Tyrannosaurus and Tiger Tanks

Today I wanted to point out a neat battle report that doesn’t exactly involved cowboys, but certainly maintains the genre mixing involvement of dinosaurs and WW2 Germans. The pictures above come from a game of Adventures in the Lost Lands from the popular Two Hour Wargames (I heard about them originally for their terrific All Things Zombie game). Anyways the actual battle report is here and is a pretty interesting read, and they have a great looking volcanic table that I’d love to play a game of Dinosaur Cowboys on to simulate the area around the Yellowstone eruption.

Some Other Links
I have a few other miscellaneous links that don’t really warrant their own post, but are still interesting.

First of all a really cool, scary, and trippy looking dinosaur: the Helicoprion. Modern day people may dislike or fear aquatic beasts like sharks, but could you imagine if something like a Helicoprion was floating around in the ocean? Especially when they are estimated to have grown to 10-15ft long!

And then a couple of unrelated games. First of all the blog of Andy Hoare who is ex-Games Workshop and is currently working on a little side project of a skirmish game. Although he doesn’t have many posts I find them interesting to see the general thought process of another person working on a skirmish game, plus the odd tidbit he drops about Games Workshop.

The final link is a pure western skirmish game that I thought I’d share called Get Three Coffins Ready. The name comes from one of the classic batch of Clint Eastwood westerns called A Fistful of Dollars, which is one of my favorite western movies. Anyways it looks like a fun system and I always like reading other amateur rulesets.

More Zombie Dinosaur Cowboys

It looks like a concept art website had a thread with several pictures of dinosaurs, cowboys, zombies, and aliens. Pretty much just a mishmash of craziness, but there were some really cool pictures. The main thread is http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=228945 and one focused more on unmounted zombie dinosaurs is at http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=179273.
Anyway here are the highlights in my opinion:

Just getting silly at this point!

Thematic desert background

In case you haven’t had the luxury of visiting the vast desert scrub in the southern US, I thought a thematic picture would help inspire players. I can really imagine a lone cowboy riding their dinosaur mount through these rocky passes. Camping under the stars, avoiding bandits and gigantic carnivores, keeping their laser pistols holstered but ready.
From: http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details/2868/red_rock_in_the_winter_sun.html

Speaking of pictures that spur the imagination I finally picked up Dinotopia (well, I actually got it for my birthday). I got the 20th anniversary hardcover version and it’s super nice and just chock full of terrific pictures backed by a whimsical storyline. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a unique “coffee table book” or who is interested in the genre of humanity interacting with prehistoric life:

Gigantic 1860s Pony Express map

I sure do like the brief but very interesting time of the Pony Express. Such a simple and low tech way to transfer messages, but at the same time exciting. Anyways I found a great, flavorful map of the old Pony Express route. Sure would be fun to play a Pony Express campaign in Dinosaur Cowboys!
(Click for the full 4400px size!)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pony_Express_Map_William_Henry_Jackson.jpg

Rulebook v1.2 Released!

Well after some more tweaking, balances, and editing I am releasing Dinosaur Cowboys v1.2. Hooray!
Get the Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v1.2 here.

Version 1.2 Rules Changes
In terms of changes here are the highlights, straight from the Subversion commit log. The biggest change was around the stats of the dinosaurs, plus the two new classes (Terror and Fin), plus some new weapons.
– Increase Wrangler trait damage to +2 per stage for Lasso
– Renamed Aimed Shot to Placed Shot and made Aimed Shot now hit at -1 RMC
– Switched the Advancing a Posse and Statistic Improvement Cost pages
– Changed mx HP from 50 to 40
– Reduced Needler weapon cost from 400 to 250
– Added Spine Blade (Motor Blade equivalent)
– Added Skinning Knife as an alternative for Machete, and renamed Knife to Hunting Knife
– Reduced Armored HP from 22 to 20, and Plated from 24 to 23. Going to stop poking at them now
– Changed the Panic MV header to PMV in the dinosaur list to better match how the roster sheet and other abbreviations are used.
– A bunch of dinosaur changes. First of all King was moved to a new class, and the old version was renamed Terror. A new Fin dinosaur was added. A bunch of stats were modified as well, mainly HP and MV adjustments to balance everyone.
– Renamed the Game Master (GM) to the Sheriff to add a bit more flavor
– Added an Aimed Shot variant rule, made a note of recommended variant rules, re-added the brainstorming variant rules.
– Added a new rule for multiplayer games where each entity gets +2 HP per player beyond 2, to increase survivability against more enemies.
– Also added a combined image of the common weapons to the Weapon Description section.
– Cleaned up the table of contents to remove some superflous items
– Clarified some of the combat modifiers since there was a description for Crossfire but not Cover or Elevation
– Renamed the Movement Phase to Maneuver Phase, since the Action Phase isn’t called the RMC Phase, so the Movement/Maneuver Phase shouldn’t be named after a stat too. The downside is it’s tougher to spell.
– Cleaned up Charge wording
– Cleaned up Activating an Entity and the Uneven Activation example since they were written a long time ago
– In the Falling Damage example removed the specific 4 inch distance of the knockback, since it’s confusing when we just want to focus on the 3 inch fall

Version 1.2 Saloon Changes
Also The Saloon received a bunch of bugfixes which I’m really happy with, plus of course all the v1.2 changes were ported into it.
– Added an asterick after a weapon name if it has a special ability. Also added the Spine Blade (Motor Blade equivalent)
– Fixed a really annoying bug around Bonus RMC trait, where it would miscalculate the IP cost
– Fixed a silly mistake where the wrong ‘I’ was being cut because I did indexOf instead of lastIndexOf, so something like ‘Inspiring Shot I’ would cut the first ‘I’ instead of the proper stage ‘I’
– Glaring remote url load error where the 4th member would be ignored (used < instead of <= in the loop)
– Changed the PDF export so excess weapons (over 2) are listed in the inventory instead of being lost to the ether
– Lots of changes around Traits. Previously some of the non-stat Passive traits weren't being applied, such as Clear Sight which modifies ranges of weapons. This actually ended up being a bit of a hassle because we needed to clone the Weapon object, manage string based range brackets, etc.
– Improved some title text for weapons and the allegiance/breed
– Ensured we have an author in the field
– Put version number in intro message

Next Step
As before I don’t have any drastic plans for the rulebook. Maybe some tweaking and formatting and editing here and there, but as I promised with v1.0 the core mechanics will stay the same. I’ve been thinking of adding some items that have more of an in-game effect, like a Bugle or Trumpet that let’s a non-character use the Yeehaw! ability. Maybe various types of alcohol that can be used like drugs in other games to provide bonuses for a turn.
One goal I do have is to make a standalone campaign module for Dinosaur Cowboys, complete with Hexographer maps, scenarios for each location, general plot twists, etc. That might be more of a pipe dream than a goal, but I could see it being fun and adding a lot of value to the game.

Drastically different posse approaches

So far the posses you’ve seen are built in a fairly standard, natural way. They have a reasonable story behind them, a good variety of weapons and roles and mix of dinosaurs.
But what about if we threw all that to the wind and tried to built super extreme posses that stretch every rule and are so drastically different from the norm?
Well…we’d probably get something like this:

Longneck (or Titan) in a $1,000 ND / 100 IP Posse
The Longneck (MV 5, PMV D6, AR 2, MMC 5, DIS 10, HP 37, 10A-1D) is considered the king of the herbivores. Heck anything that can grab vegetation nine meters off the ground is deserving of that title in my opinion. But in Dinosaur Cowboys it’s normally considered a later game purchase, considering it costs $1,000 and a standard posse begins with exactly that much money.
But with the Leader and first member being free to recruit, a posse could technically have two humans with no weapons and a Longneck. Crazy? Maybe. But it’s exactly what The Herd Mothers do. With plenty of IP to go around each member could be improved to a fairly solid point, with 12 HP a piece, 1 AR, and MV 6. They’ll be focusing on Brawl attacks (Punch, Kick, Shove, Trip), which won’t do a ton of damage but could disrupt enemy forces. For example each member could Trip an enemy to apply Stopped, so then the slightly slower Longneck could get into combat and stomp them into the dirt. Or perform a Shove and use the 2″ Knockback to send enemies into combat.
Another feature to remember is that every human gets a Rope Lasso for free, so someone could mount the Longneck and use the 1-6″ range to apply Stopped to a nearby enemy just in time for the Longneck to barrel into combat. The Leader could be the rider and use his “Get Up!” trait to heal the Longneck when the going gets rough.

Anyways the alternative build is to have a Titan in a $1,000 ND / 100 IP posse. Pretty much the same idea but slightly different traits, and of course, the best carnivore instead of the best herbivore. I call them The Pack Fathers.

Two Super Soldiers
The next posse takes the idea of extremely well trained and well armed members to the extreme. Instead of settling for a few good guns and statistics, this posse dumps all the IP and ND into two members, with the third (mandatory to meet Posse composition minimums) basically being dead weight.
I made the two “super soldiers” as Neotechnoists, as I could see them being from a dark sect inside The Wall that experiment heavily with human improvement, drug stimulants, etc. Perhaps they have even skewed their views into worshiping dinosaurs, and tried to alter their appearance to match with drastic implants and body modifications. Their third member, a Savage weakling, could represent a sacrifice they keep for the dinosaurs.
Anyways I call this posse the Supersoldier Legion, and here’s a quick glance at their basic statistics: MV 5, AR 4, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 7, HP 15. The best part of that statline (besides the ridiculously high HP) is the 4 AR, thanks to expensive $300 Mesh Armor. That should hopefully give each super soldier terrific survivability, as we’ve seen with the Armored dinosaur in the past. They are wielding a Light Repeater and Heavy Pistol, which are both good weapons in their own right.
Oh and of course The Sacrifice (the low stat Savage who weakened himself to free up IP for the super soldiers) has this for a laughable statline: MV 1, AR 0, RMC 9, MMC 8, BRV 2, HP 1. Haha.

Veteran 400 IP Posse
I had put a reasonable cap on IP at 400, which corresponds to $4,000 ND and 13 Traits. But I decided to actually build a Posse with those stats and see what kind of awesome weapons and equipment I could come up with. The result is The Deadly Half Dozen who had a Titan dinosaur, the full 5 members rife with Grenade Launchers, 1MW Scoped Rifles, etc. I think this Posse might expose a slight problem where Hitpoints become too low and damage outdistances what each target can absorb. I mean someone with RMC 4 and 1A-10D 27″ range rifle is going to hurt, a lot.
I think in the future I’ll give two 400 IP Posses a shot and see what kind of chaos ensues.

Anyways those were just a few of the extreme and different Posses I could build within the limitations of the rules. Interesting to try to take each concept to the max and see if it breaks the build process.

Litko plastic tokens and markers

So as you’ve seen from my battle report pictures I currently use a set of wooden discs, hearts, and stars to mark the figures with various status effects, like Moved, Fleeing, Panic, etc. Yesterday’s report had some good examples of these. Well I was thinking of improving the existing tokens a bit, like painting the Fleeing/Panic hearts red, the Reload stars yellow, and writing “Moved” and “Moved & Acted” on the round circles after painting them some color (probably blue).
And then I remembered Litko (after feebly searching for “Lithko” for far too long). They have a huge selection of plastic tokens. I had looked at them in the past for torpedoes for Silent Death, but never ended up buying anything.
Anyway they have the terrific option of ordering custom tokens. You can choose the plastic color and type (opaque, transparent, etc.) and shape (star, round, etc.) and then have custom text written on them (up to 12 characters long). The price is great too, as you can get 10 custom text tokens for $6.99 + shipping (which looked pretty cheap up to the frozen Canadian north).
So I thought I’d link and show some of the tokens and markers I’d be interested in getting. First of all the premade tokens:

Token: Reload
For reloading I have a few options. I could just get a custom token or two, but they also have a great set of bullets and empty magazines. I’d tend towards the magazines since they have the word Reload on them and are slightly less “gunpowder-centric”.

Bullet Counter | Magazine Counter

Token: Force Fields!
There totally aren’t shields or force fields in Dinosaur Cowboys, but these tokens honestly make me want to add them, haha. They’d be great for a one off scenario or for protecting an objective or something, since figures hiding behind them would look pretty neato.

Force Field

Custom Token: Acted, Moved & Acted
So far I’ve been using the same wooden circular disk for both Acted and Moved & Acted, and just sort of remembering who actually moved or not. But Litko has some great shapes that would really help players see who has done what. First of all the general colors and shapes available:

So for Acted I think I would use “Circle” in Fluorescent Blue with the text “Acted” on it. Then for Moved & Acted I’d still use Fluorescent Blue but with the “Circle Arrow” shape, since the embedded arrow would help visually clue players into the fact that movement was involved. I think to be on the safe side I’d get 20 of each.

Custom Token: Fleeing and Panic
I like the fluorescent colors and think they’d really stand out on the table, so I’d stick with Fluorescent Pink with the Heart shape for Fleeing and Panic tokens. 10 with the text “Panic” and 10 with the text “Fleeing” would work well. Too bad they can’t be double sided so I could just get 10 with one word on each side.

Custom Token: Stunned, Stopped, Slowed
I wouldn’t need too many of these tokens, so I think I’d use Litko’s Custom 20 option, where you can get 20 individual tokens. It’s a bit pricier (because it’s such a small run of tokens, and it’s probably popular so it’s an easy way to make money for them). There are a few more shapes available for these ones, which is nice:

For these I think I’d get all Fluorescent Orange (again to keep the color theme) with different shapes for each condition. Stopped would probably be the “Gear” shape. Stunned would be “Burst”, and Slowed would be “Splat”. Either that or just all “Burst” shape, but I think being able to visually tell them apart would help.
Anyway I’d grab 5 of each condition, which leaves me with 5 custom tokens. One option for the leftover 5 tokens is to get a test run of each of my custom token plans above, instead of just blindly ordering 10+ of each. Otherwise there aren’t anymore required tokens for Dinosaur Cowboys, so maybe I’d just make something saying “Objective” or red skulls saying “Taken Out of Action”.

So these look like a terrific option to really class up the look of my games. I’ll be placing an order sometime this week I think, and I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the tokens in use once they arrive.