February 24, 2015 by brennon
We got to chat with the team behind Ninja All-Stars which is coming out from Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division to ask them about their new game, some of the interesting mechanics, the miniatures, plans for the future and of course got a look at a few cool exclusive models too!
Beasts of War: So the big question right off, what is the basic overview of Ninja All-Stars?
John Cadice: Ninja All-Stars is a brand new world and game for Ninja Division and Soda Pop Miniatures. Players take on the roll of one of six ninja clans, all vying for the honor of winning the great Tournament of the Moon. Using all the tricks at your disposal, your ninja team will expand, bring on legendary heroes, and learn new skills as they compete in the various arenas set for each event. Players will face off with their teams against one another in one-off games or in community league style play, with persistent characters, rewards, and upgrades for your most experienced ninja.
Can you tell us a bit more about the game mechanics and how it will play out?
We don’t want to give it all away, but we have designed a fun and thematic battle system that incorporates everything from phases of the moon from which to draw your elemental powers, to a unique battle dice system that utilizes the same elements to determine outcomes and fuel special actions.
Games are scenario driven, more than just wiping out your enemy, the Tournament of the Moon tests ninjas’ skills at stealth and strategy, as much as your skill with shuriken and a blade.
Tell us a bit more about the clans. Are there some major differences in their play styles?
There are six primary clans on Kagejima, each has a special connection with the land and the sacred elements of creation.
Clan Ika - These hardy warriors are in touch with the elements of water, flexible, skilled, and swift as their kami, the giant squid.
Clan Tora – Industrious warriors and alchemists, the Tora are most in touch with the elements of fire, ferocious and swift in battle as their kami, the tiger.
Clan Tanchyo – Woodland communities that live high in the trees, watching the hidden paths with cheeks pressed to fletched arrows, Tanchyo ninja are masters of the element of wind, and are wise and swift like their kami, the crane.
Clan Kitsune – Bearing the mark of their revered kami, a precocious little forest spirit, the Kitsune are most in touch with the element of spirit, being magical creatures themselves, and masters of medicines and poisons.
Clan Yamazaru – In the wandering stone paths, the adherents of the mountain clans are deep in touch with the element of earth, and are as tough and smart as their kami, the sage-like mountain monkeys.
Clan Ijin – Sprouting fierce horns and tusks, like their Ogre-like kami, the Ijin are quarrelsome and strong. The Ijin use dark magic, tapping the element of Void that has already caused them to take on their monstrous visage.
We will introduce more about the clans in time, as they each have specialized skills and abilities linked to their clan that adapt to unique play styles. All clans have access to several types of ninja to hire for their team
Chunin (Team Leaders) are the rising stars in their clans, masters of the elemental secrets of their elders, and peerless warriors in combat. Maybe someday they will be as vaunted as some of the better known heroes who have made names for themselves.
Kaiken (The Daggers) are your basic ninja, but they are anything but basic. Tough, fast, and fighty, the Kaiken fulfill most of your combat rolls, and as they gain experience they can specialize in skills unique to their clan.
Yajiri (The Arrowheads) specialize in ranged combat, filling the air with whisper silent arrows, darts, and even the smoke and thunder of well aimed musket balls.
Madoushi (Sorcerers) use the elements to support their clansmen and attack their opponents with magic and alchemy.
Kunoichi (Lady Ninja) though being a clan ninja is not exclusive to boys, being a Kunoichi is exclusively for the ladies. These spry ninja train extensively to use their agility and speed to secure objectives, courier important artifacts and messages, and pepper enemies with shuriken and kunai.
There are powerful and more mystical creatures and wandering heroes that help the the various clans, but revelations on these powerful characters and kami will need to remain secret for now.
We hear there is a campaign/league style format to the game, how does this work?
Without divulging too much, it’s safe to say that games work great as one-off little battles, but has been built for playing over multiple sessions with friends to get the full benefit of powering up your characters and winning honor for your clan. Linking games becomes a fun way to bring in huge groups of players—it is a lot of fun!
You guys really seem to like your chibi art style. What made you go down this route again with Ninja All-Stars?
There are a lot of pretenders, we like to think we do this right and proper. Ninja All-Stars separates itself from the crowd with amazing miniatures you are not likely to find anywhere. We wanted badly to make a ninja game, as we are fond of ninja and they are as near to our hearts as the points of their blades comfortably allow. Moreover, the character of this great product is really something different, taking on a classic manga, and arcade feel with all the colorful characters, monsters and heroes that are part to this universe.
In addition to all that, it’s a really welcoming art style. Though not fit for every product we want to make, our self styled chibi characters are really fun, get a lot more people sitting at the table for games, and the style is something that our hobbyists and fans have been asking us to further expand.
Also, because ninjas…
Are you going to be going to Kickstarter with this or will it be a full retail release?
We are still a young company and the marketing effect of a strong campaign validates to the future customers and backers that this is a brand to watch. It will be new on the stage and deserves all the lift we can give it. Seeding the ground with players ready to get their ninja on, and building excitement until it arrives. Ninja All-Stars is nearly done from a development standpoint, and we will be ready before the launch of our Kickstarter to ensure a snappy delivery.
What are you thoughts on the future of Ninja All-Stars? Do you see there being many expansions in the future?
We love all our lines and we are excited to also expand the world of intrigue and action in Ninja All-Stars…and a lot of ideas to let solidify.
Lastly, an age old question. Are Ninjas truly better than Pirates?
Seeing as though you cannot see the look of surprise behind my mask, I will simply and gingerly finger the pointy bits on the ends of this shuriken I found in my sleeve and contemplate the mysteries of the universe…
We would hate to call out pirates for their obvious shortcomings, and their lack of fashion sense. But, I’m sure you know where we stand on this issue…
It’s usually right behind you.
I think that answers the question!
A big thanks to John Candice for answering our questions and we hope that you’ve gathered some helpful information about their upcoming game. It certainly sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun!
On the heroes featured above…
AKKOROKAMUI – Clan Ika Akkorokamui, like his sea faring kin, is quite at home on the water. Few who spy Kagejima’s shadowy shores from sea ever make it there, and fewer still return home to talk about it. Akkorokamui is a strong character to add to your Ika ninja forces.
BYAKKO – Clan Tora Clan Tora is already a fierce competitor in the games, but who can be more fierce than someone who believes he is the embodiment of their clan’s kami, the white tiger! Byakko is speedy, and skilled with his sharpened claws.
MOMOTARO A wandering Ronin, this young boy has taken up his favorite pastime on Kagejima—monster hunting! This young marvel has the strength of eight men, and wields a mighty war club he took off of a powerful Oni warlord. Destined for greatness, he can help out your clan for a chance to beat up monsters and a little travelling coin!
Are you looking forward to Ninja All-Stars?
"Games are scenario driven, more than just wiping out your enemy, the Tournament of the Moon tests ninjas’ skills at stealth and strategy, as much as your skill with shuriken and a blade."
"...our self styled chibi characters are really fun, get a lot more people sitting at the table for games, and the style is something that our hobbyists and fans have been asking us to further expand."