Friday, 21 April 2017

Dungeon Scum Campaign - Part 2

After arriving in town, the party chatted up the locals for any leads.

They'd been drawn here by the rumors of a dangerous infestation near "Bandits Run" and were eager to go look for themselves.

Their scout Will had reasoned that roughing up a few outlaws shouldn't be a big challenge, but talking to the farmers, it seemed that any bandits had left years ago.

Lately, cattle had gone missing and weird things were creeping around the village at night.

Elliran and Grord looked at each other. This wouldn't be as easy of a mission as they'd expected.
Grord quietly calculated that they might be able to sneak in, acquire any loot and then get out unseen, while Elliran insisted that they had a duty to their villagers to defend them.

"Sure, definitely... if it works out that way"


"Oh.. nothing"

They set out the next morning, shuffling their erstwhile companions along and trying to reassure their suspicions with promises of great rewards and "no doubt very tiny monsters, barely anything to worry about really".

(A bit about mechanics, in Dungeon Scum, rather than map step by step you basically just play out the key moments of the expedition.
For this first foray into the caves, we'll have 3 key moments)

Encounter 1 - Help

As the heroes (sort of) approach the caves, cautiously advancing through the woodlands and undergrowth, they meet a rather battle-worn soldier sitting in a clearing.
He accompanied another adventuring party but they fled and he decided to hang around to find gainful employment, rather than hike all the way back on their own.

Introducing himself as Kurt, he joins up with the group.

(Kurt is a plain Minion, with a sword and leather armor. We add him to our roster)

Interlude 1

Entering the caves proper, bolstered by their new-found companion, the heroes find traces of a fight, blood stains decorate the walls (but blood stains from what?), scraps of broken weaponry and a few copper coins dropped by someone.

Roger the thief pockets the coins, wiping the blood on Biff's coat when nobody is looking.

Encounter 2 - Monster

Grord looks back over his shoulder as he turns a corner.
"I think it's a bust, nobody's home".

Then a piercing roar echoes down the corridor as a furious pack of Gnolls charges at them!

Since it's the first fight of the party, I decide to give the heroes the initiative. 
Being a confused tunnel fight, I won't be using mini's for this one. I figure the tunnel is wide enough for 3, with Grord, Kurt and Biff up front.

Moving first, Grord swings his sword at the lead gnoll but in his surprise he fails to make contact and a telling blow from the creatures mace knocks him over the head, stunning him.

Kurt, the experienced dog that he is, smashes the enemy facing him with the hilt of his sword.
Biff yelps in terror as a hyena man menaces him, flailing ineffectually.

Behind the front lines, Elliran moves to find an opening to shoot through (I realize she was supposed to have a bow but I didn't give her one, so I'll figure Kurt had a spare and handed it over to the elf)
The arrow flies true and goes through the throat of the critter facing the party leader.

Will attempts to get a clear shot but misses.
Roger and Bob mill about, unable to do much of anything in the tight space.

As the turn comes to a close, a gnoll from the back rank charges forward, trying to lay into the frantic Biff, the farmer reeling from the blows.

The gnolls easily pass their morale check.

Round 2
The heroes open up with a furious volley of attacks, but between Elliran, Grord and Kurt, all they have to show is a single stunned opponent. Hardly impressive.

The return blows from the enemy proves rather lackluster as well, leaving Grord and Biff stunned.

Round 3
Eager to break the stale mate (they're bad for profit), Grord lunges at the stunned Gnoll in front of him and lays it low with a telling blow from his sword.

Kurt, not to be outdone by the team leader, kicks another enemy in the shins and as the beast jumps around on one foot, Elliran impales its throat with an arrow, sending it gurgling to the ground.

Biff shakes off the cobwebs and Will manages to down another beast with an arrow from the rear-rank.
With losses mounting, the gnolls decide to leg it, leaving the bruised adventurers in charge of the situation.

Digging through the corpses, we find a small purse of gold coins and a mundane but usable Spear.
Kurt seems to particularly talented for a minion, so he'll lug the spear around and the gold goes in the communal fund.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Dungeon Scum campaign

Going to do a bit of solo-gaming using Dungeon Scum.

The adventure will have a mix of non-mini's and mini's games, both to showcase that both can work fine and because I am indecisive at times whether I want to role-play or war game.

The typical group in Dungeon Scum tends to resemble an old school D&D party, where you had multiple hired goons along for the ride, along with a few heroes and notables.

As such, I'll start with 6 characters, all rolled completely randomly.
The dice give me 4 grunts, 1 retainer, 1 hero and I get to upgrade one of the grunts to an elite.

For the grunts, I get a Petty Thief, a Deserter and a Peasant with a Spear.

Truly the stuff of legends.

The Elite is a Scout.

These "classes' don't mean anything in the rules, they're just for description.

They shall then be Biff the Peasant, Will the Scout, Roger the Thief and Bob the Deserter.

A bit better:
My Retainer rolls for their story and we get that she's an Outcast, they led a dull life, their calling was to be a Mystic, her passion is Sacrifice and her vice is Impulse.

That's a bit unusual.
We figure she's an elf (explains how she could be an outcast AND lead a dull life) looking to achieve wisdom and enlightenment through adventuring.

She'll have 3 traits.
I give her "EXCELLENT VISION - +1D to shooting" since she's an elf.
For the other two, I roll on the book tables and get SURVIVOR (+1 to recover from injuries) and BRAVE (+1 to group morale tests).

Seems oddly fitting so we'll go with that.
Her name is ....Elliran. Yeah.

The hero of the party:
Our main character grew up in a small village but the death of a loved one caused him to set out adventuring.
He felt called to become a ranger and his passion is Justice, so we'll figure orc raiders killed his family and he's out for revenge.
His vice is Deceit. A bit of a scoundrel then, but that explains the motley crew at his side.

For traits, I roll at random and get TACTICAL MOVEMENT (+1 to movement) and STEALTHY (+1dice when sneaking)

We'll dub our ranger Grord.

All characters begin with their choice of a melee weapon and light armor or a melee weapon + missile weapon.

I'll give the ranger and scout bows, everyone else has some sort of pokey-stick plus some scraps of leather.
The elf we'll role-play that she technically does not wear armor but she can dodge, giving her the same benefit.

I roll for extra items and get 2 sacks of gold (the measure of currency) and a piece of adventuring gear. I figure some Rope is fair.

And that's that:
I roll a die for the retainer and hero but neither start with any spells so that's that.
Our very motley crew is ready to begin their quest to no doubt die horribly in some monster-infested pit of hell.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Did I mention..?

That there will be a fantasy version of Scum of the Earth?

Yes, NWG will finally have a non-skirmish fantasy game. (which is officially the oldest thing ever requested).

If you aren't familiar with Scum of the earth, think a tiny tiny bit like Hordes of the things. Maybe.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Scum of the Earth rules pack

A mini expansion with new rules, options and ideas for Scum of the Earth, including partisans and commander blunders.

Available here!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Nordic Weasel Games to take a new step

We are proud to announce that all future NWG titles will be vegetable themed, to promote a strong, healthy life style.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Scum of the Earth demo version

For players on the fence, we've made a Demo version available.
This gives you the basic game rules for infantry and cavalry actions (with as little removed as possible) including formations and 10 unit traits.

It omits artillery, characters, scenario setup, victory points, campaign rules and the period specific game notes.

Essentially, for a dollar, you can check out the rules, play a game or three and get a good feel before deciding if you want to get stuck in for real.
Of course, if you're just casually interested and black powder gaming is an occasional pleasure for you, maybe the demo will have everything you could want.

Available here for the cost of a decent candy bar

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Starport/Dungeon scum Rules Variant pack available

One of the strengths of Nordic Weasel products is that they are written to be tinkered with.

The Variant Rules pack provides a collection of new options for your games of both Starport Scum and Dungeon Scum, ranging from the exceptionally simple to the more involved.

Inside, you will find 17 variant rules, covering everything from making the game more or less deadly, more options for sneaking around the battle, outflanking enemies, new initiative options and rules for first aid and dodging in combat.

As a bonus you also get a gnarly table for determining the effects of a Gruesome Death result.

Available here for 2 bucks 

Scum of the Earth FAQ

A few simple Q&A's from the past week or so.

How many units should I have to play a game?
We assumed 3-4 units for starting out, moving to 6 or 7 for a "proper" game.

How are figures based?
Use the figures you already have based.
To get the frontage the rules assume, bases should ideally be in the 20-25mm wide range.

The number of figures per base is up to you: In 25 and 28mm, we assumed people would use individual figures while smaller scales will probably want to stick a few guys on each base.

Units are 6 bases for infantry (occasionally 5), 4 for "dragoon" types and 3 for proper cavalry.
Artillery is one gun and 3 crew figures.

What happened to the beta version?
Since it doesn't look super nice and had some differences from the final rules, it was taken down.
You should still be able to access it through your Library on the Wargame Vault.

I am working on a Demo version which will be available to take its place.

What does a unit represent?
We follow the approach of games like DBA, AK47 or 1 Hour Wargames where units are intentionally vague.
They could be companies, battalions or even regiments as you find the need.

Mostly, they're just your troops.

Doesn't a sliding unit scale mess with range, frontage and a million other things?
It does, but the game works out okay in any event.
Essentially, we assume that larger units also have correspondingly more ability to project themselves.
To take an example, a company of troops can only spare a few men to range ahead but a division may well have an entire battalion skirmishing.
This means that we can justify retaining the same weapon ranges across the scale options.

Players with very specific situations can of course adjust to taste.

Do I have to use the Average dice?
We recommend it as it produces the sort of even performance that characterizes linear warfare, but you can throw it out and just roll a D6 instead and the game will work just fine.

Weapons seem inconsistent across periods?
They are at times.
The  aim of period rules is always to reflect the period in question.
So a given weapon may be more or less effective for a particular period, because of how it relates to other weapons in use and the troops employing it.

I have things to say about my favorite historical period!
Let me hear what you have to say.
The intention is that missing periods are filled in over time and trait lists get expanded as we go.

Will there be other games based on this engine?
Probably yes. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Scum of the Earth is available

"Sire, the reinforcements have arrived on our left flank!"
"Excellent Windsor, let's give these French degenerates what for"
"But Sire, their uniforms... "
"What about their uniforms?"
"They look... well Sire, I swear they look like Austrians"
"By God man, if they are shooting at the French, what does it matter what they look like?"

We all have a shelf full of dusty miniatures: Those 8 grenadiers you bought because you were going to build an army, 20 Austrians and a few Seven Years War cavalry you never got around to using.

Scum of the Earth is a game intended to help get those figures off the dusty shelf and on to your table.

The goal is to remove as many barriers as possible to play: We use small units (6 figures/stands for infantry), the game plays on a 2x2 foot table and require only a couple of dice to play.

Features include:

*Core game rules that can be explained in a couple of minutes.

*Character figures such as flag bearers and leaders are included.

*A Trait building block system letting you construct units that are colourful and
interesting. Your French Hussars might be Arrogant and Stalwart while my British regulars are Veteran Scum.

*Campaign rules using a card system, letting you play a character-ful campaign without relying on maps.

*Rules for retaining your battle hardened veterans across multiple games.

*A quick scenario generator.

*Random terrain and battle complications.

*Notes, rules adjustments and traits to let you play the following conflicts:
English Civil War, Seven Years War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, First Schlesvig War, Crimean War, American Civil War, Second Schlesvig War, Austro-Prussian War, Colonial battles, Franco-Prussian War, Spanish American War, Russo-Japanese War and 1914.

Each period is brought to life with a few rules to adjust the core game mechanics as well as colourful traits such as "Courtesy of Norway", "Rebel Yell" and "Every man a Marshal".

* * * * *

The goal of Scum of the Earth is not to provide an exacting simulation, it is to provide a flavourful microcosm of warfare in the black powder era (and just beyond).
Most importantly, it is about getting picking up a pack of figures that you like the looks of, painting them as you like them and getting them on the table.

Available here!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Starport Scum vehicle guide

The Vehicle Guide is now available for Starport scum, covering how to acquire vehicles, how to build them in the game rules, how to move and fight with them and how to fix them back up afterwards.

Originally, this was intended to be a combo with the starship rules but I realized that starships bring all manner of other expectations that would make it a bit too heavy, so they will get their own, separate expansion pack later on.

(incidentally all purchases right now will go pretty directly to finance a replacement work computer)

The models on the cover are from Armies Army and are 15mm scale.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Its okay to just like games

I don't write commentary all that often on here, mostly because I don't know if I am all that interesting and people just want to hear when the **** the revision to Five Parsecs is coming or whatever.

But I wanted to throw this out there:

I like games.

That seems pretty self-evident so let me elaborate:

Across both the RPG, board gaming and miniatures communities I see a lot of squabbling about this or that style of gaming:
Euro games vs Ameritrash, CCG vs LCG, strict simulation vs beer&pretzels, "old school vs new school" etc. with the typical tendency of nerds to divide everything into every-smaller sub-divisions of thought.

And I always feel weird about it, because it doesn't make much sense to me.
I like games, I like almost all games.
I like White Wolf and I like Rolemaster.
I like Command&Colors and Advanced Squad Leader.
I like Face of Battle and I like Black Powder.

Sure, there's games I prefer and there's styles I prefer but the idea of declaring that entire swathes of gaming are bad and that I won't even entertain their discussion seems silly to me, because ultimately that means less gaming.

The sort of sneering attitude that forum personalities adopt when they declare that they "Definitely can't play a wargame that isn't exhaustively researched" or that "they just can't play a eurogame" seems self-limiting for the sake of making some sort of vague internet points.

Why isn't the norm "Oh shoot, I don't play scifi myself but you did a killer job painting those figures" instead?

If I could impart any single thing to the world of gaming through my writing, it'd be that it's okay to just sit down and play.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Bills to pay. Starport Scum supplement available

Bills to Pay provides you with:

*4 new jobs (Search, Recon, Bail Out and Face Off) offering new ways to get in trouble.

*A jobs table that will let you randomly pick the next job you get, based on your crew reputation.

*New ways to make money by sending crew members on trivial jobs, gambling or even playing the investment markets.

All for the price of a disappointing hamburger.

Gunrunners guide updated

The Gunrunners guide to Starport Scum has been updated with a compatibility page for the upcoming vehicle rules.

If you haven't picked up the Guide yet, this is an excellent time, it provides a huge arsenal of additional weapons of all types for your games of Starport Scum.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A shout out to a gamer in need

If any of you want to pitch in and help out a gamer in need, give Ginger Goat a glance on drivethruRPG.

His family are facing medical bills with a sick kid, so they could use a bit of pocket change you have to throw their way.

Go here

They specialize in somewhat off-the beaten path freeform roleplaying and live action roleplaying.
So not the sort of stuff the typical Nordic Weasel player is into ,but give it a look and see if anything strikes your interest to help a gamer out.

Disclosures: I am not financially involved with them in any way whatsoever and my experience with the games is limited to reading reviews and session reports from people who have played it.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Powder&Bayonet updated

A small update to Powder&Bayonet today, covering the "blob" formation, a small unit counterpart to forming square, as well as a few other small tweaks.

No Hope in Sight updated

Just a tiny update today of No Hope in Sight, fixing a few typos and wrong game examples.

No need to print it again.

If you haven't purchased it already, NHIS is the post apocalyptic campaign version of the "No End in Sight" system.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Scum of the Earth beta-test

Welcome to the beta test for Scum of the Earth.
Scum of the Earth is a simple set of rules for games in the black powder period, with an eye towards the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

They are intended specifically for the "dusty book shelf".
You know that shelf. You got 12 French musketeers and 8 Prussian guardsmen and they've been sitting there ever since, collecting dust because you never got around to painting up an entire army.

Scum of the Earth uses 6 figure units and is aimed at being friendly to casual players and "Imaginary nations". 

It is playable on a 2 by 2 foot table.

The rules take some inspiration from the "Scum" series of wargame rules but uses a new unit based combat system of opposed rolls.

This is a Beta version featuring the movement and combat rules, rules for optional characters and a list of traits to build anything from enthusiastic rabble to ruthless Redcoats or arrogant French hussars.
It is offered on a pay what you want basis so you can check it out for free or contribute to support the project

Friday, 3 February 2017

FiveCore trench fighting

FiveCore Trench Warfare offers a look into the mud and the grime of late First World War trench fighting, whether at the squad or company level.

Whether it's new character classes, army generation, new campaign tables, a scenario generator or terrain notes, you will find all the details you want for both FiveCore skirmish and Company Command.

Take your men through the hell of the trenches and hope you come out on the other side.

*Note that this supplement does NOT at the moment provide details for Brigade Commander players.

*The supplement focuses on campaign play, terrain and the basics of play, it does not include TO&E details.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

From Shako to Coalscuttle available super soon!

Somewhat overdue, you may recall a public beta test last year for "From Shako to Coal-scuttle".

Well, I am pleased to say that the rules are almost here (Tomorrow if all goes to plan, Tuesday worse case).

So what are they?
They are somewhat abstracted rules aimed a a simpler gaming experience, taking a bit of inspiration from some of Neil Thomas' wonderful creations.

Enough chatter, whats the scoop?
The rules cover warfare nominally from 1805 to 1914, being roughly the period where men fought mostly in formed ranks and armed with firearms.

What is the scale of things?
We've borrowed the "Neil Thomas" approach of having an army for a scenario always be around a certain size of figures, in this case 8-15 units of 4 stands each.

This means that depending on preferences, each unit may be a battalion, a company or a brigade as the need arises.

The rules assume that infantry with smooth bore muskets will engage at 6" with improving firearms engaging at ever increasing distances.

(I should clarify that the good Thomas had nothing to do with these rules, I am simply giving his name to give proper credit, though the idea goes back to DBA of course)

Okay, that's the Neil Thomas part, what about the Nordic Weasel part?

Charging and firing uses a "one roll system" similar to Fivecore, where all results from an attack are immediately apparent with no follow up rolls.

Essentially, roll a handful of dice (typically 3-5) and count out 1's, 5's and 6's.
Every 1 forces the enemy unit back, every 5 inflicts Disarray and every 6 destroys a troop stand.

If you've played Command and Colours it's not super unlike how that game works.

This means there is no "roll to hit, roll to do damage, roll for morale, roll for moderate discomfort and brownness of pants" chain.
One roll and you know what happened to the guys at the receiving end. We call this "effects driven game design".

How is the turn sequence?
It's an IGOUGO which I felt fitted the period best allowing the move and counter-move that books always talk about.

Let me give an example:
I am commanding the Prussians with a Command rating of 2 and my army is rated as being Disciplined.

I can move and fire with all my troops and I can attempt to rally one unit for free and carry out one Shock action (such as charging, double-timing cavalry or pushing through dense ground).

Since my army is Disciplined, I get to do a second Shock action each turn and I may roll two Command dice, with a 1 on either die giving an extra rally and a 6 giving an extra Shock action.

We've used the assumption that basic actions are always possible, due to the local unit commanders, while complex actions are difficult to carry out and require concerted efforts.
An assault on the enemy line in a battle report of the day was always a big deal, so it should be a big deal in our games.

If all else fails, there are rules for sending forward your captains and colonels to push the enemy harder but they may of course not survive that.

Are there troop stats?
Individual units do not have stat lines, but the army is rated in aggregate for its Quality and Discipline as well whether its Brave and/or Disciplined.

Troops are classified on what type of basic formation they operate in (close, loose, open, assault) and their armaments throughout the period (smooth bore, early rifle, muzzle loaded (minie style) rifle, single shot rifle, magazine rifle)

Artillery likewise falls into 5 classes based on technology and towards the end of the period, the Gatling and Maxim guns of course show up to make a mess of things.

How large should my army be to play?
A typical army might be around 10 units of infantry (40 stands), 3 units of cavalry (12 stands) and 2 artillery units (2 or 4 stands depending on preference).
Rules also provide for light troops and heavy weapon stands.

What other features are included?
Campaign rules as always, some scenario options for surprised armies, elite units and so forth, a simple random army generator and a basic points system.
You also get a "meeting engagement" setup that you can use to get your feet wet with the rules.

What has changed from the beta?
Almost everything in the game has been tweaked up and a lot of rules have been cleaned up to make the game simpler.
Rather than tracking which stands are stunned, you now simply track Disarray by unit, requiring just a couple of markers to be placed.

More optional rules have been included, cavalry has been toned down slightly and of course, you get the benefit of the new additions to the game.

Page count and fluff?
The game will be just about 50 pages, give and take a single page, and that's with everything included.
It's a very tight little package.

It's all text too, for printer-friendly purposes, with maybe one exception.
I figure you all have enough nicely looking miniatures to look at already.

Who might like this game?
If you want to play what feels like a big battle, but without painting thousands of figures and taking 8 hours to finish the battle (No hate on those big battle games, they're just not the goal of this set).

If you want to be able to play a number of related periods with one set of rules.

If the feel of battle is more important to you than exact simulation.

Who shouldn't buy these rules?
Players who are very demanding of exact simulation or who exclusively play a single period within the time frame of the rules may be disappointed.
By it's nature, a game intending to cover a lot of ground must omit particular details in any given period.

Hence, rules written specifically for the Napoleonic wars (for example) can afford far more detail for that topic.

The price should be 10 dollars and it'll be available through the wargame vault very shortly.
Let me know if you have any questions.