Two games I’m designing, and a general ponder

This deviates a bit from the usual Dinosaur Cowboy fare, but I had a few topics I wanted to cover.

First of all I’ve been vaguely designing two games. I like to say “vaguely” because I haven’t put a ton of time into either, and both are fairly experimental, and they’re more an exercise for my brain than something I’d put the same amount of time/effort into as Dinosaur Cowboys (I think?)

Hackers – Diceless Skirmish: Download early rules Hackers-v0.1.pdf
Hackers-lolHaving said that, the first is more interesting to me, and is temporarily called “Hackers”. Before you get too excited it’s sadly not based on the awesome 1995 movie with the same name. Think more based on Tron, the book Snowcrash, and bits of the movie Johnny Mnemonic. The main gimmick of the design is it’s totally diceless, so no “output randomness”.
Players are hackers and battle over “The Grid”, a virtual overlay on the real world with device nodes (like a cellphone or computer server) represented by avatars (aka use any miniature you want). What’s cool is the “Nodes” are completely interchangeable and faceless; they don’t have different stats or attacks to begin with. Instead the hacker chooses a series of Commands and Tasks programs (think “spells” in a fantasy setting) that can be executed on Nodes. So in other words if you have the program “Break Firewall” it can be used from any Node, instead of being a specific ability tied to a specific Node. Actually the game started themed as duelling spellcasters so Nodes were Vessels, programs were spells, etc. but after playtesting the theme didn’t fit as well as it could, so I went with the Hacker/computery thing instead.
BECKLots of other neat ideas, like Tasks (buffs/de-buffs) that affect a Node until they are Shutdown (dispelled). That’s a nice departure from having to track durations of effects (like +1 Attack). The game is played on a square grid, with random terrain. Deployment is cool because you can deploy anywhere (as long as it’s not within 3 squares of an enemy Node), so the action starts right away (instead of the traditional “table edge” deploy).
So all in all some neat ideas, and something I definitely want to pursue.

Barons – Mech Attack Rework: Download early rules Barons-v0.1.pdf
Damage-Template-System The next game is basically an afternoon of effort to rework Armor Grid: Mech Attack that I (again temporarily) call “Barons”. This is a little light game that captures the spirit of Battletech but plays a lot faster. What’s funny is their main selling point (the “Armor Grid” idea) is actually pulled from FASA (the original owners of Battletech), since it was used in their Renegade spaceship series and eventually Crimson Skies. The idea is almost as good as Silent Death and their Damage Track, and perhaps the original implementation IS better (I’ve only played Mech Attack, I’ve just read the other two games).
But to be blunt, Mech Attack is not that well written, and besides the Armor Grid system it’s rather bland and has some glaring flaws. First of all I challenge any owners of the PDF to find the section that actually outlines HOW to destroy a Mech, haha. Similarly they reward NOT moving (it’s easier to hit if you “Stand Fast”), which combined with a base movement of 3″ (in a 3’x3′ area) for Heavy Mechs means games end up as a roll off with very little movement. This was especially noticable in the last game I played, where me and my opponent ended up more or less sitting in the corner and rolling off with our two surviving Heavy Mechs (literally just sitting on opposite sides of a hill and shooting, since whoever moved would have lost cover and the Stand Fast bonus).
So yeah, me and my friends mentioned a couple of these flaws and I thought I’d take a crack at a slight rework. What I ended up with so far is Barons, which is medieval based (not sure if I want to go the full fantasy route). The system moves from D10 to D6, and a simple roll-off for combat resolution instead of D10 + many mods > target profile. So it still keeps the core Damage Template system but tries to be a better game outside of that. For example “activation” is simply issue a Command to one character, then alternate to the opponent. But what’s neat is you can Command the same character multiple turns in a row, instead of having to mark activated like Dinosaur Cowboys. And also that Commands are simple, as in Move is a Command, as is Attack. So it does away with the usual “move and attack each turn, oh and you can run as a double move and stuff”. Weapons use the Damage Template system, so a Dagger pierces 1 square wide and 2 squares down, while a Mace does a big 2×2 chunk, and a slashing weapon like a Long Sword does a 3 wide and shallow 1 square down template.
We’ll see where this game ends up…in the end if the gimmick of a game (in this case the Damage Templates) could be removed and the remaining game is boring maybe means the game isn’t that great.

On general tabletop combat resolution
Warhammer-40kChessHaving said all the above this brings us to the main beef of this post: combat resolution. While commuting home I thought that once combat resolution starts in every tabletop game (I can think of at least) the player doesn’t matter at all. What I mean is whether it’s Warhammer 40,000 or my much beloved Dinosaur Cowboys, once you start rolling dice ANYONE could be rolling those dice to the same effect. So that means combat resolution generally removes the player from the equation, and gives them no meaningful decisions or influence.
So what does that leave tabletop games as? Chess with dice to resolve attacks? What I mean is if combat resolution WASN’T dice based, and was simply automatic, then the only differentiation between players is how they move/maneuever troops, and what troops they decide in the first place (ie: army building). And then does the game become solvable, like Chess?
This becomes a problem if the combat resolution system is particularly onerous. Again Warhammer 40,000 comes to mind here. The system basically removes the player for 3 rolls in a row (roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save). But if you revert to a “simple” combat resolution system (such as a roll-off), then why even have dice involved at all?
What this boils down to is what if there was a tabletop game where combat resolution was as involved, interesting, and full of meaningful and unique decisions as the movement phase? Before we talk more, realize that I don’t have an example of a system where this IS the case…if I did there wouldn’t be as much to discuss. Part of the problem is if the options provided to the player can easily be broken down into odds, the player will inevitably gravitate to the best odds. So that goes back to the “meaningful decision” aspect.
Part of this also comes down to melee vs ranged, because melee normally ends up as some kind of roll off. Sure both players might roll differently, such as a 1 Attack 4 Damage melee weapon in Dinosaur Cowboys vs 6 Attack 2 Damage, but in the end they’re both taking turns rolling dice (no control) against each other, without moving, positioning, or making any decisions in between. To a certain extent ranged attacks result in the same…in a “shootout” both players are just rolling dice against each other, one might just roll a more favorable set of dice if they’ve moved into cover or are shooting at a better range bracket.
So movement then plays a deceivingly BIG part of a tabletop game. Decievingly because if a random player was asked “What’s important in a game?” I doubt many would say movement. But at the same time it’s often ignored by systems, or left to tiny, obvious moves when you only have 3″ or 4″ to choose from. Similarly army building/drafting is important, but if you have a system where you can win by building a superior army alone, what exactly is the point of playing out the game itself?
Let’s look at alternatives. Computer games do a good, but untranslatable job, by having muscle skill and reflex play a factor. For example in something like Starcraft 2 two players can have the exact same army, and the combat resolution could even be non-random, but based on player skill one person will win. Where player skill is that untranslatable element of position, reflex, “micro”, etc.
Ninety-Percent-PlanningNow if we look at systems where combat resolution DOES have meaningful choices, does movement matter at all? In most cases, no. For example Magic the Gathering could be viewed as one big combat resolution mechanic (of mage vs mage), but movement/positioning doesn’t play a factor at all…thus why it’s a card game not a tabletop game.
So does that mean that tabletop games will always have movement as an important factor? Probably. But is there a way to have combat resolution have as MUCH meaning and player input? And if so, would that system work? Or would it become too complex and lengthy if “both phases” had a lot of involvement instead of a brainless section of dice rolling? What about if combat resolution was stressed over movement, then do you even need movement?

Going back to the two games above, the Hackers game unexpectedly gets closest to covering this. This is because the combat mechanism is diceless, so it’s completely plannable (for lack of a better word). It’s also very fast because the outcome is decided immediately and repeatably. Similarly there is no army building because all “troops” (Nodes) are the same. Choosing “Programs” fulfills a similar niche though.
The result in my playtests was actually a surprise. Turns would be 90% planning and 10% execution. Whereas I feel like in Dinosaur Cowboys (or other games with traditional resolution mechanics) you get closer to a 50%/50% split. So in Hackers you plan a whole bunch, and try to “solve” the best approach for that turn, then the actual resolution is basically “bing bang boom” because there are no dice to roll.
So again, what if the resolution was the opposite, where 10% of the turn was planning and 90% was execution? And that execution didn’t just take time (aka Warhammer 40,000) but actually had meaningful player decisions the whole time? I guess I should have defined this earlier, but with “meaningful” I mean there are choices that different players will choose differently (so no automatic “best path”, best odds, or obvious choice that all players would do), and those choices have a noticable effect on the outcome (so not just “roll 4D6, the same 4D6 any other player would roll, and it doesn’t matter how you as a player are”). So for example Mech Attack might give the illusion of player choice during combat (because you choose which weapon to shoot first), but the options are so obvious that it’s meaningless (shoot the narrow, long damage before the wide, shallow damage with the hopes of collapsing armor).

Anyway I’m getting rambling and (perhaps?) incoherent at this point, so I’ll stop. But the fundamental idea highlighted above really got me thinking: what if there was a tabletop game where combat resolution was as involved, interesting, and full of meaningful and unique decisions as the movement phase?

Giant Siberian crater pits

Siberian-Crater
Wow pretty cool to think something like this can happen in the middle of Siberia without people knowing. Also interesting how more have appeared and scientists seem out on the cause. I like this idea though: “sudden release of natural gas that had been stored in the permafrost but was kept under pressure by the weight of the pingo.”

I post this because it’s pretty close to the fun little backstory/history I made for Dinosaur Cowboys. Except of course that I use Yellowstone in Wyoming and the geyser eruption. But the idea that huge changes to the Earth can happen is the same. Heck if I had more winter terrain maybe I would have centered the game in Russia :)

Article: http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/now-two-new-large-holes-appear-in-siberia/

Anyway the above image might make its way into the rulebook eventually (in sepia tones), since it looks exactly how I imagine the post-eruption Old Faithful geyser to look.

Three new painted minis (a record?!) and some exciting new terrain!

Well if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might know I’m a bit exhausted of painting. I did a ton of mini painting as a kid, then kind of burned out on it, and now only do the odd character figure. So I’m excited to say I have THREE new minis to show you, all fully based, painted, and sprayed. That must be a new record for minis shown at once on here, right?!

The Neotechnoist
Before you look at this first miniature, I want to confess something. When I made the Neotechnoist allegiance I had a lot of imagery in my mind, and some of that was from Games Workshop’s Necromunda faction called the Van Saar. They are basically high tech nobles with super cool suits and laser weaponry. I’ve have this mini for a while, since I bought a few Necromunda figures off Ebay a long while back. But I finally sat down and painted him.
I used one of my favorite new paints that is basically a clear sparkle/shimmer that can be added to any other color. In this case I added it to an (already) sparkly blue to get what I call “Crest Blue” (like the toothpaste!). I used this color for his undersuit, and then copper for the raised plates. Pretty standard weapon (black, gold, green) and wiring/cabling of a nice washed green. One thoughtful touch is his backpack has a few squares on it, which I painted to represent a charging level (red to green).
Anyway a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the first mini, the de-facto Neotechnoist:

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(And before you ask, yes the little bum plates are sculpted on…it was the 80s!)

Samurai Jack
Next up is, well, what I can best describe as a samurai with a shotgun (who I’m calling Samurai Jack for now). I got this figure, um, maybe 15 years ago? I had spray painted him gold for whatever reason, and so he sat for the last decade and beyond. He’s a cool and unique mini though, so I thought it was time to finally paint him. I have a painting night with friends to thank for motivation for this one, as I painted the entire mini while hanging out hunched over a table with other painters.
Anyway first of all I went for a nice and classic scheme, which is purple + green with some bright gold to tie him together and make him look pretty noble. There are some pretty cool touches as well, like the central chest plate being a yin yang and the “kill scratches” on his shotgun. And I actually painted the Japanese kanji for “strength” on his sword sheath. Definitely happy with the result! I haven’t done kanji work since I wrote “Hyena” on the back of a Battlemech for Battletech about 7 years ago (I should post a picture of that!)
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Also you might have noticed the strange egg ball shapes on his base. What could they be? Well it’s actually trick from the oddest of places: my mom! Normally moms are great for saying “That looks good dear!” but coming up with a genius hobby idea is even better. In this case the eggs are unground black pepper glued onto the stand (in this case mostly unpainted). Really has a great texture with the lines, and the size is perfect. If no one told you it was pepper you’d probably just think it was some cool “green stuff” sculpting.

Mountie Duster
And finally is another Games Workshop mini, of course not even remotely recent (screw those prices!). Best I can tell this guy is a Rogue Trader (ie: Warhammer 40,000 first edition) era mini, some kind of Imperial settler or colonist. Either way he basically looks like a farmer Han Solo, and certainly has a dated look to his sculpting (such as his bulgy jacket and squat stature). Great pistol though, and I decided to paint him like an RCMP / Mountie, which just semeed to fit for some reason. So that meant a blue stripe on the pants and a red jacket. His shirt, while not a wild color, turned out nicely with the copper buttons.
I also like his base, which is sort of snowy/ashy looking like Canada is in Dinosaur Cowboys.
Unfortunately I didn’t have as much luck with the pictures for him (also he has an annoying piece of fluff stuck to his hat), but I can guarantee you’ll see him again in a battle report soon.
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The New Crew
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The Terrain!
I recently did some overtime at work, and my wife and I decided to spend some of the extra income on fun stuff. So I headed to my local hobby shop and browsed around for an hour. Oh man I love good hobby stores. I ended up with some new paints, but more importantly some new terrain!
Anyway I have been extremely pleased with Pegasus Hobbies in the past, since I bought pre-painted barrels and crates (image here) from them in the past.
Now I bought their pre-painted fence set and stone wall set. The fence set is so thematic and fitting to this game that I might go back and pick up another! Definitely going to be a dinosaur corral in the future. The walls are great as well, especially if I ever do some fantasy gaming again in the future. All I need now is the oil barrel set and I’m golden.
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(Funnily enough this is actually a pretty good picture of the Mountie Duster…)

Next up are two resin pieces from a company called Novus Terrain. The first is a really cool looking propane tank (“Exploding Crates” feature in the game much?!) and the second is a nice sci-fi looking ruined building. Both of these will require some painting, but I figure a bit of spraypaint and highlighting the details should do it.
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I mean just look how cool the camera shots will be when someone is sniping from the building with a Lever-Action Rifle!
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(For once my old trusted camera really came through on this shot, look at that sick autofocus)

Upcoming Battle Report
Obviously three minis and new terrain means a battle report is necessary to try it all out! I had actually hoped to play tonight, but finishing up the bases and protective coating everything took longer than I expected.
But I’m thinking Samurai Jack is some kind of bandit raider near the Canadian border, and the Mountie is dispatched (with his Neotechnoist hireling) to stop the problem. Walls and fences will be involved just because! I won’t use the resin terrain yet since I want to paint it before the tabletop debut. Anyway pretty exciting times!
I still have probably 12-15 minis I’ve dogeared for Dinosaur Cowboys, so I’ll slowly work through those. And no offense to my friends at the painting night, but I don’t know how they can paint rank and file troops the same color scheme for 80+ minis. I’d blow my brains out (or just stop halfway through). Even having to do consistent bases would be a drag, since as you can see I had quite the variety in my recent works. Anyway I think I’m pretty much going to stick to single character models, be they for Dinosaur Cowboys or some RPG or whatever. Just way easier to think up your own paint scheme, inject some spice (like yin yangs, power meters, etc.), and end up with a diverse crew of people.

Imaginative art from Simon Stalenhag

There are a couple of dinosaur related pieces that the artist Simon Stalenhag has done, as well as some really imaginative robot related work. All in all a nice dark style with moody forests and the suggestion of tense situations. All the images below came from his website, where you can visit and view more:

http://www.simonstalenhag.se/

Instead of flooding the main blog page with huge pictures, click the link below to see the rest that I chose from his full collection.

Signalling Click to view more pictures…

Battle Report: Get to the Flapper!

ChoppaFirst of all, how has it been over 6 months since my last post?! Well, after the Battle to Seattle campaign and v2.5 release I took a bit of a breather from Dinosaur Cowboys. Then before you know it Christmas came around. And then here we are in 2015. Like I mentioned in my last post my wife and I had a kid, so that’s also been a big factor. Also getting into the computer game Euro Truck Simulator 2 (of all games?!) and back into Awesomenauts also took some time. Regardless my apologies for the lack of posts here.

But I finaaaaally took the time to sit down and play Dinosaur Cowboys yesterday, which I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while. I used a single 3’x4′ board covered with a lot of terrain, as well as some real-life fossils that I collected when I was a teenager. The Flapper area was designed to look like a small landing pad/airport with crates and a wagon nearby.

There aren’t a ton of pictures or notes because I ended up playing with my wife, so there was less time to catalog every turn.

Deployment and Objective
First of all for the sake of simplicity no Features were used. The Objective was “Escort”, where a Civilian has to basically traverse the board and escape. The Deployment was “Layered” to give the impression of fighting through a series of enemy lines (with the unspoken exception that the Civilian would be deployed in the further region from their escape area).
To add a bit of narrative flavor I figured the Civilian is an Archaeologist who found a rare fossil in South Dakota. Before he could return to the nearest city with his find the Black Hill Raiders descended on him and took him prisoner. Now the Raiders are trying to move him to a Flapper (aka the Arnold Schwarzenegger “Get to the chopper Flapper!”) to escape the area, return to their hideout, and ransom the fossil (and Civilian) to the highest bidder. Local homesteaders the Birkshire Family get wind of this plot and assemble to stop the kidnapping. So a fun little twist on what’s normally “good guys escorting through bad guys”. Remember that Flappers are Pterodactyl replacements for airplanes in Dinosaur Cowboys.

Posses
Now the posses involved might sound familiar, and that’s because they are pulled directly from the 9-page Quickdraw Rules. Both posses have $1,000 and 100 IP, so pretty standard. The Black Hill Raiders use a Raptor and focus on melee, so the Layered deployment really helped them. The Birkshire Family have quite a few powerful guns like an Ultra Repeater, 500kW Walker Revolver (when explained to my wife she said “That seems like it does a lot of hits”), etc. So the match up should be interesting. I played the Raiders and my wife played the Birkshire Family.

You can get the PDFs here:

Setup and A Few Pictures
The game lasted 5 turns.
The Layered deploy REALLY made a mess of everything. There were some possible “Shot in the Back” moments right from the get-go, due to later groups ending up behind enemies.

For the Black Hill Raiders, Betty One-Eye (Necromunda Escher Juve figure) and The Blade (Dark Sun Mul figure) deployed far to the north of the Flapper, with their Civilian nearby. The plan is to use the mix of melee and firepower to escort the Civilian and distract enemies as they went. Opposite them from the Birkshire Family is Brother Jerrid (preacher figure) and the trusty Ducky mount Drake.
The final deployment zone belonging to the Black Hill Raiders consisted of Maynard Dereus, the shotgun wielding leader (Necromunda Ratskin Shaman figure). Behind him is Malice, the Raptor dinosaur. I had wanted to use the Papo “alternate” paint scheme for this dinosaur, but I think it got bent in the storage bin as it wasn’t standing up properly.
And the last deployment zone for the Birkshire Family, which included the Flapper, had Mama Hanna (Warhammer 40,000 Schaeffer’s Last Chancers figure) with her Ultra Repeater on a hill, and nearby Papa Jonas (bartender figure) blocking the east flank.

Here you can see a few views of the deployment:
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From left to right: View from the southern Flapper end of the table, focus on the middle deployment zones, high level view looking west (you can see how everyone ended up pretty much on one flank).

I can’t speak for the Birkshire Family, but I know my plan with the Black Hill Raiders was to split my enemies up. So the Raptor would move south towards the Flapper zone to lock down and distract foes there (classic dinosaur move really), while Maynard would flank into the northern split of Birkshire Family. The Civilian would Hustle every turn in a desperate attempt to stay in cover and not get killed.

Here are a few more pictures of deployment, since like I said once the dice started rolling the photos stopped coming.
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On the left you can see the northern deploy, with the Civilian visible (he’s the Prospector looking fellow in the blue hat). Notice how close the Ducky is…could get ugly right away.
On the right is the Flapper “end zone”, with a few supply crates and a nearby wagon. For the purposes of this game the Flapper and wagon dinosaur are just scenery and not something you interact with.

If you’re into fossils, well, here are some zoomed in shots of a few. They make great, thematic terrain pieces, just a bit drab in color (maybe they need a gloss spray). In general they vary from nice cover pieces to full on line-of-sight blocking hunks o’ rock.
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And finally some cinematic shots, first of the Black Hill Raiders leader Maynard overlooking the battlefield from his perch. Then a shot of Mama Hanna awaiting her foes in the Flapper area.
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DC-Flapper-Escape-0019After Action Report
As for the game itself, Birkshire started by Charging the Ducky into melee with Betty One-Eye, thankfully avoiding the Civilian for now. The Blade counter-Charged into Brother Jerrid, who was nearby on the hill. Of course he then promptly got blasted backwards when Brother Jerrid did “Fan the Hammer” with his 500kW Walker Revolver, followed by a Speed Reload. Maynard had a terrific Saber weapon, so in the interest of utilizing that as soon as possible he climbed down the cliff and moved towards the Ducky. Meanwhile the Civilian ran forward as much as possible. On the backline the Raptor moved towards Papa Jonas but couldn’t quite reach him and didn’t want to risk a Charge. Mama Hanna fired at the Raptor to begin whittling down his Hitpoints.

Turn 2 saw the start of some long dinosaur combats. The Ducky did consistent, but LOW damage to Betty One-Eye, while she alternated between pistol fire and using her Flail depending on what the best odds were. Meanwhile the Raptor Charged at Papa Jonas, but ended up missing nearly all of his 1A-5D attacks through the course of the game. The fact that Mama Hanna used “Get Up!” on Papa Jonas meant he survived the initial Charge and then stayed in combat to futilely try to use his Scattergun.
First blood went to The Blade, who Charged in again and managed to kill Brother Jerrid before being shot down by Mama Hanna in turn. A worthwhile trade as the Civilian had a nearly unobstructed run to the Flapper now, with just Mama Hanna standing in the way.

Turn 3 was much of the same, with the Civilian taking a shot from Mama Hanna. But his substantial 14 HP pool meant more than a few Ultra Repeater hits would be needed. Eventually Maynard Charged into the back of the Ducky, and the pain started…like really, really started. The Saber hits at 3A-6D, with +1 Attack on Charge, so you can imagine how long the Ducky lasted. He basically never cleared Panic and took 11 HP of damage on the first Charge. Unfortunately the Black Hills Raider player (me, haha) didn’t use the “Berserker” Trait for a glorious 6A-6D attack (which likely would have one-shot the Ducky, combined with the existing damage from Betty One-Eye).

Turn 4 saw the Raptor and Papa again fail to hit each other. Papa unfortunately needed a Reload on his pistol fairly early on in the fight, otherwise he could do more reliably done damage that way instead of a risky 1A-5D Scattergun shot hitting on 8+. Luckily the Raptor is hitting on 8+ as well. The Civilian is within a turn of the Flapper now, but took another shot from Mama Hanna on the way and is down to 5 HP. As expected the Ducky didn’t last another turn against Maynard’s wrath, freeing up the two Black Hill characters to move towards the Flapper area.

Turn 5 wrapped up some of the attacks. After killing the Ducky last turn, Maynard had moved south, and this turn could move again and Charge at Mama Hanna. The successful Charge dropped her like a sack of bricks. This left Papa Jonas alive, and the Civilian one Activation away from the Flapper. Summoning his courage the Birkshire leader left combat with the Raptor (who failed to Snap Attack, which would have killed Papa), and angled his line of fire to get one last shot on the Civilian.
Annnnnnd promptly missed! Because he is the Leader he can’t “Yeehaw!” himself, so with that, the Civilian activated, moved to the Flapper, and the game was over. Victory to the Black Hill Raiders!
Here you can see the final, desperate shot of Papa Jonas as the Civilian rounds the hill towards the Flapper.
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What’s Next?
Great fun all around! With deployment and rules explaining the game still only took about an hour. As you know I’m so happy with the state of the Dinosaur Cowboy rules. I do have some very minor tweaks (this is literally one of my TODO items: – Fix capitalization in Quickdraw rules for “100kw” instead of “kW”), but otherwise it’s all good.
I won’t make any promises of getting another game in on this table, or doing the Lego town I mentioned in my last post. Instead I’ll just say hopefully I talk to you again soon!

Lego town mixed with normal terrain

Been a long while since my last post! I had a kid, so that’s definitely shifted my focus elsewhere :) As life starts to settle back down I’m hoping to get back into tabletop gaming.

In the meantime I’ve noticed my Lego Lone Ranger post gets a lot of hits from searches. So I figured it would be fun to eventually try a battle report using the Quickdraw posses, but in a Lego town and with Lego minifigs.

Here’s the table I setup to get a feel for how viable the idea is, complete with a dinosaur towing a Lego cart, a jail cell at the end of the road, some rooftop planks to climb between buildings, and various Lego chests scattered around the map (which I’ll use as some kind of Crate feature in the game):

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v2.5 Release with oodles of new weapons

Remember how the last release was the fastest update ever? Well I’m going to have to guess v2.5 is the slowest. After the Battle to Seattle campaign wrapped up I was pretty much out of energy. Summer had just started as well, so a week delay turned into a month and before you know it here we are in July. If you have been following the bleeding edge version of the rules there shouldn’t be any surprises here.

Without further ado: Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v2.5

train-mineAnyway v2.5 is quite a milestone release because I added a TON of weapons. There are now plenty of fun options for pistols (Six-Shooters, Volcanic, Walker, Peacemaker) to suit any playstyle. Rifles have been tweaked and balanced and expanded. Shotguns are actually viable now. Repeaters have an “end game” version. There are lots of new specialty weapons too (like the LeDuc Revolver). Melee weapons have been completely redone so any type of Attack-Damage pattern you can imagine is available.
There were numerous tweaks and fixes from the experience of running a 4 person campaign. I also took some of the knowledge gained from the quickstart rules and applied it back to the core rulebook, such as actually explaining and demonstrating a statline before talking about it.

All in all I’m really happy with this version, even if it took far too long to get that last 1% done.

I’ll probably go back into quiet mode for a while here though. Lots going on outside of tabletop games, so it can be tough to find the time. I am of course still hoping to post battle reports and the like. I’d especially like to build a few Lego buildings and play a game of Dinosaur Cowboys using Lego minifigs. That and use some of the new dinosaurs in greater depth. I have a few miniatures I’m in the process of painting as well that I’d like to get a game in with eventually.

Anyway here are the specific changes around this edition:
– Tons of new weapons and special abilities
– Got rid of the old D4/D8/D10 usage which was JUST for Dinosaur panic. Now D6 or D12 ONLY is used, with modifiers where necessary
– Updated component picture to not have old dice, and also show more miniatures
– Added a new Statistics Overview section to give an idea of stats before we talk about them
– Added an example weapon to the start of Combat to give some context
– Default turn limit changed from 5 to 6
– “Explosion” special ability now does half damage to mounted characters
– Changed Wound/Injury table so that a roll of 1-1 is Bad Luck now, instead of having to re-roll 1s
– Buffed “Lend a Hand”, so HP transfer is done in a 1:1 ratio
– Added a +1 bonus to a Bravery Test roll while Mounted, to stop riders from being a huge weak link
– Changed dinosaur passenger size to Small 1, Medium 2, Large 3, Extra-Large 5 (up from 4)
– Updated Swimmer/Flyer notes so that Extra-Large dinos take 5 slots
– Changed Swimmer breeds to match actual length of dinosaurs, so larger versions are used for ferries compared to smaller “sloop” versions
– Moved where the Elevation rule is since it applies to both range/close
– Changed Movement attack modifier to be for All, and only apply if target moved 2″+
– Changed base distances to start at 0 instead of 1, for example Six-Shooter Short Distance is now 0-6″
– Added a ‘Who’ column to Traits, to specifically state whether a Human, Dinosaur, or Both can use a Trait
– Clarified that selling/replacing a dinosaur doesn’t refund training costs
– Reorganized Campaign section, added a note about Gentleman’s Agreements, and about two types of campaigns
– Armor changed to have Speed Penalty starting at +3 DEF instead of +4
– Eagle Eye is now an Active Trait, Clear Sight now has 1 Stage only
– Changed Pushed/Pulled to not affect dinosaurs in close combat
– Merged “Night” into “Sunset”, which also now includes a “Dusk” option
– Added Step totals, for example Step 1/6, 2/6, to give the reader an idea of how much they have left

Saloon Updates:
– Mirrored rule updates
– Added “Private Save” feature that will prevent a posse from being loaded in the Recent Posse List. Useful for campaigns with secret information
– Added a Number of Players link beside the Campaign Mode checkbox, which allows your PDF posse to have modified free Hitpoints for games with larger number of players

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