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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

New Ability Card Deck


A couple of days ago I got a zipped folder full of new Ability Cards from Sam, our graphic designer. They are part of the Play Aids portion of the Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter running right now. Those who already own one of the Faction Sets know that each one comes with a deck of Ability Cards that correspond to the unique abilities that each of the Characters possesses. These cards were all brainstormed before I created the Character and Crew Creation system that is in the Rulebook. I realized as I was play testing Crew Creation that the Abilities in the Faction Sets just weren't diverse enough, so I sat down and developed an early incarnation of this list:

1. Scrapper - This Character may re-roll failed Melee checks.
2. Sure-handed - This Character may re-roll Melee checks of 1 when performing a Strike Action.
3. Crusher - This Character may re-roll failed Strength checks.
4. Wrestler - This Character may re-roll Strength checks of 1 when performing a Grab Action.
5. Lucky Shot- This Character may re-roll failed Shoot checks.
6. Skilled Shot - This Character may re-roll Shoot checks of 1 when performing a Shoot Action.
7. Nimble - already has a card.
8. Reactive - This Character may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Dodge Interruption.
9. True Grit - already has a card.
10. Tough - already has a card.
11. Indomitable - This Character may re-roll failed Psyche checks.
12. Determined - already has a card.
13. Med Savvy - This Character may re-roll Intellect checks of 1 when performing a First Aid Action.
14. Brilliant - This Character may re-roll failed Intellect checks.
15. Charmer - already has a card.
16. Weasel - This Character may re-roll Dealing checks of 1 when performing a Mercy Interruption.
17. Alert - This Character may re-roll failed Perceive checks.
18. Sharp - This Character may re-roll Perceive checks of 1 when performing a Search Action.
19. Influence - This Character may re-roll failed Leadership checks.
20. Rousing - This Character may re-roll Leadership checks of 1 when performing a Form Team Action.
21. Strider - This Character may perform a Walk Action twice per Turn.
22. Unyielding - This Character may ignore a single Wound once per Act.
23. Resistant - This Character may ignore Shock once per Act.
24. Energized - This Character may start the Turn with an Extra Action once per Act.
25. Centered - This Character may start the Turn Focused once per Act.
26. Intuitive - This Character may trade their Initiative Draw up or down by 1.
27. Reflexive - This Character receives two Initiative Cards every Turn and may spread their Actions across both.
28. Sure-footed - already has a card.
29. Double Jointed - This Character may re-roll Psyche checks of 1 when performing an Escape Restraints Action.
30. Blocker - This Character may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing an Impede Interruption.
31. Receiver - This Character may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Catch Interruption.
32. Deft - This Character may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Parry Interruption.

I tried to touch on every Stat in the game, as well as most of the Actions and Interruptions to give Characters the opportunity to specialize a bit. I'm happy with how these cards have play tested and I'm amped on how Sam has drawn upon icons to make them easily identifiable. When combined with the existing cards, it will just make the options broader and the characters more interesting.

-Nick


Friday, January 20, 2017

The Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter


Hello friends! The Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter has been launched. The video above is one of the ones used on the Kickstarter page, but I'm going to give you the bullet points here:



The 32 page Broken Contract Rulebook contains:


  • An overview of how to play a miniature wargame, explaining moving, measuring, and making Stat Checks.
  • A detailed list of Actions and Interruptions. This is really the core of Character interaction in the game. There are over 15 entries for different Actions and 10 entries for Interruptions, and many of these have sub-entries giving the players an incredible array of options within the game. This also means that Characters can really hone in on what they are good at.
  • Rules for Critical Successes and Failures based on a special set of dice that are used after a 1 or 6 is rolled for a Stat Check. These dice, combined with a chart, are used to help create the action movie moments where your Characters do both the exceptional and the tragic, whether they are in combat, begging for mercy, or applying first aid. The Critical Success and Failure Chart covers over 20 Actions and Interruptions that require a D6 Stat Check to complete.
  • A starter list of Weapons and Equipment and all of the Special Rules that pertain to them.
  • Basic rules for Creating Characters and Assembling a Crew. These are quick and easy, and they allow you to create a true ragtag group of either Breakers or Black Squadron Security. If you remove the titles, it breaks down to the untrained, ill equipped, but larger force, and the well trained and well equipped but smaller force if you wanted to create your own setting using these rules.
  • Episode: The Hard Way, a three Act mini campaign of thematic scenarios to get you up and playing in the Broken Contract setting.


Additional we are trying to release a collection of Broken Contract Play Aids that include:
  • A Character Dashboard Set that contains 6 Character Dashboards, perfect for a single player. Each is a 5"x10" mat for keeping track of your Characters during the game with out the game board being littered with counters.
  • The Chit Box which contains 30 Chits to use during the game. These heavy duty 60pt chipboard chits cover all of the most important counters a player will need for using up to 6 Characters. Like the Character Dashboard Set, this is ideal for a single player.
  • The Broken Contract Dice Set that includes 2 Six sided dice, 2 Three sided dice, 2 Critical Success dice, and 2 Critical Failure dice.
  • The Ability Card Deck which contains 32 Ability Cards, 26 of which are brand new.
  • The Equipment Card Deck which contains 32 Equipment Cards including several new cards that do not appear in the Faction Sets, like the Arc Carbine and the Mining Drill.
  • The Blank Character Card Deck which contains 16 Blank Character Cards and 16 Blank Character Stat Cards so you can create your own crews.
  • Also included are an 8" FerrumSky Ruler and a 16 card Initiative Deck. 


Finally, as a separate Add On we are trying to release our first set of Board Game Tiles
  • The set of six 8"x8" Board Game Tiles are 60pt chip board with a UV coating.
  • The are all double sided. Two are straight corridors, two are "L" corridors, and two are "T" corridors. The are all "4 way" intersection corridors on the opposite side.
  • All of the scenarios in the Broken Contract Rulebook are based on these tiles, creating the perfect play area to get started.
We're looking forward to offering some cool Stretch Goals too, but we'd love to get you all involved to get these items moving forward. Thanks for reading and tell your friends. The Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter is going on now!

-Nick


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Next Broken Contract Kickstarter Launches January 18.


The time is finally upon us. The Broken Contract Rulebook Kickstarter is set to launch January 18. The focus of this Kickstarter will be the rulebook, board game tiles, and play aids. It's been a long journey to get to this point, and I hope you can all come along on the next leg of the trip!

Share this far and wide. Thank you all for the continued support.

-Nick