Archives for 2010

Robot Malfunction for Attack of the Mutants

Tracked Robots

Experimental automatons

These are the droids I was looking for. Sadly they are not the ones I got in my shipment from Black Cat Bases. A small snafu meant the person picking blisters for my shipment ended up pulling the wrong ones. There is no one around at the shop to fix this until January 5th so I won’t expect replacements until January 20th at best.

In the meantime the robots I did get sent are kinda cool and while they don’t fit in with the University theme, they could make a surprise appearance from the Ad Astra portal… The robots I did get are Mono-wheeled robots that look suspiciously like the 2060-B RobCo Securitron robot! Here is a picture of the figure and another from the Fallout series of games. Its a bit tongue in cheek but the people at Segway(tm) have us covered.

Robco 2060-B Securitron

Robco 2060-B

CGI From Fallout series of games

Robco 2060-B Securitron

The way I would work them in is via a card that was keyed to the Ad Astra project and they would appear in the central tech room. I might make it two cards. One for when they are on the side of the Mutants and one for when they are on the side of the Humans!

Attack of the Mutants

My latest project is coming all well. I had a long hiatus with gaming and I am coming back to it now that the end of the year is here and my job search is naturally slowing. While I am still plugging away at it every day I’ve decided for mental health reasons to take some time off once a day to put some work into this game.

The game is Attack of the Mutants. It first came out in 1981 and was one of the first game purchases I ever made. There was a great game store in Fanueil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. I loved going in there. I rarely had the money to afford the games but my two favorite game purchases came from that store. Attack of the Mutants was one of them. The game sold for $8 back then. It is a simple game about the survivors of a nuclear accident near a college attempting to perfect the science of teleportation before mutants overrun the building.

One of the major aspects of this game will be to recreate the science building. To do that I envision 28 wall sections laid in an interlocking grid, surrounded by 4 outer walls. So far that work is going well. I did a prototype interior wall and I am please with the results.

  1. Some interesting notes from this test:
    Most of what you see is taken from real life. The doors are photos of real doors. The same goes for the clocks.
  2. The chalk board is a photo of a real chalk board from the Fermilab! Yes, those are real physics equations.
  3. I toyed with the idea  of doing the game in 15mm since there are a lot of science fiction miniatures in that scale but I decided that for a 4 person game that was too small.
  4. The wall images will be pasted onto foam core and the doors will be cut out. They can be put back into place or removed to show if they are intact or smashed.
  5. By printing a prototype I discovered the single doors needed to be scaled up. The double doors however were correct scale. It was hard to tell on the computer screen as I was creating the wall.
  6. There will be 3 or 4 dozen posters, diagrams and other interesting “props” on the walls to reflect science and the political positions of professors.

The 1944 US Marines I have in the picture are stand-ins since I don’t have all the miniatures for the game yet and none of them are painted. The zombies I found cheaply on the internet are sadly on back order. Hopefully they will come before the end of next month.

I’m really jazzed up by this initial prototype. It tells me the look of what I am doing is going to work. I am sure it will be a lot of fun and this building can be used for a wide variety of scenarios and game types. Reuse is big for me. Any project I build I consider ways in which it can be used over again.

One question I am sure a lot of people will have is if this will be a faithful reproduction of the game. The answer is no for a few reasons. The main one being that I don’t want to have a copyright violation on my hands. The game is themed after the first one with some noticeable changes. I’m adding a card driven element to the game to better tell the story. Each card will present a rule change and a one-liner as if this were a film. The 1950’s B-Horror film style will be updated to more reflect 2010. The jokes in the original game had a strong liberal bias – half the defenders were ROTC and depicted as expendable morons whose descriptions lead one to believe they were former Nazis. I am getting rid of the ROTC element entirely. I am adding two other professors and spreading the jokes around a bit more. There will be pokes at left and right, plus nerds and hippies. Penny Applewhite’s boyfriend Buck will go from being a jock douchebag to a statement about diversity on campus since he will be a Tea Party supporter. Professor Applewhite will be the sterotypical liberal professor. The two other professors will represent the right and the nuts. In fact the Ad Astra project is the brainchild of Professor Trip Moonbeam this time. Professor Applewhite and Professor Richardson will be the robotics professors, with Richardson being the one responsible for the military grants that have kept the project alive.

The overall flavor of the game will remain the same though. The humans have to cooperate vs. the mutant menace! There are 10 turns until Ad Astra can be turned on. Can they hold out? In the original game the question of holding out was simply a matter of how many barricades the humans got at the beginning. The number varied for 11 to 15. At 15 it was a shoe in for the humans. At 11 it was a win for the mutants. Anytime a game is determined before the first die is rolled turns me off. So I am trying to make the game more dynamic and less deterministic.

Site Redesign

I have been working on other sites for quite some time and now it is time for me to return to Victory Points. This site has languished for some time now, mainly due to many other pressing needs in my personal life. Until recently I haven’t been gaming much. That is changing and I have a new game design I am currently working on (Battlestar Galactica Tactical Battles) and several older designs will get a new treatment.

The site could still use an RPG Editor to blog about the world of role playing games. There is no money in it. This site has never generated income in this or it’s previous incarnations. That may change in the future but for now it would be for the intangible benefit of loving what you do.

If you have been here before, keep your eye out every Friday for a new posting. If you are new, welcome. I hope we have something of interest for you.

New Games in the House

I noticed that my favorite company was going out of business; Boulder Games. The owner was retiring. This was sad but I am happy for him. So my retirement present to him was to buy up some of games! I got the following:

Columbia Games Napoleon, Waterloo Campaign 1815: I opted for this as my first block game. I’ve played them before but never owned one. This is a subject I’d always wanted in an easy to play format. The complexity is fairly low but it is a well known battle and a good way to get new gamers started.

This is the third edition of the rules and I have heard they are quite good. Ultimately there are only a couple of actual strategies but I am not expecting to play this game dozens of times. Ideally it will give me a feel for the campaign and inspire me to consider doing something in miniature…

Next up was another Columbia game, Liberty, The American Revolution 1775-83. Again, for the same reasons. I am interested in the period but I don’t do any miniature gaming in it. I like a nice simple introduction to the whole period. Again with Columbia games, the Fog of War element makes the game play really engaging. The blocks make record keeping simple too.

I picked up Price of Freedom from Compass Games. This is a card driven game of the Civil War. It looks great. I tore into it first and the components are very nice and the cards are very interesting. You keep track of a lot of political states and have to choose when you change them. For example the emancipation of the slaves. In real life that was carefully timed for when the war was losing support in the North. I think this is brilliant and shows the game authors are quite well read on the subject.

I have had other, monster sized games of the Civil War. This is a lot more compact and faster playing. The appeal for me is I might actually get to play it. Most of the time it is hard to get interest in a boardgame in my circle of friends. However so long as they aren’t likely to take several sessions to play and can be explained in short order they can happen. 3 hours with 132 pieces seems just about right to me.

Finally I picked up Okko: Era of the Asagiri. This is a Japanese myth based game that is very miniatures like. I am not really sure how it plays but the figures are awesome and have colored high quality cardboard stands for use as well. I’m still waiting for the main game to show up. I got the supplement first, Yakuza Hazu Akai, which adds lawless and godless mercenaries to your clan. OK sounds good! The game is based upon a comic produced in France. I expect it to seem a little weird but in a good way. I love the AT-43 and Confrontation worlds so I know the French have what it takes to interest me. I like weird games in general. I thought once of doing an RPG set in Japan with a theme similar to “Delta Green” where the players are quasi-official forces combating the supernatural. This game seems to be more about clans fighting clans with supernatural forces. Check out the website for more details.

Morituri Te Salutant analysis of Attacks

I took a hard, statistical look at the attacks in the game Morituri Te Salutant which depicts historic gladiator fighting in the 1st century. My group has been playing it at Wargames in Nashville this year and have started a campaign this past Saturday. It did not go well for my school as I lost two gladiators in the two fights I was in. So I took a look at the complex combat matrix that determines the results of comparing attacks and what I found was eye opening and useful. In one game I chose a “kick” attack even though I had many others available to me. When looking at its level of difficulty and expected damage I found it is truely one of the worst attacks in the game! This kind of understanding will help me better choose my attacks in my next game.

Difficulty is an absolute number derived from the total difficulty of the manuever and it’s likely hood of being blocked. Damage looks at all possible damage outcomes and the likelyhood the attack will be damaging. This is an absolute number. Finally the best vs. is useful to see where the attack can get you an easy hit with greater damage.

This information doesn’t preclude you from knowing an opponents weaknesses and it only looks at attacks. For example if you are up against a Sagitarius with a bow your best bed is to block all of their incoming fire with a Shield manuever if you have a shield. The Sagitarius is going to be hesitant to close with a better protected gladiator such as a Samnite.

Attack Difficulty Damage Blocked Best vs.
Lunge 61 25 33% Getup, Charge, Cut
Swing 57 32 24% Cut, Getup
Slash 59 26 29% Ssmash, Lasso
Cut 61 26 33% Swing, Slash, Getup
Thrust 52 31 24% Cut, Charge
Jab 57 18 33% Move F/Stand
Charge 56 30 24% Cut, Getup
Sh. Smash 62 17 38% Cut, Getup
Butt End 64 16 43% Jab
Lasso 55 Special 14% Getup, Reclaim
One/Two 60 26 29% Jab, Swing, Getup
Riposte 64 16 43% Lunge, Charge, Entangle
Hook 67 17 57% Lasso, Entangle
Entangle 53 Special 14% Swing, Charge, Getup
Kick 73 10 62% Getup, Reclaim
Throw 49 38 5% Getup, Cut, Reclaim, Move Back
Shoot 46 29 5% Getup, Reclaim, Move Back

Days of Glory

Days of Glory

Pete English, a good friend of Victory Points has given us a preview of his new supplement to “Check Your Six!” aka “CY6”. This supplement takes us to the early days of WWII when the French faced the German in the sky. I got a chance to play a couple of the scenarios and while you may think they would all be cake walks for the Germans and impossible for the French – nothing could be further from the truth. These are historically accurate scenarios that for our gaming group were real nail biters. Here is the info blurb we got concerning this new supplement:

DAYS OF GLORY is a scenario and campaign book for the popular CHECK YOUR 6! Air Combat and Campaign Rules. The book provides three campaigns and 25 scenarios under one cover. The first campaign of 9 scenarios follows the beginning of the German air campaign over Belgium and France from 10-23 May 1940. The second campaign, recreates the intense combat above Dunkirk from 27 May to 1 June 1940 with 9 scenarios. The final 7 scenarios focus on the German drive to Paris from 3 June during “Operation Paula”, the attack on French airfields defending the City of Lights, and the last forlorn attacks by French squadrons up to 25 June 1940. The book also features some of WWII’s legendary aces including Helmut Wick, A.G. “Sailor” Malan, Robert Williame, Werner Mölders, Ian “Hack” Russell and Rene Pornier-Layrargues.
HISTORICAL RESEARCH: This book includes several introduction sections containing campaign historical background, organizations, formations and tactics of the French, German and British air forces, plus a bibliography for further reading.
AIRCRAFT STATISTICS and CAMPAIGN INFORMATION: This book contains aircraft statistics for 15 French, British and German aircraft in CHECK YOUR 6!  format for use in the scenarios. The book also contains detailed notes and rare pictures of the various aircraft featured in the campaign.
CHECK YOUR 6! CAMPAIGN SYSTEM: This book includes a CHECK YOUR 6! campaign that allows the scenarios to be played individually, linked to form three mini-campaigns, or combined as one grand campaign.

Broken Earth Campaign Ready to Roll

At I have the Broken Earth campaign information finally all loaded. Players can read the world history and jump into creating characters right away. I’m rather excited about this. This weekend I will kick off the campaign and we will have our first run of it.

I had some trouble getting the material up. I did a cut and paste from Word 2010 Beta. In the underlaying HTML there was some formatting that was not understood by HeroCentral which rejected it. However by going into Source Mode I was able to get the raw html and then in EditPlus remove the offending tags. In this case they were <o:p> tags which I have no idea what they do. I could google it I am sure but why…

It looks fine. Even my table formatting looks reasonably intact with little effort needed to fix it. I am really happy so far. Hopefully the players will be happy too.

The Raven

Here is the 5th edition Hero System write up for the RAVEN APC the characters get in The Broken Earth campaign. More to come when I get this updated to 6th edition and spec. out the main gun.


The Broken Earth Campaign

I am starting a new Hero System 6th Edition campaigned called The Broken Earth. It takes place 4 centuries from now on Earth after the planet has been wiped out by an interstellar attempt at takeover. The players are a team of scientists, technicians, leaders and explorers who were frozen prior to the doomsday event and revived with a mission to rescue what is left of humanity.

The Team (Alpha-3) will have an armored personnel carrier, links back to vault 0126 and plenty of high tech gear. Still they will need their wits to survive the wasteland. It just so happens that the ever vigilant overlord computer will be a sort of invisible NPC there. This well intentioned dictator will offer as much of a challenge as any danger the wasteland holds for Alpha-3.

Right now I have 5 players at Hero Central, 4 of whom have created characters. I am hoping to get the 5th to finish his. I can accept up to 8 characters in this run and if it works well I might attempt running multiple teams at the same time.

The story borrows from a lot of my favorite post-apocalyptic and sci-fi favorites. Aliens, The Long Afternoon of Earth, Mad Max, etc. I also borrow elements from The Morrow Project and Paranoia. There are many sources of information I have used. As the campaign materials are finalized I will put them up on this site for easy access.

Many thanks to Dan Simon for creating Hero Central and giving free access to this valuable PBEM RPG support system!