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  •  01.03.2019 00:00

Wargame scale is something that often doesn't get enough attention in my view, and I mean that applied to both types of 'scale' in gaming.

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  •  27.01.2019 12:00

A week ago Iain wrote a post about playtesting and now I would like to add a few opinions about this half-mythological subject. Every time we hear about game designing, one of the key words are 'playtesting' and IHMO sometimes it's a kind of fetish. Is this SO important? Today I would like to share my opinions about it.

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  •  19.01.2019 00:00

Apologies for missing last week, and for the late arrival of this weeks blog article. Beginning of the year has been super busy and not only left me little time to write, but left me little to write about. That said, I wanted to take the opportunity this week to shine a spotlight on one of the most important fundamental tools of games design, and one that is often compromised and minimised..... Playtesting. As most people are aware, playtesting is the process of getting some games in, and checking to see how your rules/army list plays on the table (and I have separated these two categories for a reason. On the surface, it seems obvious. You need to play games to see how things work in reality. But its actually more in depth than this. Playtesting allows a designer to see specifically highlight scenarios or units or situations, and play through a single engagement or a single turn. However, there is an art to the process. Playtesting really needs to be incremental. That is, initial playtesting should focus on the core rules engine, and this is where Dark Portents is currently. I am specifically looking at games with only a couple of units of basic troops armed with simple combat weapons or bows, and a couple of champions. No cavalry, no monsters, no cannons, no war engines......

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  •  04.01.2019 10:55

Before I start this, a note... I dislike writing about game design, because there is a danger of... 1) Coming across as any kind of authority, and I am clearly not, and/or 2) Shouting 'poor me, look how tough my awesome life is' figuratively. With that said.....

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  •  28.12.2018 00:00

Today I want to talk a bit about the link between a games mechanics and the background. Its something that we generally don't think about too much, but it can make a very big difference. Its also something that some companies do very well, and some….. don't. In most cases, the background exists side by side with the actual game, and while it may influence most heavily in places like army lists and factions rules, most rules are written 'background agnostic', beyond 'we don't need rules for lasers in a fantasy game'. This makes sense, as - in general - a core rules engine is designed to be mostly flavourless, and as generic as allowed, so that it can deal with future additions and expansions. As a rule, flavour is added in the armies. The most a rules engine will delineate are things like scale of the miniatures (both the size of the minis being used and the scope of the game, whether this is 30m tall robots at 28mm mini level for example), and the scale of the game, where skirmish games often have more detail built in. Then, of course, there is the type of game you are playing, where rules don't need to exist for rocket fire in fantasy or tank warfare in a naval game.

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  •  21.12.2018 12:00

Closing a business started from passion is always difficult and I never claimed that it was a pleasure. I was running Assault Publishing ("business variant") for 7 years and I left a big part of myself in it, but life is life and not always everything goes as we planned. As you remember we established the Assault Publishing Studio and we used the first few months to shape it. Honestly a few months ago I counted the Studio as a small experiment for me and honestly I wasn't sure of the final result. More than half-year passed and I think it's time for a few conclusions.

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  •  14.12.2018 12:00

This week has been mostly quiet here at the Assault bunker. Earlier in the week I managed to get in my first (half) game of Carnevale. A group of us got in on this at the Kickstarter, and my contribution was the rulebook, and a starter Doctors faction. For this first game, I borrowed another Doctors force to give the first few turns of the game a play through and get the hang of the overall mechanics. In general, it seems a fun and very dynamic game.

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  •  07.12.2018 00:00

Greetings. This week, I wanted to use this blog to go into a few of my motivations for my current project, partly kicked off by Marcin's previous blog post regarding PMC 2640. I have always been more of a science fiction gamer, but historical and fantasy games have not been ignored. However I always felt that fantasy games had a different emphasis to what I was looking for, and that's mostly where my decision to write Dark Portents came from.

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  •  02.12.2018 12:00

During Soviet-Afganwar, Marat Tischenko, head of the Mil design bureau visited Afghanistan to see what the troops thought of his helicopters, and gunship crews demonstrated maneuvers, such as barrel rolls, which design engineers considered impossible. Marat Tischenko commented: "I thought I knew what my helicopters could do, now I'm not so sure!". If you feel confused now, sorry - but this post will NOT be about Hind Commander.

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  •  30.11.2018 00:00

I am old. No, really. I still have my original copy of Games Workshops Rogue Trader, and both of the excellent Slaves to Darkness and Lost and the Damned hardcover books. One of my first 'games' was a play by mail called Phantasmech - a 'mech in a maze' game where every few weeks you would receive a description of events and you would then write down five orders and mail it back with a fee, and wait for the process to be repeated. I don't say this to score points. My point is, when I started in wargaming, the internet was very different.

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  •  23.11.2018 00:00

Greetings, and welcome to a new blog. A relatively short post this week. I had the pleasure of playing my first proper game of Kill Team yesterday, where my 'on loan' Deathwatch Marines went up against a force of Tau, outnumbering me two-to-one. The game started nervously for me, being out gunned and having to cover a lot of open space to get into combat, but I found that playing aggressively and relying on the Marine ability to either absorb hits with their armour or shrug off flesh wounds got them there in one piece, and when they did get into range, the fun began. It was all over after four turns as my power swords made short work of the Tau armour, and my heavy weapons and good BS started leveling the field.

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