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Dark War REBOOTED RPG and Skirmish Game


It's 1985

West Germany teeters on the brink of defeat. The American V Corps is all but crushed, and Soviet armored formations rush to the French border. In a small town near the North Sea, a temporary POW camp holds hundreds of NATO soldiers, not all of them human. A handful make a break for freedom.

Welcome to Mark Walker’s Dark War: a roleplaying and skirmish game set in the midst of World War III, thundering with authentic firefights, and screeching with the bone-chilling cries of the dark entities unleashed by the war’s massive bloodletting. It’s roleplaying military horror, it's soldier-to-soldier/vampire/werewolf/whatever, it's whichever you like.

What's New?

A lot, yet not so much. The core game, which we think is a blast, remains on changed. We did, however, add a monetary system, additional spells and gear, and about 15,000 words of backstory. If you didn't understand the Dark War universe before, there's no excuse now.

That's not all. We illustrated completely new standees (or lay-flat counters, depending on how you use them), enhanced the map, added (as we alluded to) over a dozen new pages and several new pieces of art. We want to make this a great RPG and SKIRMISH game. We feel that we have done our part, now all you need to do is play!


A Simple Game

Dark War REBOOTED uses a simple system, based on a single rule. Anytime you role a 4 or greater you get a success. That success might mean you pump two AK-47 rounds into a werewolf, or that your nurse heals a team member, or a witch gains control of a weak-minded soldier, forcing him to fire on his comrade. What varies are the dice that you use. When building your own character, you assign a fixed number of dice (4 x D4, 3 x D6, 2 x D8) to seven attributes--Shooting, Melee, Speed, Intelligence, Charm, Will, and Dodge-- to determine what type of individual you control. The more dice and the better the dice assigned to an attribute, the greater chance you have or rolling successes. But the customization doesn't end there. You can use experience points to buy Kickers, such as "Rifles," which adds an extra D6 when firing a rifle or "Power of Prayer" that allows a character to heal a teammate within two squares. Two many options? Just choose a group of pre-generated characters from the bestiary, slap them on the provided map, and have at it. Or, if you prefer, you can fight out one of the three, included skirmishes

Obviously attributes such as Charm and Intelligence can be put to great use when roleplaying, but Dark War's unique Action Cards ensure they are relevant even when fighting a quick skirmish. For example, when an opponent activates a character you can slap the Fear Action Card on them, forcing them to pass an Intelligence test or lose all their actions. Other Action Cards can reload a weapon, add a die to melee, or even heal a wound.

When the fighting breaks out, characters determine initiative by rolling a combination of their Speed and Intelligence dice. The total determines when they act (higher is better, obviously) the number of successes determines how many Actions they have. Simple, fluid, and highly interactive.

Many RPGs say "Here are the rules, now go buy your own stuff to play with." Dark War is different. In each game you get the core rule book, 18 Action Cards, a 17" x 22" battle map depicting a West German village, and 70 1" square counters that include Russian and American soldiers, civilians, werewolves, vampires, witches, dead folks, zombies, and more. Better still we include a handful of stands, enabling the counters to functions as standees. It's like having your own set of Dark War minis. Furthermore, the rules include three ready-to-play skirmish scenarios (In the Beginning, Stranger Things, My Enemies' Friend) and a beginning-level, one to two session adventure titled, The Escape, complete with generated characters. When we say "Ready to play," we mean it.

It's a small unit skirmish game, it's a roleplaying game, it's straight-up fighting or weird war combat. It's whatever you make it. It's the Dark War Roleplaying and SKIRMISH game.

Each Game Includes

a 48-page set of core rules including three skirmish scenarios and a pre-generated adventure.
a beautiful 17" x 22" battle map representing a West German village.
70 good looking game chits. Lay 'em flat or stand up up.
18 full-color Action Cards.

The Novels

Dark War is based on a pair of novels that I wrote, Revelation and Retribution. The novels are part Tom Clancy/Harold Coyle-style modern combat, and part Stephen King bump-in-night paranormal. If that interests you, get the paperbacks here and here.

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (10)
Customer avatar
Theron H May 30, 2023 6:36 am UTC
If this is Print and Play, how do I print out the big map when my printer can handle only A4 as the largest size?
Customer avatar
Mark W October 02, 2022 11:26 am UTC
Hi Daniel,
I received your comment via email, but don't see it here. Thanks for the kind words. Although I'm an experienced game designer this is my first RPG design. I tried to keep it simple and fun. Something the GM can quickly manage. I hope I succeeded.
Customer avatar
Daniel S September 30, 2022 7:30 pm UTC
Customer avatar
Dillard R May 20, 2019 7:37 pm UTC
I did not purchase this product on RPGNow. I purchased directly from the publisher. I am having a difficult time figuring out from the publisher web page where to go to ask questions about the rules etc. I am however very familiar with RPGNow. So here I am. 18 cards apparently doesn't include the cards shown in the example of play. Cards have numbers in the upper right corner. 1 to 20 however, I am missing 2 and 14. While this does total 18 cards it is mystifying to me why the cards I am missing are the exact same cards listed in the example of play.
Customer avatar
mark W April 16, 2019 9:06 pm UTC

Thanks for the kind words. My goal was to make a game that was accessible. What other ideas do you have for spells/magic. Maybe I could add them in.

Customer avatar
Heather M March 18, 2019 6:45 pm UTC
Love the simple rules with the tactical combat! Has anyone tried porting the powers from Savage Worlds to expand the magic?

Oh, and thanks to the publisher for updating the files rather than publishing an entirely new version. I was about to ask if previous purchasers could get a discount, only to realize I didn't have to purchase it again at all!
Customer avatar
Mark W February 21, 2019 5:51 pm UTC
Hi Tom,

Running subtracts a die from shooting. So, if you want to shoot as your second action, you'll be less accurate if you run.

There are Melee Kickers, such as Lucky and Slice and Dice.
Customer avatar
Tom B August 10, 2018 8:18 pm UTC
Just purchased, couple of questions after reading on my lunch;

Why wouldn't you run all the time versus move?

There shooting kickers adding a 1d6 but none for melee?

Game looks cool.
Customer avatar
Michael S July 30, 2018 1:47 pm UTC
I'm a sucker for urban fantasy and having this setting in a post-WWIII apocalypse was icing on the cake. As a simplistic RPG and skirmish game Dark War fits the bill quite nicely. Unfortunately for me, the game has few rules for dealing with high tech. It's worried more about firearms and the supernatural. There are no rules for any of the hardware that might be found and no rules for vehicles (other than a mention of using Charm (Streetsmarts) to hotwire a car). This was problematic to me, but I tend to think a lot more about this sort of thing. There is no attribute that governs driving a vehicle or operating machinery or electronics. Maybe I missed it in the novel text- it's certainly possible that EMP wiped out any sophisticated tech in this environment.
Customer avatar
Mark W February 21, 2019 5:55 pm UTC
Simplicity is our philosophy. Yeah, we know. You’ve heard that before.Usually it surfaces in the paragraph before an RPG uses 17 pages to explain how to roll for agility. That’s not Dark War. There are seven character Abilities in the game; Shooting,Melee, Dodge, Speed, Intelligence, Charisma, and Will. Early iterations of the game used agility and strength, but didn’t include shooting and melee. This caused problems with folks new to RPGs. “Now what dice do I roll when I shoot?” or, “What do I roll to dodge that bullet?” It just
made sense to us to make the use of abilities as obvious as possible. What do you roll to shoot? Well, your Shooting dice, of course. Your Dodge dice are used when dodging,
and Melee dice when you want to bash someone on the head.

That’s great, and a system that we are proud of. But golly, there’s no perception ability, no stealth, and horror upon horror, :-) no driving skill. As a designer you have two choices.
You can either list dozens...See more
Customer avatar
John W July 27, 2018 4:54 am UTC
I purchased the game and it looks fun! One thing I'm not clear on. What is the points value of a generated player character? I see points values in the Bestiary, but I'm not sure how to calculate the points for player characters. I want to figure out how to balance the encounters.
Customer avatar
Mark W February 21, 2019 5:57 pm UTC
A player-generated character is about 6 points in cost.
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This title was added to our catalog on June 30, 2018.