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.

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