CMON is known for having record-breaking Kickstarter board game campaigns with large minis and tons of stretch goals. HATE is their most recent project and it also contains very mature content and a violent post-apocalyptic setting. CMON also stated that this would be exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign. To find out more about the game and their reasoning behind it, I got Jared Miller, Marketing Manager at CMON, to answer eight questions I had about HATE.
Did the brutal, post-apocalyptic theme attract CMON and Guillotine Games to the Chronicles of HATE property?
Everyone at CMON and Guillotine Games, the designers behind HATE, are huge fans of Adrian Smith’s work, which made his joining the CMON team as a Lead Artist in 2017 a dream come true. The world he built in his original graphic novels, Chronicles of HATE, is incredibly engrossing and definitely led to Guillotine Games and CMON being drawn to the property.
CMON has not been shy in stating that the game is for mature audiences. Is it due mostly to the violence of the world, or are there other factors involved as well?
The Chronicles of HATE are brutal and violent graphic novels, and we didn’t sugarcoat that in the HATE game. We wanted to make sure people knew what they were getting into, so that’s why we’ve given the Mature 18+ rating. The art of the game features acts of extreme violence and nudity in some cases. The gameplay also embraces the brutality, asking players to fight their way to becoming the best Tribe by massacring enemies, taking captives, and torturing, or even eating them, for power.
While skirmishes can be played, it sounds like HATE is meant to be played as a campaign experience. Other than certain Tribes not being used, what differences occur due to different player counts?
Ultimately, HATE is meant to be played as a Chronicle, which is made up of several different Clashes. Each of these Clashes are made of two Battles. Two to six players will get together and decide how many Clashes they wish to have against each other. That will determine the number of games played during the Chronicle. Two players could decide to play two or three Clashes (a total of four or six Battles) to determine their Chronicle winner. The game is very easy to handle no matter how many players are taking part. If you and a friend don’t want to do a Chronicle, you can pit two Tribes against each other by following the rules for a Battle.
Will a group be able to advance the campaign without a player joining them for a session?
Once a Chronicle is started, you don’t want to drop or add any players. However, if someone can’t make it for their Clash, other Tribes can still have theirs. Or you could all have some “friendly” Battles until your buddy gets back. A little practice on the battlefield never hurts!
With Clashes involving two separate Tribes, how do you keep the other players engaged?
Because all Tribes have different play styles, it’s worthwhile to watch Clashes you’re not taking part in. Knowing more about your enemy is always better, especially if you want to survive. The Clashes in HATE are action packed, so it’s a ton of fun to watch them play out. Players can also use the time between Clashes to review their Tribe members and think through their tactics and the next Territory they might want to fight over.
How will players be able to keep track of skill advancements and resources in between games?
Watching your Tribe members advance, and hopefully not be tortured or eaten, is one of the coolest aspects of HATE. Between each Battle of a Clash, there is an Intermission. During this time, players will head to their Villages to cook or torture their captives for Resources and Hate, visit the Churgeon to remove Scars, assess the damage done to their KO’d Tribe members that managed to make it back, and update the Chronicle Track.
The Chronicle Track is where Tribes will record their progress, marking down how much Hate and Resources they’ve acquired. Reaching certain milestones on the Track will allow you to upgrade buildings in your Village (maybe you need some more space in your Oven?) and give Tribe members upgrades.
Every Tribe member card is kept in a sleeve (they come with the game!), and Upgrades come in the form of clear cards that will slide into the sleeves, ensuring you always know the status of your Tribe member by looking at their card. It’s great to actually see your Tribe member growing in strength by adding these cards. Of course, it hurts that much more when another Tribe drags them off to be tortured and killed in their Village’s Pit…
Dead and unconscious Tribe members aren’t taken off the board right away, but instead are left on the board and can be dragged away by the opposing Tribe. Does the board feel more visceral and crowded because of this?
It sure does! As you said, if a Tribe member is KO’d on the field, their body will lay there until someone grabs it. Seeing Tribe members down on the field gives both players a real sense of urgency. Ideally, you’ll want to reclaim your Tribe member’s body as soon as possible because when another Tribe takes them, well, they’re as good as food. However, you may decide to let your Tribe member lay there, bleeding out, if it means claiming a rather tasty (and possibly upgraded) enemy to remove them from future Clashes and claim Hate or Resources when you take them back to your Village.
CMON seems to owe a lot of its success to Kickstarter, but HATE will be almost exclusively available through Kickstarter. What was the reasoning behind this decision and how do you not alienate game stores?
HATE is the first game CMON has brought exclusively to Kickstarter. However, we are making it available to our CMON Play member stores through our Retail Pledge system, which has been a great way to ensure people can support their FLGS and still have access to the pledges and all of the Stretch Goals. They can even pick up Optional Buys through their stores!
The reason we choose to go Kickstarter Exclusive was to remain as true as possible to Adrian Smith’s Chronicles of HATE graphic novels. As we’ve discussed, the world of HATE is brutal and violent. We’re aware that not everyone has a taste for that kind of experience, so instead of shying away from it, we wanted to go all in. That means we’re targeting those who want that type of gaming experience directly, including our CMON Play retailers who order it for their customers or are comfortable stocking it for their store.
If you want to pick up HATE, then you will definitely want to head to the Kickstarter campaign right now and back it. If you are a fan of the Chronicles of HATE or want something set in a world similar to Mad Max, then this is a safe bet you are the audience that CMON aiming for.