Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Renegade Scout updates

These updates won't be made available juuuuuuuuust yet, but I am adding a section with some pre-made troop profiles for things like scientists, security guards, colonists etc.

The sort of thing that comes in handy in a scenario (and also ties in nicely if we want to put together an interesting battle on the fly, I might add).

In addition, armor is getting split off into its own equipment section and when I upload it, there should be some "superheavy" body armors available as well.

Acrid Smell of Powder - Close combat

One of the things that has always stood out to me when reading about the Napoleonic Wars or American Civil War is how rare actual "hand to hand" combat is.

There's plenty of charges all over the place, but unless cavalry is involved, it usually doesn't lead to anyone fighting anybody.
Either the charge slows down / breaks up or the recipients forget if they left the oven on and dash off to check.

Of course, on the gaming table, it's positively medieval!
We want to move our little guys to contact and have them slug it out like the drill manual says they should.

Now, in big abstract battle games, you can fudge that a bit by assuming that "close combat" actually means "a wide range of things including actual hitting with sticks, close ranged volleys and so forth" but with "Acrid Smell of Powder" we were trying to avoid abstracting things too much, so that wouldn't fly.

Some rules use a morale check to solve this: Check morale to charge, check morale to receive the charge.
This makes more sense, but leads to situations where high-morale units opposing each other will usually end up crossing bayonet (as they will most likely both pass their check).
That's still better but it doesn't solve the fundamental issue: Close combat shouldn't happen very often.

Going back and re-reading accounts of charges in the Napoleonic Wars and the American Revolution, it suddenly became clear to me:
An opposed roll might be the answer.

If the defenders give way, it's usually because the attackers don't and vice versa.
Eureka!

This also lets us represent another aspect very nicely: The reputation of a unit.
If your guys have good morale, odds are they have a reputation as hard fighters (and may have the fancy uniforms or big hats to prove it) meaning they'd carry a level of intimidation with them.

Is a bunch of militia men going to react the same way if it's random line infantry advancing on them vs when it's the Guard?


So in the end, charging is an opposed roll: Each side rolls, adds their Morale and a couple of modifiers and as a result one side will usually give way or run away.
If the scores are very close, an actual fight breaks out (a Brawl, as you'll no doubt not be surprised to learn its called) and you get to hit the other guys with sticks.


One aspect that I considered was that actual hand to hand fights were more common when occupying buildings, redoubts and the likes.
You do get a morale bonus for holding an obstacle, but to my mind, the sort of determined defense at bayonet point is more a characteristic of larger formations:

A "blob" of 10 guys skirmishing probably would be more inclined to fall back to the next position instead.
This also helps create more movement and make the "mass skirmish" feel more fluid and energetic than a conventional black powder battle.


At least, that's all the theory: You'll have to judge how well it turned out.

If you didn't grab your copy yet, go do so here:

https://www.wargamevault.com/product/239484/The-Acrid-Smell-of-Powder-early-version? 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Renegade Scout - The project forward

So the campaign has ended and it's time to assess our situation:


We didn't hit the entire goal, which I hadn't really expected we would.
We could have gotten more, if I'd advertised it more aggressively though, so that's a lesson I suppose.

The full goal was to enable me to simply work on the project for 2-3 months, without any distractions.
The amount we did collect will go a ways towards getting the rules where they need to be, but it'll obviously mean a longer work flow to get there.

I am not certain of the full time frame yet.

What will happen next is that when a few more components fit together, we'll put things up on the Wargame Vault as well for early access.
That way, the project can continue to obtain funding and it'll be far easier to provide new versions, updates, files etc.

That may take a week or two though.
Once it's up, codes will go out to the early backers to access that for free.
I have all the email addresses from those who just paid the basic fee, so when things are released, you will get your download codes as well.

Doing it through the Vault will also mean that any post-launch updates and fixes can be included for free.


We've gotten a few pieces of art as well as proper potential cover, which I'll share when I have a chance.

General impressions of the Indiegogo setup?
It's convenient enough, but I had to rely on an external service to actually provide the PDF (dropbox in this case) and it's easy enough to post updates, but actual communication is a bit awkward.

More importantly though, I have received very little feedback at all on the rules from early backers.
I don't know why, but as far as soliciting actual feedback on mechanics, the process has been completely pointless compared to just doing an early release through the Wargame Vault and working from there.

As it stands, I am going to continue down the track I am already on and then we'll see what opinions trickle in along the way.

Different crowds? Different expectations? Random chance? I don't know.

I doubt I'll use crowd-funding for a project again though. The benefits seem minimal compared to how I am used to doing things.

On the flipside, if you don't try new things, you never learn, right?


So there it is:

Renegade Scout is proceeding. It'll just proceed a bit slower, since it'll have to fit in alongside other projects.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Acrid Smell of Powder - Moving about

With the recent release of Acrid Smell of Powder, I thought I'd talk about it a little bit: Namely the movement rules.


So I knew for ASoP, I wanted a random movement system, however, I had some misgivings about how such systems tend to work.

To me, one of the pit-traps is that complete control over the army is obviously unrealistic. . . but so is a complete lack of control, in my opinion.

As the commander, you can select the right officers for the task, send a runner with instructions or ride over there yourself to shout at people.

The answer then was this:

You get a pool of initiative dice to work with.
By default, it's equal to the number of units, plus the number of leaders you have.

If I have 4 units of infantry, 1 leader and a cavalry unit, I'd have 6 dice.

Different things can give you more or less dice: Including an Excellent quality unit, being exhausted etc.

So you roll all of your dice and you can then assign each die to whatever unit you like.
If you need a unit to move further this turn to take that hill, you probably can.

Better units and cavalry can have multiple dice assigned and some unit types get a fixed bonus per die, to add a bit of detail.


Think of the initiative dice as "army effort" if you will.


But what about non-movement activities?

Depending on the scenario, you might need to bring on reinforcements, search a haystack, interrogate the locals or romance a minor noble.
This is a Task and is given a difficulty: Assign a movement die that is equal or above the difficulty and it succeeds.

Nice and simple.

For big games, the number of dice is reduced a little, but you can issue "platoon" orders to 3 units at the same time. We don't want to have to roll a bucket of 40 dice (well, maybe you do want that. Keep a separate table for the dice avalanche in that case!)

Friday, 30 March 2018

Squad Hammer Man to Man

For Squad Hammer players (and also players of October Hammer, Trench Hammer and Winter Hammer who like it a bit cinematic and pulpy) we're excited to present Man to Man:

A supplement adding a ton of new options for games where each unit is only a single figure.

Whether you want to add a few heroic leaders or you want to run a game entirely with one-man units, we got you covered:

New combat adjustments, levels of heroism, infiltration rules, an experience system, personal side objectives, it's really quite jammed with new content.

Grab it over at the Vault

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/238488/Squad-Hammer-Man-to-Man

Are you not on board the Squad Hammer wagon yet?

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/222978/Squad-Hammer-Dirt-simple-gaming-for-many-settingsor-all-of-them


Please note that you need a core rules set to use Man to Man.
It is NOT a stand-alone game though some components could be used with other rules systems.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Basing for Acrid Smell of Powder

So what basing do you need for our upcoming black powder "mass skirmish" rules?

Stands with 3-5 figures on each essentially: Likely a basing standard you already have.

Cavalry can be mounted with 2-3 figures per stand.

In both cases, all representation is 1-to-1.
Some players may wish to base good troops with only 3 figures per stand while fresh recruits get 5.
Since all combat is by unit, not by figure, this is a good way of portraying battle hardened veterans.

If you have individually based figures, you can put them in clusters of 3 and that should work fairly well, though it can be a bit fiddly.

The goal is that you can take your existing armies from quite a few games and use them "as is" without having to worry about rebasing anything.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Projects: Renegade Scout and Black Powder gaming

The next update for Renegade Scout (most likely live tomorrow) will be another school of magic, plus rules for advancing personalities.

I'll also add in some more gadgetry and some more unusual weapons.

This will be a fairly small one, before the next big push.


Meanwhile, I can discuss something that's been in the shadows for a while now:

"Acrid Smell of Powder" will be a "Mass Skirmish" game for generic black powder warfare (roughly 1700-1880ish).

And it's a FiveCore game!

Black powder FiveCore is one of the two most requested FiveCore variants over the years, and I've been close to releasing something several times, only to go back and throw it all out.

I'll talk about the rules tomorrow, but for now, what is "mass skirmish" ?

If you already play Napoleonic or American Civil War games, odds are you have some troops based with 3-4 figures per troop stand. The sort of basing common in games like Fire&Fury.
Usually a unit is 5 or 6 such stands and pretend to be a battalion or whatnot.

But what if you took them at face value? 15-24 individual soldiers is a pretty decent skirmishing "section" and an army of 5 or 6 such units then is a good, fun skirmish action.

Hence the term mass skirmish.
Not sure if that will catch on, but it sounds good and I think it describes a scale of game that a lot of people enjoy, even if it isn't well covered by rules.


The goal is to stick pretty closely to the nature of the skirmish environment:
50 of my guys taking on 60 of yours isn't a BATTLE, it's still a skirmish, so we're not going to have batteries of artillery and squadrons of heavy cavalry rolling around.

We can always add those things down the road.


I hope you're excited. It may be shaping up to be the cleanest and coolest FiveCore version yet and should see you good from the Seven Years War/French and Indian Wars all the way to Franco-Prussian war or so. Maybe even a bit beyond.