Sunday, 31 March 2013

Gunstorm Battle Report and rules progress


Last night after dinner, I was going to boot up the PS3 and start playing Dishonoured. But at the last second I changed my mind in honor of tabletop day, and got stuck into a game of Gunstorm on my new wastelands board.

The board is 4 cork tiles (fast becoming my ubiquitous terrain material) painted with textured paint and finished with scumbled-on colors, a black wash and several drybrushes. I finished it over the course of the day while painting the Rugular Show crew. It gave me achance to dig out my shanty town terrain, and has enthused me to build some more!

So, on to the game: 
First I statted up the forces. Mordecai and Rigby were Legend quality, Muscleman was a veteran. I used my new "blank" style data cards. This photo is from later in the game when Rigby had 1 stunt tapped and the other burned, hence the blue and red counters.
Notes: Not enough room to write on!

I statted up 150 pt forces.
Regular Guys vs Vornids!
Next I set (made up) the scenario. There were 4 objectives, represented by my transparent green skull markers. A figure had to spend an entire phase in contact to "search" them. The key objective would be found on a 4+, with +1 for each already searched marker. The winner would be the figure that got the objective off the board via their entry point.
Notes: Need better Scenarios!

Muscleman, Rigby and Mordecai
approach the town
 The phase system worked well. There are 6 phase counters in the cup:

Friendly side moves (Close combat is at the end of any move phase)
Friendly side Shoots
Enemy Side Moves
Enemy Side Shoots
Both sides shoot simultaneously
Fortune phase. Dice off - casualties to choose the phase and un-tap 1 stunt. Turn over, return all chips to cup.

A turn is played by drawing a chip, completing the phase, drawing another and so on, until you draw the Fortune chip and the turn ends.

Vornids move out and contact an objective
marker. Turned out to be nothing.

The enemy movement rules worked well, if a little dull. This is a d6 chart with +1 if there are no targets in sight. The chart gets progressively more aggressive in result.

I liked how you determine each enemy figure's behaviour with a single roll, but the directions were too wishy-washy. I need to make distinctions regarding whether an objective in contact or an enemy in close combat counts as the "nearest enemy/objective". It's more fun if they are not the same.
Notes: Put more detail in the enemy movement chart!

Muscleman is crippled by
the Vornid Captain

Combat worked pretty well. I had deliberately statted the Vornids to be quite weak, with only +1 shooting and rifles (a further +1 with 24" range) This meant that to hit the Regular guy's armor of 7, they needed 5's in the open and 6's in light cover. They would have to combine fire to have a chance of hitting a Regular guy in hard cover.
Thus, the vornid troops' shooting was ineffective, but the Captain managed to roll a 6 with his Autoblaster, causing 1 Overkill to boot. Muscleman failed his Fate save (with the -1 Overkill modifier) and drew a crippled counter, meaning he would be unable to move for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile (not pictured) Mordecai's sprint value of +2 meant he moved 6" per move phase and he managed to reach an objective and find the Key Objective while remaining out of sight of the sluggish Vornids.

Rigby prevails in a massive close combat

On the left, the vornids all rolled very high and rushed Rigby. This was possibly a bit stupid of them as he was statted with +3 Fight and equipped with a Heavy pistol (+2, useable in close combat) and burned his "Shred" stunt, allowing him to add a further +2 and split his attack! 
The Vornids, having no close combat weapons and a +0 Fight skill, had to "pile on" and combine their attack, to no avail. Rigby dealt out two wounds, but the lucky Vornids drew "crippled" counters, meaning they could not move, but had no other effect on close combat.

Mordecai meanwhile (again, un-pictured) ran off with the objective and ended the game.
Notes: Wounds need to be more interesting!

Conclusions

I'm still happy with the basic mechanics and how the game plays out. This is a very good thing! However I feel like the solo aspect could use more fun. It still feels a bit too much like playing a 2p game on your own. The Stunts selection is a bit ropey too and needs a serious edit.

I think the first way to fix this is to introduce character templates. The player should be abe to pick his team in a faster, less math-y way. Something I love about Pulp Alley.

So, in a radical departure from the pick-from-a-list method of force building, I'm going to try this:
Choose team members based on class. (Tactical, Assault, specialist, Heavy) which will give you a loadout.
Then choose 2 "items" each. Instead of having different costs as the rules stand now, all of these items simply take up one item "slot" on a character. They will all have a Tap and a Burn ability.
This means you can make a character by choosing a Class (including rank) card and two item cards. No book keeping, or writing stuff down. 

The mecnahics are largely the same, but just hidden behind some streamlining and components. It will be a bit of work making the cards, so I will hold off and use post-its or something until I'm sure it works.

As for scenarios, I think the most successful ways of creating suspense are games where you don't directly control the enemy setup. THW games do this with PEFs and Platoon Forward does this with Blinds, which are similar but different.

I'm working on a system of representing uncertain disposition of enemy models that hopefully has the same suspense, but is tailored more toward man to man (5-10 models a side) scaled shootouts.
I'm not sure how it will shake out, but the idea is that you can only track targets in your line of sight, and they can duck back out of it and effectively vanish into the enemy pool. I have some simple ideas, but they will take some working out.

So the rules are basically OK, with the exceptions that the enemy move chart needs improving and the crew builder is still really only in Alpha condition. 

I'm off for a think now, but at least I haven't freaked out and declared the rules broken and dead, like I did the last couple times... It's all part fo the hobby though and I see it as time well spent!

My apologies to those that have followed my abortive efforts in the past only to have them end in nothing, all I can say is, at least they were free! ;)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Regular Guys


Last night I was digging through my unpainted figure boxes and happened across my unpainted Harook. As it happened, I had just finished watching the last episode of Regular Show season 4 (I love Regular show)... I saw Mordecai.
I kept digging, feverishly looking for other figures I had that I could paint up to represent other characters...

Rigby is a RAFM Traveller Vagr, painted like a raccoon.
Benson is an Artcrime Nationlist trooper with a blob of putty to embiggen and en-rounden his head.
High Five Ghost is a Harook drone from the sniper pack, with the original flight pole removed and a paperclip in it's place.
Muscleman is a GZG Alien Merc, with hair sculpted with Pro-create.

I have a figure on order for Skips, and am currently converting Pops. If none of this means anything to you I apologize, but I had a lot of fun converting and painting this lot. Happy Easter Weekend folks!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Heat up that wire

25mm base on left, 20mm base on right
Something made it out to the snow... Here's the companion piece to yesterday's abomination. Nasty little crab beast... Looks a little familiar.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Antarctic Abomination

This slithered it's way into my last shipment from Khurasan... A hideous whatchamacallit from another world.
Pictured here on a 25mm round base I dressed up with coffee stirrer and texture gel.
I used gloss varnish on this fella. Seemed appropriate and helped smooth it all together.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Gunstorm Cover Art

Whipped this up today, shouldn't be too taxing for your home printer ink supply...

Friday, 22 March 2013

Playtesting breakthrough

I didn't think this would be the best option, but it really worked amazingly well. A great solution that maintained the uncertainty of the next phase, but eliminated boring repeats of phases where nothing happened. Plus changing the stunt un-tap to a choice of 1 stunt (much better) when the yellow chip is *won* by the player worked a treat as well. Just some tidying up of the rulebook and this puppy is ready!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Quick Playtest Report

Click for full size!
I tried slapping together the photos I took during last night's game in Comic life on my iPad. I now see that it screwed up the layer sorting on export and I should have proof read it... Whoops.

The game is at a bit of a crossroads right now, unsurprisingly. I'm happy with the dice mechanics, the build system, the stunt system, the wound chit draw... It's the random turn sequence that is a bit off.

The idea is directly from "Sacre Bleau!" with a dice for control replacing the "descisive moment" in the original.
It works well to create a suspenseful and chaotic atmosphere, but sometimes if you get a long string of the same roll (eg: the enemy gets 3 or so firing phases in a row where it cant see anything so can't fire) it ruins the "what's going to happen next?" feeling somewhat.

I have a couple of solutions in mind. The first one goes like this:
There is a set of counters in a cup, 1 of each of the following:

Player moves
Enemy moves
Player shoots
Enemy shoots
Exchange of fire (both sides shoot simultaneously)
Moment of Fate (each side rolls a d6 -dead crewmembers, winner chooses the phase)

Draw a chit to see what phase it is. Resolve the phase, then place the chit to the side until eithr all chits have been drawn, or the Moment of fate is resolved, in which case all chits go back in the cup.
This would mean a turn with an unpredictable order, but one less likely to keep repeating the same phase too many times in a row. I have some nice wooden counters in mind to use.

The second solution is a much more radical change, but might be a better solo experience.

Make a set of 6 sided dice (or use a chart, I like making dice) with the following faces:

Move
Move
Shoot 
Shoot
Wild
Un-tap a stunt

The game is igo-ugo. On the player turn, take a number of d6 equal to the number of your force's figures on the table. Roll them and then choose 1 die result to assign to eqch of your figures.
On the Enemy turn simply roll a single die for each one to see what it does.

This is kind of cool bcause it gives you random, semi-limited control, but also gives you some choices about how to spend your dice. Also enemy behaviour is pretty straightforward, yet quite unpredictable too.

I havent tried either method yet, anybody tried something similar?



Monday, 18 March 2013

Gunstorm Playtesting

Had a couple of games, tweaked a lot of rules, still thinking about streamlining.

The good news is it didn't fall apart when it hit the table... Whew!

Version 1.1 now done, I see the core system being finished this week.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Gunstorm Rules on the way at last

The pocketmod format, for those who have not heard of it, was originally conceived as a cheap recyclable alternative to the PDA/Palm Pilot.
It's essentially a way of folding a piece of paper into a handy sized booklet. There is a growing movement in the print and play/indy RPG community focussed on releasing game materials in this format. Why have I adopted it?

First of all, 8 pages is very limiting. If there's anything that gets me firing on all cylinders it's a limitation. Thus I got these rules knocked out in four evenings... Something I would never have managed with an unlimited format.

Secondly, it's a great size for my gaming and it's very easy to print! No binding or printing lots of pages.. Just one page and one cut.... Book. I love it.

I'm about to take the rules for a spin. They are based on mechanics from two different skirmish systems, with a completely new mechanic of my own thrown into the mix. If it works out I will draw a cover and release this thing.

More news as it happens!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Khurasan Exterminators: All together

My Exterminator collection
It's Saturday and the sun is out! After a pleasant ride on my sweet Harley to Newtown (for breakfast) I Broke out the camera and tripod this afternoon to take some non-phone pics for Jon of his exterminator range.

These may be used (with my full permission of course) in a new rule book from Ganesha Games in the future. I don't know much more than that, but I'm a big Ganesha fan so it's nice to be involved.

Size comparison
Here is a photo with the figures from the different packs in a row, as requested in the comments section last post.
There is some difference when examined like this, but it's well within tolerance for me.  I have found over the years that small differences in size are not noticeable during a game unless the two figures are in base contact, and even then it's hard to tell at table distance.

I'm going to spend the afternoon finishing off my Meso Nasai, and messing around with getting my latest solo skirmish attempt into pocketmod format. This should make it very easy to print out (1 page) and add tiny supplements to. 8 little card sized pages may prove too constricting, but then again I am a big believer in tight contraints being very productive. We will see.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Exterminator Auxiliary Troops

Officers and support weapons!
Tonight we have a fresh pack of yet-to-be released additions to Khurasan's Exterminator range! There is a bazooka/laser depending on your interpretation, a mortar, a loader or spotter, a female officer or perhaps technician, and a Lieutenant who may or may not have been on dozens of simulated missions...

Great sculpts! I will be taking some better photos with the rest of the exterminators when I get some daylight. I used the same colors as the other squad members, VMC US army dark green and Russian uniform.

Special thanks to the amazing Jon at Khurasan for allowing me to blog post these before the internet jackals beat me to it. Thanks Jon!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

2'x2' City ruins




As promised, here is a quick layout I put together with my cork ground modules, cork ruined walls, and Proxie models plastic ruins sections. This does not include any of my 10 or so intact buildings or my straight road piece, so I think I have more than enough city ruins terrain for the time being!

I have another pack of 2 story corner ruin sprue still sealed, so I think I'll slap that together next while I'm dirtying up my intact buildings.

Speaking of dirtying up, the streets definitely need some shell holes and grime... They are much too clean for the rest of my scenery. No big deal though, I originally wanted them to be useful for a clean city. Pshaw to that though!

Coming up next (once I get a chance to do the final highlight and some daylight for photography) the final addition to my Khurasan Exterminator army. What could it be?...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Super Quick Cork Ruins


Too tired to paint minis tonight, but not to make some easy terrain in front if the tv.
Cork ruins are easily the quickest, best looking concrete ruins I have scratch built so far...
The cork tile is superior to foam core for the following reasons:

The edges don't rip if your knife blunts
Already has a texture
Edges look good when broken up
Doesn't warp
Takes Superglue. No drying, no melting.
Relatively heavy and stable
Soft and grippy on the underside.

My City ruins board is looking much further along now than last week!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Exterminator Walker

The finished article

It's the end of the week, so I made this post with my real camera and computer rather than solely with my phone. Hooray for the weekend!
Finished this little project tonight. Some freehand markings and lighting effects make a nice counterpoint to the rough weathered US Dark Green (VMC paint) color scheme.

I have a secret when it comes to unit markings like these.. Straight lines. Everything is composed of a quick, thin straight line. You can make a sharp cornered end to the line by simply making another straight line across the end with the background color.

Alongside the other troops types

Finally, here he is next to the other Exterminators. I'm running low on tufts, so I threw on some clump foliage too.. I quite like the variety it creates on the base.

Im almost finished with ANOTHER secret Khurasan paintup, I'm hoping I can talk about either one soon. I also have been working on my Meso Nasai unit, which is looking good in red.

Thanks for looking!