Cell Entertainment, a nostalgic look at one of the few Swedish miniature game developers
Back Story, Before Cell Entertainment
Back in the 80s and 90s the Swedish RPG industry were booming beyond belief. We were the second biggest market in the world, only bested by America, which were quite an accomplishment considering that in 1990 Sweden’s population was an 8.56 million compared to the US’s 249.6 million (small difference in potential market^^). It was all thanks to one company more or less called Äventyrsspel (translated to: Adventure Games).
First There Were..
In the second part of the 90s the market were dropping some but also gave birth to new developers to enter the market and it was then we saw the first Swedish miniature games, something that we haven’t seen much of since.
The first game, if my memory isn’t failing on me, was a game called Apokalypse and was an extremely graphic and over violent game that had some interesting ideas but didn’t attract a very big player base. From my memory, it was mostly a novelty game you played at conventions. It’s one of the few miniature games I’ve seen that has a very long injury table that you roll on, it was a D100 table were more or less all the results were graphic descriptions on how you died.
Cell Entertainment Emerges
Then in 1997 the company Cell Entertainment were founded and they came to be responsible for most of the miniature games.
From what I can remember they released 7 miniature games (and a really cool fantasy rpg called Gemini), 1999, Hybrid, Krash, LAB, Nerve, Ronin (also called Ronin: Duels) and Ronin: War. The first 5 were pretty small games that had their up and downs. Unfortunately I’m not sure on the order they were published in.
The best of those in my opinion were Krash, a Combat Car miniature game that were sold more as a CCG then a miniature game. You bought starter packs with the vehicles and then small booster pack with random equipment and weapons.
Attack of Battle Armor
They kept that model for when they released the Ronin, a game of gigantic Battle Armor as they called them, (they had a very Japanese look to them and in all honesty, they didn’t look very good) battling each other. They were around 60mm and has over 100 parts available in the booster packs.
The rules were ok and quite fun and easy and they had a feature that I hadn’t seen or heard of back then. Part of them were magnetized with small steel balls and magnets to show damage and consumable equipment like rockets etc.
The last miniature game they released were more a new version of Ronin that it’s own game, Ronin: War. It introduced other units like fliers, tanks etc to make it a large-scale battles game just like Epic by Games Workshop.
The starter set they sold were all in plastic compared to their other games that were all in metal and for it’s time, the miniatures weren’t that bad for being plastic. Well besides the Battle Armor that is.
The End of an Era
Unfortunately the company didn’t manage to stay alive and well for that long and never had time to develop their games to their full potential. They tried to market their games not only in Sweden by releasing most of them either only in English or in both languages.
Even considering the relatively short lifespan the company had, they accomplished a lot and definitely left their mark in the Swedish gaming history.
Cell might not be remembered much these days but I think they accomplished too much to be forgotten and hopefully, if you have an interest in gaming history I hope you found this interesting.
As the rules are available on BGG I don’t see a problem putting them here as well if anyone has an interest in them.