An Adventure in Crits and Crafts in Ulaya - by Shawn Galligan

Posted by Chris Hobday on

Shawn Galligan ran an awesome Drowned Earth event at this year's Adepticon. In this special report, he discusses how it all went. Take it away, Shawn!


Ah, Adepticon. This convention has become one of the highlights of my gaming year. From the new games and cool products that seduce my wallet to the friends made every year, there is never a lack of memorable moments. I am lucky enough to live in Chicago and have this event in my backyard. This made it an ideal venue to attempt a new venture for me: running an event and demos and making the terrain and battleground to use with it.

Drowned Earth

My first terrain pieces! Some spray insulation foam, tubes and trees.

Adepticon 2019 happened to coincide with the one year anniversary of a game I have fallen hard for: The Drowned Earth. What’s not to love? Lush jungle landscapes, dinosaurs, the ability to run jump swim shoot, people riding dinosaurs… Not only did I want to do demos for the game to get more people here in the States to play with, but I also wanted to gather those who were already exploring the jungle ruins of The Drowned Earth. That took the form of the organized play event called Tech Rush.

Drowned Earth

Test setup of a board.

So, I’d never built terrain before. And I was looking at a potential of four dense tables to provide! Just a little nervous… For inspiration I took to Youtube and my neighborhood gaming friend Jason. Jason makes all his own terrain and we play Infinity on them. And they are super cool tables. I could not have done this project without Jason’s examples and boxes of supplies. I tell you, once you start making your own terrain you will never look at trash the same. Got some ink cartridges and a yogurt cup? Slap them together, add a coat of paint, and look at that: a rusty generator.

Drowned Earth

WIP of demo board. Halfway done!

And here’s a little not too secret secret from one newbie to another: terrain building is fun and quite easy! Start with MDF kits (shameless plug for the great stuff here at Art of War Studios), glue on some bits and bobs and extras, painting can be as easy as prime-wash-dry bush, then maybe add some plants from a dollar store. I know I was amazed how nice my first products turned out.

Drowned Earth

An industrial platform made from a pill bottle, cardboard tubes,
straws, and packaging materials.


The setting of The Drowned Earth also helps to let your imagination run wild with lush and colorful projects. Don’t let it intimidate you; give it a try.

On to the main events! Terrain made, audio story bits created, and we are ready to go. Thanks to Art of War Studios for providing a full set of official Drowned Earth tokens and templates for secret achievements awarded throughout the day. We had two players this year for the Tech Rush. They were both fresh players so this was a perfect way to get them immersed in The Drowned Earth. You see, the nice thing about the Tech Rush was that it was not just a tournament, but a story. The two guys, Jamison and Nick, played through 4 games that had an overarching story; the scenarios followed the twists in the narrative and at the end the winner had a choice to make that could affect the direction of the game in the future.

That’s the big reason I love this game: the cinematic feel of it and the stories it organically creates. In the second round, the leaders of each crew start trapped inside of double force-fields, staring each other down. The Militia, hard boiled minute men with good shooting skills, had Kaneda, the mob boss, dead to rights. They drop the field around him and 3 different Militia open fire. Kaneda tosses a stun grenade at Ranelle (the big ape with the big minigun) and throws her off balance while the other two Militias’ shots go wide. He then was able to run his skinny butt all the way back to safety.

Drowned Earth

Hove, the Militia sniper, waiting to drop the shield and put holes in Kaneda.

Moments like this are naturally created through the gameplay. And moments like this make each game memorable. (That little stunt netted Nick a door prize for the most awesome moment of the day). In the first game, one of Jamison’s Militia characters blundered a climb up a tall tree only to fall to the ground and almost kill themselves.

Drowned Earth

Hove, on the ground, very hurt after falling out of the tree.

In the last round, one of the Militia succeeded in doing just that! This netted him a lovely prize for his achievement. Nick’s crew The Firm took advantage, racing past the automated gun turrets, taking out the Militia’s leader, and dropping the force field surrounding the final goal: the Vault. But one of the Militia was biding his time and once the field was down got the jump on the runaway Firm, stealing victory from them by accessing the Vault first.

Drowned Earth

The event was a blast. Jamison and Nick had a great time and came away with lots of stories as well as lots of swag! The demos the next day were also a success. All who came to visit and try out the game quickly caught on to the cinematic nature of the game and were fast making their own action-adventure narratives. I’m looking forward to next year and what the new organized play story might be.

Drowned Earth

The demo board completed and in action.

And what did The Militia find in The Vault? Well… you’ll just have to join a Tech Rush to find out! Keep an eye out for a Tech Rush being run in England in June. Check out The Drowned Earth here and maybe I’ll see you in the jungle next year at Adepticon 2020!

Thanks for reading! If you haven't taken the plunge into this wild and wonderful game, now's the perfect time. For a 5% discount on our Official Drowned Earth tokens, use the code 'TDEadventure' and start an expedition today! The code is one use per customer and is valid until the 31st of October.

The Drowned Earth Art of War Studios

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