PS 4 Division Play

I finally gave in and got my PS 4. It is one of those things that is actually better than what I had hoped. The machine itself is smaller, quieter, and better than my PS 3 and I’m happy with it so you can imagine how happy I am with the 4.

I also finally got my hands on The Division. I got it at Walmart for $30, no season pass yet, that can wait.

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One of my characters, shores of Brooklyn at night.

The game is visually and audibly more immersive than youtube videos can show. I like how most of the sounds come from the TV, but I get ISAC messages from the controller and multiplayer chat is through a mic/headphone combo that plugs into the controller.

In terms of game play I’m hooked. I am not generally used to the controller, with my PS 3 I played mostly Gran Turismo 5 and used a steering wheel controller. So I am a bit clumsy with the controller but I am slowly adapting.

Currently I am playing two characters, my first character has gone to Manhattan and liberated the base. My other character is female and is close behind, I am currently clearing the precinct.

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My Second character with Splinter Cell gear on.

With the second character I am using the shield as my primary skill and with my clumsy play style it helps since I can make a stand and take some hits. The only bad thing about the shield is that only handguns can be used.

The game is over a year old now but as a new player I am kicking myself for not getting it earlier. I like the almost everything about the game and if I were reviewing it I would give it a 9.5/10.

Having the game is also giving me a better feel for the work I am putting into the miniature game. The two games have vastly different rules and style of game play, but I hope to capture the feel of The Division in my work.

As a side note The Division reminds me a lot of the Phoenix Command rules, with the exception of the player physically doing the aiming. The damage system is fairly complex with big numbers being calculated based on gear and character level. As a tabletop system however this gets too complex and cumbersome and is better left to gaming consoles and PC’s that can do the math.

Tom Clancy's The Division™_20170410205059

Tom Clancy’s The Division™_20170410205059

Gear and Scenarios

The Division features some interesting gear features which I am starting to implement for this game. As it stands right now this is how I will handle gear.

Generic Gear is equipment used by generic encounters like rioters and cleaners. For example a generic assault rifle will have no special equipment with it and will have standard damage and other characteristics. Generic gear can be purchased and is what agents start with. I plan on releasing the beta version with this gear so people can start playing and testing the system.

Model Weapons like the LVOA-C in the game can be modified (accessories added) and tend to be better than generics. They are the equivalent of low tier magic items in Frostgrave. They can be purchased, usually for twice the price of a generic weapon and modifications can be purchased. These weapons have Magazine, Muzzle, Under Barrel and Sight modifications all with differing properties. For example a character could add a suppressor on the muzzle to be able to attack and remain unseen by enemies, or the could add a recoil reduction muzzle break for increased damage. Many of the modifications are simplified from the video game, but this is mostly due to the more simplistic manner of the tabletop game mechanics.

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LVOA-C

Finally we have the high end named gear. This equipment will confer high bonuses for Agents using the equipment. For example the Ninja Bike Messenger Bag will give a character no movement penalty but allow them to carry an extra 3 items. Named weapons give a +1 shooting bonus as well as higher damage and this does not even include added modifiers from add-ons like sights and muzzle devices.

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Pakhan LMG a named weapon

Special equipment will not be purchasable. Characters will eventually get these items by defeating major opponents or being higher level.

This gear system will have random tables and such but will be modified by  level ranges of the characters and the type of scenario. Solo scenarios for example will have no good gear with them, just normal gear etc.

Now with weekly updates

I have been encouraged by readers and friends to post more, it seems like I am finally gaining some traction with a project. So I have decided to do a weekly post on Thursdays, even if it is just to say that I accomplished nothing.

I think I will also get a twitter feed and other services going too. For now though I’ll just leave this here and explain on Thursday.

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Update

I’m still working on the rules for Wargrave. I will be doing some play testing this weekend at a gaming club.

Most changes I have made are renaming abilities (replacement for spells) and some of the power levels. I have made it easier to use some and a bit harder to use others. The lowest starting ability roll is 10 a bit higher than some Frostgrave spells. Heal for example is now a ability roll of 10 as opposed to Frostgraves Heal spell needing an 8. Hack CCTV is the replacement for Wizard Eye (it assumes there are traffic and other cameras around). The highest roll is now a 16 with no modifiers. One Shot a Sniper ability that is the same as Strike Dead the Necromancer spell is a bit easier to get off, allowing those of other classes to use it. It also has been modified to be dependent on a successful shooting attack rather than a Will save.

All in all I have 64 abilities distributed among 8 classes evenly for 8 abilities each. Each class has 2 Related (+2, allied), 4 Secondary (+4, neutral) and 1 Tertiary (+6, opposed) class with the roll modifier being the same.

The spell like abilities have also been split between classes so most classes have some out of game and crafting abilities. This is a bit different than Frostgrave where the Enchanter would give equipment boosts and Summoners and Necromancers had a lot of free soldier summons.

I will hopefully have this alpha testing done soon and can release a somewhat stable beta version for everyone to try.

Solo Play Test III, If it ain’t broke…..

I failed to take any pics so just read.

Doing a simple play test I discovered a fault in my logic. The previous article shows my mistakes. I noted where I went wrong and kept the original text and added some. It makes me look like a fool but I’m better for it.

I am taking Range Increments out of my Wargrave Mod for Frostgrave, the reason is simple: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I added a level of complexity to the game that was unnecessary, my intention was to have different types of weapons have varying levels of accuracy. In place of it I am going to have different Maximum shooting ranges.

Maximum Effective Ranges

Thrown Weapons: 12”

Pistols, Shotguns, Machine Pistols, Bows, Crossbow, Slingshot, Muzzle Loader: 24”

Sub machine gun : 36”

Rifles: 48”

Sniper Rifle, Aimed General Purpose Machine Guns: 60”

Anti material rifles, Heavy Machine Guns, Artillery: 72”

Much easier to remember and still adds a touch of realism. With a proper set up the ranges will more likely be less than 24″, it’s urban with lots of garbage, car wrecks and street stuff around.

Frostgrave is quite simply a brilliant system. With the way damage is determined shooting an opponent and wounding is quite hard and my rules addition just made it worse, so it’s gone. I found that because I would be shooting with an additional -1 or -2 modifier on top of target cover and imposing terrain that not only was I hitting less, but when I would hit the damage was too low against a target with no body armour on (10 armour).

So far the suppression rules and various equipment features are working well and they will probably will remain. Because of my mistake in the previous article I still have to do extensive testing but suppression still works since a well armoured target is still likely to get hit, but not take damage. it reminds me of the scene in Saving Pvt Ryan where the soldier gets hit in the helmet but it doesn’t wound him, he takes the helmet off distracted then gets hit in the head and dies. The idea with suppression is that inexperienced troops will cower more (low WILL) and it keeps Will relevant for game play purposes.

Lesson to be learned here always play test the hell out of what you are doing, be self critical and don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong.

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Wargrave, now easier to hit and less bureaucracy.

Solo Play Test Pt II

I Edited this article because I really messed up, I left the mistakes I made in so that you can see where I went wrong.

So I ran a simple combat test with no special abilities between a Specialist (apprentice equal) and 4 rioters (untrained opponents, S,F and W all -1). My Specialist is armed with a SMG. img_0172

She is unpainted, one of the figures from The Women Survivors pack from Wargames Factory.

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Round 1 has our Rioters behind medium cover, they are armed with melee weapons and can throw rocks (both are free weapons), the Specialist shoots her SMG. The SMG has the following attributes:

The Damage Bonus is +3, Range Increment is 10″, Cost is 25. In the notes section it indicates the maximum range and that it is capable of burst fire (with extra ammo).

Range Increment is a new rule edition. Every  10″ past the first 10″ imposes a +1 fighting bonus for the target, like obstructions. The obstruction rule applies still so the modifiers pile up quicker. Not all modern firearms have a maximum range, just the smaller and lighter weapons. If you had a huge playing area the range increment bonus to the target would get so high that hitting is almost impossible.

The Burst attribute in the notes section of the listing allows for a +1 shooting if the unit has the Extra Ammo item in their equipment list. For purposes of this article our Specialist does. Some weapons like bolt action rifles do not get the Burst ability.

Our Specialist attacks first, since they activate during the Specialist (apprentice) activation phase. She shoots a Burst. the target is 14″ away.

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She rolls a 4, and even with the burst ability of her equipment she still has a -1 penalty (-2 shoot with burst+1= -1) for a total of 3.

The target rolls a 10, and applies a +2 total bonus (-1 fight, +2 med cover, +1 due to range increment) for a total of 12.

She doesn’t move and ends her phase.

The rioters are too far away to throw rocks (max range 14″), and they all rush forward moving a total of 9″ (regular and second movement), ending the turn.

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Round 2 changes things for the better for our Specialist. With the medium cover and Range Increment now withing 1 range band of her weapon she fires at the same guy as before.

Specialist rolls an 18 (-2 shoot, +1 burst) for a total of 17.

Rioter only rolls an 11 (-1 fight) for a total of 10.

I got this totally wrong! I was sleep deprived or something:

“The shot does not wound however, even with the damage bonus of +3 (17-10=7+3=10), which is the same as the armour rating of the target. So no physical wound, we now introduce suppression rules into the mix. Now the target rolls Will, rolling a 4 (-1 Will) for a total of 3 well below the 10 Damage taken, the target is now suppressed.”

This is how it should have gone:

With a Damage Bonus of +3 the Specialist will do a total of 10 points of damage (17+3=20-10= 10) The rioter would be killed or mortally wounded.

So for suppression to occur lets lower our numbers so the Specialist rolls a 7 and the rioter rolls a 6, for 6 and 5 respectively. In this case even with a +3 Damage bonus the damage is less than 10 so the rioter takes no damage. The rioter would now make a Will Roll and gets a 7, but because he is untrained he has a -1 Will so his total is 6 lower than the attacker roll so he gains a point of suppression.

Suppression only occurs when targets are hit by explosives or firearms (melee and missile weapons do not cause suppression) that do not wound. The target makes a Will roll vs the attackers total and if failed they are suppressed. A simple marker is placed next to the figure. When they are activated next they will temporarily loose one action (mandatory move), after their activation the marker is removed. Suppression is not combined with a wound (the wound is the penalty for getting hit) and a unit can only have one suppression on it at any one time.

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Example of a suppression marker.

During the rioters turn they all throw rocks, none of which hit and then the 3 non suppressed rioters charge forward ending up at the base of the wall.

Round 3 finds our Specialist in a bit of a pickle. She decides to throw a grenade into the middle of the mob. She rolls a 17 (-2 shoot) for a total of 15.

The rioters roll 2,6,8 and 14 (-1 fight) giving us 1,5,7 and 13 respectively.

Again I got this wrong:

Grenades have a 2″ radius and a +3 Damage modifier making the damage taken by rioter being (1) 7 points, (5) 3 points, (7) 1 point and no damage for the last rioter. Rolling for suppression on the last guy we roll 6 (-1 will) which gives us 5 equaling the damage (18-13=5) so no suppression is taken.

What would have happened:

All of the targets would have taken 8 points (15+3=18-10= 8).

The Specialist moves to the back opposite corner readying herself for the rioters about to climb up the wall.

From this point on I decided to stop the experiment. I was reasonably pleased with the results as these rioters going up against a lone level 0 Specialist would take casualties but still prove to be dangerous enough to constitute a challenge. If the specialist had a squad mate the results may have been a bit different unless more rioters were present.

Because of the increased emphasis on shooting combat NPC’s need to be handled a little differently than in Frostgrave. Having a recommended tactics section would be useful as well as allow for more effective solo play. It will also be interesting to see what happens with more players, Agents and Specialists using their abilities, and facing more lethal enemies.

More to come soon…….

The problem with playing many different miniature and role playing games with similar themes is that you can get your rules mixed up and crossed. This article is an example of this. Use this as a lesson kids it is a good idea to re read your rules occasionally to catch mistakes you may make.

 

Solo Play Test (part I)

I have been doing some solo play testing this week and have figured out some rules tweeks and modifications for Wargrave.

On paper I realized that here is less need to change how a squad (warband) needs to be created. I have 8 classes in the game: Assault (Infantry and heavy weapon types), Brawler (Melee and missile weapon specialists), Commander (Tactics specialists), Engineer (Explosives and Terrain modification),  Hacker (Drone and information specialists), Medic (Healer), Scout (Recce and stealth) and Sniper (Ranged death dealers). As I mentioned in the previous post I was going to give each leader a primary and secondary class, instead I am going to keep it closer to the original Frostgrave system of allied, neutral and opposed.

Every class has 1 Opposing class, 2 allied and the rest, 4, are neutral. The starting abilities are more the same as in Frostgrave with spells:

3 Abilities from Base Class at +0 Ability Roll

1 From each Allied class at +2, for total of 2

1 From each Neutral class at +4, for a total of 4

Instead of a Wizard you are playing an Agent. The starting stats are the same as a Wizard in Frostgrave. The equivalent of the apprentice is the specialist, like its Frostgrave counter part they have the same abilities but they have a +2 to all ability rolls.

Additional members in the form of grunts can be added to the players squad. They are treated like soldiers in Frostgrave.

The main campaign for the game is going to be similar to the MMO game The Division by Ubisoft. img_0167

A major catastrophe happens and the players have their Agents activated. It will be set in Lewiston, New Cumbria, U.S.A. Games that are more than two players will be co-operative games, with no more than 10 men on the agents side. The player who plays the OPFOR will also act as a sort of games master.

The players are agents for the C.D.I, the Civil Defense Initiative, a sort of last ditch the SHTF organization focused on saving what remains of the U.S.A after numerous events throw it into a bitter civil war.

I plan on continuing development of my city war board game as well, this can be thought of as a sort of second campaign system if players get bored of the various scenarios and story line the game has to offer. This is a sort of be your own king type game where management of resources is as important as winning battles.

More to come in the next part, part II…..

 

Wargrave

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I have been taking a bit of a break from gaming and doing some trolling on facebook and youtube. Damn Nazi birds and their Milk! Trash Doves are awesome. Because of the break I have had a bit of a Eureka moment.

I was previously working on an RPG edition Uncivil War having been inspired from a Japanese TRPG called Gundog Revised. In it you make a character and choose 2 classes, there are 8 to choose from each with unique abilities. This means you can have a wide variety of characters capable of doing a multitude of tasks. I soon discovered it to be too big of a project to handle however and decided to put it away for a while.

I realized recently that Frostgrave is a perfect framework for my setting to use. I wish to keep the battle and miniature requirements small. I also want streamlined and simpler rules. Frostgrave meets all these criteria.

The result I call Wargrave.

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Instead of Wizards and apprentices the player controls a commander and his 2IC. Spells are swapped out for similar class abilities (modified slightly, non magical and renamed). A focus on shooting combat and allowing the player to choose 2 of 8 classes creates a similar but different game. The game is still familiar and compatible with Frostgrave, if you wanted to run a zombie game for example just plop in some zombies and go.

I have different characteristics for weapon types, but the only real difference from a game point becomes the range increments (added rule for shooting combat) and the damage bonus for each firearm type. In order to do special attacks like spraying an area with a machine gun, the unit doing the attack has to have the ability (spell replacement) scatter shot in order to do so. Certain equipment will have an ability with them, like a fragmentation grenade has the Grenade ability, but such items are one shot, like a potion or scroll is in Frostgrave.

Abilities no longer cause health like spells do, but on the flip side a character cannot sacrifice health to get an ability off. This means that some abilities with a high target number will not succeed much of the time.

I still have considerable testing to do, but overall the scope of work is not overwhelming this time. Mainly this is due to most of the work being done, anyone playing this system would need to have Frostgrave and be at least somewhat familiar with it.

 

Love Boat

I am finishing up my PCF or Swift Boat and have created some exchangeable extras for it.

I have the original twin 50 cal and 50 cal/mortar armaments. I have also adapted a TOW launcher from a 1/35 scale hummer model as well as a pintle mounted MG42 for an aft weapon. I have a search light as well for unarmed vessels.

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This is the true configuration. I did not put the ring mount inside the cupola just so I can remove it. The Stern mounted 50/mortar is also not glued. In order to get the boat to stay level I did not glue the screws on and I trimmed the rudders.

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The TOW mounted in the cupola.

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Stern mounted GPMG.

Hey you young punk kids get away from my knotty pine!

Did a bit of Solo play and used my newly based trees. I used the cobblestone mat I have to do a battle set in the park.

Some Sk8r punk kids have taken the park fountain!

The local Russian mob boss wants his park back.

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One of many trees violated by the punk kids.