It's our last blog for The Doomed from author Chris McDowall, and it's all about modelling, painting, and the game's kitbash attitude...
Like so many projects, The Doomed was born in lockdown.
I’ve played miniature wargames since I was nine years old, drawn to the promises of building a unique army of tiny soldiers and leading them to epic clashes on the kitchen table. Neither promise was ever quite delivered on. The games took forever, we’d get the rules wrong, and my little rat-men looked nothing like they did in the magazines. In particular, I loved seeing conversions that people had made, but I could never get my blunt Stanley knife and superglue to tame the chunky lead miniatures of the time.
I had a lot of fun with the hobby, but it always felt like I wasn’t doing it right. Like we weren’t really playing the game properly, and we certainly weren’t proper modellers or painters.
Since then, I’d dip tentatively back into miniatures every few years, but was increasingly drawn to RPGs and board games, the former of which would become my career.
Back to lockdown, May 2020. Faced with a surplus of free time indoors and a birthday voucher burning a hole in my wallet, I decided to pick up some miniatures to paint, just like the old days. I hadn’t realised just how much miniatures had changed. Multi-part plastic kits were in a different world now. Hundreds of individual pieces in each box, loads of spares to use in future projects, and even sources to buy individual parts for that wacky conversion idea. That prized army of uniquely modelled miniatures could finally become a reality.
Still, I didn’t have the appetite for modelling and painting a full, coherent army. I wanted to try this kitbashing thing I kept hearing about. Mixing and matching parts from different kits to make a new twisted form. I wanted to make a bunch of weirdos, maybe a few bigger monstrosities. Whatever I made, I wanted them to be mine.
As somebody who designs games, naturally I started to build a little system that would let these tiny plastic misfits fight each other. Small warbands clashing with each other and taking on disgusting monsters.
It should be fast, simple, and have all those dramatic moments you remember from tabletop battles without all the frustrating parts. A miniature wargame that draws on the freeform creativity of an RPG. A game that never makes you feel like you’re not playing it right, or that you aren’t a real modeller or painter. A game that embraces the kitbash attitude of making something exciting and getting it to the table, leaving with a great story about what happened.
Almost three years later, I’m hoping that The Doomed is that game. For those who decide to try it out, make sure to bring that kitbash attitude with you.
The Doomed is out next week, 3rd August, in the UK and 8th August in the US.
Art by Helge C. Balzer. Miniatures modelled, painted & photographed by Ana Polanšćak.