Moonbreaker preview – A necessary 180°

At Gamescom last August, I was able to play in preview at moonbreakera virtual miniatures game developed by Unknown Worlds (the creators of Subnautica).

As a big fan of games wargame/figurine, I was obviously over the moon. But what a disappointment, a few weeks later, when I heard that the game would not be available in Belgium and the Netherlands (being a Belgian resident, it was a candy break…) for legal reasons, the two countries prohibiting the games using loot crates.

This legislation still allows, in my mind, to put severe limits in my head as to what will happen. It is not free from reproach, but it has the merit of existing and preventing abuse by publishers or at least alerting the player and being vigilant.

And it didn’t fail… when the game was released in early access, the economic model announced was a “buy-to-play”… but embellished with a shop, a premium currency and paid loots boxes…

In short, as advertised that Uther shared a few days ago said it, the game has been an oven so far with so few players available (a few dozen at the time of this writing) that they had to react extremely quickly.

No more shop, all in-game currencies are removed and replaced with a cosmetic-only currency for its characters, all available from the start now.

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I had started writing the test a few days ago, but I had to completely revamp it, because, beyond these economic changes, the gameplay also was turned upside down from the base. Remember that the game is in early access and that we are far from the final release, but it is clear that this complete overhaul was not planned in the roadmap of Unknown Worlds.

Moonbreaker is therefore a game of virtual miniatures. It is a skirmish game, like Mars Code Aurora or Infinityto name two that exist on the table.

Possessing a totally personal universe, this is a game 100% from the imagination of the Unknown Worlds team and not an iteration of an existing game, as we have seen in recent years. years for board games such Gloomhavenfor example.

The game places us in a futuristic theme; we play a band of 8 characters plus a captain (against 10+1 before) who face another equivalent crew in a fairly restricted combat zone where there are some decorations allowing cover or forcing the units to move around. Previously, you had to draw from the characters you unlocked, but now, since you have access to all existing characters, the level access to the game is, although fairer, also more difficult. Indeed, there are synergies between them that should not be overlooked in the design of your deck.


Because at the start of the game, only your captain is on the battlefield. Before the update, you had a random draw of 3 cards in your crew. Now you can deploy any member, anytime, as long as you have the resources to do so. On the first turn, you have 1 point to spend. In the second, two points in the third, three, and so on. You can, if you do not spend all your points during a turn, keep up to three points maximum.

These points are used to activate your units, but also the powers of the characters that are deployed on the battlefield.

Currently there are 3 captains and 41 different units. The possibilities are therefore wide as regards the choice of the crew. Each of them has its own powers that must be used wisely. Some have grappling hooks that can lure the enemy (or an ally) close to it, which may come in handy. Others will take a life point if they do nothing during a turn, but in return will inflict 3 additional life points on an enemy the next turn, etc.

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The game takes place in successive complete turns, that is to say that each player activates everything he can activate, within the limit of his available points, before passing his turn and therefore giving the hand to his opponent, who does the same. The more units you have in the game, the more choices must be made, not all of which can be activated due to the number of resource points available. Some will surely be sacrificed for a greater cause.

Having all crew members available is, in my opinion, a good choice. The randomness that was effective before the update could be very frustrating. If you didn’t have a balanced hand, and it happened often, you could just lose the default game. For example, if in your crew you planned a progressive side with cheap units, then others at a medium price and one or two large units, it was enough to have these last two of entry to be stuck very early in the game. This new gameplay also allows you to anticipate the actions of your opponents a little better.

Despite everything, I find the principle of action of successive armies very punitive. Once a crew takes advantage, getting back into the game is very complicated, whereas in an alternate activation game (so 1 unit from one player, 1 unit from another, etc.), it’s much less violent on the balance of a game.

In short, many possibilities that will have to be combined. You don’t have a restriction on the choice of crew, which I think is maybe a game design flaw, because in the end it gives too little identity.

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In a board game, factions are very important. Any player will tell you: he likes to play this or that faction, because it is good for X or Y reasons, totally subjective. But it gives an identity to his band and more fun discussions between players. Here, despite the choice available, in the end the crews are quite alike and there is not this feeling of belonging. Afterwards, it’s obviously only my opinion, but it’s something that often comes up around a gaming table. Because miniature games aren’t just miniature games, it’s precisely everything what’s around: the discussion, the hobby, the painting, the lore and obviously the competitive side for some games.

In short, the game as it is is not free from flaws, but let’s remember once again that the game is in early access and that they have planned a year of evolution before the official release of the game… and that after a month, they have already had to seriously correct course, or even make a 180 in their policy. Too late ? I don’t know…we’ll see.

You can find all the details HERE

However, we must not omit the hobby side of the game of Unknown Worlds. It is seen that the game was created by fig game players.

Next to the game, there is a really effective painting tool for the miniatures of the game: we can really personalize our miniatures with small onions, as long as we try our hand at it a little: wash, shading, dry brushing, aero… terms that are totally familiar to a player of miniature games and that work the same in the game (even simpler: we don’t go overboard on the parts we don’t want to touch).

This tool, on its own, deserves our interest… but too bad it’s limited to game figs, I’d love to paint my 3D models with it, haha.

In conclusion: this change of direction was necessary… the initial choice was terribly bad, I already said it before the release and I was discussed several times with the developers on the official discord about it. Especially since releasing such an economically aggressive policy in early access, the content of which is still very poor, in my opinion, it was going straight into the wall. Let’s hope for them that this turnaround will bring other players, because there… it’s really deserted.

– Preview made by Seiei with a version provided by the publisher

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this outstanding content

Moonbreaker preview – A necessary 180°

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