UMBRA: A Solo Game of Final Frontiers is a map drawing game that puts you in control of a sci-fi colony as you struggle against starvation, the void, and the many threats that will assail you from above and below. This 48 page zine has everything you need to generate natural formations, alien ruins, enemies, technologies, and forgotten terrors. It has a simple turn-based combat system, rules for building your colony and optional challenges for a harder experience.
Inspired by games like Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress, UMBRA aims to capture the feeling of building and protecting a colony on an unforgiving alien planet.
All you to play is, a pencil, paper (preferably 1" grid), and a deck of playing cards.
The Galactic War rages on as an overwhelming alien force picks its way planet by planet to our core systems. Our only hope rests on the legend of a super weapon called The Reaper's Gambit. Find that weapon, win the war, no matter the cost.
Each round your workers will mine a square of the grid, you draw a card from your deck of playing cards and see what they found. Hearts ♥ and Diamonds ♦ are resources and funding that you'll use for building and hiring units while Clubs ♣ and Spades ♠ are natural formations and alien ruins. From alien probes and deactivated warmachines to toxic waste and boiling rivers, these strange discoveries will become part of your colony's layout and may provide unexpected benefits. Or you may just unleash an alien supersoldier, in which case you'll have to fight.
Combat in UMBRA is designed to allow for forward planning and strategic thinking without weighing you down with book-keeping. Enemies follow a tower-defense style path towards your hold's entrance while you move your units in simple turn-based tactical combat. Utilise security systems, ranged attacks, and special units to face deadly foes or record your colony's epic demise.
UMBRA will also be supported with ongoing updates and expansions which bring new features such as space stations (coming soon), alien civilisations, madness, and more. Or you can check out RISE(a dungeon building variant which tasks you with keeping your mutinious minions happy) or DELVE(the dwarf hold building game which kicked off the series).
Hello Blackwell Studios :)
I just purchased the three-game hardcopy bundle + Umbra: Stations. I can’t wait for my hard copies to get here! Your games have been on my radar for a long time. I already printed out my copy of Stations and hand bound it! (See photos) I have never bound a book before, so that was a fun thing to learn!
But I can’t use this game until my hardcopy of Umbra core gets here. :( Would it be possible for you to share a copy of the PDF with me? Regards, Kris!
Hey Sustrato, that's awesome and you've done a good job of the binding. I'm trying to learn how to do it myself but just can't find the time.
I certainly can give you a PDF. I want to be able to do it automatically through my website but Wix is bloody awful and doesn't have that functionality yet. If you have Twitter, send me a private message (@BlackwellWriter) or if you're on the Blackwell Games Discord (https://discord.gg/nk4x9cWS) send me a private message there and I'll get you sorted out.
After DELVE and RISE, I've dug into UMBRA, and I can now see: this one is awesome. It's clear that of the three, this game recieved the most attention, it's much more polished, organized, and balanced than the others.
While I prefer the fantasy genre of DELVE, this game was probably the best of the three, with the most control given to the player despite the randomness of being based around a deck of cards.
But, since I've been taking notes, I still did find a few little glitches - mostly with the very beginning of the game.
- starting a game says starts with 25 STR of marines, but unlike DELVE or RISE it doesn't clarify this is 5 marines. - Units starve if you don't have enough food. You also start with 5 units and 0 food. - I know STATIONS is coming, but it's weird to have the main game refer to an expansion that isn't released yet. - Unlike DELVE or RISE, there doesn't appear to be a cap on your resources or funding. It would be nice to call that out.
My final observation for this game is - it also feels like it's the easiest of the three by far, given that the basic Marine is Ranged, and the medbay and scanner are relatively accessible. Range is so important, because every unit's STR is basically tripled, because you can hit them from two squares away. Once you're a established a bit, combined with medbays, you just say "STR lower than 150? I win without damage." Not that I mind the game is easy, but the game becomes so easy as to discard whole portions of it.
Once again, great game! I really have enjoyed it. :)
Oh, I did find two typos too. I wrote them down somewhere else:
- In the Info Table [Q] entry, it says to consult the research table, but then lists the page number for the Info Table. You know, the one you're looking at. - The legendary find: shield generator, says it creates a level 3 shield, but shields are only created as STR bonus from defense droids. Is it meant to be a defensive barrier?