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  • in reply to: Zero Dark – Development Blog #126044
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    I’ll take that as a positive response given your antipathy to card-based mechanics.

    in reply to: Zero Dark – Development Blog #125900
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Copy/paste from a recent blog:

    The Control Deck runs the artificial intelligence behind the Red Force. It’s a normal deck of 54 playing cards. After every character activation, you flip the Control Deck. The result dictates the behaviour of the Red Force.

    The value of the card tells you which bogey will act. The suit tells you what they will do. If you flip a Joker, you get a complication – this can be anything from more bogeys to a booby trap.

    Bogeys come in three basic flavours: Grunts, Elites and Bosses. Grunts are plentiful and die easily, but they can gain support tokens that make them tougher or deadlier. Elites are harder to put down and more dangerous. But most dangerous of all is the Boss. Complications can introduce special bogeys, like the Sniper or the dreaded Defence Mech.

    You can manipulate the Control Deck in a few ways. The most basic is to move cautiously. A cautious move, if successful, negates the primary action on a Control Deck flip. Another way is to take a Spook: a special kind of hero. A Spook gives you a hand of cards from the deck that you can play at any time to replace the actual flip.

    However, the Control Deck also performs a second important role: it is the mission timer. Once you run out of cards the mission is over. If you’ve not finished, you lose. There are lots of things you can do in the game that give you advantages, but which “run down the clock” – that is, they remove cards from the deck, so you have less time to complete your mission.

    in reply to: Zero Dark – Development Blog #125826
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    John will be pleased to know that an answer to his question will be the first piece of text in the book.  Yes, it comes from Zero Dark Thirty.  When I was in the Army it was called Oh Dark Hundred, but the “Z” was too good to miss (there are more Zs in the future – they’re like typographical hexagons).

    Olaf – yes, a deck of normal playing cards runs the AI system to operate the Red Force.

    R.

    in reply to: Zero Dark – Development Blog #125778
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Just like HW, weapons will be defined by their properties, rather than their names.  So a character has a Fight stat that broadly describes their shootiness, then you can make them Lethal, or Suppressed, or Explosive or whatever combo you want to recreate the particular weapon you have in mind.  Grenades are dealt with separately.

    in reply to: Scared off gaming #118926
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    [quote]Do you want them on TWW?

    Not especially, more sympathy and support for the affected family[/quote]

    /endthread

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Hi, yeah, the forums never really took off, despite the number of people insisting they wanted to use them rather than FB.  I never bothered to migrate them to the new website.  Might dig them out again some time…

    This website, though, is cool as hell.  I will tell people about this thing!

    R.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    lot better than Dettol.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Hi, Mike.  Sorry to have neglected TWW for so long, but I’m back and trying to be a constructive, contributory member (trying to work out if I can afford to be a sponsoring member, too…).

    Yes, these miniatures were originally released by Macrocosm with a Kickstarter in 2016, but Chris got distracted by other things (see Boneyards for more details) and so I nipped into his shed while he was out and made off with the moulds*.

    I now have almost the whole available range upon my website:

    Team of one-eyes:

    One-eyes Team

    Team of two-eyes:

    Two-eyes Team

    Limited Release Halloween Balls:

    Halloween Balls

    I’m going to try to get some gameplay videos up on YouTube ASAP.

    *No, not really.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant
    If anyone is interested in miniatures options for Zero Dark, check out my Pinterest collection accordingly:
    in reply to: Sci Fi Fighters – Why? #64225
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    I tend to feel that space fighters are conditional upon the nature of your hypothetical technology.  For example, assuming that FTL travel is possible, some people assume that fighters won’t have it and therefore need carriers.  But as the nature of FTL travel is utterly hypothetical, there’s no reason to assume that fighters (like X-Wings) wouldn’t be as capable of FTL travel as their larger siblings.  Moreover, there tends to be an assumption that FTL travel will be analogous to STL travel, requiring fuel and involving straight-line conventional motion.  But current thinking on FTL is closer to the Alcubierre concept in which travel involves a shift in the ship’s relationship with space/time, or with the Frank Herbert idea of instantaneous movement from Point A to Point B.  In either case, neither fuel nor manoeuvrability (Delta-V) is a factor in play – just the presence of the right piece of technology.

    If we assume NO FTL then fighters become even more important.  If you have a generation ship, it can’t afford to change velocity or vector.  That was planned and calculated hundreds or even thousands of years ago.  The ship may not even possess the ability to change its direction or velocity.  So smaller ships that can provide close support and scouting capabilities are essential.

    In either case, the resort to a remote operator still has to assume a certain level of proximity that, in space, can’t be assumed.  Unless we’re going for quantum entanglement, any kind of remote link will suffer relativistic effects at the sort of operator distances seen in space that will begin to affect reaction times, whilst a manned ship will never suffer from that problem.  In a related point, once you have remote-operated fighters, you also reach the point at which you have remote-operated squadrons: one human “commander” overseeing multiple fighters with on-board AI.  This has the same problem as before, complicated by a divided attention span, multiplied by the assumption (inevitably erroneous) that the AI can deal with instant problems.

    Finally, there’s one more important argument in favour of space fighters.

    Humans are stupid.

    By which I mean: humans have a natural tendency to do things that obviously aren’t in their best interests.  Scuba diving, horse riding, bungie jumping, BASE jumping, parkour, subway surfing…  We are a species of thrill-seekers (especially between the ages of 15 and 27).  So even in the absence of a formal military space fighter command, it is logical to assume the potential for a mercenary contingent of human space fighter pilots who are doing it for the yuks.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    A new battle report is up, with more photos and a lot of mechanical explanation as we go:

    The Heist! – A Zero Dark Battle Report

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant
    I was really hoping to have the final alpha test version finished and ready to share this weekend gone.  Unfortunately a major family crisis has slowed progress down, somewhat.  However, I’ve put up a stop-gap update because a number of important changes and additions have been developed and as I’ve got a contingent of new alpha-testers joining, I thought they deserved the latest gen.
    Important changes
    Well, first of all I’ve split “characters” into “heroes” and “allies”.  I nearly went with “extras”, but that was too close to 7TV (which is great, btw!) for comfort and not completely accurate, either.  Heroes are your principle actors.  They are the ones you customize and build.  Allies, meanwhile, have fixed stats and abilities.  At the moment, there’s a fairly narrow range of options for allies, but I see it being built on to add theme to campaigns and special missions.  We have remotes and emjays (embedded journalists) with rules, plus dogs.  I’m in two minds about retaining dogs.  They don’t really fit with my bespoke setting, but they feature a lot in my sources of inspiration.  Suggestions for more allies are welcomed.
    I’m really pleased with the emjays.  They are allies and you have to activate them like any character, but they can’t complete objectives.  Why on Earth would you include them at all?  Well, they work as a buff unit.  If the active character makes a test within an emjay’s LOS, the character gets a re-roll – this is supposed to represent the character trying harder because he or she is being filmed, plus the tendency of the emjay to film whatever’s most interesting/important at any given moment.  There will be more rules that involve emjays in campaign rules and missions involving civpop.
    I’ve also fine-tuned the Control Deck (formerly known as the AI deck, but I binned that to avoid confusion with AI characters!).  No iteration of the Control Deck hasn’t worked, but they haven’t all worked how I wanted them to.  The latest version has the Red Force moving around somewhat, but not too much, whilst equipping them with support tokens to make them more threatening, but not with too many!
    Get the latest rules here:
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant
    A new battle report for Zero Dark, with photos and some mechanical explanation along the way:
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant
    The latest update to the alpha-test version – 0.2.4 – is up for download via the PO Beta-Testing Forum (yes, you have to register #sorrynotsorry).  Latest updates include:
    1. Negative tests are gone.  Feedback from playtesting was a mix of dislike and confusion and it had some pretty swingy outcomes.  They been replaced by counter-tests which will be familiar to anyone who’s played Horizon Wars as they are directly inspired by the Defence roll in that game.  Counter-tests differ from the Defence roll in that they also get critical success outcomes.  This should serve to barricade against the swingy results of negative tests.
    2. Upgrades have introduced the Spook, amended the Leader slightly and clarified that synthetics are immune to stress.
    3. Speaking of stress, that got a bit of an overhaul.  Grit is gone (should have gone last update!) and now replaced with stress.  Stress can make a character under- or over-perform.  Suffering stressful experiences while you’re clear-headed and unwounded is likely to mean over-performing.  Suffering it whilst already stressed and/or wounded will have the opposite effect.  Really pleased with the stress testing of the, er, stess test.
    There’s still some work to do on the alpha-test edition, but it’s looking like a really solid, interesting game for solo, co-op and PvP play.
    An unexpected outcome from the solo play is… it’s really quiet playing a miniatures game on your own.  I was slightly freaked out by the experience, only ever having played solo card games before.  I recommend playing solo with a suitably cyberpunk soundtrack and possible talking out loud a lot.
    Now I have to get back to doing some Ragnarok hobbying and get that game finished, illustrated and published.
    R.
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant
    The alpha test rules are updated here:
    Yes, you’ll need to sign up to my forum to download them.  But, if you’re on the fence about that idea, let me tell you a little about what’s in the updates.
    First, in the core rules update there are the new rules for Electronic Warfare!  Hack your enemy’s equipment and dominate their synthetics.  This is especially useful when a Defence Mech turns up behind you!  Buff your allies with better fire data or save them from enemy hacks.
    Second, the Red Force rules have been updated.  Now the Red Force, too, can have its own synthetics.  Invisible to infrared visors, but vulnerable to being dominated: turn the enemy’s synthetics against them and draw them off while you dash for the objective!
    Finally, some minor tweaking on the Upgrades, too.  Indiscriminate weapons are super-effective.  But now you only get one use per upgrade, so choose your moment… wisely.
    Want to know more?  Sign up for the Precinct Omega beta testing forum (it’s free) and download your own copies.
    R.
    in reply to: Victorian nutjobs #59613
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Perhaps we could re-think this thread as “Famous and Infamous 19th Century Eccentrics”?

    No doubt future generations will look back upon our own treatment of mental health disorders with horror and amazement, but historically-speaking many great achievements and horrific acts have emerged primarily from the damaged or distorted psyches of powerful men (and even a few women, although in the 19th century, it was, mostly, men).

    Gordon is one example, but we could equally look at Brunel or Richard Burton or Cecil Rhodes or Rudyard Kipling or James Stephenson.  Hm.  The military and engineering seem to dominate.  Are there other fields of Victorian enterprise that deserve some attention?  Ooh, Stanley and Livingstone!

    R.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    There are a fair few I re-pinned from the Wargames Website, to be fair.  But yet, Pinterest is a bit like TVTropes in that respect.  Just one click is never enough!  😀

    in reply to: Tomorrow's War run through? #59531
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    I know this is an old thread, but although Craig is dead right that the rulebook is extremely hard to find your way around, I have to say that TW is worth persevering with, even though it’s probably the sort of game that you’re going to have to learn by being taught, and then use the rulebook as a reference.  I think AAG were somewhat let down by being Osprey’s first “proper” rules-set and both sides were still finding their way with design.  Given how much all parties have learned as a result, a second edition would be a wonderful thing to see, but I fear bridges have been burnt and Osprey is in pursuit of the cult of the new for their sales.

    With all that in mind, I’ve been slowly building up to doing a video tutorial on how to play Tomorrow’s War.  If I can achieve a peace treaty with my recalcitrant video camera, it might even happen sooner rather than later…

    in reply to: Dice Mathematics #59514
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    The wonderful thing about dice mechanics isn’t just the tactile nature of the dice, but the near-infinite variability one can apply to how the dice are used.  Even quite simple variations – the type of dice to the number of dice, to variable modifiers, dice beating and dice matching – can be mixed and matched in straightforward and interesting ways to convey a huge range of battlefield effects, as well as injecting a necessary suspense, fog of war and narrative impact to results.

    I love dice!

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    I was, of course, aware that there would be a cadre of frothing loonies who would want to play in 6mm.  It’s totally possible, of course, but it will be hard to assess whether terrain is jump-able and under what conditions when you get down below 15mm (it’s hard enough at 15mm), and I don’t know what unit of measurement you’d like to use for movement and shooting etc at that scale.

    Personally, when it comes to skirmish gaming, I’ve always preferred 54mm, but the number of miniatures available at that scale is quite limited.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    I hear you, Ian.  My vision is that you can play it in 15mm on a 2’x2′ mat, with simple terrain, so everything you need to play, plus the latest DLC campaign “adventure” can be packed into a small carry case.  Easy to throw down on a kitchen table, at the club, in the FLGS or even in a hotel room on the move.

    I might be running a playtest with my RPG group this evening: first outing for the co-op mode!

    R.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Sort of…  It shares the same DNA, as you’ll gather from the videos.  Positive tests are lifted straight from Horizon Wars and the three forms of basic movement are very much the same.  It also has the MFAD stats, although they are slightly different in meaning and use and armour is a separate stat (AV).

    As to whether they’re compatible, well… they’re not designed to be.  But if you play HW at 15mm you could use the same minis in each, I guess.

    R.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    For everyone else’s benefit:

    The semi-finalists are here.  The final winner is here.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    *bump*

    I’ve got comfort packages for all the competition semi-finalists but can’t find your contact details anywhere.  If you could email me at precinctomega [at] gmail[dot]com with your postal address, I’ll send something nice your way.

    Regards,

    Robey

    in reply to: Rules Support #57727
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    As a gamer, I don’t expect much, but I do expect a company to respond to criticism and to answer queries promptly.

    As a designer, I get queries from a lot of directions.  Facebook is the most regular, but this forum, email and face-to-face at events are all good sources for queries.  I think it fulfils two important functions: first, it establishes a dialogue between the player and the designer that makes the experience of the game more collaborative and social; second, it provides vital feedback on the parts of the game that not only need work but in which players are most interested.  Because the bits they ask about most often are the bits they use most frequently, so it gives a designer an essential insight into what the community is doing with the game – which is frequently not what the designer intended!

    in reply to: Crom's Anvil – 15mm Fantasy #54904
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Did Fan-Tastic just become a thing…?

     

     

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Answered.  Yes, both elements take damage as normal, of course.  The question is really which of them (if either) moves.  After much pondering and checking back on original drafts etc, I have ruled that the active (charging) element should be forced to move.  The movement is representative of whichever has suffered the worst “shock” in the combat, and I decided that the charging element meeting an equal and opposite force should be the one most shocked by the experience, given the advantage it will normally have enjoyed as a result of its charge bonus.

    in reply to: Cutie Doctor Who #54770
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Looks like Cartman cosplaying.  In a good way!  😀

    in reply to: Every factory is a fortress #54064
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Brilliant.  I especially like the little pile of planks.  I might steal that idea.

    Also: happy birthday, Ali!

    R.

    in reply to: Sexism in Rules? #53766
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    A few people have cited examples of games that they think handle gender well, either by being entirely gender-neutral, or by effecting a natural transition between genders or by adopting an entirely female assumed gender.

    Horizon Wars (natch), Timeline 300, Hordes of the Things and Dungeons & Dragons have been named.  I believe Malifaux 2E and Kings of War also manage it.  I’m going to have a look through my pile of rulebooks to see how I think others do on this scale.  Could others do the same and report back on the successes?  It’d be interesting to curate a list by way of example to the community at large that gender-neutral wargames don’t have to be difficult or awkward to write or to read.

    in reply to: Sexism in Rules? #53688
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    My day job in Human Resources involves writing a lot of policy documents.  In the last five years I’ve worked for three different organizations, re-writing their HR policies from scratch.  In the workplace, sex discrimination is a big deal.  Seriously, it can cost companies unlimited damages if they are found to be directly or indirectly discriminating against not just women, but any of nine different protected characteristics.

    As you might imagine, this makes me hyper-sensitive to poorly-worded official documents.  Now, I have some very strong feelings about this issue, but I respect (and share) zippyfusenet’s desire for this not to be another TMP-style hub of misdirected ire, so I’ll restrict myself to saying this.  Game designers who do not phrase their rules in gender-neutral terms are just being lazy (sorry, Craig).  From having carefully composed the whole Horizon Wars rulebook in gender-neutral language, not to mention the estimated 300,000 words of HR policy I’ve written over my career, I can assure you that there is no gender-specific phrase in any miniatures wargame that I could not re-phrase in gender-neutral terms with two seconds of thought (and without mangling my grammar, either).

    I’m not about to pretend that it’s the most important thing in the world.  It really, really isn’t.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still worth writers of all stripes taking the handful of extra seconds needed.  Doing so makes no difference at all to those white, cis males who already know it’s their hobby.  Not doing so is sending the message to everyone else that it isn’t theirs.

     

    EDIT – Incidentally, I took my original guidance on the correct composition of gender-neutral policy from JSP101, the Ministry of Defence Guide to Service Writing.  So it’s not namby-pamby modern liberal bull****.  Serious people with guns have thought this was important for the last twenty years at least.

     

    EDIT 2 – I went and found the original advice:

    “k. Avoid sexist language. Do not use traditional single-sex terms. Try to use words such as ‘person’, ‘people’, ‘staff’, ‘officer’, or ‘colleague’; or use plurals such as ‘managers’, ‘commanders’ or ‘colleagues’. For example ‘Officers (instead of ‘An officer’) must communicate effectively and they (instead of ‘he’) must ensure no misunderstanding is possible.’”

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Robey Jenkins Robey Jenkins.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Robey Jenkins Robey Jenkins.
    in reply to: Tank Commander Question #53658
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    To be fair to the armoured camel concept, they only blow up when actually shot by flying door stops.

    Going back to John’s answer, I completely agree that IFVs and reconnaissance vehicles would need to unbutton (although possibly not from a turreted position). But the OP was specifically about tanks. Unsupported tanks might well need to unbutton, but otherwise, why risk it??

    in reply to: Tank Commander Question #53630
    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Although I can foresee a time when “eyes on” will be technologically superfluous (because the commander will be permanently immersed in a simulated environment that perfectly replicates all the available sensory data), I would say that for as long as tanks are tanks as we see and understand them, there will be a need for commanders to occasionally unbutton.

    That said, I think we are on the verge of, if not already at, the point in technological advancement at which the need for a commander to be unbuttoned when he or she knows that a fight is underway has been done away with.  When you already know that the enemy is present, the data provided by close-support drones, satellites and the good, old Mark 1 eyeball of your supporting reconnaissance units will be functionally superior to anything you’re going to glean from putting your own neck on the line.

    Although I’m not totally au fait with the platform, I think the T-14 Armata doesn’t even have a commander’s cupola.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Updated.  Many thanks for all the questions.

    Regards,

    Robey

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Best place to find the HW collective is on Facebook.  I see such rules as being very much part of the damage process.  However, I did trial (and abandon, I hasten to add) some morale rules that applied only to infantry type elements.  These allowed these elements to acquire negative M through damage.  They could move a (positive, obviously) distance equal to their -M as long as it was towards a building and didn’t take them closer to an enemy element.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    My thinking is that STOVL aircraft pilots aren’t dumb enough to land in a hot zone.  However, I suppose then I have to justify why regular aircraft have rules for TO&L,  to which the answer is: because people expected them.  It should be quite easy to make up your own STOVL rules by amalgamating the rules for regular and rotary aircraft (Mb of +2, cannot hover for more than one action and able to perform a bank as a take-off action, say, just off the top of my head).

    I’m working on a set of advanced rules, so this could be something to incorporate.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    No, they can’t, and I’ve updated the OP accordingly.  It’s not a balancing mechanic per se so much as a mechanical to make players think tactically about how they choose and use their aircraft upgrades.

    Rotary aircraft can operate as gunships and spotters, which is what rotary aircraft do IRL, whilst VTOL aircraft can swoop in at low altitude, drop a bunch of SF and then rocket out of there at high speed to provide air support, but they can’t so easily hang around in VTOL mode, because they have to do it at altitude 1, making them much more vulnerable to enemy fire.

    R.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Thank you for asking, Sid.  I replied on YouTube as well.  Katie is correct: there are no absolute weapon ranges (I detest such things!).  You roll your Facebook dice, and try to beat the range, plus Armour, plus cover, to the target.  For each dice group that succeeds, you get one hit.  If you just follow the rules in the book, you should work it out, so I’ll not update the questions.

    Regards,

    Robey

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    Q. In the wording for the stealth suite upgrade for mechs, it refers to “opposing mechs”.  Should this be “opposing elements”?

    A. Yes, it should.

    Robey Jenkins
    Robey Jenkins
    Participant

    The first question is answered.  The second question is answered by the first.  The third question refers to a rules currently in beta-testing, so I won’t provide an answer in the OP, but you’re right: it should be possible to take all-drone/robot armies.  I think in my head I’d already changed those to free upgrades to some extent, so I’ll review it for the final version.

    Main delay to finalizing a lot of these rules is that I want to illustrate them properly with painted miniatures, but I don’t own suitable miniatures…

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