Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's

Monday, 16 October 2017

Putting the Waste in the bin?

Well, the second weekend of the Factious Waste campaign has gone past and by now it's pretty evident this has not been the success hoped for. After a really positive start the campaign has been coasting from 50-75% complete for a week.

It's pretty disappointing result given that every spare moment of my time (and pound in my account) has been spent on this project over the last 12 months, especially given all the positive responses the game has had from playtesters and those we've talked to at shows and shown the models to. Nevertheless it is not entirely unexpected given the imminent releases of Necromunda and Fallout (which were nowhere in sight when the campaign was planned back in June), not to mention the several post-apocalyptic skirmish games which have appeared since we first started on this four years ago. With a couple of them either on Kickstarter at the moment or taking to the platform in the next month competition was always going to be tight.

All these games look to be pretty conventional and I do believe there is still room in the market for a narrative-based skirmish which doesn't dispense with tactical elements and has a flexibility and depth which goes against the current trend in miniatures games. Whilst simplicity and speed of play are worthy ambitions in a tabletop game I feel too many systems achieve this by cutting out all the details that help absorb a player in the world. My aim is to balance the kind of modularity and 'complexity' of Laserburn and Confrontation with straightforward mechanics that don't bog the game down in endless referencing.

A lot of thought was given last week as to what to do should the campaign fail. Even if a last-minute push nudges the Kickstarter over the £2000 goal this would only allow the bare bones of what the game could be. The rulebook would have less artwork and no modelling sections (which are something I at least look forward to in a hobby game), the models would have been built for flexibility in equipment but would have to be supplied with limited options, the packaging would be a lot less glossy... I feel this would be a disservice to our backers and to the creative individuals who have put so much work in. We have therefore come up with a 'plan B' which we hope may actually turn out to be beneficial for the future of the game. Before we take any action, however, we would like to put forwards the plan for the comments and feedback of those who have been on the journey with us so far.

The first step would be to cancel the campaign. A cancelled campaign looks better than a failed campaign and in any case the trend of the last 7 days suggests it is unlikely to complete to any degree that would result in a product of satisfactory quality being released.

By mid-November I can have a PDF rulebook available. If you're anything like me then a physical release is a non-negotiable, but as a first step a digital copy would at least allow the game to be played. We would then work towards a print release in the next 6-12 months, possibly through a smaller-scale Kickstarter campaign. Personally I am really excited about the prospect of having Carl Critchlow involved, something we wouldn't be able to do with a 'bare bones' product from a barely-funded campaign.

Miniatures release is something that would have to be done as and when funds became available, beginning by prioritising a 'choice pick' of the sculpts created for the Kickstarter. In any case we are keen to promote Factious Waste as a game system that encourages the use of any models the players like and there is no shortage of post-apocalyptic miniatures around. I appreciate that not everyone likes an old-school, Rogue Trader-y style of miniature.

I have been working on revamping the old Factious Waste playtest community blog into a website for a live 'War 1984' campaign which will go online with the digital rulebook release. This will allow groups of players to link their games into the created world in such a way that their posses and adventures become a part of the growing and developing game background. This process (envisaged as a 3-6 month storyline) will further test and explore the possibilities of the campaign system and help iron out any creases so that the eventual print release is as perfect as possible. I'd love to have as many people as possible playing and contributing so if you'd like to take a look early, join the page and start thinking up your posses you can find it at

If you have any comment, suggestions or ideas for how you'd like to see Factious Waste develop as we move ahead I would be very interested to hear them.

Monday, 9 October 2017

A comprehensive campaign system for post-apocalyptic gang war

The most-asked question we've had so far about Factious Waste is "Can you tell us a bit about the campaign system?". Yes I can, here goes...

During each game a posse will earn Experience Points by taking out enemy models, coercing their opponents, rescuing captives, obtaining information, making use of their awarenesses and fulfilling any other objective given by the scenario. On average a gang will come away with between 20 and 30 XP per game, providing they haven't spent it hiding under rocks! After the game the posse has the chance to spend these XP (and any they have banked from previous games) in a number of ways.

Between games posses can choose to visit one of five outworld locations- GenCities, CycCentres, NeoPrimitive Stockades, Artisan Collectives and The Wasteland. Each location offers a number of activities for members of two or more factions. For example a GenCorps character at a GenCity can Report In to exchange XP for cash, Requisition supplies from the GenStores, Reprehend a member of another posse, Recruit a new gang member, Resource provisions for the posse or recharge their Ohmic Tactical suit. At some locations members of a faction will be Out Of Place, their presence is so detested there that they cannot perform any activities. Each member of the posse that is not Out Of Place can perform a single activity. If a posse owns any Territory they can pick activities from that location even if they choose to visit another, getting the best of both worlds.

Equipment can be bought at locations, with each offering a different range of items and offering to buy and sell at different prices. There are also places that will purchase scrap and exchange money between the three different currencies used, allowing a shrewd gang to buy and sell its way into prosperity over a number of games. Initially posses will earn most of their money by trading in XP and scrap for currency, but one they start taking on contracts there's the potential to earn big bucks, leaving XP available for buying Skills and Traits. Of course, there's also the possibility of raiding an opponent's posse to steal their equipment and stash...

If any models were taken Out Of Action during the previous game they may sustain an Injury. At best this will result in them missing the next game, at worse they could die and be permanently out of the campaign. Sustaining more Damage in a single attack increases the chances of a more serious injury whilst having an active model nearby at the end of the game and/or a Medic in the posse decreases the severity. Models which are prone at the end of the game run the risk of being captured by their enemies, who can then demand whatever they like as a ransom. Or they could just take the model's equipment and dispose of them. If there's a bounty on the model's head so much the better!

You will need to make sure you acquire enough provisions to feed your posse or they will start to suffer the effects of malnutrition.

Models can also acquire Skills and Traits, purchased with XP. Skills are applied to a player's own model and increase their options and effectiveness in certain areas. Traits are applied to an opponent's model and confer a negative effect. Most Skills have an immediate effect but a couple, such as Driver and Wasteland Warrior, are gateway Skills which open up other Specialist Skills tables.

Factious Waste is on Kickstarter now:

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Having a Blast-tastic time

We had a great day yesterday doing the 'official' Factious Waste launch at Blast-tastic. We had a 3'x3' (standard FW size) setup for the game complete with Fogou Models' barricades and scrap piles and our own junk counters.


A freak sandstorm had uncovered a junkyard of abandoned vehicles and scattered garbage, well-preserved by the sands that had covered them. Some of the vehicles even had gas in their tanks...

With the simple 3-step posse creation I put together two gangs from the painted prototypes, put their stats onto the handy reference cards (part of the PDF bundle for kickstarter backers) and they were ready to go hunting.

All the greens came out on display. After weeks of looking at the photos, getting them ready for the campaign, it was nice to get the actual sculpts out again and be reminded how small and finely-detailed they actually are! One of these days I need to sort out taking good photos of green sculpts. Even with advice from a pro I haven't quite got it right yet, they always look a bit lumpy and weird in pictures.

And there was cake to celebrate! I ate soooooo much cake....

Game 1 begins, with gangers grabbing the little, nearby scrap piles but eyeing up the real prizes in the centre of the board. Who would make the first move?

Pressed Squad 6A (the remains of a GenCorps field squad, their NeoPrimitive guide and two Trash Runner mercenaries) splits into two. The trained operatives heading left into the canyon and the rest moving towards a high vantage point to bring their firearms to bear on the opposition. The Lawful Free, a Trash Runner-lead posse with a rogue Doughnutter, Luddite, Artisan and pair of ReFrat agents, advanced en-masse into the valley.

Ducking between two wrecks the GenCorps operatives take down Big Mikey, the ReFrat agent, before he can strafe them with his Tom-E Gun. They kicked their shields into action and prepared to get up close and personal with the enemy.

Panting from the effort, the Doughnutter enforcer had reached the summit of the cliff opposite and prepared to bring his Lawhammer to bear on anything which moved in the clear space below.

Alpha, the leader of the GenCorps, made a dash to finish off the ReFrat agent, but had reckoned without the stealthy crossbow shots of the Trash Runner lurking behind the rock formations. The bolt penetrated the low energy shields of the tactical suit and she hit the ground hard. Upright again thanks to the assistance of the nearby Artisan, Big Mikey turned his Tom-E Gun on the other GenCorps operative but Beta spotted the barrel swing in his direction and dived behind the nearby buggy.

Maxwell, the shotgun-toting Trash Runner, charged down from the cliff towards his stricken leader. With both barrels he sank Gideon, the yellow puffer-jacket of the Frat Brat making him an obvious target despite his attempts to cower behind the rock pillar.

Beta charged towards the fallen Alpha, hoping to get close enough to help her recover. Yates, the Trash Runner leader, pulled off a second crossbow shot and dropped the other GenCorps officer. Up on the clifftop Tranter readied her rifle and snapped off a shot at the leader of the Lawful Free. She was well out of range, but the unexpected shot caused most of the standing members of both parties to throw themselves to the ground.

Having so far avoided danger, The Shadow (Luddite revolutionary) made a bee-line for the biggest pile of scrap he could see. Meanwhile Alpha staggered to her feet and shouted to Maxwell to bring down Big Mikey. The Trash Runner turned, slotting two more cartridges into his shotgun, and snapped off a shot, bringing the ReFrat Agent to the ground.

Seeing the second barrel swing towards him, the Artisan dashed after the figure of The Shadow as it disappeared behind a barricade.

Up on the hillside James Sully the priest of Consomar watched the battle. As the carrier of the only medi-kits in the posse he was badly needed to revive Beta, yet still he hesitated, was the GenCorps officer worth risking his life for? Alpha nursed her wounds and barked more orders at Maxwell. The Shadow fell to a shotgun shell and the Artisan threw himself to cover behind the barricade.

A shot dropped Maxwell to the floor. Alpha swung away from the centre of the board in time to see Yates and Gideon get to their feet. Sensing the charge of her Ohmic Tactical Suit running low she signalled the retreat. She dashed towards Yates and James Sully who were already making their way back over the outcrop to safety.

The Lawful Free were left to claim the rich pickings of scrap, but at what cost? Big Mikey, The Shadow and Gideon were all out of action and with no medic in the posse sure to sustain injuries. Pressed Squad 6A had suffered badly too. Maxwell and Beta were both out of action. Fortunately The Lawful Free were too concerned with their own wounds to take any captives this time so the pair would be able to crawl to safety whilst their enemies rummaged through the junk for valuable scrap.

Pressed Squad 6A- Two GenCorps field operatives with Ohmic Tactical Suits and Coffey Bows, NeoPrimitive with a large hand weapon, two medi-kits and two stimm-packs, a Trash Runner with a rifle and a Trash Runner with a double-barrelled shotgun.

The Lawful Free- A Trash Runner with a crossbow and small hand weapon, a ReFrat agent with a Tom-E Gun, a Frat Brat with a revolver, a Luddite with a revolver, an Artisan with a large hand weapon and a Doughnutter with a Lawhammer 4TK.

Just time for a fun moment from the second game- never let a NeoPrimitive drive! Having discovered fuel in this beaten up roadster the priest of Consomar lined up a reverse corner to finish off an enemy Doughnutter. He squished the Doughnutter fine, but in his enthusiasm overshot and smashed straight into his Trash Runner ally, finishing off the hapless warrior. He would get his revenge in the third game, however, when a similar reverse attack on his posse landed the unfortunate driver's window level with the wrong end of the Trash Runner's shotgun...



Friday, 6 October 2017

The Waste has hit the Washer!

After 4 years' development, Factious Waste is now live on kickstarter!

50 Miniatures, a 200-page rulebook, exclusive terrain from Fogou Models and tons of counters and dice await the lucky backer.

You'll probably be aware there's a lot of competition on Kickstarter these days. Right now Ramshackle Games, Diehard Miniatures and Knightmare Miniatures all have campaigns live or launching very soon. There's also new Necromunda on the horizon and Modiphius' Fallout game taking pre-orders so this is a tricky time to be an indie underdog trying to get a game out! If you could spread the word to all your gamer and wastelander friends that would be awesome. Many thanks!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Factious Waste Kickstarter previews

Back in 2012 the story of Factious Waste began. It's been a long haul, with groups from across the world playtesting and feeding back on their experiences, but the final push to get this near-future dystopian miniature RPG to release is upon us! My to-do list has got pretty short now, with sculpting all but finished and final pe-launch costings done. So let's have a look at how the Kickstarter is shaping up.

Factious Waste c. 2013

It would be fair to say that I am a bit... apprehensive? Nervous? about the campaign. Necromunda is on the horizon and the Ramshackle Games Mini Gangs project has launched late- sci-fi skirmish fans have plenty to choose from and this will be the largest project we've done to date with a boxed set, big sourcebook (calling it a rulebook seems unfair, only a fraction is actually rules) and 50 sculpts plus templates, dice etc.

That being said, Factious Waste has attracted a lot of interest from games shows we've taken it to. Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated both offered to cover it, the Golden D6 is plugging it and the engagement on social media seems high.

Factious Waste on display at Colours and the latest edition of the Golden D6 featuring Oakbound articles

In terms of content I have largely finished the layouts for the rulebook and testing of the campaign system is well advanced. My initial plan to have the whole thing read as a graphic novel has gone by the wayside (sadly) due to art costs, but I'm delighted that we have some amazing artists on board who have captured the comic vibe perfectly. Simon Lee Tranter and Mike Tenebrae may be less familiar to you than our own Tony Yates (check out their websites- they do stunning artwork!) but I'm sure you'll all be aware of the work of Dark Future, 2000AD and Thrud artist Carl Critchlow who is lined up to produce the cover. Working with these guys over the last year has been an amazing experience and the world has grown in richness and sprouted out in fun and exciting new directions as a result of their concepts.

 Simon Lee Tranter, Mike Tenebrae and Tony Yates doing what they do best...

Inside the 200-page rulebook there's a load of background on outworld and the 7 main factions which inhabit it, the SystemMech rules with setting-specific Action Tables, a simple 3-step posse creation system, skills tables, traits, comprehensive equipment lists and rules for using and customising vehicles, location activities for some commonly-frequented settlements, a guide to narrative gaming and 25 objective-based scenarios. Definitely the work of 5 years' development!

Equipment lists- yes you can take a flamethrower and a chainsaw!

The miniatures are divided into 5 sets, one for the boxed game and 4 'faction packs'. The boxed game "War for 1984" contains 10 models and lists for using them as 2 pre-generated posses. They are all tributes to classic action movies of the 80s as a clear indicator of where the game draws its inspiration. There is no prize for listing them all! The faction packs are "Enforcers" (GenCorps and Doughnutters), "Reprocessors" (ReFrat and Trash Runenrs), "Wastelanders" (NeoPrimitives and Artisans) and "Workers" (Luddites and other boiler-suited types suitable for use as civilians). So even if you don't end up playing Factious Waste you should be able to find a use for one or more of these packs in your games, be it Arbites, pulp gangsters, wasteland tribespeople or civilians for a dystopian future.


A Frat Brat putting the Gangsta' into Gangster, Trash Runner and Artisan characters.

Over the course of the campaign I'm going to be stepping out into the world of videos, with streaming Q&A sessions and how-to-play videos (the first of which is below, comments and suggestions welcome!

Then there are the all-important add-ons. We've had great support from several companies who have offered casting services, bespoke items and discounts on their own product lines for kickstarter backers. I'm particularly grateful to Fogou Models (who also do wonderful Dark Age stuff) for making exclusive trash piles and barricades for the kickstarter and to Scotia Grendel who have put up some resin scenery as stretch goals and add-ons. There'll also be custom dice, counter sets and once again the opportunity to have yourself sculpted into the range so you can lead your posse in person!

Fogou Models specials, only available in the Kickstarter.

Cost will, of course, be an important factor. I have done very detailed spreadsheets to keep prices as low as possible. Despite my efforts to keep the boxed game under £50 it has ended up at £55, but balancing budget and content I think you'll be happy to spend the extra £5 for the bonus bits that will be going in! Faction packs are coming in at £25 each (£2.50 a model plus extras). There will be a limited opportunity to pick up the whole lot for £125 (saving £30) and offers for traders and clubs (contact if interested).

Add-ons and Stretch Goals

The kickstarter goes live on the 7th October and we'll be having a launch event at Blast-Tastic Bristol. It runs for two weeks, ending on the 21st. Please spread the word and let's make amazing things happen!


Friday, 18 August 2017

Gang fight in the junkyard of broken dreams

I cracked out my desert scenery for a 3' by 3' Factious Waste test game on Tuesday night. You may remember these cliffs from Deathrace 40,000 at BOYL 2015, or you may even remember when they were first built for my egyptain high elves six years ago! For this game we gave the two starter gangs carte blanche to drive any vehicle on the table.

A promising first turn saw my Trash Runner leader bag himself a tasty convertible whilst my NeoPrimitive and Luddite went after some scrap and my GenCorps officers activated their suit shields and went after the other gang. Spotting 3 of the enemies bunched together the Luddite prepared to drop a pipe bomb on them... only to fumble and drop the explosive right at his feet. Fortunately it was a dud and did minor damage but it was enough to drop him prone right out in the open. The Trash Runner seemed to be having difficulty getting the hang of his car's handling. After misjudging a corner he had to brake hard to avoid crashing into a pillar and spent a couple of activations pulling a 3-point turn to get back in the game.

Meanwhile the enemy Doughnutter had appropriated a nimble buggy and already stuffing some scrap into the back. The GenCorps descended on him with charged crossbow bolts but covering fire from ReFrat agents kept the officers at bay whilst reinforcements moved up to help out. The GenCorps diverted their suit's systems to deliver a crippling electric shock to the first agent, laying him out, but were forced down to the ground by a hail of machine gun fire.

Over the other side of the table the stricken Luddite was being hammered by gunfire. Kept prone by the relentless hail of bullets he was quite unable to get away from the buggy bearing down upon him and bit the dust... quite literally. His executioner slowed to allow another agent to jump aboard with a haul of scrap. Across the board there came a roaring of engines as the Trash Runner finally extracted his vehicle from the pillars and came cannoning forward in a cloud of dust, straight into the side of the buggy. The rammed vehicle skewed sideways and the distracted driver stood hard on his accelerator.

Smash! The buggy cannoned forwards into a rock pile, flipping and throwing its occupants clear of the vehicle. The Trash Runner leapt out to finish the job, but he was on the receiving end of retribution from another ReFrat agent. Fortunately a slick of oil spreading from the convertible caused the agent to loose his footing and his shots went wide, his magazine emptying into the sky. As the GenCorps officers were overwhelmed my gang fled the field, leaving the enemy victorious. Fortunately long-term injuries were minor (well, mostly) and the gang will be back for vengeance.

The game lasted 8 turns and took just under an hour. Really happy with how the vehicle interactions were working, keeping the action model-focused and slotting alongside the core SystemMech rules neatly. It was also our first real use of plot tokens as a narrative driver and again I was really pleased with the extra depth and flexibility they added. We each got through 2 tokens in the course of the game (to modify environmental features and our opponent's actions) so my estimated allocation of 5 tokens to a starting posse seems reasonable. I want to have another look at how further tokens are gained though as I'm torn between not wanting them to be too easily restored and not wanting to add complexity to the between-game stages by adding in a separate system. As always, thoughts welcome!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Free parking for wasteland warriors

If you've missed the times when I've harked on about Factious Waste in the past then you might not know it's a near-future, post-apocalyptic dystopian skirmish game set in a world depleted of natural resources. Tyrannical energy companies and the recycling mob vie for control of the desolate 'outworld' where the majority of humanity slaves on the treadmills of industry. Revolutionary luddites try to bring down the corporations, deluded neoprimitives take a stand to protect an ecosystem which was destroyed long ago and deranged desk cops from privileged inworld stomp out crude law enforcement amongst the barbarous desert.

It's a game that's been 5 years in the making and is finally reaching its destination thanks to the work of some fantastic artists. Tony Yates and Carl Critchlow will be familiar names to you I'm sure, but also check out the work of Mike Tenebrae and Simon Lee Tranter, it's epic stuff.

The core rules have been in place for a few years now (they were also bushwhacked for the celtic fantasy world of The Woods last year, but they started off in FW) but the game was lacking something very important- vehicles! You can't have a Mad Max, 2000AD-inspired game without some cool wheels. The principles I wanted to use for vehicles in the game had been around for a while, I just hadn't got round to fleshing them out. A couple of trips to pound shops earlier this year, some bits courtesy of Fox Box and Ramshackle Games and that has been rectified! The dirty dozen are now ready to go prospecting for that all-important trash running contract!
Airjunkers are primitive vehicles, usually nothing more than a big fan strapped to the back of a gutted derelict. They're slow, noisy and they drink fuel but they're relatively manoeuvrable and cheap.

Buggies are the most common wasteland vehicle. Their lightweight frames and large engines make them nippy, manoeuvrable, fairly fuel-efficient and good platforms for mounting weapons of various kinds.

The flashy members of the recycling fraternity like to flaunt their wealth in souped-up sports cars, especially the frat brats- spoiled children of the dons.

VIPs of the Genpower corporation also ride in style, though with somewhat more elegance than the brash frat. Then there are the industrial vehicles to be found scattered around the wastes. Tracked and wheeled earth movers, dumpers and construction vehicles are easily appropriated as slow but powerful workhorses for wasteland posses. 
For Trash Runners themselves, the Han Solos of the wasteland, their vehicles are their livelihood. Each is intensely customised and personalised to the style and work of the Runner they serve. Big rigs haul enormous loads of scrap across the desert, escorted tankers guard precious fuel cargos, flatbeds serve as mobile platforms for crews and gear.

These vehicles started out as matchbox and '1:43' (apparently) scale vehicles from pound shops, with bits from Ramshackle, Fox Box and GW imperial vehicles added to them. Many of them had their wheels replaced with those from tractor models bought from pound shops, enlarging wheels is my number-one priority for wasteland transport! The sizing's pretty good, even if some of the cars are a bit on the chunky side- that just helps the comic book feel. The detail's not bad either and I was delighted to find that poundland had a skip lorry and a rubbish truck (still WIP at the moment) in the right scale- perfect for a game of scrap hauling!