Monday, July 10, 2017

Pre-Order: Adam Walker Multi-Part Model


Our first new model of 2017 is available for pre-order now. Adam Walker was developed around the specs and likeness of one of the Backers of our first successful Kickstarter, back in 2015. It's taken a long time to get this character from idea, to concept, to sculpting, and then finally, to production. I think he demonstrates a move forward in our evolution and I am really happy with the results.


The Adam Walker model comes with three different heads to choose from, and two different sets of arms, giving you multiple possible builds, and increasing the utility of the model. In Broken Contract, two weapon options are the Arc Carbine and the Crowd Control Repeater. The Arc Carbine is a high powered taser rifle. It has a low rate of fire, but a high likelihood of dropping it's target in one shot, leaving the victim incapacitated and easy to put in Restraints. The Crowd Control Repeater is largely a weapon of suppression. It fires D3 rounds per Action, and is usually loaded with Rubber Bullets that remove Actions from the victim, rather than killing them. "Usually" is the key word when describing it's non-lethal status.


One of the fantastic evolutions in design has been that the new sculptors, 3D Breed, made the parts fully compatible with the Overseer Wire Billins model, designed two years ago by Prodos. In the above photo, you can see the Arc Carbine arms and bearded head on Overseer Billins' body.


Here's a final shot to show you the generic officer head on Adam Walker's body. This new kit offers great options for players and modelers, whether you play Broken Contract, just paint, or intend to use the model in another indie game, like This is Not a Test.

Adam Walker is in production now at Valiant, and should ship on July 19, 2017 barring any unforeseen complications. You can pre-order Adam Walker on our webstore right now!

Thanks for reading! More gaming content coming your way soon.
-Nick

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Act: Blowing Off Steam

This work day has really gone to #%$!

(This is a great introductory scenario for learning the basic mechanics to the game. Check it out. -Nick)

Act: Blowing Off Steam
Staggering work quotas and bitter rivalries create tension. It can be felt on the work sites, at feeding times, and even in the barracks. Folks can find it hard to get along even when things are going well. Under the punishing stress of the FerrumSky Mines tempers flare regularly.

Crew Goals: Inflict more Wounding Hits on your opponent’s Crew than they do on yours. Try not to let your enemies become Critical or Dead.

Points: All players should agree to an equal point total and draw that many points off of their Crew Roster. A game with two 50 point Crews should take 45-60 min if neither side Sounds the Alarm to end the game prematurely. This Act may be played with more than two Crews, but it is recommended that the players reduce their crew sizes to 25 or 30 points to complete the game in the above mentioned timeframe.  

8"x16" Ideally the opposing sides should be 4" apart.
Set-Up
This Act can use any mutually agreed upon 8”x16” play area*. Blowing Off Steam is a basic rumble between members of two crews and can take place anywhere. The board should be split into two 8”x8” deployment areas. Before picking deployment areas, each player should roll a die to determine who places the alarm. The highest rolling player places the Alarm token. It can be placed on any wall, more than 3” from the center line dividing the two 8”x8” halves of the play area. (Note: if there are no defined walls the alarm must be placed along any outer edge of the play area.) Next, follow the instructions for FerrumSky Mines on page xx. With the play area now set, each player should roll for deployment area. The highest rolling player places their full crew first in the deployment area of their choice. The next highest player should place their crew in the opposing deployment area, 4” or more away from any enemy Characters. When all of the Crews are placed, if you own a Condition Deck, draw a Condition Card to determine any unique Conditions that apply to the Act. Finally, review and discuss the following Act Special Rules, Act Length, and Winning sections before shuffling the Initiative Cards and drawing to begin Turn 1.

* If playing with more than two crews, consider doubling the play area to 16”x16” so that each crew can have an 8”x8” deployment area. Otherwise, follow all of the rules as dictated.

Act Special Rules
Blowing Off Steam uses the following Act Special Rules: Break It Up, FerrumSky Mines, Sound Alarm.

Break It Up: After the Recovery Phase of the Turn in which the Alarm was Sounded, the Act ends as nearby crews, both work crews and security forces rush in to stop the fighting.

Act Length
The Act lasts 4 Turns or until the end of a Turn in which the Alarm was Sounded.

Winning
Tally up Victory Points. The side with more points wins the game.

+1 VP for every Wounding Hit inflicted on an opposing Crew’s Character
-3 VP for any Characters left Critical or Dead at the end of the game

(Note: It is recommended that you use dice or scrap paper to keep to tally VP's as they are earned during the game so as not to lose track.)

After the Act
Follow the rules for After the Act on pages 23-24 of the Broken Contract Rulebook unless you own a Left for Dead Deck. If you own a Left for Dead Deck, follow the instructions on pages x-xx.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Game Designer's Notebook: Dogs in Broken Contract

Tawna the dog going after a totalitarian security officer.

One of the most frequently requested additions to Broken Contract has been dogs, and honestly, I was a bit resistant to the idea at first. My biggest hang up with dogs in games is that they have frequently been used as living shields. When I came up playing Dungeons and Dragons, they were a piece of equipment that you bought and were treated as disposable. Flash ahead 30 years, and in a game like Zombicide, they felt roughly the same way - like an object more than a sentient being. I just didn't like that dynamic, so I wanted dogs in Broken Contract to be different.

Broken Contract, in many ways, has been designed to highlight the individual. The models are designed on a flexible scale based on perceived character height, and every character is dealt their own individual Initiative Card each Turn. These are deliberate design choices, meant to create attachment and investment in the character's stories. Similarly, the animals in my life are all unique individuals, with wants, needs, personalities, and stories. The only way to do dogs justice would be to make them full characters.

Though I have rules written for dogs in three different sizes, as well as rules for Gen-Mod dogs, those haven't undergone any playtesting.. However, we've played a game with the standard dog, and it felt just right, so I'm going to share what has worked so far.

Dog from the Wreck-Age miniature range.

Creating Dog Characters

Wherever humankind goes, it's best friend follows. Dogs are loyal companions and were long ago proven to better the lives of those around them with their loyalty and devotion. Some work crews have dogs that generally hang back at their barracks compartments, and Black Squadron canine units exist throughout the mines. Other industries, like Agri-Corp, utilize dogs even more extensively giving them free range to work and earn their keep on their own.

Standard Dogs

Every Standard Dog Character starts with these Stats:

Core - Actions: 3 /Move: 5 /Wounds: 2
Combat - Shoot: - /Melee: 5 /Strength: 5 /Agility: 5 /Recovery: 5
Brain - Intellect: 5 /Perceive: 5 /Psyche: 5 /Lead: 6 /Dealing: 5

Points: 8
All Standard Dogs may take 2 upgrades for 1 point each.

I created a deck using blank cards available through
TheGameCrafter.com

These are the current Abilities they can choose from if they draw an Ability Upgrade. Many of these correlate to human Abilities from the Ability Card Deck, so feel free to use those cards and use other cards as proxies during the draw. Just be clear with your opponent what you are doing with your opponent. Also, if you draw a Shoot Upgrade, which is a Stat dogs don't have, for now just treat that as an Ability Card Draw as well.

1. Aggressive - This Animal may re-roll failed Melee checks.
2. Deliberate - This Animal may re-roll Melee checks of 1 when performing a Strike Action.
3. Vigorous - This Animal may re-roll failed Strength checks.
4. Tenacious - This Animal may re-roll Strength checks of 1 when performing a Grab Action.
5. Biter - This Animal receives a +1 to Strength Checks when performing a Strike Action.   
6. Agile - This Animal may re-roll failed Agility checks.
7. Frisky - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Dodge Interruption.
8. Hardy - This Animal may re-roll failed Recovery checks.
9. Spirited - This Animal may make Recovery checks with a +1 Modifier when they are Down.
11. Persistent - This Animal may re-roll failed Psyche checks.
12. Problem Solver - This Animal never needs to make a Psyche check to perform a Focus Action.
13. Caring - This Animal may re-roll Intellect checks of 1 when performing a First Aid Action on a Down Character.
14. Threatening - This Animal may re-roll Dealing checks of 1 when performing a “Stand Down” Action
15. Vicious Growl - This Animal may re-roll failed Dealing checks when performing a “Stand Down” Action.
16. Rascal - This Animal may re-roll Dealing checks of 1 when performing a Mercy Interruption.
17. Instinctual - This Animal may re-roll failed Perceive checks.
18. Fetcher - This Animal may re-roll Perceive checks of 1 when performing a Search Action.
19. Jumper - This Animal may re-roll failed Strength checks when performing a Push Action.
20. Secret Ability.
21. Bounding - This Animal receives a +2 Modifier to the roll when performing a Rush Action. Rolls of 1 still Stumble.
22. Game - This Animal may ignore a single Wound once per Act.
23. Secret Ability.
24. Stimulated - This Animal may start the Turn with an Extra Action once per Act.
25. Fixated - This Animal may start the Turn Focused once per Act.
26. Spontaneous - This Animal may trade their Initiative Draw up or down by 1.
27. Energetic - This Animal receives two Initiative Cards every Turn and may spread their Actions across both.
28. Fleet-footed - This Animal may re-roll Rush moves of 1.
29. Irrepressible - This Animal may re-roll Psyche checks of 1 when performing an Escape Restraints Action.
30. Protective - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing an Impede Interruption.
31. Retriever - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Catch Interruption.

32. Secret Ability.


Finally, if you're wondering how to add a dog to your Crew Roster Sheet, I just used the Adult box and edited the word Adult (10+) to Dog (8+). Thanks for reading. I hope you give dogs a try in your games.

-Nick

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Using the Crew Roster


The Crew Roster was a last minute addition to the Broken Contract Rulebook and has no example or explanation, so I'm going to break it down for all of you.

When we sat down to fill out sheets for playtesting the other day, Hal's first question was, "What is Crew Designation?"

Crew Designation: This is the official name of the crew. It should be something completely bland and dehumanizing like, Work Detail C1007. I chose "C" for the C Level of Orin Mine, which is where the action begins in the FerrumSky setting. 1007 would be for the first wave of assigned work details, and 7 being the 7th crew of ~10. In all seriousness, I named this on the fly. The number was actually higher, I thought about how I envisioned C Level as being the newest dig and that it wouldn't have many assigned crews just yet, but a low number like 7 seemed reasonable. Long story short, a random serial number of some sort is fine.

Crew Nickname: This is what your crew get's called. It can be a name granted to them by their friends, enemies, or themselves. Think about how you envision your crew and name them appropriately.

Faction: Currently, this would be Breakers or Black Squadron, but rest assured, more are on the way.

Character Name: I started this sheet out with my leader and crew namesake, Jensa. If names are hard for you, this is a cool sci-fi name generator that Hal used for his characters: Futuristic Name Generator.

Gen-Mod/Adult/Teen/Child: These 4 boxes are for the current 4 types of Character you can create in Broken Contract. Jensa is an Adult, so on this line I am only going to use the Adult box. You'll notice that the box says, "Adult (10+)". This is because Adults start out at 10 points. Adults can start out with up to two upgrades. I chose to use both, so I filled in both check boxes. This shows she is 10+2 = 12 points, so far.

Character Points: This is the total points of the Character type + upgrades. Jensa is 13 points because she was an Adult 10+ 2 (upgrades) +1 Leader upgrade (explained next).

Leader: Any Character can be designated as a Leader and gain an additional upgrade for doing so. That should be tallied here. Why are their two boxes? For room to grow in the FerrumSky Campaign Book.

Campaign Upgrades and Acts: For every Act that a Character participates in they get a tally under Acts. When they've completed 3 Acts, they get an upgrade, and the Act boxes should be erased so that they can start a new tally. A Character can never have more than 5 Campaign Upgrades. Note: A Character that gains an extra upgrade during the Character Creation Process needs to assign it somewhere. For now it should either be tallied here, or under Training. Remember, every Campaign Upgrade increases the Character's points by 1.

Training: This area is currently for Black Squadron Characters that take advantage of the extra Black Squadron Training upgrade for 1 point. Expect to see this area to be used more in the FerrumSky Campaign Book.

Within each of the above areas, I chose to note what upgrades they were as a running list.

Ability Cards: Some upgrades grant Ability Cards and they should all be listed here. These should already be tallied using one of the areas of check boxes so they do not need to be counted again.

Equipment Cards: List all of Equipment Cards this Character possesses. Each Equipment Card is worth 1 point. There are no check boxes here because this list is going to constantly change. In most cases Characters are not going to have more than 5 Cards because the Character Dashboard only has 5 slots.

Equipment Points: As noted above, each Equipment Card is 1 point. Total all of the Character's Equipment Points here. The combined amount of a Character's Character Points and Equipment Points indicates their total worth going into an Act.

Each Crew Roster has slots for 4 Characters, so a normal Crew starting at 100 points will take up multiple Crew Roster pages - typically 2-3.

I encourage you to use the blank space at the top to create a logo for your Crew. Have fun with it.

Thanks for reading and enjoy building your Crews!
-Nick

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Game Designer's Notebook: The FerrumSky Condition Deck


Last week I started work on the FerrumSky Condition Deck. This is not a new concept, many games use rolling charts for a pre-game sequence that throw the "unpredictable" at the players. I always loved the Strategy Card Deck from 2nd Edition 40K, so a deck presents a bit of warm nostalgia for me. What kinds of things will you find in the FerrumSky Condition Deck?


The other day Hal and I played a game where we drew the Limited Visibility Card, which gives -1 to the die roll on all Shoot and Perceive checks. This worked out in my favor because Hal brought along a character with a Shotgun with Bag Shot. The Shotgun has a low rate of fire (you have to Load for 1AP after every firing) so you really have to connect with every shot if you can. Anything that crippled the effectiveness of that gun was a win for me. I still only won the game by 1VP so it didn't dramatically affect the game. It did give us something else to think about while playing though, which is great.

There are a number of different types of Conditions. Some of the Conditions are environmental in nature, like Limited Visibility (harder to Shoot or Search), Ground Debris (risky to Rush), or Poison Air (harder to perform Actions at full capacity). Others are Faction-based escalations or alterations of circumstance like Workflow Re-Route (Black Squadron may add a free barricade), Door Jam (Breakers sabotage a door to keep it open), and the Show of Force/Growing Insurgence Cards which add 15 more points to your Crew Roster for the game.


One of the cards I am looking forward to playtesting with others is High Tension. Those of you who own Initiative Decks will know that there is an Extra Action Card in the Deck with no explanation of it's use other than during Character Creation if you've read the rulebook. There will be scenarios that will add it to the Initiative Deck in the future, but it will also make other appearances too, such as on the above card.

These cards will be Poker Card sized, so they are printed in sheets of 18. One of the decisions I will need to make in the coming months is whether to keep the deck to 18 cards or push it to 36. They will probably come in a combined set with the Left for Dead Deck, which will be used for part of the post-game sequence in the FerrumSky Campaign Book. If there are any types of Condition Cards you might like to see, throw those ideas my way! I'm happy to consider them.

Thanks for reading!
-Nick

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Game Designer's Notebook: Drugs in the FerrumSky Mines


(Editor's Note: People have been asking about Drugs used in the FerrumSky Mines for a while. It just so happens that in February of 2016 I jotted down the names of six different drugs and possible game effects. A year and 1 month later, I've crafted explanations and tweaked the effects of what they do. Let me know what you think. -Nick)

Common Drugs Found in the FerrumSky Mines

Meeting the daily quotas set by the FerrumSky would be a difficult, if not impossible task, were it not for those willing to upset the delicate chemical balance within their own bodies. Work enhancing drugs are often used by the most fervent Loyalists, but even the average miner might find cause to extend their efficiency for the day for some goal outside themselves. Perhaps they have a child to care for, or a friend on their crew who is injured and they feel the need to compensate for. Of course there are those that just do drugs to dull the pain of their awful daily lives, or to step outside themselves for a little bit. FerrumSky discourages their use because most of the drugs are made illicitly in the mines or they filter in from the food rigs coming from the agri-domes, giving FerrumSky no control over their potency, nor can they profit off of their exchange. Black Squadron are expected to take the drugs away, but the dynamic is much more perverse. It is not unheard of for Black Squadron officers to keep the drugs themselves, using them for their own needs or force feeding them to a worker who isn’t performing their job at peak ability. Drug use is rampant in the mines, but the drugs being taken range from ineffective to downright dangerous. However, the mines are already so dangerous, and work so backbreaking and exhausting, many figure they don’t have much to lose. What follows are some of the most common drugs found in the mines.

Workhorse: Used throughout FerrumSky, and most other industries in the IC, Workhorse is a stimulant that allows the user to work for days without fatigue or need for sleep. Exceedingly popular among FerrumSky Loyalists and those belonging to work cults, Workhorse ensures that the user can work harder and longer than everybody else, often reinforcing their worldview that everyone else around them are lazy whiners. Some Black Squadron Officers keep this drug on hand and force laggers they are overseeing to take it so that quotas can be met without disciplinary action.

Kick: This ammonia inhalant is found throughout the FerrumSky mines to rouse those who fall from exhaustion. It irritates the breathing passages, forcing the person to breathe faster and experience a moment of sudden alertness. It is one of the few accepted drugs used in the mines because though it can be harmful when overused, it is non-addictive.

Dull: This drug compromises the senses and overrides pain, creating a chemical invulnerability. It is popular among miners with nagging injuries that would undermine their ability to work, as well as those dealing with deep depression. With both issues being commonplace in the mines, Dull is a very popular drug. It’s side effect is a slowing of brain function and movement, so it’s use is strongly discouraged by Black Squadron and the FerrumSky Executives above them.

Brain Oil (Foke): Nootropic drugs like Brain Oil heighten focus but slow reaction time. A popular drug amongst technicians and the technically skilled to heighten their work capabilities and compensate for long hours or lack of sleep, Brain Oil is often taken by others for the euphoric side effects, making their job just slightly more tolerable.

Boost: Muscles can be tricked to fire with greater strength, and Boost is used for exactly this purpose. Another drug popular among Loyalists and work cultists, the short term strength increase can make the user more effective at their job. Boost has the side effect of heightened agitation and distorts normal brain activity making the user more violent and confused.

‘Vive: This adrenaline shot is used to restart a body pushed past its capacity. Though this drug can effectively cheat death, the effects are temporary and without medical attention the user will still perish from suffering additional harm or simply when they wear off.



Proposed Game Effects (Note: These have not been tested. Hence, Proposed. - Nick):

Workhorse: This Drug gives the using Character +1 Action per Turn for the duration of the Episode. Additionally, Brain Stats (Psyche, Perceive, Intellect, Dealing, Leadership) suffer a -1 modifier to all Checks.

Kick: This Drug will give a Down Character a +2 to their next Recovery Check when used.

Dull: The using Character may ignore a single Wound per Turn for the duration of the Act. If a single Action would cause multiple Wounds, the Character still only ignores 1. Dull slows the Character by 1 AP per Turn.

Brain Oil: The using Character is considered Focused for the duration of the Act or until the Character is Down, Out, Critical, or Shocked. Additionally, all Agility Checks are made with a -2 modifier to the roll.

Boost: The using Character receives +1 modifier to all Strength Checks for the duration of the Act. Additionally, Brain Stats (Psyche, Perceive, Intellect, Dealing, Leadership) suffer a -1 modifier to all Checks.    

‘Vive: The using Character immediately regains 3 Wounds. This may not take the Character above their Wound Stat. In the final Recovery Phase of the Act, the using Character will immediately lose 3 Wounds before going into the After the Act post game sequence.


Drug Use

At the end of every Act where Drugs have been used, make a separate Recovery Check for the Drug Using Character. If the Check is Successful, the Character fully recovers from the Drug, even if it should continue for the duration of the Episode.

Drug Use Recovery Critical Success and Failure
** Drug Tolerant - This Character may re-roll Recovery checks of 1 when they relate to Drug effects. Record this as a Character Upgrade.
* No effect.
! Nausea - Miss the next Act.
!! Addict - Going forward, this Character is in a constant pursuit of drugs. The Character may still participate in games with the following complication: After Crew Selection but before Set-Up make a Recovery Check. If the Character fails the Check they don’t show up to participate as they are pursuing their next fix.
!!! Overdose - This Character is Dead.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FUNDED! Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter




On Thursday February 9th, the Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter successfully funded! I am ecstatic to have the funding to get all of the printed materials completed, and the goal is to have them all in time for AdeptiCon.

Now that we've succeeded it's time to look at what else we can push towards. Something that has frequently been requested is more models. The first Stretch Goal is for a dual kit that makes Ash Walker, a Black Squadron Officer who feels more comfortable amongst those he polices, and a basic Black Squadron Security Gunner with an Arc Carbine - a high powered taser rifle with a short range, and low rate of fire, but the ability to stop a Breaker in their tracks and quickly Restrain them. 

At the time of writing, we are only $400 away from this Stretch Goal and we have 9 days remaining. We can do this!


Our Rulebook and Play Aids Pledge Level is the best way to get up and running playing Broken Contract, and of course there are a lot of great Add On's including the two Faction Sets and Kickstarter Exclusive Set.



Finally, if you missed it a week and a half ago, Guerrilla Miniature Games did a fantastically entertaining 'Let's Play Broken Contract' video. If you're interested in the game or the setting, they mostly get the rules right, and they do a stellar job of conveying the setting. I consider it recommended viewing. 


Thanks for reading and take care!
-Nick