Saturday, 9 October 2021

Five Parsecs Expansion 2 overview

 I thought I would share a few pointers on Expansion 2 and what is planned.

The aim for the first three expansions is to try to cater to as many of the different interests as possible. Expansion 1 was aimed primarily at people who like to tinker and want alternative options in their game. NWG has always had a strong tradition of providing more options and more ways to customize things and I wanted that to be carried over into the "glossy" version of the rules. 

With Expansion 2, the focus is on new "stuff" to play with and add to your game worlds. 

The list includes:

2 new playable alien characters - The rat-like Skulkers and the space-dwarf Nirn. 

World classifications - This adds more detail to the world generation aspect of the campaign. Worlds can now fall into one of 6 categories depending on who is in charge all of which will affect various stages of the campaign sequence. 

Psionics - The one many people have been waiting for: This both adds full rules for player psionics (heavily modified from their original 2nd edition appearance, which was a bit too timid) as well as facing enemy psionics as well (which can be quite scary). 

A collection of new kit is provided, which includes gadgets for the psionics, 4 new types of advanced training and 6 Bot upgrades. Starships get a bit of attention with two new upgrades as well.

Economics gets some detail as well with detailed rules for loans. This takes the existing loan system and fleshes it out with variations in how aggressive loans are and what the lender is willing to do to collect, from late fees to hit squads.

Salvage jobs - The big one. This introduces a whole new type of mission where you get to prowl through a starship wreck (or similar site), gathering up resources and fending off possible enemy contacts.  This includes a "blip" system with a number of random factors to be faced off against. Those of you who have wanted a "space dungeon crawl"will get it here.

Non-miniatures combat resolution - A full system that uses the existing combat rules in a miniatures free environment. Perfect for playing in the car.

An expansion to the mission generation with new objectives and the chance of time limits or having to complete multiple objectives to finish the job.

Expanded connections - A "story driven" system where missions can spawn a connection to a prior activity such as someone you met or a place you have been before. In total, 30 "sub plots" can be triggered this way ranging from the simple to the pretty involved.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

A few questions that have arisen regarding Patreon and more

I've had a few people express dissatisfaction with the fact that there is Five Parsecs content on Patreon and I thought I would take a moment to discuss it, as I feel like there are some misconceptions going on as well as just generally talk about expansions for Five Parsecs. 

* * *

First, let me take a moment to discuss the history of the Patreon account.

Originally, the purpose was to provide support for various games especially in terms of rules updates and so forth. If you played 5P 2 and 5L 2 you know they received countless updates in their history. I had to find a way to actually support doing that since time spent doing that is not time spent writing material I can sell, and so the Patreon was born.

Over time the focus shifted to Parsecs and Leagues because they were the two biggest games in terms of player count. This was well before any thoughts of big glossy books had ever come into the picture and well before the ability to do big, full color expansions was ever a possibility.

* * *

So what is actually on Patreon as regards Five Parsecs?

The content that gets posted on there falls into two categories:

A: Things that I am intending for inclusion in future expansions. The AI variation rules in Expansion 1 was originally a Patreon item for 2nd edition for example. These things need testing and one of the ways I solicit feedback is through Patreon. People get to see and mess with these things early and I get some opinions on what may or may not work.

These things are all intended to end up in a published expansion along the road. Not all of them do. Sometimes the idea turns out to have been less solid than expected or I don't feel it works as well as it should. 

I think people significantly underestimate how rough some of these things are in terms of presentation and mechanical polish. 

Some items float around for a while because I go back and rework them. The psionic rules that will be in Expansion 2 are heavily updated from their original version that appeared way back as a 2e supplement.

B: Things that I created on a whim. These are often house rules or other odd bits and pieces. They are often things that aren't ready for publication and are not intended to be. For any given game rule, there's probably 3 more ways you can do the same thing and I don't want to clutter up expansions with too much of that, but they are still fun to create and share. 

Think of this like the stuff that used to appear in magazines like White Dwarf back in the old days: Things that was never going to see an official rulebook but which was fun to mess with.

There is also stuff not related to either of the "flagship" games but that's not really relevant here I guess. For example Squad Hammer Core has received a number of updates due to Patreon funding because it allows me to spend a couple hours each month doing stuff like that, since the time "has been paid for".

I hope that clears up some of those questions.

* * *

Secondly, I've seen a few people state that the game must be incomplete, wondering why particular things weren't put in the rulebook or that expansion content was "cut". 

This is just plain not true at all. Looking at Expansion 1 we have:

The intro campaign - This is from a 2nd edition expansion pack that I had originally decided to just retire but after thinking it over, I decided to update it and include it. My thinking was that a new player may well buy the expansion and rulebook at the same time and so it would be nice to have. 

This could have been included in the rulebook, but at the time I thought the Story Track was more exciting.

Progressive difficulty - New content. This was written after suggestions made by a 3e player.

Difficulty toggles - New content created specifically for the expansion after seeing the feedback players of 3e were providing. 

PVP battles - New content created for the expansion.

Co-op battles - New content inspired by a conversation with a friend.

AI variations - Old Patreon content. I think this was created after I had handed over the manuscript to Modiphius originally, but even if it was not, I did not want the rulebook to have entire "advanced rule" variant systems. 

Deployment variables - New content based on fan feedback from 3e.

Escalating battles- New content created for the expansion.

Elite level enemies - New content created for the expansion after fan feedback on 3e.

Now I suppose at some level you will have to just take my word for this, but I think some new players also don't realize that the game went from 88 pages in single column to 188 pages in two columns. 

I wrote a ton of new things to put in the book, most of which had never been seen before. The idea that there were huge chunks of material that was ready to publish but somehow cut for nefarious purposes is just not true.

* * *

Now, I know that everyone wanted psionics included but I made the decision that:

A: The old psionic rules weren't good enough and they needed to be improved which I simply did not have the time to do in advance.

B: Even if I had found the time, I didn't want psionics to be a default option in the game.

C: Psionics had always been an expansion option even in 2nd edition, due to B above.

If you really wanted Psionics in the core book, I apologize that this wasn't the decision I took, but I think when you compare the Expansion 2 version coming out soon with the original 2e version, you'll agree as well. If not, then I apologize.

* * *

I hope this helps clarify the situation a bit for people. If people have questions about the process, I am happy to answer them at nordicweaselgames@icloud.com  

I am also open to any suggestions people have. In the end, no decision will make 100% of people 100% happy, all I can do is try to make the widest range of people happy while doing what I think is best for the game.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Long time no blog

 It's been a hot minute since I've had the surplus to do any blogging, so let's get that out of the way, since there's a lot to talk about. So in no particular order:

* As you have probably figured out by now, Expansion 1 for Five Parsecs hit: This is a grab bag of assorted options to tailor the game, tweak your experience (with difficulty in particular) and more and is available both directly from Modiphius here and Wargame Vault here

* One gentleman points out in his review that it should have included the non-minis rules for Five Parsecs. 

My man, my friend, Mi amigo (I don't actually speak Spanish). They didn't exist yet when the expansion was written. Time remains a straight line. 

I guess this is a good time to talk about the process such as it is. From the time I hand over content to the overlords, there's a bit of a delay before it hits a slot in their pipeline. Then it goes through their editor and my own for proofing, then layout and finally to your grubby hands. 

While this process is not super long, it does mean that there is a fair bit of time from I finish the manuscript until you see it. 

* What is this about other content for Five Parsecs?

The Nordic Weasel Patreon page remains active and is a place for people to support additional games development directly. In return for 5 dollars a month, people get a few neat things each month. This can vary considerably: Sometimes its a scenario to play through, sometimes its a new rules pack with things to try out, sometimes it is something being considered for a new official release and sometimes it is not. 

I also throw out the occasional freebie from the back catalogue, discount etc. Basically, its a way for people to support me and a way for me to say thank you. 

It is not typical for things to be Patreon exclusive permanently. If something is really cool, I want to make money off it after all, but Patreons will often see new things well before anyone else. 

* So Five Leagues is getting a glossy book. Yes! 

You can see the page and some of the new artwork here

The new edition will be packed with stuff. From dungeon adventuring to map based exploration, it is absolutely full of amazing things people have wanted. The plan is for a pre-order once the PDF is available in a few months.

They are fully committed to a series of meaty expansions for the game as well.

* To send off 2e Five Leagues and let people finish their collections, I have put together a bundle deal here 

This should be everything that was commercially released for Five Leagues in one fat bundle. It is 75% off and the website should calculate correctly if you already own any of the items.

This is a chance for people to finish out collections as well as as see some of the cool things we created together in the past couple of years. Many of the scenarios will work fine in 3e and you have a few months to mess with it in any event.

* Shipping, Five Parsecs and US retail.

Yes, it sucks. The book launched at basically the worst time in years to ship anything anywhere in the world. So the shipment of books to the US retail chains ended up sitting in harbor in the UK forever, then sitting forever in US customs. My understanding is that it should all be moving through the system now and pre-ordered books from US retail should be in your hands shortly.

I know more books from the second print run is headed state-side as well, due to demand.

* Which means yeah! We burned through the first print run and another is already en route. So that's pretty awesome. 

* There is a TON of Five Parsecs material on youtube now. Everywhere you look, people are doing amazing things with amazing looking tables. It's pretty surreal to see to be honest.

* But what about... ?

I remain a one man show, so some projects take a very long time to do. I remain committed to Squad Hammer updates though I occasionally go for a couple weeks where I don't have any chance to work on it. 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Five Parsecs PDF is available AND what will be in Expansion 1?

 Greetings folks.

We have some cool stuff to talk about today:

First and foremost, the PDF version of Five Parsecs From Home is available today, both through Wargame Vault and directly through the Modiphius website. 

I know a lot of you have been eagerly waiting for this, so now is your chance to get involved. 


While visiting the Modiphius site, don't forget to check out the FAQ and the Transmissions from Unified Space on the same page. You can even subscribe so you'll get updated when new transmissions are posted, which should twice a month.

* * *

Secondly, I am going to talk a little bit about the first expansion!

So in the past expansions have been on the smaller size and more bite-sized. With the third edition, we're changing to bigger, beefier expansions released several times a year. The aim is around 40 pages for each, full of new gaming content. 

The first expansion then is all about gaming options: Adding to the ways you can customize the game, add new features or try new things. 

The features you will get in the first expansion are:

Name generation tables - Random tables to create names for things in the universe. I know folks enjoy these.

An updated version of the old introductory mini campaign, adjusted for the third edition rules. 

A ton of difficulty toggles, allowing you to fine-tune the game with time limits in missions, harsher economics or other factors. 

A player vs player scenario if you want to take on your friends warband. This adjusts the turn sequence to work for PV and comes with an "underdog" system to give the weaker player a bit of a boost. It also has options to turn your shoot-out into a frantic three way battle!

If playing together is more your style, a scenario is included allowing two full crews to join up and take on a tough mission together against a small horde of enemies. There's even an option for your rivals to join together to take you down.

The AI variations roll returns from one of the last expansions. This system makes the AI less predictable as each AI type now has a table to roll on to determine their actions. I know a lot of you have really wanted a more random AI, so this will do the trick for you. Each AI type has a "base condition" that it will follow if certain situations are met, and if not, it will roll on the table for each group of foes.

Deployment variables for the AI: The AI can now do things like try to outflank you, bringing up reinforcements, hiding in terrain etc. This is weighted by AI type so f.x. Cautious enemies are more likely to bring up reinforcements during the battle. 

Escalating battles: As the battle progresses, the fight will intensify with the enemy regrouping, bolstering their morale or carrying out a mad rush to get at you. This creates a really cool feeling of a cinematic action where you have to react to enemy ploys as they unfold. Again, weighted by AI so different types will act in different ways.

Elite level enemies: The biggest part of the book: A complete set of replacement tables covering all of the enemies in the main rulebook. These updated enemies have small stat improvements and have all been tweaked to be more dangerous, more mean and more interesting. They are intended for players who want a tougher challenge and who have a well-equipped and well-trained crew. 

As an example, let's compare the original psychos to the Elite version:

The Psycho profile did not change (Panic 1, Speed 6, Combat +0, Toughness 4). The number encountered has gone from +2 to +4.

The Bad Shots rule (hits only on a 6) is now Fire Frenzy (hits only on a 6, but gets +1 Shot)

All Psychos with scrap pistols also carry Frakk grenades now. 

And they now have the rule Eager to Go, meaning that the when the enemy phase starts, you remove a Stun marker from the eligible Psycho closest to your table edge.

That's just one example. Some Elite enemies are only modestly more dangerous, while some will be extremely scary to fight again.

* * *

I hope that gives you an idea of the sort of content you can expect to see in Expansion 1. I am super excited about it and work is already going on for Expansion 2, which will offer a new player species, new types of missions and the return of a much-wished for character choice. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Five Parsecs news!

First, check out the spiffy new page for Five Parsecs over at the overlords:

https://www.modiphius.net/pages/five-parsecs 

This now houses the Q&A section and something I am super excited about: The first Transmission!

These will be twice a month and will feature a little snippet of world information (the first one discusses languages in Unified Space) and 3 micro-scenarios: Little bits you can use to spice up a scenario and give everyone around the world some shared reference points even if you are all playing solo.

* * *

Secondly, emails should have gone out with updates on the pre-orders. Right now, nothing is very fast when it comes to shipping anything internationally, but books should be arriving from the printer to the UK warehouse this week, with pre-orders shipping out the first week of June or sooner. 

The PDF only release should be here next week if all goes well and should be available through both drivethru and the Modiphius website.

* * *

Third, I can shed a little light that there will be a lot of cool stuff in the pipeline. The first expansion will be about 40 pages of play options, including a co-op scenario, tons of difficulty toggles, elite level enemies and more. You all know I like to give players way to customize their games and this will offer that in droves.

The goal is very much to make Five Parsecs a "living game" which you know is an apple I've tried to bite at before, but never had the resources to actually do so. 

Monday, 17 May 2021

Bug hunt 1.04 available

 Based on feedback, the following changes have been made to Bug Hunt:

* The co op campaign now grants 1D6 points for capturing a resource stash instead of 5 points.

* Some aliens have had their encounter numbers increased by 1. 

* Area weapons are now simplified dramatically.

* When you deploy, nearby objectives are pushed back to be at least 12" from your starting positions.

The new version is uploaded and available from Wargame Vault. 

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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. 

* * *

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 nordicweaselgames@icloud.com 

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.

https://www.wargamevault.com/product/346547/Five-Parsecs-Bug-Hunt

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

Q: How exactly do Patrons work?

A: Okay, you can "have" a Patron in three ways: At character creation, among your contacts or as a job offer.

Let's review:

1) Campaign step 3: Determine Job offers says that:

"If you received a job offer from a Patron or began the campaign with one, you need to determine the details of the job."

So if you began the campaign with any patrons, in the first turn of the campaign you will automatically have a job offer from each. This can be quite a few. 

You also roll up a job offer if you took a crew action and successfully found a patron. 

2) The post-battle step "Resolve Patron status" says that:
"If you succeeded in a Patron mission, you may add the Patron to your list of contacts on this planet".

So if you did a job and it was a success, they are now a contact for you. You remove them when you leave or fail a job from them.

The side-bar on p.24 says "When you play your first campaign turn, simply roll up a Patron, and assume you have known them all along."
That's easy to miss and the info should have been repeated, but it is meant to say they are a contact, because you had done jobs for them in the past.

As you can see from the wording of the rule, finding a new Patron and declining their offer means they are NOT a contact (because you did not succeed). 

The text isn't as clear as it could have been, but taking and failing the job causes the contact to be removed.

3) The "Find a Patron" crew action says that:

"If the crew has an old Patron among their contacts, each Patron adds +1 to the roll"

So any Patron from rule 2 adds to the roll. 

4 ) Putting it all together.
If you begin the game with any Patrons you automatically get a job offer in turn 1 (to get you started). 

Those Patrons ALSO count as contacts known for future job hunting rolls.
Patrons you find with a crew action (or random event) give you a job offer then and become contacts IF you succeed in the job.



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!

https://www.modiphius.net/products/five-parsecs-from-home




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.

EDITED FOR CLARIFICATION SINCE I AM BAD AT WORDS:

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 https://www.modiphius.net/products/five-parsecs-from-home 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.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Some news and a bit on Five Parsecs battle difficulty

First, some items have been taken down from the Wargame Vault to be reorganized. If there's something specific you are really hankering for, drop me an email and I'll get you figured out.


Secondly, the Five Parsecs campaign is designed to be a little on the easier side, once you have a crew up and running. This is intentional to prevent frustration and to allow shorter campaigns to be viable, but once you have some ability score increases and good gear, things can get rather too easy.

Future material will add "canned" scenarios and tougher enemy types to fight against, as Five Parsecs transitions into a model closer to that of Five Leagues.

Before we can get there though, let's look at some ways you tweak the game. You can use one or more of these options, depending on what you feel fits your game the best.

Stargrind

If you enjoy the current level of "stuff" going on in the game but want to be a little more strapped for resources, make any (or all) of the following adjustments:

Upkeep costs: Your captain is free. Pay 1 Credit for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th crew together. Pay 1 Credit for every crew past 4. 

Experience awards: Use the following values for XP after a battle:

Became a casualty               0 XP

Survived, crew fled             1 XP

Survived and held the field 2 XP

Killed Unique Individual    +1 XP to killer

Crew completed a Quest     +1 XP to captain.

XP are no longer awarded for the first casualty.

Adjusted upgrade table:

Reactions    Cost 8     Max 4

Combat        Cost 8    Max +3

Speed        Cost 5    Max 8"

Savvy        Cost 5    Max +5

Toughness    Cost 8    Max 5

Luck        Cost 10     Max 3

Battle difficulty

If you prefer tougher opposition, the following options can be applied:

Actually specialized:

Specialist opponents have a minimum Combat Skill of +1 and minimum Toughness of 4.

Armored:

Lieutenants receive a 5+ saving throw against any weapons strike. A successful save prevents damage.

Leadership:

The base roll for a Unique Individual to be present is 7+, instead of 9+. Enemies that cannot be accompanied by a Unique Individual still roll, increasing the Combat Skill and Toughness of any one enemy figure by +2 each (to a maximum of Combat Skill +4, Toughness 6)

Movement all over the place

If you enjoy the idea of fighting a large number of enemies, like a true space hero, adopt this option:

At the beginning of turn 2, roll up a second enemy encounter against the same enemy type. If the first encounter group included a Unique Individual, do NOT roll for one in the second group.

Divide this second group into three teams of roughly equal size.

If you clear the table of enemies at the end of a game turn, the battle ends immediately with your victory. Any teams off-map do not arrive.

At the start of game turn 3, randomly select one team that arrives on the table from a random table edge other than your own.

At the start of game turn 4, randomly select a second team to arrive from a random table edge other than your own or the edge used in turn 3.

Finally, at the start of game turn 5, the last team arrives at the last table edge not used in turns 3 or 4.

For each arrival, 1D6 is rolled. On a 6, the arriving team is delayed. It will roll against next turn. No more than one team may attempt to arrive each turn, causing all waiting teams to be pushed back a turn when this happens.

So there

I hope these options sound fun. If you are truly mad, consider using all of them.

Best wishes

Ivan Sorensen

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Watch this space

 

Things have been a little quiet for a while, with a number of projects being pushed out or delayed. 

There has been a reason for that and that reason should be revealed next week as one of the biggest projects NWG has ever done, as well as finally getting us something that a lot of people have been asking for ...pretty much as long as I have been doing this thing.

I suppose a fair first question is... how far are you from home?

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

The 5X series and swapping out parts

 Over the years, I've seen all manner of interesting emails, blog posts and so forth, discussing replacing parts of the 5X system with an aspect from another game.

For the purpose of this discussion, I'll focus on Five Leagues. I've seen or heard from people replacing the combat mechanics with Thud&Blunder, Song of Blades&Heroes and even a very ambitious Rangers / Five Leagues mash-up. I'd be shocked if there wasn't a Mordheim / Leagues mash-up out there. 

While I always try to provide for a fairly modular structure, I think it's super interesting that people have been able to do so with relatively little difficulty. Of course, you have to adapt things like experience and rewards, but if you are already on the road of writing your own mash-up game, that's no great challenge. 

Of course, it's difficult to tell which mash-ups comes from someone being unhappy with the Leagues combat system, versus someone being unhappy with the campaign in the other system. Or they just wanted to see what would happen, which is a very "gamer" thing to do!

In any event, I fully support it and I think it's really cool. Definitely let me know if you get up to anything like this. 


Friday, 5 February 2021

Renegade Scout 2.05

 Version 2.05 of Renegade Scout is available, adding the following tweaks. The Army Builder includes these changes, the standalone Elite builder will be updated over the weekend.


* Armor points values have been adjusted up a little bit to better reflect their value. 

Combat, Drop trooper armor raised by 1 point.

Heavy armor raised by 2 points.

Assault and Breach armor raised by 4 points.

* Troop types:

Cost of Enforcers, Field Agents and Hulkers have been raised by 2 points.

Cost of Soulless has been raised by 1 point.

Cost of Mutants and Horde has been lowered by 1 point.

* Weapon mounts:

Vehicles can mount hull-mounted guns limited to a 90 degree field of fire. The points costs in the army builder have been adjusted down roughly 10% to account for this. 

* * * * *

These tweaks are not massive changes, but they should help bring troops a bit more into line with how they relate to each other. I'd rather make a small change and then go back to increment it more, than make a huge adjustment and then realize it has to be walked back.

For example, Hulkers may still be under-costed by a little bit, but this will help tweak it.

If you have opinions or thoughts on the values of assorted weapons and items, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Five Parsecs Mind Bullets v2

 With a year of additional testing and player feedback, an update to Mind Bullets is available


This adds psionic characters to the Five Parsecs campaign, with 10 abilities possible. It also includes the option to add psionic enemies and both options can be used independently if you prefer to just use one or the other.

The rules are integrated into the campaign sequence and should be clearer, easier to use and more polished, compared to the original beta version. 

There is no need to restart your campaign and they should work with any version of 5P, as long as it has the 1.12 "Expanded" enemy tables instead of the old single-table enemy list. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Squad Hammer Core - Update

 Release 1.02 adds scenario generation to the Squad Hammer Core rules. 

This is based on the original generator in the Squad Hammer v1 rules, but polished up and improved based on feedback and playtesting. In particular, "unit objectives" ended up being awkward and leading to a lot of shenanigans, so I opted to remove those.

Rules can be obtained below

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Two small Renegade Scout updates

 A small update adds the text for the Bulky weapons trait to the list in the rulebook (it was omitted on accident).

Additionally, the Army Builder has had the Damper field added to the items selectable for Personality figures. The intention with not putting every piece of kit in the army builder is to offer a bit of a curated experience. That way, things can balance out over time, rather than trying to do everything at once.

Of course, everyone wants their coolest Personality figure to stay alive and the Damper field helps with that: It only protects against Blast and Flame weapons, but reduces their Impact by one point and sets their AP to 0, making them relatively survivable.

Of course it provides no protection against a 30mm autocannon round to the face, so hey.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Two rules updates

 Renegade Scout

The combat rules have been clarified that when firing at a squad in varying degrees of cover, hits are allocated to the closest figure in the least cover. 

Example:

One K'Erin is standing in the open while the rest of his squad is behind a barricade. Even if he isn't the closest squad member to the shooter, he'll still get hit first.

Where Sten Guns Dare

After a thorough course in marksmanship, shooting at targets in cover now counts any die of 5+. Shooting at targets in the open now counts dice of 4+ AND if you are within 12" you get a bonus die.

Friday, 1 January 2021

2020 in hindsight. What we did, what we didn't, what we wanted and what we couldn't

 

2020 is past us and it's time to be a bit introspective right?

So with a cup of coffee going, let's have a look at what Nordic Weasel did this year, what we did not do and so forth.

What didn't end up happening?

Quite a few projects did not work out as initially anticipated or are delayed. This is always something that happens for any number of reasons, but I have concluded it is better to be open about them.

These are:

From Shako to Coalscuttle v2, Squad Hammer content and Laserstorm v2

These were farmed out to volunteers and had to be delayed or cancelled through no fault of the volunteer.  This is a risk no matter if I do something myself or someone else does. Sometimes you just get mired in a project or life strikes and you have to move on and I don't blame the volunteers one bit. 

The army builder work for Squad Hammer has taken far longer, as I keep being unhappy with the result. Stay tuned. 

FiveCore 3.x

Under development but turned out to be much more time-consuming than expected. This is a game I absolutely want to have be as cool and creative as possible, so a lot of things get tried and rejected. Soon. 

The real challenge is that I want it to scale up to platoon level, without sacrificing the skirmish elements. I thought I had it nailed but the more I test it, the more I suspect not. It's possible I may say BEEP it and stick to squad level as it was intended though, which would certainly simplify things.

Wow, that's a lot of stuff!

Yeah, it is. Then again, it's not. There's at least 2 more stand-alone games I started working on behind the scenes and abandoned when I realized they weren't going to have what it took. 

I just thought you might like a bit of a peek into the shots that miss.

So what did happen this year?

Well, quite a lot really. 

I've kept a pretty solid release schedule for both Five Parsecs and Five Leagues, with monthly content, as well as several expansion packs for Renegade Scout and Five Klicks

We released five games, all of which have been very well received:

Chrome Hammer by the phenomenal Jason

Knyghte Pyke and Sworde

Five Klicks From the Zone

The 2nd edition of Renegade Scout

Ballad of the Longbow

On top of that, Five Leagues received some major updates to make the game the best it's ever been, KPS received a huge visual overhaul as well, countless smaller updates happened to fix vague rules or to improve things here and there.

That's a pretty solid record for the year I should think. I think KPS and RS2 are some of the best games I've ever done personally, though of course everyone has their own favorites and opinions. 

Bigger picture stuff

More importantly, 2020 felt like Nordic Weasel is becoming a household name. I've seen more and more references to our games as recommendations, things people say they are playing etc. in online discussions. I've seen my games suggested alongside "big brand" titles like Flames of War or Rangers of Shadow Deep and how wild is that? 

I also scored a gig consulting for a big-name project for a big-name publisher, though that's still hush-hush as far as the details.

And of course, we got featured in the Bundle of Holding! That was both a huge boon to us financially, helped score a bunch of money for a worthy charity and helped expose literally thousands of people to my games. An absolutely incredible experience and one I am incredibly grateful for.

In many ways, Nordic Weasel is a single person project, but of course all of this has also relied on fans, friends and volunteers to help spread the word, catch bugs and generally support things. So you can all take pride in what we've achieved in spite of being (or maybe because of being) the scrappy underdog (Underweasel?)

In short, it feels like NWG is on the precipice of something pretty cool and the next steps are open to be taken. I often get emails asking if I am planning on doing this or that thing to get bigger and the answer is always "Yes, eventually". 

I tend to be fairly risk-averse, which has stood me well so far, but of course it's also easy to pass an opportunity by.

Things I probably won't do again


Personal things

All things considered, we came through 2020 okay. We avoided getting the virus and we did not lose work or anything else. I can obviously work from home, while my wife was sent to work from home by her office. So we were comfortable enough, though being at home so much has been a bit of a mental stress, with family medical issues dogging us but as we're starting the new year, we all feel pretty well prepared and resolved to move on. 

We've also finally reached a point where we are not exactly floating in money but a lot of the financial stress is behind us, and we can focus on better things, as well as eliminating the last debts.

We had a great sorrow as Mittens passed away, while the new cat Lancelot is a bundle of joy and love. Scruffy still hangs in there, doing his best to become a fat old cat. We're all thankful that after a bit of a health worry with eating, he is rebounding good and seems to be in good shape for his age. 

One man band means only two hands

One thing that has become abundantly clear this year is that I am starting to push up against the limitations of what one person can reasonably achieve.

I've released some absolutely killer games this year, as well as a rash of fun expansion packs on a pretty regular schedule. I think you'll agree that while we're not doing big glossy books, Renegade Scout 2 and KPS (after the update) are both some of the best-looking games I've done. 

However, it has also been a pretty strenuous schedule and the lack of time to do everything I'd like to do i becoming abundantly clear. Things like scenario books, doing a "weasel-zine", supporting more fan material, updating old games to new and improved standards, expand smaller games to big lovely books, help people get published and so on and so on, while maintaining the current schedule of providing improvements to existing titles, new expansion packs and a few new games in the new year as well.

I just can't do all of that on my own. There's been talk of branching into a proper family business, but there's a gap between what I earn currently and what we'd need to earn to remain above water, relying purely on this job. 

Taking on freelancers has happened in the past and will in the future, but comes with its own drawbacks. Often, this can be as much work as writing it yourself, though it does save time in general and more importantly gets fresh ideas into the mix. Additionally of course it adds another failure point: If either person gets mired or has something happen in life, the project halts.

Still, I am excited to work with people I admire and respect to create new, cool gaming ideas and there are still a number of projects happening behind the scenes (some held up by my own schedule unfortunately).

I suppose the obvious answer is to expand with a co-writer but that's something thats a bit easier said than done. The qualities required is a person who can write well, understand game design, meshes with the "Weasel ideology" of gaming, understands the system in question, can take directions well AND work independently and most importantly has the time and commitment needed. Not exactly a small task!

Still, these are solvable problems, they just require a careful look at things and finding out how to proceed. 

I think 2021 is poised to be an incredibly exciting year for Nordic Weasel Games and I am super excited for all of you to share in that with me. I want to make clear that the problems I describe are GOOD problems to have. It means people pay attention and people want to see more cool games. That's a good place to be. 

It means we carved out a corner of the gaming universe and you folks all helped make it a reality.