Sunday, 24 June 2012

Of the Living Dead and Full Scale War

Hello Readers

Today's post is going to be about two of my currents projects as a game designer.  While I love playing tabletop games I often find myself wondering "What would this be like" or "Wouldn't it be cool if..."  I have a lot of projects on the go, most of which will probably never see the light of day, but there are two projects which I think may have a bright future; "Zombies" and "Warzone".


Some of the local club members already have some fond memories of playing Zombies.  It is the first game I have made that people have actually played, which fills me with great joy, though I would like to get some more games in.  Zombies is designed to be an easy to learn, easy to play role playing game where the player, with as many allies as he wants, fights off wave after wave of zombies as they do their zombie thing.  The rules, in a nutshell, are that the players run around the board shooting zombies, picking up weapons and avoid being eaten alive.  At first this is fairly easy, but as you go through the game it gets harder and harder until, ultimately, everyone dies.  Yes, that is right, everyone will die.  It gets to a point that the zombies become so powerful that there is no hope for salvation and the last player snuffs it.  The point of this game then is not to survive, but to get a higher score than players before you.  I can see this game being good for groups of gamers, whether they be clubs, families or friends.  And it doesn't really matter how many players join in because while some things get easier with more people, some things get harder.  So far, we have found that four or five people is probably optimal, but we have still had some very interesting scores with just one or two.

As of the time of writing this blog, there is only one way to play Zombies, the "standard" game on a 2 feet by 2 feet board with a little bit of terrain (mainly for aesthetics, trust me, you don't want much terrain in a standard game).  While this is all fun and dandy, I am planning some "expansions" to the current rules, allowing players to play in a built up city, where every bullet counts, or in a campaign, where you have to achieve certain goals before moving onto the next map.  Overall though, the game works and I am happy for that.  Because of the way the game is set out, there is no need for character classes or anything else normally associated with an RPG.  It seems that each player has their own set of tactics anyway, making for varied games with different people, though I may at some stage introduce this.  The background to each game is really up to you.  You could be fighting waves of zombies  in central park, killing Micael Jackson thriller zombies in the dance studio or you could be destroying allies as they invade your home, whatever you want.


My other current project is, sorry....GIGANTIC.  If you thought your five thousand point Warhammer battle was big than you are about to be educated.  Warzone is a game of semi-futuristic battles on the lagest, or rather, smallest of scales.  To give those who don't know an idea; Warhammer is 1:28 scale, Flames of War is 1:100 scale (I think), a 6mm game (can't think of one right now) is about 1:130 scale and even the smallest scale naval battle games are 1:1000 scale, very tiny.  Warzone is on a different level, it is...wait for it...1:100,000 scale.  Yes that is right, every kilometres is represented by one centimetre on the board.  Let me tell you early on that this is not an easy game to play.  You MUST have gaming experience and a few brains before even reading the rules for this game.  It is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I think that those who play it will love it.

Warzone is an unconventional wargame in many ways.  Firstly the scale, 1:100,000.  Secondly, you might expect to find some sort of points system in a wargame, Warzone has almost completely abandoned the idea.  Thirdly, and most importantly, is the customisation on an unheard of scale.  Where in, say, 40k, you choose your codex and pick certain units to play with, in Warzone you design the codex.  Yes you heard me right, you get to design your own codex (essentially) and even change it half way through a battle.  This will eliminate the talk about which army is better.  For example, a conversation at a gaming club, might go like this:

Bob: It's not fair, you won because you are playing Necrons and they are so over powered
Bill: No, you are playing Space Wolves, they are cheesy.  I had to take this army to beat you.

and then the argument and debate continues.

The same situation in Warzone would be:

Bob: It's no fair, you won because you have better artillery.
Bill: Then why don't you use them then.  You can.

Warzone is about huge battles involving thousands of soldiers fighting over vast distances.  When making your Warzone army you have to decide on alot of things.  Firstly, you have to decide on what sort of society your troops come from; things like how rich the country is, how proud they are of their military, that sort of thing.  You then decide how you want to train your troops and in what.  You may want all of your soldiers to be able to drive a tank, or half of your army to be trained as a medic.  You get to decide how many soldiers are in each unit, company, regiment etc.  You then equip them with whatever weapons and equipment you want.  While they are on the battlefield, you have to think about your ability to supply them with ammunition, food and fuel.  The rules are such that you have to think about alot of things, but it is so far made that most of the thinking will be done before the battle.  The game itself is actually fairly simple, but the logistics side of it is where the complications begin.  You may want to play as part of a team with, say, one person controlling the army, another the navy, another the air force.

Warzone has been designed for realism, though some things have had to be skipped over.  For example, in Flames of War, the range of a field gun might be 2m, scaled to about 200m.  This is not at all realistic.  Not to criticise Battlefront at all, they have made a great game which I love playing, but Warzone is a different sort of game.  The range of artillery can be 10, 20, or even 30 kilometres. 

Everything matters in Warzone.  To explain what I mean by that, lets say you, with your 5000 point Imperial Guard army, made up of a Baneblade and only conscripts otherwise, have a battle.  You win, losing only the Baneblade.  Now the rules of the game say that you have won, but in "reality" the loss of a Baneblade would be catastrophic.  In Warzone, because you have to think of re-supply and replacing lost units, replacing a Baneblade would be a huge task and so, even if you route the opponent, they may have actually won the battle on a logistical level.

Ultimately, Warzone is a game for those of use who want to do alot of thinking.  Don't be daunted though by all this.  As I have said before, you do all that before the battle and if you do it well you only have to do it once.  When the next battle comes around you can easily say "I'll have three divisions of these, five companies of these and a battleship fleet," or whatever.  You have total control over the armed forces and I mean all of the armed forces; Army, Navy, Air force and even Space Fleet if you manage to get one.  Warzone is an all encompassing game where you can have as much fluff as you want and the rules allow you to reflect it fully.  Being at the scale it is, Warzone is not a game of miniatures, it is a game of skill, planning and tactics.

Well thank you for reading my blog today, I hope you enjoyed it.  If you want any further information on either of these games then please, don't hesitate to ask.

Join me next time when we talk about making your own scenario for Warhammer 40k.

See ya

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