Monday, 31 July 2017

Unified Space in general. Inspirations

There are three army lists in the core Unity rules: Fringe-Spacers, Unity Agents and the K'Erin.

So where did these come from?

The Fringers are pretty much your average scavengers, scroungers, salvage crews, bandit gangs etc.

Fans of "rundown scifi" (Traveller, Firefly, Trigun etc.) tend to love these sorts and they can be modelled really well with gang models and a few adventurer types thrown in.

The army list permits the use of more rustic "nomads" as well as ex-army veterans so you can probably scrounge on your shelf and find a handful of suitable models.

Of course, being anarchic crazies, you can paint them any way you like.
A lot of table top gaming armies tend to look a bit same'ish, so being able to shake it up with purple hair, tattoos or bright red jackets will look very striking.

The Unity Agents take a little bit of inspiration from 40Ks inquisitors, but with a bit less grim-dark about them.
There's a few nice "special agent" models out there. but it can be a bit harder to fit into a game, especially as many generic games tend to aim for more of a military-sci-fi approach (unsurprising since we're wargaming after all).

The rest of the models in the unit will be various operatives and "volunteered" army guys, so most any human scifi troopers you have will work.

Standard color schemes in Unity is grey uniforms with dark red helmets or armor pieces, but since Agents have wide discretion, feel free to change that up.

What about the K'Erin then?
One of the enduring stereotypes in scifi is the "ritualistic warrior aliens".
Whether its Travellers Aslan, Klingons from Star Trek, Star Wars Wookies or the Turian in Mass Effect, these guys like to fight, typically have some sort of ritualized or highly structured existence and end up serving as mercenaries or forming very effective, expansionist armies.

Clash on the Fringe introduced the K'Erin as an example of the generic alien Warrior (originally introduced in No Stars In Sight) and with Unity Field Agent, it seemed reasonable to stop relegating them to being an example.

For K'Erin miniatures, there's a lot of options out there, so I tried to keep the description somewhat vague.
They're suggested as tending towards grey or even blue skin, as a nod to their Turian background, but go with anything you like.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Example of the UFA Mission deck

The way you set up a game is by drawing cards.
After all, if the regular game uses cards, why not also use them to set up?

It should be added that nothing prevents you from just throwing some terrain together and putting a couple Objective markers. This is, as always, icing on the cake.

So lets draw 6 cards and see how that plays out.

We remove the Jokers from the deck and then draw.

Normally you draw all the cards at the same time, but I find it more interesting to draw one at a time.

Step 1: Basic terrain
Each sector of the gaming table (about a foot by a foot) receives a few terrain features.
The guide is 1 large, 2 medium or 3-4 smaller features.

That'll give a pretty crowded table but the game does feel a lot more fun when played in this way.

Draw 1 - 6 of Hearts
Heart cards extend the length of the battle.
A standard battle lasts 8 "clicks" of the clock.
Practically that can be anywhere from 4 to 8 turns, depending on the card draw.
This card will raise the duration to 9.

Draw 2 - Ace of Clubs
This suit adds scenery to the table.

The Ace will add an interior structure to one of the table quarters.
This might be a cave or tunnel complex. A building that can be entered is common as well.

You will need some floor plans or similar. In this case, I have some old Star Wars floor tiles, so we'll have an underground bunker complex.

Draw 3 - 2 of Spades
Nice even distribution so far.
This is a Condition and in our case, its a Dense Fog.

Fighting through this soup, both sides will be unable to shoot at targets over 12" away.

Draw 4 - 4 of Spades
Fitting rather well, we get another condition: "Mud and misery".
The troops have been soaked through and as a result, it will be much harder to repair any jammed weapon.

Draw 5 - 4 of Hearts
We add another Click to the game length.

Draw 6 - 6 of Diamonds
I was wondering if we'd end up fighting without an objective at all, but this gives us a central objective, which will be worth 6 Victory Points to whoever controls it by the end.

(For comparison, a typical character is worth 2-3 Victory Points when destroyed).

Normally Objectives go on the center line between the two forces but in this case, it's too tempting not to put it in the underground bunker.

Putting it all together:
A somewhat long, miserable fight between troops that are wet, mud-stained and barely able to see anything, which will culminate in a fist-fight underground over a central objective.

Sounds like a good time if you ask me!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Unity Field Agent: Turn Sequence

The core mechanic of UFA is the card draw, so let's talk about how that works in a bit of detail.

You will need a basic deck of playing (poker) cards, with one suit assigned to each player (in a smaller game) or one colour (in a larger game).

So I might have clubs and spades while you have hearts and diamonds.

When a card is drawn, it can be used for a few different things:

A regular card (2 through 10) allows a character to activate and carry out 2 actions.
So a guy might move, then fire for example.

Face cards let you take 3 actions, representing a burst of activity or a character finding just the right moment to act.
So our guy might move, take aim and then fire in this case.

The ace is a bonus action: You only get to take 1 action BUT you could take it with a character that already activated this turn.
The hero brings up their blaster just as the enemy is bearing down on them.
A sniper goes on Watch after rushing into position.
That sort of thing.

Additionally, some characters will have Bonus Action abilities. These allow any card to be played on them and permit them to take the action as a bonus.

So if I draw a 5 but don't really want to use it right now, I could play it on a character with Bonus Move as a skill, and they could take a Move action as a bonus.

If I have any Leaders in my squad, I can also attach a card to them instead of playing it.
They'll then be able to use it later to give a bonus action or help an ally recover from shock.

This way, we strike a good balance (I think) between unpredictability and still letting the player make tactical choices throughout the turn.
Most importantly, the number of times a card will be of no value to the player should be minimized quite a bit.

Of course, nothing stops a player from funneling their regular cards into Bonus actions while waiting for the face cards to come up, but they'll have to endure the enemy's activities while doing so.

Mini's and table by Jeff Fearnow

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Unity Field Agent player use permissions

A variation of this will be added to all new NWG core rulebooks and (if time permits) to older ones as well.

If you purchased these rules from the War-game Vault, you are fully authorized to do the following:

* Print out copies for personal use, including through commercial print services.

* Print up to 8 pages as handouts at conventions or club games.

* Publish scenarios, characters, house rules and similar for a blog, forum, website or magazine.

  • Set up and run convention scenarios. If you do, reach out to me and I can provide some discount codes to give away.

  • You may publish scenarios or campaigns commercially through any channel desired, provided a copy (digital or otherwise) are provided to the author of Unity Field Agent.
Scenarios and campaigns may reproduce up to approximately one page of relevant information, troop profiles or similar from the official rules.

* You may offer troop profiles for any miniature figure you retail, provided it is clear that the profile is not officially sanctioned by Nordic Weasel Games.

You are not authorized to otherwise distribute these rules. 

You may not charge for any hand-outs you issue for games. 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Unity Field Agent plan changes. Plus Battle Mission talk

The plan has changed a bit, though it'll be to your benefit.

The goal is that Unity Field Agent will ship with 3 army lists, rather than 1 (Agents, Fringe Spacers and one alien race, most likely the K'Erin).

This should help the "out of the box" playability.

The Encounter Mode will also be beefed up a little to feature 6 possible objectives and 20 battle conditions that can apply to a battle.

For Battle Missions, another will see release this week, if all goes well.
I am curious as to what thoughts people have so far.

I keep having heart-burn that they are too simple and that people want more "grit" in their scenarios.
But that could just be me mis-reading people's intentions.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Battle Mission 3 - The Patrol

Welcome to Battle Missions 3.

This will be a short series of easy-to-set-up missions that can be used to faciliate a pick-up war game.

The missions are aimed at being generic and include army building suggestions for fantasy/medieval, black powder and 20th century/scifi games.

This allows them to be used with nearly all war game rules systems out there.

Included are also example forces for a world war 2 Eastern Front scenario, letting you simply set up and play.

Brief notes will be included allowing the scenarios to be used in a campaign as well.

* * * * *

Mission 3 begins as two patrols encounter each other, escalating into a fully fledged confrontation, as both sides try to wear out their enemies, while waiting for their reinforcements to arrive.

The battle includes a simple victory point system and army builder, allowing you to use any system, even if it lacks a points system.

Players who are following the Battle Mission series can link them as a campaign, with each mission granting a small advantage in the following mission.

The mission is inspired and adapted from an old 40K mission.

A plea for a friend

Well, an online friend but in any event.
+William Dowie 's wife, who have illustrated several OSR/retro-D&D style books is battling with an extremely aggressive cancer, which at this point has reached stage 4 lung cancer.

You can read a bit about it here:

They have set up a gofundme to help medical expenses and do what they can with what they got.
I know this is outside the typical war-gamers sphere, but please consider if you can spare a few bucks.
The thought of going through all that makes me feel numb and dead inside. I can't even imagine.