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Rutteger1
17-12-2008, 22:48
Is it feasible for me to create my own table top game? I really want a gothic horror type game, but i dont like some of the ons i have seen... I Have a ton of ideas for characters, factions, wargear etc. but Im not so sure on points cost... Well if i did write some rules, it would be a kind of skirmish game, like mordheim, but just... vampires n' **** :D
Would anyone play a game like this? (Im basically just making it for myself)

Griefbringer
18-12-2008, 03:31
I can recall there being at least one Gothic horror game out there - possibly called Vampire Wars.

But if you feel like writing your own game, just go ahead. And if you are not feeling comfortable designing a points system, just skip that and make it more scenario driven.

Rutteger1
18-12-2008, 03:41
hmm. I dunno who would agree to play it tho :D
anyway, ill snoop around for something "real"

Griefbringer
18-12-2008, 14:34
hmm. I dunno who would agree to play it tho

You mean a scenario driven game?

Just have one player writing a scenario (featuring the sides), and the other player choosing which side he wants to play.

Simon Sez
18-12-2008, 14:55
One way to avoid points costs is to use allocation spots; give a player so many spots to fil (Lets say 10, for ease) Now you can have single, hugely powerful characters (Dracula?) and he may immediately fill, say, 4 slots, leaving you with six. Next you may want some undead servants; nowhere near as powerful, which will let you take a squad of 2 for 1 Slot. Now you could rely solely on the power of numbers coupled with an unassisted Dracula, or you may decide to use a few more elite creatures like an Igor (1 model per slot) or one of Dracula's 3 Brides (1 for 2 slots)

Now just look at the number of combos you could make just from that!

Just a suggestion.

Rutteger1
18-12-2008, 16:42
Hey simon, that is a good idea :O
but i wanted to make wargear an option, but that could be left out...

Griefbringer
19-12-2008, 03:20
One way to avoid points costs is to use allocation spots

Which is still effectively a points system, just by another name.

As for the Vampire Wars rules, they seem to be produced by West Wind Productions:

http://www.westwindproductions.co.uk/catalog/index.php?infoBox=3&cPath=2_41

In the US, you should be able to get them through Old Glory Miniatures.

chaos0xomega
19-12-2008, 04:15
You can make "wagear" model-based points. For example, dracula has 5 wargear points, while Igor has 2.

Gazak Blacktoof
19-12-2008, 11:35
If you want to design a game then its a good idea to know roughly where you want to go from the start.

What's the theme?
How many models?
What kind of turn sequence?
What are the objectives?
How do the models and other playing pieces interact?
etc, etc

Then get a pen and paper (not a computer) and start scribbling away, jotting down mechanics, diagrams and questions to be resolved as you go. Just keep going until you run out of ideas. Its very unlikely you'll get a workable game on your first run though of ideas but you'll have a jumping off point for the next iteration of brainstorming and a better idea of where you want to go.

Don't hang onto anything that doesn't work even if you think its clever, be ruthless but keep all your work and don't throw anything away. That clever idea might spawn something you can include or might make it back into the pool of ideas at a latter date when you begin another round of brainstorming.

Whitehorn
19-12-2008, 12:12
You'd be better off looking at game design sites and forums for real information.

Don't start with finer details such as 'wargear' and 'races'. You need to look at the fundamentals - target audience, game mechanics, platform and so on. Asking 'would you play with space vampires vs naked valkyries' doesn't tell us anything about how the game works or is delivered.

Rutteger1
19-12-2008, 15:40
thanks for the input guys and Chaos0xOmega, thats an awesome idea!
this really helps with my ideas.
Oh and if you didn't get it the first time around, its a skirmish game. Small amount of models and such. Also, taerij, you said the question didnt give you any info on the game, but I just want to know if people would like a skirmish game with vampires n such...
i know i would ;)

avatar of kaine
20-12-2008, 17:33
@ rutteger1
it's a really good idea. maybe you could add another faction "slayers"? also I was wondering if once you finalise the rules you could possibly attatch it in a PDF format :angel:?

@terij
I'm currently thinking making my own tribal war table-top game, could you give a good example?

@ simon sez
the allocation spot idea is great, although it is just a simplified version of the points system.

Rutteger1
21-12-2008, 04:31
at avatar, umm... i dont know how :B
well. If i ever finish it ill try :P
oh and by slayers you mean????
like, dwarves, or serial killers? cuz i was thinking of including a mercenary faction, that could go into any group, and you could have people like jack the ripper :D... Jack the ripper "ripping" a vampire. that would be COOL. but you inspired me to actually follow through!

avatar of kaine
21-12-2008, 08:48
at avatar, umm... i dont know how :B
well. If i ever finish it ill try :P
oh and by slayers you mean????
like, dwarves, or serial killers?

try looking on google for free PDF editors or at least one with a free trial.
also what i mean't by slayer was you know like a van-helsing type vampire slayer.

Rutteger1
21-12-2008, 17:26
oh yeah, vampire slayers will DEFINATLEY be included. I was thinking of making Van Helsing a character, but i cant decide between the old man version, or the Van Helsing from the movie, Van Helsing :P

Simon Sez
23-12-2008, 13:15
My vote goes to the classic version of Van Helsing. A skirmish game can afford to have more quircky characters than just super-killers.

One way to use wargear options in an allocation style would be to expend slots on them or reduce unit size. Your slot of two Undead Servants could be reduced to one servant packing a blunderbus (I know, stop pushing the slots idea, I will now)

Rutteger1
23-12-2008, 17:26
dont stop pushing the slot idea! Its great!! or maybe certin units could have their own slots?? example. Dracula- cost, 5 slots. Wargear- 3 slots.
options-
great weapon-
:blank:
:blank:
:blank:
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Meriwether
24-12-2008, 03:03
My friends and I started an open-source wargame idea (like Linux, but for minis!) some time ago, realized we couldn't actually make any money on it, and stopped.

For some reason I'm getting an upload error when I try to attach it here. If you want what we have, PM me with your e-mail address and I'll e-mail it to you.

Meri

Son of Makuta
06-01-2009, 11:59
Game making's quite easy really, with practice. It's time consuming, but once you get into the swing of it you can crank out a good ruleset, test, rewrite, test, rewrite and keep coming back for more! Gazak Blacktoof gives you some good suggestions, I'd stick with that (although I personally use my computer to jot stuff down, it's easier to edit and change things as your ideas change).

The most important things about tabletop game design, in my experience:

1) Sacrifice everything - everything! - for playability. Mechanic X might be cool, evocative and fluffy, but if it slows the game down, CUT IT.
2) Listen to everyone. If someone tells you they had trouble understanding some of the rules, clear them up. If someone gives you an idea for a new special rule which you like, at least consider it, and fit it in if you can (because you're only one of the playerbase, after all :)).
3) Use as few tables as possible. Trust me on this.
4) Simplicity is gold (this goes hand in hand with points 1 and 3).
5) Speed is also gold. If someone gets bored playing your game, you're doing it wrong.

Just a few things to bear in mind. :D As for points values, don't worry about those initially. I suck at thinking up points values, and my game's mech-creation system probably has dozens of incorrectly costed upgrades. That's not a problem though. Once you've nailed the core mechanics, built a rough balance between forces, and the game is taking shape, then you can worry about points values. Until then, just fudge some numbers, because they can be refined over time and with playtesting.

You also need an idea of what you want your game to play like. Quick? Brutal? Laid-back? Amusing? Strategic? Tactical? Combolicious? Evocative? Smooth? An image of what the game should look like will help you choose the right mechanics.

Hope this lot helps :)

Meriwether
06-01-2009, 12:27
LOL. Designing an effective wargame is difficult *because* of points values.

Balancing different armies is very hard.

Even balancing the same army is hard -- picking from the same list, are you sure none of your combinations aren't broken for their cost? Are you sure that every option is useful in at least some way, and is worth its points?

Everything in the army should be worth its points, making a plethora of great options to choose from. This is hard to achieve -- and it is not possible to divorce points values from game mechanics up until the 'end' if you want to not waste a bunch of time developing rules that either may not be used because of balance issues.

Meri

Son of Makuta
06-01-2009, 12:54
LOL. Designing an effective wargame is difficult *because* of points values.

Balancing different armies is very hard.

Even balancing the same army is hard -- picking from the same list, are you sure none of your combinations aren't broken for their cost? Are you sure that every option is useful in at least some way, and is worth its points?

Everything in the army should be worth its points, making a plethora of great options to choose from. This is hard to achieve -- and it is not possible to divorce points values from game mechanics up until the 'end' if you want to not waste a bunch of time developing rules that either may not be used because of balance issues.

Meri

I'd argue the opposite, actually. The hardest (or at least, most important) part about developing a wargame is getting a fluid, solid core ruleset. Once that's down, you can then work on getting, say, two factions balanced against one another and internally. Then add another, balance, add another, etc. Balance is tough, but armies need a game to be built on top of.

You can obviously return and modify the base ruleset at any time whenever it's necessary - but laying down points values and definite army lists early on in development is a bit pointless because the rules themselves will change and completely invalidate what you've written, meaning you've instead wasted time developing several balanced armies only to make a few changes and having to rewrite. (Look at 40K... they only managed to change half the armies in between 4th and 5th editions...) I'm not saying that you shouldn't have points values at all, but they don't have to be dead-on precise.

Heck, my game doesn't have faction rules at all yet, although admittedly it's perfectly playable without them, making it a bit of an exception. For my next game though, when this one's done or nearly done, I'll knock up a few units for two factions to playtest with (or use two identical armies, which is boring but guarantees balance and makes it easier to identify which mechanics have more of an effect on a game - shooting/melee/magic that is), and get the core rules and playstyle sorted out before fleshing the armies out fully. Having to rewrite my game's mech creation system every time I change the rules is annoying, although I need it there so I can playtest! ;)

Ninja-edit: To clarify, I don't mean that you should neglect armies completely, just that precise points values aren't the most important thing at the early stages. When I recently rewrote the creation system I completely overhauled it. Made the system upgrades more significant, cut out ones that weren't much use, added more. Added more weapon special rules and a weight-based limit system. Changed the way melee weapons are made. It's more than just a get-you-by system. It does, however, have a lot of points values *and* new weight values in it, and I expect most of them aren't quite accurate. They're not bad, but they're approximations at best. Only time will tell what they should be, but at the moment my focus isn't on fixing them. The game undergoes considerable-to-massive rewrites on a regular basis (like every time I playtest it!). The most recent rewrite, for example, completely changed the turn sequence, movement, damage, close combat, and morale systems, plus many other minor edits and fixes. About the only thing I didn't change was the way you roll to hit! With this kind of severe editing going on, what chance does model balance have? :)

Meriwether
06-01-2009, 14:06
Ok, we're in agreement here. I wasn't saying you need precise points hammered out early on. Approximate comparative value works... for a while!

Meri

Gazak Blacktoof
06-01-2009, 15:54
Gazak Blacktoof gives you some good suggestions, I'd stick with that (although I personally use my computer to jot stuff down, it's easier to edit and change things as your ideas change).

There's a few reasons I'd rather put pen to paper than sit at a desk or type things out on a laptop.

1. The delete button. There's a temptation to overwrite what's been written when using a computer, or to just bang the delete button. With pen and paper a line through an abandoned idea will make it clear that the idea has been set aside but it can still be read and I can come back to it.

2. Interaction. I don't get the same feel and fluidity from a keyboard as I get from a pen or pencil. If I'm at a desk I wont be at the game board with the models. It can help to run through a few scenarios with models and that's easier where I've got lots of models around.

3. Diagrams. Sure I could use CAD or paint or something, but most programs are too accurate, too imprecise or just too damn slow compared to a pencil or pen.

4. Cost and time. Printer ink is costly and printing is time consuming. I'd rather have scrappy notes than have to print out the next version of my game so I can play it.

Computers have their place, nobody wants to play with those scrappy notes forever and they really help when you're trying to distribute your work but for early development, of anything, I'd rather work with a pen than keyboard.

robtheguru
06-01-2009, 16:17
Why not use the Mordheim ruleset but just adjust it for your own needs?

chaos0xomega
06-01-2009, 17:24
For playtesting armies the rules, may I suggest the Red v. Blue concept? Basically, create a "Red Faction" and a "Blue Faction" stat up a few generic units (for my naval game it was stuff like "Red Cruiser" Red Destroyer" "Red Battleship" etc.), give them a few special rules (you can even swap these in and out, and I suggest you do, as that will give you a good idea of what combinations of rules will make overpowered units) and just go at it. You want your core rules be polished away before you start worrying about your army lists.

Son of Makuta
07-01-2009, 11:53
1. The delete button. There's a temptation to overwrite what's been written when using a computer, or to just bang the delete button. With pen and paper a line through an abandoned idea will make it clear that the idea has been set aside but it can still be read and I can come back to it.

Good one. I didn't think of that. I don't think I've ever had to go back to an old idea, though. I tend to replace them with better ones and if the new one turns out to be crap I make a better version than that, and so on. So far I've had luck with that (I'm bound to come up with a downgrade at some point, mind).


2. Interaction. I don't get the same feel and fluidity from a keyboard as I get from a pen or pencil. If I'm at a desk I wont be at the game board with the models. It can help to run through a few scenarios with models and that's easier where I've got lots of models around.

I don't have a desk at home. Just a bed, a wardrobe and a floor. In uni, well I'd probably put the minis on the desk, or the laptop on the floor...


3. Diagrams. Sure I could use CAD or paint or something, but most programs are too accurate, too imprecise or just too damn slow compared to a pencil or pen.

Excellent point. Oddly, I don't think I've needed to draw diagrams while brainstorming ideas, or at least, I've never come up with something I couldn't describe in words (I'm the only one who's reading this stuff, so why not :D).


4. Cost and time. Printer ink is costly and printing is time consuming. I'd rather have scrappy notes than have to print out the next version of my game so I can play it.

Playing off the laptop screen works alright, and of course, you'll need to type something up if you want to play the game with anyone else, so they have a copy to peruse (either on-screen or printed). Personally, I've developed a dislike for pens and their ever-betraying nature (and the ever-diminishing supply of paper I have to write on), so I stick to EditPad Lite for the most part. It does make my brainstorms more readable when I go over them to add new stuff, because I can set them in order and correct typos/errors whenever necessary. It's also easier to post them on Warseer :p

But there we are, different strokes for different folks. I'm a bit of an odd one out though - I think your approach works best for most people; it's not my personal preference, is all.



For playtesting armies the rules, may I suggest the Red v. Blue concept? Basically, create a "Red Faction" and a "Blue Faction" stat up a few generic units (for my naval game it was stuff like "Red Cruiser" Red Destroyer" "Red Battleship" etc.), give them a few special rules (you can even swap these in and out, and I suggest you do, as that will give you a good idea of what combinations of rules will make overpowered units) and just go at it. You want your core rules be polished away before you start worrying about your army lists.

This be my plan. :) For me, I already have ideas for this-and-that unit in my head, so I'll use those, but the rules are mutable enough. And yeah, giving them special rules is important - pitting a standard, all-rounder faction (40K's Marines/Eldar/Chaos) against a very unusual faction (Tyranids for example) is probably a good idea early on so you can see the effects.

My next game, Wraithsight, will be tested using the Arcanum (standard faction) and the Night Walkers (completely non-standard, an entirely offensive faction). Why's this? Well, because I want to measure the effect Shielders have on the game. Shielders are a type of unit that protect your wraithseer, your most important model, from harm; something other units can't do half as well due to the LOS system and other rules I'll be using, and provide good area-denial abilities and resilience. Every faction bar the Night Walkers have them; the Night Walkers will have more powerful versions of everything else to make up for it, but they have to kill the enemy quickly because the seer - the core of their army, because it's the model that summons other models to the table to do the fighting! - is vulnerable. Assassination is a big part of Wraithsight, like Warmachine, and I want to ensure it's done right early on, hence the emphasis on Shielders.