Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I'm Not Saying The People Of Milton Keynes Are A Degenerate Rabble...

One of the things I realised after I'd decided on 3 minis per player was that games could be over very fucking quickly.

Also, taking the theme from Escape From New York, I liked the idea of random crazies getting in the way of the players trying to complete their missions.

Hence, Rabble were born. Rabble represent the people left behind in the walled enclave that Milton Keynes has become. These poor Zone-dwelling bastards have been left to fend for themselves and, because anything else would make for a boring game, they're generally violent, stupid and pretty easy to kill.

In the game Rabble can be anything. Shove 3 - 5 random minis together and then work out what stats/weapons they should have.

The game includes basics Stats for Rabble with a number of options for increasing their competence and lethality. Each bonus you give them (which can boost a stat, add an extra member or upgrade their weapons) counts as a level increase. This helps when you have to randomly spawn some of them due to a card effect (more on cards in another post) as the card's value determines the Rabble Group's level.

Rabble all move and fight as a single Unit with the extra members giving them bonuses to attack and damage. This makes the book-keeping easier, as does the fact that each member of a Rabble Group grants 1 Wound to the group in total. Every time the take damage you remove a model and their bonuses drop.

The game also has Rules of Engagement for Rabble which determines how they act and who they target, to try and keep it as fair as possible for all players involved. They'll often mill around aimlessly until they catch sight of a player Unit, at which point they'll run screaming to attack them.

There are also some "uber-Rabble" types which generally act alone rather than in a group and are significantly better than the basic mooks you'll see most often.

Faces are generic archetypes such as bounty hunters or assassins who have better Stats and equipment and occasionally special abilities of their own. These guys are more dangerous than standard Rabble but not as tough as player Units. They also have access to different types of behaviour which alter the way they act so, for instance, the Wolf personality will, instead of attacking the first person they see, always concentrate on moving towards and killing the lowest point value Unit on the board).

Names are something else. These bastards are used for when you want a serious threat to throw against your Mob. They are named individuals and the idea is you take any mini you own which you like the look of or is suitably imposing, stat it up to suit and then unleash it.

Names are fucking tough, make no mistake, and have access to everything the players can use, plus whatever your devious mind can envisage. They are generally used as part of a scenario (such as the Kill The King scenario which involves the players hunting and killing a Face) because having them randomly spawn on an unsuspecting player is a good way for things to end in tears. Or at the very least hurled dice and bitter complaints.

Fucking Gremlins!

Bollocks! I've realised that initially I uploaded a slightly out-of-date set of rules. I've fixed it now so you can download the correct version from the original post.

Apologies to anyone who's already downloaded (thanks, mum!)

The correct version has a big greyscale version of the Voodoo Toybox logo on page 2.

Basic Rules

I thought I'd give a quick overview of how some of the game works, so people can get an idea of whether or not it's going to be their cup of Kestrel Black before going to the trouble of downloading the fucking thing.

Each player controls 3 Units which are each individual models. I know it's a small number of models compared to most games but I'm terrible for losing interest in painting large groups of models so 3-per side seemed doable. It also means you need less minis to actually play and you can pretty much use anything you've got lying around and stat them up accordingly.

The central mechanism of the game is the Stat Check which is fancy way of saying roll a D10 and compare it to your Unit's (modified) Stat. If it's equal to or under you've passed, if it's over you've failed. Rolling your exact (modified) Stat is a Critical Hit which, for an attack, does 1 extra Wound. The modifiers are important and cover things like range, cover and also some special abilities.

Player turns are based on orders. All players have 5 Order Tokens, 3 of which are number (1 - 3) and the other two are blank "Decoys". At the start of the turn all players place their Tokens face down next to their Units in any sequence they like. All players then reveal their 1st Order and they are resolved. Resolving orders uses the Action Points system. All Units have an AP score and players will take it in turns to spend their Units' AP. This is done sort-of simultaneously so you shouldn't have to sit around for months waiting for your opponent to finish moving his little men around and annihilating your guys before you get a chance to react.

Units are divided into several archetypes; Assault, Brawler, Command, Heavy, Stealth, Support and Survivor and they all do broadly what they say on the tin. Units can also be given Abilities (up to 3 although most will start the game with 2) which either boost a stat, modify certain rolls or otherwise allow them to break the standard rules in some way.
When you put your Faction together you can decide exactly which Unit types you want to include and this is completely open so if you want you can have 3 Units of the same Archetype but with differing abilities. Or even 3 identical Units with the same abilities as some sort of clone army.

One interesting thing is that each Ability has several different names, allowing you to use the name which best fits with your particular Faction/Unit. I've stuck a couple of examples below:

Combat Master (Mook Honour/Never Outnumbered/Repulsor Field) [5]
When fighting Rabble groups in melee the Rabble do not get to apply their usual bonus for superior
numbers to their Combat Stat and DV. This also applies should you be engaged in combat against
multiple Units; they do not provide each other a bonus to the Combat stat.

Combi‐Weapon (Tac Harness/Monkey Grip/Gaffer Tape/Prehensile Cock) [10]
This allows you to carry one extra hand's‐worth of weapons giving 5 in total as opposed to the
normal 4. This can either be used to add a 1‐handed weapon or combined with another to carry a 2‐
handed weapon. With this ability you could equip a Unit with an HMG (2 hands), a GL (2 hands) and a pistol (1 hand). Or, if you want to get crazy, you could give someone 2 MX‐7s and a Jackal...

Anyway, I'll post more stuff up later, probably talking about the Spooooky Cards (also known as the Random Chance of Fate Deck, oh and Rabble, the poor bastards left trapped inside Milton Keynes that your Units will have to gun down mercilessly find a way to deal with.

Something Is Rotten In Milton Keynes

Below I've pasted the introduction from the game, just to give a bit of the flavour of the lunacy contained within. And also to give you an idea of whether or not the writing "style" is going to piss you off so hard you'll want to throw it out the window and punch me in the face...

In 2037 something happened to Milton Keynes. Something bad. What, exactly, happened? Well, really, who cares? It's Milton fucking Keynes. The point is that something bad has happened and now the city is a lawless wasteland roamed by packs of feral monsters and subhuman rabble eking out an existence through cannibalism, murder and worse pretty much the same as ever but even more so.
The government carefully considered their position, torn between providing immediate aid to those affected and acting to "cauterise" the problem before it spilled over to somewhere people actually fucking cared about. In the end they flipped a coin and so went with the "Nuke It From Orbit" approach. Typically the nuke failed to detonate and simply slammed into the centre of the city. Now it sits there in a crater of its own making, like a ticking time-bomb only without the ticking and with a lot more radioactive leakage. Ho hum.
After the failure of the first nuke (and carpet-bombing with viral weapons that went largely unremarked by news outlets due to something involving a popular celebrity and a greasy marmoset. Allegedly.) a second nuke was considered but by this point the UN was up in arms about the British government's actions (very few UN ambassadors actually having visited Milton Keynes) and so after a lot of grumbling the Prime Minister agreed to dip into the UK's vast concrete reserves (formerly known as Basingstoke) and threw up a wall around the entire city, condemning all of those still inside the city to a life of constant warfare and soul-shattering depravity remain in Milton Keynes. With no chance of parole.


So, where does that leave us. Well, we certainly aren't going to condemn you to playing one of the poor bastards trapped inside so no fear of that. But you need a reason to go inside otherwise this is going to be a very short game. Perhaps it's like the novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky (latterly filmed as Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky and also turned into a couple of mediocre FPS games that had some good bits and the right atmosphere which was quickly lost as soon as you got hold of some decent armour and weapons and no longer had to rely on a rusty shotgun to defend your carefully hoarded supply of bread crusts and vodka).
Anyway, let’s go with the Roadside Stalker thing. So, there are Things inside Milton Keynes. Things which a great many people covet (see, I told you it was satirical fiction). These Things were possibly left by aliens, or the secret illegal government bioweapons labs that caused half the problems in the first place.
[EDIT: I've just been informed in no uncertain terms by a very nice man from the Ministry of Bastards that those secret illegal government bioweapons labs definitely do not exist and should never be mentioned again. Ever. So from here on in we'll just call them "Merlin Workshops"]

Or perhaps it's all the rental properties that have been converted into Vietnamese Skunk Factories that you're after. Maybe that's it. Those custom strains have become even more potent and mind-bending since the wall went up and command quite a high street price. Or so a bloke in the pub told me.
Also, for some reason, government planes keep crashing within the city leading to ex-special forces op (aren't they all) turned convicted criminals with names suspiciously similar to "Cobra Pleather" being sent in to retrieve the ministers (or their secret documents or whatever) or die trying.
Not to mention all the roving war reporters and suchlike sent in by merciless heads of programming at satellite news channels being dumped in there with a skeleton camera crew and left to fend for themselves in the hope they get some decent battle footage and maybe a human interest piece before a sewer-dwelling cannibal feasts on their spleen and uses their John Thomas as a sink plunger.
Oh, and also the Basingrad Collective are up in arms about having all their concrete looted and so keep sending in "retrieval teams" to steal it back so they can build more roundabouts.
So, there are some spurious good reasons for a few disparate groups to send in small but heavily armed teams of lunatics to blow the shit out of various things and engage in running gun battles through the city streets. And that's what we all came here for after all.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: After having been contacted by a "Freelance Peacekeeping Agent" employed by the Milton Keynes Tourist Board I have been encouraged to point out that this game is a work of fiction and that Milton Keynes is a delightful conurbation set within the lush Thames Valley and does not in any way resemble the urban hellhole described herein. It has a booming trade and business sector, a cultural quarter that is the envy of the entire country, a modern and progressive police force (satire) and boasts many a comely maiden, all of whom are blessed with the usual number of eyes and/or limbs. Milton Keynes is twinned with Priyapt in the charming Kiev Oblast and has entered into a suicide pact with Ulan Bator.]*

*Hopefully this is enough to ensure that the man from the tourist board doesn't return and do that thing with the two house bricks that he described in agonising detail and then demonstrated using a pair of seedless grapes as "teaching aids".

Monday, 28 July 2014

Escape From Milton Keynes

So, here it is, the first version of my game. Escape From Milton Keynes.

Click here to download it

Contains the following "features":

Action Points (Like X-Com, etc)
Mutant Rabble
Virtually no miniatures (3 per side, plus some others for the NPC "Rabble")
Lots of swearing
Full equipment lists and loads of abilities so you can stat your units up to match the minis you're using.
Probably tons of errors