Friday, 31 March 2017

Iron Armstrong

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 feel to him, and even a little hint of the pulps that predated super-hero comics. While not the most powerful hero of the Covenant of Justice mythos, Iron Armstrong is certainly one of the longest serving.

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Monday, 27 March 2017

Dice Dice Baby

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 opposition), and what I perceived in terms of benefits of using variable die types.

My final decision made, this meant I wanted dice to be variable, allowing a scale of six die types (including d2); this would help limit outcomes for lesser characters, but allowed me to scale the auto-fail probability (at the cost of auto-successes based on rolls being sacrificed). I decided against the Defending model rolling their own dice. Instead, for most Attacks the Attacker rolls a single die of the indicated type, adds modifiers, and tries to equal or exceed the relevant Defensive Trait. Beating the required value by a sufficient amount can trigger extra effects. What this creates is a broad scale of competency, with limits, including the opportunity for bonus results. It also offers a way of varying the traditional 'always fails on a 1' (16.7% on d6). I am pretty satisfied with the final design and hope that it will be welcomed when players get to grips with Supers Unlimited.

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Additional miniatures from Black Hat Miniatures' Mutants and Madmen range;

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Cowl

She is the last agent of an ancient and secretive order committed to preserving justice. The Cowl now seeks 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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Supers Unlimited Design Principles

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 Unlimited will 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 the emerging market of low-cost accessible rule-sets, I set out to make something that played quickly, allowed for pick up and play through speedy character creation, yet retained a lot of flavour flexibility. Of course doing all of that means compromises, but that is part of the design process in my opinion.

Although the final version of the first edition Supers Unlimited rules will be fairly 'lite', I feel there will be a lot packed into the book to provide a lot of replay substance. My feel for the supers genre in comics as well as gaming theory may be a little classical, so I hope that is reflected in the final work and strikes a note with other gamers.

Supers Unlimited with have a nominal parallel mythos (the world of the Covenant of Justice), but the game is not tied to a single backstory - it is fully intended to allow players to create your own world of supers - populated by your Heroes, Villains and Anti-Heroes. You will be able to grab the minis you want to create the game you want to play.

The plan with Kitbash Games books is to offer them as Print on Demand (PoD) and pdf download (and bundles of both) at a reasonable price. I hope to launch the book in the next couple of months, and I already have a fairly stable draft version - now I just want to ensure the rules cover and explain everything needed to play a supers game and have fun doing it.

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Friday, 17 March 2017


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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Doc Cosmos for Supers Unlimited

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

Friday, 10 March 2017

Ace Sketches

The Covenant of Justice characters 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

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Doc Cosmos

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 that character design should be very simple. While developing these rules (Supers Unlimited) I toyed with approaching a publisher, but instead opted to create something I could self-publish to give me maximum control. To that end I have commissioned some art to help me develop the game book which I plan to sell through Wargames Vault this year.

As a consequence, expect more Supers Unlimited material on this blog in the months ahead!

Copyright (©) Kitbash Games 2017

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Welcome to Kitbash Games

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


Immolator is the latest Villain preview for Supers Unlimited , joining Punchline in the Season 1 line-up for the Shadow Axis . Princess...