I tend to have a tough time writing the whole summary of what exactly a tabletop skirmish RPG is…I guess because I just grew up playing games so the idea of starting from scratch is tough for me to visualize. I think the big names (D&D and 40k) are great for walking players through this whole process, but yeah, I took a stab at it below for my “Game Overview” section in the Rules, which is now complete:
The way you setup and play Dinosaur Cowboys will be familiar to anyone who has played other tabletop skirmish or roleplaying games. Each player takes on the role of a character (such as a sly gunslinger, a rich noble explorer, a old weary sheriff, etc.) and immerses themselves in the futuristic world outline above. Players can pit small gangs or posses against each other in a one time battle, or link their fights into an ongoing campaign woven with narrative, travel, exploration, purchases, and more. Although not strictly necessary, a Game Master (GM) is strongly recommended for campaigns. The GM's role is rule arbitration, map setup, control of foes, moving the storyline along, and shaping the world to react to the player's actions. Dinosaur Cowboys is played using 28mm figures to represent characters and dinosaurs, but other scales work just as well. Combat is represented using the rules below, and is managed by moving the figures across terrain. The actual pieces of terrain can range from high quality styrofoam plots of land and craftily shaped trees to a simple cloth mat spread over stacks of books to make bumpy hills. As a character advances through the world they will grow in ability and be able to surmount new, exciting challenges. The first task a GM presents to a fresh character may be as simple as stealing dinosaur eggs. Then months later (either in game time or real world time) the character can be founding (or conquering) towns, forging new frontiers and shaping the fate of the entire country.
Also I added rules for Sidekicks. Originally I was going to call them Followers, but when looking for descriptive words to elaborate on what exactly they were, I stumbled across “Sidekicks”. It seems more in the tone of Dinosaur Cowboys, so I’m going to keep it.
Anyways, basically they are henchmen / NPCs that travel with a character (and are controlled by them in combat). The upside is they don’t use the full character sheet, they use the mini-sheet that is similar to the enemy sheet. So you can fit all your Sidekicks on a single sheet, which certainly beats shuffling through a stack of them. Right now I’m saying max 2 Sidekicks at Level 1-7, then 3 Sidekicks at Level 8+. Also I recommended party size (in total, amongst all players) not exceed 5 or 6. I’ll have to actually do some larger tests to see at what point exactly the game slows down / bogs down from too many combatants.
Anyways next up is the mini-sheet, which will also be the basis for Dinocards.
Then after that it’s pretty much Traits left. So far I’m vaguely been brainstorming names of Traits…the biggest issue will clearly be balancing them all against each other. But yeah, then I’ll put some enemies together, think up some quest ideas, and kapow! ready to play.
I’m likely going to do some external testing (ie: with another person besides myself) next week, so that should be a good trial. Hopefully I have enough unchanging rules done to get a campaign going.