Dark Potential – An Interview with Matthew Glanfield

Back in December last year I was shown a game by Adam of War More Radio and ODAM fame called Dark Potential. Visiting the sites I visit and knowing the people I do, there aren’t many games that escape my notice. That said, I am but one man.
Adam having told me about, all the while as giddy as a schoolgirl, he told me about the community involvement and the general gritty nature of the background. My interest piqued I went straight over to the website to check it out. Let me say this, 2013 is going to be a good year for our hobby. With games so visually splendid as Thon and Dark Potential around it’s going to be an orgy of lovely looking models and gorgeous artwork.
So taken was I by Dark Potential I sought out the creative minds behind it and that got me in touch with Matthew Glanfield who agreed to have a chat with me about Dark Potential and all it’s…err…potential.
TSC: Matthew I really appreciate you speaking with me, I know what a busy guy you are. So, first of all for those that haven’t heard of Dark Potential, tell us a little bit about the game.
MG: Dark Potential is a post-apocalyptic miniature wargame set in the 2500’s where humanity has been mostly annihilated by an alien species called the X’Lanthos. Both sides lost in the epic X’Lanthos/Human War, leaving X’Lanthos and Humans alike stranded on a mostly deserted planet Earth. Over 99.99% of humanity was wiped out in the war due to a viral weapon created by the X’Lanthos.
TSC: So humanity is a bit buggered then… But what of the game itself?
MG: The miniatures are at the 28mm heroic scale – similar to that of Warhammer or Warmachine – and the game features playable Human, X’Lanthos, Robot and even Animal factions, all fighting for survival and resources.
TSC: Did you say robot? Interesting… Where did Dark Potential come from?
MG: I’ve always loved the post-apocalyptic genre.  I was a huge fan of the Fallout series.  When I saw the History Channel’s show “Life After People” I finally got the visual image that would set the tone for Dark Potential. Everything else has evolved from that.
TSC: I think I need to watch more History Channel. And speaking of history,crowd funding has changed the way games are brought to market, your own being a prime example. What has it meant for Dark Potential and it’s long-term plans?
MG: Well, first off it means that we can even make the game. Without the help of the community it would have been hard to raise the $90,000 that we got by ourselves. I would guess that we would have taken several years before we could have even tried to do something like this.
TSC: $90,000 is quite an achievement. And it says a lot about the community and the game itself. It’s a huge boon.
MG: Crowd funding definitely allows smaller companies like MiniWarGaming to produce something that would normally be out of their reach.
TSC: Am I right in saying that you invited feedback from the wargaming community during development?
MG: Definitely. In fact, the community has been the driving factor in a lot of the development of Dark Potential from the story line to the science, to the rules. While I have directed the work I would say about 50% of the rules and story line have come from the community.
TSC: That’s awesome. So will the community have similar involvement in future developments?
MG: Most definitely, although it is hard to say how much.  As we grow we’ll be able to hire more people to help which will allow us to do more in house.  Even then we will be looking to the community for the majority of feedback, playtesting, and even new ideas.
F3 back
TSC: It’s great to see you getting the community so involved and valuing their ideas and opinions. But what was it like developing the game? Were there any significant high or low points?
MG: It’s been a difficult journey. Almost every step along the way we had set backs that cost us more money than we had anticipated, and cost us a lot more time. The high points were definitely the fundraiser, and finally getting the models out the door this month [January 2013].  Everything in between was quite stressful, but more than worth it in the end.
TSC: The factions all have a very distinct look. What can you tell us about them and their style of play?
MG: We only have three of the planned six factions out right now.
The Petrov-Morales Corporation (or PMC for short) are your main surviving human faction.  They are the rag-tag group that scavengers what they can to survive.  They have access to lower tech weapons, but are generally cheaper points-wise and can be brought in larger numbers.
The X’Lanthos are the main alien race, and play a bit like an elite faction.  The average point cost is higher, but the weaponry is much more advanced, making them a suitable ranged army.
The Reclaimers are the remnants of the surviving human fleet.  They have higher technology, but are very fragile physically as they live in low gravity environments.  Most of them are so weak that they must wear exoskeleton suits just to allow them to walk on Earth.
TSC: So each offers their tactical advantages and disadvantages. What can we expect in terms of game play?
MG: What I am trying to do with the rules is create a fast-paced skirmish game that can be played in under 90 minutes.  Lots of terrain will be essential as all models are quite fragile and easy to kill. There is fun “dark potential” elements to it such as manipulating gravity and other fundamental forces of nature.
TSC: So it Dark Potential has a twist of RPG in there too essentially? Screwing with gravity definitely sounds like fun. And presumably the forces of nature refers to the ‘animal’ faction you mentioned earlier. Now, the toys themselves; ranges for each factions are already available and look ace. Will additional units be made available over time?
MG: We will hopefully release the next few waves this year, depending on how well sales go for the first batch.
TSC: Finally Matt, what can we expect from Dark Potential in the future?
MG: That all depends on how well the community digs into the game. If we do as well as we like, the first three factions should get fully fleshed out by the end of this year, with new factions starting in 2014.  We also hope to complete the rulebook this year.
TSC: It all sounds like it’s got bags of…I was going to say potential… It honestly all looks ace and I can’t wait to see the next wave of models. Matt it’s been a huge pleasure, thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
If you’re interested in finding out more visit their website here, and stay tuned as I will be reviewing some of the models very soon.