Saturday, 14 July 2018

Squad Hammer V2 Initiative

Squad Hammer is a huge success (for a tiny company, I mean) which means there's a lot of excitement about tweaking and improving the system.

In the interest of trying new and exciting things, I am going to open the "black box" a little bit, so you can peek inside.

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/247297/Squad-Hammer-v2--Initiative

The link offers you a 3 page "drop in" replacement for the rulebook initiative chapter, offering an improved and cleaned up version.
Download it, give it a spin, get stuck in and most importantly let me know how you get on with it.

If you want to fund further development, you can contribute any amount you like by paying for this download.
The better I can pay my bills, the better I can focus on updating older titles.

If you want to just download it for free and see what's shaping up, go for it.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Renegade SCout updates

Work is proceeding furiously on Renegade Scout, so I thought I share a few glimpses of what is happening on the way to Stage 2.

One of the big realizations after talking to people is that "compatible" for a lot of people seems to be less about an exact clone and more about a game that has many of the same beats and lets you use the same figures.

In other words, we can be a bit more daring with the rules design, as long as the overall feel remains the same.
This is important, because it also lets us simplify a few things that are too clunky currently.

As such, let me present what close combat currently looks like (on my notepad, I mean).
The example below will use the legacy names for ability scores, so it's easier to follow along. More on that later.


Figures still line up man to man, similar to the Stage 1 system.
Since close combats don't happen that often, I think this is an acceptable approach (versus having unit vs unit combats).

Each player rolls their number of attack dice and picks the highest.

Compare the highest die to each other. Higher score wins and inflicts 1 hit per attack (you will recognize this is pretty similar to how the LOTR mini's game does things).

On a draw, Strength will act as a tie-breaker (NOT initiative).
This offers two things:

*First, most melee weapons in RT had their own strength value, meaning the figures strength is almost never used.

*Second, it means that high strength, low weapon skill figures (many RT monsters, 2nd edition Demons etc.) go from being walk-overs in combat to being quite dangerous.

But what about Weapon Skill? What does that do now?

Easy: It offers re-rolls.
After rolling your dice, you can re-roll any dice that add up to your WS or less.

So I have WS 4 and roll a 2 and a 5. I could re-roll the 2.
If i rolled a 1 and a 3 I could re-roll both of the dice.

Multiple 6's will add +1 to the score as well, allowing a lucky roll to exceed a 6.


From testing so far, this system speeds up combat a good deal, creates a pretty fun "dueling" mechanic and makes big monsters feel quite scary.
A Bloodthirster (using 2nd ed stats) will be nearly unstoppable in hand to hand, as it should be, while fights between figures at comparable level of skill will be pretty swingy (which is also as it should be).

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A couple tiny Renegade Scout updates

While tinkering with a better magic system, vehicle rules and a bunch of other things, I made a couple of small additions to the system.
Go download your updated file.

First, the simplest thing: Razor grenades. This is just a "high-tech" frag grenade. Same Power but a -1 Save Mod.
Keeps things simple but gives an option for more high-tech forces.

Second, two new skills: Dodge allowing any hit to be avoided on a roll of a 6 and Loner, which prevents the character from joining a squad.

These combine in the new character added: The Chem-Head: Drugged out mercs (inspired somewhat by Rifts Juicers) they have both the above skill, combined with high movement and good close combat capabilities.
They can only be included as independent characters: The sort of thing you include as hired help for a tax collector or mad scientist.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Magic, the supernatural and Five Leagues

So I wanted to chat a bit about the world of Five Leagues.

Like Five Parsecs, it certainly exists in a place (Unified Space), but it's painted in pretty broad strokes, so you could use your own imagination or borrow from the likes of Traveler and Firefly.

The intention of the world of Five Leagues is to be hinted at, rather than clearly described.
For example, it's unlikely that we'll ever detail specific names of cities and kingdoms.

Rather, we aim to give you a sense of the place, which can be adapted as you need for your miniatures collection and personal tastes.

The implication is a fairly gritty place where the cities and villages look much like we'd expect a early middle age society to look.
But as you venture beyond the boundaries, things get a lot darker and more uncertain.

Strange cults, remnants of the Old Gods and the world of fog and shadow, malevolent forces. You know, the good stuff.

For now, we'll call this the world of Mirk.

So I thought I'd take a moment to answer a few general questions about what sort of place it is:


Is civilization an oppressive hell-scape (in the game)?

In the sense that living in a feudal society was pretty oppressive and rigid, yeah, but it's not a grim-dark world in that sense.

If we have bands of adventurers roaming the lands, presumably social hierarchies are more permissive than in real-life feudal societies.

Are the adventurers noble heroes or callous murder-hobos?

That's really up to you. I haven't tried to paint that too closely either way, but my feeling is that your characters are fundamentally trying to help people out, while making a bit of Coin on the side.

Does spell casting exist?

Yes, it is possible to learn forms of sorcery in Mirk.
It's rare enough that the average person has never encountered it (or met anyone who truthfully has either) and tends to revolve more around summoning things to do your bidding, than slinging lightning bolts.

Do orcs and goblins exist?

Goblins exist and I hope when I get to cover them, they'll end up suitably threatening and vile.

Orcs is unlikely.

Is there an ultimate evil?

We've hinted at a malevolent force underpinning all of creation.
Along the way, you will get some more hints about exactly what it might entail.

It isn't an "evil god" or anything of the sort though.

Are there gods? 

As far as a scientifically minded alchemist could tell: Probably not.
But faith can still move mountains.

Where do magical items come from?

They may have been created by the Fey.
Some may have become magic over time, as faith and folklore built up around them.

For example, a legendary hero used the same sword in every battle.

If someone finds that sword 50 years later, it might well be a magical weapon now.

Will we ever be able to play non-human characters?

Straight up D&D style dwarves and lizard people? Probably very unlikely.

But down the road, I'd like to address things like people with a bit of Elfin blood in their veins, families who dabbled in arts better left unknown and that sort of thing.

Will you include [insert x here]?

Maybe.

Is this all based on [insert x here] ?

There's an inspiration list included in the book, so you can just read that, but if I had to pin it down to only a couple things, I'd say a mix of Middle Earth and the Black Company novel, while listening to the discographies of the bands Summoner, Isole and Falconer.

Mechanically, it's obviously based on the Five Parsecs system.
Combat is heavily influenced by the Swedish Eon role playing game.

I'd like to give credit to some awesome fantasy miniatures games here, but the truth is, I don't play a lot of fantasy miniatures games outside of the GW LOTR rules.
The goal was to bring an RPG campaign "feel" to a miniatures setting.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Five Leagues - the campaign turn

So Five Leagues is out.

Did you grab it yet?

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/244516/Five-Leagues-from-the-Borderlands?src=newest&filters=40102_40202_40201_44510

But hey, if you didn't, why don't I walk you through what a typical campaign turn might look like?

Similar to Five Parsecs we have some time to take player actions. Rather than commit every character, you simply take 2 each turn regardless of how beaten up the party is.

In town
For this turn, we'll send one of our characters out to forage for some healing herbs, while someone else is gambling at the inn to get us some money.

For foraging, I roll 3D6 with every 6 giving me a dose of herbs.
Since one of my characters happens to have FORAGING skill, I can roll two more dice.

I get two 6's, so I pocket a dose of healing herbs and a dose of protective herbs.

The gambler rolls a 1, earning a single Gold Coin. Woo.

We can also do any buying and selling of gear at this stage.
I do roll well enough to get a rare trade item offered for sale: A set of Fine quality full armor.

With our business done, we set out on the road.

Travel
You can travel to another village in the region, to a new region (basically starting a new campaign) or go adventuring.

We'll do the latter and we roll a 82, giving us both a Character and a Combat encounter.
Busy day!

The character encounter
The dice tells us we've encountered a Scholar. Maybe a local scribe on his way somewhere.

We stop and have a chat. They react "Friendly".
This is handy, if we meet another Scholar later, we can say it's our old friend and we'll roll for some sort of favor or advantage.

There's also a chance that a road encounter could lead to an ambush or they might be spying on us, so we got lucky.

The battle encounter
The area we're in has Border Tension of 2, Outlaws 1 and Dark Secrets 1.
I roll for each, adding the Threat levels and we'll be rolling on the Border Tension encounter table.
Higher chance of military types that way.

I also end up having to increase Border Tension by 1. Its getting grim out there.

The actual encounter is with a band of 9 Brigands, led by a brutal Killer and we encounter them while traveling.
Looks like we're in for a stiff battle!

The aftermath

Three of my characters went out of action during the battle, so I'll have to roll to see what shape they are in now.
One suffers a Moderate injury and will have to rest for 2 campaign turns.
One is dead and will be resting for a very long time.
The third took a Light wound but will need 3 turns of rest.

Certain items, skills and traits can influence these things.

Next, we roll for a post battle effect. Turns out a random character broke one of their weapons, so I'll need to source a replacement.

Rolling for an Unusual Find, we find some Evidence of ill deeds on these guys.
We can take that to the local nobles and get them to send out some cavalry patrols, reducing the Border Tension threat by 1 point.
Obviously the Brigands were hired goons from a rival noble.

Finally, we get to check for some loot. That's why we are here right?

I get 2 rolls:
The first is 1 Gold Coin and a bonus roll.
The second is a vial of holy water.
The third (bonus) is a hand weapon.

Not exactly a chest of wonders, but it'll do.

I tally up experience points for my characters but none of my heroes have earned enough to level up.
The one follower I have still standing rolls to see if he's had a flash of insight, but nothing earned there either.

Voila
That's more or less what the turn looks like:
Do your business in town, plan and prep, set out, see who and what you meet and fight a battle (most of the time).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Five Leagues - how magic?

So this is where things get controversial:

The initial vision of Five Leagues is going to be very low-magic.

Does that mean it's just a historical game? No, but it means it's going to be in layers.

The world we're envisioning is one where life in and around the cities and villages is pretty much like we'd expect in a sort-of-realistic medieval setting. Mostly.

However, as you go poke around the foggy swamps and the deep woods, all manner of horrors might lurk.

I have a number of ideas for how the more fantastical and mystical elements will arrive in the game, but much of that will depend on the initial reception of course.
The aim is to lean into a bit of a horror route there: So less unicorns and orcs and more cultists and strange creatures.


A benefit of this is that you don't have to go get a bunch of fantasy figures (which are often pricey).
Medieval miniatures ranges are brimming with figures that make outstanding low-fantasy characters and opposition, often at pretty affordable prices.


Tomorrow, we'll talk a bit about the village system and how you'll be able to progress your campaign, as well as your characters.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Five Leagues - Weapons and figures

Weaponry in fantasy games is of course always a challenge:

We want something more interesting than "hand weapon" but we also don't want to drown in dozens of polearms, AD&D style.

For Five Leagues, we're going with the following approach, based on your figures.
Look at the miniature and pick a "fighting style".

Single weapon style - Armed with a single-hand weapon and a free hand.
This also applies to figures two-handing a small weapon.

This style lets you move quicker around the battle field.

Shield style - Single hand weapon and a shield.

Offers a saving throw from blows and projectiles.

Two hand style - A large double-handed weapon.

Inflicts more damage.

Pole arm - Spears, halberds and other long staff-weapons.

Lets you attack at a distance.

Dual weapon style - A weapon in each hand.

Increases the chance of gaining initiative in combat.

Missile style - A bow, crossbow or gun power weapon.

Lets you shoot fools in the face.


The idea is that you can assign figures at a glance and have it mean something in the game, without having to tinker with stat lines for each variation of sword.

Some weapons may require some interpretation (quarterstaves f.x.) or might be able to fit multiple styles (hand-and-a-half sword f.x.) but we'll include notes for those.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Five Leagues - morale

The morale rules are changing a bit for Five Leagues.

This is a change intended specifically for 5L and won't be fitted into 5P (though you could adapt it just fine).

First, the players squad no longer tests morale. You're heroes right? (or scoundrels with only the gallows waiting for you but either way, nowhere to run).

You can bail from a fight by moving to the table edge and a new "Star" option will let you flee instantly (once per campaign).


For the bad guys, its also simpler:
You still roll a Morale Die for each dead bad guy but now there's nothing to track.
Instead, each 1 or 2 causes one of the bad guys to run away (starting with the guy closest to your table edge).

Note however that "Monsters" never run. So if you fight a giant lizard and 5 of its minions, you can scare off the minions but you still have to do battle with big mama.



Friday, 18 May 2018

Also coming to Squad Hammer soon

Multi-unit units (aka "platoons").

Intended to work with things like the Binary Damage option, this will also help those giant, mega-games with tons of units on the table.
There's a number of improvements, tweaks and additions coming, so I'd rather drop them all at the same time, instead of you guys getting like 7 updates in a row.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Squad Hammer - Weapons of lots of destruction

Consider this a test case for inclusion in the core rules later:

Buildings and their destruction

In some settings and scenarios, outright destruction of buildings (and other scenery) is a possibility.

This is often well suited to games where your units represent large forces, very powerful units (such as giant monsters or super heroes) or have weaponry specifically intended for the purpose (such as siege guns).

You should evaluate which units on your table will be capable of inflicting the required level of damage.

For example, you can't bring down a concrete building with machine gun fire, but a unit with a flamethrower could "destroy" a forested area.

In a game of infantry squads and light tanks, no unit may be able to inflict the required damage while a giant robot battle might see all of them so capable.

For particularly large terrain features, it's often more sensible to divide them into Blocks of 3x3 or 4x4 square inches.
If playing in 6mm (or similar smaller scales) each stand-alone building model or terrain piece is usually one Block.

Attacking a structure

Attacking a structure is done in the same fashion as attacking any other target.
Units armed with "Assault" equipment (such as demolition charges or power fists) must be within 6" (representing running up, placing the charges and getting away) while units capable of inflicting building damage at range can fire as normal.

A typical Hit roll is 5+ (demolition charges), 7+ (Weak/moderate structure under fire, powered melee attack), 9+ (reinforced/defensive structure).
As always, adapt as you need.
Trained engineers or siege troops should receive a +1 to their dice roll.

Inflicting damage

You may assign specific Damage rolls to anti-structure weapons. Typically, 1D6 is fine.
2D6, pick high for super-weapons specifically intended for the purpose.

Otherwise, simply take the basic Damage roll and scale it down once for vehicles and heavy weapons units and twice for infantry.
This means a vehicle/heavy weapons team will inflict 1D3 Damage while infantry would inflict 1 Damage.
Mega-units inflict normal damage.

As with other units, when 7+ Damage has been accumulated, the structure collapses.

Collapse

Any units contained within a collapsing structure sustains 1D6 Damage.
Buildings are replaced with a rubble field. Place any survivors there.

Other features are replaced with whatever seems appropriate to the situation.

Units representing a single character receive an Escape roll of 8+ on 2D6 (7+ for Hero-types).
A successful escape inflicts only 1 Damage, otherwise the character suffers 1D3 Damage.

Any unit within 1" per floor of a collapsing structure suffers 1 Damage.
Other terrain features typically do not inflict area damage when collapsing.

Crumble

At the end of each game turn, roll a D6 for each damaged structure.
If the roll is equal or below the accumulated Damage total, increase Damage by 1 point.


Conclusions

Give these options a try if you play a game where they might fit.
They are under consideration for inclusion in the core rules, so don't hesitate to get in touch.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Five Leagues from the Borderlands

The time from the re-release of Five Parsecs to "What about a fantasy version?" was about 2.7 minutes.

My main concern, at the time, has always been that systems developed for a scifi-game may not feel right when adopted to a medieval (sort of) setting and that this was something we'd need to solve first.

Well, I can reveal to you that "Five Leagues from the Borderlands" will be the next Nordic Weasel release.

The premise is pretty much "Fantasy Five Parsecs":
Create a group of adventurers, fight dudes and get loot.

Easy enough right?

It'll have the same broad strokes: Percentile dice tables, random encounters, solo mechanics front and center.

What sort of fantasy? Low-magic "gritty" fantasy centered around swords and axes. The sort of thing I like to read and that I like to role-play.

You'll fight bandits and rogue knights, you'll fight goblin hordes and you'll fight terrifying monsters, all in a days work.

So what is different?

Well, a lot of things, but let's start with the biggest one today: Combat.

First, we split up Toughness and Armor. When you are struck, you now roll to penetrate the targets armor before rolling against their Toughness.
This does introduce another dice roll into the equation, but given the small figure count, I don't feel it's slowed down things in testing.

The big take-away is that the two rolls aren't interchangeable: If a blow gets through your armor, you will feel it: Either through being stunned or wounded.
If the armor deflects the attack, you are fine...probably.

Melee combat is a lot more exciting too:
Instead of a single opposed roll, you now fight up to three "Exchanges" with initiative potentially switching back and forth.
Figures will move around more during the melee as well. A defender that is outclassed may attempt to back up and get help from their friends for example.


There is going to be a bit more detail in melee weapons as well, with an emphasis on providing interesting mechanics rather than simply a 1 point difference in damage.
Those things arent completely settled yet though.


Later this week, we'll talk about encounters and campaigns so stay tuned.


A few general questions I anticipate:

*Is this a full release?

This will be a full game release with post-launch tweaks and updates, just like other 5P titles.

*Will this be compatible with 5P?

Many mechanics will be similar or identical but strict compatibility was not a goal.

*What is next for 5P ?

I need to test it more, but I'd really like to do something regarding exploring unsettled worlds.
The big issue is how to make it sufficiently exciting.

*Will there be a series of "Five Leagues" games, similar to 5P ?

That's not the intention. I have some ideas for adding content, but I don't want to spoil too much (especially if the idea turns out to be stupid and I change my mind).

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Small Squad Hammer tweak

A couple of tweaks have been added to Squad Hammer.

There's now a 2 page essay on how to handle multi-genre / cross-genre games, I've moved the "odd and alien" section to be nearer the points system section.

Also a rules tweak:

If you have a Unit Objective on a friendly unit, it only awards points if the unit is on the table at game end.

If an enemy unit has a Unit Objective and the unit is replaced during the game, you can get points for the higher of the damage values inflicted.

(f.x. if you inflicted 4 damage before it was replaced and 2 damage on its replacements, you would get VP based on 4 damage).


I'm aware that Unit Objectives are some of the more susceptible to exploitation, but these two tweaks should help even out things a little bit.


Go grab the new file from Vault as usual.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Squad Hammer expansion and general news

So most of our rules have some sort of expansion pack with new rules, options and variants.
Nordic Weasel attracts a lot of tinkerers and people who like to tweak the game, so I feel it's a worthwhile product to continue making.

Squad Hammer has now received its own Options Pack, offering new ways to think about things like tech levels and squad sizes, as well as new spotting and damage systems (should you want them) and rules for deploying your squads in specific manners.

The latter in particular help close one of the gaps where I feel the rules need a bit of a tweak:

There's so far been no real good reason for deploying your figures in anything but a rough blob.
Well, visual appeal obvious and that's why we game but with the new options you can do things like deploy a point man or spread out to minimize damage. Neat, right?

Grab it here for the cost of a coffee

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/241251/Squad-Hammer-Options-Pack

And hey, while you're there, why not take a look around and see what else we have for offer.
I bet you'll see something you didn't even know existed.

* * *

Secondly, HOPEFULLY this week, Renegade Scout Phase 1 will make the transition over to the Wargame Vault.

The Phase 1 rules will be a slightly touched up version of what was in the crowd funding campaign, but with a bit more things included.

It'll sell for cheaper than the final rules will cost, but there'll be enough there to be a playable game in its own right.

This will help create more funding, as well as get more feedback and playtesting coming in.

Crowd funding supporters will be able to contact me and get a link to get the Vault version for free of course.

* * *
Thirdly, If you have toyed with Acrid Smell of Powder,the next couple of weeks will be the time to get feedback, opinions and suggestions back to me.

Did I screw everything up? Do you have a brilliant suggestion for how to do something? I'm hoping that the full version won't take too long to get together, given much of it is already written but I'd like more external feedback than from my own cronies :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Renegade Scout updates

These updates won't be made available juuuuuuuuust yet, but I am adding a section with some pre-made troop profiles for things like scientists, security guards, colonists etc.

The sort of thing that comes in handy in a scenario (and also ties in nicely if we want to put together an interesting battle on the fly, I might add).

In addition, armor is getting split off into its own equipment section and when I upload it, there should be some "superheavy" body armors available as well.

Acrid Smell of Powder - Close combat

One of the things that has always stood out to me when reading about the Napoleonic Wars or American Civil War is how rare actual "hand to hand" combat is.

There's plenty of charges all over the place, but unless cavalry is involved, it usually doesn't lead to anyone fighting anybody.
Either the charge slows down / breaks up or the recipients forget if they left the oven on and dash off to check.

Of course, on the gaming table, it's positively medieval!
We want to move our little guys to contact and have them slug it out like the drill manual says they should.

Now, in big abstract battle games, you can fudge that a bit by assuming that "close combat" actually means "a wide range of things including actual hitting with sticks, close ranged volleys and so forth" but with "Acrid Smell of Powder" we were trying to avoid abstracting things too much, so that wouldn't fly.

Some rules use a morale check to solve this: Check morale to charge, check morale to receive the charge.
This makes more sense, but leads to situations where high-morale units opposing each other will usually end up crossing bayonet (as they will most likely both pass their check).
That's still better but it doesn't solve the fundamental issue: Close combat shouldn't happen very often.

Going back and re-reading accounts of charges in the Napoleonic Wars and the American Revolution, it suddenly became clear to me:
An opposed roll might be the answer.

If the defenders give way, it's usually because the attackers don't and vice versa.
Eureka!

This also lets us represent another aspect very nicely: The reputation of a unit.
If your guys have good morale, odds are they have a reputation as hard fighters (and may have the fancy uniforms or big hats to prove it) meaning they'd carry a level of intimidation with them.

Is a bunch of militia men going to react the same way if it's random line infantry advancing on them vs when it's the Guard?


So in the end, charging is an opposed roll: Each side rolls, adds their Morale and a couple of modifiers and as a result one side will usually give way or run away.
If the scores are very close, an actual fight breaks out (a Brawl, as you'll no doubt not be surprised to learn its called) and you get to hit the other guys with sticks.


One aspect that I considered was that actual hand to hand fights were more common when occupying buildings, redoubts and the likes.
You do get a morale bonus for holding an obstacle, but to my mind, the sort of determined defense at bayonet point is more a characteristic of larger formations:

A "blob" of 10 guys skirmishing probably would be more inclined to fall back to the next position instead.
This also helps create more movement and make the "mass skirmish" feel more fluid and energetic than a conventional black powder battle.


At least, that's all the theory: You'll have to judge how well it turned out.

If you didn't grab your copy yet, go do so here:

https://www.wargamevault.com/product/239484/The-Acrid-Smell-of-Powder-early-version? 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Renegade Scout - The project forward

So the campaign has ended and it's time to assess our situation:


We didn't hit the entire goal, which I hadn't really expected we would.
We could have gotten more, if I'd advertised it more aggressively though, so that's a lesson I suppose.

The full goal was to enable me to simply work on the project for 2-3 months, without any distractions.
The amount we did collect will go a ways towards getting the rules where they need to be, but it'll obviously mean a longer work flow to get there.

I am not certain of the full time frame yet.

What will happen next is that when a few more components fit together, we'll put things up on the Wargame Vault as well for early access.
That way, the project can continue to obtain funding and it'll be far easier to provide new versions, updates, files etc.

That may take a week or two though.
Once it's up, codes will go out to the early backers to access that for free.
I have all the email addresses from those who just paid the basic fee, so when things are released, you will get your download codes as well.

Doing it through the Vault will also mean that any post-launch updates and fixes can be included for free.


We've gotten a few pieces of art as well as proper potential cover, which I'll share when I have a chance.

General impressions of the Indiegogo setup?
It's convenient enough, but I had to rely on an external service to actually provide the PDF (dropbox in this case) and it's easy enough to post updates, but actual communication is a bit awkward.

More importantly though, I have received very little feedback at all on the rules from early backers.
I don't know why, but as far as soliciting actual feedback on mechanics, the process has been completely pointless compared to just doing an early release through the Wargame Vault and working from there.

As it stands, I am going to continue down the track I am already on and then we'll see what opinions trickle in along the way.

Different crowds? Different expectations? Random chance? I don't know.

I doubt I'll use crowd-funding for a project again though. The benefits seem minimal compared to how I am used to doing things.

On the flipside, if you don't try new things, you never learn, right?


So there it is:

Renegade Scout is proceeding. It'll just proceed a bit slower, since it'll have to fit in alongside other projects.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Acrid Smell of Powder - Moving about

With the recent release of Acrid Smell of Powder, I thought I'd talk about it a little bit: Namely the movement rules.


So I knew for ASoP, I wanted a random movement system, however, I had some misgivings about how such systems tend to work.

To me, one of the pit-traps is that complete control over the army is obviously unrealistic. . . but so is a complete lack of control, in my opinion.

As the commander, you can select the right officers for the task, send a runner with instructions or ride over there yourself to shout at people.

The answer then was this:

You get a pool of initiative dice to work with.
By default, it's equal to the number of units, plus the number of leaders you have.

If I have 4 units of infantry, 1 leader and a cavalry unit, I'd have 6 dice.

Different things can give you more or less dice: Including an Excellent quality unit, being exhausted etc.

So you roll all of your dice and you can then assign each die to whatever unit you like.
If you need a unit to move further this turn to take that hill, you probably can.

Better units and cavalry can have multiple dice assigned and some unit types get a fixed bonus per die, to add a bit of detail.


Think of the initiative dice as "army effort" if you will.


But what about non-movement activities?

Depending on the scenario, you might need to bring on reinforcements, search a haystack, interrogate the locals or romance a minor noble.
This is a Task and is given a difficulty: Assign a movement die that is equal or above the difficulty and it succeeds.

Nice and simple.

For big games, the number of dice is reduced a little, but you can issue "platoon" orders to 3 units at the same time. We don't want to have to roll a bucket of 40 dice (well, maybe you do want that. Keep a separate table for the dice avalanche in that case!)

Friday, 30 March 2018

Squad Hammer Man to Man

For Squad Hammer players (and also players of October Hammer, Trench Hammer and Winter Hammer who like it a bit cinematic and pulpy) we're excited to present Man to Man:

A supplement adding a ton of new options for games where each unit is only a single figure.

Whether you want to add a few heroic leaders or you want to run a game entirely with one-man units, we got you covered:

New combat adjustments, levels of heroism, infiltration rules, an experience system, personal side objectives, it's really quite jammed with new content.

Grab it over at the Vault

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/238488/Squad-Hammer-Man-to-Man

Are you not on board the Squad Hammer wagon yet?

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/222978/Squad-Hammer-Dirt-simple-gaming-for-many-settingsor-all-of-them


Please note that you need a core rules set to use Man to Man.
It is NOT a stand-alone game though some components could be used with other rules systems.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Basing for Acrid Smell of Powder

So what basing do you need for our upcoming black powder "mass skirmish" rules?

Stands with 3-5 figures on each essentially: Likely a basing standard you already have.

Cavalry can be mounted with 2-3 figures per stand.

In both cases, all representation is 1-to-1.
Some players may wish to base good troops with only 3 figures per stand while fresh recruits get 5.
Since all combat is by unit, not by figure, this is a good way of portraying battle hardened veterans.

If you have individually based figures, you can put them in clusters of 3 and that should work fairly well, though it can be a bit fiddly.

The goal is that you can take your existing armies from quite a few games and use them "as is" without having to worry about rebasing anything.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Projects: Renegade Scout and Black Powder gaming

The next update for Renegade Scout (most likely live tomorrow) will be another school of magic, plus rules for advancing personalities.

I'll also add in some more gadgetry and some more unusual weapons.

This will be a fairly small one, before the next big push.


Meanwhile, I can discuss something that's been in the shadows for a while now:

"Acrid Smell of Powder" will be a "Mass Skirmish" game for generic black powder warfare (roughly 1700-1880ish).

And it's a FiveCore game!

Black powder FiveCore is one of the two most requested FiveCore variants over the years, and I've been close to releasing something several times, only to go back and throw it all out.

I'll talk about the rules tomorrow, but for now, what is "mass skirmish" ?

If you already play Napoleonic or American Civil War games, odds are you have some troops based with 3-4 figures per troop stand. The sort of basing common in games like Fire&Fury.
Usually a unit is 5 or 6 such stands and pretend to be a battalion or whatnot.

But what if you took them at face value? 15-24 individual soldiers is a pretty decent skirmishing "section" and an army of 5 or 6 such units then is a good, fun skirmish action.

Hence the term mass skirmish.
Not sure if that will catch on, but it sounds good and I think it describes a scale of game that a lot of people enjoy, even if it isn't well covered by rules.


The goal is to stick pretty closely to the nature of the skirmish environment:
50 of my guys taking on 60 of yours isn't a BATTLE, it's still a skirmish, so we're not going to have batteries of artillery and squadrons of heavy cavalry rolling around.

We can always add those things down the road.


I hope you're excited. It may be shaping up to be the cleanest and coolest FiveCore version yet and should see you good from the Seven Years War/French and Indian Wars all the way to Franco-Prussian war or so. Maybe even a bit beyond.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

My next RPG campaign

I don't talk about my own gaming very much at all, because I don't tend to enjoy writing about a game I already played.


So instead, I'm going to talk a bit about a game I am going to run: Namely a historical campaign set during the Napoleonic Wars.
The theme is a sort of "Ungentlemanly warfare" outfit tasked with bothering the French.
Heavy on the adventure and dash.

I've considered a number of rule sets from Rolemaster 2 to Runequest to GURPS to generic BRP to a White Wolf-based homebrew (No, I didn't consider FATE. I never consider FATE) but in the end, I am going to run it pretty system light.

The system will look something like this:


Character stuff

Players get a handful of skills, probably 8 or so. Anything that isn't a skill is assumed to be average.
Skills are percentile rated.

To do stuff, roll percentile dice. Doubles are critical hits/fumbles.

I might try to work in a variation of the Doctor Who story point system, if I can think of a cool way of doing it.

In combat, roll against your skill to hit, roll against half of a relevant skill to dodge or parry.

If you are injured, I'll roll D100 for the severity of the wound. Over 30, it's seriously affecting you, over 60, it's potentially debilitating.
At 100, you're a goner.

I might not tell them the exact HP loss, Unknown Armies style. Not sure yet.

Big fights

I'll need some simple mechanics for mass combat.
There's some candidates out there, so we'll see what I find there.

Might borrow something from a board or mini's game or use a variation of the above system.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Renegade Scout - The Roadmap

So this is the rough "Roadmap" as it exists for Renegade Scout right now.

Please note that all of these are potentially subject to change. This is NOT a list of guaranteed features.

*Vehicle rules

This one is obvious: We gotta have tanks, walkers and all that and with the ability to build your own.
This will also be a major headache because all of the 3-4 vehicle systems available for Rogue Trader were kind of messy.

*Magic rules

This will be a variation of the original psionic rules, but with brand new powers written from the ground up and some problems fixed.

*Advancement

I'd like to include a more formal system for levelling up your favourite personalities.
The pseudo-RPG aspect of RT died almost instantly and I think it is something a lot of people want back.

*More weapons

We need a huge armory right?

*More equipment

Ditto.

*More skills

I'd like a total list of maybe 20-30 "skills" covering everything from combat engineers to teleportation.

*More aliens

Not sure what the count will be here. I'll talk more about what alien profiles will look like this week.

*Battle maker

So this is the big draw: A random scenario system that will bring all the fun and excitement we associate with "retro scifi gaming".
The design I am testing currently is card driven, with cards being assigned to "points of interest" which may turn out to be objectives, threats or unexpected shenanigans.

*Personal trait table

D100 table you can roll on for a character to give them a random "thing". They might own a prototype weapon, secretly be a cyborg or be possessed by a space demon.

*Battle conditions table

D100 table. Is it raining? Is it raining meteors? Are we fighting in a time-space distortion?

*Narrative army objectives

When the alien races are nailed down a bit more, I'd like to set up, say 6 objectives for each race, sof you dont want to use the battle maker, you can just roll a D6 and say "okay, the Precursors are trying to secure an artifact while the "totally not Borg" are trying to capture an important personality. Lets do this".

*Solo play

If we can manage it, I know solo mechanics are a priority for a lot of players.

*Solo army selection

Even more complicated, but a system where you could roll or draw cards to face a random army would be cool, wouldn't it?

*Battle field events

An in-game random events table. Everything from jammed guns to reinforcements to a rift in space.

*Strange terrain

Man-eating plants and crawling rocks. All the stuff you expect.



As I said, most of this isn't 100% but it's what is on my notepads in various stages of testing.
It's going to be a wild ride.

If you want in, it's at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/renegade-scout-retro-miniatures-rules#/

Officer Down




http://www.wargamevault.com/product/237359/Five-Parsecs-Officer-Down

Welcome to Officer Down, a new scenario for Five Parsecs campaigns.

Take your existing crew from any of the campaign games and try your luck against hardened criminals.

Or if you prefer, use the quick generation methods in this scenario pack to generate a fierce squad of Enforcers.

The scenario includes tools for determining the opposition, campaign notes and random tables to generate variant scenarios, allowing no two games to play exactly the same.

Officer Down can be used with of the Five Parsecs campaigns.

Please note that this is NOT a stand-alone title. You MUST own a copy of one of the following games to use this except as inspiration:

Friday, 16 March 2018

Renegade Scout Stage 1

Stage 1, a fully playable beta version of the rules have just gone out to backers who opted for early access.

Stage 1 covers the basic game mechanics and a small selection of critters and weapons: Nothing spectacular but we gotta settle the basics first, right?

Are you not on board yet?

Right here

15 dollars gets you the game when its released (and 5 dollars off).
20 gets you on board now, when things are about to get excited.


I'm so nervous about people's reactions that I think I'm gonna hurl. . .

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Renegade Scout is being crowdfunded.

After much talk, the project that definitely won't happen has become the project that is actually happening.


Renegade Scout:
A "Retro Clone" of the original Rogue Trader game rules, completely rewritten and planned to include lots of exciting content.

You can peruse the campaign details here

Are you nostalgic for the good old days?
Do you have a hankering for conventional, old school mechanics that could be used for everything from near-future to space fantasy?
Do you want a game that delivers the goods instead of wasting 60 pages on glossy advertisement?
Do you get giddy at the sight of a D100 table?

I got you covered.
Let's make this a reality.

(Note that the image is strictly temporary)

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Preliminary impressions from customer survey

Got a lot of responses to the customer survey I emailed out through wargame vault, regarding thoughts on Five Parsecs.


Some preliminary impressions from 20ish responses (so when I say "everyone" below, what I mean is "of those people"):


*Almost everyone is a sci-fi gamer primarily or solely.

*Interest in historical versions is not great, but several people mentioned near-future, pulp or weird war.

*Most people are happy with the level of complexity currently but there's a definite core that wants more options and detail.

*Solo suitability was a strong factor for a majority.

*Thoughts on the AI systems are all over the place: Some people don't use such systems at all, some people want far more robust systems, some people mix and match.

*More "creation" systems to build aliens, vehicles etc. is something several people want.

*Many people mentioned wanting more "flavor" details to help build the world out more.

*People are pretty split between wanting more war-game elements and more RPG elements.



If you haven't sent in your response yet, definitely do, it's been very educational to read.

If you don't receive email from the Vault, email me and I can also send you the questionnaire manually.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Alien module available for Five Parsecs



The first alien module is available.

This allows you to take any Five Parsecs campaign and encounter a new, deadly alien inspired by the Autons of classic Doctor Who fame.

Whether you want a pitched battle or a search and destroy mission with uncertain opposition, we offer rules, new loot and even a small chance of getting one of the aliens on your side.

Don't say I didn't love you.


http://www.wargamevault.com/product/236469/The-Facsimile-An-alien-encounter-module-for-Five-Parsecs

Women's day discount

Since NWG likes to celebrate International Women's Day, you can pick up Five Parsecs Salvage Crew for only 4.99 until the weekend.

Miniatures gaming is for everyone and we do our best to make games that are as inclusive as a game involving bug-eyed aliens and cannibal mutants might be :-)

Make sure to use the discount link below.


http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9823646a45


And hey, if you're one of the people who get bent out of shape by the mere mention of "Women's Day", please forward your complaints to stopbeingatosser@spendlesstimeontheinternet.com

Monday, 5 March 2018

Five Parsecs - Finding stuff

Two of the Five Parsecs titles so far (Bug Hunt and Salvage Crew) involve finding stuff on the battle field.

In Bug Hunt you have Tactical Locations.

These are sort of a short-hand for all manner of things that can work to your squads advantage: Alarm or defense systems, bulkheads that can be closed down etc.

Investigating a location allows a roll to determine its feature: Distract aliens and prevent them from moving for a bit, block access to the area, remove alien contact markers from the table or delay the arrival of more alien contacts for a while.

This does require a die roll, so make sure to bring someone with a good Tech skill.

If you like the "fortify" scenes from Aliens, that's essentially what is being represented here.

Salvage Crews instead have to deal with Points of Interest.

These can represent any manner of stuff you can come across in the battle area.

Toxic waste pools, computer consoles that open up a stash or more bad guys, you won't know what you find here.


In both cases, interacting with the objects is optional.
Bug Hunters will typically want to do so, since the worse case scenario is that you don't get anything out of it but if you're lucky, it could give you an edge against the alien hordes.

Salvagers have a bit more of a decision to make as a PoI can prove dangerous (or even result in running into monsters) but could also furnish you with more loot.

Choices choices.


Future Five Parsecs releases will of course feature similar mechanics too, when appropriate.
The upcoming black powder rules will feature a pretty good range of possible encounters to have in the middle of a spirited skirmish with the enemy.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Five Parsecs - How does the combat system work?

I thought I'd discuss the core Five Parsecs mechanics a bit, now that it's become a bit of an institution.

All of the scifi games work on this basic framework, while the upcoming historical title will not use it exactly (but will be fairly similar).

This primer ONLY covers the battle field system.
The campaign mechanics will be covered in another post (and differ more between campaigns in any event)

What is the point of the rules?

The point of Five Parsecs is to be a solo game first and foremost.
To me, that means it needs to be a bit simpler than I might have written it otherwise, since a single player handling both the system and every figure is more work than playing with your friends.

It's not too hard to write a very simple game, but writing one that is still fun to play can be a challenge.
Since Five Parsecs is played as a campaign, we have an advantage: The player will know the characters and the combination of pretend-personalities and the random scenario generation will create a story.

If this story is interesting, then we can have a fairly simple mechanical system because the player is already hooked narratively.

At the same time, we can't just throw out all the options.
If there are no choices to be made, then the player is going to lose interest pretty quickly since every encounter will play out the same.

The turn sequence

With a few tweaks, the basic turn sequence works like this:

At the start of the turn, roll a handful of dice (D6)equal to the number of figures in the players force.
Ignore the bad guys.

The point of these dice is they are compared to the Reaction score of your characters.
If a character is assigned a die that is equal or below their Reactions (typically 1-3 for most characters) they will act BEFORE the bad guys.
If they are not assigned a die, they will act AFTER the bad guys.

So if I have 6 characters with Reactions 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3
And my dice roll 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6

I can immediately throw away the 4's, 5's and 6's.

The 1 can be given to any character I want to act quickly, while the 2 would have to be given to one of the characters with a 2 or 3 Reaction score.

Taking your actions

I opted to forego a normal "2 actions system".
Instead when a figure goes, they can move and then perform a combat action (either fighting hand to hand or firing a weapon).

Figures going before the enemies go can hang out and perform snap fire at moving enemies if needed, allowing you to set up a bit of a defensive situation.

Combat

Rolling to hit is a simple D6 roll plus your Combat Skill.
The target number is a 3+ if the target is in the open and within 6", 5+ if in the open otherwise and a 6+ if in cover at all.

This means that for starting characters, plinking at enemies behind walls isn't likely to be particularly worthwhile.

Some weapons get multiple shots per turn, but they are not super common.

If a shot hits, you roll to render them a casualty. If you don't, they become Stunned.

There's no "wounded" states though the Compendium introduces rules for such situations.

Hand to hand fighting is an opposed roll with occasional chances of both characters being hit (or a character being hit twice).

Stun

Characters surviving any hit become Stunned.
When a Stunned figure activates they are limited to performing only one action: Either moving OR fighting.

You remove one Stun marker each turn after acting and you can potentially stack up multiple.

Think of Stun as a combination of shock, confusion, physical discomfort and general worry about your personal well-being.

What does the bad guys do?

In Bug Hunt, its a bit easier because the bugs want to eat your face and will move towards you to do just that.

In the other games, enemies are assigned to different AI modes.
These are very simple but essentially give you information on how the enemy is expected to move and act.

They are not complex flow charts, but serve to give opponents some simple guidance on the table.

For example, in Gang Warfare, an Aggressive opponent acts the following way:

Aggressive enemies with opponents in sight will advance at least half a move towards them, attempting to remain in cover if possible.
Enemies that are unable to see any opposition or which are within 12” will advance as fast as possible towards the nearest opponent, attempting to enter into a Brawl.

Heavy weapon figures will not move if they have a line of sight to a target.

Notably, all AI rules are written directly into the relevant chapter of the rules.
So when you are reading the rules for shooting, you will also learn how to handle AI shooting at the same time.

What if I need more detail?

Luckily, I did a Compendium full of extra details, such as being pinned down by fire that doesn't hit, soldiers not responding to orders, panic, wounds and much more :)


You can check out Five Parsecs through the different campaigns (all stand-alone games)

Bug Hunt

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/228512/Five-Parsecs--Gang-Warfare?cPath=23449_29728

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/231076/Five-Parsecs--Salvage-Crew?cPath=23449_29728

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/226810/Five-Parsecs-From-Home?cPath=23449_29728

Trench Hammer bug. And tanks in general.

Was alerted that there's an omission in Trench Hammer.

This will be updated when I get a chance, but when firing field guns at tanks, they follow the same rule as tank mounted guns (do not apply the +3 hit penalty for armored targets).

Perceptive readers will also note that firing at tanks in October Hammer is a bit easier (+2 to hit penalty) compared to the +3 in Trench Hammer.
This is intentional. It accounts for the somewhat modest performance of tanks in the civil war and the fact that limited supply situations meant that more modest damage could be viewed as cause for retreat.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Winter Hammer available



Following up Trench Hammer and October Hammer, the world of easy-to-play war game rules comes to the Soviet-Finnish Winter War.

Requiring only a pair of D6 and 8-12 troop stands each, Winter Hammer includes rules for everything from barrages to KV tanks.

Games are playable in an hour or so, including a quick and easy system for rolling up random forces and conducting a war games campaign.

Time is short and none of us get to do as much gaming as we want to.

We all have wargame projects we never got around to finishing because we needed 200 painted models to play and the book was 348 pages.

Why not jump into Winter Hammer? 6 bucks, 45 pages and 10ish troop stands each and you're ready to play.

Fancy that.
More time spent playing games and less time perusing the "To hit adjustments for left-handed gunnery when vehicle is on a modest incline Subsection B" table ?

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/235256/Winter-Hammer-Easy-Winter-War-gaming

Sunday, 25 February 2018

End of February sale. Four great games. 7.99 each



Until the end of February, you can pick up some great wargaming deals from Nordic Weasel:


Pick up a copy of No End in Sight (our premier cold war platoon skirmish rules), Starport Scum (scifi adventure game), Five Men at Kursk (half platoon WW2 campaign action) or Clash on the Fringe (Rogue Trader style scifi action) for only 7.99 each.


These are not cut down versions, they're the full deal: Five Men at Kursk is over a hundred pages of WW2 chrome and action, just to give an example.


So go ahead. Indulge yourself. Upgrade your gaming a little.

Make sure to use the discount codes listed below or you won't get the discounted price.


http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9fe0907baa


Starport Scum 7.99


http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9fe3e4be0c


No End in Sight 7.99


http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9fe5676b0e


Five men at Kursk 7.99


http://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9fe74bbcb4


Clash on the Fringe 7.99

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Random NPC for Five Parsecs

So with our spiffy new Five Parsecs Compendium, let's roll up a random NPC.

This will just be a random fool, roaming the area where a normal mission will take place.

They could be a survivor (or clandestine operative) in a Bug Hunt mission or simply someone our Salvage Crew comes across.

A quick roll of 3D6 gives us 3 - 5 - 4.

That means our friendly NPC is a Professional of some sort (like a doctor or scientist), they are Aggressive (meaning they are not afraid to get in a fight) and are here to Destroy something.

Hm, sounds like someone trying to cover something up.
Maybe even something interesting!

We might put a small crate or something else interesting in the center of the table. This guy is trying to reach it and blow it up and will shoot at anyone from either side getting in the way.

If we can grab it first, maybe there'll be some goodies inside.

Base Profile for a Professional is 4 Speed, 0 Combat Skill and 3 Toughness but being Aggressive raises the CS to +1.

Another D6 roll of a 3 means he's armed with a Carbine.

Finally, I roll 2D6 to see if there's anything odd and get a 9. Oh boy, turns out it's an alien scientist.
Rolling a 12 for an Alien trait, our scientist exudes Noxious Fumes.

That won't have any effect here (it prevents friendly figures from getting near him) but it's a fun characteristic.

* * * * *
So we have a stinky alien scientist out to blow up the remnants of some shady technological experiment, in the middle of a normal Five Parsecs mission.

Sounds like a movie plot to me!

Five Parsecs Compendium available





An ever-expanding universe.

The Compendium adds a massive collection of new rules, options and expansion possibilities to any Five Parsecs campaign.

Whether you play Salvage Crew, Gang Warfare, From Home or Bug Hunt, the Compendium will have something to offer you.

Within these pages you will find:

New Combat options

Options and variants that can be fitted into any campaign with ease:

Suppressing fire, New rules for fighting stunned characters, Pinning, Bugging out, Slowing down critters, item usage, Combat wounds, Going prone, Knock downs, Panic Check, Battle response and Return Fire.

New Character options

Expanded ways to build and upgrade characters:

Hit points, Hero characters, Veteran ranks, Skills, Personality, Agility, Combat-oriented XP costs.

Game play options

New systems to add facets to game play:

Spotting, Cowardice, Personal contacts, Gun craftsmanship, Gun smithing.

Build options

Go all out with

20 Alien traits, 20 Mutant traits, Random weapon generator, Random NPC generator.

* * * * *

No matter the campaign you run, you will find something of use in this Compendium.

Do you want some more tactical options in combat?

Do you need a couple of random NPC's to roam the battlefield?

Maybe a mutant character?

New ways to level up?

It's all in here.

* * * * *

Best of all, the Compendium will be the only one of its kind.

When new options are added by myself or through player submission, they will added to the Compendium as a "living document".

If options receive widespread approval, they will be graduated into the core rules and removed from here.

This means you don't have to keep track of an ever-growing list of rules booklets.

Simply buy the Compendium and you are always on the bleeding edge of game options.

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/235035/Five-Parsecs-Compendium

What games did I play?

Design never happens in a bubble, so I thought it might be illustrative to share a few of the miniatures games that I've played a lot.

Some will probably not be surprises at all.

I am using "A lot" to mean "10 or more games". There's a lot of systems we played 3-5 times and would play again, but they never became standard.

So if there's really obvious omissions on the list (like Chain of Command) that's why :-)

I am also omitting anything I wrote myself. That'd be kind of self-serving wouldn't it?


Science Fiction

Warhammer 40.000 (principally RT, 2nd, 3rd and 8th)

Warzone (1st and 2nd edition)

Battletech (I'll count it as a mini's game)

Necromunda (original)

Inquisitor

5150 (original version)

Laserburn

Beamstrike

Stargrunt 2

Historical

Nuts (original and 2nd edition, mostly the original)

Command Decision (1 and 3)

Crossfire

Red Poppy White Feather

1916/1943

Face of Battle (ww2)

* * * * *

There, that's about it I think.
If we were including games that we played 5 times or more the list would be enormously long, so we won't be doing that.

Any surprises on the list?

What would yours look like? Go ahead and share it below.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Five Parsecs From Home 1.031 available

The only change is that the rule to transfer characters to a Bug Hunt campaign have been added to the very back of the book, in the Infinite Adventure chapter.

Enjoy!

Gang Warfare and Salvage Crew will be updated this week, though if you own From Home you can use the rule presented there as is.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

So more Renegade Scout thoughts.

Thoughts about the project that definitely isn't happening.

See previous blog posts for what this project is about. If it existed.


There's a number of ways to do it, with the awareness that this might be a lot more work intensive than other, similar projects.
This is me musing about it, soliciting unsolicited advice and generally being a prat.

1: 
Do the thing I always do.

Create the book myself, finish it, sell it online, voila.

Advantages:
*I have complete control.
*Nobody is out of any money if I suddenly catch the crazy-people-virus and decide to become an eskimo.
*I am used to the process. There's no question of something external fucking it up.
*I can be an okay-sized fish in a small pond. Less people will notice a release on Wargame Vault but it'll have less competition as well.

Downsides:
*If the project takes longer (which it very well might) that becomes an issue because I need to be able to pay my rent in the meantime.
*Any art comes out of my pockets (which aren't that well-endowed).


2:
Kickstarter. 

Kids tell me it's a magical website where you go tell people you have created a smart-phone adapter that lets you connect your smart device to your corgi dog, then strangers give you 8 million dollars.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of hype. Kickstarter is a big place and nerds will throw money at literally anything.
*Potentially raise a whole bunch of money in advance, which would mean working on the game without wondering if I'll bounce a rent-check.
*Budgeting for art (for example) becomes a lot easier to do.
*Potentially a lot more customers in the end. Huzzah!

Downsides:
*I don't want to do a bunch of stupid shenanigans with stretch-goals and promising people extra chotskies to weasel more money out of them.
* It seems the sort of projects that go on Kickstarter tend to be a lot more glossy: Games with lots of plastic miniatures, 500 page glossy rulebooks and all that.
An "old school' PDF game is going to look pretty jank in comparison, which could hurt the project.
*Running a "campaign" is time that could be spent writing "definitely not Dalek" rules instead.

3:
Open beta test. Full version later.

I've done this before (such as Starport Scum) where we had a public beta version for a pretty playable version, then later we did the full version and sold it "for real".

Advantages:
*Get feedback from a wider range of players than my usual suspects (as loyal and skilled as they might be).
*"Double-release". You get to cash in on the hype from both the beta test AND the full release.
*People tend to understand that they are buying a beta version and that it may or may not pan out. As such, I think you may get more realistic feedback.

Downsides:
*If the beta version is too extensive, you end up cannibalizing sales for your final game since people won't see a point in buying the full version.
*If the beta is too short or bare-bones, people will assume the final game will be crap too.
*Some of the feedback you get will be from crazy people.

4:
Crowdfund later

An interesting possibility is to use a bit of both worlds:

Develop the base game using the old school method (1 above) and then kickstart (or whatever) for added benefits later, such as  a nice artwork edition.

Advantages:
*Provides options for both fans who want a cheaper solution and those who want something visually pleasing and "modern".
*The core project doesn't depend on crowdfunding, only add-on bits.
*Having the existing product "in the wild" would help a kickstarter campaign.

Downsides:
*All the downsides of both 1 and 2 combined, to some extent.
*It'd end up essentially charging the cost of the game twice, which only the most hardcore fans would be on board with.

5:
Release in stages

The game might break up into stages rather well (core game, scenario and D100 tables, army rosters)

So you release stage 1 as complete as possible, test it out, get it solid.

When it's good, release the game again with stage 2 included.

Finally, release the game again with stage 3 included.

At each stage, take the time to do all the benefits of public testing.

NOW, the trick is:

Each stage is clearly marked as a "Beta' or "early" version.

Stage 1 and 2 is very cheap, so the total cost of buying the game at all three stages adds up to about what it'd have cost from the beginning as a full game.
F.x. if you were aiming at a 20 dollar game, charge 5 dollars at stage 1 and 10 at stage 2 and 3.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of public playtesting without being quite as barebones as a "beta test".
*The final game can end up cheaper than originally anticipated since it was funded "along the way".
*Players who are only interested in the core engine can buy Stage 1 and then stop there.
*Patient players can get the game a bit cheaper by just waiting for the final version.

Downsides:
*Process might be confusing and unfamiliar.
*Knowing a more complete version will come along later might discourage people.
*Increased potential for confusion as you will have multiple versions circulating.



Thoughts? Suggestions? Mad ramblings? I am all ears.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Five Parsecs Bug Hunt is here



"All scifi gaming eventually leads to the movie Aliens" someone once told me.

Maybe that's not quite true, but the 1986 sequel to the original Alien certainly does loom large over miniatures gaming.

A squad of heavily armed marines alone against the ravening hordes of extra-terrestrial killers. Good stuff.

So now, you can indulge in the same sort of thing using Five Parsecs.

Create a handful of characters and lead your crew of soldiers as they accomplish objectives and fend off the alien terrors.

As with other Five Parsecs titles, everything is aimed at solo play (though you can play with a friend and even earn some bonus rewards, to account for the fact a human opponent usually is more devious).

Everything flows in a campaign structure with random events and unexpected things happening, though we've changed the structure quite a bit to account for the military nature of the campaign.

New mechanics include a fire team mechanic (many of your supporting troops will be squads of soldiers), new takes on the "contact" mechanics introduced in Salvage Crew, a Reputation mechanic that lets you cash in mission success for occasional benefits and a system for Mustering Out which should make Traveller players feel a tiny bit nostalgic.

Of course, you also get all the tools you need to transfer your Bug Hunt character to another campaign.
Start in the army, go AWOL and join a gang, clean up your act and get a salvage job. It's all up to you.

Updates are coming shortly to the existing game line, to allow transfers into Bug Hunt.
The new rules are all up to 1.03 standard though I'd expect a small update shortly after launch to clean up a few vague wordings and the likes.

You can grab the new game here

Saturday, 10 February 2018

"Renegade Scout" - the agenda


Note that this is still not a sign that anything is going to happen, there's more work to do, thinking to do and planning to do before I commit to anything.

But... let's talk about what the goal of "Renegade Scout" would be as a Rogue Trader retro-clone.


First, let's talk about what it CAN'T be:

It can't touch any 40K IP whatsoever

Maybe that goes without saying, but no genestealers, eldar etc.
Of course, many of these concepts are hardly original to begin with so substitution can be made.


That means it needs to find its own legs to stand on.

Mechanically, the Rogue Trader system is rather solid (In my view) but nothing unusual, especially in 2018.
What people remember was being able to grab random figures, develop stats for them and play story-oriented scenarios.

A lot of people remember the big D100 mutation tables and things like that, but I am not sure how often those ever made it into an actual game.
I propose they could be replaced with something more interesting, such as a "Adventurer skill" table or an "unexplained phenomenon" table, that sort of thing.

The rules can be tweaked...a bit

People are used to tinkering with the Rogue Trader rules (and like old D&D, it may be a system where nobody really played it "by the book" to begin with) but there are limits to how far that can be taken.

Of course, the book could include options and alternative suggestions but in the end, it must feel "correct" for what it was.

That puts some limitations on how creative I can get with mechanics, but then, it also helps to ground it a bit.

I think everyone can agree that the Rogue Trader rules are not exactly elegant, so a little bit of stream-lining won't hurt anything at all as long as reasonable legacy compatibility is maintained.

If it can't be full of Warhammer stuff, then what?

As I suggested in the original G+ post, I think the real key to success would be to allow "television" scenarios.
If the book comes with profiles for "Assimilators" and "Exterminator bots" and such, alongside ww2 soldiers and SWAT teams and cavemen, I think it'll hit that wonderful "feel" that most Oldhammer players tend to chase after.

Of course, this runs the same issue: You have to file off the serial numbers but wargamers are used to that sort of thing, at least if my GZG "Crusty" mini's are anything to go by.

As an additional bonus, if a manufacturer could be brought on board, we could include ready-to-play stats for a few miniatures ranges too.

So is this just for fat old bearded dudes with Sepultura t-shirts?

Well, if it happens, it'll be written by a fat, bearded dude with a Sepultura shirt :)

But no, I think aiming this exclusively at Oldhammer players would be a mistake, though they are certainly part of the intended audience.
I think any players that like somewhat traditional mechanics, creative scenarios and using unique miniatures from their collection would be a potential player.

The fact that it would be legacy-compatible would be a substantial added bonus of course.

What about those other guys who've tried to do this?

As far as I know the failure rate of previous attempts has been 100%.
If I am wrong, please let me know.

What about Inquisi-munda and In the Emperor's Name?

Different goals (and mad respect to both teams for doing great work).

They aim to create 40K based gaming, that's not the goal here.
I don't think we'd overlap at all.
If this existed, which it doesn't.

What makes you the right guy to do this?

Anyone can do this.
The only thing that matters is who can stick with it until completion.

When is the kickstarter?

I don't feel comfortable with kickstarters but maybe this would be a good exception.
I don't know.
Let's say "Never" and go from there.

If this happened, would it be a big glossy book?

No. But it might have art-work.

Can I help?

It's not a project that exists currently, so no.

If it becomes a project that exists, I will be looking for a team to help with various aspects (proof reading, testing, painting the odd mini, etc.).

So...can I ?

Let's do this:

If you feel you have interest, time and qualifications to help with this project and would like to be on the short list IF THIS PROJECT BECOMES A THING WHICH IS NOT AT ALL CERTAIN
then ping me at runequester@gmail.com with who you are and what you can do.

I am NOT interested in any variation of "Idea guy" and I am NOT interested in a co-writer.

Friday, 9 February 2018

So if I was doing a Rogue Trader retro-clone...

...this is what I would do.

The goal here would be compatibility with the original but any IP would have to be avoided.



*Replace the rulebook combat mechanics with the ones from the Battle Manual (in particular the improved blast weapon, overwatch and sustained fire/following fire rules)

*A Choosing a Target system that's a bit more structured than "each of my 30 guys can shoot at anything I like" but not as chunky as the Battle Manual/2nd edition system.

*Replace the Reserve phase with the 2nd edition Run move.

*Replace the Rout and Psychology rules with the 2nd edition versions.

*Keep the psychic rules but rewrite pretty much all the actual powers to be more interesting and more applicable to the table.

*New weapon lists would take a little bit of a page from 8th edition in using lower save modifiers and damage values in general.

*Weapon lists by era (low tech, high tech, futuristic) for multiple settings.

*Use the vehicle rules from the Compendium/White Dwarf (with the various damage tables). Maybe ?

*Create a list of Traits (similar to the Universal Special Rules in newer editions)

*Create new troop types to include in the book, mainly inspired by video games and television.
Klingons vs Daleks ?
(Also, I just realized the spell check accepts both Klingon and Dalek without complaint)

*Sort out a really cool mission system for randomly generated scenarios that would require troops to do more than just shoot each other in the face.

* * * * *

NOW......If I was doing an "advanced" version, I would do the following as well:

*Do away with Initiative and Attacks on the profile.
Instead, Weapon Skill of 5-6 gives you 2 Attacks and 7+ gives you 3.

*Consider getting rid of Strength as well.

*Use the Space marine morale rule (shaken on first failure, broken on second) for all troops.



I would also be really tempted to "flip" Ballistic Skill, so you are rolling equal or under your BS, instead of the whole "7 minus BS is your hit number".
That way you could just apply hit modifiers directly to your BS.

But rolling under instead of over might be a "bridge too far" for the old timers?



Wednesday, 7 February 2018

5P option - Suppressing Fire

A character can opt to perform Suppressing Fire:

You receive one additional shot, hitting on the same score as before.

Each hit places a Stun marker but no damage is inflicted.

Enemies will not use this option.


Rationale:
While the idea of firing specifically to suppress instead of kill is a matter of some debate among gamers, we're a bit more cinematic in our approach:

This action represents any situation where a character blazes through a bunch of ammunition very quickly without aiming.
The chance of actually hitting anything is pretty low, but the wall of lead can be quite intimidating on the receiving end.

Give this a try and let me know. It's for consideration for 1.04 or 1.05

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Five Parsecs 1.03

Version 1.03 is uploaded for your enjoyment.

The changes include:

*A ton of small improvements: Better wording, unclear rules being clarified, typos, that sort of thing.

*A section has been added specifically covering terrain.
This gives definitions of terrain types and how line of sight works in all cases, as well as clarifying exactly when you are in cover.

*A two page section titled "Unusual situations" has been added.
This covers a few odd-ball situations and how to handle them.

*The rules for Brawling combat have been updated a little.
Melee weapon characters now get a +1 to their roll, while those lacking melee weapons must -1.

*Pistol is a new weapon trait, allowing you to use the pistols damage value in Brawls and roll at a +0 modifier.

*The movement rules now have a movement cost listed for entering doors and windows.

*A section has been added for competitive (player vs player ) games.


If you recently printed your rules, you can simply print the new rules sections and add them to your booklet or binder.

All three games (From Home, Gang Warfare, Salvage Crew) have been updated.
The K'Erin booklet will be updated later today to add the Pistol trait to the appropriate weapon.


I hope you are enjoying Five Parsecs.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

5P World generator available

The Planetary Generation for Five Parsecs is available and can be grabbed below:

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/233139/Five-Parsecs-Planetary-Generation

To some extent, it's a replacement for the old "Every star an opportunity".
There are fewer tables overall, but I think you'll find they impact game-play to a larger extent.

I added in a Traveller-style Animal system as well, both letting you create random critters from scratch as well as a small pre-made table allowing faster play.

Players who like developing a number of game worlds to travel between will get a lot of mileage out of this booklet, as will Gang Warfare players (as gangs tend to be stuck on one world for a longer period of time).

Go git 'er.


There'll be more 5P news very soon, including some unexpected ways the system might go (swords? Muskets? Orcs? Time travel? Stay tuned)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

World generation for Five Parsecs

"Every star an opportunity" was pretty popular for the original Five Parsecs, so I knew I wanted to bring it back, but simply porting it over didn't feel quite right.

While the title isn't settled yet, the new world generator is quite exciting.

It'll work with all three (for now) Five Parsecs titles and let you generate a world to play on, Traveller style.

At the moment, it will generate a name, Atmosphere type, Bio-sphere (with a chance of angry plant life), Gravity and a big, hunking D100 table with everything from pirate raids to acid raid and funny hats.

Oh, there's also new rules for random animals prowling your battle field and even a "unique animal generator" for those so inclined.

The exciting thing is that a greater degree of random table results directly affect the gameplay now, whether during the battle or in the campaign.

You will find worlds you want to call home and places that you can't wait to get away from.

Release should be within a couple of days, once I am happy with everything.



Friday, 26 January 2018

Five Parsecs: K'Erin Warrior aliens available

We are proud to announce the first Alien expansion pack for the Five Parsecs system.
Whether you play Five Parsecs From Home 2nd edition, Salvage Crew or Gang Warfare, you can include these proud, alien warriors in your games.

The supplement includes extensive background, expanded from that presented in Unity Field Agent originally, new character creation tables and gear, table top rules and all the information needed to integrate the K'Erin in your campaign games.

What are the K'Erin? They are warlike aliens inspired by the Star Trek Klingons and Mass Effect Turian.

Suitable for a wide range of humanoid alien miniature figures, including old Traveller figures.

No matter which system you play, your Five Parsecs game can be enriched by these belligerent alien fighters. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Five Parsecs 1.03 plans

So here is the plan for 1.03 in a couple of weeks to a month.

A:
Fix typos, bugs, errors and so forth.

B:
Improve any vague or uncertain wording.

C:
Any balance tweaks such as adjusting encounter table entries.

D:
Each game will have a page or so added with how to handle "competitive" games (versus other players).

E:
Each game will have a "rating" system added, letting you figure out a points value of sorts for your crew.
This can both help gauge when to make difficulty adjustments, help with balancing competitive games and in the future, it might be integrated into the encounter system too.


D and E can be added to the end of the rules and the rest will be rather minor, so no need to print everything again when it happens.
The idea is you can just print the couple of new pages and slip them in the back of your binder.


Anyways, that's the rough idea. Let me know what you think.

Gang Warfare and Bundle deals



After much delay, Gang Warfare is updated to 1.02 status.

Most of the changes are the same sort of thing you saw in Five Parsecs From Home 1.02.

Improved character creation tables, a few bug fixes, compatibility with Salvage Crew and a whole host more.

If you view the old post about the From Home 1.02 update here , you should be pretty well aware.
A fan remarked that it was a big enough improvement to count as a second edition, but it's totally free for you lot.

There is also a change log in the back of the file.

This means that all three Five Parsecs lines are now at the same "level".


Let me know if I goofed something up or if you notice any weird compatibility issues


If you run into strange situations transferring between campaigns, keep me posted and we'll sort out solutions.

* * * * *

We also have a bundle deal available now, after a fan suggestion.

The Five Parsecs Rogues and Scoundrels bundle gives you all three games at 3 dollars off, so if you haven't jumped in yet, this is a perfect time to do so.
You can grab it here

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Musing about things


This isn't related to any project in particular.


Infantry firing mechanic:

When a squad fires, roll 2D6.

If either die scores a 4, remove a figure from the target squad per 4 rolled. 

Take the highest of the two dice, add any bonuses the squad has (quality, weapons, mg) and compare to a target number based on cover.

Target is pinned if you beat the score. 

If a pinned target is hit again, they become suppressed.
If a suppressed target is hit again, they break. 


Example:
My GI's fire at some Krauts hiding in the woods.
I roll a 3 and a 5, so my die is a 5. 

My guys are Regular, so no fire bonus.
They have semi-auto rifles (+1) and a single automatic (the BAR) for no bonus.

So my total score is a 6.

The krauts are in soft cover (target 4) so they are now pinned down. 

* * * * *

Example 2:
A Kraut MG opens up from the flank.
They roll a 1 and a 4.
Their die is a 4 and I must remove a guy.

The Krauts are Veterans (+1) and a MMG gives them +2 for a total score of 7.

My guys are in hard cover (target 5) so they are now pinned down. 

* * * * *

Various thoughts

You could additional effects to beating the target number by a certain amount. 
Maybe beating it by 3 removes an additional figure or forces a "fall back" reaction.

Why 4's ? It's my favorite number. 

How do guys recover? Dice roll when activated? Leader ? Not sure yet. 

What are the effects of being Pinned or Suppressed ? Pinned can't move, Suppressed fires at -2.

How would assaults work?
Similar, but with more dice to start with. 

Does the number of guys firing matter?
No. Though squads below a certain size (5?) might roll only 1D6. 



Thoughts?