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Showing posts from 2016

Game Designer's Notebook: Playing a Campaign Part 2

Over the last two months Hal and I have worked our way through completing the three Act Broken Contract campaign from the upcoming rulebook. It's been a great experience with a lot of great information gleaned and bits reworked to make it a better experience. Collected are a bunch of thoughts from Act II: Escape Route and Act III: As Good as Dead. -Nick



The Constraints of Cost and Play Area

Before we get into the scenarios themselves I want to talk about play area. Broken Contract was designed to be played on a very small area. Most of the games I've played have been played in anywhere from a 8" x 20" area to a 24" x 24" area. One of my long standing plans was to create a pack of 10 double sided game board tiles so that 24" x 24" was a pretty standard size. Over the summer I finally acquired 8" x 8" game tiles in two thicknesses. One was heavy card stock, the same as the game cards, and the other was a heavy chipboard "board game til…

Game Designer's Notebook: Named Characters and Points

Points in Broken Contract have actually been a rather recent development, with the early playtesting done with a Character ratio of roughly 3/5 (three Black Squadron models for every five Breakers). The plan back then was to just indicate in each scenario how many Characters each side should take. All of the Characters released as part of the last Kickstarter were sent out into the world without any sort of point values because of this. In fact, the very first mention of points was in May of 2016. This means that everyone who owns the Character models that have been produced have to piece their way through the Character Creation rules I posted up in May to try and figure out how many points each named Character is worth. I figure I should rectify this until the FerrumSky Campaign Book is released some time in 2017.

These are the points values for each Character without any of their equipment.

Black Squadron Characters (Unequipped)

Naria Anlika - 13 points
Wire Billins - 13 points
Kal …

Broken Contract Faction Box Sale!

Hello all! As we get closer to finishing up the Broken Contract Rulebook and jumping into FerrumSky Campaign Book next, I'd love to commission some new art. With that in mind, selling a few Faction Sets would go a long way toward reaching that goal. To that end, I've reduced the price on the Black Squadron Faction Box Set and the Breaker Faction Box Set from $35 to $29.75 on  breakerpress.storenvy.com The sale runs until Wednesday December 7th. All packages will ship with whatever cool bonus stuff I have laying around, so you'll be receiving more than just the 15% savings. :)

Thanks in advance!
-Nick


Game Designer's Notebook: Playing A Campaign Part 1

Last week, Hal and I started playing out our first Episode. In Broken Contract each individual game is called an Act, and three games are called an Episode. I feel like this sort of structure encourages campaign play by breaking it down into manageable bites. We started last week by creating crews and playing Act 1. Here are some thoughts on the design decisions that have gone into this process starting with what we did during Week 1. -Nick

Anyone who's played any of the classic skirmish games knows, one of the greatest joys of skirmish gaming is creating your Crew (gang, team, or other cool "group" vernacular) and watching them evolve from game to game. One of the biggest frustrations though is seeing one player's Crew grow so rapidly that they dominate the campaign or league from day 1, and their spot never really gets challenged. Additionally, being wiped straight off the board isn't really much fun for either side. The question becomes: How will Broken Contra…

Broken Contract Update

The Broken Contract Rulebook is getting very close to a completed state. Pictured above is a hard copy of the current incarnation with graphic design by Sam Alcarez. He's currently working on the 3rd draft and I'm still going over the 2nd draft looking for corrections and changes that need to be made.


One of the key changes from the first draft to the second was the inclusion of this chart. If you've looked at or played older incarnations then you may know that most Actions and Interruptions had special rules for Critical Successes and Failures, triggered by rolling natural 6's or 1's. Some of these had their own mini charts under their entries in the Actions and Interruptions section of the book, and this resulted in a lot of page flipping. It also chewed up a lot of space with needless repetition throughout the section. This chapter went through a complete re-write and the chart gives a concise presentation of the information so it doesn't slow down the game…

Game Designers Notebook: Kickstarter Prep

Building a Kickstarter is a complicated beast. In my time developing Broken Contract I've built several that I have never launched, and I have pulled the trigger on two. I learned a lot from both of those experiences, but there are so many variables at play that it is always hard to feel ready - even when you know you are more ready than you've ever been!

With getting ready for the next Kickstarter I wanted to take some time to reflect on some of those lessons.

Broken Contract - Deep Underground
Cancelled Kickstarter 09/2014

I can still remember how I felt going into that first Kickstarter. I had been working relentlessly on Broken Contract for a year. Most of that time was while I was on worker's compensation from an ACL tear on the job. I had a strong vision and what I thought at the time was a lot development put into art and sculpting. Most importantly, I had calculated what I needed to launch a boxed game and I had exhausted my financial resources at the time. I felt l…

Game Designers Notebook: Six Sided Dice and Design Philosophy

I watch a lot of "how to play" videos on YouTube. I think it's important to know what's going on out there even if I don't have the opportunity to try every game available for myself, so this is a great way to stay up on the industry. One of my favorite sources for these videos is the "Let's Play!" series on Guerrilla Miniature Games YouTube channel. By demand, Ash did a video of a game of his own design that he's been developing called, Last Days: Zombie Apocalypse. It's a great looking game and the video is very entertaining. It just seems like it will be very fun to play. But a question came up in the comments: "Why D6?"

Ash didn't answer that I saw, but I'm sure there will be those out there who will wonder the same thing about Broken Contract. I figured I would take the time to discuss the D6 design decision and also go into some detail about the custom dice I'm working on because these choices tie into each other…

Troublemakers Card Game and Skirmish Supremacy Podcast

It's been a busy summer and I've been jumping from project to project based on time, weather, and availability. I was working on a bunch of Broken Contract scenery projects and the custom boards for a few of the Kickstarter Backers but it just got too hot in the attic to work up there, so I moved on to the painted models for those same backers, and took up temporary painting residence in our living room.

We've also had a lot of visitors and a few short trips of our own to go on. My partner, Lisa, and I, went out to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit our friend Jami. Jami requested we bring Broken Contract and Troublemakers with us because she wanted to try both of them. Troublemakers was a project that had been sitting for a while untouched so it was a little thrilling to crack it out and play it with fresh eyes.


The Genesis of Troublemakers

I lived in Chicago from 2006-2014. During my time there I would see stickers everywhere I went from a street artist who went by Blutt. When m…
Act: From Nothing
This group of FerrumSky miners has been plotting their escape for months, watching and waiting for their moment. Tonight is that night. Gambling, distracted security officers and a malfunctioning drone have created a golden opportunity to slip out of their barracks chamber. The only hitch is, the crew has already returned their tools for the night and are completely unarmed. Without tools or weapons this break attempt can only be made through their abilities and determination.
Breaker Goal: Get off the board with as much equipment as possible, with as many Characters as possible. Try not to let your enemies become Critical or Dead.
Black Squadron Goal: Sound the Alarm and Restrain as many Breakers as possible. Try not to let your enemies become Critical or Dead.
Points: Breakers and Black Squadron 50. The Breakers may spend no points on Equipment other than required Equipment like the Gen-Mod Apparatus. They are starting the episode with nothing.
Set-Up Place the tiles in…

Making Mine Scenery for Game Mats

Last year I ran a sixteen article series on Making Mine Scenery, but it revolved around fully modeled 8"x10" board sections. This idea pre-dated my decision to switch to 8"x8" board game tiles, similar to games like Zombicide. These newer game tiles were still based on my original designs, but going square just made them more flexible to use and easier to design. However, that isn't the only drive behind revisiting Making Mine Scenery. 

In the last year, roll out game mats have taken the wargaming world by storm. Yeah, they started to make an impact a few years ago, but now they are everywhere and they are incredibly varied. A lot of the early ones didn't make me go, "WOW!" But Guerrilla Miniature GamesWidgets and Wonders series on Youtube and their weekly programming of battle reports using these mats has showed me it was time to present another way of creating BC scenery to accommodate the game mat crowd. The GMG 'Widgets and Wonders' v…

Act: Escape Route

This is the first Act (scenario) designed for "matched play" games of Broken Contract. It's random set up is meant to make the Act endlessly replayable. Though Broken Contract was designed for narrative play, this scenario will allow for pick up games, or a great "mid episode" game as Characters move from Act 1 to Act 3 of an Episode of your own crafting. Give it a try and let us know what you think! -Nick 
Escape Route
The Mission: The Breakers have established one or more viable escape routes and are making a press toward their exit. Black Squadron Security or Loyalists must try to stop their attempt to break through.
Set-Up: The Breakers know their viable exit points. Roll a D3 to find out how many exit points they may choose from. Next roll 3D3 to determine how many 8”x8” board tiles they may set down to determine their potential exit routes. The Breaker player sets down one tile as their start point and then continues to lay tiles until they are happy with th…