In case you missed it, here's a transcript of our recent Barranai Nui Q&A session with the development team! Reginald Gickington/Kiryu Yoshikage (BN development lead), Smugg (BN development team member), and HahliNuva (proofreader and RSG co-owner) sat down to answer your most pressing questions about the game.
Transcription was generously provided by Kyle, a member of our Discord server. Some questions and responses have been edited for clarity and formatting.
Question: Which faction is the most beginner-friendly, and which is the most versatile/well-rounded?
Answer: (Reggie) Interesting question. Smugg and I eventually determined that it is the Bohrok Swarm. (Smugg) It’s because it interacts with most of the system in a simple way, and doesn’t teach any bad habits. It’s easy to pick up, and teaches the basics.
(Both) The Toa are the most versatile, though.
(Smugg) It’s easy to customize a unit to fit a role, and they’ll never really be bad at anything. Meanwhile, the League would have to be the least beginner-friendly, because it’s very hard not to make mistakes. It’s hard to get all the moving pieces working and keep it from falling apart.
Question: What sort of content can we expect to see post-launch?
Answer: (Reggie) Well, we have a lot of stuff. There’s stuff we didn’t have the time for [in the base release].
(Smugg) Right now we’re working on patching up the little things, like accidentally giving a guy a weapon he shouldn’t have.
(Reggie) There’s a lot of stuff in the vault too, but we won’t talk about that to keep a little mystery.
Question: How “canon” is Barranai Nui?
Answer: (Smugg) Canon in a TTRPG can be flexible, like you can have a main setting [that can accommodate what the players choose to do], but canon with wargames is really awkward.
(Reggie) There’s stuff like “my guys” and making the battles make sense.
(Smugg) In the end, we had to tweak the lore for things to make sense. Like how do we justify the Bohrok fighting Xia? [The game's story is] based off of the Great Cataclysm, which is why everyone is fighting. When you wake up one morning to find out that God basically died and there are earthquakes everywhere, everyone’s going to be trying to secure resources.
(Reggie) The Matoran of Mata Nui end up returning to Metru Nui, and finding the universe in war, they get roped in as well. So the game takes place roughly after the events of Mask of Light.
(Both) We’ve done our best to keep it canon, but we have taken liberties where necessary.
Question: Will Barranai Nui be “completed”, or do you plan to gradually update it like the Doronai Nui?
Answer: (Reggie) Post-launch content implies there will be more content coming soon, but me and Smugg will also be doing FAQs and events to help keep the game going.
(Smugg) We don’t think we’ll end up with a Deflector situation where we have to errata a thing dozens of times.
(Reggie) Well, we would’ve caught it by now. There used to be a lot of funny exploits in testing.
(HahliNuva) You want to tell them about the Volitak incident?
(Reggie) Sure. So, because the Huna and Volitak do incredibly similar things, we struggled to come up with a distinction.
(Smugg) So the Huna let you “deepstrike” an enemy unit - essentially move them anywhere on the board within a certain limit.
(Reggie) And the Volitak let you put your unit everywhere outside of the enemy deployment zones, so in objective-focused games, people could give every Toa in their army Volitaks, and spawn all their units on the objective zones.
(Smugg) We ended up giving the Volitak extended deployment, so you could spawn units later in the match.
Question: How much mixing can be done with the factions?
Answer: (Smugg) That’d be something interesting and exciting to do but hard to balance, so Reggie decided to limit it to sub-factions.
(Reggie) Baranai Nui is very rigid in its framework, but one thing you could do is get a "gentleman’s agreement" to bring in a unit from outside your faction.
(Both) The issue with mixing factions is that you can mix a strong long range and strong melee to cover all your weaknesses, which would ruin all balance.
(Reggie) You can still take subfactions, which will support your faction with additional units.
(Playtester) Actually, we had a Xian/Visorak mixed army once.
(Reggie) Yeah, and we’re never allowing that again. We had an alliance in that match and you betrayed my trust, playtester.
Question: When will Barranai Nui be coming out?
Answer: Within the month.
Question: How will Barranai Nui look? How large would an "average army" be, and how large would the recommended minimum tabletop space be?
Answer: (Reggie) Well, I’m not sure what “how will it look” means. As for armies, we have codified rules for the size of the battlefield, but you can ignore them if you feel it doesn’t fit. The standard table size for the game is 6’ by 4’, and we calculated the average amount of models to be maybe 50. Some armies, like Toa or Makuta, have more elite models, so they’ll have something like 20 units, as opposed to Visorak, which is a horde army and would have many more.
Question: What will the scale of Barranai Nui be?
Answer: (Reggie) Probably 1/28 scale. Because BN started as an overhaul of Warhmmer 40k, it has a lot of that framework, which I think is a good thing. It means we have all the same base sizes, so you can proxy it, or “Poorhammer” it, using readily-available supplies.
Question: How friendly is Barranai Nui to those who have not played a tabletop wargame before?
Answer: (Smugg) We specifically asked Minty - who was new to the system - about it, and he rated it a 4/10.
(Reggie) 10 being very difficult. He was a new player, but he also had us tutoring him. When the game comes out, you’ll have a direct line to ask questions, so even without being taught personally by us, we should be able to help clear things up. We made the units more unique, which means it’s a little harder to master than 40K, but overall we’d estimate a 5/10.
Question: Will miniatures be available through Shapeways similar to the RSG masks?
Answer: (HahliNuva) Alrighty, miniatures. They're not going to be available at launch, but we are planning on putting out an announcement on how we are going to handle miniatures in a couple months. Shapeways will be a factor, but it won’t be the only way to get miniatures. We want to offer a couple of different options so people have a way to play the game, since Shapeways can be very expensive.
(Smugg) If you want to Shapeways yourself an entire Warhammer army, DON'T. (Reggie) It’s very expensive.
(HahliNuva) I’m very excited about the design phase - we have Perp3tual, who is a very talented artist, working with us.
(Both, to HahliNuva) And you as well.
Question: How big is Barranai Nui as a game (e.g. the size of the Doronai Nui's Red Box, Crimson Box, or Content Packs)?
Answer: (Smugg) Do I just give the page count?
(Reggie) Yeah, do the page count.
(Smugg) We’re at 416 as of right now, but we’ll be splitting the main document by faction before release.
(Reggie) A Toa player isn’t going to need the Xian rules, for example.
(HahliNuva) To clarify, we’re going to have the Core Rules, which will tell you how to play the game, and individual faction books.
(Smugg) It’s not actually that complicated, there are just a lot of units and they take up a lot of space.
(Both) It’s about 40 pages or so if you’re just looking at the core rules.
Question: Is Barranai Nui flexible enough to create custom units?
Answer: (Smugg) If you want to make you own Doronai Nui-level-of-customization character, that's Not SupportedTM.
(Reggie) But if you want to homebrew something, it’s easy enough to do, because the units follow a consistent template - though balance will be a factor.
(Smugg) It’s nowhere near as modular as DN.
(Reggie) Yeah, Lehari was not a big enough factor in the development to make it anywhere near the DN's level of modularity.
Question: What’s the weirdest unit in the game (mechanically, lore-wise, etc.)?
Answer: (Reggie) When we were looking at this question beforehand, the first one that came to both of our minds was the SynthCorp Bio-Shaper. It’s got strange lore and strange rules.
(Smugg) Isn’t it also a C-Team reference?
(Reggie) Yeah, a lot of things were at first, but it’s sort of evolved into its own thing now. Basically, they can copy an enemy unit and gain their powers. During testing, one thing that happened was there was a Brutaka that teleported into the enemy deployment zone, and the Bio-Shapers panic-copied him so that he would effectively 1v1 himself. As for the lore, they’re in the Xian preview. There are a lot of other funky units in the game - for example, the Loyalists have a lot of defensive units, and the Matoran usually have these tiny tools. So all there are all these tiny Matoran are running around with these little tools, and then there’s one with this BIG GUN. Thok’s vision power is interesting too, because it can animate terrain into golems, which the Bohrok can clear.
(HahliNuva) Aren’t Bohrok who've ejected their krana also considered terrain?
(Both) Yes, though we haven't added a specific interaction with them to Thok.
Question: Outside of specific faction mechanics, how do the rules of Barranai Nui work? Is it just Warhammer with a Bionicle skin overtop, or is this something built from the ground up?
Answer: (Smugg) Built from the skin down, rather than the ground up. You can still find the 40K DNA in there, though it’s mostly its own thing now, much like how you can find bits of Pathfinder in DN.
(Reggie) Actually, BN started as a 40K clone on a small homebrewing server, since someone suggested I make one. As we went, more and more kept changing, and it grew and grew until it became its own thing.
(Smugg) DN started like that with the Red Box, mostly D&D with a coat of paint, but it slowly became its own thing. Here, we cut out various phases and changed rules until we felt satisfied.
(Reggie) There’s some Star Wars: Legion in there too; we went around stealing ideas from all sorts of games.
(Smugg) The process for BN and DN’s development is very similar in that regard.
Question: Will the rulebooks feature art pieces?
Answer: (All) Great question.
(Reggie) To my knowledge, the artbooks aren’t going to feature consistent art pieces. You’re not gonna find a new piece of art on each page. RSG is nowhere near big enough for that.
(Hahli) We only have so much manpower, especially in the art division. If we could, we would, but we're limited by time and team size.
Question: Does the BN lore feature the same “lore decisions” as DN? For example, a specific character being a member of the same species in both DN and BN.
Answer: (Reggie) Yes - we have in general used the RSG canon+ wherever applicable. Kalmah being a Layamat, Takadox being a Manidi, and so on and so forth.
(Smugg) Yeah, to keep consistency between games.
(HahliNuva) In fact, there are a few things that haven’t been publicly touched on yet in RSG lore that are in BN, which'll also be reflected in our future works like the Akutana texts and upcoming DN updates. Which is to say, you might get a preview of some upcoming species and stuff through the lens of BN.
Question: Are there any plans for any kind of BN-related content on YouTube?
Answer: (Smugg) This is the part where someone goes, “Oh, right, we have a YouTube channel!”
(HahliNuva) We may have some items that go up on the YouTube channel that are related to BN, but nothing that’s regularly broadcast.
Question: Have a good day.
Answer: (All) You too!
(Reggie) Well, i think there aren’t any more questions so we’ll -
(Viewer) is typing a new question...
(Viewer) Lol jk
(All) Thank you for having us, everyone. Have a good day, and there'll be more news coming soon.
If you'd like to learn more, check out our Barranai Nui page for the latest game previews and updates!