Category Archives: Starships

Comic-Con 2016 Information

So I’ve got more information: we’re going to be in Room 15AB this year. That’s in the main hall, on the Mezzanine level. We’re officially there from 1 to 5 on Friday and Saturday, and from 1 to 4 Sunday — but there will be some bleed both directions, as we’ll be setting up and tearing down every day. (The Comic-Con page is here.)

The games and what we’ll be doing:

Starships: I’ll be running the usual demo that can accommodate up to four players. The quickest I’ve run it has been about 15 minutes. We’ll be using Lego this year instead of painted minis. I’ll also be passing out SDCC discount codes for the PDF. (More details on the game here.)

Aliens Built My Hot Rod: We’ll be running the demo. We’re still using the prototype decks, without art. (See my post here for why.) The game will support up to six players, and takes longer to explain than play. (It was the game designed to be played while waiting for Hall H.)

The Skating Dead: Zombies playing hockey. It’s for two players, and we’ll be running a playtest. Teaching the rules should take a couple of turns and 10-15 minutes. Finishing a game will take longer, and I’ll be asking folks to fill out surveys.

And because no post is complete without a picture, here’s how badly I ground down my stick blade before I replaced it recently (I play roller on concrete):

Yeah, that's my stick.

Blade Wear from playing on Concrete

Comic-Con 2016

Lego Starships

Lego Starships

So the good news is that we’re going to be at Comic-Con again this year. The bad news is that we didn’t get invited until the last minute, so are rushing to get things prepared. (The lateness of the invite isn’t anybody’s fault. I think they assumed they’d invite us at Kingdom Con, but the day job prevented that.) If everything comes together, then we’ll be in the Game Room on the afternoons of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

What we’ll be doing:

  • Demoing Starships with Lego (hence the picture above). Based on last year, this audience will be more receptive to toy gaming over miniatures gaming.
  • Demoing Aliens Built My Hot Rod, with the intent to find a publishing partner and/or an artist who likes cars and aliens.
  • Demoing a very raw version of The Skating Dead. The tag line: “After the Canadian Apocalypse, there is only hockey.” At this point, you’ve probably figured out that it’s a Zombie Hockey game.
  • Lastly, there’s going to be a bit of networking for a video game, Bandar Rig. We’ve got access to a third-party CRPG engine, so we’ll be able to concentrate on the story. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery crossed with Indiana Jones, this game is for you. Well, will be, when it’s finished.

Unpacking a Studio Bergstrom Order

Minis from Studio Bergstrom.

Unboxing the Studio Bergstrom order.

So I made an order to Studio Bergstrom, primarily for some fighters to round out Leanne’s Directorate fleet, but also to get some of Charles Oines’ not-quite-Star-Trek models to spiff up my demos, and to get a sample of the Outer Rim cruisers. What follows is a review after the unboxing. As usual, click on the pictures to see them at full size.

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Squadron B and EsCon scheduling

Squadron B.

Squadron B with Val’Netine and Krikalev.

I’ll start with the scheduling, first: Purple Fuzzy Monster will be at EsCon most of the day on the 15th, but will probably be missing around lunchtime of the 16th. We’ve got a minor scheduling conflict, so it’s best to look for us Saturday. (Though we’ll be around Sunday morning.)

The picture is of actual Ravenstar frigates, as opposed to Xtreme Hobby ones. Obviously, the new squadron is painted a bit differently  than the original. Since I’m taking more pictures of my models, I’m experimenting with increased saturation to see if they’ll “pop” more. I’m thinking it’s a success, and will be using Squadron B’s colors for any new Terrans I might add from Ravenstar. (As usual, clicking on the picture will show you the full size.)

The other things worth noting are: the Ravenstar models are resin, slightly larger in volume, and have a mounting hole in their “keel”. The holes are kind of small — there was a little bit of knife work necessary to widen them for GW bases — but that’s an improvement over the Xtreme Hobby lead, which required drilling a hole in the hull. Next time I put so of these together, I’ll remember to take a picture and do some measurements.

Out of Dry Dock and back to a Con

Those parts ain't supposed to be separate!

Those parts ain’t supposed to be separate!

I had friends who had a room at Comic-Con, and they did me a favor and kept an eye on my demo box while I wasn’t working. They even transported it to and from the Con, so that I didn’t have to portage the box on the trolley.

All went well — until they got home. As they were unloading their car, the box fell to the ground. The results are the picture above. Click on it, and you’ll get an idea of how much you need to assemble a few of Ravenstar‘s ships. The good news is, none of the pieces were lost, and after a couple of nights with a bottle of cyanoacrylate, we’re ready to go back into action.

And back into action we’ll go! In keeping with our theme of “find out about a con late in the game, and rush to it,” we’re ending up at EsCon. It’s a small two-day gaming con in Escondido.

We’ll be there, August 15 and 16, demo’ing the miniatures version of Starships along with the prototype for Aliens Built My Hot Rod. Hope to see you there!

After Comic-Con, 2015

So I had a fun and busy demo session at Comic-Con. I think every Aerospace Engineer at the Con came by my table and played Starships. A good time was had by all, including a few 12-year-olds who weren’t rocket scientists.

So that’s the good news: these are My People, and I can reach them.

The bad news? My People aren’t necessarily miniatures gamers. While I got lots of interest and positive feedback, they weren’t interested in painting miniatures and digital downloads.

So, it looks like the third edition of Starships will be a boxed edition, and probably adjusted to match available components. As that’s a whole new thing for me, it’ll happen sometime after we finish Aliens Built My Hot Rod.

The second edition will still be released in the original format later this year, and will include a print-on-demand option as well.

While I was running demos, Leanne went and schmoozed the other game designers. We ended up going home with a copy of Alpha Bandits, and Leanne is intending to get a copy of Burgle Brothers when it’s available. Also of interest is Villains & Henchmen.

Updates

Purple Fuzzy Monster will be at Comic-Con International. Officially, we’re demoing Starships, but if you ask nicely, you can talk us into showing off the playtest deck for Aliens Built My Hot Rod. We should be in the Hyatt on Friday afternoon and most of the day on Saturday. Things are not entirely finalized, so check your con schedules when they’re released.

Speaking of Aliens Built My Hot Rod, I should be adding a product page after Comic-Con. At the moment, the game design is pretty much done, but I made a mistake designing it: it needs about 60 pieces of art, and it’s only got 12 so far. Our current schedule is to have that finished by next year’s Kingdom Con.

Finally, a friend of mine’s got a couple of books out. I can’t give an honest review of them yet, because I’m behind on my reading. (So very far behind …) But Jan did regale me with setting information when he was first plotting them, so if the book is half as good as that, then it should be a good read.

(I could apologize for not updating the site recently, but the truth of it is: my day job is very distracting right now, which is a good thing for me. Just not such a good thing for y’all.)

 

Starships: Errata and Proposed Changes

Starships has been out for almost a year now, and I’m thinking I’m going to need a 2nd edition eventually. Right now, there aren’t that many changes in the pipeline, so I don’t feel a rush to get them done before a partial art refresh, which should be sometime in 2016.

Given that’s a year away, I figured I’d share the changes that are possible for 2nd edition.

First off, we finally found an error in the 1st edition. It’s in Section 18.4.5, “Evacuating a Station.” The attacker’s objective should be “Attack the Station” instead of “Attack the Convoy.” I doubt it’s affected anybody’s enjoyment of the game, but there’s an overlap between the erroneous scenario and “Blockade.”

As for possible 2nd edition changes, there’s going to be a name change. To make a long story short: when I first published Starships, Flagship Games was out of business; and their Starships! rules, out of print. Since I didn’t really like the name Jump War, I reverted to (Purple Fuzzy) Starships as the title. Then Starships! got bought/licensed by a new publisher, and came back into print. If that weren’t enough, there’s a new video game out — Sid Meier’s Starships  so a name change is inevitable.

I’ve got a new name, which will be the new title the 2nd Edition. If Wargame Vault works the way I think it does, those of you who bought through them will get the update.

The next change should be familiar to those of you who’ve played the the Battle of Ascension: the new special order, Mark A Target. So far, it’s playtested well, though the offensive mark might be too potent. (A –1 modifier to hit might be added.)

Finally, there is going to be a tweak to the interaction of escorts, squadrons, and point defense. I haven’t gotten around to wordsmithing the actual rules change, but it goes something like this: Escorts that provide point defense to its squadron will take damage from ordinance first. (This means that the attacker can no longer ignore escorts on attack, either.)

Without this rule, escorts have been protected from risk, and fighters became ineffective. With this rule, a squadron should still be able to repulse fighters, but the effort will attrit its escorts, making it easier for the next wave of fighters. It’s also more flavorful: who ever heard of an escort providing defense from behind a capital ship?