Tag: White Line Fever

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.

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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.

Recent status

There’s been a real smattering of activity recently, plus I had a third kid, so you know how busy that makes life. Plus I tend to slow down on game design over summer since I’m spending much less time holed up by my computer typing stuff and more time enjoying the weather.

Unnamed Dungeon Crawler – now named Glowquest
I haven’t had an unnamed game in forever, but I just can’t think of a good title that encapsulates this game. EDIT: Finally did name it Glowquest. You can see more details on the rules page itself. But basically:

A dungeon crawler with a focus on combat, exploration, looting, and improving and advancing your heroes. Heroes will leave the comfort of their town to undertake expeditions to randomized dungeons, which are represented with square grid tiles from Advanced Heroquest. The game is designed for 1-3 players who each play a role from the classic โ€œholy trinityโ€ of Tank (Defense), DPS (Offense), and Healer (Utility). There is no requirement to have an extra player as a dungeon master who runs the game.

So my nostalgic homage to Advanced Heroquest, with many modern mechanics pulled from all the best systems and ideas. This is currently my focus, and initial playtests are promising (and a bit easier than solo testing other RPGs since the party size is only 3, and the game is meant to be DM-less anyway). I have pages of brainstorm notes and ideas, and I’ve slowly been compiling them into a roughly formatted rulebook. I want to start filling out the Activators (basically special moves/attacks) list for classes/races/equipment soon so I can really sink my teeth into playtesting. I also want to try it with my oldest friends near the end of the month (who literally played Advanced Heroquest with me way back in school), so we’ll see how that goes!

Blood Bowl
I’ve read White Dwarf since before I was a teenager. I remember seeing Blood Bowl way, way back then, and thinking “oh yuck a football game, I wouldn’t enjoy that at all”. I unfortunately have a bad habit of prejudging things before I try them.

Well with the re-release of the ~4th edition official 2016 Blood Bowl game I finally sat down and tried it with my friend. I played Humans (him) vs Skaven (me), and thought, “hey, this game is basically just tactical movement with an objective!”. I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised. Then we brought out the turn timer, and the game went up a few notches for me just from that, because then you had pressure and had to think fast. We did 4 minute turns and I loved it. Soon after I bought a copy of the game for myself, including the Steam PC version (on a deep sale of course). I fell in love with Lizardmen. And since them I’ve played probably half a dozen more face-to-face games and double that on PC. I’m thinking of putting together a proxy Lizardmen team of underwater fishmen from Reaper Mini. Anyway that’s been lots of fun.

Vermintide 2
Oh yeah and I’ve played like 300 hours of Vermintide 2 because man oh man, you wanna talk about a satisfying core gameplay loop?

Echo Death
A while back I got an actual playtest against a friend with Echo Death. We normally play a monthly Android Netrunner but he was nice enough to try out my half finished game for a night. The game held up pretty well, and has a few areas that definitely need improvement, but was overall a good time. I compiled some Echo Death Playtest Notes that I need to revisit and apply to the rulebook. But for now that’s on the backburner.

White Line Fever
My next game to work on was White Line Fever. I played it a couple of times against my wife, and although it was okay it didn’t feel like driving a car recklessly. So I changed the main mechanic to be a “push-your-luck” style where you can try to get more actions (movement, turning, and shooting), but potentially can spin out of control (wherein the opponent moves you – normally face first into a wall). I also added the idea of record sheets instead of a paperless system. Tough to balance between customization and how lightweight I want the game to be. Either way this version was much more enjoyable. I’ve updated the rules with this “second edition” on the White Line Fever page. So yeah, a bit more polishing needed there, as well as fully printable record sheets (I just scribbled some notes on paper when I was playtesting). But again, that’s on the backburner too.

First pass of White Line Fever rules

Bit of a departure from my recent Fickle RPG work, but the recent “alien campaign” will likely come to an end before April. So I wanted to change gears a bit, and decided to revisit my White Line Fever car game. I had put together brainstorm notes, then playtested a couple of times, then touched up my notes. You might remember the game is meant to be heavier than my Flickin’ Cars With Guns, but lighter than the classic Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games. Mainly with simplifying the turning template, and having some varying severity to shooting instead of an ablative armor system.

Now I’ve sat down and done a first pass at a formatted, styled, cool looking rulebook. You can get the PDF right here: White Line Fever (first draft PDF)

And here’s an easy glance at the formatting:

I’m quite happy with how the rules look so far, from the subtle background picture to the car showdown. Just needs pictures throughout.

Soon enough I’ll print them out and try to get a few games, just to polish up and finalize the mechanics. Then I might do an “Advanced” section with driver traits, different weapons, light campaign system, etc. I’ve always wanted to have a game where you could simulate a road trip (kind of given it’d be post apocalyptic) using real-world roadmaps.

Fonts

I’m absolutely in love with the title font. Some of the other formatting and effects were achieved with other cool fonts.

First of all “Road Rage”, the title font: http://www.dafont.com/road-rage.font

Then the headers are “Highway Gothic”, which is used throughout the USA on official road signs, so fit very well: http://www.dafont.com/highway-gothic.font

Then I used two wingding fonts for the header car silhouettes (I’m such a silhouette fan in for my rulebooks), as well as the small yield/warning signs before each header: http://www.dafont.com/need-for-speed.font and http://www.dafont.com/traffic-signs-tfb.font

Very handy website, and fun to find that perfect font.