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Dark Future

Entry updated 13 April 2015. Tagged: Game.

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Miniature model-based Wargame (1988). Games Workshop (GW). Designed by Richard Halliwell, Marc Gascoigne.

Dark Future is a game of highway combat, in which players take the role of "Sanctioned Ops" (freelance law enforcement operatives) or "Renegades" (members of criminal gangs). The gameplay is heavily influenced by the earlier Car Wars (1982); the major differences are that Dark Future is simpler and faster to play, and the vehicles are represented by miniature models, which the players can customize, rather than by paper counters. The most interesting aspect of Dark Future may be its setting, an Alternate History diverging from our own in the 1960s, in which ecological collapse and social decay have reduced the USA to a semi-civilized dystopia dominated by callous corporations. By 1995 (the date in which the original game is set) even the laws of Physics have begun to break down, for unknown reasons. This background was used as the basis for a series of novels by Kim Newman (writing as Jack Yeovil): Demon Download (1990); Krokodil Tears (1991); Comeback Tour (1991) and Route 666 (1993). The first three books make up the initial part of a never-completed five-volume series, to which Route 666 is a prequel. These works, along with novels written by Newman and Ian Watson for other Games Workshop properties in the 1990s (notably Warhammer 40,000) are arguably among the most interesting of Game Ties. Certainly they are unusual for the degree of interest they have evoked in readers who are not aficionados of the original work.

Related works: White Line Fever (1988 GW) designed by Richard Halliwell contains advanced rules for Dark Future. Various other works of fiction have been inspired by the game: Dark Future: Route 666 (anth 1990) edited by David Pringle, Ghost Dancer (1991) by Brian Stableford writing as Brian Craig, Golgotha Run (2005) by Dave Stone, American Meat (2005) and Reality Bites (2006), both by Stuart Moore, and Jade Dragon (2006) by James Swallow. The post-2000 novels are set in an updated version of the original background. [NT]

see also: Laurence James.


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