Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Series of Little Updates

It is lunch time which seems to be the only time I can find to write anymore.  It is strange because last night I had actually planned on getting a little writing done before the movie but I ended up reading my book instead.  This isn't the worst choice in the world I like that book.  I've started rereading all of the Drizzit books starting with Homeland and working my way up.  There is a whole cycle of later books I haven't read yet and I've read the Dark Elf Trilogy and the Icewind Dale trilogy twice now.  The thing is that I really honestly and truly enjoy these books and so here it goes.  It happened when I realized I had a choice I could keep reading the third game of thrones book or go to the store.  Off to the store I went.

The hero game is going pretty well.  I wanted to get a little more done with it on my three days off last week than I did but I made some decent progress none the less.  I started the actual process of typing the rules out and stuff like that.  Oh man is that not fun, but it is interesting.  I keep wanting to add layers of complexity to the game and sometimes I have to struggle to keep it simple.  For example I wanted to make it so that in order to fire at anything other than the closest enemy unit you needed to pass a moral check.  The idea behind it was you have a group of grunts/tanks/whatnot gaurding an objective.  You pop a whole in the line so that one of your squads of grunts can shoot at the objective.  Doesn't it stand to reason though that you might wanna shoot at all the people pointing guns at you.  Seemed like a good idea in that situation right?  Then I thought about all the other situations it could happen.  Then I thought about the guy keeping a superheavy tank near a squad of grunts so his other units could run around unmolested.  Ultimatly, I decided it was a silly rule and I dropped it.  Still, it had the potential to add interesting stratigic possibilities but it ended up just being fiddly and annoying.  It is going well though.  Tonight I plan on play testing with stats and stuff like that.  It will be an okay time.

On that note most of the heavy lifting design work is done so I am free to work on the hacking game now.  With netrunner being rereleased I wonder about it a little but I also don't really care.  I am doing something radically different than netrunner or anything else out there for that matter so whatever I do what I want.

Starting to design games is putting a wonderful cramp in my desire to buy games which is nice.  I've been eying both Virgin Queen and Here I Stand with a pretty high degree of envy.  Complex card driven war game for 5 players that takes 6 to 8 hours to play?  YES PLEASE!  The problem would be finding other people who wanna do that too on any sort of regular basis.  Mostly the game that takes up that sort of time slot is Twilight Imperium.  So yeah there is that.  There have been some other games too but I think it is best that I save my money for Leviathans and maybe making my players suck less at Super Dungeon EXPLORE!

Metacarpal syndrome has finally reared its ugly head.  When I talked about not getting enough done on my game during my days off this is a major reason why.  I ended up buying a wrist brace and it helps a lot.  So far it is only bad in my right hand but no reason to not get one for the left hand and to start wearing it.  In fact I wish I had them with my now.  Oh well soon I'll be carrying them with me in my backpack.

I've started to have Fridays off again.  The big deal with this is that as long as I keep it every other week I can start roleplaying again.  This excites me.  This REALLY excites me a lot.  For awhile I was thinking Shadowrun but Eclipse Phase is calling me.  The problem is that I dunno if the players are going to have an easy time grasping what can and can't be done in EP.  Though the ability to kill them stick them in new bodies, or to make copies of them and send them after themselves is potentially a lot of fun.  Though with the bi-weekly nature of the story we wouldn't be able to get very far.  There is always Mutants and Masterminds or one shots of random games.  Those are fun but I'd have to do character generation and that's annoying.  Oh well we will see.

Right now I have to go take the rest of the day by storm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Well That Changes Things

I spent the morning convincing myself that I want a smart phone.  I don't think it worked.  I can't help but think that a smart phone is a "not as good" version of something else I want.  For example, I either want a tablet pc or an ebook reader to help fascilitate my reading habit and in the case of a tablet read gaming pdfs.  A smart phone can do one of those things but the screen will hurt my eyes like an ebook reader wouldn't and it can't do a gaming pdf at all.  I want a portable game system.  Specifically a vida as the vida is a spectacular piece of hardware that already has several games I want on it.  With a smart phone I could bore myself with Angry Birds, I mean really who gives a fuck?  So I could look up words, check movie show times, and basically do all the stuff I do on baby laptop except I could do it from my pocket.  I dunno, it isn't working I already have an internet connection I don't need more.

Man that makes me sound old :P.

That all came from the fact that I broke my cellphone last night, my contract is up and the opportunity is there.  There is no real point in passing up an oppertunity.  Oh well.

I was going to write something about horror movies and the difference between a good horror movie and a great one.  I was going to use A Serbian Film, Maryrs,  The Loved Ones, and The Strangers and show the differences between one and to demonstrate why some work and the others don't.  It would be a good time, but between my cell phone and my car I've kinda dipped into a survival mode and doing that much concentration on any one subject isn't going to work.

So instead I am doing this to relax.  Relaxing is important.  All I need to do is to get the car to the shop across the street, then I can walk home, then everything will be mostly fine.  I am pretty sure everything will be okay.  It is just that it sucks that I have to be here at work doing semi pointless shit instead of being able to take care of my own life.  If there was someone else here today I would actually go home and get myself taken care of but it is just me and someone else and so I can't leave.  That is LAME. 

Moving on. the game is happening nicely.  Tonight I am going to prolly push some counters around and see what there is to see.  I have movement stuff all done so right now I need to get things like stats hammered out.  I have some rough ideas of stats and stuff so right now I will make them work until people work the way I want them to.  Range is something weird to do.  I know in ASL range is pretty fixed and something I can easily work out.  However, I could make it more of a part of the balance thing.  I haven't decided so I am going to mess around with it some and see how things look.  Range is important and I don't want this to be a game where in the girm distant future everyone runs around hitting each other with swords.  That's one of my specific complaints about warhammer 40k. 

So FFG has decided to republish Netrunner.  This is weird for me because they are republishing a game I used to play in my youth.  Looks like I am old or something.  Whatever, I'LL KILL YOU.  I am excited about this but at the same time I am a little aprehensive.  My biggest complaint about the LCG format is that it is difficult to sustain multiple decks.  For example in A Game of Thrones there is a card called Milk of the Poppies, it makes a character worthless.  You get one copy in the base set and there pretty much isn't a deck ever that couldn't use or want a playset of that card.  So you either need to buy TONS of core sets, shuffle cards from one deck to another, or just suck it up.  Netrunner is one of those games where you have a lot of basic cards you absolutely need for a deck to function.  However, the two deck nature of the game is really going to help here.  What I am hoping is that I'll be able to buy two copies of the base set and be able to get 4 distinctive decks out of it.  Then when I buy chapter packs I'll be able to tweak those 4 decks and possibly make new ones.  The game is supposedly going to be broken into 6 factions which means three per side.  If they do the game of thrones thing where cross faction deck building is ill advised then solid!  More than likely what will happen is that cross faction deck building will be key nessesitating at least 2 core sets to augment any and all booster packs that come out.  The real question is it worth it?  My answer is absolutely.

In other news SUPER DUNGEON EXPLORE is scheduled to come out this year, Leviathans has made great strides fowards towards its release, and Fortress America is supposed to be released soon.  Fortress America is one of those things I want but will prolly be kicked off to the back burner while I wait for some more solid news on Leviathans.

Lunch is nearly over and I do feel quite a bit better.  As long as my car starts tonight everything should be okay and I should be able to get home tonight and once that happens everything will be fine.   

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yay time!

It is my lunch time!  I was going to work on my hero game for a bit but I decided that I am just gonna do that when I get home.  This day was shaping up to be really long but then good things happened so I am going to recharge some batteries and get to work tonight.  For tonight I am going to come up with stats for things and move them at each other and doing some attacks!  Attacks are the exciting part.  I am going to call this phase the great tweeking.  I'll prolly be using ASL counters for now, though I should mock up some of my own just because I wanna.  Hopefully I will get everythings right the first time and there won't be a single bug to iron out!  Actually I'd be terrified if I did that!  But still you know how it is.  Then I need to mock up some of my own maps, decide on map size, and soon I can begin the long arduous process of playtesting.  YAY!  I am actually really excited about all of this.

I really want to make it so that each unit has a pretty specific use, and by using them you can achive the goals of the senarios.  The thing I really like about this game is that I can kinda go nuts with the senario.  One of the main reasons why I am making this game is that I was reading on an ASL forum about how senario design is inherently limited by the restrictions of reality.  This game is more of a game than a simulation and as a result I can really get creative with the senario design like holding onto a certain location for so long will give you bonuses to defense, or by delivering a package from one area to another you get some sort of bonus.  We could do a shell game where there are several fake packages all trying to be delivered to one paticular site and if the real package makes it then the senario will be in the bag but finding the right one can be difficult.  We can make the senarios really interesting and dynamic which is a lot of fun.

The other thing we can do is big terrain effects.  One of the things that always kinda baffled me about Hex and counter wargames is how static the terrain is.  Unlike a miniature game terrain isn't this fixed, static thing you built yourself.  Again this also has to do with historical accuracy rather than anything else.  But I mean come on, when making terrain modifications is as easy as moving some counters and slapping down an overlay I mean come on!  A guy punches the ground so hard he makes crater?  Cool!  Someone going very fast gets shot out of the sky and makes a trench?  Alright!  Forests fires, lakes of fire, lakes in general, mudslides, rock slides, diverted rivers, floods, there is all sorts of things we can do and all with the magic of terrain overlays.  I really want to do an Archmage block wargame and go fucking nuts with that concept but right now, focusing on the issue at hand, I think a lot of fun and interesting stuff can happen with terrain.

The other thing I need to not do is go crazy with unit types.  MAN I WANT TO.  But I like the theme and the idea of heroes clashing with heroes while people slog it out over the battle field.  However, once I get this all up and running there is NO reason why I can't take this same engine and do a World Weird War 3 type game thing.  The hero game is gonna have a theme and some neat background stuff.  Once the game gets going more I am considering writing some mutants and masterminds stuff to go with it.  for background and stuff.  Again this is in the future once I get things up and running.  Still it is nice to have future plans so that the current goals seem all the more pressing to deal with.  Alright well my lunch is over and I am STOKED about working on this tonight which is pretty much the point of me doing this.  A little pep talk to get me through.  I didn't sleep well last night and I woke up with a splitting headache but I got most of my problems done solved and now my talk has been pepped and I am good to go!  WEEE!  I am excited.  Alright lunch is over.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Design Doc! Corporation Game

Why red versus blue and not black versus white?  Or yellow versus purple...red vesus blue it is such a simple thing.  Those were the pokemon colors for two different generations.  It is a good combo.  It should of been black versus white though, though maybe to many people would try to be on team black.  People are boring.

Now that I insulted everyone OTHER game time!  At the very least I wanna record my thoughts on the game before they fade away from me cause that would be sad panda time.

Okay so essentially this game is going to excist to replace Netrunner for me.  Netrunner is hard but the cards are increadibly hard to find and all my runner resource cards got damaged which sucks.  So it is time to break out into something new.

The best way I can see to massively take advantage of the board gaming format and the theme is to break it up.  The runner side uses cards and a series of deck drafting rules to build an engine that is capable of taking on the corp.

The corp uses a set of worker placement rules to run the corporation and fend off the runner.

As such not a whole lot is going to change for the runner.  The runner always traditionally had massive control over their deck.  With a 10 card limit, several different common cards that let you search your deck or trash, LOTS of card control.  It was just up to you to put the cards in you needed to make a deck that wins.  The runner had three/four basic stradegies:

Straight: Icebreaker suit, monies, direct damage essentially
Virus: pop in on the corps weak point and make them waste actions
Stealth: These let you get in for free allowing you to spend your resources on nasty surprises

Runner decks were always very static and runner cards  were mostly useless except for the things you always used.  So what needs to be done is to give the runner more power over what can go into the deck and when he gets it in order to hopefully allow for more flexibility.  Flexibility is FUN and don't you forget it.

I reffer to it as deck drafting rather than deck building because I am pretty sure that it isn't going to be a dominion/resident evil/tanto curo/et cetera stack of ten cards which you dig through and grab what you want.  Instead...what I am leaning towards is two buying options.  One which takes longer but what you get is garenteed and the other which is shorter but you end up choosing from a semi fixed number of drawn cards.  Or:

White Market: Long but steady
Black Market: Quick and dirty

I am pretty sure I want a fix income source and not a card in the deck that represents income because really?  That's annoying and it clunks up the game. Also...no shit, differnet cards for the different decks.

There might also be a prepwork deck that will be full of handy one time use cards that you earn through doing stuff maybe...I dunno.

There is also going to be a GOAL deck for the runner.  They are going to have a series of semi secret goals to choose from which will allow them to persue their own agendas.  One of the problems with netrunner is that the game was slightly balanced towards the corporation because the corpoeation didn't need the runner to win.  100% of the corporation's problems were caused by the runner.  The runner couldn't score points without the corporation's help.  It was a tuff life.  With the runner goals it encourages a different sort of play and encourages the runner to take various risks.  The goal deck is a really big deal and there will be stuff to do for that.

Lots of elements.

I'd enumerate the corp side but lunch is ending.  I'll get it tomarrow.  This game is going to be on the back burner for a bit because I am really exited about the hero game.  But my idea for this is super solid so I definitly want to at least get some goals and ideas written down so I don't forget.

Okay I have some time before I leave for work so CORP SIDE!

 There was a lot of really cool bluffing and secret elements to playing the corp in netrunner that needs to stay.

Meeples will be in the form of system operators.

There is going to end up being more access points for the runner in this game than netrunner.  That is slightly on purpose. 

Ic needs to be more dynamic.  As such, Ic is either going to be movable in game, non random/semi random, or both.  I am also going to add IC synergies.  That was the thing with netrunner most of the ic in the game was utterly ineffective and massively overpriced.  Take the lich 14 monies for 3 1 brain damage routines and one end the run routine.  Most runners can get through that at 8 that number goes down with a shield and clows get through it for free most times.  Whereas a Banapie which costs 1/4 as much costs 6 to get through and that number can't be reduced.

 The point is that ic prices are all sorts of jacked up in netrunner 90% of it is crap and it is all generally ineffective as acting as a deterrent.  I've found that nodes are 100% more effective at keeping runners actually out of a data fort than ic is.  The corp can also have a near perfect defense in netrunner with Viral Breeding ground, Vacuum link, cheap crap ice, and rio's city grid.  Getting through means death and each piece of ice gives you a 1/6 chance of your connection dropping and if you do make it through well...certain death!  HOORAY! 

No no no there will be more of making IC actually effective.  I mentioned synergies before.  I am going to have families of ice that do things and if the families come one after the other they become stronger.  Neat! and simple.  Though I really wanted to use blocks for ice and not cards.  I am pretty sure that would be impossible.  I'll think on it today at work...speaking of which.

Friday, May 4, 2012

There are Some Things I'd Like To Talk About

Hey!  So I saw the Avengers last night!  I liked it!  Blah blah blah blah.  Enough about that.  Seeing the Avengers made me realize that I don't really like seeing big movies on opening night.  Sure it is exciting and it is nice to be there and I can gloat about how I am cooler than you and stuff it is a good time.  I like being me.  But the movie started at 12:20.  It did you know what time is started because that's when you showed up at the theater and bought your tickets.  The time was printed on them.  Now knowing how long the movie lasts...well okay that requires a minuscule amount of effort on your part but whatever.  Everyone knows there is an after credits sequence.  I mean EVERYONE.  Last night some dude bro loudly declared, "I don't care it is 3:20 and I want to go home".  Actually when I say declared I meant whined.  Seriously dude what the fuck?  You can't handle staying out late with the big boys then stay home sucking your mom's tit and shut the hell up.  Late night activities isn't for bitches you like you.  Joel joined us, he complained once about being out late but he ended up sitting next to me which pretty much killed his ability to take part in our reindeer games.  That's really all I have to say on that subject.

Now on to my game:

I did some major work on it recently and when I checked my internet posts to see how it synched up with my original goals I realized my internet stuff was woefully out of date.  So here we go!

Turn order is going to look like
Broken Units Shuffle
and back around again.

This is similar to ASL's and I like doing the shooting before the moving.  It is also, for now, going to be Igo, yougo though I am considering my turn your turn.  We'll see.

One of the big things I am going to do is that during the iniatuve stage you announce that you are going to be using one of three stances, Offensive, Defensive, Tactical.  Each of the three stances alters your hand size and determains how many units you can move before you opponent gets to move some units.  So tactical lets you move less units per activation but you will be able to out activate your opponent and respond to what they do and potentially out manuver them which is important.

Each unit will just have a whole pile of action points which they can use to shoot, move, and special actions.  Shooting will be expensive, like half of a unit's total action points expensive.  So if you a unit wants to shoot it is not going to be doing a bunch of other stuff.  One of the main design goals is tough tactical choices and when to shoot or when to dig in and do other things is important to me.

I orginally wanted to have a shooting phase come first and then a general action phase but that becomes messy with igoyougo.  This has a certain elegance to it as well as flexibility.  It rides the line between miniature skirmish game and hex and chit war game which is right where I like it.

Let's talk about the stances:

Half your units activate.
No defensive actions (like digging in, overwatch, et cetera)
Hand size 5

Hand size 7
1/3 of your units can activate
No action restriction

Hand Size 9
1/2 of your units can activate but they may only take certain actions
-Dig in
-Lay Explosives
All units to gain a defensive bonus.

Initiative goes:
Base Flip
Cheat (cheating gets no redraw)
Winner decides who announces Stance First
Winner  decides who goes first.
The winner can choose to force his opponent to annouce his stance first then choose to go first.  Winning iniative is a big deal.  Big enough so that we might make it so that there are two contests one for stance announcement and one for intative.  

Also any discarding that would happen from stance changes are random.

I am considering adding another stance to make things like protecting convoys easier.  But that would be something that would only need to be available on a per senario basis.

GNAR my lunch is over so I will have to finish this up tonight.

Alright back!  I am riding the clock at work because my boss is the master of scheduals and the lady who works in the morning is a nosy bitch who can't mind her own business.


One of the things I really want to do is to make ALL the cards in your hand valuable.  So if you got a hand of one's and two's you can still do something...just so long as it isn't win fights.  However, the way to replenish cards in your hand is to get into fights.  After a fight where a combat flip is made you redraw back up to your max hand size.  That kinda makes offensive stance a little rough.  The way I want it to work is instead of using offensive stance to demolish some people it is more to build an excellent hand so you can decisivly win two or three key battles while your heroes do their things.  So you could resolve a couple of random outlier skirmishes or harrass your enemy's flank for a couple of fights, gathering up the right cards you need before striking at the target you really want to split open.  I am hoping it will work that way.  I'll know once I see it in action.  I already suspect that Defensive and tactical stances will be used to the most so perhaps I should give the offsenive stance a bit of a boost.  I dunno.

As for making the cards valuable.  Most of the special actions like laying down smoke, setting explosives, setting fire to things, digging trenches...et cetera will require a card to be discarded, perhaps a card of a specific suit or a specific colour, maybe of a certain numerical component.  I haven't decided.  What I have decided is that by discarding cards to do stuff your lower number stuff is gonna be handy.  It is also going to make the larger hand sizes of tactical and defensive stance useful so you can get things done.  Offensive stance doesn't need a whole lot of options because...well it is more for building the perfect offensive hand then using it, not getting shit done.

Oh!  Also heroes won't need cards to preform the majority of their feats.

One of the ways offensive stance can get an interesting buff is that before you redraw you have the OPTION of discarding one card.  So you would use some cards in combat and stuff like that then you could discard another card before redrawing up to full.  THAT HAS POTENTIAL!

Alright well that is about where I am at right now.  My next problem is how to distribute hits amoungst multiple targets in the same hex.  I'll get it though, I am rapidly closing in on the answer.  Tonight though?  It is a night for steak, movies, and video games!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April In Review part 1ish

So March happened to me and it was pretty good.  I liked that month however at the tail end I was feeling a little down and at around the second week in April I had myself a shiny care of full blown depression.  I realized this when I had an abusurd reaction to the ending of the second season of Farscape when a certain character died...even though I KNEW she didn't stay dead forever.  I was pretty annoyed.  On the other hand it felt like a blessing.  I'm not seeing anyone nor am I emotionally attached to anyone.  It was still a good span of time away from my birthday, and there was litterally NO outside sources to make me feel the way I felt.  I was sad because of the temporary death of Arron Sune and that was it.  So I rode it out let it happen and I popped out of it in a little bit and it was like nothing happened.  Afterwards normal services resumed.  A lot of times with depression there are these doubts, "what if I really am this upset?", "What if I never feel better?", "What if there is nothing wrong with me and it is all in my head?" they go on but you get the idea.  Even in the movie Melancholia which gives a pretty good look at what it is like you had to admit that girl had a shitty time at her wedding.  This time though there was no catylist no direct reason.  No girl to make me sad, no family drama, no stresses, nothing.  Yet it still happened.  It is nice to know that it is there and it isn't my fault. 

So what else happened in April?  Well I in one glorious weekend I saw Cabin in the Woods and The Raid.  I know three diffrent groups of people who saw those movies in that order on that weekend.  Life is weird like that.  Unlike everyone else though I saw Lockout.  Lockout was actually suprisingly amazing.  It has two rather unfortunate sequences in it which really should just be removed.  Other than that the movie is surprisingly superb.  When cory and I were discussing it a couple of days later we found that we were fondly recounting just about the whole movie it is fun to quote, talk about, and watch.  Good stuff.

I also saw God Bless America on my birthday.  That was great and I loved it.  Actually my whole birhday was great.  I was planning on doing nothing but my friends got together and in a Herculean act of organization threw me a suprise party at anime club.  I am really glad I went cause I came pretty close to not going due to feeling slightly ill.  The main reason why I went is because I knew we were watching a movie and I wouldn't have to think or teach people things or anything.  No joke, best friends ever.

It was kinda sad because a couple of people got excluded who would of helped but that's what you get for not being in the know.  Oh well.

I bought Cassoconne and man do I like that game.  I've been playing it quite a bit and it is a lot of fun.  It is also one of those games that I just sort of enjoy playing and winning or loosing doesn't really matter as much to me.  Like I loose Agricola a lot and that does bother me.  Carssoconne even if I am way behind I still enjoy playing. 

I've undertaken a new project where I am designing a hex and chit war game that takes place on an alternate earth where a world war has broken out and the normally neuteral super heroes have picked sides and joined in.  It is going to use cards as a randomizer and it is barrowing things from both ASL and Sekigahara along with some good old fasioned original ideas.  It is going to be asymetric senarios that feature tough choices.  One of the nice things is that the way I have it set up I will be able to have a great deal of senario variation as a result of all the different elements I can throw around.  Right now I am looking into various resolution mechanics that are quick, elegant, and decisive.  Once that's done I can start stating out units and designing scenarios in earnest. 

I also have an idea for a cyberpunk hacking game in the vein of Netrunner though instead of using two decks of cards the runner uses a combination drafting/deckbuilding set of rules and the corporation uses a worker placement set of rules.  I am REALLY excited about this but I want to get a lot of basic leg work out of the way for the hero game before starting another one.  This way I can choose to either do heavy design work or basic playtesting or something like that.  I know by the end of May I'll have some interesting things to report.

For now though it is time for me to sign off.