23/01/2015 at 13:08 #16185
Seeing as someone asked and Mike confirmed I’m allowed to, I thought I’d start a thread to tell TWW a little about HorizonWars.
Back in 2010, I self-published a short game called MechaWar – a response to my frustration with the existing set of 3mm-10mm mech-based games that I felt were too complex, too fiddly and too dedicated to specific miniatures lines to be the sort of mech-based game I was looking for.
To describe MechaWar as a “success” would be a slight exaggeration, but it certainly enjoyed limited acclaim and so I added AirFrame – an air combat game that stood alone but was also broadly compatible with MechaWar – and began developing BattleGroup, the third volume in what I called the “HorizonWars Trilogy”, to add the rest of the combined arms force.
I happened to touch base with Phil Smith at Osprey Publishing at a fortuitous time, because he was on the look out for something very like HorizonWars and, after a certain amount of back-and-forth, Phil offered me a publishing contract. I understand that his bionic hand is settling in fine and there’s no hard feelings. The original was delicious.
So, what is HorizonWars?
It’s a hard(ish) SF wargame designed with 3mm to 10mm miniatures in mind (I consider 6mm to be the sweet spot, but that’s probably because Space Marine was my first miniatures wargame and I’ve always had a 6mm “thing”). So you can play it with Dystopian Wars minis (not the ships – there aren’t rules for naval combat [yet]), Dropzone Commander minis, Battletech minis, Heavy Gear minis, Epic GW/FW minis or pretty much any other range of small-scale SF, VSF, modern or near future miniatures.
The rules do include “canonical” setting text, but this is specifically designed to give players inspiration for narrative battles and campaigns without limiting their choice of miniatures.
So what’s the game like?
It’s designed for platoon to company+ battles which should typically take between 30 and 120 minutes, depending on the size. The game includes a set of pre-written scenarios, plus a random scenario generator. The system is integrated turns with a reaction mechanic. All mechs and airframes are full customisable – and the process of designing a mech takes less than a minute if you skip the advanced upgrades (which you can and still have a totally viable mech) – and whilst the conventional forces are more fixed, there is some flexibility for commanders to invest in improved resources for the boots on the ground, too.
The game uses d12s and you’ll typically need between five and seven dice each to play. You’ll also need two counters per base (I use pennies).
I’ll post up an illustrated battle report in due course. In the mean time, feel free to bombard me with questions. You’re also welcome to offer criticism but the manuscript has been finalized except for proof-reading, so don’t expect any changes.
Robey23/01/2015 at 13:50 #1619323/01/2015 at 14:38 #16196
It certainly works on a 2’x2′ (I played a game with my children just the other day on the 2’x2′ set up in my studio). It has to be admitted that games on boards that size tend to me much more down to the luck of the dice that any superior tactics, as the game places a lot of emphasis on manoeuvre for advantage. When you get up close, things become pretty brutal. I prefer 2’x4′ as the smallest size of table, and 4’x4’+ is recommended. But I’ve not tried it on 3’x3′. For a smaller size of game, it would probably be fine.
R.23/01/2015 at 22:06 #16201ShandyParticipant
Oh, Space Marine was also my first miniatures wargame! I remember getting the box plus the Adeptus Titanicus box for Christmas (after much nagging). Lots of fun was had, especially when a mate started an Orc army.
Ok, stopping the nostalgia trip – you rules sound very interesting, looking forward to hearing more. When will they be out?
- This reply was modified 4 years, 12 months ago by Shandy.
My blog: http://wargamingraft.wordpress.com23/01/2015 at 22:25 #16203
salute 2016, although copies of MechaWar can be obtained by way of a sneak preview… Thanks to the #vatmoss nonsense, though, you may have to count on meeting me at a convention to get hold of it now.
R.23/01/2015 at 22:39 #16204SplodParticipant
Really excited to see how this develops.
Personally I feel the bigger the table the better, what’s the point of using small scale miniatures if you can’t fight long range armour engagements 😉24/01/2015 at 04:46 #16210Ivan SorensenParticipant
So 6mm mecha action? You have my interest.
If you tell me I don’t have to track hit points or whatever for said mecha, you have my money too.
Nordic Weasel Games
https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/24/01/2015 at 11:27 #16212
Thanks for your enthusiasm, guys. There is a sort of hit point tracking, Ivan, but it’s nothing like as complicated as other mech games. I’ll explain briefly:
Each mech (or element in the full HorizonWars game) has five stats. Three of these – Movement, Firepower and Armour – are “active” stats. That means that, as a mech takes damage, these stats are reduced. If M reaches 0, the mech is immobilized. If F reaches 0, it can’t shoot anything. If A reaches 0… ka-splosion! Mechs can use Recover actions to try to repair damage to their stats, but the total amount of damage taken never reduces and the test is based on the total amount suffered, so the longer a battle goes on, the harder it becomes to repair damage.
Usually, players choose which stat to reduce for each point of damage, but if the hit is a critical (contains a natural 12) the opponent chooses the stat to reduce.
Army lists are tiny (I literally put blank templates on the back of my business cards) and you can design a force in minutes.24/01/2015 at 18:53 #16221Ivan SorensenParticipant
That sounds pretty cool and quite simple to play. Thanks!
Nordic Weasel Games
https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/04/10/2015 at 11:06 #32033
Good to see you at Blast-Tastic Robey and would have liked to have a go at the game, but ours dragged on somewhat. your miniatures looked great and will watch out for more info on this game.04/10/2015 at 14:33 #32036Tri OpticonParticipant
Any detail on the turn sequence? Or, how to build a custom unit for something not in the book?04/10/2015 at 19:12 #32047Mr. AverageParticipant04/10/2015 at 19:59 #3205205/10/2015 at 21:06 #32093
Just seen that Minicon is at a college that our son might attend. So a potential good opportunity to see said college and have a go at Horizon Wars, if it’s on offer…08/01/2016 at 22:44 #36407
Sorry to have been slow to respond to this, recently.
I’ve been fixated on getting the whole thing finished and off to the printers. But it’s all done, now, so it’s time for the charm offensive to go into full force.
Somewhat ironically, then, I have to report that Horizon Wars will not be available to demo at MiniCon, because I’m one of the event organizers, and that job is incompatible with also being an exhibitor.
But once the official launch is done at Salute, I’ll be hitting events all over the UK and, if sales justify it, overseas, too. And in 2017, I’ve arranged to step down from running MiniCon for the year to be able to demo Horizon Wars at my home convention.
On other news, the National Star College is a wonderful place and I can’t recommend it highly enough as a caring and positive learning environment for kids with special educational needs.09/01/2016 at 10:21 #36415
Hope to get to see you at the show Robey and look forward to the release date of your rules. I would have liked to have a go at them, but will obviously have to wait a bit…09/01/2016 at 13:25 #36417
I love this idea, but since when are mecha games hard sci-fi? 🙂
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!09/01/2016 at 13:49 #36418MikeKeymaster
I guess it depends on the setting?
Star Wars with it’s aliens and magic and stuff is not hard sci-fi I reckon, but a game with mecha and just humans, that could be.
After all the USA and Japan are having a real life mecha fight so it is not that much a flight of fiction.
Plus he never said hard, but hard(ish).12/01/2016 at 19:52 #36538
Actually, I totally agree with you, Thaddeus, and I address that very question in the book. The “hard SF” label is something my editor put on the game for marketing reasons to distinguish it from games that really do indulge more extreme flights of fancy. For my part, antigrav or hovertanks are as practically silly as mechs, but that doesn’t stop them from being a staple in hard SF classics like Hammers Slammers (and, of course, I allow rules for them in Horizon Wars).
The game, setting and rules are all written to accommodate the assumption that there is a good reason (at least, what seems like a good reason at the time) for humans to adopt mechs as a practical and sustainable warmachine, but it’s perfectly possible to decide that mechs are just too silly and to stick only to conventional elements and aircraft. The game is just as fun and tactical that way.29/01/2016 at 13:26 #3744501/02/2016 at 12:14 #37605
First, it’s on pre-release at Salute 2016, on 16 April 2016. But it’s on general release (and pre-order fulfilment) from 20 April.
Second, in response to multiple questions (demands!), I’ve written a battle report on my blog to illustrate the rules somewhat:01/02/2016 at 13:22 #37608
Thanks for posting the AAR Robey as the rules look very interesting.01/02/2016 at 19:40 #37617ThuseldParticipant06/02/2016 at 15:18 #37910
Thought you guys would also appreciate an early sneak peek at the interior, seeing as how the proof copies hit my doormat this morning!
Regards,Robey06/02/2016 at 15:58 #37911
I must confess to initially thinking, £20.00 for a small soft cover Osprey book?
NO! £20.00 for a hardback book of awesome, times ten to the power of nine thousand!
The guy on the elements page looks a bit like you..
06/02/2016 at 19:11 #37920
- This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Angel Barracks.
Wow, that looks pretty impressive Robey!06/02/2016 at 19:26 #37923Alexander WasbergParticipant
Looking mighty slick 🙂
http://lasersandbroadswords.blogspot.com My project blog08/02/2016 at 21:25 #38008
Beware the forthcoming heresy…
Does HW work without Mechs?10/02/2016 at 15:08 #38069
I’ve just been asked the same question on the HW Facebook Group.
Mechs are the jacks-of-all-trades: fast, durable heavy hitters. In some respects they could be described as Horizon Wars’s “easy mode”. Playing exclusively with conventional and air elements would be “hard mode” in the sense that you will have to make more challenging decisions in both army building and tactically on the tabletop, but in the hands of a skilled tactician, a conventional army can take on a mech army and win, and if you just find mechs too silly for words you can enjoy the game without having mechs on the table at all.
R.10/02/2016 at 20:36 #38086
and if you just find mechs too silly for words
I do, mostly, which is a shame as they are a staple of sci-fi.
I am missing out on a whole sub-genre.
Oddly I can accept Titans in 40k, but then to be fair you have to suspend ALL disbelief to buy into the 40k fluff, so a titan is just part of that.
Also Heavy Gear, though they are more like advanced power armour suits.
But yeah, normal mechs just don’t work for me.
Glad to know the game works without them!10/02/2016 at 22:19 #38090
You may find the justification for their existence in Horizon Wars to your taste, then…😁
R.10/02/2016 at 23:28 #38091
My justification for them was always three-fold…
1) Being able to shift themselves into different geometries, they are easy to transport: more bang per cargo ton, if you must.
2) The variable geometry thing also makes them able to take advantage of and traverse terrain that’s inaccessible to conventional vehicles.
3) They use bgiofeedback systems which map, organically, to the human body. Mech pilots are thus able to respond quicker and more effectively than tank drivers. Putting the same biofeedback systems in a tank increases their utility, too, but not as much as in a mech.
Anyhow, that’s my story and I am sticking with it!
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!12/02/2016 at 07:31 #38142
those things turn out to be unexpected benefits to the British officers, who really just wanted to scare the crap out of the French.26/02/2016 at 17:35 #38798
I am becoming more and more intrigued with this system. The only problem I have with it, as described, is the use of D12s. Can it be modified to use D6s?
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!26/02/2016 at 18:13 #38802
Like me, do you have an aversion to any dice that are not the six sided?26/02/2016 at 20:30 #38811
It’s not so much an aversion to d6s. More an addiction to d12s. They speak to the maths-geek in me.
However, yes you can convert the system to d6s. You get twice as many critical hits, but you also get more effective defence.
The game works but it’s not strictly as I designed it.
R.27/02/2016 at 15:55 #38849
Nice to know that it works with 2D628/02/2016 at 15:34 #38872
I just like simple dice for simple rules, Mike. And from what I hear, this will be a dice-intensive system. I live in Brazil, so rounding up fistfuls of dice for my 3mm hordes will be difficult if they aren’t six siders.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!28/02/2016 at 16:26 #38874
Steve – Don’t use 2d6! That wouldn’t work at all. But you can use d6s. Just multiply the result by 2, to give results of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12.
Thaddeus – I can’t speak for the availability of dice in Brazil, obviously. But there are shops serving the d&d community that stock polygonal dice in quantity.28/02/2016 at 20:02 #38875Mr. AverageParticipant
Something I’ve done in the absence of D12s is to roll two dice of different colors, and pick one as a +6 die. On a roll of 4-6, add six to the result of the other die.
For example, if I have a red die and a blue die, I make the red die the “+6” die. If I roll 4 on the red and 3 on the blue, the roll becomes a 9. If I roll 2 on the red and 5 on the blue, it’s a straight 5. You could even put labels over the sides of your +6 die and mark 3 as blank, and 3 as “+6.”
Admittedly, it’s fussy, but if D12s are that hard to come by, or that annoying to use in your idiom, you get a reasonable result this way without modding the system or skewing intended results.
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