Dark Future: Blood Red States, Breathing New Life Into A Tabletop Classic


Dark Future was originally released as a board game in 1988, and later expanded into a series of books. The world it inhabits is a very different reality; cyberpunk more weird than wired. The cult Games Workshop board game of clashing highway warriors, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once America, is getting a reboot from Auroch Digital.

Auroch’s Dark Future: Blood Red States is supported by the Wellcome Trust, and will be a turn-based strategy game, played out in simultaneous real-time action. The gameplay is a furious mix of hammering chain-guns, tactical high-speed maneuvers and the ripping of metal as vehicles smash into one another. All the action is conducted against a dark background of the decline of humanity; too wild to be true and too close for comfort.

In Dark Future: Blood Red States, the once dominant nation has been hollowed out by climate change, pollution, disease and corruption. If you’re in the 0.1% then life is pretty good. The major cities are either corporate controlled high-tech gated communities (Patrolled Zones, or PZs) for those who can pay. If you work for the 0.1% then life is so-so as; long as the boss is happy. If you’re part of the 99% then the future is bleak. Chances are you live in lawless shanty towns or decayed urban sprawl (knows as the ‘NoGos’). Yet life goes on and connecting the east and west coast cities is ‘The Big Empty’. What was once the breadbasket of the world is now the polluted, wasted Red States of America where vicious gangs hunt and fight. An atrophied state has all but given up trying to impose law and order here and instead relies on a new breed of bounty hunter-come highway warrior to keep the last roads open. In the big empty the law is the Sanctioned Operative.

Into this fractured new world the player must make their fortune. The player runs a Sanctioned Ops agency; taking on missions for bounty outside the PZs. They must form and run a small team of battle-hardened drivers and a garage of conflict-ready cars. When the money is right, the player’s Op team will roar into action, attacking gangcults on the roads of the Big Empty in exchange for bounty. That vital bounty then pays for upgrades from front-mounted HMGs to booking a driver into the clinic for a new set of bionic eyes to give them better aim in combat. As the strength of the Sanctioned Ops team grows, so does the bounty on offer and the danger of the missions.

As if the world of 2023 was not bleak enough; behind the decay and wasting are even darker forces, setting the stage for the grand finale. The beginning of the end is nigh.

DARK+FUTURE+_blood_red_states drawn

Developed by Auroch, they’re indie developers known for their acclaimed version of another Games Workshop classic, Chainsaw Warrior, as well as for GameTheNews, an initiative that blurred the lines between reality and gaming, and included titles such as NarcoGuerra.