Author: horizoncarlo

Changing Hazard Checks to account for speed

Some more good changes to White Line Fever from my most recent playtest. I still need to sit down and think up some more Deployment types though, since the existing two are a bit limited. Ideally I’ll have half a dozen.

One issue that’s always kind of irked me about the reworked rules though is “Floor It” not factoring in your Speed. How it works is you get 1 free Maneuver each round (and each Maneuver let’s you move, turn/drift, and attack), then you can choose to push your luck and try to get more Maneuvers. Each subsequent Maneuver requires a successful roll on a D6 where the target is the number of Maneuvers you’ve done so far. So to do a 2nd Maneuver is 2+, third is 3+, and so on right up to 6+. But Speed isn’t a factor, so going for 1 extra Maneuver at Speed 2 is as difficult as Speed 6.
For a game with the subtitle “Speed is Everything” this seems wrong. But it adds another step and some super minor math to involve Speed, so I’ve been hesitant. I’m still working on a solution, but the main contender right now is switching from D6 to D12, and changing the target to be Speed + Maneuver num. So Speed 4 trying for a 2nd Maneuver would require 6+ (4+2) on a D12 instead of just a flat 2+ on a D6 with the current way.
My biggest concern, besides the slowdown in play (I found it awkward to add up, but that might have been because I kept the Speed marking dice on record sheet beside the table and the Maneuver counting tokens on the table), is how the pace of play will be affected. Will average Maneuvers go from 4 to 1 or 2? Also will one Speed emerge as the clear choice? Right now Speed is more a choice of what you think you can get away with given the terrain and where you expect to drive through in that round. I also think it becomes slightly less transparent on what your odds are…obviously going faster and doing more Maneuvers is riskier, but HOW risky is not as easy at a glance as a linear D6.
Other possibilities are a D10 (likely to make Speed 5 or 6 completely pointless…plus I hate D10) or 2D6 (even more math though, even if it’s mostly second nature for people). Still trying to brainstorm some other possibilities to factor in Speed.

Continue reading “Changing Hazard Checks to account for speed”

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Glowquest TODO from my playtest and expansion ideas

My playtest went really well last month. I was Utility and my two friends played the other roles. They had played my earlier version of Glowquest and this playtest went a lot better. The game was much smoother with the fat trimmed, ability cards, less passives, no interrupts, simpler monster presentation and management (monster power was great!), etc. I think one or two more substantial passes of polish to the game and it should be close to done. Then I can worry about tacking on expansion pieces. Remember of course that while I want anyone to be able to enjoy the game, realistically I’m making it for me and 2 childhood friends who used to play Advanced Heroquest together. Just sort of a nostalgic nod to that game and an excuse to bust out the old tiles.

TODOs from Playtest

Anyway here’s a rough list of the TODOs I have from both the playtest and previously. It’s straight from my notes so might be a bit disorganized:

– Whoever opens door gets to place Glow
– Different name for “Instant” type card, seem too much like an interrupt. Maybe “Action”?
– Reorder Monster Card to have Grit, Defensive Layers/HP, Speed
— Easier to reference than two similar sized boxes side by side
– Need to specify there is a minimum Grit of 2
— For cards like Tear
– Try Features in the base game instead of Glow, to add some variety to rooms
— Maybe place a token, not knowing what feature it is, THEN generate it and put where the token is
— Helps prevent min/maximizing the feature placement
– Rename Grit to Guard and Shield to Grit, and remove/rename Guard Basic Benefit
– Get rid of +1 Resolve passive
– ALL passives need a downside/trade off, no straight out better ones (like the existing +1 Armor, +1 to-hit, etc.)
– Offense gets Line as a default? Then has Slide in some Benefits
– More Monster Power spending options
— New Basic Benefits?
— Three checkboxes for each Level Up, so you could do +1 base damage 3x
— Bonus with only a single creature to make a “boss type”?
– Give up on re-rolls, they make original roll feel less impactful and are too tedious/rare to bother tracking
– No more passage fights? Rooms only?
— Then slow pace gives +MP to next Encounter?
– Note that Setup Distance is maximum, for hallways and the like

Continue reading “Glowquest TODO from my playtest and expansion ideas”

White Line Fever record sheet and an epiphany

Huzzah, looks pretty rad right? I’m pretty happy with all the little touches, like the images under important fields, how the armor track turned out, the circles to fill in for Brand, and so on. You can get the current version of the record sheets as PDF if you’re interested.

I also did a playtest of the trimming and reworking I’ve been doing for White Line Fever. Went really well and played a lot more smoothly than in the past. Since my last post I’ve added Droppables (like oil, spikes, etc.), removed the once-per-game Crash ability, tweaked how the order of Maneuvers works, added a satisfying exploding car rule, and more.

The main chunk of remaining work is in taking photos for the rulebook and playtesting even more. I’m sure some balance tweaks will happen to weapons over time, just like how Dinosaur Cowboys went, but I think I’m pretty happy with how the game works overall now.

My biggest epiphany was to think of the game like a skirmish game but instead of 28mm miniatures it has cars. Because previously I had this subconscious restriction that car movement must be plodding and a bit tedious to try to achieve some sense of realism. Sort of like the turning key in Car Wars: sure it’s great and realistically shows how hard different angles of turns would be for a car…but at the same time it can feel like math or geography homework trying to weave your car through some hills. Or phased turns in Dark Future or even Gaslands. Whereas with White Line Fever the cars sort of behave like vehicles from a skirmish or wargame, as in they just turn up to 90 degrees and move in straight lines. So the combat flows really well, and pushing your luck trying to get more maneuvers is satisfying. So yeah, that was a good realisation on par with my initial a-ha of all cars getting the same number of maneuvers and faster cars just go further each time.

Trimming and polishing White Line Fever

I’ve been wanting to wrap up White Line Fever for a bit here, since after my rework to a more “push your luck” style I’ve really enjoyed my playtests of it. Plus there’s something satisfying about having your own car combat game. I’m even MORE motivated now since I’ve sunk a bit of time in the recently released computer game Dark Future: Blood Red States, which I honestly thought would never come out but they pulled it together pretty well. So all those guns on cars and explosions got my psyched. I never played the original boardgame, but I’ve read through the rulebook and all expansions. Pretty standard 1980s fare from Games Workshop in the sense of being clunky and awkward but with a lot of heart and a certain “feel” that modern games don’t normally have.

Anyway I took my Glowquest approach to White Line Fever, wherein I trim any fat to make a good, basic core ruleset, and plan for future expansions/add-ons. So I took out the “Barebones Mode”, which was intended to be paperless (no record sheets) and simplify the car building and stuff. I also removed the per-car abilities of Adrenaline and Lucky Hit. Otherwise I simplified Collisions to work the same whether car vs car or car vs obstacle, so no slight, hard to remember difference of -1 Speed compared to -2 Speed.

Besides that I’m going to add a Drift rule, to make those cases where you want to go ahead but slightly dodge terrain/obstacle a lot less awkward. And I also moved to the idea of keeping tokens for how many Maneuvers you’ve done in a round, so you can easily see what your next modifier would be if you want to Floor It.

As for future expansions the biggest one I want to do, and HAVE wanted to do in a game FOREVER, is to have a road trip campaign mode using real world road maps. Kind of like Jalopy…except, um, better. Maybe the old Car Wars idea of road Atlases and whatever the really good cross country campaign was called. Anyway it’d be fun to have a mix of resource management, route choosing, risk analysis, etc.

Speaking of Car Wars I wonder how their fabled Sixth Edition is going to work, or if it’ll ever come out.

First pass at Glowquest monster cards and sheet

My remaining big chunk of work is around the Monsters. Previously I had done simple sheets, but that was a bit complex and tedious to track especially once a lot of monsters were involved. I think I came up with a good compromise with Monster Cards that you then put onto a Monster Sheet for tracking which mini is which monster and their current Reflect/Shield/Armor and HP. That sheet also has some dice tables for how to decide which monster acts. Lots of solo playtesting to do around this (hopefully tonight and tomorrow) before my actual playtest with friends this weekend.

The cards themselves are through Nandeck again, and although they may look busy they aren’t too bad once you cut them out and try to use them.

Here’s a preview of how the cards look and a PDF of the cards themselves:

Here’s a look at the monster sheet and a PDF of the full monster sheet:

With all of this I reworked how monsters are managed. Now instead of EVERY player taking a Monster Turn after their own turn, just one player PER ENCOUNTER does so, and they are given the title of Overlord. This has a ton of benefits such as the other two players not getting brain drained trying to swap the monsters around, more consistent monster behaviour (because it’s all from one player), a bit of variety depending on how each player chooses to build and setup their monsters, etc. I know this might kind of sound like a DM, but it really isn’t because the role rotates every encounter, and the player is still primarily managing their hero. Anyway again something to try out in the upcoming playtest (can you tell I’m excited about it?)

Glowquest rework updated documents

Glowquest rework updated documents

At this point I’ll likely just call it Glowquest as the rework has for sure replaced the original brainstorm/prototype. That’s what early playtests and attempts are for! Anyway here are a bunch of documents that I’m going to use for my next group playtest at the end of the month:

Glowquest Rules (rework Apr 2019)
Hero Sheet (rework Apr 2019)
Reference Sheet (rework Apr 2019)

Offense Deck
Defense Deck
Utility Deck
Passive Deck

And some screenshots showing the new cards and other documents:

So yeah I’m really liking the changes and streamlining so far. Moving to cards has really helped cut down an overwhelming list of options (like 200+) on what you can buy/build/equip/learn into a simple choice between 3 cards at the moment.

My planned playtest near the end of the month will really put the game through it’s strides, so that should be cool.

Glowquest cards thanks to Nandeck

Glowquest cards thanks to Nandeck

I’m quite experienced with LibreOffice and other similar spreadsheet programs (like it’s predecessor Open Office…never really got into Excel since I do most of my game design on Linux). And I knew as soon as I added the concept of cards to Glowquest that I did not in a million years want to manually design, copy-and-paste, and update and maintain them as a spreadsheet. So I went looking for card programs. One of the most recommended, albeit complex, is Nandeck. Yes the website and UI are from the 1990s, but it’s a solo Italian dude developing the whole thing and with that limitation in mind he’s really achieved some good stuff.

Nandeck uses a declarative language, kind of like HTML or programming, to lay out your cards and dump some data into them. You can pull from Comma Separated Value (CSV) files which is terrific as I can maintain a “deck” of cards there, and have it populate any layout changes I make on the fly. The learning curve was steep because the tool is so powerful and has so many commands/options (see the PDF manual for more), but the time invested was worth it. Also I have wanted an excuse for a while to try to figure out a way to make good cards.

Anyway I’ll post the results tomorrow, and I’d love to post the various CSV files for each deck but WordPress is stingy about that kind of thing. Unfortunately the same thing goes for the .NDE files used with Nandeck. When everything is all solidified I’ll eventually post the finished scripts directly in a blog entry.

Originally my plan was to go to my local Digital Post print shop and get the PDFs dumped in color onto some thin cardstock, but when I get the game to a REALLY stable point I might just use The Game Crafter and order a few decks of cards that way. For now though I’m still printing on plain, thin paper and cutting them up by hand (thanks Fiskars!)