Monday, 29 February 2016

Shako to Coalshuttle. Initial FAQ

In connection with the beta, here's a preliminary FAQ from a few things that's come up already.

I'll go back and edit this as more questions come up, as I see fit.

Are firing bonus dice per stand or per unit?

When calculating the number of firing dice (or charge dice for that matter), unless the entry in the table specifically says "per stand", it's always a fixed unit bonus. 
For example, infantry with magazine rifles get 1 die per stand, plus 2 dice added on top of that.

How does cavalry fire?

They don't. While some cavalry throughout the period would carry carbines or pistols, their use was usually pretty limited.
For troops that fought as mounted infantry, use the Light Infantry troop type instead.

Why is infantry able to charge cavalry?

A charge in game terms is any deliberate, energetic advance on the enemy position, not purely and specifically a bayonet charge.
If an infantry unit comes close enough, we can assume the cavalry would likely fall back rather than be shot to pieces. 
If the charge does result in hand-to-hand fighting, we figure that the cavalry counter-charged under fire.

Just what is the ground scale?

Heavily abstracted. We start from the assumption that smoothbore muskets can reach about 6" on the tabletop and then built the other weapon ranges around that, occasionally adjusted quite heavily to account for the range where troops could inflict significant damage. 

Yes, there's plenty of instances where infantry fired at very long ranges but when we look at, for example, the American civil war, troops didn't typically fight at distances that were remotely near the technical capability of their rifle muskets.

How should we handle troops of mixed quality?

For the time being, if an army includes troops of highly varied troop quality, simply assign the army a reasonable average. 
I suspect there'll be more detailed rules for this later on.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fancy the 19th century for wargaming?

While I get down editing some of the recent submissions (and get on top of my overdue email), I wanted to get this out there, before my move to Michigan soon.

This is an early beta for "From Shako to Coalscuttle", a perhaps over-ambitious attempt to tackle 19th and early 20th century warfare, NWG style.

Do note that this is not a Fivecore game, though you'll recognize some concepts in there.

Go grab the download, throw me a buck as a tip if you like or grab it for free, get some mini's on the table and let me know how it shakes out.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Something silly. The internet debate game

Alright, here are some quick rules for internet debates as a war game.

* * *


You can play this in any scale. Pick one figure for each. Paint them kind of shabbily.

* * *


Set your figures up 6 inches apart on a plain, featureless table.

* * *

The one with the loudest voice is the attacker.

The defender begins by saying literally anything. If in doubt, roll 1D6 on the topic table below.

1 Food

2 Casual TV entertainment

3 Music

4 A sports team or athlete

5 A political candidate

6 General philosophy of life.

Roll again to determine the delivery.

1 Plain and matter of fact.

2 Indecipherable text-speak.

3 Smug superiority.

4 Snide insinuation that you're the only one who "gets it".

5 Obvious joke or exaggeration

6 Question looking for information.

If the roll is 6, a second roll of 5+ will establish that the question is actually asked to promote an agenda.

Roll 5+ for the defender to be an obvious troll.

* * *

The attacker now takes their turn. Roll below for the attack form.

1 Declare that their opinion is garbage. Do not present evidence.

2 Insult the competence, dedication or maturity of the defender.

3 Insinuate they are a paid shill for some big industry or political agency.

4 Ignore what they actually said and start a ramble on an unrelated pet issue. This makes you the new defender.

5 Pedantry attack! Mis-spellings, getting a year wrong, phrasing something incorrectly is all fair game. Ignore the context.

6 The nuclear option. Call them Hitler.

If option 6 is used, a D6 roll of 6 will cause an unrelated person to enter the argument, becoming the new Defender with the statement "Actually, Hitler wasn't that bad". (on Reddit, this changes to a 4+ roll, on 4chan, it changes to 1+ on 3D6)

* * *

Each round, players now alternate being attackers.

For every round, roll 3D6, with each 5+ allowing an additional person to enter the debate.

When a person enters, they will attack a random poster in the debate.

* * *

Once 3 rounds have passed, each attacker has a 5+ roll to be effective.

The defender rolls on their reaction table below.

1 Leave the debate.

2 Leave the debate. Declare that you have "real work to do".

3 Leave the debate. Declare that you won.

4 Drop an extra long post about how you are a navy seal and is going to kill their entire family.

5 Say that you are leaving the site (and the internet). Don't.

6 Threaten to get the attacker banned.

* * *

Enjoy the game. There are no winners.

Monday, 22 February 2016

NWG Games spotlight: Trench Storm

Cheers gamers!
Over the coming Mondays, I'll put a little spotlight on various products in the sizeable Nordic Weasel Games catalogue.

For this week, the spotlight is Trench Storm located here:

Trench Storm, originally published by the Tin Dictator, covers world war 1 at the battalion level and below, with each squad represented by a single stand or base.
Using simple, straight-forward combat mechanics, the rules let you get to grips with low-level trench fighting, without being bogged down by complicated rules.

The rules include tanks, assault troops, cavalry, artillery fire, gas and all the other hazards you associate with the Great War.

Best of all, the entire game is only 6 dollars and is a stand-alone experience.

If you have any questions regarding Trench Storm, do not hesitate to get in touch with me at

DId you visit Kursk yet? Post-release talk.

If you didn't already, go get your copy. It's the meanest and most in your face that FiveCore has ever been.

Now, a few people have asked: What does this mean for FiveCore? Will there be Kursk versions of Company command and Brigade commander?

Okay, so there's been various new things I've wanted to try with FiveCore, things that would change the rules in dramatic ways, points that frequently come up as deal-breakers for dealer or just things I've grown to dislike.

But there's also a significant customer base that like things just the way they are.

Additionally, I think the design demands for a generic system are different than for one aimed at a specific setting or historical period.
When you write a generic game, you can be very vague and open-ended, because you always expect the player to do some of the leg-work.
When you read about people's FiveCore games, they always modify the rules a fair bit, and that's the expectation. A generic game system will do 90% of the work. It's like those "bake at home pizzas". You could have made it from scratch, but sometimes you just want to add like one topping, and then toss it in the oven, you know?

So FiveCore will remain as it is now, as a series of generic games ,suitable for expansion and modification.
Something you can grab, slot a particular period or miniature into and have a fun game quickly.

Kursk will form the blueprint for a new series of games, using the new mechanical structure of Five Men at Kursk but aimed initially at world war 2 specifically.
This means that things like unit creation and support tables can be made to account for specific armies, at specific points of time, for example.

The idea is that if you want to play an in-depth ww2 campaign, you'll buy a Kursk game, while if you want an open framework for your own games, you'll go with FiveCore.

Being more concise also means that it will be easier to support it with expansions, because you can get a lot more specific.
So covering specific military campaigns or nationalities will be easier to do, which ultimately benefits everybody.

I would like to also redo Five Parsecs as a stand-alone system, with rules based off the Kursk model, but we'll see what this year shows.
There's also quite a bit of interesting stuff waiting in the wings, from various people. 2016 will be pretty crazy I think.

Too long, didn't read?

Kursk isn't FiveCore 2nd (3rd) edition, but it IS a different way forward.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

While we wait, now for something completely different

Kursk should be up and official tomorrow.

While you wait, why not test out some "sandbox" infantry patrol rules I knocked together?

All you need is 8 or so professional soldiers and some insurgents for them to fight.
Comes with hidden enemy/solo rules and is focused around movement and flanking.

You could probably test it with some scifi figures too, if you like.

PDF can be found at
this place

It should open, even if you don't have a Google account. If it gives you a headache, let me know.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Generating a battle for Five Men at Kursk

Today, we'll do a quick look at how to roll up a random force and a mission for them to undertake.

We'll use Soviets as the example, since I just finished all the tables for them.

We'll use 1944 as an example.

The squad:
First step is to determine the number of men we'll have. We will be starting with only 7, meaning we've likely lost a few along the way.

Soviet squads receive a single Commander figure, representing the squad leader. If we were a Guards formation, we'd have a small chance of receiving a second, representing a particularly trustworthy squad member but we'll have to make do.

We roll 3 dice to see if we have any Key Individuals that would boost our squads ratings but no such luck. Everyone is fresh off the farm, I guess.

The first part is our support team. This will have our DP machine gun and a rifle man.

The second part is our squad leader. He'll have the choice of a rifle or sub machine gun. We pick an SVT semi-auto rifle for him.

The remaining squad is the rifle portion but as Soviets, we'll be able to swap two of the rifles for sub machine guns.

Doing so will give us 2 rifles and 2 SMG, which seems fine. We go ahead with that.

Now we can roll for a few variations. The only roll that succeeds is to obtain a pistol, which we'll give to one of the two riflemen. He's managed to scrounge up a Luger from a dead Fascist.

Troop ratings:
Our squad will have the standard rating for late war Soviets, giving us:

Mobility 1
Fire Discipline 3
Morale 4
Coordination 2

This gives us one bonus move each turn (the same as western allies, less than the Fascists), 3 reactions per turn (pretty average), 4 rallying attempts per turn (high) and since our coordination is lower than the average German squad, they'll get a bonus action die each turn.

Overall, the Germans will get more actions and move a bit more frequently but we'll be able to rally our troops quicker.

We'll generate two characters for the squad: Our squad leader and the rifleman with the pistol.
We could skip this part, but why play a campaign if we don't roleplay a little?

Our squad leader was a white collar professional before the war,working in some office in Moscow. He is motivated by bloody-minded Revenge against the German invaders and his outlook is Accepting, which is the most common.

A somewhat bitter individual but he submits himself to the necessities of the war effort.

We'll go ahead and say that our rifleman has become one of his few true friends. A true proletarian of working class roots, the sense of brotherhood in the army is what keeps him going.
Unfortunately, he is in Despair.
The war has been too long, too many of his friends have disappeared before his eyes.

Ouch. That gave the campaign a bit of a dark tone.

The mission:
We're ready to undertake our first mission then.
This will be a meeting engagement and the objective is a General Combat Patrol.
This means we don't have a specific objective indicated, we're to move into the area and pick a fight with whoever we find out there.

A perfect mission for a slightly under-strength squad.

Turns out we'll be doing so with a support element on our side.
A roll gives us some mortar support. I guess company wants to make sure this patrol goes smooth.

We narrate that the front is fairly quiet right now, so the company has sent our squad out to go kick up the hornets nest. The squad leader has a few flares in his pocket and the mortars have been sighted on likely target spots.

The opposition:
The dice give us about the same composition for the enemy. One squad and one support element.
The roll for support gives them an extra MG team. Not good. Hopefully we can use our mortar fire to suppress them.

With all that, we're ready to go in. Hope we all make it back out!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Five Men at Kursk game example

Are you curious about how the new rules will work in Five Men at Kursk?

Been itching for some ww2 skirmish action?

I have a game example available for you, walking through a single game turn.
This will give you an idea of the new turn structure, the basics of movement, activations, rallying and firing and how reactions and the new squad ratings work.

Don't put too much stuck in the couple of photos, they are just to spice things in up.

Get it here

The link is to a PDF file of the game example. Let me know if it doesn't work for you.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Five Men at Kursk progress

Infantry combat is done.

Advanced rules mostly done. Stealth needs to be added (copy from the Field Guide) and random event tables done.

Vehicles are done.

Force generation is done.

Weapons are done, with one or two small tweaks left.

Solo rules are being done today.

Campaign rules next.

Also commissioned some artwork based off famous ww2 photos. I think you guys will dig.

We're coming up on the end guys.