Wow! How long has it been since I last posted here? Too long, for sure. The reason: I've been very busy, both with the day-to-day and with gaming stuff, both writing and designing and taking part in tournaments and hosting a podcast for my favourite miniatures game, Godtear.
So let's quickly go through what's been done and what's coming soon...
Super Mega Asymmetrical Super Heroes
By far the thing I am most excited about at the moment is Super Mega Asymmetrical Super Heroes, or S.M.A.S.H.
This is the game I am currently working on and is now very close to complete, just final playtesting and edits to go and the game can be released!
So, what is S.M.A.S.H.?
S.M.A.S.H., as you can probably tell, is a superhero game. But unlike other superhero games, you don't need a degree in maths, or at the very least a spreadsheet, to create your character, only to end up basically having exactly the same effect as each other character when it comes to the fight scenes.
At the core of S.M.A.S.H. is the concept of asymmetrical gaming. I know about this mainly from the boardgame Root, but also the excellent zine games from Gila Games which I have very much enjoyed playing in recent months. In asymmetrical games, each player is playing as different a game as possible - they might have different goals or interact with the rules in different ways. When thinking about superhero games, it became clear that this was actually a really solid mechanical concept, as it allows each player to truly become special and stand out from the other PCs in lots of different ways.
Now, that all might sound complex, but that asymmetry also allows for simple mechanics for each different type of superhero. If you want to play a speedster, you can learn very quickly how your character works and have fun in a way that lets you feel like you're The Flash or Quicksilver, whilst your friend can be playing a brick and soaking up damage and then hitting back, hard, using a completely different, yet equally simple set of mechanics.
Character creation is also often a bugbear of superhero systems, but in S.M.A.S.H. you can create your hero with just a few quick choices: You have three stats to set the values for, then you simply choose an alter-ego, a power source and your hero archetype, which then gives you a few choices for powers, and you're good to go. Easily done in 10-15 minutes if you know your concept. Those sceptical amongst you might then wonder whether this reduces variety in your character options, and denies you the ability to play exactly what you want, but with nine alter-ego options, and eight each for your power source and your hero archetype, there's close to 600 different combinations, before you start choosing your four or five powers from the approximately twenty options available to each archetype.
Despite the fact that it fills over 130 pages, it's taken less than a month to get it to this stage from the initial concept. Work has progressed quickly, due to two reasons:
1. Excitement! The adrenalin was flowing as I wrote this game and discussed it with gaming friends and I was able to write an absolute ton of it very quickly. The core concept was a solid idea that also made for a very enjoyable design experience, constantly challenging me to come up with new ideas.
2. Collaboration! This is the first original product that I have directly collaborated with Nigel on since Etherscope, and I think it shows. He was somewhat "broken" by the experience we had with Etherscope, but this game has finally inspired him to contribute to one of my wacky ideas. Having that extra help, not only in terms of actively bouncing ideas off each other, but also in the heavy lifting on the writing itself, has really allowed the writing process to fly!
Watch this space, because S.M.A.S.H. is coming very soon - merely weeks away!
I can't believe I haven't posted here at all about Eternus! Eternus was a massive release for me last year, and was the culmination of months of work, essentially from an idea for a setting I had back in the noughties.
Eternus has been a real labour of love of a setting - a space fantasy universe with magic and hi-tech, with doorways between worlds. Where the players are heroes, fighting evil sorcerers, known as despoilers, looking to corrupt the empowering force of the Eternus and turn it to their will, or hideous mutants, seeking revenge after they were rejected by society, or the maybe even the injustices of feudalism.
Inspired by many different space fantasy settings, from He-Man, through Star Wars, to Dune and the Imperium of Man, you can play Eternus on a wide spectrum of themes, and with innovative, quick and simple mechanics that encourage interplay between players you can pick it up in no time.
Available now from DriveThruRPG.com
Every wanted to hear my dulcet tones?
If you've been visiting this blog for a while, you'll be aware of my love of Godtear, the miniatures boardgame from Steamforged Games. This is a game I have been going to tournaments for fairly regularly since lockdown ended and managed to drag one of my best friends, Elliot, along with me. We found that after we'd played a game on a game night, we'd end up talking about it, and the wider game itself for an hour or so before we'd manage to pack up and go home.
So we decided we'd set up a podcast, and record our ramblings and hopefully support the game's community help it grow. We've been at it for a year now, so we've got a decent back catalogue of episodes you can listen to.
So, if you're a fan of Godtear already, go listen and get yourself playing more games, and if you've not heard of Godtear or not tried it yet, please, please, please try it out and get playing - it's such a good game!
You can download the podcast episodes from Buzzsprout or your usual podcast app, just search for the Banner Bearers.
Not only am a back working with Nigel on a potential third-party support product for a game we both dearly love and play frequently, but I have also started work on a new game Dead Sector.
Dead sector is a post-apocalyptic survival type of game, but set in a Coruscant-like planet-wide city, known as Crash.
The citizens of Crash must navigate the twisted metal and crumbling concrete of its many ruined skyscrapers and subterranean tunnels and survive in a world filled with dangerous rad and biohazard zones, killer robots, power armoured trophy hunters, feral mutants, bandit gangs and the occasional visiting alien.
Using it's own unique system that prioritises the need for resources as much as the skill of the character, and building on the asymmetry principles in S.M.A.S.H., Dead Sector will be an exciting release when it drops, but is probably a few months away at this point.