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:


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.

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw released and it’s so fun

Well Rebel Galaxy Outlaw released exactly 1 week ago, and what a great week it’s been. A bit of history, as I’ve mentioned before Privateer was the first game I bought on CD and absolutely played the heck out of. I still play it monthly almost 30 years later. I found the core gameplay loop so satisfying and the moment-to-moment combat really great and it never seemed to get repetitive. I’ve been waiting for a spiritual successor a long while now. Freelancer came though, and although it was a good enjoyable game in it’s own right, it didn’t quite hit the Privateer vibe perfectly.

And now we’re here with Rebel Galaxy Outlaw (RGO). Ever since the first teaser trailer I’ve been hoping the game would be good. I watched a few videos from the devs and read a bit about it, but in general I was trying to not get my hopes up too much and not spoil too much content.

Now that it’s been released it’s an absolute hoot. Definitely the successor to Privateer I’ve been waiting for. Combat is spot on, as is exploration, progression, stations, music, everything.

Here’s some screenshots from my playtime so far.

Motivations for a new game – Star Duel

Another game came out the same time, and although it wasn’t nearly as anticipated for me, Dicey Dungeons has a great take on dice allocation/placement/usage/manipulation/whatever you want to call it. And combined with RGO I’m considering whether it’s finally time for me to take the plunge and design a space game. I’ve long considered a space game to be one of the pillars of what a designer should tackle. Now that White Line Fever (car combat game) is nearly wrapped up (I’m SO SLOW to take pictures for the rulebook…) I’ll be looking for my next project. I could work on the campaign system for WLF, and I might still. But in the mean time I’ve vaguely been brainstorming a space dogfighting game, tentatively named Star Duel.

So far I’m thinking no miniatures and no hex/square map or freeform movement. Instead you build a ship from dice powers, such as Laser which does X damage (where X is the dice you allocate to it), to more complex stuff like Emergency Power where you can re-roll a dice or split it up or flip the face or whatever (again very Dicey Dungeons inspired). There would be power management where you can choose how to allocate your 4-7 dice, like do you put all of them into offense on YOUR turn, or save some for defense when the enemy attacks you? Since you could have defensive dice things as well. Ship construction would just be “drafting” style where you get 3 cards/dice powers and choose 1 until you have X amount to fill in the ship. Anyway obviously still extremely rough, but still something I’ve been thinking about.

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:

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.