Monday, 30 March 2015

Various other StarStrike factoids

A few other things that has come up or is likely to:

*The tone is what I'd call "semi-hard scifi space adventure". Traveller, Laserburn, early 40K. That'll give you a pretty good idea.

* The game is aimed at a release by the end of April if all goes well. Later, if things drag out.
I like to keep cycles short but obviously everything has to fall into place well and I want to make sure I feel good about the game.

*The rules will include a points system where you can create your own units by selecting from a pretty good range of troop types and an expansive armoury.

Points are intended for guidance, rather than hardcore tournament play.

*The official setting will be a suggestion rather than a mandate. It'll incorporate the setting of Five Parsecs From Home with the alien races from No Stars in Sight.
This is what I refer to as the "weasel-verse".

*There won't be a random force generator this time around.

*You will be able to design your own vehicles.

*Basic campaign rules will be included. They'll probably be fairly simple but will allow some continuation for players who like to portray the same troops in consecutive battles.

*Alien races will be based on the ones from No Stars in Sight. This means 10 or 11 critter types corresponding to a pretty good selection of classic alien archetypes, with heavy roots in things like Mass Effect, Traveller and other classic games and worlds.

*A decent selection of rules for scifi battlefields like low gravity, hostile environments and other strangeness.

*Miniatures depicted in the rules will include Armies Army and Angel Barracks.

StarStrike part 4: Dakka dakka

After a hectic weekend, here's part 4 of the upcoming StarStrike rules: How to shoot people!

Rather than delve into a blow by blow of everything, I'll just share the highlights:

* Weapons have two range bands: Assault range and Aim range.
Some unit orders limit you to firing at assault range.
Assault range gives a hit bonus
Stationary troops increase their Aim range (by their Training score).

Shots beyond Aim range are un-aimed and have a flat 10% chance of hitting.

*All attacks have a 10% chance of forcing the target to go "Heads Down".
Figures that take a hit but survive also go Heads Down.

*Most weapons cause an area of effect. For an assault rifle, it's 1" wide and 3" deep. This forces you to spread out.

*Explosives can go all over the place. Troops hit by explosives can attempt to hit the dirt and if your men are very disciplined, a trooper could even throw themselves on the grenade, though that usually means curtains for that trooper!

*Weapons are fairly deadly. A soldier wearing light armour has about a 60% chance of becoming a casualty from an assault rifle.

*Weapons can have different traits, such as different ammo types, increased suppression, heavy etc.

*The rules include options for heavy weapon teams with multiple crew members.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

StarStrike part 3: Moving about

I was curious if I should do a section on movement rules since they're usually one of the least exciting parts of a game.

But I have a lot of stuff to get done today, so I figure I might go cheap and just do that :-)

When a unit is activated, they can move and fire (assuming their orders permit so)

Figures can fire before or after they move, so if I activate a squad of 5 troopers, I might fire 2 of them, then move everybody, then take the remaining 3 shots.

Each figure has a movement Speed, determining by the armour worn, typically around 5 inches. Difficult ground and obstacles is a movement reduction (1" used to enter/exit rough terrain or climb a low obstacle).
Nice and quick.

Individual figures get a +1 movement bonus, heroes get a +2 (which stacks with the individual bonus).
Certain figures may also have traits that let them move further.

There's no inherent "double time" option. I may revisit that but I feel pretty good about the movement rates as they are right now, particularly on a smaller table.

If a unit needs to move faster, the leader can use some of his order points as well. Each order spent on movement will let one figure take an additional full move.
Handy for getting a particular trooper in the right firing position.

Bullets everywhere:
Movement is of course interdicted by reaction fire.

Each unit has a zone of control, which is twice their Discipline score, typically 8-12". If enemies move within that distance, they are subject to reaction shots though such fire has a pretty low chance of hitting anything (essentially 10% chance of a hit, 10% chance of a pin).

Units that are concerned about it can use the Prowl and Evade orders to move more cautiously and avoid taking reaction shots.

A unit can be given the Alert order,which lets them reaction fire anywhere in their line of sight though it doesn't increase the hit chances.

Essentially, reaction fire is a persistent risk but a manageable one. A unit with a few enemies in sight can't wander about as they please but they are not doomed if they try to move out either.


Tomorrow, we'll tackle shooting people and how they respond to being shot :-)

Friday, 27 March 2015

StarStrike part 2: Turn sequence

Alright, so we know what our troops look like.

Time to take a look at the turn sequence then.

This is fundamentally an old-fashioned alternating turn sequence with a few twists.

The initiative roll:
If both sides have troops left to act, each player rolls 1D10 and adds the highest Training score of their un-activated units.

Whoever rolls highest gets to activate.

On a draw, each player must "exhaust" one unit or individual of their choice, that lose the ability to activate this turn.

What does that all mean?
It has a few interesting impacts:

First, particularly in games with a lot of elements on each side (and thus, a lot of initiative rolls), not all of your units will get to act, but most will.
Those that fail to act can still do some, limited, reaction fire.

Since units may be exhausted, there's an incentive to make sure that each side has a few individual figures detached.

Since initiative is rolled using the highest Training score you have left, there's some tactics in whether a good unit activates early (so they can fire or move before other units act) or you hold them back, to boost your initiative rolls.
Keeping a high Training individual figure in "reserve" is a valid tactic and helps represent the effects of leadership.

One side could activate several times in a row if they have high Training scores or good rolls. This tends to even out, as the enemy will get a bunch of clustered activations as well but it makes for some fun opportunities to coordinate attacks or improve a position.

When the unit activates, they have 6 orders to select from.

3 are full move speed orders and 3 are half speed orders.

At full speed you can:
Engage: Move and fire normally.
Evade: Move without taking reaction fire. No shooting.
Storm: Move, fire at short range and get a bonus move to reach hand to hand fighting.

At half speed you can:
Prowl: Half move without taking reaction fire, fire at short range.
Alert: Half move, does not shoot normally but may reaction fire at long range.
Regroup: Half move, no shooting, may attempt to restore their morale.

Each leader receives from 1-3 leadership points. When the leader activates, he/she/it may give that number of orders to figures within 8".

An order can give a figure a full speed bonus move, an additional shot at normal range, recover from being pinned down or get the benefits of cover.

This makes well led units quite powerful, since they can operate with a lot of flexibility. A squad with a level 3 leader could regroup and still take a few shots for example.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

StarStrike. Organizing your troops.

One of the several projects that I have, at various stages of completion, is StarStrike.

What is StarStrike? It is a set of science fiction rules for about 20-40 figures on each side, aiming at a bit more conventional "space adventure" than the hard scifi that you got with No Stars in Sight.

The always awesome Alexander Wasberg did a playtest in 6mm on his blog, but I imagine most would play in the usual 15-through-28mm scale.
Personally, I mostly skirmish in 15mm, though I've wanted a few units of GZG 25mm figures for a long time.

I figured I'd give you guys a few hints at what the game plays like.

Today, we'll talk about your units:

The unit:

The standard "squad" will be 4-6 figures, though there's no particular reason they couldn't be bigger.

I find that slightly smaller squads tend to just flow better on a busy gaming table and it provides more distinct units to use.
If you have 30 troops, I'd generally rather have 6 teams of 5 each, than 3 teams of 10.

Squads are not forced to operate within a certain distance of each other, though there are tactical benefits to doing so, in particular, receiving the benefits of the leader.

A squad may have a leader, though it's not a requirement.
Whenever the squad activates, the leader receives a number of commands.
Orders are essentially bonus points and can be used to give a figure an extra move, an extra shot, cover when they wouldn't have it normally or rally from being pinned without having to test.

To receive these benefits, you have to be within 8" of the leader, which creates an incentive to stick together, without forcing it.

You can also have individual figures who operate on their own, either as combatants or as leaders.
A squad may even detach a soldier to operate as an individual, to guard a flank or hang back to provide covering fire.

In a typical game, I imagine you'll be limited to 1 individual per squad.

There are three stats determined by troop type, all rated from 1-10:
Discipline (used to recover from being pinned down and for reaction fire)
Training (affecting weapons fire and initiative)
Morale (affects how stoic your troops are when their friends get wasted)

Two more stats come from the armour worn:
Speed (movement rates)
Survival (a mash-up of toughness, luck and physical protection)

In addition, there'll be a list of character traits that can be used to improve a figure in certain ways (18 at the moment, I imagine between 20-25 total in the finished game).

The fancy stuff:
Rounding out the details, there's some Space Magic and Heroes.
I imagine big, scary space monsters will be a thing too.

Next time, I'll talk about the turn sequence. Let me know your hopes and fears :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A shared universe

I like the idea of a shared universe that multiple games can be set in.

I am kicking around a few ideas, including FiveCore rules for the alien critters found in No Stars in Sight and vice versa (bringing Hulkers, Psychos etc. to the NSIS battlefields).

On top of that, I am examining some possibilities for some collaborative projects. Stay tuned..

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Random Nation Generator, just for you

If you like "imagi-nation" games where you set a campaign in a made-up country, this is for you.
This is the Nation Generator from an upcoming brushfire wars supplement, suitable for any rules system you use for mid-to-late 20th century gaming.

You get tables to generate 13 factors, including corruption, government type and government popularity.

The supplement is available on a pay-what-you-want basis.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Scifi skirmish playtest rules

While other projects continue in the background, I've been working on something that might be of interest.
It's a scifi skirmish game, in that nebulous "around platoon size" level.

Individual figures, fairly conventional mechanics (alternating activations with a bit of a twist), each figure fires individually.
Some suppression is built into the mechanics and most weapons produce an area of effect.

Squad leaders can issue orders that can push troops to move faster, fire more shots or get them back on their feet.

The aim is a relatively conventional scifi game with a few clever bits that will, eventually, be able to accommodate most any scifi figures, including the more "space fantasy" lines out there.

Take it as my attempt to write a new Rogue Trader.

If you are interested in taking a look and, more importantly, putting a few miniatures on the table and seeing what happens, take a peek.

Dropbox link here

If you have issues with dropbox, email me and I'll send directly.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The round up

Brigade Commander is out and you can buy it for money here

Did you guys get tired of the green and black covers yet?

I did an interview over here so if you're curious, pop on over. It's a great blog to read through in any event.

Post-apocalyptic fivecore is about half done.
Scifi rules for Company Commander is all done except some images and a cover. It'll be about 15 pages or so.
With the prices of second hand Epic miniatures nowadays, an army of 10-12 stands is probably the best way to go in any event ;)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

FiveCore rules clarifications: Overlap in kill and shock dice

Kicking someone that's down is a nasty thing to do but all is fair in wargaming :)

So what happens if multiple Shock or Kill dice results take effect:

The multiple effects are due to one attack:
If I fire upon you, and roll more than one result, the most severe is applied and the rest are either transferred to nearby figures or ignored.

6's take precedent over 1's and Kill dice takes precedent over Shock dice.

I roll a Knock Down and a Bail. The target is Knocked Down and the closest figure within 6" Bails (if any are present).

I inflict status effects on a unit already subject to one:
For example, if I shoot on a unit that is Down or Bailed.

In unit based FiveCore games (Company Commander and the upcoming Brigade Commander), you apply all movement based effects (from Shock Dice), then the unit becomes subject to the most severe effect applicable and all other effects are ignored.

From most to least severe:
*Knock Down/Damage
*Hunkered Down

If I shoot at a squad that is Down and force them to Bail, they will retreat as per a Bail result, then resume being Down.
They are not Down AND Bailed. If they recover from being Down, they are fully recovered.

Individual models:
If the target is an individual model (FiveCore skirmish games or vehicles in Company Commander), the Knock Down/Damage status takes precedent and prevents any retreats from taking place.
Once Knocked Down, Shock dice do not impact the unit any further.

Harsh option:
Players may elect that forcing a Knocked Down/Damaged unit to Bail will eliminate it from the game.

Walk it off:
Inflicting a Knock Down/Damage result on a unit already in that status has no additional effect. The effects are not cumulative.

* * * * * 

The upshot of all this is that units can only ever suffer from one status effect at any given time.