“Quickdraw” rules – 9-page beginner version!

quickdraw-previewAre you new to tabletop miniature skirmish games? Does the thought of a 70 page rulebook replete with equipment lists, campaign rules, and low level character customization scare you off? Would you rather just sit down with two Posses and try out this “Dinosaur Cowboys” game you have heard about? Then you are in luck, as I’ve created a set of “Quickdraw Rules” that promise to be just the core concepts of the game, and include pre-built Posses and simple instructions for getting a game going.

Download Dinosaur Cowboys Quickdraw PDF (v2.1)

Note: If you visit this page a while after it’s posted, make sure you have the latest version! I’d recommend checking the main Download Rulebook page which always has the latest rules.

v2.1 Released – Trait balance, new Features, Campaign Record Sheet, and more

Features_ContainerVersion 2.1 Released!
Well I bet you didn’t expect this! After almost 4 months since the big 2.0 release I thought I’d release v2.1, which has a lot more fixes and improvements (some long overdue) than you’d expect from that little itty bitty .1 version change. Some of these were motivated by the upcoming Battle to Seattle campaign with my friends, while others were on the TODO list for a long time…but weren’t much fun so I didn’t do them :)

First of all though, get the PDF of it!
Download the Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v2.1

Now for the changes. Instead of dumping a big list of the changes I thought I’d take some time talking about each one:
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Dinosaur Cowboys v2.0 Released!

It’s with great joy that I announce version 2.0 of Dinosaur Cowboys! After nearly two years of changes, tweaks, and edits, I feel that this version is finally done and polished enough to replace the old v1.0. I’m going to the v2.0 line because there have been enough core changes to the rules (which I sheepishly remember saying I’d never do). You can see a general idea of the biggest changes from the v1.9 release notes. Anyone who has been following the bleeding edge version knows pretty well what v2.0 has shaped up to be.

Download the free v2.0 rulebook PDF!

I think the rules are absolutely great at this point. I have numerous playtests under my belt, I’ve encountered and fixed/clarified a lot of corner cases that really only come up during repeated play, and most of all I’ve created the type of game I enjoy playing!
I’ll keep my eye on rule tweaks and fixes as I go, and I do want to reformat the rulebook to two columns at some point, but otherwise I don’t foresee any large changes. Then again I said the same thing for v1.0, so who knows! I do have a few ideas of “expansions” to the rules (like an armor system for Dinosaurs) but those would all be separate documents.
You can expect to see lots more campaign reports and general matches, since like I said I really enjoy actually sitting down to play the game.

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Bleeding edge rulebook on Dropbox

Dropbox-LogoI’ve started using Dropbox for some personal file syncing and organization. I think eventually I might setup an instance of ownCloud on my personal server (the same one that runs The Saloon), just because I like free software services like that.

Anyway as part of my Dropbox usage I’ve started synchronizing the latest Dinosaur Cowboys rulebook (both in ODT and PDF format) directly from the internal Subversion repository I use.

So what does this mumbo jumbo mean for you? It means you can download the absolutely latest rulebook at any time. Remember this rulebook is the bleeding edge, not a finalized release, so there may be half finished rules or changes in the document. But hopefully this approach is a handy option for everyone! I know it’ll be a lot easier for me to keep the rulebook up to date. Obviously I’ll still also be following my original release schedule of versioned rulebooks every now and then. I should have done this right from the start, but alas, hindsight!

Bleeding Edge Rulebook: http://bleedingedge.mine.nu/

For example the most recent copy (as of this writing) has minor changes to the stat table, typo in the D4 dice table, and tons of edits from Brandon on Boardgamegeek, and the start of implementing the art from spohniscool. At this point the rules are fairly stable, so not a ton of crazy changes, but it’s the thought that counts!

Release of Rulebook v1.9 with massive changes

Big-ChangesWell the last release was a little over nine months ago, how crazy is that? You’ll notice with this release I jumped a bunch of version numbers. The reason for that is because of all the massive changes. I know I had said the core rules were solidified at the v1.0 release, and in a sense they still are, but yeah, v1.9 and forward will be different than prior releases.
What I’m planning to do is release v1.9, let it simmer for a bit, and then release the “final” version as v2.0. This is because I might have missed typos or other errors just due to the sheer size of the changes.

First of all, here is the brand new Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v1.9.

Anyway, I keep talking about big changes, so let’s hear them (ordered biggest change to smallest)!

Version 1.9 Rules Changes
– Renamed the statline, which is now: DEF, RTN, CTN, BTN, SPD, HP. That would be Defense (Armor Rating), Range Target Number (Ranged Miss Chance), Close Target Number (Melee Miss Chance), Bravery Targer Number (Bravery/Gutless), Speed (Movement), Panic Speed (Panic Movement). The reason for this was to apply a consistent naming to the lower-is-better stats (RTN, CTN, BTN). Also Defense makes more sense in terms of dinosaurs and lightly armored cowboys. Speed also sounds better since then the Maneuever Phase can become Movement Phase instead. Also Defense is written as +X, and Speed as X” instead of both being flat X. The use of these statistics doesn’t change much, it’s more just a redone naming and reorder of the stat line. To get an idea of what the new statline looks like see this example posse roster.
– In the same vein of renaming for theme, Run was changed to Hustle
– Split Speed on the Posse Roster (similar to Hitpoints) to easily see what the Hustle distance would be
– Dinosaurs now ignore Difficult Terrain, due to their massive size. This also makes moving a big dinosaur toy MUCH easier on a cramped table.
– Dinosaur balancing: King DIS 9 to 8, King A-D 1-9 to 1-8, Raptor A-D 1-6 to 1-5, Fin HP to 17, Terror A-D 1-7 to 1-6, Terror MV 5 to 6, Plated HP 23 to 22, Runner HP 10 to 11, Thickskull A-D 5-1 to 4-2, Horned MV 6 to 5, Horned A-D 4-3 to 6-1, Ripper HP 12 to 13, Longneck HP 37 to 35, Titan HP 32 to 30
– Added 10 Deployments to spice up games beyond “line up on opposing sides”
– Added 11 Objectives to help move away from plain “kill everything” matches
– Added 40 Features to provide some extra variety to games, such as Duststorms, Volcanos, Traps, Weapon Emplacements, etc.
– Added a Forced March rule to allow posses to travel longer per day at the cost of Initiative
– Added an underdog table for unbalanced battles in a campaign
– Added rules for Overland Difficult Terrain
– Added after encounter Wound and Injury rules for an ongoing campaign
– Updated Variant Rules to have 19 solid options, instead of old brainstorm info
– Renamed Surprise Hit to Shot in the Back (for flavor)
– Added a Custom Game Sheet that helps track Variant Rules and Features in a game
– Added a game component and game example image to the Game Overview
– Buffed Lassos so they are a little more viable. Now they base the attacks-damage off the dinosaur being ridden. This basically gives a mounted dinosaur a slight ranged attack
– Added a new image based on an old Pony Express ad
– Improved Dinosaur page by making it landscape and adding silhouettes to give an idea of each dinosaur
– Minor change to Minimum Range to be 0-X instead of 1-X to clarify that it can’t be used in melee
– Lowered Voluntary Weakness for Bravery to make it less profitable. Now it goes 2, 2, 3, 4 to stop getting 14 IP from dropping Bravery by two
– Made a note about maximum Traits (which is 13 at 400 IP)
– Reworded Neotechnoist wealth refund to be clearer
– Embed fonts in exported PDF, very important for Dingosaurus font (used in Dinosaur list for silhouettes)
– Cut the PDF size down to ~2.5mb (even with all the new images) by changing from Lossless image export to 100% quality
– Added an example completed posse roster to help players understand how they should look
– Added a note that dinosaurs block Line of Sight
– Added a D12 Random Direction table (demonstrating using the faces of a clock)
– Cleaned up item lists to use alternative colored rows and some green garnish
– Add a note that only a single Panic token can be added at once, regardless of double or triple damage
– Added Dice Tables for D4, D8, D10 in case players only have D12s
– Removed the Crossfire rule and diagram. It was never used, was overly clunky and complex, and didn’t add much
– Added Hatchet as an alternative to Hammer
– Trait “Runner” was renamed to “Racer” to avoid confusion with the dinosaur
– Ten grammar and typo edits from user Grusome99 on Boardgamegeek, many thanks

Peaceful-BeachLike I said, a TON of changes. I maybe should have done an intermediate release, now that I realize how far out of date the old v1.3 was compared to the current.

Version 1.9 Saloon Changes
As usual I updated The Saloon to match the current version. This was a lot of work because of all the PDF export work that needed to be done. Otherwise there were a few minor changes:

– Changed NeodollarFormatter to cut off the decimal places
– Changed fonts and also embedded them in the PDF. This roughly doubled the file size (~185kb to ~350kb) but will ensure the PDFs display properly on all operating systems regardless of what fonts they have available

Next Up
For now I’m going to take a break, play some Dinosaur Cowboys, and make sure v1.9 is solid and there aren’t any unconverted stats or other typos. I have a 4-player game lined up tomorrow so that will be fun. With luck v2.0 will be out in the next month or two.

Old rulebooks now available

ArchiveI’m a big fan of looking back at the progression of a ruleset and seeing how it evolved over the many months. So I combed through this blog to find every Dinosaur Cowboys release I’ve done, and have now linked to them on the main download page. For easy access here is the list repeated as of the v1.3a release. These are links directly to the PDF file. I definitely like perusing those pre-v1.0 releases and seeing all the big TODO chunks. Also fun to see what sections I’ve rewritten and a few of the sentences that have made it all the way from the first version.

Old Versions: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 0.91b, 1.0, 1.1, 1.1b, 1.2, 1.3, 1.3a

Speaking of rules the development version of v1.4 was generously edited for typos, grammar, and structure by a fellow Boardgamegeek website user named Grusome99. I’ve rolled his changes into the document so those nine or ten fixes will be part of the next release.

In terms of the next release I am thinking sooner is better. This has been one of the larger gaps between releases, but more importantly v1.3a is getting fairly far behind the current v1.4. There were enough changes with campaigns, objectives/deployments/features, Gutless, etc. that you can expect a new version early March.

Custom Game Sheet

Clever-GirlI recently played a game using the new Deployment, Objective, and Feature rules. We had a “Clever Girl” deployment with an “Assassination” objective. The Clever Girl deployment is supposed to mimic the namesake situation in Jurassic Park. So the defender has to split their posse and deploy between the back and middle of the board. Then attacker deploys at the back and puts two entities to either flank of the defender’s forward element (ie: the flanking Velociraptors from the movie). This was already a fun deployment, but the Assassination objective meant the defender (who had unknowingly exposed their Leader as a forward element) was immediately on their toes. The game looked like it’d be over in a few turns as the defender’s Leader was down to 2 HP! But they managed to get into cover and push back with the rest of their force, eventually driving the attacker back and winning the game. Quite a good time.

Anyway during this game we also had planned to use the “Carnivorous Plants” setup Feature, which basically meant vegetation could attack people standing beside it. However I forgot to use this rule the entire game.
So what I decided to do to is create a quick Custom Game Sheet. The purpose of this is to help remember what Variant Rules and Features are used in the heat of a battle. Silent Death had a similar approach, and with the growing number of Variant Rules and massive number of Features I figured such a tool would be very handy. So I made a one page sheet and inserted it in the latest rulebook (which I’ll release after some more testing and editing of the campaign rules).

Here is how it looks:
And here is the download: Custom Game Sheet (PDF).

I also added alternating shading to the various item charts. I am honestly not sure why I didn’t have that right from the start. Reading wide tables without any color differentiation is rather tough. I also added a splash of green color to match the blank posse roster. Anyway a quick preview of the old vs new chart:
Now that I looked at the lists from this view I realized the name should have a trailing space or padding to break it up a bit from the divider.

I’m busy travelling for a while here, but I do want to sit down and play some campaign battles for my test Windy River setup.