Posted in Background Writing

Saucer War One Faction Sketch #1: ANTIC

Defending the Earth from the Truth…?

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. Things have been a big disorganised here in the Miniature Martin bunker, which led to a delay in this week’s article. But, here it is now, and its the first in a look at the ‘factions’ vying for victory in the world of Saucer War One. Join me as we peek inside the locked filing cabinet containing the secrets of ANTIC!

The ANTIC logo is based on an African symbol of Anansi, a mythical spider notorious for deception

“Actually, Mr. President — You don’t ‘need to know.’ “

ANTIC is the ultra-secret, international organisation behind all the UFO conspiracies. Formed in 1952 as the world’s governments scrambled to stop the Noordican and Nazi threats from space, ANTIC maintains squadrons of human-made saucers in hidden bases all over the world. Concealed beneath a cloak of misinformation and deception, ANTIC is not afraid to take extreme measures in the name of defeating the alien menace. 

Forever caught in a delicate balancing act, ANTIC must take the fight to the skies but never reveal the reality of its covert war. Therefore, as this leaked Order of Battle reveals, ANTIC is split into three Commands: JAPE, CAPER and PRANK.

JAPE is the arm of ANTIC charged with forging the arms of war. All the saucers and super-technology essential for fighting the Noordicans comes from JAPE’s secret factories, buried beneath the Canadian Rockies or hidden in Siberian forests.

CAPER is the operational command of ANTIC. It controls the actual saucer squadrons and their bases, assigning personnel and machines to respond to any threat anywhere in the world.

PRANK is ANTIC’s espionage arm. Many of its operations read like the most outlandish spy novels, filled with the dark dealings of CLOWN agents out to steal the best R&D projects, or silence anyone who have seen too much. PRANK has fingers in many nations’ intelligence services and news agencies, and they use these connections to ‘control the narrative’ about flying saucers, ensuring the general public consider them the ravings of crackpots and hoaxers. Ridiculing and humiliating witnesses, destroying evidence, paying off scientists and politicians are all part of PRANK’s sinister but necessary duty.

It takes all kinds of people to fight a war that is as much about what we believe as it is about hammering Venusian saucers full of 30mm cannon rounds. Because of this, ANTIC have a recruitment policy of turning away no-one as long as they can contribute to the fight. (While keeping their mouths shut). Neither colour, creed, race nor sex are reasons to reject someone from the ranks of the most important force-at-arms in Human history.

ANTIC pilots are real cool cats.

ANTIC has several distinct saucers it can bring to the table, all inspired by real-world lenticular aircraft: We’ve already revealed the sleek NS-97 ‘Silvercat’, and it has several stablemates including the big, spearhead-shaped ‘Omega’, the two-crew ‘Silverhound’ and the Russian ‘Diska’: A brutal, buzz-saw ramming-saucer! 

(We’ll be seeing more of the other ANTIC saucers as work on Saucer War One progresses. Stay tuned…)

Why play as ANTIC?

ANTIC saucers are highly customisable compared to those of other factions.
Their experimental saucers and weapons permit strange and unpredictable combinations that ensure an ANTIC force always has a surprise up its sleeve. Also, playing an ANTIC force will appeal to fans of classic jet aircraft of the postwar era. All those silver discs people saw in the 50’s? Yep, that was ANTIC, lifting from hidden underground or underwater bases to tangle with the Noordican invaders.

For all their dubious morality, ANTIC can rightly claim to be the defenders of the Earth, and they look cool while defending it too!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this first glimpse into the factions of Saucer War One. You can probably guess from their Table of Organisation that there is a lot more yet to be revealed about ANTIC, and the people who keep us safe from alien invasion (and the truth…)

Next time we will explore the incredible, ancient history of the Noordicans, and what has forced them to come to Earth, thousands of years after being abandoned upon the hell-world of Venus. Until then, fellow Miniaturists:

Watch the Skies!


Posted in Artwork

Know Your Flying Saucers: The Silvercat!

ANTIC’S Answer to the Alien Threat Leaked!

Hello again, everyone! Today, I thought I’d share some new artwork from the Saucer War One Invasion ’52 sourcebook which will be released with the actual game when it becomes a physical reality. (Stay tuned to find out just when that should be.)
Let me reveal the blueprints of the NS-97 Silvercat!

Right-click to open a bigger image of the plans

This was ANTIC’s primary fighter in the opening days of Saucer War One. Rushed into service just in time to thwart the Noordican attempt to land on Washington DC in July, 1952, it was lightly armed and slow compared to the incredible machines thrown into the fray towards the war’s end. Nevertheless, the Silvercat was well liked by its pilots, and many of CAPER RED’s aces scored their first kills in this agile craft, defending the skies of North America.

When it becomes a 1/200 scale miniature, the Silvercat will be 53mm in diameter. It will have the option to carry an armament of either four 30mm cannons, or twenty air-to-air rockets.

Credit where Credit is Due

The Silvercat is very heavily based on a real lenticular aircraft design from 1950. Or more accurately, on a model of that design, which was a concept by this man – Nick Stasinos (in bowtie).

Stasinos was a graduate of a college programme run by Northrop Aviation — the people who built iconic American aircraft such as the P-61 Black Widow, the F-5 Freedom Fighter, and more recently, the suspiciously alien-looking B2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Clearly influenced by the sudden and dramatic rise in flying disc sightings since 1947, in 1950 Stasinos designed and built this neat study model of his NS-97 fighter. Sadly, it seems Jack Northrop wasn’t that impressed, because the NS-97 was never taken further than this. (Or was it…?)

Sadly, Nick Stasinos left behind a promising career in aeronautics for the life of an insurance salesman. Or maybe he actually went to work for JAPE — ANTIC’s R & D department — and the insurance gig was merely the cover he was given by the agents of PRANK to conceal his part in the war to protect the Earth?

You’ll have to wait for the Invasion ’52 sourcebook to discover the incredible truth of this and other secrets of the war we never knew!

See you next time, and remember: Watch the Skies!


Posted in Rules Design

All the Data Disc Data

Dialling-in Control of a Flying Saucer

Last time we previewed one of Saucer War One’s game mechanics, we looked at the Maneuver Disc and how it is used to move a Saucer miniature. For this week’s preview, we’ll eavesdrop on an ANTIC training lecture somewhere in the central Asian CAPER RED operations area, in 1955… 

Welcome back, eager. young saucer-cadets! For today’s lesson, I’d like to introduce you to the most fundamental instrument in the cockpit of any saucer: The Data Disc. This multi-purpose dial tells a pilot at a glance the essential information they need to keep in the air, and fight their foes. No matter what saucer you are flying, you will learn to rely on your Data Disc, so let’s take a good look at this vital component. 

Saucer War One Data Disc

Our example is a Data Disc for a Mondreich Haunebu II-C, which is essentially a simplified copy of the Noordican Biga. Are you listening at the back there? 


Pulse Track

We’ll begin with the most important read-out on the Data Disc. Pulses define how many Actions a Saucer can take during a game Turn. While a saucer’s Pulses are in the healthy, Optimum range (OPT), all is good. But, damage from enemy weapons, or risky maneuvers (like ramming somebody else’s saucer!) can force down the number of Pulses a saucer can generate. If Pulses drop to 0, (CUT) then a Saucer’s reactor, gravimetric drive, and physical structure are so compromised that it cannot stay airborne and will crash. (Probably onto a ranch in New Mexico…)

Should a pilot find themselves in dire need, it is possible to push a saucer’s reactor to its Emergency (EMRG) setting. This allows the saucer an extra Pulse or Pulses, but there is the danger of the extreme pressure shattering the reactor vessel, blowing the saucer to pieces! (Which then definitely crashes onto a ranch in New Mexico…)


Distributor

Below the Pulse Track are these three numbers which tell us how the saucer can ‘spend’ its Pulses on Actions. Actions are use to do, well, anything really. Usually, one Action allows you to do one thing, such as place a single Maneuver Disc, or fire a single Weapon.
It always costs at least one Pulse to perform one Action. 

The Distributor numbers show the maximum Pulses that can be spent on a particular Action: Maneuver (MNV); Attack (ATK) and Special (SPC). Because this is only an introduction to the Data Disc, I won’t go into details about Actions just now. Let’s move onto some other parts… Miss Konstantinova, are you flirting with your fellow cadet?
I expect better from a Hero of the Soviet Union, you know! 


Callsign

Each Saucer in the game has its own callsign, to make it easier to keep track of each one during the game. 


Points Cost

How much the ‘basic’ saucer costs when constructing a force of Saucers and Assets for a game. 


Connection Ring

This orange circle has a number of what we call Connector Points around its rim. The Connector Points are: Crew; Special; Hardpoint 1 and Hardpoint 2. At each of these Connectors are placed an associated, smaller Disc;

The Crew Disc aligns with the Crew Connector Point.

‘Special’ things like Equipment Discs, and the Discs of Assets being transported, connect to the Special Connector.

And finally, at each Hardpoint a Weapon Disc can be placed. 


Grav Shield

The Gravitic Drive was probably the Annunaki’s most important invention. It enables Saucers to zip around at thousands of miles per hour, making impossible break-neck turns without breaking necks. This seemingly impossible device generates intense gravitational fields. By focusing the fields at a point above you, it is possible to offset local gravity and up you fly, chasing the intense gravitational point you are generating. 

One of the benefits of a Gravitic Drive is that the field deflects projectiles and energy, acting like a force field. This gives a saucer a sort of armour that can save it from damaging cannon shells and explosions. In game terms, this provides a ‘saving throw’ against damage.


Max Crit

This is the number of Critical Damage results that a saucer can absorb before it falls apart. Generally speaking, the bigger the saucer, the more Criticals it can endure. However, some Critical Damage is serious enough to force a saucer’s crew to turn tail and run for home, before they become exhibits in the Area 51 museum! 


Saucer class and Type

The designation for this class of Saucer (Haunebu II-C), and its Type — either Alpha (the biggest of Saucers), Beta (middleweight all-rounders), or Gamma (small fighters and scout Saucers). 


And that’s all you need to know to read a Data Disc. Next time, we’ll see how the Crew and Weapon Discs interact with the Data Disc, but that’s all for this lesson, cadets. Dismissed! Break out the vodka and spin me some Charlie Parker sides, Cats!


Posted in Miniatures Design

Biga is Better

Noordican Flying Saucer Closer to Physical Reality!

Many of you will have noticed (and I hope, enjoyed), the preview art of the Noordican Biga class Saucer last week. Well, someone who certainly did enjoy it was talented 3D sculptor Chris Osapai — and look what he’s made!

Biga flying saucer 3D model 01

Yes folks, we have our first sighting of a Saucer War One miniature-in-the-making! Here’s a couple of renders of the Biga that Chris has digitally sculpted. Charioteers of Venus, rejoice! Chris says he blitzed out this beautiful sculpt in a mere six hours. Only six hours? I suspect alien mind control! 

Biga flying saucer 3D model 02

Chris has done a superb job of capturing the classic ‘Adamski saucer’ lines of the Biga, but with all the engraved detail that is such a hallmark of Annunaki technology. 

Necrossia

Chris is also the creative genius whose Protokraken business has a very cool Kickstarter project called Necrossia that just successfully funded. 

Necrossia is a set of 3D printing files of alien artefact scenery for 28mm wargaming.
I think a lot of the files are quite ‘scale agnostic’ and could be suitable for 15mm or even micro-scale wargames, too. 

Although the Necrossia Kickstarter has successfully concluded, you can still get aboard for late pledges. Grab a 3D printer, and you’ll soon be surrounded by ancient alien monoliths! 

Speaking of 3D printing, I suspect many of you will be excited to hear this:

Grow your own Flying Saucers from Vats of Chemicals

Biga flying saucer 3D model 03

Inspired by Chris’ excellent Biga sculpt, I’m bring forward an announcement. The free print n’ play playtest version of Saucer War One is scheduled to be available for download in June-July this year. When it launches, we will also launch a set of six .STL files of ANTIC and Noordican saucers for home printing! 

This will give budding UFO-jockeys a leg-up into getting their saucer fleets into action, well before physical miniatures are released. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more previews of Noordican Sky Chariots soon!

Posted in Artwork

Being a Flying Saucer Ace is Hip

A little character concept art to kick off the working week.

1955: ANTIC pilot Tabitha LaSalle steps from her Silverhound fighter-saucer after returning to Ilha de Trindade Base, hidden beneath the South Atlantic.

But what is ANTIC? Why do they have hidden bases? And are bowties and berets compulsory attire for fighting alien invasions? Some answers and more artwork coming soon!

Posted in Miniatures Design, Rules Design

How a (tiny) Flying Saucer Flies

Anti-gravity Acrylic Rods are the Real Secret Free-Energy Device!

You know what really gets up my wargaming nose? What really sticks in my miniature-building craw? Flightpegs!

Yes, I said flightpegs! Those little, skinny plastic sticks that are supposed to keep ‘flying’ models eternally suspended above the Earth, balanced over a circle or square of plastic on the bottom that keeps the model from tottering over on its monopole mounting.

But do they? Reliably and without fear of gravity’s destructive influence? Do they never topple over, casting beautiful miniatures to their destruction? Do they never break, usually somewhere near where they’re glued into the model, thereby inflicting hours of re-drilling and re-mounting upon the frustrated modeller? Like Hell!

Clearly, the flightpeg was to blame.

And that constantly frustrating aspect of ‘flying’ miniatures was what drove me to find an alternative solution. How to get the flying discs of Saucer War One in the air, keep them there, and on a mounting that didn’t rely on a single, skinny, breaking, balancing pole?

That was when I remembered the method used by a friend of mine many years ago to keep his 1/300 scale aircraft high above his earth table. (That’s a sand table, but with clean soil as the sculpting material, rather than sand. Makes for great, muddy battlefields.) With sculpted hills, valleys, and trenches, liberally sprinkled with tiny villages and forests, it was impossible for a conventionally-mounted miniature aircraft to stay upright as it prowled the skies, looking for tiny tanks to bomb.

The solution? My friend mounted his aircraft on a simple wire tripod. With three legs on the ground, it was virtually impossible for an aircraft to tip over, even while thundering down a thickly-wooded mountainside. And of course, because each of its three wires had a diminutive contact area on the table surface, it never damaged any miniature real estate.

So, this is how I envision the way the 1/200 scale miniatures of Saucer War One will achieve the magical, gravity-defying act of ‘flight’:

Each model rests on three identical, 2mm diameter pegs. Ideally, the pegs will be friction-tight so they can be removed for transport if desired.

I should probably point out a couple of things about the illustration above: Firstly, why the tiny trees, relative to the size of the saucer? That’s because I imagine the 3D scenery used in Saucer War One will be several scales smaller than the saucers. Perhaps 1/600 or 1/700 scale. This gives a forced-perspective sense of the saucers flying high above the ground, and allows multiple towns, villages, missile bases, etc, to be placed on the table without things getting too crowded.

Oh, and a note for boardgamers who are recoiling from their screens, horrified at the thought of all the crafty modelling and super-glued fingers this scenery stuff might involve: Saucer War One will include easy, flat, card Scenery Shapes that do the same job, requiring no trips to the Casualty department of your local hospital.


Pole to Pole

Monopole flightstands do have a real advantage in tabletop warfare; They provide a convenient, constant reference point to make accurate measurements from. That was something the tripod concept lacked… from where do you measure? I had to do some thinking for a while, but eventually I realised the tripod offered a new way to measure movement, weapon ranges, and move / fire arcs. Let me show you what I mean:

Here we see an ANTIC NS-99 ‘Silverhound’ Beta-type saucer viewed from above. (The ‘nose’ of the Silverhound is ‘up’ in this view.) The 3 Pegs are shown at the points that they touch the ground. See how they form a triangle? (Yes, I hear you cry “Obviously!” but stay with me, folks.) Each side of the triangle makes a movement / firing arc: Front; Left; Right.

It also provides a ‘blind spot’ called the Tailing Arc at the rear, which saucers don’t actually have, but is a disadvantage suffered by more conventional aircraft in Saucer War One. (I added it here just for the sake of being comprehensive.)

Why don’t saucers have this Tailing Arc? That will become clear in time, but essentially, because saucers can fly forwards, sideways and backwards equally well, they do not have the restrictions that winged fighters or bombers endure. They don’t really have a ‘tail’ as such.

The triangle formed between the Pegs is the saucer’s Safe Zone. So, what the heck is that? ‘That’ and all else will become clear (I hope), as we go through the steps in a Maneuver.

Let’s see the way we plot out a saucer’s movement using Maneuver Discs.


Maneuver Discs — The Keys to the Saucer

This is a Maneuver Disc. It is 89mm (3.5″) across, and by placing them edge-to-edge along the flightpath of a saucer we can plot its course during its game turn. Each consecutive Disc must be placed against the preceding Disc’s Exit Point. The Centreline is used with the Safe Zone to determine if a Maneuver is legal, or too dangerous. (You’ll see this in a moment.)

So, what’s with the Entry Arcs at the bottom? Each Saucer is one of three Types:
Alpha (the biggest, baddest saucers);
Beta (‘middleweight’ all-rounders), or
Gamma (spunky, little fighters).

Alphas are tough and pack a punch, but they lack maneuverability. They must use the narrow Alpha Entry Arc. Betas are a better blend of capability and maneuverability, and they use the mid-width Beta Entry Arc. Gammas are the hot-shot, crazy flyers of Saucer War One, and get to use the big Gamma Entry Arc when they perform a Maneuver.

(Each Type of saucer can also use the Entry Arcs of their less-maneuverable cousins, so a Beta saucer uses both the Beta and Alpha Entry Arcs, for example.)

Still with me? Okay, let’s see how the Maneuver Discs and Tripod Pegs work together to move a saucer.


Come Fly with Me

When a saucer or anything else in Saucer War One wants to do something, it must use a Pulse to get it done. A Pulse is a combined unit of ability, made up of its energy systems, aerodynamics, handling, etc. The more potent a saucer is, the more Pulses it has. I won’t discuss Pulses further in this post; all we need to know is that each Pulse that is ‘spent’ on performing a Maneuver entitles a Player to place one Maneuver Disc for their saucer.

The first Disc that is placed is called the Entry Maneuver Disc, and it is placed like this:

The edge of the Entry Maneuver Disc must touch at least 2 Pegs of the saucer, inside the Entry Arc that matches the saucer’s Type. As long as neither Peg is outside the Entry Arc, the Player can rotate the Maneuver Disc however they like. Now we can place more Discs!

Get the idea? As long as the Maneuver Discs can form an unbroken ‘chain’, edge-to-edge, the maneuver is legal, and the saucer can be moved to the end, completing the Maneuver. But what happens when it reaches the end?

This is where the interaction between the Maneuver Disc’s Centerline and the saucer’s Safe Zone comes in. The Saucer ends its Maneuver with its trailing Peg touching the edge of the Exit Maneuver Disc at its Exit Point. The Saucer can pivot on the trailing peg as its Player wishes, left or right, but, the pivot must leave the Centerline pointing inside the saucer’s Safe Zone.

This is because for all their uncanny maneuverability, even flying saucers have their limits before g-forces threaten to break them apart. ANTIC pilots are reminded of this with the saying: “Point it in the green, Dean!”

Of course, that’s the ‘in-game’ explanation for this restriction. In truth, this is to prevent any tripod-mounted unit in the game from performing bootlegger turns at the end of each maneuver, which would negate a major skill aspect of the game. There’s got to be a certain amount of judgement at play, both to help players remain engaged with what’s happening on the table, and to ensure occasional misjudgements with the missed firing opportunities, mid-air collisions, and other mirth they provoke!

Yes, you can veer drunkenly across the sky in your saucer! The real advantage a saucer has over any other unit in Saucer War One is its ability to place the Entry Maneuver Disc against any two Pegs. This gives them unrivalled maneuverability that will turn any jet fighter-jockey green with envy. Conventional aircraft must always place their Entry Maneuver Disc against the left and right Pegs (in the Front Arc), no matter what.


Well, that’s how my frustration with the minor real-world problem of flight pegs led me to the design solution of the tripod pegs, which in turn led me to the Maneuver Disc. Funny how inspiration sometimes comes from the necessity of change, born from things we really shouldn’t get so worked up over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my design process. If you have (or even if you have not!) please feel invited to comment, or even email me. I’m always happy to hear what others think of my mad solutions.

See you next time!

Posted in Background Writing

SW1: The Story So Far…

SW1: The Story So Far…

Millennia before Human civilisation began, an alien race came to Earth with a sinister purpose. They were the Annunaki; A species of giants with intellects to match their stature, but utterly lacking in empathy for the millions of Earthlings they enslaved to serve their galactic empire. For thousands of years, the Annunaki robbed the Earth of its treasures, despoiled its lands and fouled its seas. Maliciously, they twisted and warped the DNA of Humankind to suit their ends, then sent millions of altered slaves to work mines on Venus and Mars, never to see their native Earth again. They built a mighty floating continent for themselves, from which their demands for tribute grew ever louder, for the Annunaki ruled as gods, and laughed at the ignorant savages that grovelled in worship before them. 

Then, as suddenly as they arrived, the Annunaki vanished. In a day and a night, their floating continent sank beneath the waves, and the survivors fled for distant, dark corners of the galaxy. On Earth, the Annunaki became mere legend, entangled in the mythologies of the ancient world. Ignorant of its past, Humanity resumed its own course down the road of civilisation. 

In the middle of the 20th century, the forgotten past returned. The ancient sky-chariots of the Annunaki began to reappear all over the world. They were rarely welcomed; Dim race-memories of dreadful things stirred in the minds of those who saw them. But where had they come from?

It was the Noordicans — descendants of the slave-miners of Venus — who had learned to master the flying machines of the Annunaki, and they were returning to Earth. Desperate to escape their dying homeworld, they brought with them a message of peace and love, but it was ignored by those who lusted after the ancient, war-winning technologies the machines possessed. In Nazi Germany, the secrets of the sky-chariots were unlocked, and fleets of menacing, field-grey discs escaped into space while the Thousand Year Reich burned and died. 

The Noordicans retreated and tried again, but they returned to an Earth gripped by the first frost of the Cold War, where paranoia and suspicion ruled the day. Their sky-chariots were branded ‘foo fighters’, ‘flying saucers’ or ‘ufos’, and were greeted with fear and alarm wherever they went. 

Only a few souls, innocent or foolish, were willing to hear the Noordican’s pacifist teachings. Those naive disciples sought to prevent an atomic war that seemed increasingly inevitable, as East and West rattled their sabers. Through these ‘Contactees’, the Noordican’s disarming creed began to spread. 

While the Contactees preached the Noordican’s gospel of universal peace, other Earthlings suspected the Noordicans had ulterior motives. Why were these visitors from another world so adamant on nuclear disarmament? What was their true reason for abandoning their mysterious home of Venus? Why were the ships of these ‘pacifists’ armed with incredible weapons that could destroy anything sent up against them? In record time, a secret army — code-named ANTIC — was created to defend the Earth. With hidden bases spread all across the globe and equipped with the latest, most secret weapons Humanity could muster, ANTIC was prepared for the worst. 

In the early 1950’s, it became all too clear what the worst might be: The Noordicans were emboldened by the hordes of Contactees clamouring for their salvation from nuclear destruction. Pressure was building on the governments’ of Earth. The Noordican incursions became more and more brazen, their saucers challenging the world’s air forces for supremacy. Earth would soon be engulfed in a new war to decide its destiny: Would it remain under the mastery of Earthlings? Or the prodigal sons returned from Venus? 

It was the summer of 1952, and the invasion had begun. 


Posted in Inspiration

Leonard Nimoy, this is All Your Fault

Missing Persons… Magic and Witchcraft… Myths and Legends…
… Extraterrestrials…

With the aid of a time-dilating, anti-gravity generator hidden in Area 51, let’s travel back to 2016. I am lying in bed, unable to sleep. Something is interfering with my circadian rhythms. Something sinister and harmful. Something… alien.

It calls itself cancer. And it is trying to kill me.

Thankfully, I have a battery of high-tech weapons with which to take the battle to this single-minded enemy. Chemotherapy, keyhole surgery, and particle-beam radiotherapy are all unleashed upon it. In the end, I win the war. But the wounds of the fight dig deep, in both body and mind.

Sleep is a casualty of the war. To this day, if I manage four hours of zizzing in a row at night, I call people up to tell them the happy news. But back then, I had to accept that post-treatment pain and the collateral damage my organs endured meant an hour or two with eyes closed, followed by another wide awake.

And that’s when In Search Of… stepped in, and helped keep me sane.

Hooray for Youtube. Legally or otherwise, there’s a lot of stuff from the golden age of television that’s been loaded to the most-viewed video platform in the world. (There’s also a terrifying amount of utter drivel, mostly advocating the views of flat-earthers, free-energy gurus, and people who think Tesla was smarter than Einstein. Guards, seize them.) An iPad and Youtube did wonders for keeping my brain distracted in the small hours, waiting for the latest round of painkillers to kick in. And when I found a channel filled with all six seasons of In Search Of… I found the nostalgia and wonder of this old show released waves of endorphins, just when I needed them most.

Hosted throughout its run by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame, In Search Of… was a half-hourly exploration of the unexplained. It covered a spectrum of topics we’d nowadays associate with the bizarre; The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, The Bermuda Triangle.

It also dabbled in religions, both old and new. Who remembers the episode The Man Who Would Not Die about The Count of Saint-Germaine, and the kooky cult that grew around his legend in California?

It was a smorgasbord of the weird, with delicious sides of spooky music, hammy re-enactments, and very 70’s pseudo-science and spirituality. And to an eight-year-old me, it was glorious. It was my introduction to many sources of inspiration, and I happily filled my burgeoning brain with as much nonsense as it could carry.

One of those inspirations was the episode simply entitled: UFOs.

Having been bitten by the sci-fi bug at a very young and impressionable age, the idea of visitors to the Earth from distant worlds wasn’t something new. But the mystery of their origins and purpose was. Nature abhors a vacuum, and thus my neurones fired off dozens of ideas to fill the gaps in the story. Why are the aliens coming here? How can they get to Earth? And are they really that desperate for beefsteak? I needed answers, and went in search of… my own.

Which is why this all began. Sort of. But as I said at the start, we need to travel back to 2016 to really get to the beginning of how. You see, if you’re a gamer like me — incapable of contentedly staying within the confines of rules and mechanics that game designers spend hours slavishly honing to perfection, because you just know you can do better… *ahem* — then you might be familiar with what was percolating to the surface of my brain while watching the UFO episodes of In Search Of… Up rose those infamous words that have launched a thousand sets of wargames rules: There’s a game in that!

Thus I was soon sketching out ideas for a miniatures wargame of battling UFOs — flying saucers, if you will — duking it out in the skies of the Earth.

As you can probably guess from this long-winded diatribe, A single spark of inspiration makes not a worthy game. There’s a lot more to the process of creating something like this. Any creative endeavour is a lengthy, often costly, task. With game design, weeks of research, writing, designing, playtesting, revising and re-writing go into the process.

But in my next post, I’ll take you through the initial stages I went through in charting my course to creating the past you never knew; the secret history of Saucer War One.

Until then; Watch the Skies!