won’t cut it. The rules also include plenty of tables to quickly roll up more missions and rewards. Because that’s what forever war is all about - the swag we gained along the way.

Update: article correctly states the Itchfinding covers a digital version of the game.

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

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Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.
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