Moonbreaker makes tabletop gaming more accessible, but lacks content – Early Access hands-on impressions

A better way to experience the hobby.

Image via Unknown Worlds

You walk into a game store and see the boxes lining the shelves. Perhaps one stands out amongst the sea of cellophane-wrapped artwork. You pay the clerk your hard-earned cash and get home to find a world of miniatures at your fingertips. After that, you are lost in an endless void of painting figurines and learning rules. Before you know it, additional rules come out and you need to learn a completely different gameplay style. There must be a better way. Welcome to Moonbreaker, the game that many tabletop gaming enthusiasts have been waiting for.

Moonbreaker is a turn-based strategy game developed by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. While you may know of the studio from Subnautica or Natural Selection, Moonbreaker is vastly different. This tabletop-style game is more akin to titles like Warhammer 40K or Star Wars: Legion. Moonbreaker gives you the full experience of tabletop gaming without the need of spending hundreds of dollars on figurines.

In-depth, strategic combat

Image via Worlds Unknown Entertainment

If you have ever played a tabletop game, you know that it can be a hassle learning the rules of combat. Some games even require rulers to measure distance, multiple sets of dice, and calculators to deduce how much damage your marine dealt the enemy’s ogre. Moonbreaker gives you a breather from the monotonous and dry aspects of standard tabletop gaming. It lets you focus on engaging combat where your goal is to outwit your opponent and complete your objective of defeating their captain before yours bites the dust.

Moonbreaker will put your strategic mind to the test during every battle whether it is against an AI enemy or another player. While there aren’t a ton of miniatures in the game since it is in early access, there are enough that you can make a good number of different teams that will work for a majority of playstyles. Combat runs off a mana-like system called Cinder that dictates how many actions you can perform in a single turn. As the game progresses, you will get additional  Cinder each turn allowing you to perform more actions and summon extra allies. The only downsides to the combat are that there are very few maps to play on and only two game modes. Hopefully, the full release brings a larger map variety and more ways to play.

A more cost-effective hobby

Screenshot by Gamepur

To take the tabletop-style of gameplay even further, the devs at Unknown Worlds Entertainment have included a very in-depth paint system that allows you to customize your miniatures however you see fit. If you want your Crankbait figure to be entirely monochrome, you can do that. There are tons of possibilities to choose from and the only limit is your imagination. While painting is fun, it would be nice to see a feature that allows you to tape off parts of the figures so the paint doesn’t get everywhere and the lines can be smoother.

Related: How to get Blanks in Moonbreaker

Besides painting, the other large part of the hobby is collecting the minifigures. Luckily, you don’t need to spend any money in Moonbreaker to obtain the minifigures. You can receive the booster packs containing the figurines by just playing the game. The option is still there to purchase the in-game currency though. If you aren’t afraid of spending the money, the game can turn into a pay-to-win scenario. Hopefully, the devs decide to change this to being a cosmetics-focused feature upon full release.

A better way to experience tabletop gaming

Moonbreaker is a great game no matter if you are a seasoned veteran or someone who has wanted to get into the hobby but is afraid of the overwhelming presence of the tabletop counterpart. The combat is fun and engaging, giving you the opportunity to outwit your opponent on small stages that will hopefully become bigger and have more variety when the full release of the game comes.

The rest of Moonbreaker is focused on collecting and painting your minifigures. While this part of the game is great, there are some parts that could use a slight tune-up to truly enhance the experience. In its current state, Moonbreaker is worthwhile to buy but it might not keep your interest for a very long time.