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):
Blade Wear from playing on Concrete
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.)
Star Noir operates under the fiction that an FTL drive works. To be specific, Sonny White’s implementation of the Alcubierre Drive works. In Starships, it makes very little impact, except to limit the places from which a ship may escape. I assume that stellar objects are not all known, so there’s a strong risk that a ship jumping into warp might run into one of those objects. Combat is therefore fought at “normal” speeds where Newtonian physics applies.
But what happens if all the objects are charted?
The rules for FTL are so different that this is not really a Starships scenario, but what I refer to as “one page rules” — a game stripped down to just the key mechanics. As a result, this scenario can be played without referring to the Starships rules at all.
(I expect that any One Page Rules will be a simple novelty. The usual “beta” warning also applies, of course.)
Back in Scenario One (the Battle of Ascension) I talked about how ship rotation was short enough to be ignored by Starships. In this scenario, I make the opposite assumption: ship rotation takes a whole turn.
Those of you who’ve followed this site for a while have probably noticed that the number of “workbench” articles have declined somewhat.
Okay, stopped completely.
The reason for that is that I’ve been bitten by the game-writing bug. I’ve currently got six projects in the pipeline:
The latest entry in my series of beta scenarios is the “ship’s systems” scenario. In designing Starships, I made the decision to simplify the ships’ systems to focus on the movement mechanics. In this scenario, I add more complicated damage rules. As I expect this to slow the game down a touch, my recommendation is to reduce the size of the forces involved. In the example scenario, they’ve been limited to a single ship. (Insert usual warning about beta scenarios here.)
In the lull after the Battle of Earth, Ismo Nyman and a crew of malcontents stole an unchristened destroyer from the Jamestown Highport orbiting Moultrie. They were successful for the simple reason that no one had tried it before.