Sunday, May 5, 2013

Brewed With Love

Apparently a search for home brewed turns up beer pictures.
Recently I've been bored at work. I don't just mean a little "I sit at my desk all day greeting people" bored, but "there's nobody coming in here at all because it's so nice outside" bored. Why am I griping about my job on my wargaming blog? Stay with me, I'm going somewhere with this.

When I get bored my mind wanders. this wandering will occasionally inspire me to do something creative. That's what happened last Tuesday. Rather than painting miniatures in my downtime (my actual downtime is not what it was due to wedding stuff) like I used to, I've been riding a spark of creativity.

A while ago I tried to build my own army level World War II battle game. It came out pretty well, it's just that there was nobody to playtest it, let alone collect and game with. on Tuesday, out of extreme boredom, I began to root around my netbook looking for something to read. As I opened up my "Documents" folder my eyes fell upon an old Excel file. I double-clicked on it and up came the spreadsheet. All my old tables and weapon profiles for that old game. They had been sitting there, untouched, for years. As I poured over them I remembered fondly standing around my table pushing my plastic Americans and Germans about and rolling various polyhedral dice to determine these tiny little skirmishes. I hadn't even decided on a morale system yet, so both sides battled fearlessly to the end. I liked those memories, and so I read on, occasionally retouching an item here and there. Then I realized it:

I was working on the rules system again.

I'm okay with beer, so I'll go with it. The President agrees.
That's right, I was back in the thick of working on a home brewed rules system. Feverishly I opened Word and set about formatting the page. Two columns, justified layout, 12 point text. I was ready to go. In a flurry of keystrokes I finished the first few paragraphs describing what the game was about. I had changed the game to a skirmish game, allowing for a minimal buy-in, and a deeper gaming experience. I was, through a minimum of die rolls, able to keep the game streamlined. I did borrow a few concepts from here and there, but I implemented them with my own style. To-hit rolls. To wound rolls are unneeded, so away they went. Saving throws based on the training of the miniature and its surroundings rather than being based purely on what armor they're wearing. Don't get me wrong, armor helps, but knowing to keep your head down helps more. A morale system. now all but the most foolhardy soldiers know to keep to cover. Everything was coming together flawlessly.

Besides, this is supposed to be a "beer and pretzels" passtime.
...At least as far as I can tell. Whenever you create something you tend to look at it through rose-colored glasses, and I don't want that to be the case here. What I need are proofreaders and playtesters. For that I need interest. Etcetra, etcetra.

Now, the rules are a long way away from being done. They're in the roughest of rough playtesting stages right now. I need to play a couple of games of solitaire with the rules to make sure they have even made the transition from platoons duking it out to a squad or two of miniatures doing battle. There are a couple of places I'm shaky on the solidity of the system, not the least of which being saving miniatures from attacks. Morale, being a source of record keeping (albeit with tokens) is a bit questionable as well. Having tokens makes you run away (or at least seek cover), but I'm not sure if these tokens go away fast enough and do they hijack your ability to control the miniature too much.

Finally, a bit of a plug. Robotech RPG Tactics has a Kickstarter going. I'm buying in. I'd really appreciate a reader or two throwing a dollar their way. You see, some of their stretch goals revolve around the number of pledges received, so even throwing a buck their way helps those of us who are actually buying in to get more and better stuff. I mean, I'm already getting quite a haul at my pledge level, but there's always more...

There's a lot of nostalgia fueling my fire to get into this game. The Macross Saga was my favorite cartoon growing up, and being able to refight those battles on the tabletop is just such a cool idea. Veritech fighters are about my favorite mecha out there, and there's a mechanic that allows the machines to seamlessly switch between all three forms during gameplay. Wicked cool.

The gameplay demo looks good, even though the stuff shown is a very basic overview of the game. I have high hopes for this one. Even if I never get to play the game, having all those model Veritechs, Destroids, and Battle Pods will be super cool. Here's the dilemma- do I get the Battlefoam bag? It looks slick, and it'll be a great place to store and transport my minis, but $99? That's a bit hard to swallow.

Now, back to defining terrain and the effect it has on gameplay.

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