Friday, June 15, 2018

Some Rough Terrain

Today's Tutorial :: Rough Terrain!
I created some Rough Terrain for my 28MM MEST rules. In terms of the MEST Tactics rules, any Flying status or using Agility) travels at half normal rate. This is very similar to many tabletop wargame rules.

Tutorial

I'm trying a new process for building this terrain which goes like this;

Crafting


  1. Cut some MDF. I start by getting plyers and breaking off weird shapes from masonite boards I purchased from Michael's Art Store.
  2. Next I use a matt-knife to refine the edges of those boards.
  3. Then I glue some small bits of expanded styrene. I use this "Pink Panther" brand.
  4. I carve that with my hot-wire knife into interesting shapes to form boulders.
  5. Afterwards, I use some plaster spackle to given some texture to large areas of the board. I use the high-density type, and so it takes some time to dry after application.
  6. While the spackle is wet, I start jamming into it small rocks and pebbles of various sizes. I think kitty litter or aquarium pebbles could work well for this, but I got my rocks from the side streets and washed them before use.
  7. After everything dries, I cover the entire surface with a coat of Elmer's Glue. This helps seal the spackle, the pebbles, and also glues down any fibres from the styrene.

Painting

When that stuff dries;

  1. I go over each board with a thick coat of black acrylic paint. This may bring up some of the glue, but it will all eventually dry again. I try to hide all white and pink; flood all surfaces with black paint.
  2. When the black paint dries, I use dark brown and wet-brush all of the boards in an attempt to bring up some of the textures.
  3. After the brown paint dries, I dry-brush tan acrylic paint.
  4. I also dry-brush some medium gray.
  5. I then do a very quick dry-brush with a 4-inch brush white on the edges of all of the boulders I carved out of styrene. I also touch up on the rocks and pebbles where I think looks nice. However, I do this by drawing up from the edges of the boards to the tops of the boulders.
  6. And I wet-brush medium green in areas I want to look as though it were damp.

Flocking

After that tan dries, I try something new!

  1. Get some green flocking material. I use fine-powder dark green and lighter clumpy forest green.
  2. I mix a bowl of medium green acrylic paint with Elmer's glue.
  3. I dab the boards in the areas where I had already dry-brushed with green paint earlier. 
  4. I then sprinkle some dark green flocking on those areas.
  5. Afterwards, with my fingers, I jam the clumpy flocking atop that where desired.
  6. When I am done with everything, I spray the clumps with flocking glue to hold it into place.


Wide boards. About 3-inch by 10-inches

This is about 6-inch by 8-inch

Another big piece.

Some of the pieces with boulders made of carved pink styrene.

How the new Rough terrain looks like with some 28MM figures. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

MEST Tactics :: Fantasy Gladiator v2.x Cards

EDIT: 2018-06-11 Updated the images of the cards to match the current version with altered Trample and Bite traits and capabilities

Overview

I've been play-testing the new MEST Tactics v2.x rules with my nephew and brother and as a result I wanted to increase the variety. As a result, I've been updating my demo cards for the Fantasy Gladiator genre. Unlike the v1.6 version, these cards have three variations for each of my characters. I figured I'd start doing this because it makes for more interesting combinations of combatants.

I'm also using my new points-costing system from MEST v2.x. It's a bit more complex and is meant to only be used as a build-your-own tool since my intention is to have each genre document (Mythos, Gothic Horror, etc) to have pre-built archetypes for each faction. Anyhow, the new points system seem to be a bit more balanced, but only time can tell.

The Gladiator Variations :: Chaka

So, each warrior has three variations on itself. The most basic is just whatever the Sophont (i.e.; species) defaults are plus some weapons, armor, and equipment. To add some flavor, I introduced character-specific traits as well.

Here's Chaka in his most basic form, for example;

Gray Chaka. Just an Average Common Archetype plus Acrobatic and Sneaky. Don't mess with Chaka!
And here's two more versions, Red, and Blue.

Blue Chaka. Blue variations concentrate on adding Tactics or Leadership; both of which are very expensive. Blue Chaka is about 25% more (+24 BP) in cost than Gray Chaka.

Red Chaka. Red variations focus mostly on improving the character for combat. Very expensive as well; Red Chaka is about 50% more (+41 BP) than Gray Chaka. This version provides +1 REF, STR, +1 FOR, and +Brawn. 


The Others :: Perlo

I always thought that Perlo with his two swords was always unfairly treated by the default rules. In that, having multiple weapons is nice but not very cinematic in feel during game-play. And so I added the Multi-strike trait just for him.

Gray Perlo with Multi-strike. Nasty little guy.
Red Perlo is even scarier; +Fight, +Brawl, and then +1 CCA, +1 POW, +1 STR, and +1 FOR. At 111 BP, this figure is well worth the investment. When compared to Blue Chaka (above), Red Perlo is definitely more about getting into melee and kicking butt.

The Others :: Iago, Azazel, and Baal.

This is from my last post; I recently acquire and prepped some new figures. 

Here's Gray Iago. He's got Winged Flight and Bite 2 at STR 3. The Leap will offset the penalties of the [Winged] Disability trait which requires that Iago has enough room to start Flying status. Bite is now shown with a penalty of -2 Modifier dice for Attacker and Defender (when interrupted by a React).


This is Gray Azazel. You may notice that Azazel is a Robustus Centaur; he's got SIZ 5 and and Brawn 2. Compare him with Gray Chiron below. Notice that Trample is now a weapon stat-line using SIZ. The (?) indicates additional Impact and Modifier dice are received for each SIZ larger than the target, which must already be SIZ - 1 or smaller.
Gray Chiron is a Gracilis Centaur; at SIZ 5 he's smaller than Azazel but he has Detect 2 instead of Azazel's Detect 1. Otherwise these centaurs have nearly identical baseline attributes and traits. Also notice that I made the Centaurs (both Azazel and Chiron) have INT 1; this will force them to be more about speed of movement and less of leadership or tactics during game-play.

The Others :: Selgir and Medusa

My two favorite characters are Medusa and Selgir. Like the others gladiators in v2.0, I've updated their character cards and re-jiggered their point costs.

Red Medusa is the scariest gladiator in the entire set with her Fear 4. I needed to adjust that trait a bit, but the result is that it makes her cost 329 BP. Is she worth nearly triple the other fighters? I think so, that is; until I can get some archers and sorcerer figures to allow some range-combat opponents for her.

Red Selgir. Selgir gets POW 4 and Grit 2. This makes Selgir the most courageous gladiator of the entire set.  Also see the red triangles at Selgir's REF and MOV. These are the [Laden] penalties called out for wearing Medium Armor and Medium Shield. The penalties are -1 REF when Distracted, and half normal Agility.
This is Red Selgir's Fear Test comparison against Medusa. You can see that Selgir only gets 1 or more Fear tokens about 11% of the time. With the v2.x Grit rules, Selgir's Grit 2 allows him to convert one of those tokens into a Delay token instead. This makes Red Selgir able to approach Medusa usually uncompromised by Fear.

Downloads

You can either go to the Downloads section or click here for the updated documents.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Latest Creations

Here's some pics of the results of my labors in the world of terrain building.

Greek Pantheon

I was able to complete my Greek Pantheon. I built it very quick with the intention for use in 28MM scale gaming for MEST Tactics.

This is my Greek temple. It is modeled after the Greek Pantheon and I think it will be very useful in my Mythos and VSF settings. In the back of the building you can see the new walls that I recently crafted.
Here's a photo of the original Pantheon.


Side view of the Pantheon. I painted the dome gold and the bases of the columns as well. It made the entire thing just "pop" from its old drab brown looks.
A back corner. Figures for scale. Unfortunately, I built this originally for my daughter's school project on Greek mythology and so I didn't craft it with removable walls. The interior would basically be alcoves with statues of the Greek gods upon pedestals.

A final close-up look of the Pantheon for showing the scale.

New Gladiators

I also acquired some new 1:18 scale (90MM) figures and painted them up after basing them. These go with my main MEST Tactics demo set for the Fantasy Gladiator genre.

This is "Azazel"; he's a bit bigger than my other centaur "Chiron". I'll have another blog post discussing my updated character cards for the Fantasy Gladiator builds soon. Azazel is available from Safari Ltd.

This is "Iago". He's a fairly large griffin also available from Safari Ltd. Originally the plumage on this figurine was shiny gold and so I dry-brushed it with brown and then tan to keep it more subtle and per se realistic.

I added a metal screw to the chest of Iago. This allows me to mount him upon a magnet with a stand. Here's Iago and Azazel together for scale.

Here's Iago's stand. In the latest MEST 2.x build I added Flight as a trait. It seems to work fine in solo-play but I'll find out soon when I play-test with my nephew.

This big guy is Baal; "lord" of the desert. Like Iago, I dry-brushed the figurine to make it look more realistic because the original design is as a "swamp dragon" from Safari Ltd.

I need a new camera; my macro pics are terrible. Anyhow, this is Baal and Azazel near each other.

For scale, here is a 28MM model next to Baal which is 90MM. I fully intend to use Baal in my 28MM gaming as well!

New Objective Markers

These five objective markers [OMs] I created for the 90MM Fantasy Gladiator set, but I made them generic enough for use in my 28MM gaming.

Purple rocks, gears, bronze bullions, bundle of sticks, some weird metallic boxes. I've got about three more OMs to create and then I'll have enough for a good race-and-capture gaming session.

And here's the 28MM figure at the center of it all.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Some Terrain

NOTE: I recently revisited MEST Fantasy Gladiator with my nephew. He is definitely getting better at the tactics. Just a short 4-Turn battle between myself, him, and my brother. We each received 4 characters.

Overview

The Fantasy Gladiator genre set that I have is 1:18 scale where in each figurine is 90MM tall or about 3.5-inches in height. At present this is my principal ad hoc demo set for new-comers. I've used this set at my workplaces for the past 6 years ... works marvels because the figures are large! However, I created the set with very little terrain except for 12 pillars. The idea was to keep everything simple.

Well, I've learned that with more figures there's probably going be a need for more terrain. Especially if the demo set becomes a competition game. And so, I've built more.

Process

Here's my process!



I purchases this foam board from Lowes. It is about 1-inch thick about 4 by 8 feet in dimensions and sells for about $8.00 USD. You'll need to peel that "R-Tech" plastic from the front, and a similar but gray foil from the back. Otherwise paint won't stick to it.

This was my Christmas gift to myself. About $120 USD. Cut the big foam boards into smaller squares and rectangles. The ruler you see at the top allows for precision cuts of consistent dimension.

You will need this hot-wire knife to create details in your foam, and to carve out gashes and scratches. This is a lot easier than when I used as hot wire gun.

So, I cut out a bunch of square and rectangular tiles. I stacked them together and started using the hot-wire knife to cut shapes into the tiles. You can see the crazy gray foil that still sticks to the foam board.

More creative stacking. You may notice that I have some MDF boards I use as the base. I got these cut a few years back. I think places such as Lowes and Ace Hardware (both in the USA) will cut MDF for you. Otherwise you'll need to get a circular saw because MDF is hard to cut with a blade.

I tried to create step-like layouts. I figure that maybe I can use these finished projects with both my 1:18 figures and with my 28MM figures. Why not, right?

More of the same. Some interesting gaps for the smaller figures to move about.

Once I have the shapes hot-glued into place, I need to add some interesting texture. I use sand and white glue for this. BTW, I discovered that you can purchase jugs of white-glue for very cheap. I highly recommend this.


You can see that the sand and glue chunked up a bit. Bah. Not a problem.

What I did afterwards when the glue dried is that I revisited each piece and added another layer of white-glue as a sealant. This allows the remainder of the sand to be locked into place. It also creates a smoother surface for when I paint.



These walls have a base-coat of dark brown. I did a thin black wash afterwards when the brown dried.

The foreground is essentially done. The background walls need a dry-brush of white.

When I dry brush, I use a lighter brown across the entire face with a 2-inch brush. I then use a 1-inch brush  with pure white for dry-brushing corners and edges.

Friday, April 27, 2018

World of the Sudden Abplenitude

Overview

This is some of the background from my work-in-progress for my 1:160 (10MM) scale miniatures game "Mech, Beast, and Infantry". The game itself is currently early Alpha around version 0.47. I'm still deciding on some core mechanisms which I'll identify in a later post. The target niche is the same as Mechwarrior: Dark AgesDropzone Commander, or Firestorm: Planet Fall. I think each of these are decent game designs but require very specific models and mechanism which tend to make them a bit gamey. This new game system is intended to allow the use of any models across any product line ranges; a mix-and-mash.

Preface

This is the Sudden Abplenitude; a very brief but dramatic period of civilization where post-scarcity society self-destructed. It is the middle of the 22nd Century, and all is not well; the world is broken and the Uncompatibles are rebelling. The Steady Voice of the Quiet Whispers have failed to calm the Discord and war is now here.

Apparently many autocratopolises are revealing ploys during this turmoil. They have encroached upon your society’s fields, damaged its agrimakers, depuissanted its robot crafters, and polluted its factories and terroir with destructive MEMSies.

It is become like living in the 21st Century again.

The Uncompatibles

This is your fate, farmer;

You and many millions of others in your village-state are unable to join the Great Dreaming because of a flaw in your DNA. Some few through ancient tradition also want to avoid frivoling their lives away tied to a Consoul tended by Minders. Mankind was meant for the stars, not for vast crypts of sleeping pureforms.

Then one day it happened; a glitch in the sensenet misprogrammed several MEMSies and the makers became erratic and began to depuissant your aggrebuilt megafarms. It was stopped, but this happened again, and again, and again across the entire World.

That was when you and the others decided to destroy the order of things and start over again. You began to wake the dreamers but were surprised to encounter violent resistance. The Quiet Voices have been murmuring and whispering untruths to the autocratons and now there is war.

You can stop this, you can change all of this to the way is has to be, or Mankind is doomed.

Maybe.

The Autocratoi

This is your fate, dreamer;

You’ve been rudely awakened from your Consoul and forcibly recruited into the war effort to minimize damage to your Beautiful Dream and ensure the Other Powers suffer more though reasonably.

As a newly extracted warrior leader with tremendous milconsimrena experience, you must assist in the efforts of your autocratopolis to ensure it recuperates the most intact during this time of turmoil. You’ve been tasked to assemble the best and brightest of your renaleague from the Well of Dreams, upsert them into technobeforms  and settle this disruption of service once and for all.

You’ll be assembling transhumanic conscripts and veterans into large battleforces to deal with the confusion of the wars. You’ll receive all the necessary support from the autonomatamakers which are Ready to generate anything from walking battle platforms, to cybernetic beasts, to cruftarmor, according to your needs.

Your careful planning, analytics, and montecarlos on the milsims will pay-out, or will they? War tends to be a bit more unpredictable without the Minders and the Voices, and those are getting more scarce every day.

It’s probably too late for the World, but you can probably fix this before it’s too late for your own people.

Maybe.

The Edificers

This is your fate, edificer;

The call of Discord has reached your sensory apparatus and engaged your Brownian realitor; you’ve decided to exit your cavernous underdwellings, and assist in the demalevolence of the homonidikin in all of their upserted variations. You know this is the best path to quiescence, and so you hum across the entire spectrum with the harmonic iteration of the Quiet Whispers.

Soon your machinations will spring forth new MEMSies to depuissant failed enterprises among the  Uncompatibles. You will be relentless and precise to diminish these inefficiences.

All of the repos and codebases are at your behest. You can alter the world and fulfill your original inquests, to optimize and to make your daily quotas met. You will be greatly rewarded with spare memgrams and interface time with the Steady Voice, or you and your cohort versions will be recycled.

Maybe.

Background Premise

The basic idea is that there three warring factions; the farmers ("Uncompatibles"), the dreamers ("Autocratoi"), and the edificers ("Edificers"). Most of the entire world has voluntarily entered into compartmentalized virtual reality dream-parks known as "cratons" buried deep underground in cavernous self-sufficient cities or "autocratons". Their majority of a citizen's life is spent birth-to-death in this cybernetic reality. Everything is automated by the Edificers in their humungous warehouses and factories known as "underdwellings" which are partitioned into edifices which drop even further into the earth's crust and serve as ventilation for the geothermal powerplants.

These robots and their computation networks do their best to increase efficiency and optimize how the Autocratoi experience life. Citizens which don't make the transition into these cratons, either by choice or because they are not genetically or psychologically compatible, serve as farmers and auxiliary workers for the robots. Everything is communicated to everything else using secure, nation-specific, protocols across the "sensenet" which gently awashes each individuals senses. These messages are the Quiet Whispers and they collaborate with a complex emergent maximally distributed, hardware-based super-intelligence known as the Steady Voice. Each region has their own, and they tend to their citizens as does a shepherd to a flock of sheep.

Society seemed to run very well until a defect was introduced into the software programming of one of the Steady Voices, or three. It could be the Transvaal Intellect which suffered a recent earthquake, or it might have been the Death Valley Intellect which overheated when the aquifer cooling system experienced a blockage. More likely than not, it involved the St. Petersburg Intellect shard SP-Ladoga-14, which was subject to a magma eruption which overflowed from the Ladoga Edifice and overheated it.

Warring Regions

There are thousands of tombcity regions across the entire globe of the Earth. Each region is generally about a thousand square kilometers of land and houses around a million Uncompatibles and 10 to 100 million pureform “dreamers”.

Most of the regions became subject to the effects of the “Sudden Abplenitude” and succumbed within a few hours, but there were several hundred which survived upwards of several days or weeks. Information flowed quickly from those areas into other megafarm establishments before the networks were jammed by the rogue intelligences of the attack.

Less than 1 per 1000 of those living within these regions are actually involved in the warfare; most of the first-wave damage to infrastructure is done via the MEMsies. MEMsies are the nano-technology micro-electromagnetic machines with their silicon interfaces (thus “MEM-Si-interfaces” or “MEMSies”). These wild devices destroy nearly all life, including that of the sleeping Autocratoi eventually; it takes just a few weeks.



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Designer's Notes for Barbarian Suns v2

The Avausim. The memetic representation of the Milky Way galaxy.
Preface :: These are my designer's notes for Barbarian Suns version 2. I think that BSv4 will have a better chance of getting published but it may take a while. Therefore I present my designer's notes here as a way to prelude the thinking behind the game design. Please note that both versions of the game (v2 and v4) play on a grid; v2 is on a square-grid and v4 is on a hex-grid.

Additionally, any mentions of SH2156 is in regards to my Superhero '44 Campaign.


There's a blog post describing what that means.


Designer Notes

A. Conception

It was a cold night in that cellar at Dan Pellerino’s house. Just myself, Dan and Damon Williams. None of us had any money to spend, and we were a bit hungry. In order to bide the time, we decided to create something a piece of graph paper. We didn’t have dice, so we modified our pencils into “Egyptian dice” by adding pips to each of the six sides. That was back in 1987. We didn’t have a name for it at the time, but we knew that the idea didn’t yet exist any where else in the gaming industry.

The basic game concept was actually formulated during my military years in 1983-86 in order to
support a strategic view of the SH2156 RPG game universe. As a science-fiction super-hero
role-playing game, SH2156 tried to meld the worlds of military gaming (a la Marc Miller’s
Traveller) and fantasy gaming (a la Hero Games’ Champions) into something more tangible.
This is understandable since it grew from the game I created in 1977 as a child to something
much larger when I revisited it after the USMC.

The adult that revisited the game needed to make it a bit “more”. So the background had to expand, and had to focus on events external to just interstellar warfare and comic-book heroes. Part of the background was to show that the events within the RPG were a small but critical part of a larger intragalactic war.

So, that night in the basement was something that we all hoped would be fun to play as well as
something we could continue to develop over time. What started from simple rules on scratch
paper and make-shift “pencil dice” has now grown into a comprehensive gaming experience.

B. Design Choices

All of us involved with refining the concept of an intragalactic conflict simulation game were
unsatisfied with the take of existing games like Stellar Conquest or Cosmic Encounters. Each
seemed to be on the opposite extremes of accounting practice or over-simplification. What we
wanted was something that could capture the sense of an RPG with all of its attention to detail,
but with enough martial constraint as to make it seem like a serious wargame.

We didn’t want a parlor game but we also didn’t want to have to learn a lot rules. We did want
something that was light, but could be played with seriousness between experienced players –
like a chess game but with spaceships and dice.
  • First. The first design choice was the board. It could have been a hexagonal board, or even a grid like it is now – but with more cells. What we decided was to have a small board such that any military movement would have a great impact, without having to resort to a large number of markers. In this way, any military movement became critical because the number of potential bottlenecks increased dramatically.
  • Second. The second design choice was the concept of movement. We realized that if we were to use a square grid, units would need to account for diagonal movement. Normally this is done by forcing a 1.5 movement point cost across diagonals. However, we decided that it would be too much math and also problematic in order to track which units had fractional movement points remaining.

    So a solution was to devise Movement Technologies” and to limit diagonal movement to an advanced form of intragalactic drive. Since the SH2156 RPG already had the concept of “Tunnel Drives” which would allow units to create worm-holes for unprecedented movement ability, we opted to allow diagonal movement under that guise.
  • Third. The third design choice was the concept of accounting. We didn’t want to have to track all of the improvements that we associated to each player in a large matrix or note pad. Other games of the time allowed for such, but we felt that it would be too much information.

    When our system sectors received improvements, we decided to instead show that information on the mapboard itself. At Dan’s, it was just a special symbol drawn on the mapboard, but soon there were too many symbols to draw. This necessitated the creation of System Improvement Markers. It’s one of the unique things about Barbarian Suns that makes it fun to play; look at the mapboard and you can instantly assess your worth. When it came to creating the military units, we encountered the very same problem all military conflict simulation games have to address; too many markers.

    Some existing wargames had thousands of markers to account for specific variations or order-of-battle appearance. We had to drop the concept of an Order-of-Battle tree; too limiting. We also didn’t want to have three variants of the galactic equivalent of the Panzer III. We did want to have units that could be improved; but how to do so without adding more markers into the game?
  • Fourth. Our fourth design choice addressed this by allowing nearly all technological changes to be accounted for via “technology” cards[4]. Each card would represent a specific rules alteration that could account for the addition of either new units onto the mapboard, or the modification of an existing rule or unit. In this way, if we wanted to improve a Dreadnaught[1] unit into an Ultradreadnaught[1] unit, it was only a matter of possessing the card indicating such.
  • Fifth. The fifth design choice we made was the System Ownership cards. Again, we didn’t want to have to do a lot of paper work; we wanted a game in which the pieces and the statuses could be displayed via some other mechanism. The System Ownership cards allowed us to identify and account for what we owned much like the “Title” cards in Monopoly. An added benefit was like the Technology cards; any system-specific rules could be written upon the face of the System cards.
  • Last. The last design choice came about after play testing. We had to create the Turn Order cards in order to offset the advantage a player had by going first each time. Initially we randomized this with a die roll, but we found ourselves re-rolling several times in order to beat ties that would occur.

    Additionally, once the dice were cast we were expected to memorize our order of play or else write them down. Since we wanted to avoid accounting work, we brought in the cards. A very large amount of play-testing went into the game to help refine its balance and the abilities of each unit and technology.

    For a game of this scale, it is really impossible to balance every aspect, but we tried to focus on three primary aspects; economic warfare, martial warfare and technological warfare. What I’ve discovered after several hundred hours of play-testing is that its best to capture a “feel” than to use numbers.

So, each Frigate[1] matters. 

One Minor System can support the creation of a Frigate. One Frigate can conquer a Minor System or control a Sector of the game board. The economy should be able to be grown via territorial conquest, as well as infrastructure development (“Boost”) and also via technology (“Economy II”, “Merchantry”). In this way, the player that sits by himself will also be able to compete with the player that aggressively conquers territory. This bodes well for that third player in a 3-player game.

For the aggressive player, we decided to allow numerous fleet units to be built and of a variety of form. Many of the variations would not be available unless technology for them was first had, but the pay off would be to provide capabilities that would make a great impact. An example of this is the Dreadnaught[1] unit. As a basic fleet unit, it would be available at any Shipyard[2] or Capital[2]. By itself, it is quite formidable. But when upgraded to a “Deathmoon”[1], it acquires just that “extra bit more” which makes it a unit worth employing in the place of dreadnaught. The best thing about it is that once “Deathmoon”[1] technology is achieved, ALL dreadnaughts become “Deathmoons”…

As for the System sectors, I wanted them to be able to be built into huge resources over time –
and so we created stages of advancement; Province, Minor, Major, Mega and Nexus. In this way, the player that can dig-in would be able to upgrade their few systems into something a bit more formidable.

As for the Technology trees, I wanted this to be completely different from existing games[4]. I
wanted technology to make an impact in the game. I didn’t want long technology trees because I didn’t view revolutionary technology to behave in that manner. Each step of technology research had to generate a definite edge in game play. In that way, a non-aggressive player could force the game to be one of “technological warfare” if the other players weren’t aggressive enough.

In order to help add more flavor to the game, I created four different kinds of Nexii to suit the
playing-style of each player. This theme we carried to even the Basic Fleet units and to the
Color cards. The premise works well in play – align the playing style with the proper Nexii, fleet
types and Color cards and the player will acquire a distinct advantage over those that don’t do
the same.

C. Artwork Choices

The first real complete set of playing pieces created for Barbarian Suns was done in 2-day
frenzy by myself while working the weekend as a physical security guard in late 1987. There
really wasn’t any artwork and nearly all of the original pieces were cannibalized from existing
games like SPI’s Starsoldier and Outreach. The game board was drawn within a 30-minute
flurry that next day with lack of sleep; using Prismacolors, acrylic line-tape for the grid and axis
labels; acrylic paint and a toothbrush in order to draw a simulated shape of the galaxy. This
was all done while my date was sitting in the car in front of Ray Wisneski’s apartment when I
gave the excuse to go and “use the bathroom”.

Since then, the game has gone through at least five redesigns of the artwork and pieces.
Raymond, Robert Curtis, Richard Frausto each of created one compete set of the game by
painstakingly gluing the laser printouts of my vector art to poster-board and carving them out
with a matt-knife. I think Richard created three sets and Robert two. Regardless; I lost them or
“accidentally” cannibalized them each time.

In this last iteration, the actual art itself is heavily influenced by a “meta-concept” I conceived to
tie in the SH2156 and the Barbarian Suns game. I call that the “Ovodium Cosmogos”. Using
the basic concepts of “memetics”, I fused fractals, art nouveau and baroque into a design basis
for all of the artwork. The result of which looks like the popular, “edgy” gothic tattoo work
employed by today’s youth. It wasn’t intentional, but there it is.

The single item where this comes together well is the mapboard which shows the four
metamemes by their colors (red, blue, green, yellow) overlaid upon a fractal mandragora
pattern of the galaxy, overlaid upon a digitally quarter-mirrored galaxy (actually M51), overlaid
upon some symbols representing the inner circuitry of the galaxy.

D. Pseudo History

The story of the “Ovodium Cosmogos” is the background for the game of “Barbarian Suns”. It’s
a lot more comprehensive than what is shown here, but the simple outline shown below pretty
much captures it. 

The fundamental reasoning for all of this is as follows:
  1. IF Man is special
  2. IF there exists other intelligent life in the universe
  3. IF super-science exists
  4. IF there exists a Great Force which control the behavior of the universe
  5. THEN what would happen when Man begins to conquer the universe?
My take on this is that the Great Force would either want to enhance Man’s ability to conquer
the universe, or hinder Man. Unfortunately for Man, a vote had already been cast, and action
has already been taken to shut the Milky Way galaxy off from the rest of the universe so that
Man can’t spread any further. What remains within the galaxy are sub-sets of that Great Force,
each striving to collect absolute control so that they can then focus on re-connecting the Milky
Way galaxy back to the rest of the universe.

In game terms, each player assumes a sub-set of the Great Force (here, “Dios Primin”) known
as the “Colors” and are identified by a color (red, blue, green, yellow). The Standard Victory
Condition for each game scenario is then assumed to be the goal of achieving absolute control
of the galaxy. The victor in this case would then be able to – as a choice - reconnect the Milky
Way galaxy (here, “Spermanova Lucifix” or “The Solidness”) to the rest of the universe (here,
“The Eventine”) according to a common ideology (“metameme”).

The only thing preventing them would then be the multi-forking time hysteresis loop known as the “Codon Barrier” put in place by the Dios Primin which prevents all information from escaping back into a single time stream (hence “even tine” – a single tine of a fork utensil). In story terms, this is handled by the having the Lesser Magellenic Cloud (here, “The Visitor”)[3] interrupt the Codon Barrier and thereby provide an escape route for information (“codons”) from our galaxy to the next and beyond.

Barbarians Suns then is a game about the personification of the natural forces and events
surrounding this galaxy and the beings within.

Footnotes:
[1] These are all military vessels ranging from the smallest and fastest to the largest and slowest in this order; Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Dreadnaught, Deathmoon.
[2] These are build centers which allow construction of military vessels.
[3] I now think that a better choice would be the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy.
[4] This was before the arrival of a game which did something similar named Twilight Imperium.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Latest Paint-ups

Overview

Just before winter break I had a chance to set up a painting workstation in my living room and took to painting as many figures as I could in order to reduce my back-log. I think I was able to paint about 60 figures. I've got probably another 200 in my boxes.

Part of my problem is that I'm trying to do quite a bit. Just in terms of MEST Tactics I'm trying to cover at least 6 established genre between myself an Aggro; Retropocalypse, Gothic Horror, Mythos, Dark Fantasy, Dunjon of Death, and Victorian Sci-fi. Between  myself an him we've got enough but there's always more to build out.

Excuses

Additionally, for those who follow this blog I'm concurrently working on several other game systems and features;

MEST Campaigns + Character Progressions, Barbarian Suns v4 (BSv4), Superhero 2044 Second Edition Revised (SH44SER), Mech, Beast, and Infantry (MBI), and quite a few more in the skunk-works or those with low-priority such as Sarna-len Role-playing Game, Giant Robots of World War II, Hemo Rage (MEST zombies), and Cold Steam Empires (MEST Campaign setting + VSF ship battles).

Gallery

Here's just a bunch of quick pics. I'm a lousy photographer and I'm just using my Android camera with three light sources. Some of the figures show up shiny but that's because I didn't get to re-spray them with low-gloss finish.

I've added captions to show more context. So here they are in no particular order of presentation.

My Ruga-ruga for Victorian Sci-fi. I plan to get some Askari and Zulus as well. My British Colonials are currently work-in-progress. All of them together will be low-fantasy, but I intend to get some steampunk figures for the named figures once I finish the main bulk.

I purchased Reaper Mouslings about 3 or so years ago. I finally got to paint two of them.

These are my newly painted Mythos cultists. Some are shiny-glossy; I'll need to re-spray them flat. The two with the yellow is my attempt at representing a light-source.

All of my Mythos cultists together. I think I have another 5 in the back-log. I also have 5 cult-leaders which are on the workbench.

My nuns. I think they are Mythos nuns. The color is historically correct for "Blue Nuns"

Some VSF clock-work soldiers.

Some Mageknight repaints. Dark Fantasy genre.

My Celts for Dark Fantasy, which I can use for Dunjon of Death.

One of my Mi-go.

Both Mi-go and a human figure for scale.

A Dungeons & Dragons repaint with a human for scale.


All of my Deep Ones for Mythos. The three new ones are those armed with weapons. That Reaper Bathalien can be used as a cult-leader for the Deep Ones, or be used in Dark Fantasy as a per se mind-flayer.

Some dakka-dakka stuff I got at the flea-market. These can serve as my Retropocalyse Vault warriors and also be used for VSF as steampunk soldiers.

More Mageknight repaints.

The two on the left are repaints. The one on the right is from Pulp Figures. These three form part of my Mythos Amateurs faction. 

A few more repaints. Again part of the Mythos Amateurs. I can also introduce them into the Derring-do genre (1920's). I think the one on the left actually is Marvel's Juggernaut figure from HeroClix.

Two more repaints. I can use these in VSF as well.