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 Geeks, Armello 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.