Archives for March 2011

Breaking the System

Researcher, TA and Robot surrounded“Bugs Mr. Rico. Millions of ’em and I’m burning them down!”

One solid part of play testing is not playing the rules as intended but as they might be played in an attempt to break them. With Attack of the Mutants one theory I was playing out was the possibility of massive hordes of both mutants and ‘normies’.

Indeed it was possible without much effort to get really large groups together and simply cause havoc to the system. On the one hand I want to preserve immersion in the theme without having some unexplained rule come into effect. On the other hand there has to be game balance. Any balancing rule must be well grounded in the theme. In this case the solution to the massive horde rule turned out to be easy to figure out. I didn’t as much mind a room with a huge horde as I did a massive horde storming from room to room with ease. So the rule is quite simply, you can stack as many figures as will fit standing in a room but only 6 can pass through a door in either direction per turn. It is a simple answer. I seem to recall there was an issue in the original game about massive hordes. This solution is simple, adds to the theme and is a reasonable limitation.

Another issue has been determining if there are unbeatable combinations in the game. This would be something like certain figures together, aiding one another such that they always had unbeatable scores. So far I haven’t seen that. But I am a ways from just letting a few play tests confirm it. I am well aware that if I miss such a combination and players find it they will use it in expectation that something worse is coming and this formation is the smart way. Weeding these situations out is important for enjoyment of the game and to keep the tension alive until the final turn when the gate opens to let the players escape or the mutants to invade another planet!

QuickRoll dice rolling application for iOS

The QuickRoll app is a neat addition to your gaming aides. While it was designed for D20 like games, it can be used for most systems. It runs nicely and allows you the ability to name your die rolls. I used it for a game of Silent Death which has lots of dice combinations. I found it was a huge benefit to speeding up the game.

It maintains a history of die rolls which has many uses and it is there you can see what individual dice were rolled. I haven’t tested how distributed the die rolls are. They claim it is better than many of the other systems. I’ll test this at some time.

My only gripe is that I’d like more die handling abilities. If generic functions were allowed it might work for any gaming system. Currently there is no way to handle Hero System damage rolls other than manually. I’m sure gamers of other systems are also left wanting.

It can still be used for those games and can still add to efficiency. Also you can track multiple characters with it. That’s a super nice addition!

I give it 4/5 stars!

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Disqus comment system added!

I like it when I can maintain the same identity across multiple sites. I hate coming to a site, entering my favorite user name, CorpCommander, only to find that it isn’t available, too long or already taken. Thus, I’ve removed the ability to sign up on this site as a user and moved over to the Disqus system which lets you use your already established User Id from Google, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Disqus!

I am also considering a total makeover of this site. The traffic here is low enough that I could just dump everything that is here and start fresh. I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences with web site designs over the last couple of years on other sites and I think it’s time I brought them to bear on this site. This site has always been a bit confused about what it was about. It started as just a place for me to blog randomly about my gaming. Now I’d like to take some time and do this right and make this a great place people interested in home brewed games to come and share ideas and projects and to learn things.

If you think you’d like to collaborate please contact me in the comment system!

Attack of the Mutants Combat Rules

These are preliminary so may be tweeked by the time Nashcon rolls around.

AotM Combat System

Combat happens when one force enters an area containing an enemy force. Combat is fought until one side is destroyed or forced to retreat. The mutants have a different style than the “normies.” The mutants are much simpler in how they play out.

[Continue Reading…]

Grifball, Victory Points style!

If you don’t have any of the Halo games then you are probably unfamiliar with Grifball. Grifball is a game that has just a few basic rules. Everyone is given an energy sword and a massive hammer, called a Gravity Hammer that causes relativistic effects locally and is massively damaging! In the center of the playing field is a lone bomb. The objective is to deliver the bomb into the opponents goal and destroy it. Respawn times are short (3 seconds) and the action is constant. To deliver the bomb you just have to run over the manhole sized plate in the goal area.

What I’ve done is I’ve transformed the boring open map into one with some regular cover and a center swell that hides the two teams for a few seconds allowing for the ruse of a flank attack. Refined versions of the Grifball game type exist that add armor abilities. The normal game of Grifball is 4 on 4 but there is a version of Grifball called Stadium Grifball that allows for 6-12 players at the same time. pgrif will eventually be updated to that format. I just need to get a lot of players together.

Some features to look for: lots of opportunity to ambush the enemy. The goal wall prevents a straight in rush and makes a goalie a viable strategy. Its possible to get knocked out of the playing area. I hope you have a jet pack!

The files can be found here: Pete’s Fileshare and look for the map variant “pgrif”!

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the image.

AotM Game checks off another milestone

My Attack of the Mutants revival is coming along nicely. Check out these photos. The miniatures for the good guys are now done.

Robots and Scientists

Dr. Richardson and Dr. Applewhite with the Mk-1 Manipulator bots

All of these figures are by Black Cat Bases. I was looking for generic academic scientists and they had them! I was also looking for robots that were evocative of the source material. In this case the original ad for the game seen in the next photo.

Dr. Applewhite does a few calculations while a robot defends one hall and terrified students run down the other.Here we see the “mutants” easily fit into the zombie category. The box art of the original game show much crazier creatures but I think this art work more closely captures the right feeling. The Black Cat Bases robots are about 50% larger in comparison to the robot shown here but clearly have the lab bench prototype look I wanted.
Robots and Scientist

Dr. Mincy and the Mk-1 Gunhead bots

There is an actual Dr. Mincy and she looks a lot like her character shown here. In the game Dr. Mincy is the one conducting the astral travel experiments. All these figures are from Black Cat Bases.

Dr. Manbender and the Robots from the Future

Dr. Manbender and the Robots from the Future

The Evil Scientist is from Reaper Miniatures and the Securitron robots are from Black Cat Bases. These are excellent figures. The arms for the robots are tough to get off the sprue and attach but are well worth it as the look is great. These robots have a chance of making an appearance in game play as either good robots from the future or bad robots from the future!

The Teacher's Assistants

The Teacher's Assistants

These student figures are from Reaper and are awesome. The details and stereotypes fit in perfect with the game concept. There is the Nerd, The Jock and the Hot Girl. In this case it is Penny Applewhite, daughter of Dr. Applewhite and her two love interests – Percy Fitzwater the genius (brains) and Leon “Buck” Bukaw the football hero (brawn). Gone from the game is the really odious portrayal of ROTC. I have too much respect for that institution to treat it as poorly as the original author did.

Hopefully I’ll raise the funds to get the “mutants” finished in time for Nashcon. The game rules are progressing. I’m trying to keep them fun and fast with enough tactics to keep it interesting.