We announced EAT THE REICH earlier this month to thunderous acclaim: but what is it? Details below:
EAT THE REICH is a pun that got way, way out of hand. I’ve been experimenting with the concept for about a year now after realising that “REICH” and “RICH” are very similar words and going on from there. It began as a Powered by the Apocalypse game, but that really didn’t allow me the flexibility I was looking for, and after much experimentation I ended up re-purposing and refining the mechanics for orc fuckabout HAVOC BRIGADE.
HAVOC BRIGADE is a freewheeling over-the-top chaos simulator where a gang of elite orcish operatives break into a city and steal a prince. EAT THE REICH operates along similar lines, in as much as the player characters are the most immediate and dangerous threat in any scene and the defenders are perpetually on the back foot. You’re not fighting one nazi – you’re taking on a couple of squads at once, maybe an armoured car, and mashing through defenders with ease.
Systems-wise, you’re rolling a handful of D6 (about four to ten) and looking for any that show 4 or more, then spending those to do exciting things like: shrugging off automatic weapons fire, throwing a truck into a river, drinking all the blood out of a nazi officer and, in general, stomping your way across occupied Paris.
Each scene is framed as an Objective (what you need to do to progress) and Threats (whoever’s trying to stop you from progressing). Each turn, Threats increase their damage as more and more nazis rush your position – so it’s a toss-up between pushing back the Threats to give yourself breathing room or dashing to solve the Objective before you’re overwhelmed.
In terms of game length, you’re looking at two to three evenings of play to take your group from your coffin-drop to your epilogue. EAT THE REICH is designed to tell one story (and it tells it well!) so we don’t faff about with minor details.
EAT THE REICH uses pre-generated characters. I did a lot of back and forth on this – I had a robust and entertaining character creation system, even – but the intended tone for the game became hard to communicate and it was tricky to get everyone on the same page. Plus, unlike many RPGs which are about anything and can go anywhere, this game is about a specific four-hour period in an alternate version of wartime Paris.
EAT THE REICH has six iconics that players can control as they invade France. On offer to the players are:
- Iryna, a gothic socialite warlock who brought a cavalry sabre from home
- Nicole, a hard-bitten gun-toting French Resistance explosives expert
- Cosgrave, an East London wideboy necromancer
- Chuck, a rotting cowboy trying his best
- Astrid, a spirit-channelling wild woman with a machine gun
- Flint, a half-bat monstrosity who lives in a cave
Each of them plays a little differently – Flint has more vampiric powers than equipment, Nicole is packing more heat than your average spec-ops unit, Chuck can sacrifice his brand new hat to escape death – but they all use the same core system of rolling a bunch of dice and picking out 4-ups.
We provide you with an inaccurate map of 1940’s central Paris, you pick a drop site, and then bash your way towards Hitler. Throughout the game, players can trigger Flashbacks (usually in reaction to rolling very poorly) that shed light on their previous actions in WW2 that lead to this climactic assault, and show the bonds they’ve created as a rag-tag team of undead commandos.
The adventure always ends the same way: confronting Hitler in his luxury zeppelin that’s tethered to the communications network inside the Eiffel Tower. This seemed like the most extra way we could do this.
Let’s address the fascist elephant in the room: this is a game with nazis in. Real-world ones lead by their real-world leader Adolf Hitler in real-world occupied city Paris. This is not a sensitive portrayal of the realities of war or the challenges of tackling fascism, whether in military or civilian terms. We’re taking a lot of liberties with the source material here including establishing Paris as a major nazi power base, upping Germany’s technological advantage and, of course, that thing with the vampires.
EAT THE REICH is not a tasteful game. It is garish, and disgusting, and violent. It glorifies bloodshed. The players massacre their way through dozens if not hundreds of nazis en route to drink all of Hitler’s blood and then shove his lifeless corpse off a dirigible. It is also a comedy game, in as much as the central premise is ridiculous and we then provide the players with a variety of opportunities to kill fascists in novel and entertaining ways.
To this end: we are working with a number of professional sensitivity readers to ensure that what we’re putting out is tasteless in the right sort of way, and that it doesn’t punch down at anyone. (I actually don’t think you can get lower than a nazi, but they seem to have a high opinion of themselves, so it counts as punching up in my book.) We have several sensitivity readers lined up with diverse backgrounds and expertise to ensure that we strike the right balance throughout the book. And this is a situation where the more perspectives we have, the better, so if you are a sensitivity reader with relevant expertise, please get in touch.
Despite our best intentions, we know this isn’t going to be a game that everyone will love. And that’s fine. Hyperviolent antifascism is a tricky genre that certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone, and we know some people will want to sit this one out. There are both historical and modern-day resonances here that can be uncomfortable to play with even when they’re handled with care. If it’s not your sort of thing, we offer a wide variety of other roleplaying games with absolutely zero nazis in.
We want to get everything ready before we come to Kickstarter – as in, all the art, all the layout, all the writing, etc. All we’d need to do is hit print when the money comes through and we’re off to the races. At present, the art is coming along nicely and the text is near a complete first draft, at which point I’ll be handing it off to our sensitivity readers and awaiting feedback.
You can follow the project here to be notified upon launch. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to come along to our Discord and ask ’em, or post a comment below.