District 9: The Boardgame has returned to Kickstarter with a stack of new and improved features. The tabletop game, created by New Zealand’s Wētā Workshop with game design by Trishula Entertainment, is set in the cinematic world of District 9 (2009), Neill Blomkamp’s classic sci-fi film; the same world that Wētā Workshop helped bring to life with conceptual design and physical effects.
Designed for 2-4 players, District 9: The Boardgame takes places across the climactic three days of the film. Representing a prawn or human faction inspired by the movie, players vie for control of the district and its trove of technological resources. The game will be available exclusively through Kickstarter and combines high-quality miniatures with a dynamic game board and tactical play.
The project is the second tabletop game for Wētā Workshop, whose first board game GKR: Heavy Hitters was New Zealand’s most successful Kickstarter in 2017. Having initially launched District 9 in March, Wētā Workshop paused the campaign to consider feedback from their community. After six months of refinement, the game is back and better than ever.
Backers can expect dynamic changes to gameplay and beautifully rendered new components. Six unique miniature sculpts, and 40 strength-and-defence-enhancing crew and equipment cards, have been added to the core game. Wētā Workshop senior concept artist Christian Pearce created new artwork for the unique hex-shaped game board, populating it with alien shacks, car wrecks and other environmental elements from the film.
For core game mechanics, Wētā Workshop teamed up with Washington-based game design studio, Trishula Entertainment. Top priority for the relaunch was to involve elements of asymmetrical gameplay, a key request from backers. To ensure the game is worthy of multiple play sessions, Trishula introduced starting advantages for each faction, based on character strengths and motivations seen in the film.
For the artists of Wētā Workshop, diving into the creatures, weapons, technology and graphics of District 9 was like stepping back in time. The revised game features miniatures sculpted by senior sculptor Gary Hunt, and art direction by senior concept designers Leri Greer and Christian Pearce. All three were part of the Wētā Workshop crew on the District 9 film, helping to conceptualise and create Blomkamp’s sci-fi world.
In addition to the core box, the game will relaunch with an assortment of in-world add-on products, as well as a series of fun stretch goals (rewards for hitting key funding milestones). Backers even have the chance to unlock character miniatures of director Neill Blomkamp, Peter Jackson, and Wētā Workshop co-founder Richard Taylor.
Early reviews for District 9: The Boardgame have praised the game for its thematic details and faithfulness to the movie narrative. Says Justin McAuley of popular game site Beasts of War: “I’m totally sold…gorgeous game, great mechanics. I love what the guys at [Wētā Workshop] are doing.” For the Workshop crew, it’s exciting to have the chance to dive back into the world they helped create.