Well, it has been a few weeks now since the last Design Note update. However, this does not mean that we have been entirely inactive. In fact, quite the opposite.
During this time Charles and I have been beavering away at many of the structural rules’ sections. Well Charles mostly if truth be told. I had a period of sickness that laid me low for longer than I thought it would.
So, where are we?
3.0 Playing the game
Charles has done a bang-up job of rewriting these to include everything we have learned in the last eight years. This includes hundreds of player game reports, refinements that occurred in each of our books as we moved forwards, questions on various Fora that made us question how we had explained things, direct and indirect feedback from players and critics, the demo games at shows, and our own games with friends.
Charles has also updated all the explanatory examples and added more where necessary.
The authors pondering the new edition, or was it the cake?
Terrain gets more interesting in these new rules, with the introduction of structural integrity. While still maintaining KISS, we have developed a system that recognizes that not all terrain is the same.
5.0 The Armoury
No section has had more of a revamp than this. The original word count restriction we had to follow to meet Osprey’s format requirements is gone, so we have been able to bring in several new sections.
Some of these began to appear in HVF and SDRS, others were developed for Daisho, Blood Eagle, IHMN Gothic and Thud & Blunder. Some are new, and quite exciting if we say so ourselves.
All through this though we have kept in our minds the KISS principle. So, we are keeping the generic weapons types, the standard armour types, and most of the equipment.
The sections that have undergone the greatest change are Vehicles and Mechanized Walkers. Both are now much more thoroughly addressed, rather than being a last-minute add-on. There is a logical underpinning into how both are designed, used, and costed.
This section now covers, in detail, land, maritime and serial vehicles. With links to new playing rules for them.
The Mechanized Walker section is a complete write, sufficient to allow people to design their own Walkers and field them as part of their favourite companies. Example Walkers are fully detailed for several nations to give you a head start. We even describe how you could play games that only involve Walkers. We do love you gear-heads.
6.0 The Bestiary
A complete overhaul here as well. This has been expanded and some of it brought into line with the transport options in Chapter 5.
From left to right: myself, Charles and Billy.
Most of the Talents that have come from the original books are still there, though some have been clarified or redefined to bring better balance to the game. Player feedback has been very important here. A few new ones have been included to broaden the scope of play.
8.0 Mystical Powers
There was a serious discussion as to whether we should just create a compilation of Powers from the original three books and Gothic, tidy them up and say: “there you go”.
Well that was never going to stand for a few reasons:
- The first being that we had learnt so much between then and now.
- The second is that this is the opportunity to present the game we wanted to write originally, but could not, because we did not have the experience or skills to do so.
- The third is that this is VSF, and our original concept was these the powers should represent what people of the VSF ‘period’ might believe in.
- The last was that we were not going to abandon IHMN Gothic (more on that last point later).
So, should we just pick up the magic system from Thud & Blunder, rename a few spells and drop it into IHMN? The answer is a resounding no.
What we have done is; review all the current Powers from the original three books; decide if they were of any use; clarify and redefine those that were problematical; determine where there are gaps that could usefully filled with new Powers; and categorise them as Lesser or Greater.
This last thing makes it so much easier to cost them, something we learned from Thud & Blunder.
The original points system was as good as it could have been eight years ago. However, it could be improved, and this is where Charles applied his deep arithmetical skills to make it balance and work better.
Add to this the challenges of costing Vehicles and Walkers, which he manfully took on, and now we have a system that works across the piece.
Only a handful of companies have been rewritten so far. Mostly as working examples for the other changes in the game, especially the points system.
After much thought we have decided to include roughly twenty-five companies in the book. This number is not set in stone. So not all the companies in the original books will be in there. This does not mean they are going to disappear, and many will be addressed over the next couple of years, though in what format we have not yet decided. The key principle here is to provide a broad range of companies with different themes and capabilities.
Added to all this will be a section on how to create your own companies, from original theme to fully costed list with plenty of examples. This has proven to be popular in Thud & Blunder, so we shall be bringing the same approach here.
One of our big jobs for the next couple months will be writing up the companies
10.0 Scenarios, complications, and landscapes
Now I have just got into writing this and it’s a biggie. I am approaching it logically, rather than the way I wrote it in the first book.
I shall be considering all the relevant material from the original books, suitable materials from our other Ministry books and putting it into a clear structure.
As before the combination of a scenario, one or more complications and a landscape will mean that (theoretically) you will never have to play the same game twice.
One reason for all this work is to provide a solid the foundation for the Campaign system.
We have not even sketched out this section yet, but once 10.0 is complete we will be giving this some heavyweight attention. The system that developed across the first three books was fairly simple, but we don’t think that it gave you all the tools to create exciting games.
As we have said before we are not replacing Gothic or folding it into the new book.
The Baron von Frankenstein loves to make new friends…
It is a standalone supplement expanding the game into Horror. What we shall do is issue a guide that makes it compatible with the new core rulebook.
And in conclusion…
So, here we are. The Spring writing campaign is over, and we are now well into the Summer. If we can get all this completed by early Autumn, then it is off to our stalwart band of proofers, followed by some play-testing. The target remains to release this in Spring 2021 and do the official launch at Salute (if they will have us).