Okay, I realize I don't use this journal function very much. Fact of the matter is, I'm a workaday joe to whom not very much happens. More than that, when things do happen I'm not at too much liberty to talk about them: commissions for projects, as you've seen over the past year and a half, or anything to do with work. Nevertheless, after a decent amount of self-medication after 08 November, there are some things I'm willing and able to talk about... so let's have a
If you've been poking around in my Scraps at all, you'll see quite a few sketches and mockups for insignia and logos and the like. This is because I'm developing a game all my own. I've been keeping it vaguely secret-ish so no one steals my ideas, but that's of a sufficiently low probability that it probably doesn't matter. In any case, it's a crunchy-ish starship combat game that takes a few pointers from FASA's Star Trek Starship Combat Simulator of the 1980s but streamlines and simplifies the mechanics to better suit the modern era.
I got inspired to do this after seeing Star Trek: Attack Wing demo'd at the St. Louis Science Center last year. If you've played Star Wars: Attack Wing, it's basically the same game, using Fantasy Flight's usual gimmicks: the Flight Path system, specialized dice, and extremely abstracted rules so that ship statblocks fit on a playing card. That's great and all, but it's clearly optimized for large squadrons and whatnot; none of the mechanics feel like operating a complex starship. Similar could be said for Firestorm Armada, which is basically a miniatures skirmish game but with spaceships. On the other end of the scale, Amarillo Design Bureau has simplified the venerable Advanced Dungeons and Dragons IN SPAACE er Star Fleet Battles into Federation Commander and Ad Astra Games has simplified the simplification of Harpoon IN SPAACE er Attack Vector: Tactical into Squadron Strike. Those games are so crunchy that, to me, they sum up to "spent six hours on a three-turn one-versus-one destroyer engagement and nothing happened."
Some people enjoy that sort of thing, though, so more power to them.
My game, currently code-named Project EXEMPLAR (as it will continue to be until all my legal ducks are in a row) will have simplified power allocation and impulse movement, making it optimal for single-ship duels that don't take very long or small flotillas. One of the major design rules behind it is that all of the vital rules and turn structure fit on a single side of Letter-sized paper in reasonably-sized font. I've play-tested about three iterations of the core rules with groups with broad ranges of experience ("old hand" to "none whatsoever") and I'm confident in the core rules. mechanics, and the statistics-driven balancing equations I've come up with. I'm working on the first release rulebook now; I'll estimate a release date when I'm closer to finishing it.
Another aspect of Project EXEMPLAR which I think will set it apart is that it's not actually miniatures-driven. I have no interest in running or maintaining a physical supply chain, even if I have a 3D printer. It's not exactly counter-based, given its freespace movement model and that different playing pieces have different shapes and sizes, but I want to maintain an almost Battletech "silhouette" attitude towards the whole thing. As long as the playing piece (the base specifically, if miniatures are concerned) meets the rule requirements, I couldn't possibly care less what people use to play it.
Miniature makers tend to make fantastic minis and then write horrible rules to go with them; I figure there's enough mini makers out there, so I'll make fun rules and leave miniatures to the people who actually want to make them.
I'll leave further details to as they get solidified, but if you've got any questions or have any interest, drop me a line below.
Listening to: Vampire Step-Dad
Reading: Victor Boys
Playing: System Shock 1 (again)
Eating: Stew & Chinese takeout
Drinking: Applejack & cola