Dark Venture - BATTLE of the ANCIENTS

Created by Rob Lemon

A tactical strategy game set in a dark-fantasy future where players control asymmetric factions engaging in brutal conflict.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

February Production Update and MORE!
over 3 years ago – Tue, Feb 16, 2021 at 01:52:23 AM

Hello backers!

I hope this update finds you well. 

Let's get right into it, without delay! The production of Battle of the Ancients has been moving at a speedy clip. Here’s a quick look into what I’ve been working on.

MORE CARDS: One of the first things I did after the campaign completed was to start drawing, inking and painting new art for the MERCHANT cards. In games where the Merchant (‘Darvin the Sour’, he’s part of the BEASTS & EGGMEN expansion) is included, players track Victory Points that can be spent to purchase items, spells, and mercenary units (HEROES too!) from an inventory of over 50 cards.  Cards that direct his movement on the map and refresh his store offerings are also added to the main Action deck.

The Merchant dashboard, a sampling of Merchant cards, and the Underground map with Darvin's token on it. Cards and the dashboard are still being tested and edited, they're subject to change.

Darvin's items are some of the wildest in the game: There is a 6-piece set (broken up into individual weapons) that can be ‘merged’ for added bonuses, a temporal weapon that allows units to ‘blink’ on and off the map, a Sarkag Wolf pet, and a chainsaw (auto-harvest wood...and add a grisly attack bonus to a unit), among other things! Have you ever witnessed an angry, teleporting varpen with a chainsaw? Hope that you never do. 

I’m also adding additional cards to the core ITEM and ACTION card decks. Having a variety of powerful and weird items (like a wand that can attack all units in a line of sight from one side of the board to the other, for example) will help to make every game that you play unique, so I’m making sure that there is a lot of variation.

3D BUILDINGS: I’ve been experimenting with the die-cut buildings in the game, designing a ‘BUILDING CLIP’ (patent pending) that can be used to clip onto the floors to easily create 3D structures! The clips are simple to use and minimal, but completely change the look and feel of the game. I’m working out the cost now (I'm not sure that they can be added to the core game based on money, weight and time), at the very least I will make the a 3D model of the clip available (for home 3D printing). Additionally, I’ve found that the clips are very useful in other tabletop and RPG games, to create buildings and to lift up components!

This photo shows some of the other things I've been modeling and 3D printing: Stacking token chips, card trays, and token 'silos' (for storage).

MANUFACTURING: Over the past weeks, I have been working with our manufacturer, Whatz Games (check out their website here: http://www.whatzgames.com/Home/PastProjects ) on production details. They manufactured our past Dark Venture games, so we are sure that the quality of Battle of the Ancients will be impeccable. Most recently, they’ve completed prototypes of the WOOD UNIT TOKENS and the ACTION, ATTACK and DEFENSE DICE. I expect to receive samples in a week or two (they're currently in the mail),  I will show them off as soon as I receive them.

PLEDGE MANAGER: The pledge manager has been open since January and many people have added to their pledge, THANK YOU! The WOOD UNIT TOKENS were unlocked very quickly and we’re happy to have them included in BackerKit as an add-on. 

For those who haven't completed their BackerKit survey, please try to finish it up as soon as you’re able to can so we can have a better idea of the quantities we'll need to manufacture. Here’s a link to the pledge manager: https://dv-battle-of-the-ancients.backerkit.com/ FYI: To track your pledge, BackerKit uses the same email address that you use to log into Kickstarter.

PRE-ORDERS: If you know someone who might enjoy playing Battle of the Ancients and missed the Kickstarter,  please let them know that they can PRE-ORDER the game right now! Here is a link to the PRE-ORDER STORE: https://dv-battle-of-the-ancients.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

FINAL THINGS: Here's what I'll be working on over the next month. Firstly, I’ll be finishing up a draft of all the writing in the core game. The 15 initial ‘campaign’ scenarios are written and the story arc is complete (I’ve made sure that each of these 15 can also be played as a repeatable ‘stand-alone’ scenarios too). The additional scenarios in the core game are also complete (there are 5 more), and I’m working on the typesetting and layout of the SCENARIO BOOK. The Scenario book, Core Rules and Faction Guide will enter editorial review (and finalization) in March. The ADVENTURE SCENARIO utilizing the Underground map as well as the first draft of writing for the expansions are also coming along and should be editor-ready quite soon. Testing will continue, and I hope to launch the full core game on Tabletopia late February/early March. There is a lot happening right now!

Izzy, that's not helping. Bad tester.

For the moment, that’s it. Thanks again for backing Battle of the Ancients. I can’t wait for you to experience this truly unique game!!


BackerKit Pledge Manager and Late Pledges This Week!
over 3 years ago – Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 06:24:04 PM

Hi Backers!

I’m happy to announce that the Battle of the Ancients pledge manager SURVEY EMAILS (from BackerKit) will start going out TODAY! In the survey, you can review your Kickstarter pledge, add additional items to your pledge, and make pledge option choices if necessary (choose your t-shirt size, for example). The survey emails will be staggered, some being sent today and the rest soon after. It’s important to answer your survey quickly, as we need this information to finalize the number of games and expansions we will need to manufacture.

After you respond to your survey, you can go back later and change your responses at any time (before we close them later this year, spring for most pledges).

If you need to review your information or pledge, you can return to your survey by clicking the link in your survey email or requesting your survey link under "Lost your survey?" on our BackerKit project page at https://dv-battle-of-the-ancients.backerkit.com .

Also, if you know someone who might be interested in Dark Venture: Battle of the Ancients who missed the campaign, we have opened a pre-order store to make LATE PLEDGES. It's LIVE right now. Follow this link to get there: https://dv-battle-of-the-ancients.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

A lot is happening right now with the production of Battle of the Ancients. Here are some of the things going on behind the scenes:

VAT UPDATE: We have been discussing the UK and EU VAT and shipping changes with various fulfillment partners and tax consultants and they have all told us the same thing: import taxes, sales taxes, and shipping prices are increasing in 2021 (in the UK, changes were implemented on January 1st). As I have mentioned, we are absorbing some of this cost to mitigate (reduce) some of this increase.

DICE SAMPLES SOON: I just received word that we will be seeing actual samples of the dice (ACTION, ATTACK, and DEFENSE dice) from the manufacturer very soon. I'll post pictures when we get them. 

TABLETOPIA UPDATE: I’ve been working on adding the full version of the game to TABLETOPIA (currently, you can check out the four DEMO SCENARIOS, follow this link here: https://tabletopia.com/games/dv-battle-of-the-ancients ). I will let you know as soon as the full version is available!

A view into the 'RITUAL CHAMBER'. This photo depicts part of the 'Basic Setup' on the UNDERGROUND map. A HERO (Wester) is about to clash with ORPAL forces!

ADVENTURE SCENARIOS: The adventure scenarios for the core game and expansions are coming along very well! Most recently, I have been working on a part of the scenario that utilizes the ‘UNDERGROUND MAP’ (included in the core game), and it’s quite exciting. I designed this map with a variety of evocative locations and ‘event’ possibilities. For example, if you follow the tunnel that begins in the ‘dungeon’ below the OMINOUS TOWER it leads to a secret, hidden room (that happens to be under the DESTROYED LAB) called the ‘RITUAL CHAMBER’. What heinous ceremonies have taken place (or are currently being performed) in this space?! You will find out...I’ll have more information in another update.

For now, look forward to receiving your BACKERKIT SURVEY!

Until next time, stay safe and THANK YOU!


UK and EU VAT CHANGES in 2021 and the FALLEN STAR!
over 3 years ago – Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 09:00:19 PM


If you live in the US, you can skip the first section of this update and go straight to 'About the PLEDGE MANAGER'. UK and EU backers (and other backers who enjoy reading about import taxes), read on.

Shipping products into the UK and EU from outside countries (like the US and China) will change substantially in 2021. As I noted during the campaign, starting JANUARY 1st 2021 in the UK, VAT laws will change. Also, as most EU backers know, beginning JULY 1st 2021, the VAT laws in the EU will change in a similar way.

At this time, we are still not 100% sure how things are going to shape up, how much the UK/EU VAT will increase for us, if at all. I am doing what I can to make sure you are informed and I will reduce your costs and add value to the game wherever I can, but I cannot change import and sales taxes that I must report and pay (Just last year, fulfillment partners would act as representatives. Now we must find UK/EU tax representation, charge taxes, and file UK/EU taxes! A new expense.) In our past project, we absorbed the FULL COST of VAT. As we have noted with regard the UK VAT changes, we won’t be able to absorb all of the new EU VAT if there are substantial changes to the law. The good news is that we are going to cover some of it, no matter what.

As the UK and EU update and roll out their new tax laws, in this transitional period, I thank you for your patience and understanding as I navigate these choppy waters.

About the PLEDGE MANAGER: We’re working on the pledge manager right now, but without some crucial VAT information (see above), we're going to have to hold off on launching it. I don’t want to make quick decisions about shipping/taxes that could drastically affect our/your bottom line before hearing back from our accountant. This won’t hold up production at all, and I will keep you updated on our progress.

The FALLEN STAR is Landing: I’ve decided to add the FALLEN STAR mini to all core games! This sculpture is utilized in some scenarios (it adds various modifiers to surrounding spaces) and can be a ‘First Player’ token if not being used in-game. I sculpted the original myself (along with the fences and walls) out of wood, rocks and clay, so there is no ‘3D model’ of it. HOWEVER, I have recreated (very simple) 3D versions of the FENCES and WALLS. You can print some yourself, if you so desire (Exciting! Fences!). The .obj files can be downloaded at the link below.

DV BotA 3D Models (with DV_BotA_wall_01.obj and DV_BotA_fence_01.obj):


Until next time, thanks!


over 3 years ago – Wed, Dec 09, 2020 at 04:35:41 AM

Hello Backers!

A short note to let you know that we’re planning to launch our pledge manager, (where you’ll be able to confirm your order, fill in your shipping address, pick add-on items, etc.), if all things go well, NEXT WEEK. We will be using BACKERKIT. First, the pledge manager will open to a small number of ‘test’ backers, then, if everything works out, all backers will have access.


Here's a link: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/gilded-skull-games/

The first set of designs feature the ALDERKANG and his weird, mutated family!

We’re offering 15% off all items for the first two weeks! Shirts ship QUICKLY. If you order now (in most US states) you should get your order before December 21st. Perfect for that hard-to-buy-for DARK VENTURE lover in your family!

There are several COLOR and DESIGN choices! Sizes for men, women, and children!

That’s it for now. Look forward to the pledge manager launching next week!

Until then, thank you,


We Did it!!
over 3 years ago – Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 12:49:37 AM

Hello Backers!

Thanks to you, DARK VENTURE: BATTLE of the ANCIENTS was funded! I'm literally out of breath right now, overwhelmed by the great community of people who I have worked with, talked to, commented with, and messaged throughout the campaign. Thanks for your inspiration.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the US (belated Happy Thanksgiving to those in Canada!) I'm looking forward to taking a day or two to catch my breath, but I am *very* excited to dig in and get this game MADE!! 

I'm really happy that the last few stretch goals were hit, especially the 'fences and walls' (as mundane as they may be!). They're exciting to me because they are our first foray into producing sculpted 3D game components (not including dice), and hopefully not our last. 

Moving forward, expect progress updates, more game information, and new developments on a regular basis! 

Until next time, thank you, and stay safe!