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Showing posts from 2017

Scorpio Troopers Rising!

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This art for a Scorpio Trooper is the second piece commissioned for Squad Wars.

There is a loose background provided in Squad Wars should players want or need it, howveer the game is very much designed for players wanting to create or recreate their own preferred settings.

In the fluff that is included, Scorpio is a trans-national terrorist and criminal organisation, divided into many splinter cells. Recently there has been a schism between the ideologically fanatical groups and the more criminally focused elements.

Scorpio Troopers are the backbone of Scorpio forces, their red and black armour and fatigues making them a distinctive sight and intimidating presence in fire-zones.

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

What Is....Squad Wars

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This will be the first in a very occasional series of posts under the ‘What Is….’ banner, basically giving a brief overview of one of the books planned for the Kitbash line.

Squad Wars is a rule-set designed to play out modern military-action pulp skirmish games, with the emphasis on being fast-paced, flexible and fun, yet still allowing tactical and strategic thinking.

Forces are built up with Characters, and Characters are defined by their Traits, Skills, Weapons, and Gear. Character creation is built around a few archetypes as follows: Operators (your main characters), Solo's (infiltrator/assassin types), Grunts (your standard soldier), and for really exotic gaming, Robotic Troopers (almost mindless combat automatons).

Characters be grouped in various ways, so you can form Units of Grunts (made up of basic infantry or support types carrying RPGs, LMGs or GPMGs, as well as medics, officers etc.), who can also be led by an Operator.

Operators are the headline Characters, and can …

Yomper Ready For Action!

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Yomper is the first character whose art I commissioned for Squad Wars. He is a tough, no-nonsense British marine seconded to work with Strike Force, a top-secret multinational military force formed to combat emerging global threats including the insidious Scorpio.

The background presented in Squad Wars is there only to offer a framework should players choose it. The game is ultimately designed to be played with whatever factions players wish to recreate. However, page upon page of text is pretty hard to read, so pictures are needed to make the book easier on the eye for gamers! Therefore, Squad Wars has its own nominal background, but the rules are intended as a tool-kit to develop player's own gaming milieu.

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

The Shape of Things to Come....

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Squad Wars is taking shape. I finally have a working draft of text that I am happy to play-test with, which has meant a lot of writing, rewriting and rewriting again.

While I am doing that and while getting into the play-test phase, I have started commissioning art to fill up some of the pages in the book. This is something I really enjoy as it makes you think as an author about how to describe something as effectively as possible in a simple way that n artists can translate your mental vision into a piece of finished art.

This week I am being a little sneaky, just showing a silhouette, but from next week I will start to reveal some of the art I am gathering for Squad Wars.

Breaking Radio Silence....

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Hi and apologies for the break since the last post!

I promise I have not inactive in recent months, instead I have been focusing on readying a second book that will eventually become a Kitbash product: Squad Wars.

While Supers Unlimited is aimed at taking a fast-pace action approach to supers-gaming,  Squad Wars is intended to enable military-pulp-action gaming in the style of classic 1980's series such as G.I. Joe, Action Force, M.A.S.K., The A-Team, and MegaForce etc. The game is not attached to any existing IP, just intended to emulate some of the things you might expect from gaming this kind of over the top genre.

I'll be showing some Squad Wars previews in coming weeks as well as some more Supers Unlimited previews as I progress on that. Both rule-sets are ready for play-test but I have deferred my hoped-for launch to later in the year as I weigh up what I want to do with regards to layout and design.


The Maven

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Destined to become a costumed hero by family history and tradition, Isaiah Jackson is today's Maven, a man of unparalleled intellect and mastery of martial and esoteric arts. Since the War of Independence, The Maven has been a masked figure protecting his nation's interests from the shadows.

Each Maven hands down all the learning they have to the next in line, their knowledge and experience aiding the next as he walks the path of many before him.

To represent the unearthly intellect, martial arts mastery and the esoteric skills he has, The Maven is a Level 25 character, to show that not all Level 25's need be world-beating powerhouses. For The Maven think Macgyver meets Ozymandias or Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, with a dash of Ethan Hunt in superhero attire.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Warfang

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Warfang is HISS' primary enforcer. Ex-Mexican special forces operative Miguel Santos drifted through a variety of close protection jobs. When a HISS hit-squad attacked the Cartel member he was guarding, Miguel was badly injured. HISS science brought him back from the brink and the shadowy organisation offered him a new purpose which Miguel accepted without hesitation.

Warfang typically operates alongside a cadre of HISS troops, and he relishes every chance to go to to toe with a super. While he is no 'true believer', he is loyal to HISS as they have given him a direction missing since his days in the military, and they have the perfect superhuman living weapon.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

HISS Agent

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HISS is a nefarious power with tendrils reaching across the globe. Individual cells operate on all continents Each cell operates alone or occasionally with others, working towards the organisation's greater goal, even if that brings them into conflict with other HISS groups. This is exactly as the high leadership wants it.

The backbone of HISS paramilitary forces are the Agents, Shock Troopers and Precepts. Squads or platoons of HISS troopers are only deployed when needed, and always with a clear purpose or goal to be achieved, even at those cost of those self-same soldiers.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Kitsune

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Kitsune rounds out the 'core five' heroes as I think of them (although my roster for the Covenant of Justice is much deeper than just these few as you'll see).

On the run from the Fox Clan of ninjas, Kitsune has been set up and has fled to the USA. In San Gabriel the former assassin found allies in the form of the Covenant of Justice as she first tries to understand why she was set up, and what her place will be in the world.

In Supers Unlimited terms, Kitsune is an Infiltrator (one of eight roles outlined in the book). She is Level 20 (which is mid-range for a Super Character). I'll start to show how those things can be applied to a Character in an upcoming post, and how easy it is to create a Super like Kitsune or others in the game.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Iron Armstrong

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Iron Armstrong is a long-lived example that good things can from terrible incidents. The youngest of three brothers in business together, Adam was always the most reckless and carefree. But he was tested when thieves broke into their factory hoping to steal a new formula, When Adam stood his ground the vial he held was shattered, spraying fluid across his body. At that moment, the storm outside blew the skylights in, and a lightning bolt surged down, causing Adam to fall into a vat of molten metal. He emerged like a man of iron, using new-found strength to capture the fleeing criminals. Over eighty years later, Iron Armstrong looks barely a day older than when he was transformed.

The Iron Armstrong character has been through a few names and conceptual revisions in terms of my plans before finally committing to a more fixed visual while developing Supers Unlimited. There are quite a few influences on this guy, from name, to power set, to look. I wanted someone who had an old fashioned …

Dice Dice Baby

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Please forgive the post title!

Dice are a funny thing when it comes to gaming I think. A history of tabletop miniatures gaming has seen all kinds of dice randomisation methods, from single die rolls, to pools, with or without polyhedral dice. And then there are games which eschew dice in favour of cards systems.

I knew I would be sticking with dice instead of cards for Supers Unlimited, making a key decision the type of dice used: to employ the ubiquitous d6, or the slightly more varied outcomes of a d10? I knew I didn't want d20's (yes there are a number of systems using d20 suggesting a renaissance, but I don't really feel any game I enjoy really needs 5% result increments offered by a 20-sided die, and a d8 or d10 can also elegantly work as a scatter mechanism with equal ease, so for me a  non-starter).

While thinking through the options as mental exercises, I explored whether or not I wanted the Attacker and/or Defender to roll dice (either unilaterally or in oppositi…

The Cowl

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She is the last agent of an ancient and secretive order committed to preserving justice. The Cowl nowseeks justice on the streets of San Gabriel as she works alongside the Covenant of Justice to fulfil the final duties of the Shadow Order. All she can rely on are her skills, her trusty .45's and the mystical hood which gives her access to the experiences of every agent of the Shadow Order before her.

The Cowl has undergone more change than a character such as Ace. I first envisaged the character as a male protagonist, but realised that didn't need to be the case. The character also had a different name and a slightly back story before evolving into the design shown here.

Although she carries a couple of guns, I don't picture The Cowl as a 'shoot first, ask questions later' type, instead they are her last-ditch back-up in a strange world of very powerful foes.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Supers Unlimited Design Principles

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The ethos I have set for myself with Kitbash Games is to make fun and accessible low-entry cost skirmish games.

Like many gamers, I have played and modified games for years, and as the first public Kitbash product, Supers Unlimitedwill be a real reflection of that, and of my lifelong fascination with the supers genre.

My first attempt at super-based skirmish gaming was with the old Warhammer Fantasy Battles 2nd edition which had a points cost calculator and profiles which in their own way allowed the creation of supers analogues. In those heady days I was using whatever Grenadier and Games Workshop minis I could get which I felt were suitable and created a whole pantheon of characters, although few ever made it to the table. I was a big fan of 'crunch' in those days, and it showed.

In the years since I have started and not finished a few sets of supers rules until Supers Unlimited. Informed by my experience contributing design for Pulp City, and reflecting on what I like in t…

Ace

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The full art for Ace following the sketch previews.

Journalist by day, costumed vigilante by night, Ace is having the time of his life bringing down bad guys – but will his luck eventually run out?

Ace has been part of the Covenant of Justice mythos for many years, and when I embarked on pulling together what I needed for the Supers Unlimited book, he became the second character to get a full visual concept. I wanted something that evoked a sense of body armour for Ace to make up for his lack of powers. I think that when I eventually get him sculpted, the armour will make for some nice surfaces for painting.

As for his mask - that is the classic TMNT-style domino tied in the back - a design I have always liked.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Doc Cosmos for Supers Unlimited

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This is the example character from the early draft Supers Unlimited book (painted by my buddy Rob from his own collection).

This is just to give you an of how Characters will be defined in the rules. Supers Unlimited is intentionally fairly light as I want a fast-pace gaming experience.

Character creation is simple, as players choose and apply options from a series of different lists depending on whether the Character is Super or Henchman, and what the Character's Role is. My hope is that players can pick up and play with the rules very quickly, and not spend hours poring over the efficacy of options.

Over time I hope to offer a selection of pre-constructed Characters here on the blog to give ideas for your own games.


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Ace Sketches

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The Covenant of Justicecharacters have been in my head and in my notes for many years (as I mentioned in the Doc Cosmos post), and some, like Doc, have gone through a few changes in that time. One character who has been pretty constant however is Ace, and I am glad to finally have him realised in visual form this year.

These sketches were the basis of the final art pieces for Ace which I will be showing off in due course no doubt!

Like Doc Cosmos, I would really like to get Ace sculpted and cast up, and maybe one day make a small selection of Covenant of Justice minis available, so I hope you like him.

Of the stable of characters, Ace is one of my favourites. He has no powers other than what may border on preternatural good fortune. A guy who is not afraid of a fight, Ace relies on his athleticism, a sharp mind and a smart mouth to get him through, but who knows how long his luck will hold!


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Doc Cosmos

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Doc Cosmos is a character who has been 'living' with me for quite some time - I first made some notes about him back in 2009, and he has evolved ever since.

He first started life as a kind of unknowing legacy hero in the world background I was building, with an especially bland costume design.

A year later and I was contemplating getting a miniature commissioned and sculpted. That led me to completely redefining his look in a rough pen and ink sketch circa 2010, and then commissioning James Van Schaik to create Doc Cosmos in physical form. With a little help I had the mini cast up and a few copies have made their way into the world.

Cut to 2017, and I have found some time to write and revisit Doc Cosmos and his allies from the Covenant of Justice, as well as their enemies. I recently tackled my third attempt at a full draft 'generic' supers rules system, building on some of the best ideas I have been developing for three other games, while maintaining a core principle …

Welcome to Kitbash Games

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This post is intended to do exactly what it says in the title - and act as a welcome to Kitbash Games!

For those who don't know me, I am Leon and have been a gamer for over 30 years, playing minis games, board games, card games and rpgs through much of that time.

I am also in recent years a games developer as a partner in Pulp Monsters (creators of the Pulp City game - check it out if you are not already familiar with it!). That recent history in games development and a desire to stretch additional creative muscles is what has led me to establish Kitbash Games as an outlet for my design whims.

I plan to establish a series of pdf and print on demand products, primarily for skirmish mins gaming, but branching out for one particular IP line I have been developing in recent years. So please stay tuned to the Kitbash Games blog and Facebook page for further announcements!


Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017