Chad Walker, who put together the fantastic and important SIGMATA: This Signal Kills Fascists tabletop RPG, is now Kickstarting RECLAIMER: A Game of Climate Crisis and Eco-Insurrection. It’s a science fiction tabletop RPG that focuses on resistance to capitalists who continue to do damage to the world in the face of environmental collapse. The game promises to blend the complexity of traditional RPGs with storytelling mechanics and is going to deliver a digital-only product that is tailored to its medium.
I’m backing the game and am exited by the choices being made in its development, including solidarity with workers, equitable revenue sharing and the unabashedly political stance taken. There is even mention of eco-fascists on the Kickstarter page and no punches are pulled: “A fascist who advocates for environmental causes is still a fascist and must be destroyed.”
RECLAIMER: A Game of Climate Crisis and Eco-Insurrection, is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game about saving humanity from a climate-related extinction event being ushered in by oligarchs and technocrats building massive space arks to flee the environmental ruin they created.
In Reclaimer, players play as members of Ecotage, the militant vanguard of the Reclamation, a global movement to save a dying planet and avoid an extinction that is only a few years away. While Reclamation efforts (e.g. dismantling toxic industries, healing biomes, sequestering carbon, etc.) are happening all over the world with urgency, there remain powerful hold-outs who threaten the cause: the Embarkers.
The Embarkers are powerful moguls and magnates who have rejected the Reclamation and seek to flee the planet on arks: colossal generational star-ships design to carry a very small and privileged portion of the global population to the nearest inhabitable planet. To ensure they have the material resources, personnel expertise, and technological advances required to survive the long journey, the Embarkers are directing their arks to harvest whatever they can with aggression and abandon. Not only are they laying siege to platform cities, ziggurat-shaped arcologies, and other population centers for resources and technology, but they are also fracking, deep-core mining, deforesting, expelling carbon, and spilling waste into water without restraint, speeding up the planet’s projected death-spiral.
RECLAIMER is a game of armed resistance in defense of the planet, and of extracting vengeance on those who would rather doom us all than submit to humanity’s collective action to survive climate-crisis. It is also a game about oppressed and forgotten peoples who have taken back their land, their stories, and their lives from privileged cowards who would burn everything before ceding their power.RECLAIMER
Climate crisis is, and will be, the story of islands of safety and stability, lorded over by the worst offenders of climate change, shrinking in size and being protected from the poor with greater and more malicious militancy. No conversation related to climate change, nor commitment to global action, is fruitful without also addressing how capitalism and colonialism are the foundations of environmental collapse. Today’s border violence, nationalism, contempt for immigrants/refugees, and eco-fascism are the means by which the wealthy and powerful are pushing the costs and pains of climate change onto the poorest and weakest among us. RECLAIMER’s hellish vision of Earth is our future if we don’t take back the planet from those would destroy it and then flee from the ruin they’ve created.
RECLAIMER embraces radical environmental action, including kinetic action, while also diminishing absurd, bad-faith takes on environmental activism (e.g. “You drove here in a gas-powered car”) and anti-capitalism (e.g. “You own a smart phone”). The game’s Reclamation movement, like most environmental movements, absolutely embraces science, technology, economies of scale, and smart utilization of resources (including fossil fuels) to achieve its objectives. As an organization formed by people long oppressed under the regimes of capitalism and colonialism, it also achieves these objectives while respecting the autonomy, agency, land/water/animal usage, and sacred sites of the peoples who took back their land and their spaces.
RECLAIMER is cognizant that eco-fascism, the marriage of environmentalism and authoritarianism / white nationalism, is gaining traction in some segments of the political sphere. The creative team behind this project profoundly rejects this ideology and considers it a threat to both social and environmental praxis. A fascist who advocates for environmental causes is still a fascist and must be destroyed.RECLAIMER