Sunday, September 25, 2011

Real life in the way

It so happened that I got a sudden chance to change the job, which I quickly seized :)
The procedure for this took all my time during last week or so, and that drastically slowed my current 6d6 game, and all other gaming projects...
So stay tuned, and as soon as I settle down on my new position, this blog will be updated more regularly....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

6d6 Core: Solo playability

Some time ago, I have received a reviewer copy of 6D6 core RPG game. I have to say that I was surprised once I moved through the rules for the first time, since 6d6 core feels and plays as mix of RPG and collectable card game!
I do not want to repeat what other people said, so I will not try to explain mechanic of the game here. Please read posts on tankarstavern and gameknightreviews for that. Come back once you read it, this blog will be waiting :).

Back? Good.

It is obvious; 6d6 core is many games in one. If you have Game Master and several friends, you can play it like any other RPG. If there is just the two of you, you can create two characters and start a duel, just like with any CCG, with the one difference that 6d6 encourage you to create your own cards instead of to buying their, premade ones.
But for this blog, the most important question is, of course, can 6d6 be played solo?

The answer is definitely yes.
6d6 Core is not planned to be used that way, so there is no mention of solo play in the book. But being a card driven game, the possibilities for solo play it opens are many, and the rules need just a little tweaking.

The very first idea I had was to make an “opposition deck” from where I would draw events and dangers my hero will have to face. This opposition deck should be populated with some generic and some genre specific cards.
Generic ones I created by simply writing on cards words from Event Meaning: Action and Event Meaning: Subject table of Mythic Game Master Emulator. All this cards have power of 1d6+0. The bad news is that you have to produce 200 cards. The good news is that you have to do it only once, after that you can use the same cards in any game you play, regardless of genre.
Opposition deck should hold at least 100 genre specific cards like Goblin shaman or Chtulhu or Partial fingerprint. To increase tension of the game, some of these cards should have variable power. For example, daemons and chaos cultist your inquisitor meet will be less powerful on the upper levels of the hive city, and will grow stronger as you descend deeper. So the power of such cards should be 1d6 + level, that will produce 1d6+0 on ground level to 1d6+3 for a third level of the underground.

It is also good to move your solo experience with 6d6 a little towards the feel of board games. 6d6 Core solo version can really profit if you use it with some kind of map or tiles, be it ever changing dungeon for fantasy setting or the blueprints of the hunted mansion.

The game mechanic is simple. Each time the hero enters new chamber, draw two cards from the deck and interpret them as you would do with Mythic GM Emulator. That will be opposition your hero will have to face this turn. The very nature of the card drawn will decide if the scene is narrative or action, and in that way limit the range of cards hero can use.

I am currently in the middle of a Cthulhu themed game using 6d6 Core for solo play as described above and so far it is very fun experience. My next post will be a write-up from this game, and there I will explain some mechanic elements I used in detail.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Niegolewski’s failure

It was late September 1809. Commandant Kozuletski of the 1ere Regiment de Chevau-Légers Lanciers de la Garde Impériale (Polonais) invited his chief of scouts captain Niegolewski.

(Earlier adventure of Andrzej Niegolewski can be found here)

I have a mission for you Andrzej, said Kozuletski. There is a small village not far from here. It is just few houses, but it is good place for troops to camp. I want you to take couple of your boys and secure this village. French will send some line voltigeurs as well.
I believe that British also know about this place, so expect trouble. Try to keep the village at all cost. This small victory can tip the scales of the next battle.
Game is played using Flintloque 3rd edition light rules that can be received for free directly from Alternative Armies web page, or from their Yahoo group. British soldiers are led by slightly modified Flintloque solo bolt on rules.

Using the speed of their mounts, Niegolewski and two of his lancers arrived at the village. French light troops were right behind them. While British soldiers slowly approached, Poles and French took defensive positions.
One of the British soldiers tried to enter the village, but was hit by musket fire so he returned to his line, heavily wounded.Another tried the same thing and he managed to engage two voltigeurs into close combat. Line soldiers are often better in these things then light companies, so British soldier managed to get one of the voltigeurs out of fight and another pushed back!Polish lancers approached brave British soldiers and fired their pistols into him from close range. This is first British out of fight!
But one of the lancers got exposed, and put out of fight by aimed shots from British line!
After some distant shots were exchanged, another British soldier went OOF. Second lancer had enough of hiding and he did what he knew best – charged!He runed his lance through the nearest British soldier, killing him on the spot. But he exposed himself to musket fire, so first bullet throws him from his horse, while second puts him OOF.
Niegolewski took the clear sight of the enemy officer and charged. But British officers are famous as good swordsmen, and Niegolewski got wounded. Finally, another British soldier joined the duel of the officers, and together two British men managde to throw Polish captain from his horse.French voltigeurs run to the wounded officer and retreated with him from the field of battle.
British soldiers camped in the village that night…

If you can judge the whole book from the light rules, Flintloque 3rd edition seems like a great rule set. It is made for fantasy napoleonique wars, but I do not have any figures for that setting (yet) so I played with my regular Napoleonic troops, and it worked fine with historical settings.
What I especially liked in this game is balance between movement and shooting distances and modifications, which is the best I have seen so far among the skirmish games.
The game lasted rather long, took me 4 hours to play 9 turns, but it is OK considering that I am new with the rules and that I was constantly flipping pages to find explanation for one situation or another.
Solo engine is good, with only remark that it does not define order for activation of enemy soldiers. This can be easily overridden by giving each enemy a number, and then drawing cards to see the order they activate.
This was a fun game, and I think I will use Flintloque a lot in the future….

Monday, September 5, 2011

Developing a civilization in a pocket

Searching for free and solo board games through Board Game Geek entries, I found a game called Pocket Civ. Game is free and can be downloaded here.

Pocket Civ can be played in two versions. Light version requires only peace of paper, pen and set of event cards. This version you can play on a road, or wherever you are.
The full version is more suitable for home play, it offers more of the boardgame feel, and if you have proper counters at home, you can even make it 3D like I did.
Basically, this is worker allocation game, remotely based upon Sid Meier's Civilization.
Game is played in eras, where first few eras can be easily survived but later things get tougher and tougher.
AI is great, maybe the best thing in this game. Not only it can give you serious challenge, but the complete AI mechanism is located on a set of no more then 16 event cards! Something that every solo enthusiast should definitely look at and admire.

Another nice solution is the way the resources are taken into consideration. Simply, provinces that have mountains in it are considered to have the use of stone, etc.
The main resource in the game are tribes. Almost everything you need to build is payed by sacrificing certain amounts of tribes. In this game people are the greatest fortune. There is also a gold, but it is hard to acquire, and it is reserved as resource only for the greatest civilization achievements.

Anyway, this is a great game, something you should definitely try if you love solo play. Furthermore, it is free, so what are you waiting for? Go download it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maps, glorious maps!

So far, I have played many “Chose your adventure” solo RPGs, and I hope to play many more, from Lone Wolf series available for free download at Project Aon web page, up to relatively recently published Chronicles of Arax.
But so far none of them offered as much fun as a game called Last Stand at Kirrinbahr, made by Mark Wightman.
This game was made in 2006, but I have discovered it just recently.
What made this game so special for me? Well, in order to play it, you have to draw a map of the castle you are walking through. And this map is the absolutely best part of the adventure. I had unbelievable fun while drawing it.It reminded me of the old days of my youth, when I played textual adventures on my ZX Spectrum, and drew maps of the areas my character explored. And of later days, when I first entered the hobby during University years, when characters played by me and my friends often crawled through mazes and tunnels where every turn and fork had to be recorded on paper...
It also made me wander what happened with the necessity of the map drawing as one of the essential part of the PRG gaming? Was it completely eliminated by the use of tiles? I was not forced to draw a map in a RPG game for a long, long time…Last Stand at Karrinbahr is rather linear game, but I wonder why this idea was not used further…
This way I am almost tempted to use map making technique for designing Chose your Adventure games to make a game on my own, similar but more non-linear and combined with the advanced storytelling…
I will not have time to do it any time sooner, so I really wish someone else does it instead of me :)

PS. I have just learned about the game called DestinyQuest. Here is what the official web page says about it:

"Unlike an ordinary storybook, you don’t read DestinyQuest® by simply turning the pages and reading it from start to finish. Instead, you plan your own journey through the book using the maps.

Each map shows you the locations of all the different quests that your hero can take part in. To select a quest you simply turn to the corresponding numbered entry in the book and read on from there – returning to the map when you have finished."

Is this what I was looking for?
Anyway, this book enters my To be purchased list....