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Entropy City (I’m Making a Wargame WIP)

Entropy City (I’m Making a Wargame WIP)

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Project Blog by jjgrubb Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

It was sometime during 2014-15 when the starting idea's that would develop into Entropy City first started, exploring the wider world of wargames it occured to me that no-one had ever really done a game specifically based around Motorcycle Gang warfare and that I felt it lended itself very naturally to a miniatures games. Whilst I knew then that some work would need to be done to make the idea 'acceptable' it started brewing. It wouldnt be until June 2022 where the writing would officially begin.. This blog is a series of posts I have prepared and the development of my miniature game took place.

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Further Rule Developments: On foot miniature roles, traps, tokens and distracted conditions.

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One of the big untouched sections of the game for a long time has been the question of people on foot, what options will people have, in its earliest days my answer was simple “but I want this to be a bikes game” however as the actual development started in 2021 the arguments from playtesters and people following the project started to get more detailed and I began to see that if it was being asked for I should probably figure out a way and if it doesnt work then atleast I’ve crossed it.

Now for a long time thats as far as it had gotten, something for future Jason to worry about, lets get the bikes right first but Im reaching that point now where I feel if I dont start answering these questions it will become too late, I can start with some simple answers.

  • If someone comes off their bike theyre removed from the game.
  • If someone starts on foot then theyre an on foot miniature.

I feel too many dangers of crossing back and forth and feel they should be deliberately kept seperately, atleast for now keeping a hard line between riders and people on foot so then what is their place on the table?

The first revelation for this was actually another unanwered development step, for a long time Ive been wanting “traps” to be part of the game, spike strips and explosives make a lot of sense for the setting, molotov cocktails as well and in the case of the spike strip it certainly makes a lot more sense for this to be exclusive to your on foot troops.

The other issue I came across the moment I started putting actual thoguht into this was people on foot should never be able to keep up with the bikes, therefore whats the point of them right? I mean sure they could have guns and they can be easier to use but is that it? Well no I more see them as advance troops setting things up. So the current deployment rule shoves them closer towards the board so long as their touching a piece of terrain, this solves the problem and can be argued in world pretty easilly, certain missions may have to change this slightly.

However theres a larger mechanical problem Ive been struggling with, which is simply how they work, a large part of the games mechanics so far have been centered around the bikes feeling like bikes right? So then someone on foot should be able to react to things easier, theyre not in the middle of riding their motorbike at the same time. My plan for this is two fold, firstly they can use their actions at any point, they dont HAVE to use all at once. I have CONSIDERED going the activation token route specifically for the people on foot however my concern is whether that adds too much complication.

So thats a lot of answers, all of which still need to be tested however I think it works but the proof will be in the pudding. I also struggled for a long time with the busting mechanic, because by rights, them busting makes no sense someone on foot cannot crash, however I think the simple solution to this is just “something has gone wrong” I think this ‘problem’ was me over thinking it but again proof is in the pudding during testing.

Trap Tokens

So I mentioned the traps? What are the traps like you can’t test them without something to represent them Jason.. Okay okay well maybe I did create some stand ins using images Ive found and edited for my use. These images are just for playtesting, when the game becomes a thing I will obviously need to get real art done at some point

Below you will find both a 50mm & 70mm flame token used for the molotovs, rule is they spread a little before they disperse, pretty much like they’re designed to in real life. And finally the token for the spike strip.

Final update in today’s post is regarding status’s, theres been an addition to the existing states a rider could be effected by. So far we have had the following.

  • Bleeding
  • Burning (Untested)
  • Max Stress
  • Stunned

However in an attempt to add more depth to the game and help weapons feel different I am adding “distracted” which basically is a condition that can stack that forces your TN to become harder and harder to meet. So in theory if you were trying to roll a TN14 but you had Distracted+2 then you need to get to TN16 (remembering that if you go over 21 you crash because its blackjack but with dice).

So I guess this is where my rant comes to an end however I have a question for you, do you like the idea of my solution for the on-foot activations being able to be split up? Do you feel Im missing something? Do you have other questions? Please ask and comment away would love your feedback.

First update of 2024

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After the stress that was Pax Australia I actually found myself in a desperate need of a break, realistically I hadnt really taken one since I restarted this project 18 months or so ago and I finally reached the point where I knew I needed a break. So what has happened since then?

Lots of small tweaks and trying to plan ahead ojn how to be a smarter developer (this is me calling myself out on my own faults not having a go at developers). While hyper focusing I was doing Entropy Cityand nothing else bar the occasional game of Bushido or an rpg etc etc. But Ive actually started putting together warbands and grabbing things for mini projects inm between grinding but thats enough of my excuses.

Miniatures on foot but how do they work?

About 3-4 months into my project I took some feedback from people that suggested they had wanted to have some characters on foot as wel as on bike, I immediately nodded and put it in the back of my mind until I felt I was ready to start pushing  new things in again, I’ve always wanted the focus of Entropy City to be the bikers but from the very very start of this feedback Ive always had a question that plagued me.. Yeah but where do they fit into the game? Why would you ever use them

People on foot would have to be slow, so theyre never going to reach the battle so how does this work. Well Ive finally started to find the answer to these questions and the first “duh” moment actually answers one of the questions I had in a previous update. The place of the on-foot miniatures is to set the traps, they start further up the board setting up the traps for when the enemy arrives, this fixes both of the major issues, then they’re there to support your bikers and help them get up in the case of a crash.

Some scary news

So last week we got a piece of news claiming that pirates had stolen the Kelp design and had it selling on Amazon before the Kickstarter was completed, an absolute terrifying thought, granted I’ve already been pretty careful with how much I share and Im far from finished anyway but just be careful how much you share, just to cover yourself from thieves. I’ll continue to be open about my development, I’m not a big name sure I know some people but unless people have the chance to find out about me and the game it will never be a success.

I’ll be back soon with some more chat on the traps, specifically Molotov cocktails

– Jason “The Bruce”

Entropy City vs Pax Australia: Last Minute Public Display

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With PAX Australia now behind me and having taken a couple of days to recover from that last minute rush I felt it was time to take a look at how things went. I’ve certainly had a lot of feedback on the direction of the game that’s been constant and there’s been a few things that continue to come up that I know I need to look at but before I get to those I wanted to talk a little about how I actually got into PAX. Truth be told I didn’t initially, when I submitted my application it turned out that I (and a number of others) had been sent the wrong link and told to apply through 2022’s application.

So I paid for my own passes to pax, as I hadn’t gotten in and I was happy with that and looking forward to seeing more this year as the year before Id had an injury and struggling to get around and therefore missed most of it, less than a week before I had a message from one of the TGDA admins asking if I was interested in filling in for one of the drop outs on either Friday evening or Saturday morning, I agreed without question at the time, only realising afterwards that this means I was giving away the time I had paid to see things but I felt it was worth it.

A lot of my prep had already begun because DevCon was on Thursday which is a local game developers conference always run the day before PAX (as far as I know) so my weekend started with me leaving my tape measure behind meaning plenty of people has comments and asked but no game demos happened on Thursday night though ironically if anything I’m shocked at how much I still got from this. Most members of the TGDA are developing board games and card games at different levels of complexity, the highlight for my playtesting being “Nightshift” which was a game set in a strip club that was insanely fun.

Friday was the beginning of PAX and only one I could enjoy until 4pm because of a double booking I had made that evening and it was this day I noticed the first hiccup, long story short I spent most of Friday running around trying to organise the last few hiccups to try and ensure things went smoothly the following day, so occupied doing this that I didn’t take any time for myself at all, that evening I went to a Wrestling event for a meet and greet and a great show and then it was up early to be at the event in time the following morning.

Saturday Morning started with a hiccup Id tried to solve the day earlier, as I had been asked to fill in last minute I hadn’t received what should have been a different type of pass so security wouldn’t let me in, after a few back and forth I was inside and setting up on the smaller tables, given the table only allowed for a 2×4 setup Im somewhat amazed at how good the table looked and given I was the only tabletop miniatures game on display within their set up it helped me stand out a little, there was only a period of maybe 25-30minutes where I didn’t have at least one person in front of me, the smaller table meant action was pretty much immediate, each game starting pretty much the same way as I deliberately set myself up to be attacked by the players and then responding, giving them opportunities to get a grips with the WIP mechanics.

Entropy City vs Pax Australia: Last Minute Public Display
Entropy City vs Pax Australia: Last Minute Public Display

Of the 8 people I had that morning only 2 of them had played miniature games before and even then one of them was many years earlier, in the wee hours the night before Id rushed together a little checklist for feedback and I had every player go through and fill it out, everyone was very positive in their feedback as 3pm rolled around and my rush to pack up for the next people in time had failed I somewhat literally staggered away trying to figure out how I was going to enjoy the rest of the convention with this giant bag, my first answer was food and then I figured I would try and get it checked in at the cloakroom, running into a friend who was asking where my set up reminding me how easy it was to get lost at PAX but I reassured him how busy it was and then enjoyed my meal and then 20minutes later I shocked myself by going home and literally collapsing in exhaustion at home, the week of stress and panic had broken me. But there are two main pieces of advice I wanted to cover and now here they are.

I think you need some traps.

Now this is ironically something Ive wanted to introduce since the earliest days of starting work, its just not something Ive been ready to introduce yet for a number of reasons, I wanted to get the guns implementation done first before I introduced the next big thing but I wanted to talk a little about what I saw.. The first obvious one is a Molitov Cocktail, it’s something that could be thrown at a person or the ground to create a fire trap, explosives they must make sense but how they work is the hard thing, oil slick is another obvious one and a staple of vehicular combat, and finally a spike trap like what the police use on the highway. This is something I am 100% going to be introducing just I need to work on templates for them all and how I intend for them to work.

What about some on foot mechanics, I think you need them.

Now at first I assumed me meant as just an addition to the game which you may know was already in the plans for the future but no this is actually a piece of feedback Id had before in the earliest days of the game. When someone comes off the bike, what if you could just stay on foot and the mechanics allowed for it. In the earliest days of playtesting this was mentioned before and I’m not 100% sure who it was it might have been something Michel asked when reading my rules or it might have been one of the players themselves but my argument at the time had always been that it just wasn’t how I wanted the game to work but at the same time I’ve never been comfortable with a game that would end up requiring two minis for every one character on your army list. But I might need to start considering my options if its something players feel is a hole in the games logic.

In closing I guess I’m going to reflect on PAX, without question a very exciting opportunity to have been given and whilst I can’t say I actually enjoyed PAX in the traditional sense this year I don’t want to give the impression that’s a complain, it was a very fulfilling experience, I think its safe to say though that if Im going to do that next year it wont be at the last minute like I did this year.

Very first public showing.

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Development continues for Entropy City largely as it hss from the beginning, I have a small group of friends who are willing to help me playtest on the days they have nothing else lined up but recently I had an opportunity to show off my game to the actual public for the first time. Or at least for the first time outside of those who have been reading what I am sure ia dribble half the time lol

The Nunawading Wargamers Association host an annual Games Day event where volunteers host a variety of different games as an outreach to the public, obviously trying to get new members, more people into the hobby and all of the other things a community group would desire. It was suggested by a friend (whos also involved with the club that I should try and get in on the event, with a whole bunch of nerves and doubting thoughts I filled out what would become a successful application and the ball began to roll, a ball of mad terrain painting and preparation when i realised just how much I had to paint to make my work presentable to the public.

As I am sure you’ve noticed in previous posts alarge number of the terrain I had been using was either not painted at all or half painted at best that was something i felt I would need to fix if anyone was going to have a reason to take me seriously and for the club not to regret approving my application. Entropy City is based within modern-ish day but obviously an alternate timeline of sorts given the state of the world. The benefit of this is that I can draw from real world aspirations and have fun with the ruined nature of the world I have created.

Although I very much do NOT want AI art to have place within the final version of my game for place holders during development I’ve explored quite a bit, some of this i used within posters and advertisements in world after all these are just for me to have a giggle at and some are fun things to see if anyone notices.

By the time of the event I had 98%of the stuff to a level I was happy with, if I am being honest with myself until this point in my hobby Id honestly not painted much terrain in my life and I honestly can’t figure out why, lord knows I’ve purchased enough of it, I guess it was always the easiest thing to justify leaving till later so I got to practise a lot of things that I knew in theory but not in practice. However I didnt just do what I have always been told thatbI should, infact when it comes to weathering I strayed off the beaten path significantly due to time restraints when instead of doing oil wsshes etc i weathered everything with regular washes and jjst controlled the pooling as it dried using the staining to get the look I wanted. Would a real oil watch look better of course but I felt this looked far better than most would believe it should.

So how did the event itself go? To start with I was extremely nervous and had reached a point of over thinking EVERYTHING. I had been advised earlier on that i should have someone to help me if i needed a break or go to the loo etc and a friend came along for the day (i secretly sent him money to cover some terrain he purchased on the day to thank him when he wouldbt accept my offer of money)

Generally this could have gone o w of two ways either because it was my first time Id feel completely overwhelmed and brain-dead by the end of the day or alternatively it would go well and I am very happy to say it went well.

One thing I probably should mention is that the night before i found out I was going to be right next to the 40k table, this didnt do my mind any favours going into the event, the self doubt was real but the event had an influx of people pretty much constantly throughout the day and my day started arguably in the best way it could which wss with someone coming to hunt me down after having stumbled across the very little information he could find he wantdd to know more. We played the only full game of the day (because i quickly realised playing full games was a terrible idea) and i had interested partoes at my table throughout the entire event right up until maybe the last hourish when the event was pretty much done.

Id had more interest at my table than the 40k folks had (I suspect because everyone already knew what 40k was) and the feedback had been incredibly helpful, the big thing from the day came from the sword weapon being used for the first time, it scared the living daylights out of everyone and needs to be brought into line with everything else, a simple fix of allowing a way to remove the bleed condition, which didnt really exist yet. The other feedback was that weapons didnt really feel different enough but as this is a fault of everything not being implimented into the game yet I wasnt overly concerned with that at this time.

VLOG: 12 month update time.

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This is a talking head video but is also available as a podcast down below, given it was pretty much talking head it made sense to release it as both.
Theres 2 differences.
1.) Audio has an addition of me explaining the content.

2.) Video has a short montage of some of the behind the scenes work and inspirations (as well as the unfortunate sight of my ugly mug 😉 )

Whichever way you chose to get the update Id love to hear more about what you think or what you want to know more about (because obviously theres a tonne not here.)

– Jason “The Bruce

Two very rusty terrain pieces

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This is going to be a nice short one today just to show the closer to final results of my weekends work and the painting up of my billboard and highway overpast (both from Knights of Dice).

The Metalwork itself was painting with Vallejo Model Air Metal paints,. a base coat of gunmetal followed by a dry drusing of steel from the same range.

And then for the rust I tried the Dirty Down rust for the first time and near fell of my chair this stuff is amazing.

Still some weathering to do on the signs but Im vbery happy with how they turned out so far.

Moving between different aspects of the project has been how Ive keept myself focused, because although the game ruleset has come a long way its still got a long way to go as well. And by improving my terrain and my miniatures Ive converted it will add to the aesthetic for those seeing it for the first time.

Preparing art for terrain signs

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Its time for my regular self defamatory remark about not being an artist and only pretending to be because today is an entry all about me spending yesterday creating some art pieces for some terrain, I have two billboards I want siugns in and I have a highway overpass I want signs on.

This is something I’ve been wanting to do long before the game development had begun though my plans for the billboard has changed since, originally I was going to create a Stan Lee memorial but I ended up doing that in a different way. So in world I came up with this idea of an old sign advertising how great the city is to live in. Trying to tempt tourists to move here with some heavy “too good to be true vibes. The following are 4 versions of the idea I had so far, the photo is a stock image I cut out in the Gimp software.

Up next is actually where my day began but the first thing I had to do was ask my friend if anyone knew what font was the right one, a friends wife came to my rescue and a day of distraction began, once again I had tonnes of idea’s here including some silly signs suggesting you can go left to travel to 2 different world locations that are not in the same direction, another one was to pick my hometown from Tasmania which isnt a place you can drive to from where I live today, just crazy idea’s but in the end I pulled myself back to something more in world with some real world hints.

And for the last billboard we have an in world business that somehow seems to have survived the ruin and disaster of the city itself. Where as the others will DEFINATELY be getting some wear and wear added to them I intend this to remain clean and new-ish. Needless to say this is a man taking advantage of the situation to make his fortune. Richard Hackman is not a nice businessman.

Preparing art for terrain signs

Next thing terrain wise will need to be some posters for walls and some graphiti, oh and actually fully painting it.

Upgrading some of the mini's & proper feeling tokens

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For a long time the mini’s were all just painted to a point of “this will do for now” because obviously that wasn’t be the most important thing at the time but as the game is beginning to reach a point of testing bigger parts I am starting to customer each mini to make them clearer and more disctionct from eachother.

The first part of this was giving the rims different colours to help them look like they belong together, the first group is becoming the official representation for Hades, the Cruiser bike gang and the next stop will be slowly customising them with the proper weapon types, I’m not a scuptor but these are not supposed to be a product, just a proper representationj as things develop to help people with emmersion.

The rims for Hades have been done with a Khorne red just because I felt it fits with their logo.

The second group has been given a bright fluoro green, this might be because I hate myself a little fluoro green is a horrible colour to paint and I cannot stress this enough lol

The Komodo are a Sportsbike gang, and although not all of these models are strictly sportsbikes theyre close enough to look distinctive, this group I’ve also been trying to give them all brighter looking colours though I dont like all of the themes they work for now. I think I like the shirtless guy.

All of this painting has been completed with Speedpaint 1.0 and the limited colour range, I do intend to invest in round 2 but I cant afford to do that right now as my own actual bike is in the shop being worked on.

The other thing Ive been working on over the past couple of days is a series of tokens to help make things easier as well, Im not the greatest of artists and this is all makeshift but for playtesting I think they work well.

These following images are being placed into a webtool to create a proper 25mm token. Below we have the following in this order

Bleeding, Burning, Overwatch, Stopped, Max Stress, Stunned, Complex Action

Where does the game stand

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So after 11 months of work where do things stand?

Thats a very good question, to some extent I never imagined getting this far this quickly, my original goal was to have tha basics of a game by now and I’ve well and truly exceeded that long ago but the deeper I get the more i begin to realise that I have left to do. 90% of the hobby i do is Entropy City focused at this point because as much as i love gaming if i so t work on this how will i ever get it done?

I have a 32 page document that is my current living ruleset, currently in its beta v0.28.4 and will be v0.28.5 by the end of the day, I started labelling every version as people were finding it hard to tell which was the version they had..

I have a tonne of terrain, plenty of which still needs to be primed let alone painted, I have enough bikes for 3 teams maybe 4 (would need to check on that.) I have developed a card to be used to keep track of individual bike stats, this was always a plan but these are very much for play testing, not intended as an actual prototype for the product. I feel that i could start testing the actual faction rules now the only real delay has been me not having transport of my own at this stage.

The next goal

In an extremely nerve racking decision I submitted Entropy City to be considered for playtesting at PAX Australia, theres obviously no guarantees that it will be accepted but if it is then clearly its a big deal for me. Id also like to build an actual proper table if I can as well but then how I would get it there would be an unknown at this time but I need goals and something to work towards.

The curse of snake eyes..?

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Truth be told I’ver been asked this question directly during playtesting a couple of times and my answer had been that it would be treated like everything else but as the game develops honestly, Im thinking that people have a point and I’m now very seriously considering adding a critical fail but before we get there I should probably provide some context fopr those coming across this for the first time.

The basic dice mechanic from my game essentially works like blackjack/21 you roll 2d10 to begin with and add the result together, the 1 is either a 1 or an 11, you will have a target number to reach for a success and your aim is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over. If you don’t roll high enough you have the option to add a further d10 into the test but theres obviously risks involved because if you do go over 21 your rider will crash out of the game. This is the core basics of how the dice  mechanics work and in this context if you do roll snake eyes at this stage in theory you either have 2, 12 or 22 (you would obviously never choose 22).

So obviously the question in the past is whether snake eyes is an automatic failure and it hadnt been as at the time I always wanted someone to feel like they had a chance, that if they push their luck too far they have no-one to blame but themselves. My thought was that snake eyes always becomes 2 without the option any longer, meaning it makes it harder but at the same time if you bust its not an auto fail and its still only your fault for pushing your luck too far.

So thats the thought behind this new rule I have just finished adding (which will obviously need to be tested.

Snake Eyes:

  • During any test should your initial 2d10 roll result in double one’s that result is 2, this is the only occasion where you would not have the option to make one of them 11. Your rider instantly gains 1 stress to represent a moment of panic, you may then choose to push your luck as normal
    but for every dice you add to your test your rider takes an additional 1 stress.

    Thoughts: So where as normally a 1 could be either a 1 or an 11 in this case they’re forced to both be 1’s. Adding that extra stress means it becomes a minimum of 3 (maybe more if you already have stress prior to this). If you chose to push your luck then each dice added adds an extra 1 to that stress. I personally don’t like an auto fail which is why I’m trying to find something else that feels similar but without ever really being able to blame the dice for the risks the player took.

An Entropy City Battle Report

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Honestly I’ve never written a battle report before but given that during every episode of the XLBS that OnTableTop do Gerry eventually makes a sly remark about how more people should write them I am giving into this imaginary peer pressure, potentially embarrassing myself and I am trying to write a battle report. Is this an exercise in writing Entropy? If so its appropriate, welcome to Entropy City’s first Battle report.

Firstly for those that are not aware Entropy City is a miniatures game I started developing in June last year, a game I’d been planning to develop for at least 9 years prior to that, Entropy City is a motorcycle gang wargame where the criminal element have gained control over the city, currently in its 2nd phase of testing we begin with 5 bikes per side, teams that are completely even, this game is taking place on the streets, most test games are remaining on city streets at this stage but future testing will push the game into other environments on the city limits.

We started the game by each player rolling for deployment and team 2 wins out with a 8 vs 4, our second role was a 9 vs a 1 and team 2 chose to go first, the very first move that team 2 makes is to set up their shotgun rider in front of the overpass, taking a stop action and choosing to put them into overwatch in the hope that someone takes the chance for the shortcut to pay off. Team 1 sends their knuckleduster rider out to the left trying to set up an attack in turn 2 if someone can get close to her within turn 1 then she will attack back if possible. From here the next movement is from the rider with the lead pipe from team 2 who comes along on the same side but isn’t close enough for an attack, team 1 is back and this time it’s their shotgun rider who comes around on the left side, they choose not to stop however and take the risk with an shot at speed 2 and the rider holding the lead pipe is within range. Sadly with only a 16 he wasn’t able to hit the rider however with the experimental rule the shot is close enough to give the rider stress 2. Up next is the knuckle duster rider from team two who stops just infront of his shot gun wheeling friend and then team 1 brings their hammer rider around on the right hand side of the board to try and set something up in turn 2. The chain riders from both teams and a hammer rider joining her on that side keeping everything generally safe team two and team 1 joining her and we finish with the hammer rider on that side of the field to end turn 1. The very last movement of turn 1 however is where team one decides to take a risk, hoping that the partial cover from a car will give them enough luck to pull off a risky move down the centre hoping to steal the first activation in turn 2 to smack their opponent up the side of the head with their lead pipe. Needing a 17 to hit and succeeding on a 21 he gets a lethal shot and the 20 from the lead pipe biker isn’t enough to save it, take risk of pushing their luck one more time and crash out of the game with a final score of 26 to end turn 1 with one rider down.

Turn 2 begins with team 1 scoring first turn with 6 vs 4, the first activation brings team 1’s shot gun rider around the corner to take a shot at the opposing rider’s gun hoping to take it out before it causes any further damage but he misses, needing an 18 and not getting enough to make any impact. From here I starting keeping track of the game at the end of the road instead of every activation, at the end of turn 2 team two had lost another rider and it was their hammer however they had also managed to take out one of their opponents rider as well leaving the current forces at 4 vs 3 in team 2’s favour, that wasn’t all however as team 1’s chain rider was stunned and at risk of crashing out at the very start of turn 3 if things didn’t go well.

The very first activation of turn 3 brought things to a more even keel as the stunned rider shook off their condition and then hit one of their opposing riders from behind for a surprise attack, this pushed the opposing rider to max stress and they failed their dodge to crash out of the game. During turn 3 team 2’s shotgun rider had reloaded his weapon the overpass in the centre of the board was a danger zone at this point with 1 bike from each team having been taking out underneath it, the right hand side of the board was in a similar situation by the end of turn 3 with 3 bikes littering the road and as we moved into turn 3 one rider on team 1 was going to be facing off against two from the opposing team and team 2 had the first activation, one rider had just focused to reduce their stress and brought their knuckleduster rider around to join their friend but team 1’s shotgun rider came from behind attempting to hit their opposing shotgun rider with the butt of their gun (as he was out of ammo) however the attack failed meaning it only stress the rider and was not enough to take them out, from there the shotgun from team 2 came to a stop, focused their shot and pulled the trigger. The final roll from team 2 was a 19 giving them a lethal shot if successful, team 1 rolling a 16 was not going to be enough so they pushed one last time and busted taking themselves out of the game. The battle that had started with 10 bikes ended with only 2, two friends riding off into the streets together having defended their territory from the invading rival gang.

Once the attacks had started they really didn’t stop in this game but from the very moment their rider was taken out early on it felt like team 1 was on the backfoot and was taking a few risks, they almost turned it around a couple of times but ultimately the dice never really was enough to take control of the game leaving team 2 with the victory.

And that’s the game, its fast paced back and forth action with your most almost always on the move, stopping isn’t something you do often as it leaves you vulnerable if someone can get to you while its happening. A fun game at home inbetween other things it went well but theres a lot more testing to get done, phase 3 will be giving the forces their skills and then getting them to balance but we’re not quite ready for that yet.

Fleshing Out 'the world'.

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I’ve been a roleplayer at heart ever since my early teens, in the early days of the internet I enjoyed experimenting with trying to make DnD work online, I ventured into the wrestling e-fed scene and a lot of different things, there was even a time when I had hosted my own roleplaying forum with a number of games running at the same time.

But this is the first time I’ve genuinel;y tried to focus that ‘writing’ into something that I could look at as a complete work and something I could share and might actually become a “real” thing. So my city of Redemption Falls is actually a rework of an older universe I had running back in the day, a universe Im fleshing out now with things more appropriate for the setting and of course with intended depth from lessons I’ve learned over the years.

So with that in mind I’m playing with layouts for map creation, this is not in any way intended to be a final product even really a first draft but its an experiment and something to build on.

  • Redemption Falls, the actual name of the city itself, Entropy City might have sounded like a cool city name when I was 19 but I”m a 40 year old man now, Entropy City is the name of the game and likely an insult outsiders use to describe it.
  • Vultures Cradle, I’ve always been proud of this name, its the place of birth for one of my oldest characters that is being reworked to be a character within the game, exploring his younger years before he cleaned himself up.
  • Island Hills, now this was part of today’s experiment and I like it, this sounds like a name cooked up by a committee trying way too hard to make this area of the city sound rich 😛  This is actuially based on a study of rich area names and average income within them.
  • Cliffs Edge, sometimes names of areas within a city or even city themselves are based on some pretty obvious things, so yeah guess what this area borders on.
  • The Docks, kinda generic, needs to be updated but then again maybe generic is okay.
  • Marina’s Edge, kinda just an experiment I thought it sounded fun, kinda the newer docks that got finished just before ‘the fall’, but I dont want two “edge” names.

So yeah its all about the experiment and the building, I ahve a lot of pictures on my head and as time passes I want to have this fleshed out and then begin layout where everyone is based. I can confirm that the main base of Hades is Vultures Cradle.

Sharing the current rulebook

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Although I’ve been working on this document since June last year and briefly discussed on on an episode of the XLBS this is the first time I am sharing it outside of a very small circle of friends & podcast supports.

From the very start of this project getting worked on I’ve been trying to keep my ‘rules document’ in a readable format, its been through 4 different variations on that format since June. I’ve tried to keep it looking at much like a rulebook as I can to make it right now but there will always be changes as the developement continues.

Its worth noting that a very large part of this document is still yet to be tested, at the time of writing I am in the middle of phase 2 of playtesting which introduced gunplay, wounds and a larger full sized 4×4 table. The next phase would begin to test the actual differences in the factions. Once that feels right I would finally begin to impliment individual stats etc etc.

I still hope this will ultimately become a product but theres a lot of work that needs to happen before I can get to that point and my hope remains high, honestly I’m proud of what has been achieved so far, despite essentially being a nobody I feel like I ahgve something here, its just a matter of getting it right.

Updating the Temp Cards

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So I printed my test cards out at work today, and was disappointed to find that they just didn’t come out looking very clear, I guess that hjust shows my inexperiance with graphic design, most of my experiance has always been with web banners and so forth (unprofessionally) so the fact they wouldnt print as intended hadnt even occured to me but I instantly realised what was wrong.

So it was back to the drawing board and so I simplified my simple design even further and stopped trying to be clever and just stuck with standard text for now, I can make things  look pretty later.

I also changed it to a landscape card design, just because it helped the layout a little, this is about clear easy to follow text, not a final product so I forced myself to keep it simple

Edit: It’s probably worth noting that the painting on these miniatures are quick cheap and nasty its not supposed to be impressing you.

Phase 2 Testing & Temporary Unit Cards

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Testing moved into its second phase a couple of weeks ago, this began with a couple of important things.

  • The game moved from 3×3 to 4×4.
  • Model count went from 3 to 5 each.
  • Guns have been introduced.
  • Wounds have begun to be implimented.

I had made the decision to move to a 4 foot by 4 foot table some time ago but while I was purely testing the core mechanics it made more sense to help the action come faster because there wasn’t enough in place for full on strategy quite yet. As for the miniatures count well until this point I really wasn’t sure how many models the table was going to be able to handle until things just became too messy and hard to keep up with, I was very happy to see that if anything I could have easily gone 2 more a side which is good as it allows for more room for strategy as the game testing goes through its phases.

The downside I found this time however was keeping track of things, Id realised when leaving home that I didnt have enough counters to keep track of both stress and wounds (without dice literally being everywhere) so I made what I thought was the clever decision to have everyone on 1 wound and one model each side with 2..  Problem was this made the weapons all feel the same because most bikes only had 1 wound anyway.

I’ve kind’ve always likes unit cards in games I know not everyone does but for me it was always a nice touch, and whilst I had played around with ideas I certainly didnt have anything I could just go with at the time but after tossing up a couple of ideas I decided ‘screw it’ and I created some temporary cards purely for testing only. Theyre certainly not pretty but I didnt think they were ugly, they will serve their purpose which is all I needed for now.

It’s worth noting that this is currently labelled as “Team A”.

So basically the larger numbers are to keep track of the speed the bike is moving, you have a picture of the mini to prevent dodgy business, the weapons are the same mix for each team.
Check boxes for wounds and stress, I’ve purposely made these the right size for card sleeves so that whiteboard markers can be used.

Like I said this isnt pretty or supposed to look like a product yet but I felt it works for the purpose. Its a prototype afterall.

Adding a little more flavour

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I’m the furthest thing from an artist when it comes to drawing but when your a single person who doesnt have a huge financial backing to pay artists with you have to atleast try and get things rolling by yourself. To date a lot of this is all “proof of concept” to be prettied up later but when it comes to the faction symbols I decided it was time to do a little bit of that. And I started with something simple to add more flavour to each of them, a unique font chosen for each.

So who are these factions? I mentioned that each of them are based extremely losely on real world equilivents but that doesn’t mean theyre all based on specific gangs at all, more how they tend to be represented in media or how they generally tend to be seen.


Hades: The Cruiser Gang.
Hades are a motorcycle gang as you would immediately think of them, large loud Cruiser style bikes (so Harleys for example). They’re certainly not clean, and involved in a lot of shady activities but some members of the group are genuinely trying to help make things better, there’s been a bit of a split within the gang of late between those wanting to “get back to the old ways” and those that want to make a difference in a more positive way.
Generally speaking their top speeds tend to be faster but theyre slower off the line, they also dont turn as well as the other two.

The Komodo: The Sportsbike gang.
There’s not really a “sportsbike gang” equilivent in real life that I could name but as far as the culture of the Komodo its based very losely on the likes of Yakuza/Triad but only from a cultural perspective none of these gangs are intended to be drawn on racial lines, quite the opposite. Sportsbikes are far better in a corner than a Cruiser, theyre off the line a little faster but can’t quite maintain the same highest speed that a cruiser would.

Mutiny: The Trailbike Gang
Mutiny are perhaps the most varied of all of the gangs, based on a number of sources this is very much a gang you could flavour easilly. They’re a group of anarchists that live off grid, the leader of Mutiny is very much a man of rock star charisma, he’s not entirely honest with his followers and somewhat tells them what they want to hear, it really is only the upper echelon that truly understand the groups anarchist intent. Trailbikes are designed for a mixture of on road and off road, they can move through non sealed roads without hinderence and ruins without it being dangerous terrain.
So if you want a mad max style crew, a punk rocker crew this is where a lot of that comes from.

RFPD: The Police
Redemption Falls once had a very proud police department, had they known how corrupt its higher ups were perhaps they could have prevented the incident that led to the marshall law the city is left in. What is left of the Police Department are almost obsessed with it, some of those people will do whatever it takes to clean up the city, others go by the book to prevent the city getting worse. Again another chance to flavour your crew with either corrupt police or genuinely good intent, this is also the faction that the NPC interference will come from.

There would be more coming, some of which I already know some that are kind’ve “fun idea’s”, there will definately be opportunities to mix certain bikes together.

Two more test models.

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Second attempt at writing this I need to stop trying to upload too many pictures at the same time.

So another two models to add to the test model collection but this time I wanted to start with some bases that were more in line with the picture I had in my head, prototypes for how Id like to make them down the line if this ever gets far enough.

And with that in mind I recently got in an AK Interactive Ashphalt, now granted theres a tonne of ways you can do roads and a tonne of those almost cost you nothing, I’ve already done the “glue down fine sand and paint it” technique before but I wanted to try this and much to my shock not only did it look good but better than I expected, the cracks int he roads I’m not 100% sure if its  because of how I applied it or part of its design but either way I was delighted.

And then I tried to use regular masking tape to get the lines done despite knowing how often this goes poorly but it turned out even more horrid that I expected it would. My initial intent was to sponge this on for a broken worn look but I quickly realised doing that afterwards with black would likely turn out better, this decition also made it easier to fix it

Owners of the Nazarova Twins from Infinity maye look at the images below and pull out their keyboards to tell me I built them wrong but trust me, I know. I have 3 versions of this kit and it was a deliberate arrempt to change them up a bit, does it work? Well no not really but they’re only for tests.

I really really shouldnt be buying any more bikes at this point I’m really not sure I need them. I have 6 Infinity mini’s completed (if you include these) 3 of which need to be painted, one more that is a conversion as I try to remove all of the Christmas themed stuff from a special edition miniature to make him look more general.

I also have a box of the bikes from the Genestealer cults but with different heads, and the other two boxes of the female haqqislam on the way. I really think I have enough now but sometimes its nice to add to them.

More playtesting

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I wasn’t quite as nervous this time as I was the first time around, I set up the table in a slightly different way this time around, still sticking with the standard streets, this terrain isn’t exactly the perfect representation, it should like a modern city, worn down but still something we would recognise as a somewhat modernish city but I made do with what I had access to, including some lovely ruined cars I found in my Mars Attacks box last night.

Although the end game at this stage is intended to be played on a 4×4 foot table I am hosting all of the demo’s at this stage on 3×3 tables, because its about the core rules and getting down and dirty, all of the bikes are the same with the same weapons for the exact same reason. So no super bonus’s for anything yet, everyone is holding lead pipes, which is kinda brutal but to me its been about testing HOW the game actually works and if the core idea is fun. I’d still like to get it infront of atleast 2 more people before I move into the next test.

With 3 riders a piece the table at this size with the dense terrain gets busy quite quickly so it gets into the action quickly which is what I wanted.

I had made an adjustment to the rules following the last playtest as we had felt the stress involved with taking a turn “too sharply” wasnt serious enough but that led to this game feeling like it was a little too harsh so I will be moving that back to where it was for now as it felt better where it was previously in comparison to how it was tested today.

Feedback was promising, my friend hadn’t played it before just heard me talking about my idea’s its actually the friend that helped me design the turning templated I had in mind for the game so I was excited to get him of all people to see where his work went.

Random moments of inspiration (distraction)

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I’m actually a little more serious with the title than it probably seems I am honestly because if theres one thing I’ve realised throughout these last few moments is that both of these things genuinely have a place, I’m certainly not a professional in this, whilst I am hoping that in time this might become a published and real actual game thats a dream right now but if you’ve never actually sat down to do anything like this I honestly reccomend to write down anything and everything that comes to your mind if it feels right but it also does come with a warning here too..

Not all of your idea’s are going to be good ones, sometimes you can get very very excited about an idea because it sounds cool. A moment of lore that makes sense in your custom armies background that realistically just doesn’t make sense or the giant digression into what at first was a simple idea only to realise a month later it doesnt actually make sense.

Destructible Terrain?

My game is set within an urban environment, a worn down city thats better days are behind it, sure the rich side of down might look incredible but the lower end, where the real civiliation is the streets are worn, the cafe’s havent been open in years, huge populations of people live in temporary accomodation assuming they still live here at all.

So why does everything have to be an obstacle to avoid? This is a game about movement right where the rule of cool should be encouraged? So if theres a chair on the ground why could I try and hit it with my bike and send it flying into the enemies face.

This is an example of an idea I had rather randomly that MIGHT sound fun and hey maybe it will work but its also insanely silly and something that might just need to be said no to.


I’ve sat down a tonne of times trying to get this idea to work in a way that added something to the game and only because I loved the idea so much, the idea of using a jump to reach something out of sight, a broken highway getting an almost clear run somewhere, games with levels tend to have a real depth to them but when I went through the entire document a few weeks ago I deleted a tonne of this simply because the more I looked at it all I saw was that it allowed you to do things because you can but it didnt really seem to ADD anything to the game at this point..

I’d love to revisit this but jumps for now are returned to the initial intent, a way to get an advantage on an attack. Jumps also added what I felt was a complication rules wise because theres no gauruntee you would land before your turn was over, so do I just people get that movement for free? Do I add a rule for being in the air? At this stage I have the latter because I can see too many ways to exploit the bonus distance. Im still reworking this right now, adding SOME extra distance makes some sense but obvious its not going to be Evel Knievel levels of stuntwork, unless I can get the ruling right.

And hey, if this does reach the dream then I always have expansions to add things right?

End of Year thoughts

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When I actually started sitting down to work on this seriously I had myself a goal, to have the game in a testable state within the next 12 months, within 6 you could argue that I have achieved that, theres been a number of tests of the Core Mechanics now and the feedback I’ve gotten is solid, each time I see something that could be adjusted slightly but so far nothing is broken… yet.

Ash and  I had a game last night at the FLGS as part of our regular Friday night meet, first one I’ve been able to make recently due to some rather frustrating bike problems. He’d been waiting for someone to be ready to play Kill Team and I was waiting for the person I was playing with to finish their Marvel Champions game, neither of which happened ultimately but the theory was we were just going to have a go while we waited.

Its nerve racking taking someone through a game for the first time at the best of times, let alone something your personally involved in but he took it in and had positive things to say, he won the demo (because thats how you run these things haha)

I’m a big fan of the stress mechanics when it comes to the game it really does give the game a different feel that so far I’m quite proud of, having to balance that throughout the game knowing it will eventually make achieving things harder.

Testing of phase one is likely to continue through January before I impliment the differences between the factions and bike types to see where the flaws are there, this is where I expect I will need the most tweaking when it comes to balance and feel but that will come in time.

Keeping this so “secret”  hasnt entirely been an easy thing, given that when your working on something you find exciting its hard not to talk about it but until I had something I felt could genuinely BE something I didn’t want to say too much. A lot of the WIP documentation has been available to the Patreon for Getting Tabled, not because it was a promised goal or anything but because I felt our patreon members would be good people to question things given I know theyre all very experianced. But theyre not the only ones by any means, friends have had access (few have read it though which is fine) Lewis Clarke (formally of TTCombat game development) is reading the ruleset right now and will come back with some feedback some of which I expect will be “harsh” (his words not mine). So thats why I also joke about it being the worst kept secret but I am starting to feel like I have the makings of something my own now, its taking shape and I can see the pieces of what I wanted it to be slowly coming together, will the ruleset be finalised by the end of 2023? I doubt it but then I also dounted I’d be this far already. I don’t want to rush this I want it to be right. Especially when if this is to become a thing I have other pieces of the puzzle to work out as well, some of which are outside of my personal budget to achieve but would like to.

2023 should also be the year I try to learn how to use Blender.

Some teases from the "rulebook"

Weapons: Whilst not all riders have weapons, those that do are not shy to use them. The aim in this game will be for all weapons to have their place in the game, ideally this will lead to a game that supports a wide range of player meta’s and a wide range of gameplay choices. Certain weapons have the ability to cause a rider to enter a dangerous state such as bleeding, stunned etc. Likewise there are also some weapons that have the ability to counteract protection. I have a bigger list but at this stage I am only showing the one I am using for phase 1 testing.

  • Leadpipe: 1inch reach, TN 13, 3 stress, stun or sabotage. (Currently being used in phase one testing)

Traits: Traits are certain skills and abilities that will passively assist or hinder certain characters, these will be used to help vary the gameplay and give options for riders within teams, in theory most of these will be general enough to fit within any factions, inspiration here comes from a number of different places Malifaux & Bushido come to mind. None of these are being tested at this time and I have a lot more than just the 3 I am showing.

  • Stealth (Melee/Ranged): This character cannot be the target of a melee/ranged attack when it was not within line of sight at the start of the activation. (intended to be one or the other depending on the character)
  • Rage Filled: This character may never choose to fail a test, it must always continue until either it is successful or it busts.
  • Strategist (x): X times per game, when performing a test this character rolls 3D10 instead of 2D10 and then discards one D10 of choice. The rest of the test then continues as normal.

The last thing I want to tease is the design as a proof of concept card I have been playing with, all very much WIP and just a representation. Its worth noting that a tonne of this uses assets through google, it includes assets that might have been advertised as free but are not, this is NOT a final design and a final design would OBVIOUSLY not be using anything stolen. This only applies to this image nothing else (as the rest I drew myself or had an AI create)

End of Year thoughts

Further developments is that the game will ultimately become a 4×4 board instead of the initial 3×3 simply because 3×3 feels too small for the game to work the way I want it to. I’ve spent some time writing up terrain suggestionsm theres even some lose lore I have that will develop more as time goes on to help justify the existance of how the city ended up in this kind of state. The actual “rulebook” document is also formatted in a way to help make it look and feel as much like a rulebook as I can to help make it easier to read.

And now… is the point where I will finally edit this blog to become public again to hopefully draw more eyes to the project. I won’t be sharing EVERYTHING here thats being kept where its at for now but I do hope the blog will help draw interest from people

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