Sunday, July 25, 2010

Engine of Destruction - Introduction

The draft of the intro to the ruleset I am writing titled "Engine of Destruction".

I love games. However, there is a disconnect between the two types of games I love.

Role-playing games (RPGs) are the ultimate in character expression. Your character is ultimately customizable into the type of avatar you desire. All of the customization comes at a price though; you usually are only able to control one character at a time.

Miniature wargames on the other hand allow you to control multiple characters, squads, platoons, companies, and perhaps even entire armies. The end result of that scope of control is the loss of individuality. The sheer scope of war and units under your command take away some of the personality or you units. The myriad factors affecting warfare also affect your armies and the rules concerning these factors in other game systems can be a bit…arcane.

In these rules I have sought to attain several goals; customization/personalization of your forces, a unified mechanic to cover all battlefield situations, balance against your opponents, freedom to use whatever miniatures you choose to use, and freedom from the restraint of an established constrained universe.

Customizing and personalizing your units will be easy and intuitive. If you want to outfit a squad with nothing but missile launchers go right ahead. However, you need to be prepared to pay the price for those decisions. You will be able to increase the effectiveness of your units as they continue to survive on the field of battle and they apply their experience to their actions in future battles.

A unified mechanic will keep things simple and the action moving. A simple mechanic does not however mean that you will have to settle lack of depth.

Balance is a serious consideration. Chess has ultimate balance as both players have identical units that are equally capable and the only deciding factor to the game is the competence of the respective commanders. However, who wants to play on the same battlefield with the same identical units every time? We are all aware of certain companies that regularly release army books that “creep” up the effectiveness of that particular army and subtly reduce the effectiveness of the remaining armies. Further, when you purchase a model you are not only paying for the materials, time, and talent required to manufacture that particular model but the “in-game” capabilities of that model. In short if you want to continue to have the most effective army it is almost compulsory that you start the new flavor of the month army and buy the requisite models to remain competitive. Balance is a nebulous concept especially when army books are outdated from the current rules by an edition or more.

Use the models you want to use. If you prefer 15mm, then use them. 25mm or 28mm, use them. If you prefer to use action figures or Lego minifigs, go right ahead. Do you prefer the intimacy of a small skirmish game, the thrill of commanding a few squads or platoons, or the god-like power of commanding an entire army including off-board assets? You can and the game mechanics will not change. Prefer playing in an established universe? Go ahead. Prefer to create your own? Go ahead. Prefer to pit your home-brewed units versus established units by other publishers? Go ahead. The balance will be there. You bring the talent.

This does not mean that you are going to be bogged down in minutiae. Unit creation will take about 30 seconds per unit. You will not need a fistful of tokens, cards, or reams of paper in order to track your unit’s capabilities on the battlefield. One sheet of paper will usually be the maximum you need to know your armies vital statistics.

This is just the draft but I feel that the meat is there. I will be looking to recruit some playtesters in the near future. Drop me a line if you are interested.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Faction Name Design

I am writing my own ruleset for use with all of the different minis I own including GW's.

What I would like from you is names.

Please leave a faction name in the comments section below.

It does not have to be set in any particular universe. Some examples are...

Weyland-Yutani Corporation
The Rebel Alliance
N.O.R. - Northern Ore Refinery

If you care to leave a line or two describing the type of faction it is, feel free to do so.

If I use the faction in my ruleset you will receive full authorial credit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I got the gunship blues....

Art used without permission of MKingery

I love dropships/gunships. The idea of screaming down on top of your enemies from orbit gives me the goosebumps.

The BA Stormraven is the latest focus of my gunship love.

Part helicopter, part spaceship, 100% bada$$.

Unfortunately, gunships cost money. Sometimes, lots of money.

So, with wise words from the The Year of Frugal Gaming blog echoing in my ears I have been keeping an eye peeled for easily converted projects.

First up is the Secret Saturday's Griffin plane. This is at first glance a cheap, brightly painted, action figure holding, toy plane. The price however cannot be beat. I found them for $5 each at a Big Lots! store downtown. With some simple conversions and a fresh paintjob this thing will sate my gunship lust. Measuring the exact same length as an IG Valkyrie and only two inches wider, it falls into the correct scale.

Just today my Google-Fu yielded another potential love interest. Ebbles Miniatures publishes several print and assemble cardstock sci-fi vehicles, one of which is a dropship. Cardstock?!? you ask. Yes Virginia, cardstock. Evidently this material is a serious modelling tool. These paper models are high-speed. The engines pivot, there are hot-swappable weapons pods, a working cargo ramp, and stuff to place inside the cargo bay! I am telling you this thing is like the Cadillac of paper models. Jump on over and check them out yourself! The price is $16 USD and once you have the file you can make as many as you want.

Have you seen any inexpensive gunship conversion possibilities?