A brief look at Twisted

By Polar_Bear
In Board Games
Apr 9th, 2014

Demented Games is causing a lot of buzz with their upcoming adventure game, Twisted. I had a chance to talk with the fellows of Twisted while at Adepticon and snap a few shots of the (award-winning) minis for the game.

Twisted is set in an alternate-reality London during the Victorian era. The world is secretly run by a semi-prescient machine known as The Engine. For fans of science fiction, it sort of reminds me of the final story out of I, Robot, where a massive computer runs everything in the world in order to make a perfect society. The Engine is working at doing the same thing, though without anyone knowing about it. Or at least, no one had known about it until recently.

The Engine does its best to steer humanity in the direction it feels is best and it uses Nodes to try and influence the world. The nodes are points around which civilization has grown. Most major cities have a Node hiding somewhere within them. Though, as cities are built up over time, the Nodes get buried further and further down, essentially enhancing their own hiding spots as time goes on.

Much like the mysterious “Monoliths” from 2001, the Nodes are sources of unknown power, a conduit to The Engine that can elevate those in control of them to great heights. The Engine, though, doesn’t want humanity in control of the Nodes and so as people search for them, The Engine does its best to protect them. To do this, it draws in other humans to the Node’s location in order to stop power-hungry adventurers. Of course, being a world where alchemy and such are present, there are monsters lurking in the deep, dark areas where Nodes reside.

Twisted is played on map tiles representing the sewers, tunnels, catacombs and other such passages underneath a Steampunk, Victorian London. The tiles are gridded, so there’s no worry about having to measure distances and so forth. Due to the size of the minis (28mm), the board could end up being a rather sprawling affair, depending on how big a scenario you and your game-mates decide to play. The game is that new bridge between board game and miniature game that they’ve dubbed an “adventure game.” It has sort of a Descent feel to it.

Games can be one-off events, but there is a heavy bit of encouragement to play as a long campaign. You can level up your party and their equipment as you progress through several scenarios. Much like games of Mordheim or DreadBall, Twisted looks like it will do best and provide the most detailed environment when done as part of a league.

One thing that’s created a lot of talk about Twisted are the minis. I mentioned above that these are award-winning miniatures. Sebastian Archer, the sculptor for the game’s minis, won Bronze for his painted up Bill Psyches miniature and Gold for the sculpt of M’Dusa during this year’s Crystal Brush ceremony. While at the Twisted booth, I got to hold some of the minis and the detail is exquisite. Photos are only ever going to show so much, but the detail on the minis is superb. There’s plenty for professional painters to pick out and “play with” on them. Due to the nature of the game world (where time-travel is even possible to some extent), the minis are rather flavorful and are not “stuck” to just looking Steampunk Victorian. There are sci-fi elements as well, plus various bits of Fantasy as well.

Demented Games will be taking Twisted to Kickstarter to look for funding for the game. I don’t foresee any problems with them reaching their goal and then on to a bunch of stretch goals. Hey, maybe I’m The Machine and that’s just my precognition kicking in.

Demented Games has a LOT they want to do with Twisted and I certainly can’t wait for more of it to come out. Stay tuned and keep your eyes out for Twisted coming to Kickstarter (don’t worry, though. I’ll be sure to remind you when it does 😉 ).

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  • surprize

    I was really excited by this until I read it’s going to be a kickstarter. Still hopefully it hits the shops not too long after the kickstarter.

    Just really hope this isn’t another studio mcvey/sedition wars shambles where a promising miniature line is hamfistedly rendered in clay by a Chinese factory. I don’t hold my breath though.

  • blkdymnd

    Looks ok, I think I’m tiring of the various forms of steampunk finally. Looks Malifaux-ish.

  • Thanks for the write up PB

  • Nicolay

    Yeah, this is looking really cool! The presentation, the universe – its all there … and the sculpts are simply outstanding. This project has a lot of energy behind it, not to mention the bucketloads of talent.


  • grimbergen

    Looks great. I don’t mind if it has a malifaux kinda feel… I never got into that due to all the creepy and gross horror stuff anyway, so hopefully this doesn’t go there. And beyond that, there really hasn’t been a good and compelling steampunk miniatures game maybe this will be it. The map boards also have a very rackham/hybrid art style, and really excited about that.

  • Paconious

    Dystopian Wars/Legions is a pretty darned good steampunk setting as they veered away from the “Victorian with Gears All Over it” or “Magic Victorian with Gears All Over It” tropes.

    • Soulfinger

      For role playing games, R. Talsorian’s “Castle Falkenstein” is a fantastic steam punk game from back when it was still a relatively novel setting. One of the few games I’ve ever seen that emphasizes Victorian mannerisms and elegance over dressing like a schmuck.