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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Squad Hammer updates

 While all the focus is on hunting down typos in Five Parsecs glossy mega-cool edition, here is a small update for Squad Hammer Core:

The introduction of the Armored trait. This is a simple yes/no status that can be applied to any unit. Is it armored or is it not?

Likewise, unit firepower is now simply rated as being good, weak or no anti-armor capability. If it is good, you can fire at armored targets normally. If it is weak, you fire at -1 to hit. If a unit lacks anti-armor, they can still attempt firing but now do only 1 point of damage (incidental damage, suppressing etc.).

This should make it much simpler for people creating units on the fly. The sample units in the PDF have been updated as well. 


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Five Parsecs new version FAQ

 As you have no doubt seen, Five Parsecs will be available from Modiphius in a glossy, hardcover book as well as hitting retail. This is super exciting but I know you all have a ton of questions!

So let me try to answer as many as possible, in no particular order.

Practical questions:

(With the caveat that detailed questions should go to Modiphius)

Who owns Five Parsecs now?

I still own it. Modiphius is publishing the new game, but I retain ownership of the IP. 

What do I get if I buy the book on pre-order?

The pre-order gets you an early copy of the PDF right away to peruse and start playing. This gives us another week or so to catch any last minute typos.

The books should print in about a month or so if all goes well.

Will there be a US shipping option?

I've been told that once the books go to the print in about a month or so, there will be a US-friendly shipping option for the pre-order which would save you a bit on shipping. 

You absolutely can order now to get the PDF ahead of time, but you'll pay a bit more for shipping.

Will there be a PDF only option? 

Once the books are printing, a stand-alone PDF will also be available. 

Will there be a retail version?

Some books are going into retail. I am not sure about numbers or through which distributors. 

What about the old material?

This new edition replaces the previous version. In essence, it is "3rd edition". As such, the old version and expansions are currently not available for sale (though it will remain available in your library on the Wargame Vault page. If you run into any difficulties with this, let me know). 

Bug Hunt is still available, serving as both an intro game and a standalone title.


As with most old titles I've done, the old material, including expansions, will be available again in a bundle, likely as Pay What You Want, but I need to go through it all to find out what is compatible with what and what is not. Some of the oldest packs were getting a bit long in the tooth and were already having compatibility issues.

Watch this blog for news.

Will X game also come to Modiphius?

Time will tell. The current deal is for Five Parsecs. 

What happens to Patreon now?

There will still be a 5P item each month. It will likely switch more towards scenarios rather than new rules, which is something I had been planning for a while in any event (and everyone likes more scenarios to play). 

New scenarios will be compatible with both 2e and 3e as much as possible, for as long as interest remains. 

Will there be new expansions from Modiphius?

This is planned yes. 

What did not change:

The game is still miniatures agnostic, allowing you to use any figures you have (or intend on getting), it still uses the same core game engine, the game play loop of Town - Battle - Rewards remains the same. In fact, if you were playing one of the last updates, your crew can probably transfer over pretty readily (but there's some exciting reasons to start a new crew). 

A number of rules have been tweaked and polished to remove some of the edge cases or just make things clearer. Notably armor is now handled by a saving throw, instead of a Toughness boost.  

There are a lot of little tweaks like that to ensure the game runs as well as possible while remaining the same game you've come to enjoy.

What got upgraded:

Well, the visuals for one: The new layout should be much clearer and easier to use as well as lavishly illustrated in a way that really brings Unified Space to life for the first time. 

* Pretty much every random table has been expanded: Results are better and more interesting now, entries that didn't work as well has been fixed up and there's more outcomes possible overall. This will also help long-term play as you'll have less duplicates. 

* This carries over to other things too: For example the game now has 36 weapon types and over 60 types of equipment, including gun sights and weapon mods! 

Equipment has also been reworked to be more interesting and exciting, cut down on overlapping items and fix any equipment rules that were a bit hard to use.

* Rules are now provided to play with a smaller base crew size, if you prefer using only 4 characters (for example). 

* Campaign victory conditions (with unlockable bonus ranks) and 5 difficulty settings are included. 

* There are now 16 types of mission objective, depending on the type of battle you are facing, giving your crew far more to do than just shoot the bad guys in the face. 

* 60 enemy types in total, with 22 personality types to lead them. All enemies have been touched up with bonuses, penalties or particular conditions to make them more interesting. 

All of the above should help make this the definitive edition of the rules BUT

What is new:

*Character creation now includes 6 types of alien character, robot characters and a total of 18 "oddball" character types. You can now have a proper space-opera crew. Each alien species has its own quirks and starting profiles taken from the Unified Space setting.

Additionally, these are fully integrated into the game. Many random events have different outcomes or effects if you have certain characters in your crew. 

*Your starship now enters the game as well. Ships can get damaged, requiring you to repair them (or risk a disaster), can have special traits and can be upgraded with any of 14 upgrades, from drop launchers to military fuel converters.

Your ship can even be impounded or blown to bits. 

*When traveling to a new world, a new starship travel events table is used. 

*Planets now have a random trait table, making each location more distinctive.

*A setting chapter is included, introducing the player to the world of Unified Space, as well as a very cool colony map to use as inspiration. The game is also fully part of the Unified Space setting, reflected in both random events and characters.

*A 7 step story-driven campaign is included to play through, pitting you against an old rival out to make your life miserable. 

* An optional set of random battle events allowing for more unpredictable and exciting battles.

*Options have been added for grid based gameplay on tiles, super-difficult Red Zone jobs and more.

*An extensive GM'ing and scenario section with rules for story connections between battles, 12 NPC profiles, mechanics for advancing plot points and faction conflict and a lot more. 

This section is also useful for people who want to flesh out the narrative connections between their battles and is perfect for people who would like to run the game more like an RPG, where a GM creates scenarios and the players fight the bad guys.

Five Parsecs From Home like you've never seen it before

 A day early but here we go:

The big project I've been alluding to is here: A glossy, full-color, lavishly illustrated and massively expanded version of Five Parsecs From Home is being published by Modiphius!

This beast of a book is over 180 pages, features absolutely gorgeous custom artwork and a ton of expanded material and new content. 

I'll have a thorough FAQ later today discussing the changes, what this means going forward and a bunch of other no-doubt burning questions.

For now, swing over to and grab your pre-order. You get a link to the early version of the PDF right away.

There should be a US shipping option in a month or so and a PDF only option once the book is going to print. You can still order it state-side right away but it will of course be a few extra bucks for shipping.

Five Leagues - Combat drags on?

If you feel that combat in Five Leagues drags on a bit too long, adopt the following house rule:

All Toughness scores are reduced by 1 in melee combat (but not when subject to ranged attacks, traps, hazards or any other source of danger).

That should speed things up a bit without breaking anything too badly. All other rules remain as normal.