Friday, 10 September 2021

Long time no blog

 It's been a hot minute since I've had the surplus to do any blogging, so let's get that out of the way, since there's a lot to talk about. So in no particular order:

* As you have probably figured out by now, Expansion 1 for Five Parsecs hit: This is a grab bag of assorted options to tailor the game, tweak your experience (with difficulty in particular) and more and is available both directly from Modiphius here and Wargame Vault here

* One gentleman points out in his review that it should have included the non-minis rules for Five Parsecs. 

My man, my friend, Mi amigo (I don't actually speak Spanish). They didn't exist yet when the expansion was written. Time remains a straight line. 

I guess this is a good time to talk about the process such as it is. From the time I hand over content to the overlords, there's a bit of a delay before it hits a slot in their pipeline. Then it goes through their editor and my own for proofing, then layout and finally to your grubby hands. 

While this process is not super long, it does mean that there is a fair bit of time from I finish the manuscript until you see it. 

* What is this about other content for Five Parsecs?

The Nordic Weasel Patreon page remains active and is a place for people to support additional games development directly. In return for 5 dollars a month, people get a few neat things each month. This can vary considerably: Sometimes its a scenario to play through, sometimes its a new rules pack with things to try out, sometimes it is something being considered for a new official release and sometimes it is not. 

I also throw out the occasional freebie from the back catalogue, discount etc. Basically, its a way for people to support me and a way for me to say thank you. 

It is not typical for things to be Patreon exclusive permanently. If something is really cool, I want to make money off it after all, but Patreons will often see new things well before anyone else. 

* So Five Leagues is getting a glossy book. Yes! 

You can see the page and some of the new artwork here

The new edition will be packed with stuff. From dungeon adventuring to map based exploration, it is absolutely full of amazing things people have wanted. The plan is for a pre-order once the PDF is available in a few months.

They are fully committed to a series of meaty expansions for the game as well.

* To send off 2e Five Leagues and let people finish their collections, I have put together a bundle deal here 

This should be everything that was commercially released for Five Leagues in one fat bundle. It is 75% off and the website should calculate correctly if you already own any of the items.

This is a chance for people to finish out collections as well as as see some of the cool things we created together in the past couple of years. Many of the scenarios will work fine in 3e and you have a few months to mess with it in any event.

* Shipping, Five Parsecs and US retail.

Yes, it sucks. The book launched at basically the worst time in years to ship anything anywhere in the world. So the shipment of books to the US retail chains ended up sitting in harbor in the UK forever, then sitting forever in US customs. My understanding is that it should all be moving through the system now and pre-ordered books from US retail should be in your hands shortly.

I know more books from the second print run is headed state-side as well, due to demand.

* Which means yeah! We burned through the first print run and another is already en route. So that's pretty awesome. 

* There is a TON of Five Parsecs material on youtube now. Everywhere you look, people are doing amazing things with amazing looking tables. It's pretty surreal to see to be honest.

* But what about... ?

I remain a one man show, so some projects take a very long time to do. I remain committed to Squad Hammer updates though I occasionally go for a couple weeks where I don't have any chance to work on it. 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Five Parsecs PDF is available AND what will be in Expansion 1?

 Greetings folks.

We have some cool stuff to talk about today:

First and foremost, the PDF version of Five Parsecs From Home is available today, both through Wargame Vault and directly through the Modiphius website. 

I know a lot of you have been eagerly waiting for this, so now is your chance to get involved. 

While visiting the Modiphius site, don't forget to check out the FAQ and the Transmissions from Unified Space on the same page. You can even subscribe so you'll get updated when new transmissions are posted, which should twice a month.

* * *

Secondly, I am going to talk a little bit about the first expansion!

So in the past expansions have been on the smaller size and more bite-sized. With the third edition, we're changing to bigger, beefier expansions released several times a year. The aim is around 40 pages for each, full of new gaming content. 

The first expansion then is all about gaming options: Adding to the ways you can customize the game, add new features or try new things. 

The features you will get in the first expansion are:

Name generation tables - Random tables to create names for things in the universe. I know folks enjoy these.

An updated version of the old introductory mini campaign, adjusted for the third edition rules. 

A ton of difficulty toggles, allowing you to fine-tune the game with time limits in missions, harsher economics or other factors. 

A player vs player scenario if you want to take on your friends warband. This adjusts the turn sequence to work for PV and comes with an "underdog" system to give the weaker player a bit of a boost. It also has options to turn your shoot-out into a frantic three way battle!

If playing together is more your style, a scenario is included allowing two full crews to join up and take on a tough mission together against a small horde of enemies. There's even an option for your rivals to join together to take you down.

The AI variations roll returns from one of the last expansions. This system makes the AI less predictable as each AI type now has a table to roll on to determine their actions. I know a lot of you have really wanted a more random AI, so this will do the trick for you. Each AI type has a "base condition" that it will follow if certain situations are met, and if not, it will roll on the table for each group of foes.

Deployment variables for the AI: The AI can now do things like try to outflank you, bringing up reinforcements, hiding in terrain etc. This is weighted by AI type so f.x. Cautious enemies are more likely to bring up reinforcements during the battle. 

Escalating battles: As the battle progresses, the fight will intensify with the enemy regrouping, bolstering their morale or carrying out a mad rush to get at you. This creates a really cool feeling of a cinematic action where you have to react to enemy ploys as they unfold. Again, weighted by AI so different types will act in different ways.

Elite level enemies: The biggest part of the book: A complete set of replacement tables covering all of the enemies in the main rulebook. These updated enemies have small stat improvements and have all been tweaked to be more dangerous, more mean and more interesting. They are intended for players who want a tougher challenge and who have a well-equipped and well-trained crew. 

As an example, let's compare the original psychos to the Elite version:

The Psycho profile did not change (Panic 1, Speed 6, Combat +0, Toughness 4). The number encountered has gone from +2 to +4.

The Bad Shots rule (hits only on a 6) is now Fire Frenzy (hits only on a 6, but gets +1 Shot)

All Psychos with scrap pistols also carry Frakk grenades now. 

And they now have the rule Eager to Go, meaning that the when the enemy phase starts, you remove a Stun marker from the eligible Psycho closest to your table edge.

That's just one example. Some Elite enemies are only modestly more dangerous, while some will be extremely scary to fight again.

* * *

I hope that gives you an idea of the sort of content you can expect to see in Expansion 1. I am super excited about it and work is already going on for Expansion 2, which will offer a new player species, new types of missions and the return of a much-wished for character choice. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Five Parsecs news!

First, check out the spiffy new page for Five Parsecs over at the overlords: 

This now houses the Q&A section and something I am super excited about: The first Transmission!

These will be twice a month and will feature a little snippet of world information (the first one discusses languages in Unified Space) and 3 micro-scenarios: Little bits you can use to spice up a scenario and give everyone around the world some shared reference points even if you are all playing solo.

* * *

Secondly, emails should have gone out with updates on the pre-orders. Right now, nothing is very fast when it comes to shipping anything internationally, but books should be arriving from the printer to the UK warehouse this week, with pre-orders shipping out the first week of June or sooner. 

The PDF only release should be here next week if all goes well and should be available through both drivethru and the Modiphius website.

* * *

Third, I can shed a little light that there will be a lot of cool stuff in the pipeline. The first expansion will be about 40 pages of play options, including a co-op scenario, tons of difficulty toggles, elite level enemies and more. You all know I like to give players way to customize their games and this will offer that in droves.

The goal is very much to make Five Parsecs a "living game" which you know is an apple I've tried to bite at before, but never had the resources to actually do so. 

Monday, 17 May 2021

Bug hunt 1.04 available

 Based on feedback, the following changes have been made to Bug Hunt:

* The co op campaign now grants 1D6 points for capturing a resource stash instead of 5 points.

* Some aliens have had their encounter numbers increased by 1. 

* Area weapons are now simplified dramatically.

* When you deploy, nearby objectives are pushed back to be at least 12" from your starting positions.

The new version is uploaded and available from Wargame Vault. 

Monday, 26 April 2021

Assorted news

 First, as you may have seen, Chrome Hammer Ascension is available. This is a fully solo-oriented campaign game featuring cyberpunks facing off against the mega-corps. Oh, and the CEO might be a dragon. 

Step into the realm of Cyber-Fantasy penned by Jason Smith. I know he is busy at work to improve the game reference sheets and other play aids as well.

* * *

Secondly I should have some updates and additions to Squad Hammer Core this week. Stay tuned folks.

The path to turning SHC into the best it can be continues.

* * *

Thirdly, Five Parsecs 3 has gone to the printer a while ago and now we're all waiting for everything to filter through the systems (printer proofs coming back, then the full run being done and going to distributors). Keen-eyed folks have spotted several retailer pre-orders but they tend to get snapped up fast so be on the look-out. 

* * *

On that topic, if you are playing the new game, you may have noticed that the enemy encounters are not super difficult. This is intentional, but if you want to help playtest a set of much tougher foes, email me and I'll share the playtest version of some updated enemy tables.

These are NOT meant as replacements for the rulebook tables (which are fine). They're meant for folks who want a much tougher experience against more complex versions of the regular enemies.

If you'd like to have a go at them and help the "elite enemies" be as fun as possible, hit me up at 

Monday, 12 April 2021

Bug hunt 1.02. Co op map campaigns!

 Following a suggestion from Nordic Weasel stalwart David, version 1.02 adds options to play a map based campaign with your friends. Perfect for folks who want to do something together but are in different cities or under lockdown, you can all participate in the same campaign together.

Simply download the game file again and off you go.

If you haven't bought our Five Parsecs intro game yet, it is a fun and easy bug hunting adventure, putting you and your troops up against hordes of terrible aliens.

Monday, 5 April 2021

5 Parsecs rules Q&A

This blog post will serve as a running Q&A as questions come up. Some are things that got missed, others are clarifications to questions or simply an insight into how the rules are meant to function.

Q: Okay smart guy, how exactly do Rumors work?

A: If you do not currently have an active Quest, Rumors are added to the roll in the "Resolve any Rumors" stage before a battle. This increases your chance of finding a Quest. 

Once you find a Quest, your Rumors are set to 0.

If you have an active Quest, all Rumors are assumed to be pertaining to the quest you are currently on. Each rumor adds +1 to the "Determine Quest Progress" roll in the post-battle sequence, meaning they increase your chances of finding the final battle. 

Once you finish the Quest, your Rumors are set back to 0. 

Q: How many guys am I fighting?

A: Specialists and Lieutenants are part of the total enemy number, not additional figures. 

For example if I encounter 6 villains, there'd be 4 basic opponents, 1 specialist and 1 lieutenant.

Unique Individuals are added to the number encountered. 

Q: Can I have more characters than my crew size? 

A: Yes, but the crew size you selected for the campaign is the cap to how many you can bring into a battle. So if you are playing a "4 crew" campaign and have 6 characters currently, you'd have to pick 2 to stay behind.

Q: Can I change campaign crew size later?

A: Up to you. I'd pay a Story Point to do so. 

Q: Some of the species specific rules differ between the species profiles when I create my character and when the rules are referenced later on, which is correct?

A: The species profile in the character creation chapter should always be the correct version.

Q: How often do I roll for Patron benefits, danger pay etc.?

A: Benefits are rolled when the Patron is first acquired and will never change. All other factors are job specific.

Q: If I duplicate a gun with mods or sights, what do I get?

A: To avoid things getting out of hand, the duplicator copies ONE item. So a modded gun will produce either a gun or a mod, not a modded gun. Sorry.

Q: What is an "adjacent terrain feature" for the purposes of defensive AI?

A: A feature within roughly one move. The idea is that the defensive AI will view nearby characters as supporting the feature with counter attacks.

Q: What is "Psycho" AI?

A: It should read Rampaging AI. 

Q: What does it mean when mods and sights cannot be added to "single shot" weapons?

A: It means they cannot be fitted to grenades or other disposable weapons (however much as a grenade with a laser sight seems appealing)

Q: How does the Hand Flamer work?

A: First resolve all Shots in the weapon profile (2) against the selected target (Focus). Then resolve 1 Shot against each target within 2" (Area).

A keen-eyed observer notes that technically the Area weapon rule already does this, without the need for the Focus trait.

Q: Bots and events

A: When rolling for exploration etc. events that do not affect Soulless generally do not affect Bots either. Apply your common sense here. 

Q: Do enemies with built-in weapons like claws count as Melee weapons (+2 dice bonus)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do characters with a pistol and melee weapon get a +3 bonus? 

A: No, you use the highest bonus. 

(p.45 Add +2 if carrying a Melee weapon OR +1 if carrying a Pistol weapon)  - Emphasis mine

Q: How exactly do Patrons work?

A: Okay, you can "have" a Patron in three ways: At character creation, among your contacts or as a job offer.

Let's review:

1) Campaign step 3: Determine Job offers says that:

"If you received a job offer from a Patron or began the campaign with one, you need to determine the details of the job."

So if you began the campaign with any patrons, in the first turn of the campaign you will automatically have a job offer from each. This can be quite a few. 

You also roll up a job offer if you took a crew action and successfully found a patron. 

2) The post-battle step "Resolve Patron status" says that:
"If you succeeded in a Patron mission, you may add the Patron to your list of contacts on this planet".

So if you did a job and it was a success, they are now a contact for you. You remove them when you leave or fail a job from them.

The side-bar on p.24 says "When you play your first campaign turn, simply roll up a Patron, and assume you have known them all along."
That's easy to miss and the info should have been repeated, but it is meant to say they are a contact, because you had done jobs for them in the past.

As you can see from the wording of the rule, finding a new Patron and declining their offer means they are NOT a contact (because you did not succeed). 

The text isn't as clear as it could have been, but taking and failing the job causes the contact to be removed.

3) The "Find a Patron" crew action says that:

"If the crew has an old Patron among their contacts, each Patron adds +1 to the roll"

So any Patron from rule 2 adds to the roll. 

4 ) Putting it all together.
If you begin the game with any Patrons you automatically get a job offer in turn 1 (to get you started). 

Those Patrons ALSO count as contacts known for future job hunting rolls.
Patrons you find with a crew action (or random event) give you a job offer then and become contacts IF you succeed in the job.