Armello sounds like a candy bar stuffed with caramel and, like, nougat, but it's actually a gorgeous strategy game coming to iPad next year. Developed by Australian indie conglomerate League of GeeksArmello is a digital board and card game about the power and politics of a mystical animal kingdom of the same name. A mysterious disease called Rot has driven the once-benevolent (lion) king mad, and Armello's various clans rise up in response. It sounds simultaneously obvious and dopey when you say it out loud, but Armello's lush and vibrant art direction makes the premise easy to buy into.

Here's a trailer from 2012:

Once you pick a Clan—I'm already eyeing that rabbit swordsman—gameplay consists of moving across a hex-tiled game board, capturing towns, growing an army, and dealing with competitors. From there, combat is handled through a series of dice rolls, modified by cards representing abilities, skills, and gear.

Obviously, you'll "win" by crowning yourself the reigning monarch of Armello, but—as in all good strategy games—all roads lead to victory: you can take the throne by force, or become a spiritual religious leader, or simply negotiate a (comparatively) peaceful takeover once the rapidly-worsening king finally succumbs to Rot.

Other gameplay amalgams abound: There's a day-night cycle, for example, which makes it easy to hide from other heroes, but tough to avoid the nocturnal plague-spreaders known as Banes. There's also a customization system that will allow you to get a better angle on your goals and enemies. If you're a Rat Clan hero looking for a prestige win, for example, best equip an obsidian signet ring and a lion's head amulet.

Here's another, more recent trailer:

The League of Geeks team is headquartered in Melbourne, but they've working with (mostly unpaid) contractors from around the world. As bona fides go, the Armello team has collectively worked on the Warhammer, BioShock, Puzzle Quest, Pokémon, and Darksiders licenses (none of which seem remotely similar to a Redwall-esque strategy game, but I digress).

In any case, their credentials were enough to attract over $305,000 AUD on Kickstarter, most of which will go toward paying some full-time salaries.

Armello is projected for March 2015 and should launch with a single-player campaign, four-person local multiplayer, and asynchronous online multiplayer. And if all goes according to plan, League of Geeks hope to support the game with extra quests, characters, and card packs over time.

Until then, the Kickstarter page has tons of extra information and gameplay .gifs, and if you've got an hour to kill, team lead Trent Kusters streamed an entire playthrough earlier this morning.

  • Eseres

    The artwork looks beautiful on this one 🙂 Can't wait to see some in-game videos 🙂 Looks like something I would enjoy a lot 🙂

    • gmattergames

      Check the KS link at the top of the article they show in-game footage on their campaign page, even the devs playing the tabletop prototype.

      • Eseres

        Thanks 🙂 Made me want this game even more now 😀 Wish I had lots of money to throw at them to help them out 😛

  • Plynx

    How depressing. You can't cure the king?

    My grandmother had Alzheimer's. Degenerative brain disease is not a good game premise.

    • Flamingo

      Welcome to real life bro

    • Rooie1154

      Soft-hearted, as I am, I was hoping there would be an option to heal the king.

    • Joseph Leray

      The devs may implement a way to cure him at some later date, but I was just going on the info that's been released at this point.

      You've got a good point, though -- it's a sad premise for a game. I hadn't thought of that.

  • TripMX

    I'm loving these previews!! I'm also loving the fact that the game will have a complete OFFLINE single player campaign along with possible local multiplayer [4] (Bluetooth connection) capabilities!! The art style is captivating!! I currently support this game!

  • Eidaven

    Love the artwork too. Watch listed!

  • Bool Zero

    Looks great, added to watch list but darn it! Next year? Really?

    • Stormourner

      do you want the game to be released this year? you know the developers needs alot of time before releasing Armello

  • Stormourner

    next year I shall welcome the heroes with my open arms <3<3<3<3<3

  • Cookies

    A bear with any sort of weapon is a very appealing concept.

  • Arcite

    Mammals with opposable thumbs oh my!