From publisher blurb:
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 game set in the midst of World War III, thundering with authentic skirmishes, and screeching with the bone-chilling cries of the dark entities unleashed by the war’s massive bloodletting. It’s roleplaying military horror at its best.
A Simple Game
Dark War 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 game.