Sunday, April 26, 2015

Playtesting the Prod Gen-Mod and Dual Wielding

Nanomei Goliath from Aetherium standing in for a Prod Gen-Mod
Model courtesy of Anvil-Eight Games

Over the last two weeks I've taken time to sit down and try out some ideas for the Prod Gen-Mod. It's always exciting trying out a new character with untested stats and equipment. Our Kickstarter Backers wanted to see the Prod Gen-Mod as more intimidating than the Breaker Gen-Mod. I think I've done so and kept it within reason, though it will take more testing to know for sure.

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

Equipment: Shock Fists, Gen-Mod Apparatus
Special Rules: Heavy Lifter, Dependent, Massive.

The idea behind giving the Prod Gen-Mod an extra Action was to ensure they could be viewed as an unstoppable threat bearing down on the enemy. Once in close combat they could rain blows on their opponents. I want them to be terrifying. Unfortunately, the first time I ran the Prod Gen-Mod they still struggled to quickly take down threats. Even though they could Stun someone with a single punch, they only inflict a single wound per Strike most of the time, and they only hit 50% of the time.

Then I decided that if this Gen-Mod could Strike twice for every Action, it could really capture my vision. I started rolling dice and they became everything that I wanted. Of course, unlocking the idea of Characters getting to throw two Fists for a single Strike would mean that I would have to spread this possibility around. Since Ari Gaylen is depicted wielding a Rock Hammer and Knife, I decided to try this option on her. What I found was that it really seemed to balance out the hard hitting power of the Two Handed weapons by allowing her more opportunities to do get some hits in.

Both of these new additions should make for some more action packed yet decisive combats. We can expect Dual Wielding to make it into the next version of the rules.

Thanks for reading.
-Nick

 Want your own Nanomei Goliath? You can pick one up at Anvil-Eight Games.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Making Mine Scenery XIII

Mine section by Robh from Kickstarter/Lead Adventure

Its been a while since I did a hobby post. The Kickstarter had me furiously painting models, but I didn't really touch any of the scenery during the last month or so. Today I wanted to shake the dust off and get back into the terrain mindset.

Now before I talk about my own FerrumSky mine and some theory, I want to take a moment to showcase the work of Robh. During the Kickstarter I got a message from Rob telling me that they had worked on some mines of their own, inspired by the game. I was ecstatic and pleaded to see pics. They happily obliged. Featured here are two of their sections. They deviated from my own straight lines and went for something more winding. The game play options for their sections are excellent. There are obstacles to fight around and jump over, and spots to get out of line of sight.

"T" section by Robh.

Rob actually goes into detail on how these sections and others were made on their blog, El Brazo de Nelson and particularly in this thread on Lead Adventure. Expect to see more of Rob's work here in the coming weeks. If you have also started work on some mine sections of your own, I would love to see them. Drop a note in the comments or on the Broken Contract FB Page or the Broken Contract Playtest Group.

Narrative Campaign Structures.

Now that we've all marveled at Rob's beautiful terrain, let's talk theory. When making terrain and when making scenarios, players want options. They want to feel a sense of control over their destiny. Occasionally you want or need the players to be forced along a linear track or what I refer to as a Straight Sequence, but if you want the players to feel invested, you might want to give them a more "Choose Your Own Adventure" campaign structure. I sketched out 3 simple structures to help those who want to create their own mini campaigns:

Straight Sequence - In a Straight Sequence campaign the players have a direct narrative. If the Characters survive Act 1, they proceed to Act 2. If they survive Act 2, they proceed to Act 3. There might be all sorts of cool objectives to achieve in the mission, but most likely they enter through Opening A and exit through Opening B, or might even work through multiple scenarios locked in one section of area until they complete a series of goals. In a Straight Sequence Campaign  the narrative always proceeds in a strict order with no deviation.

Alternate Body - The Alternate Body campaign allows the characters more options. At the conclusion of Act 1 they are faced with Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3. This can take the form of multiple exits or it can take the form of varied scenarios based upon which objectives the Characters accomplish. These options allow the story to vary based upon the actions of the players. For simplicity's sake, these scenarios in the middle of the story all lead back to the same grand conclusion for the 3rd and final scenario.

Alternate Ending - The Alternate Ending campaign keeps Act 1 and Act 2 linked in a Straight Sequence. Act 2 ends with multiple exits or objectives that trigger different possible scenarios going into Act 3. This might actually create the greatest sense of carving one's own future.

By adhering to these Campaign Structures you can plan out an entire campaign in advance without going crazy trying to map out all of the possible futures. You'll notice that the Straight Sequence campaign can be executed with only 3 Scenarios, and the Alternate Body and Alternate Ending can each be constructed with 4 or 5 Scenarios planned out in advance, which is still quite manageable. Now how does this all relate to Making Mine Scenery?

It is much easier to plan out your scenarios when you can visualize, "If the Characters exit through this corridor, where does it lead?" Thinking in those terms, you can plan out your maps for your scenarios both to give the players tactical options during the game, but also options for how the story might continue. Does this exit lead to a tool shed to acquire equipment out of? Does it lead to an infirmary to pull an injured friend out of? Does it lead to a secret unused tunnel to avoid a guard station? There are a ton of cool action movie scenarios you can work into the setting.

Two new sections roughed out today. 

In that spirit, I roughed out a 4-way intersection piece and a 3-way. These will make my scenery collection less linear, and when combined with my existing collection will give me the ability to allow the Breakers and Prods to maneuver around each other in the process of pursuing their objectives.

My current collection is too linear so it needs to be expanded.

Thanks for reading!
-Nick

PS. You can see how all of those board sections and more were made in these fine articles:

Making Mine Scenery Part I
Making Mine Scenery Part II
Making Mine Scenery Part III
Making Mine Scenery Part IV
Making Mine Scenery Part V
Making Mine Scenery Part VI
Making Mine Scenery Part VII
Making Mine Scenery Part VIII
Making Mine Scenery Part IX
Making Mine Scenery Part X

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kickstarter Funded! So What's Next?

Ari Gaylen leaping into action against the Prods!
We did it! We raised $4221 to release the first box of models and a bunch of extras. This is, of course, the first step in pursuing something much larger. The goal is to get as many people as possible playtesting the rules while we work towards a proper launch with the Broken Contract Rule Book, Broken Contract Equipment and Initiative Cards, more models, and possibly the first scenario supplement. The next 6 months are going to be busy indeed!

First though, I need to complete everything that everyone of the Backers has pledged for, so getting stuff moving is of the utmost importance. After taking a few days off to decompress from the Kickstarter campaign, I'm back, nose deep in my day planner again like I was leading up to and into the KS campaign. I have a lot of projects to orchestrate and a lot of e-mails to send.  I also want to get the regular Sunday/Wednesday hobby blog posts back on track. I have a few 'It's Time' game boards to build for Backers and a couple sets of minis to paint up, so there will be plenty of material to cover over the next few weeks.

I want to thank everyone for their support during the campaign. Stay tuned! There will be a lot of things coming down the pipe.

-Nick

Friday, April 10, 2015

Playtesters and Creatives Wanted!


The Broken Contract Miniature Starter Set Kickstarter is winding down, but our plans for Broken Contract are only ramping up!

The beta rulebook is up and available for free download. Also, they are not necessary for play, but the 'It's Time' Game Board, Initiative and Equipment Card Decks, and Character Stat Cards are all up for free download as well. A quick trip to a copier and you are ready to go.


We want your involvement in the development of this game. We want you to read the rules and play it. We want your feedback on how it played and how clear the rules were. We are shooting to launch another Kickstarter for the rulebook and more models in the Fall and we want your help to make it the coolest action and adventure game possible by then.

It doesn't end there. We want you to produce content like Acts (scenarios) and short campaigns (Episodes). We want to see your writing, your art, and your painted models and scenery. We want you to share those things with the world. We want your engagement and we will support you all along the way, so get involved!

Feedback can be sent to:

Broken Contract Playtesters

And there is always:

https://www.facebook.com/brokencontract
brokencontract@gmail.com

Thanks in advance.
-Nick 



Broken Contract beta rulebook

Sample 'It's Time' Board

Sample Character Card

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Broken Contract Kickstarter in its Final Hours!


It's been a fun ride, but it's nearing the end. We are entering the final hours of the Broken Contract Miniature Starter Set Kickstarter so it's time for the last big push. We would love to have your support. Here's the breakdown of what's available through the Kickstarter:


  • Broken Contract Miniature Starter Set - This contains 5 Breakers and 3 Prods. Ari Gaylen, Adesi Haddonis, Will Kollis, Nells Turnbull, Trest the Gen-Mod, Officer Moerta, Officer Tulson, and Overseer Billins. The models are all pewter. $40.00 plus shipping.
  • Broken Contract Exclusive Set - This contains 2 Breakers, 2 Prods, and a Speaker Drone. Micha Donnelly, Grippe Candera, Officer Hickley, and Overseer Smythe. $25.00
  • Prone Officer Hickley $8.00
  • Broken Contract Miniature Starter Set Add-On - This contains 1 Breaker and 1 Prod. Talla Kellerman and a Prod Gen-Mod. $12.00
Pick up all of these models for $85.00 plus shipping! Or just pick out what you want.




Right now there is a great discussion going on about how we'd like to change this Prod Gen-Mod concept sketch that John Gendall submitted yesterday. We'd love to have your input in the comments!


Here's the art being discussed:



We genuinely appreciate all of the support and we look forward to seeing your painted models and gaming experiences when all of the dust settles from our Mini-Kickstarter. Keep the comments coming!

-Nick

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reduction Clause




Reduction Clause
By Robert Ferrick

       Cold dominated his thoughts as he woke slowly from a chemical coma. Sleeper pods were a cheap way to be transported but they were definitely not comfortable and the chill of air on his skin as the impact gel flowed out of the tube made McCall shiver and his skin break out in goose-bumps. A droning noise that sounded like someone speaking with a mouth full of marbles gradually resolved into the voice of the drop-ship’s automatic steward program.
       “Depress the lever in front of you to exit your pod. Depress the lever in front of you to exit your pod.” It droned away at him senselessly and after a moment he silenced it by doing as it instructed.
       He found himself one of a few dozen naked men and women standing in a set of rows next to their pods and the smell of stale air, imperfectly filtered bodily wastes and the metallic background smell of the ship itself overwhelmed him for a moment. Just as he was getting used to the smell he heard the static click of the auto-steward speakers coming on.
       “Proceed to quarantine station in an orderly fashion. Follow the yellow arrows. Proceed to quarantine station in an orderly fashion. Follow the yellow arrows.” It kept repeating these words as yellow arrows lit up on the floor and walls pointing to the right.
       Those close to that end of the hall began forming a line and the rest of the room followed suit. They all moved with the stumbling, half aware walk of people who had not really used their bodies in a couple of weeks. The arrows guided them out of the drop ship and the underground silo where it had landed beneath the surface of the planet Hathor into a quarantine compound where they were hosed down and issued clothing in the form of undergarments, heavy boots and a bright orange coverall.
       McCall knew from the briefing that he had been given that they were to be quarantined here until they could be safely released into their new world’s environment. During the quarantine they would be trained on the various forms of work they had been contracted to as a lot of the off world jobs simply didn’t exist on Earth anymore. He was contracted as a computer technician and he looked forward to the training and skills he would possess even as he knew he would spend five years working as a nearly unpaid employee. Afterwards he could choose a post with any company on the planet.

       After eating they were told to wait while they were called for individual orientation sessions. Half a dozen people were called upon at a time and McCall soon found himself sitting across from a man in a grey coverall with a name tag that read “Orientation Officer Gentry”. Gentry was a pasty looking fellow with a few wisps of dark hair clinging to his scalp and the dull expression of man doing work he has done a thousand times. Seated behind a quarantine wall of thick glass with a speaker vox between them reminded McCall of his status as an offworlder.
       “Mr. McCall I see here that you have been contracted to the FeSky Mine. What is your level of experience with mining?”
       “None, but I believe you have the wrong file, I was contracted with Galactech as a computer engineer.”
       “You are Anson C. McCall, citizen # 459-43-9044-E correct?” asked the small man.
       “Yes, I am, but I am no miner.”
       “Please allow me a moment to review your file.” said Gentry and he began typing away at his console. After a few moments he said “Ah, I see, your contract was sold in transit. Apparently Glactech over-hired on Computer technicians and engineers and sold several contracts to Ferrum Sky under the Reduction Clause KC-22. Your new term of service will be extended by ten years as miners make considerably less than Technicians.”
       “There must be a mistake! They can’t do that. I never agreed to any such thing, I want to activate my right to arbitration.” Cried McCall.
       “Well of course Mr. McCall, did you contract for expedited arbitration or did you elect the standard representation contract?”
       “Standard, I believe.”
       “Very well, in the mean time you will need to follow the requirements of your new contract and begin work as a miner, or you will be in breach of contract and subject to severe penalties and possible forfeiture of citizenship.”
       “So even though I am contesting the change I have to do it anyway?”
       “Well your food and lodgings require payment. Your transport costs, clothing, and minimum contribution to the company credit account all have to be paid for. You must work and the only work available for you at this time is as a miner. I am sure this will all get sorted out in due time; standard arbitration usually only takes about a year or two at most.”
       The door opened and Gentry had already begun reviewing another file by the time McCall had turned to go. The chill sensation in his stomach made him feel as if he had been stabbed by a cold blade.