ARK: Survival Evolved (upcoming dino riding computer game)

This game is buzzing on various news sites, and even though it’s not directly related to tabletop gaming I thought I’d mention it because of the possibility of riding dinosaurs! The game is survival multiplayer (what isn’t these days, between RUST and a zillion imitators). I’m tentatively excited about this, since so far computer games with dinosaurs haven’t fared well. The Stomping Land was canceled, the Primal series was just junky, etc.

Anyway you can see the Steam page and official website if you want.

I entered to get a chance at the closed beta, because who knows it could be good. If the game is as slick as the trailer makes it seem (although that’s the point of trailers) I think it could be a real gem.

In some ways I almost think dinosaurs are becoming the new zombies…add them to an otherwise dull game and suddenly it’s cool!
Ark-early-screenshot

v2.6 rules release – refine, refine, refine

Objectives-House

Happy release day! I’m happy to report the v2.6 rules are now available for download and The Saloon has been updated accordingly. As I hoped I was able to squeeze the release in right before May starts.

Before I get into the big ol’ changelog, here are the links (of course just downloading from the main rules page works too):

Download the Dinosaur Cowboys v2.6 PDF Rulebook

or the 9-page Quickdraw Rules

So what are the highlights? Well my previous post what will v2.6 have covers the topic quite well, but I’ll repeat here.

Gameplay-Example-2The main focus is weapons. So those players who enjoy equipping their posses, humming and hawing over 6A-2D vs 2A-6D, and having a ton of variety will appreciate that. During development I’ve always had the rule of thumb that ranged weapons have a “top tier” of 9 possible damage, whether this is from 4A-5D, 7A-1D, 3A-6D, etc. and close combat weapons can go up to 10. However some branches or chains of weapons didn’t have a top tier variant. For example the Laserbow in v2.5 maxed out at 1A-6D, similarly the best Pump Shotgun was 3A-4D. This was fine and not really noticeable at the $1,000 posse range, but once you’re into $2k or higher the game boiled down to a whole lot of Lawstar Repeaters (6A-3D).
v2.6 fixes this. Now basically every weapon variant has a top tier equivalent. Do you love the attack pattern of double barrel shotguns? Welcome to the 2A-7D Coach Gun. How about the 1A-8D Laserbow 80 or 3A-6D Settler Defender shotgun? Another big push was to bring the same variety AND consistency to close combat weapons. Attack patterns make more sense, and you can progressively choose a 4A melee weapon right up to the top tier, for example. I also tweaked weapon special abilities. There is now Motivate, which can heal HP (basically the old “Sap” ability reworked and also applied to range weapons).
All in all the weapons are the best they’ve ever been. Think of this v2.6 release as a focus on refining the changes and knowledge gained from the old Battle to Seattle campaign, as well as the many weapons added during that time.

Traits_TotemsAnother big focus is Traits. Some of the Traits have been here since the early RPG versions, more or less, so it was time for a grand rework. Passive Traits now use the highest stage like Active traits, for consistency. Every Trait should be valuable and viable in different situations. Most importantly the “Shot” abilities (like Knee Shot) were renamed and reworked to “Attack”, such as “Attack – Marked” or “Attack – Vital”. Again, consistency!

The Saloon was cleaned up a bit with some nice quality of life features added. Namely weapon special abilities now display their name in the weapon box in addition to the old astericks. Previously you’d know a weapon had an ability, but it was easy to forget which. Now you’ll see “O’Sullivan Sixer*” with “Fan the Hammer” in smaller text in the bottom right. Handy! Brawl weapons can be “bought” now so you can see the stats on your roster, which is nice for people who take the (now awesome) Boxer trait. Speaking of traits previous stages of Active traits will now be “X”ed out, so you can tell you just have one usable version.

I added a section called “Tips for New Players” which gives some ideas and tricks that might not be evident just from reading the rules. Stuff like activating in a certain order, what to do about dinosaurs, etc. Four new sepia photos (featured throughout this post), two new gameplay images, a new Deployment type, a whole bunch of alternative weapon names, etc. Nothing too major, but again refine, refine, refine.

So yeah! It’s been more or less 11 months since the last release, which is just insane for how quickly the time went. All in all I’m happy with the release, and it achieved my main hope for every release: improving the game to be the best it can be. Basically I never want people to think “Oh I liked this old version better”, and hopefully the slew of new weapons, tweaks, and touch ups should ensure that.

Not sure where we’ll go from here. The roadmap hasn’t been as clear since v2.0 to be honest, because in the back of my mind I keep thinking “this is the final release, there isn’t anything else I can tweak”. But somehow I find a bunch to poke and prod. I do want to continue focusing on painting new minis and getting battle reports up here, and really try to resist constantly tweaking the rules like I tend to.

Anyway time for the full changelog, which looks pretty overwhelming, and also might be missing a few changes here and there.

GENERAL CHANGELOG
– Moved version to 2.6
– Added contact email to initial info table
– Finally fixed that annoying overlap of the cloud and text on the title page!
– Compressed table of contents and objects to a single page, and changed page style
– Made table of contents clickable links
– Clarified Cover to be at least 25% obscured, instead of the vague “partially obscured” that was used before
– Added a “Tips for New Players” section (after Standalone Game) with some tips and tricks written in a casual tone
– Changed Armor definitions from flat Defense to +X, to align with possible base Defense from IP
– Defined IRP and STF on Armor/Medical page
– Removed Autosurgeon and Doctor’s Bag, which were Medical Devices to heal Wound/Injuries. Renamed Defibrillator to Autosurgeon as well
– Added a new gameplay image since we had some space on the credits page
– Added a sepia toned Velociraptor amidst the trees image to the Dinosaur Breeds page
– Named Neotechnoist weapon refund aspect of the Allegiance “Wealth” to make it more like a feature
– Changed first History image to a Siberian crater instead of the old volcanic plain
– Updated some minor History text for consistency with what the game world has evolved to (rewriting history to suit the present!)
– Fixed capitalization of “kW” vs “kw” in Quickdraw rules
– Fixed spacing in “Handcannon” in weapons image
– Fixed missing space for Biosteel Lance in weapons chart
– Changed Unbalanced Posse chart to be cumulative instead of “take the highest”
– Added a +2 HP bonus to Leaders when playing the Assassinate objective
– Cleaned up “Yeehaw!” text in various Quick Reference sheets so it doesn’t reference taking a Bravery Test on Leader death
— Added a note under Leader (in creation) and Bravery Tests to note taking a test on Leader death
– Slight clarification on Quick Reference Sheet for “In Close” to be “Attacker/Target” instead of just “Target”
– Also touched up formatting, spacing, and headers of Quick Reference Sheet to closer match Quickdraw version
– Changed “or” for alternative weapons to a slash “/” to match Armor listing. So “Shiv / Shank” instead of “Shiv or Shank”
– Changed any math division (such as Bravery Test formula for Hitpoints) to a proper division (รท) sign instead of the old “/” approach
– Removed the old “Clever Girl” deployment and replaced it with “Diagonal”. Pop culture references are sorta kinda fun, but the deployment was overly complex
– Slight change to “Deep Edge” deployment so the scout is a single unmounted character only, instead of a single entity (since you could technically use your entire posse on a dinosaur as the scout)
– Changed “Delayed” deployment to give a roll bonus per turn for undeployed entities, so that they eventually come on for sure
– Changed hireable Dinosaur list to use XA-YD instead of old X-Y style
– Changed “Scatter” deployment to be a choice, instead of random locations.
– Clarified Push damage to note you only take damage for the distance you actually travelled (ie: no damage if you’re up against a wall)
– Some editing to Game Overview to give it slightly better flow when reading
– Added a sepia wounded image to the Wounds and Injuries table section
– Changed ‘By Air’ travel from 6 passengers to 8 to match dinosaur resizing
– Buffed Lifesaving IRP threshold from < 3 to < 4
– Slight nerf to "Trip" Brawl attack to be 1A-0D instead of 1A-1D to help balance with Boxer trait
– Brawl attacks can now be used against dinosaurs, mounted, etc. Cannot be used as Snap Attack or Charging still.
– Added a sepia image of a fancy house to the end of the Objectives section
– Removed the Wandering/Roving Enemies option from Features
– Clarified Traits so that Active/Passive stages apply the same, so every Passive now has +X/+X instead of cumulative application of successive stages
– Split Traits into two tables with more spacing, instead of jamming it into one. So a table for Active and one for Passive
– Reordered Trait list columns so "Who" is last, to make reading a Trait a bit easier with the Effect immediately apparent
– Added sepia totem image to page containing Passive Trait List table
– Tons of Trait balances, renames, reworks, and stage additions/removals
– Added Dilophosaurus as a possible Raptor type
– Dinosaur change: Horned buffed attack from 6A-1D to 6A-2D. This is because Horned has 2 worse CTN, 1 worse speed, and 2 worse damage (before change) than King in exchange for 6 HP.
– Dinosaur change: Longneck / Titan brought closer together. DEF buffed 2 to 3. DIS from 10 to 9. Longneck CTN from 5 to 4. Titan PSPD from D6-1 to D6 and SPD from 4 to 5. Longneck HP from 35 to 34. Titan HP from 30 to 32. Titan attack to 2A-10D from 1A-15D.

Gameplay-Example-1WEAPONS CHANGELOG
– Buffed Both Barrels special ability to +2 Damage instead of +2 Attacks
– Buffed Lance special ability to do +1 Attack and +1 Damage on Charge
– Changed Illuminate special ability to do -2 Defense instead of half, for simplicity
– Changed Pulled to use a set inches, like Pushed, instead of the distance of the weapon
– Also reworded Explosion, Fireline, Hail of Shots, Lance, Lasso, Open Choke, Opportunity, Pulled special ability for consistency
– Removed Defoliant Grenades, and as a result the “Cover Breaker” special ability
– Changed Retractable Lasso to 0-7 distance and 6″ Pulled, to fit the new approach
– Kaboom Grenades / Bundle of Dynamite range changed to 5-14 so you can’t hit yourself, also size to Small to match other Grenades
– Buffed Glue Grenades from range 2-12 to range 2-13
– Repriced Flux Rifle from $90 to $80 to be inline with basic Light Repeater
– Changed range bands of Specialty Pistol line (Derringer, LeDuce, Handcannon) to be 1-8, 9-11, 12-14 instead of X-7. This helps balance their $10 higher price
– Repriced Derringer from $40 to $50
– Changed Handcannon to 2A-7D (max) and repriced to $160, changed to Projectile
– Added “Yannigan Pistol” (means “war bag”) between LeDuc and Handcannon, at the $90 price
– Added “Big Iron” as a replacement for old Handcannon stats (2A-6D) and $120 price
– Split Derringer, LeDuc, Yannigan, Big Iron, and Handcannon to a “Custom Pistols” section at the top
– Added a “Boot Blade” specialty melee with 1A-3D and Opportunity
– Changed Laserbow 60 to Large size
– Added Laserbow 70 and 80 to finish the line to top tier
– Added 5GJ and 6GJ Pump Shotgun to finish the line to top tier
– Added Crossbow as next tier Dart Gun
– Added Serrated Knife as Machete alternative
– Renamed Axe to Mountain Man Axe
– Renamed Hammer to Sledgehammer and added Spike Driver as alternative
– Added Overcharged Dinoprod as top tier upgrade to Dinoprod
– Swapped Shiv / Shank for Hunting Knife, then swapped Skinning Knife for Hunting Knife
– Added 300kW Twin Rifle to complete the line
– Changed all Twin Rifles to have 5-18 range instead of high end being only 5-17, to compare to Peacemaker
– Added specialty Pepperbox Pistol / Octochambered that is a good single use attack
– Repriced Glue Grenades to $70, Tangle Grenades to $140, Stun Grenades to $170, Riot Grenades to $50
– Changed Stun Grenades range to 2-11
– Added Winterfrost Grenades as an alternative to Glue Grenades
– Added Dustbomb as an alternative to Stun Grenades
– Added Geyser Grenades as an alternative to Tangle Grenades
– Added Hurricane Grenades as an alternative to Riot Grenades
– Added Harmonica, War Horn / Bugle, Battle Drum that have ranged Sap
– Added The Tombstone, a powerful 1A-9D weapon with Armor Piercing and Slowed that is only effective at exactly 12 distance
– Repriced Grenade Launcher to $220
– Repriced Rotary Rifle to $220
– Added Tirador Rifle as top tier scoped, then switched it with Hunting Rifle so Hunting is top tier
– Added Streetsweeper Shotgun and Coach Gun to finish the line
– Changed Auto Shotgun range to 0-5/6-7/8-9, changed Pump Shotgun short to 0-4/5-6/7-11, because otherwise Auto had no advantage over Pump
– Made 4GJ Pump Shotgun size Large
– Changed generic Shotguns to range 0-3/4-5/6-9 (from 4-6/7-9) to balance their lower price
– Changed Sawed Off Shotgun range to 0-4/5-6/7-9 to fit Open Choke
– Added Clark Airgun and Lewis Airgun that have Pushed special
– Changed Riot Grenades to be D6+3″ Pushed instead of D6″
– Added Harpoon Gun and Dinocatcher with Pulled
– Added Totem as alternative to Sonic Gun
– Replaced Flamethrower with Badlands Burner, made Flamethrower a 6A-0D version. Added Wagon Blazer as 7A-0D version. Changed range to 0-9, reload to 1×1, prices
– Added “Cavalry” weapon special ability: Add +1 Damage while mounted.
– Added Carbines to leverage the new Cavalry ability
– Added three new melee weapons to leverage the new Cavalry ability, including renaming Saber for one
– Added Rustler Revolver as Handcannon alternative
– Changed Long Sword to be an alternative to Motor Blade, and replaced Long Sword with Rattlesnake Axe
– Changed Glaive to be an alternative to Cutlass
– Added Horned Axe as alternative to Scythe
– Added Lasher as alternative to Flail
– Renamed “Sap” special to “Motivate”, to better fit with what weapons use it
– Changed Motivate to “On a hit of 2+ total damage the attacker heals 1 HP to self or another ally in 8″.”
– Reworked close Sap weapons to 1A-3D Catalyst, 4A-0D Coup Stick, 5A-0D Tornado
– Reduced price of Lances, to match the fact that they are unusable once dismounted
– Added Howdah Pistol as alternative to Sawed Off Shotgun
– Added Equalizer Shotgun as alternative to Break Action Shotgun
– Renamed Break Action Shotgun to Break-Action Shotgun, to match Lever-Action
– Added “Bow and Arrows” as alternative Throwing Spear

SALOON CHANGELOG
– Updated version to 2.6
– Updated traits, weapons, and dinosaurs to match v2.6 rules
– Added weapon special abilities to beside their name, in the bottom right corner of the cell, so that at a glance players can see what something does beyond the astericks that was used before (and is still present)
– Added Brawl attacks as a buyable option, useful for players who want to track these attacks in their weapon slots
– Similarly added Rope Lasso as a buyable option
– Slight update to Lasso A-D size in the PDF output, so that the numbers are the proper size if set, otherwise smaller for DinoA/DinoD
– Changed old Armor list headers of “Armor Rating” to “Defense” and “MV Penalty” to “SPD Penalty”, whoops
– Also changed Armor Defense listing to “+X” instead of flat “X”
– Updated Passive traits to apply properly using the new approach
– Close store and trait list on posse load, to ensure a fresh state
– Fixed “Clear Sight” passive trait so it properly works with non-standard weapon ranges. For example it won’t change Repeater med from 0-13 to 1-14 anymore
– Automatically ‘X’ Active traits that have previous stages, to help signify that only the highest stage is used

History_Sunken-Crater

You made it this far? Good on you! Onwards to v2.7!

Battle Report: Purge the Hollowwood

I’ve been making v2.6 changes all day, mostly around Traits (which tediously require updating the Trait document, re-pasting it into the core rulebook, then updating and testing the Saloon list, then updating the Quickdraw rules, and updating existing posses including the example ones – what a horrible process but I don’t know how to improve it). So with that said I won’t have a ton of energy to post as many details of my most recent playtest. The game itself was enjoyable, and I think the pictures turned out well. Amazing what a different and unique table setup can do for fun.

Overview
I created two posses that utilize a lot of new features and weapons fresh in v2.6. The terrain setup I used represented an old crater that had filled in with lush jungle. I envisioned some of the trees having a tough wood (that is actually used for Wood Armor) that happens to be poisonous to dinosaurs. Two gangs are contracted by opposite firms to purge out the “bad seeds”. So in other words 5 tree markers and the Demolish objective (with a slight twist of no attacks on the trees from further than 6″, reasoned as the thick bark). The objective factored very little into the game itself though. Otherwise I used a Corner deployment. No turn limit, and the match ended up going to 9 turns as a result.

Posses
Here are the two posses. Don’t worry about the IP/ND not being even, I went for flavor and added things I wouldn’t normally (like one person carrying FOUR types of grenades).

General Williams Brigade (PDF)
Posse picture left to right (excluding the dinosaur): Bellgloan, Malius Blaze, General William, Tom West, Unit 4-15-3
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0008Lots of exciting features here. The leader (General William) is built for charging while mounted, pure and simple. Charger trait, Onslaught, and a top tier Plasma Lance. Lovely. Malius Blaze would test out the improved flamethrower weapons, specifically the Badlands Burner. Tom West was a Boxer, which meant his fists were lethal weapons capable of 2A-8D. The mini I used is an old D&D guy, the iconic representation of the 3.0 Fighter. I’d love to get a bare knuckle boxer type mini, if I could find one that isn’t some goofball straight from the ring. I guess I could just file/cut weapons off someone. Bellgloan was pretty basic, just testing the interaction of the high attack Klondike 7000 (or ‘K7K’) with the classic Rapid Fire and Go For the Eyes traits. Unit 4-15-3 has a special place in my heart (and not just because that was the name of my Doctor character in my recent Edge of the Empire campaign). I mentioned way, way back that I really like medics and support characters, so Unit 4-15-3 exemplifies this within the current rules. Quick Hands for an easy heal, Doctor because it’s one of the best designed passive traits, and Get Up for some remote healing. Then a SLEW of IRPs, just a ton. He will also test the Pushed capabilities of the Lewis Airgun. Dinosaur is pretty simple, except I’d be using the smaller Horned model I have for a change of pace.

Le’Dorfs Royal Force (PDF)
Posse picture left to right (excluding the dinosaur): Iara September, Madhat, Richard Le’Dorf, Glargamar, Corporal Luke Mossly (new mini)
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0002Lots more to test with these guys. The leader is taking out The Tombstone for a spin, so who knows how that’ll work. The idea is to use it with Clean Shot for a massive attack (basically 1A-11D with Armor Piercing). He also took one of my favorite named guns the O’Sullivan Sixer, the top tier Six-Shooter. Madhat was purely a grenade man and demolitions expert. With the Thrower traits he could reach 21″ with a Bundle of Dynamite…some arm on him! Glargamar would ride the dinosaur most likely and try to Pull targets in with the Dinocatcher. Iara was a pretty standard sniper with a focus on testing the higher end Frontier Twin Rifle and various traits. Corporal Luke Mossly was a similar support character to Unit 4-15-3 but he went with the unique approach of the Motivate weapons and the Lend a Hand trait. And the dinosaur is a T-Rex named Tiny, so that I have an excused to use the Allosaurus model (since I’ve been overusing my Papo T-Rex I feel).

Table and Deployment
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0012
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Early Moves
With a lengthier game like this I can’t recall the exact turn by turn details, and I barely took any notes. I’ll highlight some unique or especially exciting parts though. Otherwise just enjoy the pictures!
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Awesome moment pictured below where Madhat put his super long range Bundle of Dynamite to good use. Everyone had just dismounted from the Horned dinosaur and spread out. Unfortunately they didn’t have much beyond a 3″ to 4″ movement, so they were quite clustered. Which meant Madhat could hit the dinosaur AND get the 4″ Explosion effect on everyone. In other words four targets for the price of one. I thought the game was gonna be over so quickly after this happened.
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0024

Closing the Gap
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0025DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0026DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0032DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0035DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0036

Nice usage of the Klondike 7000 pictured below. Bellgloan used his traits Rapid Fire (+2 Attacks) and Go For the Eyes (Crit on 10+) for a total of 9A-1D. But his roll was awesome and ended up doing 11 damage. So many bonus Criticals from the trait.
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0030

Blood Around the Big Tree
General William got his chance to fulfill his purpose of Charging (pictured below). While mounted on the Horned dinosaur he reached Glargamar (who was also mounted) with a big Charge right by the central tree. With the usage of Onslaught (+4 Attacks on Charge) and his great Plasma Lance (+1 Attack and +1 Damage on Charge) meant he was hitting for 7A-9D. You can imagine how Glargamar felt as he got one-shot killed.
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0041

Also Unit 4-15-3 got to really shine, even though he had been Stunned thanks to a long distance Dustbomb from Madhat (you can see the marker in the pictures below). The backline of General William’s posse wasn’t looking so great, but the doc turned it around. He used Get Up! (which doesn’t require an action, so he could do that while Stunned) to fix up the nearby Malius Blaze. Then he used Quick Hands on himself, which also got around the Stunned, and with the help of his Lifesaving IRP healed from 3 HP back to full.
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The Lines Push
General Williams did an awesome move forward to get into melee with the clumped backline of Le’Dorf’s Royal Force. Time to Whirlwind…oh yes, what a time it was. He did take a Snap Attack from the King dinosaur, but the trade off was worth it (T-Rex missed anyway). Also Tom West basically punched a T-Rex over and over in a glorious display of martial prowess. Eventually he’d lose the combat, thanks to supporting fire outside the combat (plus a lot of healing of the T-Rex, including a full stage two Get Up!), but it was still an impressive fight.
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0054

At this point the dinosaurs had basically pushed through to the opposite deployment zone. So all the “squishy” shooters in the back were suddenly panicking. One of the funner dinosaur usages I’ve seen in a while.
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Scramble to Survive
Hilariously enough on Turn 7 the leader Richard Le’Dorf actually got to use Clean Shot (normally it’s an early game opener) because the enemy doctor Unit 4-15-3 had healed himself back up to full. Also Madhat had basically burned himself out of grenades at this point, with nearly everything needing a Reload.
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Last Breaths
By this point Le’Dorf Royal Force consisted of Iara and Madhat, or who I commonly refer to as Trista and Khulan. These minis date WAY back to the original Dinosaur Cowboys skirmish tests, like 4 years ago. From the Bounty at Caldwell Lake you can see them fighting together, so it’s neat to have them trying to survive back to back now.
The picture below with the orange D6 rolling a 1 was for the Charge from the Horned dinosaur, which would have wrecked house. The Le’Dorf posse were definitely on their back foot, especially since Madhat had minimum ranges enough that he’d have to resort to unskilled Brawl attacks in melee. So the failed Charge really helped the situation.
Unit 4-15-3 was sustaining himself very well, and actually managed a pretty neat kill. He took a far shot at Iara, who had risked the Snap Attack to leave combat with the Horned dinosaur. Unit 4-15-3 hit on a roll of 12, and left Iara with 1 HP. But the weapon used was the new Lewis Airgun, so the 4″ Pushed actually sent her back into the impassable Horned dinosaur, which triggered the “Push Damage” rule, and she died from that! Basically she splattered against a dinosaur.
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All Done
In the end the General William Brigade posse won the day against Le’Dorf’s Royal Force. The game was really back and forth, and I thought it would be over many times before it actually was. What really demonstrates the back and forth are some of the total Hitpoint tallies I recorded. Unit 4-15-3 ended up going through 12, 5, 3, 12 (Lifesaving IRP), 3, 12 (Large IRP). Similarly the Horned dinosaur went 32, 24, 20, 14, 13, 8 (what a survivor). And finally the King T-Rex went 26, 15, 25 (Get Up! II), 14, 9, 19 (Lend a Hand), 15, 6, 3, -3.


What Did We Learn?
A few things, actually. Doctors are awesome, that’s for sure. I mentioned above the “Doctor” passive trait is one of the better designed ones. The reason I said that is because it’s very powerful but also very situational. It can be completely useless or completely game changing, depending on player skill and strategy. It also helps develop and utilize a more niche aspect of the game (some posses don’t even bother with healing). And it also takes some Neodollar investment to work well. But yeah, lots of fun having a “healer” on the battlefield to sustain everyone.
I also realized it’s time to bite the bullet and rename a lot of the Traits. As I look over the (somewhat overly long) list I notice some duplication. Why are Berserker and Rapid Fire a separate trait, when they both give +2 Attacks (just to different weapon types)? There is some attempt at consistency with Traits named “XYZ Shot”, like Knee Shot, Coward Shot, etc. But what I did now is renamed these to an ACTUALLY consistent “Attack – XYZ”, like Attack – Coward, Attack – Inspire, etc.
Balance seems good, and the new weapons are spot on. I tweaked Motivate a bit so you can heal other allies as well as yourself, to really fit the theme. I added a medium range to Lever-Actions to support their 1 Attack. Just minor stuff like that.

So at this point v2.6 is 95% ready to go. I need to do a final readthrough and edit, otherwise it’s just releasing it, updating the Saloon (and posses), posting info to Boardgamegeek, etc. I might get one or two more playtests in (not sure if I’ll record them here), but like I said before look for the rules before the end of April. Maybe a release next week (from the time of this post) in fact!

After that I want to do a battle report featuring my new painted Mad Max style figure, as well as a gas station, Exxon signs, and a propane tank. So that should be pure fun.

New painted mini – Leonius the War Horn Bearer

This is a new mini I just finished painting this past week. So a bit of backstory. I had bought this figure way, way back (as I did with most minis) as part of a Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf command group, because I liked the leader (who had a big two handed axe and was holding a severed head). As part of the command group I also got a standard bearer and musician. The musician sat unused in my “to paint” box for years, until recently I noticed him when re-organizing.
As you might have seen in the upcoming v2.6 rules, there is a new weapon added called the War Horn. This is a 1A-3D range weapon with the “Motivate” special ability (basically lifesteal). So for once a mini with a musical instrument was useful (outside of being a Bard in D&D).
The downside was, being Warhammer Fantasy, this mini had a sword. But I easily converted that by chopping off his hand and using an autopistol from my Necromunda parts. The best part is this particular Dark Elf mini is meant to have a reptile skin as a cloak, which is a perfect dinosaur looking skin.
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As you can see the arm conversion turned out quite well, I think. For the paint scheme I went with a traditional dinosaur skin color of green. When it comes to painting I generally do a few washes but very little drybrushing. Those are both painting techniques, with “washing” meaning adding water to a darker color and painting it on, and the watered down paint creeps into all the recesses and crevices of the mini. Drybrushing is using a lighter color than what you’re painting onto, wiping off almost all the paint from the brush, and then lightly stroking the brush over the top to pick out the raised areas. Basically think of washing as adding shadows, and drybrushing as adding highlights.
Anyway I normally prefer rich, basic colors instead of the style of drybrushing. However the dinosaur cloak for this mini was the perfect use case for both techniques, as the scales had lots of recesses between them, and I could also pick out the edges with some drybrushing. So I did a green base, then washed with a teal color, then drybrushed some bright green over that. In the end the cloak looks nice and realistic.
Otherwise a simple reddish pink and gold scheme, with the horn being a natural bone color, and the gun (for once) not having steel/metal coloring and instead just being wood and black. I opted to paint the helmet visor pure black instead of a flesh tone because I find it more menacing to look like a completely shadowed face (think of a cheesy 1990s cartoon villain).
All in all I’m happy with the result.
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Redone rulebook gameplay example art

As part of the upcoming v2.6 rules I ended up doing some re-organization of the table of contents/objects, which cleared up the following page and left me with a big blank spot. To fill that spot I put in a new gameplay image, actually from the recent Mountie Chase of Samurai Jack battle report.
This is the image:
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The problem is the existing gameplay picture in the “Game Overview” section has a lot of similar features, specifically a T-Rex and the road sections. I didn’t think that reflected very well on the game, to have such duplication, so I recently re-took a gameplay photo to replace the old Game Overview one.
This is the result:
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I made a concentrated effort to not use any minis or terrain from the Samurai Jack gameplay photo. The downside is I staged the photo, whereas the previous gameplay photos were taken during actual games. Either way I’m happy with the result, and I think showing the green table in the first and desert table in the second is a nice way to break them up.

So anyway v2.6 will get a nice facelift with these new photos. As I mentioned before, you can check out the latest, non-released rules on the Bleeding Edge Dropbox which is synced with my computer.

My attempt to get back into painting with an overwhelming minis purchase

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New-Minis-0001What can go wrong? Also there won’t be any April Fool’s shenanigans on this blog, so don’t get too excited. Anyway these two photos catalogue my recent trip to my local gaming store. I bought a total of 11 minis (although 2 of them are gifts), all of which are for Dinosaur Cowboys. They are also all from the terrific Reaper Mini Chronoscope line, which are inexpensive minis of various genres. They do a great job of copying popular culture and switching the names to get around trademark issues. For example Rudd Starslider, Space Smuggler who is very clearly Peter Quill aka Star-Lord from the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Similarly Rex, Dark Future Hero who is Mad Max, right down to the torn sleeve (they even get a nice little nod to Game Workshop’s early road warrior style game Dark Future).
But I’m not complaining, merely highlighting the awesome range you can buy.

I’m going to base everyone up, fill in the gaps with puddy, base coat them all, and then have 9 minis lined up to paint whenever I feel like it. Otherwise I have probably ~15 more in a “paint for DC” box, collected from Ebay and various other sources. One day soon I mean to take a photo of all the minis I need to paint, and also all the minis for Dinosaur Cowboys I have painted.

This is a big purchase for me since after all I’ve probably bought an average of one mini per ~3 months for the past 5 years. My motivation is simply to get some specific DC minis based and undercoated so I can just sit down and paint them. I want to get back into painting a bit, since rank-and-file troops of mass battle games (specifically Warhammer 40,000) turned me off the hobby for a while. Basically childhood burnout that bled into losing focus on painting in adulthood. To me painting single minis like this is the peak fun-ness of the hobby. You can vary the paint scheme mini to mini, add a lot of characterization and uniqueness to each, and the look changes drastically between minis.
Since I started Dinosaur Cowboys I actually haven’t done too badly with painting new minis. I probably added close to 10 to my collection. So with luck in the next year or so I’ll have another 20 done!

Terrain: based cacti and small trees

Based Cacti
A while back I randomly stumbled across some model cacti (in a nearly empty hobby shop I had never been to before). They were great, perfect scale, prepainted, and so I picked them up immediately. The only downside was they had tiny bases, and some were quite top heavy and wouldn’t sit very well on my desert cloth for the gaming table.
So I glued the cacti to 1-cent pennies. Then recently I finally got around to filling in the gap with glue (to make the transition from old base to penny less visible), painting the penny bases, and spraying the whole setup with protective coating.
Here are the results, which you can expect to see in a desert themed game of Dinosaur Cowboy soon:
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Based Trees
Now this terrain goes even farther back. I’ve had these little model trees, the same as what were used in White Dwarf battle reports waaaay back in the day. The problem was they were meant to be stuck into foam terrain or the like. Initially I had done exactly that, but over the years the trees had fallen out (and left little holes in the terrain, a few of which you might even notice from previous battle reports).
So what I set out to do was properly base the trees on standard square mini bases, so they could be moved around freely instead of being stuck to the terrain. This involved cutting the metal stick at the center of the tree to shorten it. Then I drilled a hole into a series of bases and glued the trees in. I don’t think I’ll paint the bases, so after adding a second layer of glue (to ensure they don’t come loose with rough handling) I had 5 new small trees to use. They match the color of my larger trees, which is an added bonus.
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