It's nearly the end of October and the second gaming highlight of the year (for me anyway) is nearly upon us... the annual GROG Halloween game, Night of the Living Lead. Every year the tiny Bretonnian hamlet of Shitz Creek is beset by necromancers searching for the powerful pumpkins which will allow them to raise the ever-growing numbers of undead from the multitude of graveyards which surround the unfortunate village. This year I believe a coven of witches has entered the hunt for the renowned squashes...
Not only is it the end of October, but nearly the end of ORCtober too. I have not been idle but have been (appropriately) back to work finishing the shields for my Goblinoids project. They'll be done by the end of the month so stand by for mass photo dump!
Preparations are in progress for the launch of the Factious Waste Live Campaign, War 1984, which can be found here. All-comers welcome. The pdf rulebook should be available in just over a week's time and new artwork, funky scenery and gorgeous miniatures have been procured to adorn the pages of the physical book which is pencilled in for production in February. I've dug out some of my steampunk costumes for some digital pieces to grace the pages with. Credit to me ol' mate Sultan at Sulty's Photography for a good number of the original shots here!
Last, but by no means least, I have some very cool sculpting commissions on the go right now. The See Thirty Amazons are back on track after a long hiatus, a couple of political characters from the past year are getting miniature representation and I finally get to tackle some Realm Of Chaos stuff! It's going to be a fun few months!
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 http://www.factiouswaste.blogspot.com
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.
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.
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...