Post by Precinct Omega on Feb 6, 2017 13:08:32 GMT
Last update 9 Oct 17
So rather than keep you guys waiting any longer for the beta version of the game, I thought I'd give you what I've got, unpolished though it still is, to see what you think and hit me with some much-needed criticism.
The PvP game still needs polish but, by all means, give it a test-drive. There's a sample campaign for solo/co-op play (rough - needs diagrams). There are changes to the Red Force activation rules and expanded rules for enemy EWOps to make them actually quite dangerous. And more that I've forgotten I added.
Post by Precinct Omega on Feb 6, 2017 14:46:13 GMT
A quick one to add, looking through my notes.
If you play PvP - which is all these rules are, currently, good for - the game is played with alternating activations. You activate a character. Then I activate a character. As there's no Red Force, yet, that's it. You keep doing that until one side wins.
This will be expanded upon in the Battle Modes section of the rules, as there are different orders of activation depending upon what sort of mode of game you're playing.
Post by Precinct Omega on Feb 18, 2017 19:39:52 GMT
Well, I was hoping to have the Upgrades section done for you by Monday, but unfortunately, the bug that screwed up the document last time has pounced again and killed my draft. Fortunately, I've been compartmentalizing my rules sections so I only lost six pages of work. It's a bit annoying, because I was just getting to the point that I felt it was starting to make sense. However, as ever, I'm sure it will be better, second time around.
I've not got to the bottom of the bug, but might go and see if the Apache guys can explain/fix it. I have, however, learned that when I get asked to re-Register my copy of OpenOffice, the next document I open will die horribly and convert all text to hashtags. So now I have a small cache of documents I don't want that I can open first and sacrifice to the bug and preserve everything else that's actually important...
Wargods of Aegyptus et.al has an alternating player activation system where the players take it in turns to nominate a unit to activate. However it doesn't have to be their unit. Thus you can force the enemy to do something (anything-you don't pick the action, just the activation) with a unit the might want to have wait.
For example, a guy hiding in cover because the other side has a LOS on the area might prefer to let his buddies take a few shots at the enemy before breaking cover. By nominating him first, he'll have to stay there until the next turn to give his side their chance to deal with the shooters who can see him, or risk getting shot by breaking cover.
Wargods is a unit style game (al`a Warhammer Fantasy Battle) so this might not translate to a skirmish game, but I enjoyed the mechanic the few times I played it.
When Horizon Wars was first come out, the battle report video you did on the Osprey Games channel was great. It covered so many of the basics and was a brilliant tool for learning a game. I'd love to see you showing us all in a Precinct Omega video how some of these mechanics work for Zero Dark, even at this early stage in their development.
Post by Precinct Omega on Mar 10, 2017 14:51:20 GMT
Fun times, play-testing this morning. I must have looked a right nutter, moving toy soldiers and muttering to myself. However, some key findings as I play the solo game with various numbers of minis.
1. Solo with a single character is bloody hard! By all means do it to learn the rules, but don't expect an easy victory. Winning will mean tooling up, big time, with some serious upgrades. Yes, the enemy will get tougher, too, but with luck you'll still scrape through. My character, Grace, went down time after time. Most memorably, she fell to a charging heavy elite after sniping the boss.
2. Bogeys don't move enough, but when they do, they move too much! I'm experimenting with the idea that when a bogey would get a support token, if the bogey is at maximum support tokens, the bogey will move instead. Grunts move 2". Elites and Bosses move 3". Might still not be enough movement, but I'm working on it.
3. Stealth isn't useful enough. I think I'm going to change it so that, if you are Stealthy you can take a D(v) test and, if you pass, the Red Force doesn't flip a card after your action. Not sure of the value of v, though. Possibly it will depend on what you just did...
4. I thought having shooting bogeys hit automatically wouldn't be a big deal and would save a lot of dice rolling, but am starting to think this makes it much too hard for the characters, so I'm thinking of introducing a roll to hit with a base target number of 10, increased by the target's obscured state. I had too many characters go down to near-uselessness after a Grunt with a support token hit them and the character was targeted. Wounded(3) is no joke and, without a doc, you're likely to suffer.
5. On the plus side I got some great ideas for how EWOps work. Short version: they're great!
Post by Precinct Omega on Mar 11, 2017 18:38:53 GMT
More testing today. I was particularly looking at new rules for Stealth and for Red Force activation which should make the Red Force move a lot more and shoot a lot more. I also found myself drifting into testing and tweaking the rules for Indiscriminate.
This is definitely an exercise in balance. The new rules I drafted for Stealth allow the solo player to stall the AI deck and potentially move members of the Red Force (slightly). Moving cautiously confers Stealth. So the first several minutes of the game involved moving the characters all very slowly into position. This was fine and had a small amount of tension. Their D was high enough that the odds of them failing a Stealth test were minimal, though.
So I've tweaked the rules a little so, rather than stalling the AI deck, the deck still flips, but there's no effect (unless it's a Joker!). This was born out of idea of building in a time limit for success which penalizes the slow creeping about of a cautious move. If the AI deck runs out of cards, the characters are out of time and the game is lost by default!
However, the Red Force now moves and shoots quite a lot more and introducing dice rolling to the Red Force's shooting instead of having them hit automatically definitely balances the raised peril of more shooting.
Indiscriminate, meanwhile, is more of a cerebral challenge. This upgrade is supposed to represent explosive weapons, basically (and might end up being called "explosive"). The first tabletop use proved that it was horribly effective as the first shot took out six Grunts and one Elite in a single explosion (to be fair, I'd used Stealth bonuses to cluster the enemy making that attack possible, so it was a result of reasonably good planning). But I'm now struggling with a particular design quality of the explosive weapon: should the accuracy of the shot make a difference to the effectiveness of the explosion?
The military realist part of me says "yes, it should". But my analysis of miniatures games shows much more of a tendency towards a fixed blast quality following a successful hit. This is what we see in all of those games that give blast weapons a "template" (I hate templates).
Post by Precinct Omega on Mar 18, 2017 20:52:11 GMT
Another day of playtesting, in between life and other stuff that manages to include hosting Japanese schoolchildren for a week, and something pretty amazing came up.
Every now and then, when working on rules, something emerges that you didn't intend but which is, nevertheless, wonderful. In this case, it was the interaction of the AI deck in a solo game. I reached the point at which I put the final enemy bogey down and grabbed the objective and thought "hm, well that's the end of the game". But then I realized it wasn't. The objective was actually to leave the table with the objective and, of course, every time I made an action, I flip an AI card. And with no bogeys on the table, the next flip had to be a complication, regardless of what the result was. And, of course, some rolls on the complications table could injure or even kill characters, mess up the plan or deploy new bogeys! So even when the last bogey is down, the game doesn't end. You have to keep on going, keep on flipping, and pray you get off before the Red Mech shows up!
I played on Easy mode, with just one, tooled-up super-character and it still took me three goes to win. It was a short, simple game that took me about 20 minutes to play through, so that was about right. Still tweaking some of the upgrades and special rules, and the complications table is undergoing some minor adjustments, but I'm now starting work on Mission Two in the first campaign, working title "Operation Gemini". It really does play like an FPS/TPS in solo mode, with elements of RTS, obviously.
Post by Precinct Omega on May 5, 2017 11:56:44 GMT
Whilst I work on finishing the first short campaign, I am also looking at adding some further rules, including parabolic shooting (and throwing) for grenades, as well as rules for smoke, fire and chemical weapons.
Given the lay-out of the rules as they stand, would you expect to find such rules wrapped up in the general shooting rules, or kept separately?
I haven't had the chance to try the betabeta version yet, but I'm having a read of the rules while I wait for a pack of 10mm figures from Pendraken (which should fix the problems I have with space for gaming) and I have a couple of questions/observations related to the Red Force.
The Red Force has been given a statline, but it doesn't seem obvious what the D (Defence) stat is for. I'm assuming it's the target number of the CQB counter test, but it's not explicitly written in the RedForce section. [EDIT: I found the numbers on the Red Force CQB section, so it clearly isn't this] Also I believe that the stat names could benefit from being consistent (or at least avoid confusion) with the characters ones: now "A" stands both for Acuity/Attack and "D" for Discipline/Defence. I'd suggest that at least the Attack being changed to Fight and (IF my previous point was correct in the interpretation of the stat) the Defence to Parry or Blocking.
While I dream of games I still can't play, as a totally pretentious and potentially useless excercise, I'm "designing" alternate versions of the Red Force actions and Complications to fit different armies than a regular military unit. If you know the line of Pendraken units you're already correctly guessing it's an Aliens inspired setting. Base characteristics are fast, low wounds, CQB only but lethal at that and can go Entirely Obscured. The Boss (Queen) would be slower, with a bigger Cylinder and obviously the strongest and hardest to put down. Yeah, not imaginative at all....I should finish painting my Space Hulk minis.... : )
Post by Precinct Omega on Oct 25, 2017 19:48:41 GMT
Thank you for being engaged! It's really hard to keep up focus on this without having enough time to playtest properly and order my thoughts consistently (I hate working full time!).
Currently, D has no purpose. It's there as a result of some experimentation with allowing bogeys to make AV tests against shooting attacks and I haven't decided whether or not that's a mechanic that should stay. If it does stay, it may end up being part of the difficulty level upgrades. At "easy" level, the Red Force might have no D save. At "challenging" level they have one. At "nightmare" level, they get double D saves against characters' shooting. Just off the top of my head.
I'm still trying to decide, but I thought I'd leave the D there while I work it out.
Thanks, that's comforting to know I'm not THAT absent-minded to have missed the definition of that stat. When I started learning Zero Dark with version 0.2.5, I printed the document and highlighted the basic keywords in each section and I did have no problems getting everything. I did appreciate in that occasion that the Upgrades and RedForce sections were in their own files, it made it easier for me to focus on the core mechanics of the game. I think I'll do a similar thing when my new set of minis gets here, probably checking the new version against the old one so that the differences will pop out more obviously.