Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Broken Contract - The New Plan

Riot scene by Geng Gendall
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 Underground Scenario Book (~MSRP $10)
This 16 page booklet will contain 4 scenarios, game board sections, background, and Character Cards for all of the characters from the Deep Underground Miniature Set, giving you 2-4 evenings of entertainment.

I think this is a great solution that allows us to move forward without the massive start up costs of a large boxed game, allowing us to fund the project piecemeal. What do you think? Initial feedback has been good, but what does my quiet audience of followers think? I know you're out there.

My e-mail is brokencontractgame at outlook dot com if you want to contact me directly.

That being said, here's the latest going on:

- Rob is helping me knock out some writing and editing.
- Geng is about to start work on some new art to finish up the character concepts from Deep Underground and some new thematic pieces for the books.
- Sam is working on the graphic design for the rule book, cards, and map sections.
-Tim Barry just received the character concepts so that he can begin work on 3 new sculpts.
- Our first model prototype should be finished and ready to ship to us this week!
- Finally I'm working on adding content to the rule book and working on a couple fun introductory scenarios.

There you have it. Thanks for following and as always, feedback is welcome!
-Nick

Friday, September 26, 2014

Creating Characters for Broken Contract

Current incarnation of the Character Stat Card by Sam Alcarez.
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

Every Broken Contract Supplement is going to come with Characters to play with, but you might want to create your own story lines, scenarios, and Characters. Creating your own Characters can be very rewarding and is very easy in Broken Contract. Every Character starts with these Average Human Stats:

Core: Actions: 3 Move:  3 Wounds: 3
Combat: Shoot: 5 Melee: 5 Strength: 5 Agility: 5
Brain: Intellect: 5 Perceive: 5 Psyche: 5 Medic: 5
Social: Lead: 6 Dealing: 6
Intangible: Recovery: 6 Faith: 6

You can make two upgrades to your Character. One or both upgrades can be to improve any Combat, Brain, Social, or Intangible Stat by 1 point. You cannot improve any Stat by more than 1 point and you may not improve Core Stats other than through Skills and Special Rules. Here is the complete list of Stats that you can improve:

1. Shoot
2. Melee
3. Strength
4. Agility
5. Intellect
6. Perceive
7. Psyche
8. Medic
9. Lead
10. Dealing
11. Recovery
12. Faith

You also can upgrade your Character by taking one or both upgrades as Skills and Special Rules from the following list. This will allow you to tweak your Character and make them more how you envision them. These are the available Skills and Special Rules:

13. Authoritative
14. Charmer
15. Determined
16. Heavy Lifter
17. Inspirational Leader
18. Intimidating Presence
19. Massive
20. Mechanical Aptitude
21. Nimble
22. Progen
23. True Grit
24. Who Dares Wins

Weapons and Equipment

Breakers can choose one item from this list: Big Wrench, Knife, Mining Drill, Pick Axe, Shovel, Sledgehammer.

Breakers may then choose one item of Equipment from this list: Breather, Rock.

Prods can choose any two Weapons from this list: Arc Pistol, Baton, Crowd Control Repeater, Riot Shield, Shock Baton.

Prods can choose one piece of Equipment from this list: Arc Pistol Battery, Breather, Key Card, Rubber Bullets

Every Prod comes with: Restraints.

Creating a Gen-Mod

If you wish to create a Gen-Mod you may take up to three upgrades, but you must also take the Dependent Special Rule to balance out the additional upgrade. For balance reasons, crews of eight Breakers or less should only have one Gen-Mod and Prods shouldn’t have more than one.

Gen-Mods may pick one Weapon from the following list: Mining Drill, Pick Axe, Rock Saw, Shovel, Sledgehammer.

Gen-Mods must choose: Gen-Mod Apparatus as an additional piece of Equipment.

If you wish you may create your Character randomly by shuffling the entire Initiative Deck (which should be 26 cards: 24 numbered cards and 2 re-roll cards) and draw two cards (three for a Gen-Mod). You will notice the upgrades above are numbered. Those numbers correspond to the 24 cards in the Initiative Deck and indicate what upgrades your Character has received. If you draw a Re-Roll, hold onto it and draw an additional card. If you have the Re-Roll and you don’t like one of the cards you drew you may use the Re-Roll to discard a card and draw again. You must keep the new card.


Weapons and Equipment work in the same way. Take all of the Weapon Cards in the Weapon Card deck that correspond to your available list of weapons including doubles. Shuffle them up and draw a card. If you didn’t use your Re-Roll you may use it to redraw. Repeat this process with the relevant Equipment Cards to finish your Character.

Thanks for reading. Your feedback is welcome, so let us know what you think.
-Nick

Sunday, September 21, 2014

XXV. Assembling the Cast - Nells Turnbull

Nells Turnbull by Geng Gendall

     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 encourages. While he has made a place for himself among the Tracted, Nells would prefer freedom to his time in the mines and unlike some would have contacts and the ability to disappear into the dark underworld of criminals avoiding corporate entanglements.

Nells Turnbull
Core: Actions 3 Move: 3 Wounds: 3
Combat: Shoot: 5 Melee: 5 Strength: 5 Agility: 5
Brain: Intellect: 5 Perception: 4 Psyche: 5 Medic: 5
Social: Lead: 6 Dealing: 5
Intangible: Recovery: 5 Faith: 5

Equipment: Shovel, Knife.
Special Rules: Nimble.

By Rob Ferrick with Nick Baran.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter Info

Restraint Drone by Geng Gendall
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 designed, edited, and Kickstarted to get it out to the world separately, because that's a much more affordable option. The models, will also be produced but sold separately, and in white metal rather than in resin. These changes will greatly bring down the production costs and allow us to move the game forward without the massive costs of mass producing a premium boxed game.

Thanks to everyone who has been following Broken Contract and supported us along the way. I think this is a good move for us. More updates on all of this coming soon.

-Nick

Saturday, September 13, 2014

XXIV. Assembling the Cast - Micha Donnelly

Micha Donnelly by Geng Gendall

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 more effective punishment and a tidy little profit. Now a woman who loved the sky and living plants spends her days buried beneath the land.

Micha Donnelly
Core: Actions 3 Move: 3 Wounds: 3
Combat: Shoot: 5 Melee: 5 Strength: 5 Agility: 5
Brain: Intellect: 5 Perception: 5 Psyche: 4 Medic: 5
Social: Lead: 6 Dealing: 6
Intangible: Recovery: 5 Faith: 5

Equipment: Shovel
Special Rules: None.

By Rob Ferrick and Nick Baran

Friday, September 5, 2014

Scenarios, Story Arc, and Re-Playability

Nells by Geng Gendall. Pay close attention to both windows.

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, full scenarios like this one force you to choose how you are going to go about it. Both sides are penalized for killing each other while Breakers are rewarded for stealing a key card to get through doors, stealing weapons off guards, and getting out the first door in their way. The Prods are rewarded for setting off the alarm, holding back the Breakers until the hydraulic door closes (which takes several turns), and for putting the Breakers in restraints. With lots of ways to achieve victory you can play this scenario many times with your friends and have the plan and the outcome be different every time.

Board section used to play 'It's Time' by Sam Alcarez

Once out the door, the Breaker's goal becomes about working their way further up in the mines, but knowing that countless Prods potentially stand between the Breakers and freedom. Obtaining more equipment and members will increase your chances of success. To those ends, the next scenario is called 'Get Kellerman' and finds the Breakers fighting their way through more Prods to try and convince Talla Kellerman, the Progen Technician to join the cause. Meanwhile, there is a shed full of tools, a freight elevator that can be activated or sabotaged, and potentially other surprises that await. Additionally, if you are playing the campaign, you begin this scenario with constraints based upon the results of 'It's Time' but if you are just playing it as a one-off on an irregular gaming night, it lists specific characters so you can jump right into the action.

Talla Kellerman by Sam Alcarez

Also, you'll notice that the Kickstarter campaign has Add On characters. Substituting the Add On characters for existing characters or adding them in can be a great way to vary up the events as well. Some of the Stretch Goals are design to expand the contents of the base game to add more equipment, characters, and scenarios. Additionally, though the ultimate goal is to release Expansions to the game in the years to come, the intent is for this design blog to be a source of additional gaming material like scenarios, scenario design contests, side story arcs in development, and the like. Personally, I'm very excited about it.

Officer Hickley is meant to be the first of several Add Ons. Sculpt by Tim Barry.

You can find the Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter here.

And you can check out the Alpha Rules here.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

-Nick

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter is now Live!


Workers of the World Unite! Happy Labor Day!

The Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter has been launched. If you can pledge, please do. If you can't pledge, I understand, but if you think its a cool project, please share it on your favorite game forum, social media outlet, or among your friends.

This project has taken myself, Sam Alcarez, Geng Gendall, Robert Ferrick, and a bunch of others over a year to put together. Its a fun game but it pulls from a lot of real world themes having to do with worker struggles.

There will be plenty of Add On models over the next 4 weeks, and what other gaming Kickstarter offers root beer as a reward?  (Of course, with Broken Contract art on it).

Finally, all of the printing is being done at Salsedo Press here in Chicago, the worker owned and operated print shop. The figures are slated to be manufactured in Missouri, and the dice are manufactured in Germany and Denmark and sourced from Chessex in Fort Wayne, IN. The root beer is going to be manufactured here at Filberts bottling in Chicago. This game sticks to solid ideals and I'm very proud of that. If you dig that, find a way to support if you can. Thanks! -Nick
Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter