LEVEL 7 [Omega Protocol]

This fall Privateer Press will release the second game in the LEVEL 7 line, LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL]. It continues the story that was introduced in LEVEL 7 [ESCAPE]. This is the first in a series of design diaries to explore aspects of the game and see how the situation in Subterra Bravo has evolved since the end of the first game where players saw the relationship between the alien Ghin and the US government devolve into open warfare.

Players familiar with LEVEL 7 will recognize themes in [OMEGA PROTOCOL], but the game presents an entirely new way to play in the setting by following a team of commandos who have been given the mission of cleaning up the mess. Up to five players take on the roles of the commandos of Disco Team, while one player takes on the role of the overseer controlling the enemies and other elements of the facility.

Player choice is an important part of the game that starts during setup. The commandos each fill a unique role on the team. These roles are distinguished by each commando’s collection of kit cards. Before each mission a commando will select from his kit cards to determine his abilities and equipment.

During setup the overseer player also makes choices. As he selects the details of each room on the map he tries to predict the choices the commandos will make during the mission and plan a strategy to stop them from winning. The room cards the overseer has to choose from are determined by the mission rules, but where those room cards are placed is up to him.

Player choice becomes even more important once a mission has started. This is most obvious in the adrenaline resource system. The first part of this system is a choice made by the commando players at the start of each round when they select stance cards. A commando’s stance card determines his maximum adrenaline for the round. When a commando performs an action he increases his adrenaline by gaining tokens, but he cannot have more tokens than his max adrenaline.

The overseer also uses adrenaline to activate his figures and abilities. These two systems are connected when the commandos give the overseer all the adrenaline tokens that they gained in the previous round. Each enemy figure the overseer activates costs him adrenaline, but he can also spend adrenaline on his dashboard abilities to spawn additional enemies or activate special rules.

The story of LEVEL 7 [OMEGA PROTOCOL] plays out over nine missions. In all of them, the commandos are fighting against time as well as against the enemies controlled by the overseer. Each mission’s Crisis Point is triggered at the start of a certain round or when an objective is accomplished. After the Crisis Point the overseer gains bonuses that make the game more difficult for the commandos to win.

In the next few weeks I’ll be going into more detail on how the game works and some of the background of how it came together. Next time we’ll meet the commandos.