Skip to main content

Design Discussion: Counters

Dead counter by Sam Alcarez

One thing that most miniature games have in common is the use of counters. I fell in love with miniature gaming because of the immersion that comes with the visual experience. One of the things that has always detracted from that visual experience though is all of the on board clutter that comes from counters littering the field of battle. There have been some more artful approaches like upright blast markers, but cardstock or plastic counters have a hard time preserving the look and feel of my game area.  I am one of those extremists that has an assortment of fully modeled counters for some of my armies just so that I can maintain an attractive play area.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love in-game effects like being drugged, set on fire, knocked unconscious, shocked, etc. When you have a lot of in-game effects, you need counters to keep track of them all. In my early playtesting of Broken Contract, the field was littered with ugly counters to keep track of. And they got in the way of the models too, so I started studying other games to see what I liked about them.

Character Dashboard by Sam Alcarez

Some games use lists making counters an absolute necessity. Others use cards that you can sleeve and check boxes on with a dry erase marker, but the cards are playing card size or smaller and don't account for every in-game effect. Others use mid sized character dashboards where some wounds and effects are logged on the dashboard but others are still marked on the board with counters. And finally, there are no more than a handful of games I know of that strive to keep all notation on the dashboard. After playing some of these games, I started to feel strongly that this was the way for Broken Contract to go.

Restrained counter by Sam Alcarez.

We're working to make sure every in game effect has a corresponding counter to place on the Character Dashboard. The exception will eventually be dropped equipment and prone models. The equipment pack that was the last reward added to the Kickstarter will be ideal for dropped weapons and prone models can currently can be laid down. Ideally they should get sculpts to represent them so people who paint their models don't get them all chipped up.

I think for those like me who got into miniature gaming because of the look and feel of the models played on fully modeled boards will really appreciate this attention to preserving that. Though I know, without a doubt, some will use the game cards, without the dashboards, and will litter the table with the counters just like they always have. This will give everyone the option of playing the type of game they want to play.

Our first public play testing session in the Milwaukee metropolitan area is this Thursday at Realm of the Dragon in Wauwatosa, WI. You can get the full details here:

Broken Contract Playtesting at Realm of the Dragon

Thanks for reading!
-Nick

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Building a Punk Venue for WitS Pt. 1

Chris from Slow Death Games/Wild in the Streets isn't going to be able to make it to AdeptiCon this year so the Breaker Press Games booth is going to be running Wild in the Streets demos in addition to our yearly introduction to Broken Contract. This means that I'm going to need suitable scenery to use for demo purposes, as well as for photos used in Tooth Chipper Fanzine. With that in mind, I looked around the internet in search of buildings that fit my vision of the hip neighborhoods I've frequented around the country as my old bands toured. Everywhere I looked, the modern buildings I was most drawn to were all from the TT Combat City Scenics line.

I looked at their entire range, and even though their old theatre, comic book store, and music shop all seemed like automatic selections, I needed to get the most bang and flexibility for my buck, so I ordered their Take Away set online, which is meant to be a stripmall with 3 restaurants in it. Eagerly, I waited for it to ar…

Post #100: Rules, Background, and Cards! (Updated!)

For AdeptiCon 2016 I produced a very short run of Broken Contract Rule and Background books. I don't want anyone who didn't attend feeling left out on the contents so I've collected the files and uploaded them to Dropbox, along with a PDF file handy for printing out your own Character Dashboards and chits so you can get up and playing with the models and cards in your possession. I did deliberately omit the covers of both books for home printing. If you would like to see the covers added, let me know and I will do so.

Broken Contract Background Book

Broken Contract Playtest Rules 3-31-16

Broken Contract Character Dashboard and Chits

NEW! Broken Contract Character and Crew Creation Rules

NEW 5/28/16! Broken Contract Act: Escape Route

What is in the Broken Contract Background Book?

The Broken Contract Background Book is an overview of the FerrumSky setting. In a way, much of it is a collection of essays that were prompted by questions that my editor, Rob Ferrick, has posed to m…

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 MinesMeeting 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 …