Designing the Italians

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Designing the Italians

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When I was given the chance to design the Italian aesthetic I knew I wanted to throw in a few stereotypes to help make them a nation that would really stand out. Like all that is iconic in Italian design, whether it be supercars, sports boats, apparel or other fashionable invention, my overall goal was a nation of elegance and beauty delivered through detail and craftsmanship. Of course, reliability, ruggedness and, ultimately, practicality was also considered. And let’s not forget….deadly on the gaming table!

League of Italian States Battleship

The Battleship was used to set the scene for the overall Italian aesthetic. Once I had completed it the look of the other vessels fell quickly into place.

This approach is exemplified by the smoke stack arrangement. I wanted so desperately from the beginning of the design process to have at least a triple stack at the front to give the vessels a fast and furious hot-rod appearance. At the same time I also wanted them to be tall and narrow to help convey a sense of elegance and posture. Most vessels sport a thin, stiletto-like conning tower and bridge. As such, sat high above the deck, the ship’s main crew can survey the surrounding Mediterranean waters with a distinct advantage.

League of Italian States Carrier

Towards the end of the design stage the Carrier had become quite the menace, especially with the addition of Torpedo Assault Craft. Packing almost as much punch as a Battleship, I’m confident it will be the pride of every players fleet.

Of course we all realise that having the triple smoke stacks mounted in front of the bridge will lead to smoke being blown straight in their faces! Still, instead of compromising my vision, I installed an elaborate extraction system to channel the smoke around the hull of the vessel and out of a make-shift exhaust port towards the rear. The more elaborate the contraption the better in my opinion!

The Italians were also the perfect nation to boast an over-abundance of ornate decoration. Dystopian Wars gets its distinctly unique industrial look from a strict manufacturing mind-set. A production line of thousands upon thousands of units would waste no time on ornate craftsmanship, other than what can be welded or riveted on as a plaque or plate. I thought that the Italians were a bit more deserving of some traditional flavour, however, and abstracted some ornamental elements into the hull design.


The Cruisers and Frigates are less elaborate than their ‘older siblings’ but still leave their own unique impression. The Frigate brings depth-charges to the war arena whilst the cruiser sports a nice balance of armaments.

Dystopian Wars is also noted for its recognition of architecture throughout each nation’s various monolithic war-machines. Italy has an incredibly rich history of architecture and design. After some study I attempted not to fall into the trap of going too Renaissance or Venetian-Gothic and chose Palladian with Corinthian swirls and columns as it seemed more historically accurate.


The Destroyer sacrifices a traditional bridge, instead using prisms and periscopes to navigate, thus removing obvious weak-points for the enemy to target.

We intended to give the Italians an abundance of torpedoes from the beginning, so all of the naval units have gigantic mechanical magazines on deck that feed the ordinance downward into their launchers at a 90 degree angle. Rather than launch underwater I preferred the idea of them coming out at a higher point and hitting the surface of the water.


The Bomber is loosely inspired by the Caproni CA aircraft. I added various other elements to give it a ‘seaplane feel.’

The stacked gun turrets also provided a bit of flavour that we had not tried in Dystopian Wars before, allowing the big guns to shoot at more menacing targets whilst the smaller top turret could independently pick off lesser threats. The cranes help to give a slightly more industrial feel to the larger ships. The battleship has one to load ordinance and supplies from the shore whilst the carrier uses it primarily to winch the fighters up onto the deck.


Continuing the tri-plane theme the Fighters were based on a fantastic single-seat plane concept I found whilst conducting my initial research. Making the wings cast whilst maintaining the triple wing look was tricky but I think I got the balance just right.


The League of Italian States Naval Battle Group and Support Group boxes are now shipping. Head over to the Spartan Games Online Store to place your order!