How to Start TDE A new players buyers guide

The Drowned Earth is a skirmish scale miniatures game played on a 3x3 board, with 5-15 models per side. This guide will explain what you need to get started, what optional buys you might want, and how to expand your collection later.

Step 1: Pick a Faction!

The easiest way to start playing TDE is to choose your faction, and purchase a starter box, which contains five models (including a big-guy!), and includes their profile cards.

A five model starter box adds up to (more or less) 100 points. Most games are played between 100 and 150 points, so you'll already be well on the way.

The Artefacters
The Firm
The Militia
The Bondsmen
The Wayfarers

Step 2: The rules

Playing a miniatures game without rules is a little tricky, but don't worry, we've got you covered in two ways!

Firstly, the complete rules are available to download from our webstore, completely free. This is everything you need to play, free of charge, if you want to dip a toe in the water initially.

For the full experience we have a 180 page, full colour rulebook with everything above, but also an exclusive "alternate rules" chapter with exciting ideas like swing points, destructible terrain, and megapiranhas!

The hardcover book is pretty much 50% rules and 50% world description, character bios and fluff, with the odd short story thrown in for good measure. We're very proud of it, and it's the best choice if you want to fully immerse yourself in the world of The Drowned Earth.

Step 3: Dice, tokens and templates

TDE requires several 10 sided dice, two of which must be green and orange, respectively. This is very important, as the dice mechanic requires that you can easily tell the difference between these two, and the orange die has a special symbol. You will also need approximately 4 red dice for armour rolls.

Our official TDE dice

You can use your own dice if you have them, but our official ones are both lovely and convenient. It is not permitted to attend official tournaments without appropriately coloured dice.

Next, you will need blast templates! These are provided in the back of the rulebook and download, so if you're happy printing and cutting out cardboard ones, you can do so. In official tournaments these will be measured, and MUST be the exact size printed. We also provide beautifully designed acrylic ones

Blast Templates

You will also need a way to track your assets (wounds, action points) and conditions (things like swimming, flame, stealth etc). Both of these can be improvised from your collections, or you can buy the official sets too.

Asset Tokens
Condition tokens

Finally, to measure Line of Sight and indicate movement paths, we have an official set of Silhouette markers. These are also printed in the back of the rulebook, and necessary for official tournaments. You can print your own, or buy our (totally epic looking!) official ones

line of sight Silhouettes

Points Values, and what's next?

Our official tournament structure allows players to bring a model pool of around 130 -150 points. Players will write a new list for each scenario, using the models in their pool. A starter box with a couple of blister packs is enough, although choices and variety are always nice to have! There are also several categories of mercenary model. List building is described in more detail in the rulebook, but for now:


Dino models are mercenaries! This means that any faction has access to their favourite dino-type. They are divided in to three category sizes- small, medium and large. Small dinos are usually between 5 and 8 points each, while medium dinos are around 9-15 points. Larger dinos are usually around the 20-30 point mark. So you can see that a starter box and a few packs of dinos will get you well on the way to your tournament ready Model pool!


The Wayfarer faction has a dual purpose- as well as being a faction in their own right, models with the Wayfarer faction affiliation may be used as mercenaries too. They are available to buy in single blisters, so you can add a Wayfarer or two to your model pool, min-maxing your particular list building strategy! Most character models are between 15 and 20 points, although some specialists are around the 10 point mark.

Other Faction Models

Of course you have access to models from your own faction, not in the starter box! The model range is growing, and as it does, so do your options. Some faction leaders have mounted versions

Too many options? Don't worry, click the link below for our starter bundles!

The easiest way to get started is to purchase a starter bundle. Pick the faction of your choice, rulebook and dice. Then decide what else you need once you've got the basics!