Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Starport Scum beta

If all goes well, a beta version of Starport Scum will be up tomorrow or, worse case, Thursday.

This will include the game rules and the toolkits to build traits and weapons (obviously in any early version).

It will also include alien races (which Clash or No Stars players should find very familiar).

It will NOT include any campaign rules, random character creation or any of those parts.
It will likely not include any artwork either.

It'll be available on the Vault as a Pay What you Want, letting you either grab it for free or throw a few bucks my way to support development.

The beta for "From Shako to Coalscuttle' will likely end soon, as I move to get the game up to publishing.
If you haven't grabbed it yet, go do so this week.

Editing is commencing on Allied Storm, the ww2 port of Laserstorm. I'll post a bit more news soon.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Setting up a No End in Sight scenario

So with the 2nd edition rules released, I am going to talk a little bit about No End in Sight, particularly some of the parts that maybe set it apart from other post-ww2 skirmish games.

I am a big fan of campaign games and in particular, character-driven ones.

We're going to use the Platoon Checklist to set things up:

First and foremost, we need to decide who and where we are.

We'll take the side of law and order, being a platoon of troops loyal to El Presidente, fighting a rebellion.

We could use most any miniatures for this, but I do happen to have unpainted west germans lying about and G3's seem fine for this sort of activity.

Okay, so the platoon structure will be 3 squads of 6 men each, each squad having an MG42/MG3.
Individual platoon leader and a senior sergeant leading them.

The platoon has a single anti-tank weapon available, but with no crew provided, it has to be manned by one of the squads.

This gives us 20 figures, which won't be a huge expense to set up.

For troop type, we decide our grunts are Trained.
Regular soldiers with decent training but not good enough to be considered Professionals by any stretch.

Battle experience
To determine their battle experience, we review the 10 possible factors that can influence that.

From what list, we determine that we are subject to:

Institutional experience (from western advisors)
Military prestige (those fancy berets)
Long war (the insurgency has been going on for some time)

But we're also subject to "quantity over quality" as the brass wants to look good by having big parades.

The result is a +2.

We roll a D6 for each squad, with each 1-2 giving us a veteran squad. Luckily, we get two squads of veterans.

There's 8 possible factors here.
We decide we qualify for Political Unrest, Poor Leadership and Reluctant/War Weary, but we do get the Defensive War bonus.

That's a total of -3, so we'll roll for each squad, with a 1-3 giving them Low motivation.

The dice are not kind and that's the entire platoon.

As a result, while our men know their craft and are well trained, they don't really see much reason dying for some loud-mouthed fool with too many medals.

Charismatic leaders
We check the factors that we feel might apply and get Basic Military training, Institutional experience and Battle experience, but also Corrupt military culture and Harsh discipline.

As a result, we can roll a single D6, with a 6 giving us a charismatic leader.

We're lucky and get one, assigning it to one of the veteran squad leaders.

A campaign is no good without a player avatar, so our platoon leader will be it.
Tasked with leading this bunch of ill-motivated grunts to victory, we'll generate him as a fully fledged character.

By using the random tables, we determine he is a Long Term soldier motivated by Revenge.
His leadership style is Domineering and he has the character traits of being Punctual but also Dishonest.


We'll take this to mean that the rebels killed someone near and dear to him and as a result, he's taken a pragmatic approach, being willing to do whatever it takes to get even.

This probably doesn't endear him much to the men, but hopefully it won't mean we'll get fragged.

We'll set up the second in command as well, our senior sergeant.

He's an upper class kid, with an ideological motivation who leads by the book.
Likely came out of a military school and believes in doing things the right way to defend his country.

His traits are Quarrelsome and Fearless.

Easy to see that the men would probably like him better but I get a feeling that we're NOT going to get along well off the battle-field.
* * * * *
WIth just 5 minutes work (if even that), we've gone from "generic men with green face paint" to a platoon we can recognise and understand on the gaming table.

Good gaming is about the stories that happen (I believe) and I hope this helps illustrate how that can be done very painfree.

We'll roll up a scenario for them tomorrow.

Friday, 27 May 2016

General updates

In no particular order:

*I have some ideas for some sort of grand fantasy setting. Not sure what the end product will be. RPG setting? Wargame? both? Neither?
I'll share a few ideas later, but look forward to something over the summer.

*Updates happening over the summer: No Stars in Sight. Company Command. Brigade Commander.
Not sure which happens first but FiveCore Company Command is likely it.

*Still working on a Poland supplement for ww2. It'll be focused on Five Men at Kursk but I imagine it'll end up covering Company Command and Brigade Commander as well.

*I have manuscripts for WW1 Brigade Commander and a WW2 conversion of LaserStorm. These will happen in the early summer. The former likely after the Brigade Commander update/revision.

*You will have noticed that I raised the price slightly for the revised versions of FiveCore skirmish and No End in Sight. With the improvements, I felt that the old price was selling myself a little bit short.
The games are still ridiculously good value for the money.

*I am looking towards commission some original art for Clash on the Fringe and then positioning the game towards a more professional print release. No concrete news yet there though.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

No End in Sight second edition is live!

Go ahead and download your game files again and you'll have it in your eager, digital hands.

I was going to list all the changes, but almost everything has been touched up in some manner.

So instead, let me summarise some of the bigger changes:

*Leaders can now give orders to groups of up to 3 figures in contact with each other.
This makes it easier to handle large squads but at the loss of some flexibility.

*In addition to being Trained, Professional and Irregular, troops can now also be rated for motivation and experience.
Green Professionals (Germans in Afghanistan) or Veteran Irregulars (Battle-hardened militia troops) are a distinct possibility.

*Base movement rates are 4" now.

*Permanent stress is gone. Much easier now.

*An option has been added to help facilitate 2-3 platoon battles.

*More weapon details including most of what you might need for a ww2 era battle.

*Retreating has been rewritten. Troops in cover are now much harder to shift unless you advance on them, while troops in the open will head for cover very quickly, if they take fire.

*Assaults have been rewritten to be simpler and essentially follow the normal shooting rules but deadlier.

*Vehicles now use a comparative system for anti-tank fire (similar to FiveCore) but with a D10 table.
Vehicles can now be immobilised, have guns knocked out or go "cold" with neither side knowing what happened.

*Artillery fire is better explained now. Its also a touch more detailed.

*Checklist has been added to make it easier to set up forces for a platoon and assign their ratings.

*Campaign rules and character creation has been fleshed out a little bit more.

And probably a bunch of things I forgot!

No Stars in Sight will follow at an unspecified future point, most likely this summer.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Starport Scum. GUNS

Space adventure requires plenty of firepower to survive and Starport Scum will let you build most any gun you can think of (mostly).

So here's how it works:

We start with the "basic firearm". This can be more or less anything that will kill enemies at a range in a modest fashion. A basic carbine, pistol or laser gun.

Nothing special, nothing exceptional. The basic firing rules assume this is what you have.

Weapon tags:
Like a character, a weapon can have any number of Tags. These give bonus dice, basically translating into a higher chance of killing your target.

Each Tag gives an extra die but ONLY when used by a character that is an Ace or Hero.
Giving a regular Goon the expensive hardware is a waste (the "Storm Trooper" effect).

So our hero may have a ACCURATE blaster pistol with a CUSTOM POWER PACK, giving him 2 extra dice. 
If a random grunt picked it up, they'd get no benefits from it though.

Can we do something fancy?
We can!
So the rules include 11 (currently) Effect Tags. These are specific rules effects a weapon may have.
Unlike the normal Tags, these do apply to a goon using them.

Examples of Effect Tags include a weapon having PIN POINT accuracy, letting it ignore cover or a FORCE BACK, pushing the target 2" away.

So let's create a squad support weapon.
We give it HEAVY CHARGE as a regular tag and the QUICK SHOT effect tag.
Now our gun fires twice per turn, and if used by an Ace or Hero, it'll get a bonus firing die.

Okay, so talk dirty:
Alright, so like character traits, any tag we apply can be given conditions to modify it.

Currently, there are 8 such conditions and we can apply any of them to any Effect Tag or regular Tag.

For example, see that custom blaster pistol above?
Lets apply CLOSE RANGE to the ACCURATE tag, limiting it to within 12".

If we want to make it a bit more personal, we can give the entire gun the SIGNATURE condition, letting the bonuses only apply when used by a specific character (no doubt a space smuggler).

What about that squad support weapon?
Lets limit it a touch to represent how heavy it is.
So the QUICK SHOT is now STATIC, applying only when stationary.
If we want to be more tricky, maybe we can apply BURST to the HEAVY CHARGE bonus die, limiting it to only apply against targets in the open.

So that's all sorts of stuff we can build!
It is, the goal is to be able to quickly put space guns together, lego-style.

Oh did I mention you can build gadgets and drugs too?
Fancy a stealth cloak?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Starport Scum!

Be any one.
Travel any where.

Die any time.

Starport Scum is the upcoming space adventure game from Nordic Weasel Games.
So what is it all about?

What are the rules like?

 The basic rules engine is quite simple, intended to move quickly and with minimum fuss.
Roll a small handful of dice, count off 5's and 6's, with 1 success pinning the target down, 2 successes knocks them Down and 3 or more scatters their remains all over the battle field.

Ranged combat and hand to hand work similar, with cover and armour providing a basic saving throw.

Initiative is an opposed roll, allowing an aggressive player to maintain initiative and move several figures in a row, while in a tightly contested battle, actions may pass back and forth between the players.

All in all, the rules could be squeezed into a single page, with a bit of small print. The goal is to play with virtually no explanation needed.

So how do I tell my guys apart?

Characters will have traits that set them apart.

A trait can be almost anything you can think of, but mechanically they boil down to either giving bonus dice or enabling an action to be taken.

A gruff old space marine sergeant may use his IRON WILL trait to resist alien mind control, while a HACKER trait might permit a roll to break into a secured door.
Meanwhile, an alien with LEVITATION can move up and down buildings without penalty.

This allows you to create characters for a scenario by literally just writing down a few keywords for each notable character.

That sounds a bit too freeform for me

If you want a more robust system, we give you that as well.
Traits can have Conditions applied from a supplied list (and you can add your own).

Let's say we have a SHARP SHOOTER trait that gives us an extra firing die.
Nice, right? But maybe that doesn't quite feel right.

Lets give it the Static condition. Now, we can only get the bonus die while standing still.
Or we could make it Mobile. Now, we HAVE to move to get the bonus die, maybe suitable for a hit-and-run assassin?

Okay, that's cool but can you get a bit more crazy?

Let's start with a trait we invent called HIDE.
When used, it lets the user disappear from view.

A good candidate for Static, but what if we also apply Exclusive (which prevents other traits from being used in the same turn)?
Now it's a demanding stealth power that strains the alien using it and requires them to concentrate.
Or what if we make it Targeted to Droids. Now we have an alien race that is invisible to non-organic lifeforms. Wild.

The idea is that you can simply scribble some notes on paper but if you want to get creative, you have an incredibly robust build-system that is also incredibly simple to use.
Simply pick your traits and apply any conditions you need.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about GUNS. Because what good is space adventure if you can't shoot things?

Friday, 13 May 2016

A teaser, not a final cover.

I wonder what this could be . . .

Thursday, 12 May 2016

FiveCore 3rd edition is now available!

Another big update for you guys.

I am proud to announce that the FiveCore skirmish rules are now formally in their third edition.
This time however, its on the house. All you have to do is go download the new files from your Wargame Vault account.

I'd write a detailed change log but at this point nearly everything has been tweaked or adjusted in some way.

Rules have been tweaked, clarified or corrected and text has been fixed up to flow better.

In particular, the rules now list rules terms in bold text, making it far easier to pick out at a glance.
This also helps avoid confusion when common terms like “hiding” also has a game function.

I will touch on a few of the larger changes though:

*The turn sequence has a few tweaks.
The core sequence is still the same as it has always been, but before play you now roll 3 activation dice and set them aside.
These are your “reserve dice” and you can use them up at any point to replace a normal activation roll.

*Squads with superior tactics or training now get to activate an extra figure each turn.
This was always implied but now its explicit and clear.
The force generators will let you determine this randomly if desired.

*During Scurry and Firefight turns, the number of reacting enemies is limited to the number of active figures.
This avoids the, admittedly hilarious, example of a single guy scurrying from cover and causing an entire enemy platoon to come after him.

*The Stealth rules now match the ones introduced in the Field Guide, which includes Patrol points for sentries and the option to use Deception and create Distractions. I happen to think its wicked cool.

*Cover is a bigger deal now with bonus dice against nearby targets in the open.

*Pinned/Hunkered Down has been combined into a single status effect and the Shock dice have been revised a little bit.

*New weapons and gadgetry has been added and a few have been revised to be simpler.

*Two figures in contact with each other can move at the same time, for one activation.

*Firing while an inactive friend is in contact gives you extra Shock dice (suppressing fire) but you also suffer extra dice when enemies fire at you, since you present a pretty obvious target.

*Hand to hand fighting is a little more interesting now, with a wider range of outcomes.

*and approximately 10 million other updates.

Oh… there's a pulp plot generator. Nazis are using robot soldiers to deploy a doomsday weapon. Go!

If you have been on the fence about the system, now's the best time to check it out and if you're a regular player, I hope this is as much fun to read through as it was to write.

Company Command will be next, followed by Brigade Commander.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Major Chevauchee update

Chevauchee has seen a number of updates, so go download your files again.
A print-friendly version is also available in the download.

Updates include a bunch of small clarifications, changes to make the rules flow a lot better and more logically, there's now a non-random option to set up pick up games and a list of simple weapons to get you started without engaging with the full weapon system.
Some corrections as well to limit reaction fire a bit and clarify that black powder weapons can only fire once per full turn.

In other revision news, FiveCore skirmish players should start feeling excited. Soon..

Friday, 6 May 2016

Revision revision

Revision of No End in Sight mechanics is pretty much done, just gotta add some photos and make the text actually flow proper again.

Also a revision of FiveCore skirmish is due quite soon. :)

Both will be free updates. This one is on me.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Five Men in Normandy freebies

Reorganizing a few things on the Vault page.
For anyone that purchased Five Men in Normandy, you will find the mini-supplements Heavy Metal, Riflemans Guide and Irregular Encounters in your download sections as a freebie.

Consider it a thank you for your continued support.

FiveCore 1st edition owners also receive Heavy Metal as a freebie, so if you stuck with the original rather than switch to second edition, you're covered as well.