Skip to main content

Game Designer's Notebook: Dogs in Broken Contract

Tawna the dog going after a totalitarian security officer.

One of the most frequently requested additions to Broken Contract has been dogs, and honestly, I was a bit resistant to the idea at first. My biggest hang up with dogs in games is that they have frequently been used as living shields. When I came up playing Dungeons and Dragons, they were a piece of equipment that you bought and were treated as disposable. Flash ahead 30 years, and in a game like Zombicide, they felt roughly the same way - like an object more than a sentient being. I just didn't like that dynamic, so I wanted dogs in Broken Contract to be different.

Broken Contract, in many ways, has been designed to highlight the individual. The models are designed on a flexible scale based on perceived character height, and every character is dealt their own individual Initiative Card each Turn. These are deliberate design choices, meant to create attachment and investment in the character's stories. Similarly, the animals in my life are all unique individuals, with wants, needs, personalities, and stories. The only way to do dogs justice would be to make them full characters.

Though I have rules written for dogs in three different sizes, as well as rules for Gen-Mod dogs, those haven't undergone any playtesting.. However, we've played a game with the standard dog, and it felt just right, so I'm going to share what has worked so far.

Dog from the Wreck-Age miniature range.

Creating Dog Characters

Wherever humankind goes, it's best friend follows. Dogs are loyal companions and were long ago proven to better the lives of those around them with their loyalty and devotion. Some work crews have dogs that generally hang back at their barracks compartments, and Black Squadron canine units exist throughout the mines. Other industries, like Agri-Corp, utilize dogs even more extensively giving them free range to work and earn their keep on their own.

Standard Dogs

Every Standard Dog Character starts with these Stats:

Core - Actions: 3 /Move: 5 /Wounds: 2
Combat - Shoot: - /Melee: 5 /Strength: 5 /Agility: 5 /Recovery: 5
Brain - Intellect: 5 /Perceive: 5 /Psyche: 5 /Lead: 6 /Dealing: 5

Points: 8
All Standard Dogs may take 2 upgrades for 1 point each.

I created a deck using blank cards available through

These are the current Abilities they can choose from if they draw an Ability Upgrade. Many of these correlate to human Abilities from the Ability Card Deck, so feel free to use those cards and use other cards as proxies during the draw. Just be clear with your opponent what you are doing with your opponent. Also, if you draw a Shoot Upgrade, which is a Stat dogs don't have, for now just treat that as an Ability Card Draw as well.

1. Aggressive - This Animal may re-roll failed Melee checks.
2. Deliberate - This Animal may re-roll Melee checks of 1 when performing a Strike Action.
3. Vigorous - This Animal may re-roll failed Strength checks.
4. Tenacious - This Animal may re-roll Strength checks of 1 when performing a Grab Action.
5. Biter - This Animal receives a +1 to Strength Checks when performing a Strike Action.   
6. Agile - This Animal may re-roll failed Agility checks.
7. Frisky - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Dodge Interruption.
8. Hardy - This Animal may re-roll failed Recovery checks.
9. Spirited - This Animal may make Recovery checks with a +1 Modifier when they are Down.
11. Persistent - This Animal may re-roll failed Psyche checks.
12. Problem Solver - This Animal never needs to make a Psyche check to perform a Focus Action.
13. Caring - This Animal may re-roll Intellect checks of 1 when performing a First Aid Action on a Down Character.
14. Threatening - This Animal may re-roll Dealing checks of 1 when performing a “Stand Down” Action
15. Vicious Growl - This Animal may re-roll failed Dealing checks when performing a “Stand Down” Action.
16. Rascal - This Animal may re-roll Dealing checks of 1 when performing a Mercy Interruption.
17. Instinctual - This Animal may re-roll failed Perceive checks.
18. Fetcher - This Animal may re-roll Perceive checks of 1 when performing a Search Action.
19. Jumper - This Animal may re-roll failed Strength checks when performing a Push Action.
20. Secret Ability.
21. Bounding - This Animal receives a +2 Modifier to the roll when performing a Rush Action. Rolls of 1 still Stumble.
22. Game - This Animal may ignore a single Wound once per Act.
23. Secret Ability.
24. Stimulated - This Animal may start the Turn with an Extra Action once per Act.
25. Fixated - This Animal may start the Turn Focused once per Act.
26. Spontaneous - This Animal may trade their Initiative Draw up or down by 1.
27. Energetic - This Animal receives two Initiative Cards every Turn and may spread their Actions across both.
28. Fleet-footed - This Animal may re-roll Rush moves of 1.
29. Irrepressible - This Animal may re-roll Psyche checks of 1 when performing an Escape Restraints Action.
30. Protective - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing an Impede Interruption.
31. Retriever - This Animal may re-roll Agility checks of 1 when performing a Catch Interruption.

32. Secret Ability.

Finally, if you're wondering how to add a dog to your Crew Roster Sheet, I just used the Adult box and edited the word Adult (10+) to Dog (8+). Thanks for reading. I hope you give dogs a try in your games.



Post a Comment

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…

Three New Releases for April 2018

At AdeptiCon we debuted three new releases and they are available on the Breaker Press webstore now!
Broken Contract The Day-to-Day Starter Box This Starter Box is a revised and reimagined version of last year's starter box. The box we brought out to the world through Kickstarter last year contained a lot of stuff, but in retrospect may have been a touch overwhelming to new players. The focus then was on creating a sandbox for players who wanted to create their own characters and crews, but it was too much stuff to make a smooth introduction.
The Day-to-Day Starter Box seeks to resolve that by adding our Introductory Episode Book, The Day-to-Day and keeping the cards and models strictly to those on the sample crew rosters included in the book. The three scenarios are meant to guide the players through progressively more involved Acts, composing a mini-campaign called an Episode. 

The Day-to-Day Starter Box is the perfect introduction to the miniature game, Broken Contract. Contained…

Rust Pointe Dumpster Review

I came back from AdeptiCon with a bunch of stuff. I acquired the vehicles for Wreck-Age that my partner and I backed on Kickstarter. I picked up a few Aetherium miniature sets to use for my own Broken Contract games set in the FerrumSky Mines, as well as for playtesting a future BC expansion. Finally, I came back with a bunch of scenery kits from Death Ray Designs.

The first project I chose to dive into when I got home was the Rust Pointe Dumpster from Death Ray Designs. I bought three of them and I have them all in various stages of completion. I don't generally do reviews, but I was so impressed with this little kit, that I wanted to talk about it.

As you can see in the photo above, it's just a rectangular dumpster, and a tiny kit at that. The immediate thing I want to note is that it comes with assembly instructions. A bunch of other MDF kits I own have no instructions, which was fine for the simpler ones. The last building I built though, had a bunch of successive layers …