Working on it

Full steam ahead as per usual.

Been working on something, it’s still hush hush…

wip_ss

also the kickstarter promo video is done – at least, I’ll let it stew for a while, see how I feel about it in a week and then decide if it’s done done :)

Otherwise making progress and looking forward to a good launch in March ;)

Stay tuned!

Kick’n it

Busy, busy, busy

I’ve been drying my eyes out staring at my computer monitor for the past twelve hours straight working on the promo video for the VANGUARD kickstarter.

It’s not quite there yet but getting closer and I thought I’d post a cheeky screengrab… a fatestorm blog exclusive.

VG_KS_00_SG

Ground Assault

Hello folks, so been a bit quiet again, but as usual it is just a matter or time not lack of effort.
I’m working frantically behind the scenes in an attempt to get the kickstarter ready to go so there is a bit of news.

_KICKSTARTER_
Yep, getting closer now, working on it but the video is giving me some grief and not sure how long that is going to take to get sorted. But progress is being made and hopefully we’ll see something concrete next month.

_ART_
I’m currently in discussion with a number of artists whom I hope to hire on the back of the kickstarter to bulk out the art within the book – the more the merrier I say, but it does come down to dollars so a large portion of the kickstarter goal will be set aside for art.

_MINIATURES_
I’m sure most of you have seen the miniatures I’ve been working on, well I’ve been talking to a local manufacturer about getting white metal versions done and he’s very supportive and full of ideas. But there is still some work to do to get the base figures printed out in high resolution so all the quality detail will be there.
On the plus side this will most likely mean that the miniatures will be available in a customizable form (heads, arms, stances, equipment) so variations will be a snap. And as we’re able to scale so easily we might be able to offer them in 30mm or 15mm which would be superb.

varmisk_groundassault

Carded!

Happy New Year!

So I’ve been working away on the junior edition and the use of reference cards in order to limit the need to look at the book and JuniorChtrLayoutalso to encourage familiarity with the game components. Feel free to let me know what you think.

This is an exaggerated example with the cards spread out to give you an idea of the direction I’m heading.

If it ain’t broke… Am I having a mid-system crisis?

Yesterday I spent the day with my son and was looking at playing VANGUARD with the new miniatures I’ve been working on. One of the key things that I’ve been trying to do with VANGUARD is to keep it simple, keep it modular and keep it consistent.

Have I succeeded? yes, for the most part. The damage system took a little bit of a right turn but within what I would call the game-net. It’s not introducing something wild or crazy or outside normal gaming conventions and therefore is relatively ‘instinctive’.

With my recent dalliance into 15mm sci-fi minis with the VANGUARD sculpts and more space ship battles it’s got me thinking more about the table-top, big space opera battles played out between the characters and the GM or even PvP.

Now it’s easy enough for a GM to fudge these ‘set’ picturesque battles and focus just on the players in their ship or their mech or whatever but I love all gaming, rpg and rts and I like giving the players authority over not only themselves but in certain instances whole armies and so the rules have been playing on my mind.

Breaking it down

One of the thoughts I had was using dice pools rather than the single die roll that most of the VANGUARD mechanics focus on. There are benefits and draw backs to this common gaming convention. First it means you can set a limit that can easily be identified on the face of the die roll and get a yes/no answer to success with little need for math getting in the way. But there is no real saving on time as you need to wait for the multiple die to stop rolling to need to consult all the dice in the roll and (IME) spent a few seconds double checking the results – just to be sure.

But the fact that VANGUARD has been built on D6s, that the statistics within the game typically range from 1-6 all lends itself rather nicely to D6 dice pools.

And so I was thinking you could keep the statistics as they are but to speed things up on a large scale situation roll die pools based on say Enemy+Soldier (attacking) with 4+ being a success – or alternatively roll the Soldier rating as the dice pool with any value less than the character’s Enemy rating being a success (1 always succeeds)

These alternatives are quick, easy and simple to understand, they move away from a simulationalist style game solidly into the gamist realm (but VANGUARD was always going to be that anyway).

But then I started contemplating whether such an alternative system could actually work for the rpg side of things as well?

So close to finishing the rules

So crazy to be contemplating changes? when things already work?

And yet what’s easier, what’s better for the game and more importantly what’s more fun?

Olgun field support unit
Olgun field support unit

 

Like Thunder

Once again I’ve been so busy else where that keeping things up to date here has fallen behind.

So let’s see, what’s been going on.

Holding the line

The playtest of VANGUARD continues with much drama. Our troupe not only came into some major conflicts but over half of them didn’t live to tell the tale! And the tanarii attack on the confederation continues pressing the varmint colonies and those of the pretador and reptyles unabated.

https://plus.google.com/115825687977476918368/posts/bbULmmFqP5r

To damage or not to damage

One of the mechanics of the game we’ve been taking a long hard look at has been damage in combat. While it has been working fine I wanted to streamline the process somewhat to make it more approachable for younger players (or just those of us who don’t want to think too much during our fire fights)

https://plus.google.com/115825687977476918368/posts/3P2PH6ALX5r

Silent progress

Behind the scenes progress on the rules continues and I’m nearing the point at which I will feel I’ve achieved everything necessary to run the game completely at this stage. The last few chapters are for vehicles, NPCs and GMing. I was asked the other day how much more I feel is left to do and I estimate most likely 12%! Now that’s not to say there isn’t much left to do, but we’re getting there.

Seeing is believing

In my spare time 0_0 I’ve been sculpting miniatures specifically for VANGUARD; so far this has been focused on the characters of the first playtest pack and the MAULs that are going to be available in the book for characters to pilot.

Here’s what we’ve got so far…

TK and Konomi

Otis the labour droid

Corvin Greyclaw

Bragg Edienne and Olgun field support MAUL

Tanarii Xolt commandos

Olgun MAULs (Military and utility labour)

Dasseula light frigate, C-9 shuttle and Cutterleaf fighter escort

Rear guard

So what’s next? well, completing the rules is a priority but in the mean time I’ll continue to work on the miniatures and here’s a sneak peek at what’s next…

Mk6_c

 

Prodigal

Alchta_01 Angui Arkoon_1 Bosun_Mecure_02 Droids_02 fesenk_02 M8e Patnastt Skye_TibbsWell it’s been a while, but I’ve been working away all the same.

So what news? Well I’ve opened up the first playtest pack for VANGUARD to all and sundry here

and the second playtest pack is complete, I’m just putting on a few minor changes and doing another proofread before I call it good to go.

Otherwise lots of new art that I’m starting to dump to the web in various places and so this should be one of them.

 

 

Time waits for no hoppolite – or does it

Players will always surprise you. That’s something you learn as a GM and something you have to be prepared for – things not going as you foresaw or anticipated. In an established game this can be a cause for concern for a GM who lays careful stories and plans for key moments.

But in game testing, where you want things to break, so you can fix them, it can be a boon.

I’m having to come to terms with a game breaker in VANGUARD – Timeloch. Timeloch is an esper ability that allows the player to control time – time travel in narrative is hard enough, but at least the story moves with the time travel – but timeloch allows for bubbles of suspended time, within a continuous time stream.

I love the idea of a timeloch esper, and I don’t want to take it out of the game – but I definitely need to tighten up the rules surrounding this profoundly influential ability.

The problems have been coming to light as one of the game testers is a rather powerful timeloch, capable of creating bubbles of static time at a distance. This has allowed him to suspend enemies, block incoming ballistic attacks and avoid all sorts of other damage and danger. And while I commend his use of the ability and clever ingenuity it is obvious to me that I’ve let it go to far. The rules for the abilities are clear in terms of what the timeloch can do – but not so much in what they can’t do. And I am to blame for the game break here as I let the player manipulate the ability in ways that I had not anticipated or planned for – so I could see where it would lead.

As an example: this character timeloched an enemy combatant, moved in close and killed the enemy with ease. Now the description clearly states that any object that comes in contact with a timeloched object becomes subject to the same time loch so in practice he should have been timeloched the moment he tried to touch the enemy and if I’d played it that way there wouldn’t have been any issues.

But having allowed the attack to go ahead I set a precedence which I’m now going to have to reverse, something I don’t like doing.

But this and other uses of the ability in the game test has bought up loads of questions concerning how this ability should be administered. Are things caught in the timeloch still subject to external influences such as fire, heat, other esper abilities? While in the wording of the rules a bullet shot at a timeloched target would be halted in the same timeloch the moment it touched the target – does it then continue on the same trajectory and velocity it had once the effect wears off? And what if an esper with pyro-kinetics decides to melt the target in timeloch -are esper abilities beheld to time when activated?

Do these issues even need to be clearly laid out? or should it be up to each individual GMs interpretation and how they want to play it? I’ve been GMing for a long time now and one thing I try to do in designing mechanics is ensure that there is as little stress on a GM as possible, the least amount of confusion and reason to break play to have to consider possible outcomes of one decision or another – but as a game designer you can’t build in every scenario, because the players will always find a new path to lead you down.