Saturday, 9 October 2021

Five Parsecs Expansion 2 overview

 I thought I would share a few pointers on Expansion 2 and what is planned.

The aim for the first three expansions is to try to cater to as many of the different interests as possible. Expansion 1 was aimed primarily at people who like to tinker and want alternative options in their game. NWG has always had a strong tradition of providing more options and more ways to customize things and I wanted that to be carried over into the "glossy" version of the rules. 

With Expansion 2, the focus is on new "stuff" to play with and add to your game worlds. 

The list includes:

2 new playable alien characters - The rat-like Skulkers and the space-dwarf Nirn. 

World classifications - This adds more detail to the world generation aspect of the campaign. Worlds can now fall into one of 6 categories depending on who is in charge all of which will affect various stages of the campaign sequence. 

Psionics - The one many people have been waiting for: This both adds full rules for player psionics (heavily modified from their original 2nd edition appearance, which was a bit too timid) as well as facing enemy psionics as well (which can be quite scary). 

A collection of new kit is provided, which includes gadgets for the psionics, 4 new types of advanced training and 6 Bot upgrades. Starships get a bit of attention with two new upgrades as well.

Economics gets some detail as well with detailed rules for loans. This takes the existing loan system and fleshes it out with variations in how aggressive loans are and what the lender is willing to do to collect, from late fees to hit squads.

Salvage jobs - The big one. This introduces a whole new type of mission where you get to prowl through a starship wreck (or similar site), gathering up resources and fending off possible enemy contacts.  This includes a "blip" system with a number of random factors to be faced off against. Those of you who have wanted a "space dungeon crawl"will get it here.

Non-miniatures combat resolution - A full system that uses the existing combat rules in a miniatures free environment. Perfect for playing in the car.

An expansion to the mission generation with new objectives and the chance of time limits or having to complete multiple objectives to finish the job.

Expanded connections - A "story driven" system where missions can spawn a connection to a prior activity such as someone you met or a place you have been before. In total, 30 "sub plots" can be triggered this way ranging from the simple to the pretty involved.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

A few questions that have arisen regarding Patreon and more

I've had a few people express dissatisfaction with the fact that there is Five Parsecs content on Patreon and I thought I would take a moment to discuss it, as I feel like there are some misconceptions going on as well as just generally talk about expansions for Five Parsecs. 

* * *

First, let me take a moment to discuss the history of the Patreon account.

Originally, the purpose was to provide support for various games especially in terms of rules updates and so forth. If you played 5P 2 and 5L 2 you know they received countless updates in their history. I had to find a way to actually support doing that since time spent doing that is not time spent writing material I can sell, and so the Patreon was born.

Over time the focus shifted to Parsecs and Leagues because they were the two biggest games in terms of player count. This was well before any thoughts of big glossy books had ever come into the picture and well before the ability to do big, full color expansions was ever a possibility.

* * *

So what is actually on Patreon as regards Five Parsecs?

The content that gets posted on there falls into two categories:

A: Things that I am intending for inclusion in future expansions. The AI variation rules in Expansion 1 was originally a Patreon item for 2nd edition for example. These things need testing and one of the ways I solicit feedback is through Patreon. People get to see and mess with these things early and I get some opinions on what may or may not work.

These things are all intended to end up in a published expansion along the road. Not all of them do. Sometimes the idea turns out to have been less solid than expected or I don't feel it works as well as it should. 

I think people significantly underestimate how rough some of these things are in terms of presentation and mechanical polish. 

Some items float around for a while because I go back and rework them. The psionic rules that will be in Expansion 2 are heavily updated from their original version that appeared way back as a 2e supplement.

B: Things that I created on a whim. These are often house rules or other odd bits and pieces. They are often things that aren't ready for publication and are not intended to be. For any given game rule, there's probably 3 more ways you can do the same thing and I don't want to clutter up expansions with too much of that, but they are still fun to create and share. 

Think of this like the stuff that used to appear in magazines like White Dwarf back in the old days: Things that was never going to see an official rulebook but which was fun to mess with.

There is also stuff not related to either of the "flagship" games but that's not really relevant here I guess. For example Squad Hammer Core has received a number of updates due to Patreon funding because it allows me to spend a couple hours each month doing stuff like that, since the time "has been paid for".

I hope that clears up some of those questions.

* * *

Secondly, I've seen a few people state that the game must be incomplete, wondering why particular things weren't put in the rulebook or that expansion content was "cut". 

This is just plain not true at all. Looking at Expansion 1 we have:

The intro campaign - This is from a 2nd edition expansion pack that I had originally decided to just retire but after thinking it over, I decided to update it and include it. My thinking was that a new player may well buy the expansion and rulebook at the same time and so it would be nice to have. 

This could have been included in the rulebook, but at the time I thought the Story Track was more exciting.

Progressive difficulty - New content. This was written after suggestions made by a 3e player.

Difficulty toggles - New content created specifically for the expansion after seeing the feedback players of 3e were providing. 

PVP battles - New content created for the expansion.

Co-op battles - New content inspired by a conversation with a friend.

AI variations - Old Patreon content. I think this was created after I had handed over the manuscript to Modiphius originally, but even if it was not, I did not want the rulebook to have entire "advanced rule" variant systems. 

Deployment variables - New content based on fan feedback from 3e.

Escalating battles- New content created for the expansion.

Elite level enemies - New content created for the expansion after fan feedback on 3e.

Now I suppose at some level you will have to just take my word for this, but I think some new players also don't realize that the game went from 88 pages in single column to 188 pages in two columns. 

I wrote a ton of new things to put in the book, most of which had never been seen before. The idea that there were huge chunks of material that was ready to publish but somehow cut for nefarious purposes is just not true.

* * *

Now, I know that everyone wanted psionics included but I made the decision that:

A: The old psionic rules weren't good enough and they needed to be improved which I simply did not have the time to do in advance.

B: Even if I had found the time, I didn't want psionics to be a default option in the game.

C: Psionics had always been an expansion option even in 2nd edition, due to B above.

If you really wanted Psionics in the core book, I apologize that this wasn't the decision I took, but I think when you compare the Expansion 2 version coming out soon with the original 2e version, you'll agree as well. If not, then I apologize.

* * *

I hope this helps clarify the situation a bit for people. If people have questions about the process, I am happy to answer them at nordicweaselgames@icloud.com  

I am also open to any suggestions people have. In the end, no decision will make 100% of people 100% happy, all I can do is try to make the widest range of people happy while doing what I think is best for the game.

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:

https://www.modiphius.net/pages/five-parsecs 

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 nordicweaselgames@icloud.com