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Showing posts from 2014

Happy Holidays!

We all want to wish you a Happy Holiday Season, whether your holiday of choice has already past, or is still days away. The blog will be quiet for the next few days as I am moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a mere hour and a half from my current home base in Chicago, Illinois. After a few days of packing, moving, and unpacking I should be getting settled in. Meanwhile, Tim and Geng in their far away homes, will be getting down to some new Broken Contract business. Going into the New Year there should be a bunch of new 3D renders and some new art so stay tuned.

Thanks again for the support this year and we'll see you soon!
-Nick and crew.

3D Renders Sent for Printing!

Happy Holidays to everyone out there following Broken Contract.We appreciate the support and interest you have all shown over the last year. I started posting about Broken Contract originally on 2ndcitywarzone.blogspot.com a little over a year ago now and when I created this blog, a core group of interested friends and colleagues followed. That group has grown steadily over time. Thank you all for the support!

Speaking of 2ndcitywarzone, a month ago I wrote an article about how I got into gaming and how I've always wanted to design games. Its titled "How A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity Changed My Life" and it a good read if you like nostalgia, introspection, or background on how people like myself got involved in gaming.

Back to Broken Contract! Long time followers will recognize the above 3D render as the first one I ever posted, way back in June/July. Officer Hickley is not one of the "core" characters to the "Deep Underground" storyline, so his scu…

Two New Sculpts: Talla Kellerman and Trest the Gen-Mod

This week we have two new 3D sculpts to show off, both of Breaker Characters. These have gone through several stages of revision and I think they are where they need to be. 

First we have Talla Kellerman, the Progen Mechanic. Talla is a highly capable technician, and is a great asset to your crew of Breakers. Remembering door codes or getting machinery up and running - if you run into a situation where you need to make an Intellect Check, she's your best bet. However, getting her to join your crew is not as easy. As a Progen, she is child of the original colonists on Hathor, and receives better quarters and wages for her work than the rest of the Tracted workers. This makes breaking a much greater risk because she has more to lose. In the game, she must be negotiated with to join your crew. However, if you get her to join, she'll also be better at negotiating with other Progens you encounter along the way.


Second we have Trest, the Gen-Mod Brute. Trest is a hulking behemoth o…

What Sets Broken Contract Apart? The Miniature Adventure Game.

When I started work on Broken Contract just over a year ago I set out to create a sci-fi board game that drew off of some of my favorite sci-fi movies and TV shows. I wanted to create something unique, that stood out in its subject matter, aesthetic, and game play. In a time where new games are being launched every day, particularly miniature board games and skirmish war games, what makes Broken Contract unique?

Its a Miniature Game That isn't Strictly About Combat

Most miniature war games on the market focus on combat exclusively. I can only think of two games that try to integrate "non-combat solutions" into the game. Neither game emphasizes that aspect with dedicated Stats to make those elements a focus of the game. I wanted to create a game that focused heavily on "non-combat solutions" and the way to do that was to create a robust collection of statistics and scenarios that use them. An objective in Broken Contract is not killing all of the enemy, taking c…

Character Stat Cards, Equipment Cards, and Initiative Cards

Lately I've been really anxious to both get out and demonstrate Broken Contract to the masses, and also allow people the option to "print and play" so that they can play test at home. Over the past several days I decided to take matters into my own hands and try and flex my very rudimentary Photoshop skills. I spent a half dozen hours or so making mock ups that people can play with that aren't completely embarrassing. Luckily, Sam created cards that weren't so elaborate that they made any hope of editing them impossible. At the same time, they don't have the polish, nor the subtle variation, that even his early work has had. This is okay though since these are just for play testing purposes anyway.



The above cards were a mock up Initiative Deck that Sam threw together for me a few months back. With a bit of effort I covered over all of the numbers and made 22 blank cards. Then I used them to create cards for almost all of the weapons and equipment I've c…

New Action: Focus

In my last post, Play Testing Recap, I discussed a suggestion that play tester, Aaron Schmidt, threw out there, and that Brian Parisi, seconded. It was a new Action called Focus. The intent was to give players the option of using an Action to concentrate on what they were doing to improve their chance of success. After mulling over how to implement it into the game I came up with this:
Focus (1AP) – They take a deep breath and clear their head, then launch into action with tunnel vision. Focus allows the Character to use an Action to improve the chance of success of their next Action or Interruption. After declaring Focus, the Character receives +1 to the die roll for their next Stat Check. Focus is much easier to achieve when there are no immediate threats and no Check is needed to succeed. However, if there are any unengaged enemy Characters within 6” of the model they must make a Psyche Check to Focus. If they succeed in the Psyche Check, they may Focus as described above. If a nat…

Play Testing Recap

On Thursday night, my friends Brian Parisi and Aaron Schmidt met me at Dimo's Pizza here in Chicago to eat pizza, roll some dice, and discuss our various projects that we were working on. Brian has been my most regular play tester and he's a bit of a rules tinker himself with some rule sets he's been dabbling with.  Aaron is a sculptor currently working on Wreck-Age models for Hyacinth Games. In addition, I long ago noticed that he enjoys analyzing and discussing game mechanics as much as he enjoys playing games. This was going to be Aaron's first time playing Broken Contract and I was really curious what he'd have to say.

I had intended to run a new scenario I had concocted weeks ago that integrated a bunch of new design elements focusing on the robust collection of Stats characters have. I got home from work and I discovered I had given most of my board sections to my graphic designer to scan and layer up with textures and lighting effects. He wouldn't be at…

Where Hobby Games and Board Games Collide

When I first conceived Broken Contract, I imagined it as a board game that would have all of the framework in place to seamlessly transition into a hobby game. With that in mind, I specifically opted for measurements in inches and decided against using squares. Now that I've seen that pursuing the game strictly as a miniature board game isn't necessarily the best plan, I've decided to translate the flat game boards into modeled terrain to showcase its versatility. Below are two WIP shots of game board sections translated to modeled terrain using hardboard, pink insulation foam, and a breakaway blade to texture the mine walls. Each mine section is on an 8"x10" section of hardboard.

Over the next few weeks I'm really looking forward to making board sections of a variety of shapes to emulate the a three dimensional vision of the mines, because in a 3D setting, miniatures really come to life.


Though the game will still be designed to be played on flat board sect…

XXVI. Assembling the Cast - Ari Gaylen

There are many coping mechanisms for dealing with the conditions in the mines. Ari volunteers for the most dangerous work with fatalistic excitement. Cocksure and with the reckless abandon of someone who has nothing left to lose she derives a strange joy out of Tracted life. Whether dynamite blasting or being lowered into fissures, her work load is varied and exciting.
   Ari Gaylen is young, spry, dexterous, and confident. She keeps her hair cropped because its been singed off in more than one blast over the years. She sees her scars as badges of honor though she has been lucky enough to escape any crippling injuries. Despite making the most of her work she has no love for FerrumSky and would happily commit her adventurous spirit to never having to work in the mines again.

Ari Gaylen (The Daredevil)
Core: Actions: 3 Move: 3 Wounds: 3
Combat: Shoot: 5 Melee: 5 Strength: 5 Agility: 4
Brain: Intellect: 5 Perception: 5 Psyche: 5 Medic: 5
Social: Lead: 6 Dealing: 6
Intangible: Recove…

Sculpts - From Concept to Reality

Work on Broken Contract began in October 2013. Over the last year Broken Contract has organically evolved as the background, rules, and art have all been crafted and influenced each other. But as a miniature game, the one thing that was sorely missing from the Kickstarter this September, was physical models to show how far we've come. Broken Contract is more than just an idea, and the development has been put in, but I feel the people needed something more tangible to believe in. I cancelled the Kickstarter so we could work on both a new format, and to give me more time to show the world the concrete results of all of our labor. This past week, for me, was a triumphant step forward in that regard because our very first prototypes arrived in the mail.


The progression from ideas pulled from influential sources like Hunger Games, Firefly, and Cool Hand Luke to these models has required a lot of stages of development. The earliest concept sketches by Oliver Zavala and Sam Alcarez ins…

Hathor

Its been almost two weeks since my last post. Things are steadily moving here, but all of it is behind the scenes. Sometime this week I should receive the first 2 prototype models. Tim Barry has also been commissioned to do 3 more sculpts. Also, a lot of writing is being done for the rule book and Deep Underground scenario book. Here is a snippet from that. -Nick
     Originally called P234123, Hathor was claimed and surveyed in 2251AD by the Interstellar Science and Exploration Corporation (ISEC). Early analysis of the planet determined that the world was teaming with metal and mineral resources, had a similar gravity to Earth, and held an oxygen rich atmosphere that would be suitable for affordable terraforming. In 2260AD ISEC put P234123 up for bidding and FerrumSky acquired ownership.
     Newly named as Hathor, FeSky hired TerraArtistans to make it more suitable for colonization. In 2285AD, FerrumSky built its first micro-dome settlement, Hathor Landing and hired on numerous corp…

Broken Contract - The New Plan

I mentioned in the last Kickstarter update that we'd been working on a new plan. Well the new plan is coming together and it looks something like this...

The boxed game is now being separated into 4 separate products.

- Broken Contract Rule Book (~MSRP $15)
This is a 32 page book with an overview of the setting, all the rules to the game, character creation rules, a generic scenario, guidance on how to create your own scenarios, and 2 blank character cards. The inside cover will fold out into a generic mining area "game board" and a rules reference card.

- Initiative and Equipment Card Deck (~MSRP $5-$8)
This will be a 40-80 card deck that includes 26 Initiative Cards and an assortment of Equipment Cards.

- Broken Contract - Deep Underground Miniature Set (~MSRP ~$40-$50)
Currently this will be a set of 8 white metal miniatures - 3 Prods and 5 Breakers. The set will cover the characters needed to play Broken Contract - Deep Underground.

- Broken Contract - Deep Undergr…

Creating Characters for Broken Contract

With the Kickstarter demonstrating that we need to start smaller, we're working towards getting the rule book together to fund separately. If you've downloaded the Alpha Rules then you know that it currently stands at about 27 pages. That means we still have 5 pages to play with if we want to release it as a 32 page book. Some of that space will be given over to diagrams, but rather than filling it with a bunch of pre-generated Characters, I figure most people would like the option to create their own to get up and playing. With that in mind, I unearthed an old rough draft of some Character Creation rules I had written earlier in the year and started fleshing it out to work with the current character card prototype. This is the current rough draft. I understand that the Skills aren't explained yet, but let me know if this seems pretty clear. It wouldn't take much to have Sam create a blank character card to include at the end of the rules.
Creating Your Own Characters

XXV. Assembling the Cast - Nells Turnbull

Most working the FeSky mine signed up for it directly or had their contracts sold to FeSky after failing to fulfill their original contract. Nells is Tracted because his only other choice was execution. He won’t say what he did to merit the death or contract choice, but nobody is given that option for minor transgressions. Slightly built, agile and clever Nells has wormed out a place among the other miners through lies, manipulation and connections that let him get rare specialty items through illicit means.
     Nobody would go so far as to call him a friend or say that they trust him, but he has a knack for uncovering secrets and using them to get more freedom of movement and chances to slack off. Though he is despised, the other residents tolerate Nells because of his ability to get contraband into the mine for the right price. The prods see him as a useful tool. He is willing to curry favor by informing on his fellows with very limited provocation. This image is one he encou…

Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter Info

Early this week, after much discussion with my co-conspirators and friends, I decided to cancel the existing Kickstarter for Broken Contract - Deep Underground. This was done with a heavy heart, but it was clear that the boxed game format wasn't going to fund and we needed to explore other options.

Manufacturing a board game, with all of its components - dice, rules, board, figures, etc, is very expensive. When doing short runs of 300 or 500 copies, your printing costs are huge. Its when you scale up to 1000 or more copies that prices begin to come down per unit, but then you have to have the money to cover more copies than you need. Plus, then you have to have somewhere to store all of those copies.Ultimately, the premium packaged board game is what I wanted for Broken Contract, but the needs to make that happen were just too great, so we needed a new plan.

We've all talked it over and we've decided to keep pursuing the game, but with some changes. The rule book will be d…

XXIV. Assembling the Cast - Micha Donnelly

Micha Donnelly
     Working in the fields for AgriCorp was a hard life, but the opportunity to live among growing plants and in the relative open suited Micha Donnelly. Over the months she found a love for the work, for the field hounds used to control vermin and for one of her fellow tracted workers. Life was hard but the small pleasures and joys made it a tolerable one.
     Then came a day that would end that life. A Prod named Campbell provoked one of the hounds and was bitten. In a rage he began to mercilessly kick the animal. Micha was nearby and a violent rage overcame her. She began beating Campbell with her hoe. He was knocked to the ground and badly injured as she laid into him. The other prods surrounded Micha and beat her into submission with shock batons. She was put in the box, but the dog had escaped to the care of the kennel masters.      Not caring if she was a good worker or not, AgriCorp chose to activate a clause which let them sell her contract to FerrumSky for a m…

Scenarios, Story Arc, and Re-Playability

Yesterday on reddit someone asked if Broken Contract was strictly campaign driven so I wanted to address that since others might be wondering.

The scenarios contained in Broken Contract - Deep Underground follow a story arc with named characters recommended. In 'Worked to Death', a miner who succumbs to illness on the job sparks the others to lash out in an unplanned clash. They are outnumbered by the Prods who will quickly rough them up. This is a fast and dirty scenario intended to teach the players the basic mechanics to the game to prepare them for a proper confrontation.

The true opening to the narrative though is 'It's Time'. In this scenario the Breakers have discussed a rough plan and are just waiting for the right moment to overtake the guards. This scenario is the spark of the revolt and runs the players through the paces of the game in 45-90 minutes. As a "prison break" of sorts the Breakers are ultimately trying get out the door. However, ful…

Day 1 and Equipment Cards

The first 24 hours are just about behind us and we're off to a good start but we've got a long way to go. Everyone involved is working in their free time to produce more art and graphic design work to show you that this game project is a work of passion that we want to succeed. Remember, if you're on the fence about backing this Kickstarter, you can always just pledge $1 to have access to all of the Kickstarter Updates. Or if you're worried it won't fund, you have nothing to lose by pledging for exactly what you want.

Here are some first draft Equipment Cards by Sam Alcarez. The borders and art are looking great if I do say so myself.




These are used in conjunction with the Character Stat Card to keep track of your gear.


If this is looking cool please pledge to the Kickstarter. You can find it here:

Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter

Thanks!
-Nick