Loka – A new take on fantasy chess from Mantic Games
Do you remember Navia Dratp? No? Well, you’re probably in good company. The game was a fantasy version of chess/shogi where the pieces were collectible and each piece had its own movement powers and special abilities. It was amazing but it was also short-lived. Collectible chess turned out to be a tough sell, I suppose. Not so tough, it seems, that the concept won’t be tried again, though, as Mantic Games (who has run a couple of other super-popular Kickstarters including the one for Dreadball) and designer Alessio Cavatore have kicked off its fundraising effort to produce Loka – The World of Fantasy Chess. Of course, while Loka and Navia Dratp have some commonalities, they are quite different, as well, including that Loka is based more firmly on chess (instead if Shogi) and is, more importantly, not collectible but expandable. Loka has you build you army as you would in many miniatures games. Each piece has a point value (based on how it is ranked in chess, it seems) and you can build your chess army however you want (although you can only have 12 pawns) within the point values, but it sounds like the movement patterns for pieces are based off the standard movement of the piece in chess (so a knight moves like a knight). The ‘armies’ in Loka are each based off of one of the elements (so four armies) are there certainly look to be some cool sculpts. Aside from neat sculpted chess sets and a point buy system, however, Loka also promises the addition of scenery which blocks movement as well as some luck, adding the use of eight-sided dice with bonuses for supporting pieces. I really dig the idea and the base set (which includes a red and a white version of the Fire army, although the pieces are unpainted so you could combine them easily to give you some building options) runs $50 through the Kickstarter. $100 is the stretch goal sweet spot from what I can tell, where you get all of the funded stretch goals plus two extra chess sets of your choice. The funding is quickly approaching unlocking the Earth army (at $50,000) with, presumably, the other stretch goals to follow.