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Moonbreaker, Warhammer-like tactics game from Subnautica devs and Brandon Sanderson, exits early access

1.0 adds new Boss Run mode, new painting tools and extra characters for your crew

The three new captain miniatures in Moonbreaker's 1.0 release
Image credit: Unknown Worlds

Moonbreaker, the unexpected collaboration between Subnautica developers Unknown Worlds and seemingly tireless human book machine Brandon Sanderson, has hit 1.0 after spending the last year in early access.

Moonbreaker, if you’d forgotten, is essentially a tabletop miniatures game a la Warhammer, but digitised. Not in the way that, say, the Warhammer 40k video games do away with all pretence of being a tabletop game in favour of a Gear of War-a-like/XCOM-a-like/Left 4 Dead-a-like, but something closer to the actual meeples ‘n’ models of Tabletop Simulator - albeit with all the fiddliness of that physics sandbox removed. For one, there are actual miniatures here, stood atop little round bases. You can paint them, too.

Once you’ve assembled your virtual collection of models and made them look pretty, the game itself takes the form of a skirmish battler as players fight to defeat their opponent’s captain by commanding their squad of crewmates in turn-based tactical scuffles.

Sanderson’s contribution comes in via Moonbreaker’s lore, with the prolific fantasy author saying around the time of its early access launch in late 2022 that he has at least a decade’s worth of narrative planned for the sci-fi setting. Which sounds about the most Brandon Sanderson thing I’ve ever heard, given the man pumps out words like a firehose filled with high fantasy.

Moonbreaker’s 1.0 release on Steam adds three new playable captains - solo fighter Feng Huang, nimble duelist Saveri and ranged attacker Sol’Aeturn - and a dozen extra crew members to use in your squad, which will hopefully help to further remedy the fairly thin roster that left Ed a bit underwhelmed - if optimistic - during early access.

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There’s a new mode, too, in Boss Run. Based on the existing Cargo Run mode, the single-player variant throws the player’s crew into 10 rounds across four new maps: Cholek Plateaus, Methedori Broken Outskirts, Smuggler Sundown and Yi-Aweti Temple Ground. The scenarios are said to be fairly tough, including showdowns with boss opponents that will throw some light on some of that Sanderson-penned lore.

Away from the fights, Moonbreaker’s Paint Mode has seen a brush-up, with revamped UI and the addition of tools including stencils and masking liquids to allow for greater customisation of your digital miniatures. Designs can be newly shared online and imported using the share tool, too.

Other 1.0 additions include a reworked tutorial, extra multiplayer scenarios and various bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements, while obsolete features including Sparks and Rarity have been taken out.

1.0 is live for Moonbreaker now, with the full release retaining the early access version’s rewards track for unlocking paint sets, banners, decals and other cosmetics. The early access Death Bot Extilior skin is now paid DLC as part of the Cosmetic Pack, too.

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