Category: Finalized

Party of Light – new release with action idea list and art!

Well I booked an upcoming session of Party of Light with my nieces who I made the game for, and as tends to happen an imminent game spurs me into creative, productive mode. So I updated Party of Light slightly to v2.5. So still a similar level of complexity and the same basic idea to the rules. I tweaked a few wordings and expanded an example section in the core rules. The biggest addition has been the “Action Ideas” document, that gives a list of actions/effects that could be done on your turn. These can be combined and expanded on as desired by the players. I also put together a very simple Monster Sheet that helps me (the Villain!) organize my baddies. Oh, and of course, an amazing title page and new interior art! Finally found a larger size image of what I used before for the title page, which you can see here: new title page.

So here ya go, ya salty sea dog: Party of Light v2.5 PDF

Now as you know from my much loved Fickle RPG I’m not much for giving the players lists because the vast majority of their time they restrict themselves to the list only. But that’s a game for adults, and in Party of Light I think a bit more guidance would help the kids. It’s not like they are familiar with grid based combat effects from their vast lifetime of computer games and other RPGs or something.

So the action idea list helps that. As you might remember, Party of Light uses a scaling dice system where you are always looking to roll 5+, with Easy using D12, Normal D8, Hard D6. So 66% chance, 50% chance, 33% chance. Simple and smooth and introduces kids to other weirdly shaped dice. For deciding which dice to use you start with Normal which gives you 1 outcome/effect, such as damaging the target. If your action is with your Best statistic (so swinging a sword with Might, or casting a spell with Magic, or taunting a monster with Mind) then it becomes 1 “step” easier. For each additional outcome/effect you move 1 step harder. So you could damage the target, heal yourself, and push another enemy for +2 steps (so Easy -> Hard).

But previously thinking up those actual outcomes/effects was tough for the kids. This list will help that. The options can be combined as desired, so an Ice Storm could be Ranged (apply at any distance), Radius (hit target and hurt those around), Basic (as damage). Or a healing shield could be Basic (but +Stamina instead of damage) and Block (saving throw vs next damage).

Oh and the monster sheet is basically what you’d expect. One step above scrap paper, haha.

Anyway the main page has been updated with the rules or you can grab the PDF above.

Planning maps for Dragon Strike boards

I mentioned I regularly use my old Dragon Strike map boards when playing Party of Light. Mainly because I never really bought a ton of new well printed cardboard tiles (as tempting as the numerous D&D Dungeon Tiles packs and maps were). But anyway I found some old black and white planning maps for each of the 4 Dragon Strike maps, so that’s pretty neat. As a reminder here’s what the Dragon Strike field map looks like:

dragon-strike_map

And here are the planning maps. You could print them and draw in monster and trap locations like it’s 1993. On a barely related note, my local hobby shop has a pretty good quality copy of Advanced Heroquest in stock for $160. Although I already own one, and the minis aren’t nearly as good quality as modern offerings, I’m still somewhat tempted just to get more sweet, sweet dungeon tiles and rooms.

I wish they were larger size to even print as basic, playable maps, but alas this was the best I could find.

Revisiting Collisions – White Line Fever

Collisions currently do too much damage. The involved cars roll D8 and take damage equal to the result, with a MINIMUM of their Speed. Cars have 20 Armor (hitpoints). So a Speed 6 car is going to take 6-8 damage, which is brutal. Even a Speed 1 car takes 1-8. Know how frustrating and…uninvolved? it is to take 8 damage three times and explode? This is even worse once the Hammer Brand is involved (+2 Damage to others, -2 Damage to self) as you potentially are doing 10 max damage. In other words 1 more damage than the HIGHEST weapon damage in the game, which is only single use. So it’s time to revisit them. I want people to die from shooting, not from crashing.

Rename?: Speaking of crashing, I was considering today of renaming the more clinical Collision term to Crash. Can’t tell what would fit the tone and theme of the game better.

Anyway to fix up Collisions I had a few ideas:

Flat Damage: Take damage equal to your Speed. Predictable and a bit boring. Would work better for vs obstacles than vs cars (which would be a much messier crash).

Roll Off: I like the head to head nature of a roll off during a crash. I just can’t figure out how it’d work to feel different than just rolling damage. For example if the White Challenger rolls a 7 and the Red Mustang rolls a 4 what happens? Does the “winner” take less damage? Maybe the damage is the Speed still, so in this case the Challenger would take the lesser Speed as damage? How does that work with similar speeds? How does it work vs obstacles? What about the different between the dice? Or a slower second roll? See how it gets weird?

Max instead of Min: What about if instead of Speed being the MINIMUM damage you take, it’s the MAXIMUM? This changes a Speed 6 car from 6-8 to 1-6. It also feels better “rolling against yourself” since you have a chance to roll low and take less damage. The Hammer Brand in this case could just remove the max cap for the enemy, so they just straight out take D8 damage.

Currently the winner is the last option. I’m going to give it a few playtests and see how it works. But the math seems much more favorable, the system still works for vs obstacle and vs car without needing changes, the Hammer Brand provides an interesting option, etc.

Open Road: Campaign System

I’ve mentioned that I want to eventually include a campaign system for White Line Fever that uses real world road maps. Primarily because I spent most of my 20s going on 200,000km of road trips. So I’ve been back-burner-brainstorming on how to use the maps to make a series of meaningful, interesting decisions that link together car combat while still having resource management and the feel of a road trip. Lofty goal.

So far my heart is tending towards a dice allocation/placement style. Some light reading in the genre:
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/179275/one-deck-dungeon
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/161880/quiet-year
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/176083/hit-z-road
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/193738/great-western-trail
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/228766/a4-quest
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/183571/deep-space-d-6

More to come on that in the future. And I swear one of these days it won’t take me freaking 3 months to take in-game photos for my rulebooks. Haha man I’m awful at doing that in a timely fashion.

Almost final version of White Line Fever

Almost Released

Almost ready to wrap up the core rules of White Line Fever. So far there IS amazing placeholder art (left), let me tell you my hand drawing skills have never been better. So besides a few more playtests I need to take pictures and make diagrams for the rulebook (like right, from an old Car Wars setup I had).

There are otherwise no more outstanding TODOs. I imagine weapon numbers will get tweaked over time and potentially new ones added or existing ones removed, but that’s pretty natural as the game is played more. In the meantime here is the current rulebook for White Line Fever, complete with record sheets (that, as usual, I’m pretty happy with!) and all the placeholder art you could ever want.

Get the exciting White Line Fever almost-done-rules PDF

As to my previous post about wanting to include Speed into Floor It checks, the math just didn’t work out, so I’m sticking with the simpler, more generic approach of D6 vs Maneuver number. Much more enjoyable to always know your odds, not be less than 50% right away at high speeds, not need another different dice, etc. I’m still open to figuring out a solution to this, but what I came up with so far in a few playtests and attempts just didn’t quite blow my socks off.

Anyway after release I’ll take a bit of a break and then start on a longtime goal of trying to make a campaign system that uses real world roadmaps to track progress. I have a few vague ideas of how I want the campaign to work, but generally there should be interesting and meaningful decisions made between the different route options available, as well as resource management and tough calls in between fights. Completing a solid, lightweight core game should help facilitate this, instead of throwing everything into the first release. The other big expansion idea I want to do is increasing the Action options, so you can do more each Maneuver instead of just shoot or drop weapons. Again still in the very vague stages (I’m trying to not get TOO far ahead of myself) but I think I’ll add a Utility slot on each car that can be chosen and gives another Action, such as repairing self, aiming guns, boost straight ahead, etc.

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”

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.