Though my writing history has been previously centred around music biographies, with my most recent books including a 2021 edition of my biography of The Cramps’ guitarist and founding member Bryan Gregory, as well as the authorised biography of Wayne County and the Electric Chairs’ guitarist Eliot Michael, as a life-long wargaming and model enthusiast, I have wanted to create my own tabletop wargame for a long time. I felt it was important, though, that any game I created was part of a wider fantasy setting as opposed to being a generic game that was simply played, packed away, and forgotten. I have always been drawn to more immersive styles of wargames, ones that draw the player in and transport them to an alternative reality. I believe Shadows of Centralis, with its unique world setting, plethora of gods and several unique forces, is such a game.
In writing Shadows of Centralis I have drawn on a wide range of literary, musical, and television influences, including the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, Michael Moorcock, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Algernon Blackwood, Edgar Allan Poe, Rick Priestley, Mary Beard, David Lynch, The Doors, Cream, The Velvet Underground, The Cramps, Beast, The Dials, Dark Shadows, and classic ‘Hammer Horror’.
When it comes to the game-playing dynamic of tabletop wargaming, the mechanics of a game, Rick Priestley has always been my favourite rulesmith. So, I started this project with the intention of creating a fantasy tabletop wargame which fused my love of wargaming with my appreciation for the worlds of fantasy, science fiction and horror, along with the desire to invent a completely unique world and backstory. Looking to his wonderful and extensive legacy of work, I also wanted to consider Rick’s style of rules, with both simplicity and dynamic design at its core, as a basis from which I could create something new.
Perhaps going against the current trend of more randomised game dynamics, instead preferring the structured principal of ‘I go, you go’, Shadows of Centralis uses Rounds and Turns. Within each Round, each player takes a Turn as four stages are worked through in order: Movement, Hand-to-Hand Combat, Shooting and Magic. Measurements, which can be made at any time during games, are made in inches, while both D10’s and D6’s are used.
In addition to the depth of detail within the background of the game’s setting, and the number of armies and gods involved, where Shadows of Centralis especially differs from other tabletop wargames is with the features of Weather Conditions, Praying, and the reactions of the gods. Each of these gaming features provide extra dimensions of play to consider when trying to lead an army to victory.
Setting it apart from the ‘standard’ wargame rulebook, in something of an homage to my appreciation for pulp literature, Shadows of Centralis is an A5-sized book; within its 400 pages are complete gaming rules, background to the world in which the game is set, and 15 complete army lists. In a similar vein to Warlord Games’ Warlords of Erehwon, one of the refreshing aspects of playing a game of Shadows of Centralis is the involvement of miniatures from any model manufacturer, old or new. Free from the persecution of the ‘model police’, there is no right or wrong way in which a player chooses his models when constructing his Shadows of Centralis army. Meanwhile, Shadows of Centralis is a flexible game system, and armies can vary greatly in size; allowing for more skirmish-centred conflicts involved 20 -30 miniatures per side, through to massed warfare involving hundreds of models.
I am delighted to have the artwork of Ruth Moreira adorn the cover of the book. A constant collaborator who has greatly assisted, at times co-writing, in the creation of all my books. Ruth’s evocative artwork features regularly on the cover of the monthly supporting magazine for Shadows of Centralis, Shadows of Centralis Monthly Magazine, too. Available worldwide via Amazon, this publication is issued as an A5 paperback magazine, as well as available as a free PDF download from the Shadows of Centralis website (www.shadowsofcentralis.com). Shadows of Centralis is a supported game system which will be regularly updated with new scenarios, characters, and gaming resources, all of which will be available online and free to download.
Being such an admirer of his work, when Rick Priestley kindly agreed to write the foreword of Shadows of Centralis I was thrilled. I owe a debt of gratitude to Rick, not just for the foreword, but for all the time and advice he offered throughout the writing of Shadows of Centralis. I would also like to express my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the following people who have assisted in the Shadows of Centralis project by offering their time, efforts, contributions, and photographs; John Stallard, Chaz Eliot, Bob Naismith, Tim Prow, Andy Sherwell, Diane Ansell, Kevin Adams, Steve Saleh, Joe Saleh, and Ronnie Renton.
This is just the beginning…
Copyright © 2022 John Wombat & Ruth Moreira