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.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Five Leagues Character Compendium

Available to patrons through that site and for everyone else here the Character Compendium is a compilation of the four existing character packs into one book.

As monthly support results in a lot of stuff being out there, several fans have asked if we could get some of them merged into a single book, which seemed eminently reasonable.

This combines the Sooth Sayer, Character pack 2 (extra heroes), 3 (animal companions) and 4 (hired helpers) into a single volume. 

Additionally, this seemed like a good time to revisit the rules based on feedback and additional play experience and tweak some things. Some hero skills were redone, but mostly it's fairly minor stuff to just make them work better.

In order to make it more exciting, I decided to add a bit of new content as well, so the package features 2 new hero types, 1 new animal companion and a new spell caster. This also means that the Sooth Sayer mechanics are basically the template for magician-type characters in the rules. Go forth and make many more.

If you just picked up all the original packs in the sale, you don't have to rush out and get this one. Get some mileage out of what you already have and then upgrade later. While we always try to make expansions support and work with each other, the rules will never rely on you owning a specific expansion pack. 

If you are a "core rules only" kinda guy, make sure you have downloaded the most up to date version, especially if you haven't in a while. Some pretty substantial additions took place last year, including much-improved Wounding rules, the new Contract system and much more. 

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.