Monday, 19 February 2018

Five Parsecs From Home 1.031 available

The only change is that the rule to transfer characters to a Bug Hunt campaign have been added to the very back of the book, in the Infinite Adventure chapter.

Enjoy!

Gang Warfare and Salvage Crew will be updated this week, though if you own From Home you can use the rule presented there as is.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

So more Renegade Scout thoughts.

Thoughts about the project that definitely isn't happening.

See previous blog posts for what this project is about. If it existed.


There's a number of ways to do it, with the awareness that this might be a lot more work intensive than other, similar projects.
This is me musing about it, soliciting unsolicited advice and generally being a prat.

1: 
Do the thing I always do.

Create the book myself, finish it, sell it online, voila.

Advantages:
*I have complete control.
*Nobody is out of any money if I suddenly catch the crazy-people-virus and decide to become an eskimo.
*I am used to the process. There's no question of something external fucking it up.
*I can be an okay-sized fish in a small pond. Less people will notice a release on Wargame Vault but it'll have less competition as well.

Downsides:
*If the project takes longer (which it very well might) that becomes an issue because I need to be able to pay my rent in the meantime.
*Any art comes out of my pockets (which aren't that well-endowed).


2:
Kickstarter. 

Kids tell me it's a magical website where you go tell people you have created a smart-phone adapter that lets you connect your smart device to your corgi dog, then strangers give you 8 million dollars.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of hype. Kickstarter is a big place and nerds will throw money at literally anything.
*Potentially raise a whole bunch of money in advance, which would mean working on the game without wondering if I'll bounce a rent-check.
*Budgeting for art (for example) becomes a lot easier to do.
*Potentially a lot more customers in the end. Huzzah!

Downsides:
*I don't want to do a bunch of stupid shenanigans with stretch-goals and promising people extra chotskies to weasel more money out of them.
* It seems the sort of projects that go on Kickstarter tend to be a lot more glossy: Games with lots of plastic miniatures, 500 page glossy rulebooks and all that.
An "old school' PDF game is going to look pretty jank in comparison, which could hurt the project.
*Running a "campaign" is time that could be spent writing "definitely not Dalek" rules instead.

3:
Open beta test. Full version later.

I've done this before (such as Starport Scum) where we had a public beta version for a pretty playable version, then later we did the full version and sold it "for real".

Advantages:
*Get feedback from a wider range of players than my usual suspects (as loyal and skilled as they might be).
*"Double-release". You get to cash in on the hype from both the beta test AND the full release.
*People tend to understand that they are buying a beta version and that it may or may not pan out. As such, I think you may get more realistic feedback.

Downsides:
*If the beta version is too extensive, you end up cannibalizing sales for your final game since people won't see a point in buying the full version.
*If the beta is too short or bare-bones, people will assume the final game will be crap too.
*Some of the feedback you get will be from crazy people.

4:
Crowdfund later

An interesting possibility is to use a bit of both worlds:

Develop the base game using the old school method (1 above) and then kickstart (or whatever) for added benefits later, such as  a nice artwork edition.

Advantages:
*Provides options for both fans who want a cheaper solution and those who want something visually pleasing and "modern".
*The core project doesn't depend on crowdfunding, only add-on bits.
*Having the existing product "in the wild" would help a kickstarter campaign.

Downsides:
*All the downsides of both 1 and 2 combined, to some extent.
*It'd end up essentially charging the cost of the game twice, which only the most hardcore fans would be on board with.

5:
Release in stages

The game might break up into stages rather well (core game, scenario and D100 tables, army rosters)

So you release stage 1 as complete as possible, test it out, get it solid.

When it's good, release the game again with stage 2 included.

Finally, release the game again with stage 3 included.

At each stage, take the time to do all the benefits of public testing.

NOW, the trick is:

Each stage is clearly marked as a "Beta' or "early" version.

Stage 1 and 2 is very cheap, so the total cost of buying the game at all three stages adds up to about what it'd have cost from the beginning as a full game.
F.x. if you were aiming at a 20 dollar game, charge 5 dollars at stage 1 and 10 at stage 2 and 3.

Advantages:
*Take advantage of public playtesting without being quite as barebones as a "beta test".
*The final game can end up cheaper than originally anticipated since it was funded "along the way".
*Players who are only interested in the core engine can buy Stage 1 and then stop there.
*Patient players can get the game a bit cheaper by just waiting for the final version.

Downsides:
*Process might be confusing and unfamiliar.
*Knowing a more complete version will come along later might discourage people.
*Increased potential for confusion as you will have multiple versions circulating.



Thoughts? Suggestions? Mad ramblings? I am all ears.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Five Parsecs Bug Hunt is here



"All scifi gaming eventually leads to the movie Aliens" someone once told me.

Maybe that's not quite true, but the 1986 sequel to the original Alien certainly does loom large over miniatures gaming.

A squad of heavily armed marines alone against the ravening hordes of extra-terrestrial killers. Good stuff.

So now, you can indulge in the same sort of thing using Five Parsecs.

Create a handful of characters and lead your crew of soldiers as they accomplish objectives and fend off the alien terrors.

As with other Five Parsecs titles, everything is aimed at solo play (though you can play with a friend and even earn some bonus rewards, to account for the fact a human opponent usually is more devious).

Everything flows in a campaign structure with random events and unexpected things happening, though we've changed the structure quite a bit to account for the military nature of the campaign.

New mechanics include a fire team mechanic (many of your supporting troops will be squads of soldiers), new takes on the "contact" mechanics introduced in Salvage Crew, a Reputation mechanic that lets you cash in mission success for occasional benefits and a system for Mustering Out which should make Traveller players feel a tiny bit nostalgic.

Of course, you also get all the tools you need to transfer your Bug Hunt character to another campaign.
Start in the army, go AWOL and join a gang, clean up your act and get a salvage job. It's all up to you.

Updates are coming shortly to the existing game line, to allow transfers into Bug Hunt.
The new rules are all up to 1.03 standard though I'd expect a small update shortly after launch to clean up a few vague wordings and the likes.

You can grab the new game here

Saturday, 10 February 2018

"Renegade Scout" - the agenda


Note that this is still not a sign that anything is going to happen, there's more work to do, thinking to do and planning to do before I commit to anything.

But... let's talk about what the goal of "Renegade Scout" would be as a Rogue Trader retro-clone.


First, let's talk about what it CAN'T be:

It can't touch any 40K IP whatsoever

Maybe that goes without saying, but no genestealers, eldar etc.
Of course, many of these concepts are hardly original to begin with so substitution can be made.


That means it needs to find its own legs to stand on.

Mechanically, the Rogue Trader system is rather solid (In my view) but nothing unusual, especially in 2018.
What people remember was being able to grab random figures, develop stats for them and play story-oriented scenarios.

A lot of people remember the big D100 mutation tables and things like that, but I am not sure how often those ever made it into an actual game.
I propose they could be replaced with something more interesting, such as a "Adventurer skill" table or an "unexplained phenomenon" table, that sort of thing.

The rules can be tweaked...a bit

People are used to tinkering with the Rogue Trader rules (and like old D&D, it may be a system where nobody really played it "by the book" to begin with) but there are limits to how far that can be taken.

Of course, the book could include options and alternative suggestions but in the end, it must feel "correct" for what it was.

That puts some limitations on how creative I can get with mechanics, but then, it also helps to ground it a bit.

I think everyone can agree that the Rogue Trader rules are not exactly elegant, so a little bit of stream-lining won't hurt anything at all as long as reasonable legacy compatibility is maintained.

If it can't be full of Warhammer stuff, then what?

As I suggested in the original G+ post, I think the real key to success would be to allow "television" scenarios.
If the book comes with profiles for "Assimilators" and "Exterminator bots" and such, alongside ww2 soldiers and SWAT teams and cavemen, I think it'll hit that wonderful "feel" that most Oldhammer players tend to chase after.

Of course, this runs the same issue: You have to file off the serial numbers but wargamers are used to that sort of thing, at least if my GZG "Crusty" mini's are anything to go by.

As an additional bonus, if a manufacturer could be brought on board, we could include ready-to-play stats for a few miniatures ranges too.

So is this just for fat old bearded dudes with Sepultura t-shirts?

Well, if it happens, it'll be written by a fat, bearded dude with a Sepultura shirt :)

But no, I think aiming this exclusively at Oldhammer players would be a mistake, though they are certainly part of the intended audience.
I think any players that like somewhat traditional mechanics, creative scenarios and using unique miniatures from their collection would be a potential player.

The fact that it would be legacy-compatible would be a substantial added bonus of course.

What about those other guys who've tried to do this?

As far as I know the failure rate of previous attempts has been 100%.
If I am wrong, please let me know.

What about Inquisi-munda and In the Emperor's Name?

Different goals (and mad respect to both teams for doing great work).

They aim to create 40K based gaming, that's not the goal here.
I don't think we'd overlap at all.
If this existed, which it doesn't.

What makes you the right guy to do this?

Anyone can do this.
The only thing that matters is who can stick with it until completion.

When is the kickstarter?

I don't feel comfortable with kickstarters but maybe this would be a good exception.
I don't know.
Let's say "Never" and go from there.

If this happened, would it be a big glossy book?

No. But it might have art-work.

Can I help?

It's not a project that exists currently, so no.

If it becomes a project that exists, I will be looking for a team to help with various aspects (proof reading, testing, painting the odd mini, etc.).

So...can I ?

Let's do this:

If you feel you have interest, time and qualifications to help with this project and would like to be on the short list IF THIS PROJECT BECOMES A THING WHICH IS NOT AT ALL CERTAIN
then ping me at runequester@gmail.com with who you are and what you can do.

I am NOT interested in any variation of "Idea guy" and I am NOT interested in a co-writer.

Friday, 9 February 2018

So if I was doing a Rogue Trader retro-clone...

...this is what I would do.

The goal here would be compatibility with the original but any IP would have to be avoided.



*Replace the rulebook combat mechanics with the ones from the Battle Manual (in particular the improved blast weapon, overwatch and sustained fire/following fire rules)

*A Choosing a Target system that's a bit more structured than "each of my 30 guys can shoot at anything I like" but not as chunky as the Battle Manual/2nd edition system.

*Replace the Reserve phase with the 2nd edition Run move.

*Replace the Rout and Psychology rules with the 2nd edition versions.

*Keep the psychic rules but rewrite pretty much all the actual powers to be more interesting and more applicable to the table.

*New weapon lists would take a little bit of a page from 8th edition in using lower save modifiers and damage values in general.

*Weapon lists by era (low tech, high tech, futuristic) for multiple settings.

*Use the vehicle rules from the Compendium/White Dwarf (with the various damage tables). Maybe ?

*Create a list of Traits (similar to the Universal Special Rules in newer editions)

*Create new troop types to include in the book, mainly inspired by video games and television.
Klingons vs Daleks ?
(Also, I just realized the spell check accepts both Klingon and Dalek without complaint)

*Sort out a really cool mission system for randomly generated scenarios that would require troops to do more than just shoot each other in the face.

* * * * *

NOW......If I was doing an "advanced" version, I would do the following as well:

*Do away with Initiative and Attacks on the profile.
Instead, Weapon Skill of 5-6 gives you 2 Attacks and 7+ gives you 3.

*Consider getting rid of Strength as well.

*Use the Space marine morale rule (shaken on first failure, broken on second) for all troops.



I would also be really tempted to "flip" Ballistic Skill, so you are rolling equal or under your BS, instead of the whole "7 minus BS is your hit number".
That way you could just apply hit modifiers directly to your BS.

But rolling under instead of over might be a "bridge too far" for the old timers?



Wednesday, 7 February 2018

5P option - Suppressing Fire

A character can opt to perform Suppressing Fire:

You receive one additional shot, hitting on the same score as before.

Each hit places a Stun marker but no damage is inflicted.

Enemies will not use this option.


Rationale:
While the idea of firing specifically to suppress instead of kill is a matter of some debate among gamers, we're a bit more cinematic in our approach:

This action represents any situation where a character blazes through a bunch of ammunition very quickly without aiming.
The chance of actually hitting anything is pretty low, but the wall of lead can be quite intimidating on the receiving end.

Give this a try and let me know. It's for consideration for 1.04 or 1.05

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Five Parsecs 1.03

Version 1.03 is uploaded for your enjoyment.

The changes include:

*A ton of small improvements: Better wording, unclear rules being clarified, typos, that sort of thing.

*A section has been added specifically covering terrain.
This gives definitions of terrain types and how line of sight works in all cases, as well as clarifying exactly when you are in cover.

*A two page section titled "Unusual situations" has been added.
This covers a few odd-ball situations and how to handle them.

*The rules for Brawling combat have been updated a little.
Melee weapon characters now get a +1 to their roll, while those lacking melee weapons must -1.

*Pistol is a new weapon trait, allowing you to use the pistols damage value in Brawls and roll at a +0 modifier.

*The movement rules now have a movement cost listed for entering doors and windows.

*A section has been added for competitive (player vs player ) games.


If you recently printed your rules, you can simply print the new rules sections and add them to your booklet or binder.

All three games (From Home, Gang Warfare, Salvage Crew) have been updated.
The K'Erin booklet will be updated later today to add the Pistol trait to the appropriate weapon.


I hope you are enjoying Five Parsecs.