Friday, 14 November 2014

Galleys & Galleons - playtesting call out

While I wait for my proof hard copy of Irregular Wars (2nd ed) to arrive in the post, I thought I'd start making moves to get some playtesters together for Galleys & Galleons.

What is Galleys & Galleons?
Galleys & Galleons is a new naval wargame being written for Ganesha Games (the guys who have brought you Song of Blades and Heroes, Song of Shadows and Dust, Flying Lead, Mighty Monsters etc). The game uses a slightly granulated version of the basic Song of... mechanic, and is probably mid-way between the basic Song games and Mighty Monsters in complexity.

What does all that mean to people who are unfamiliar with Ganesha Games? Each vessel in Galleys & Galleons has two basic factors, their Quality (Q) and their Combat (C). These are used to determine how well a vessel handles, and how well she fights/sustains damage. Outside of those two factors, there are currently more than 30 'special rules' which add the flavour to each vessel. Your ship might have a shallow draft allowing her to negotiate shallow water with less risk of running aground, or she might have high castles to fore and aft, turning her into a veritable fortress during boarding actions.

The more damage a vessel absorbs, the more likely it will be that her crew - stretched to breaking point - will make mistakes causing all sorts of unfortunate, and potentially devastating mishaps. 

The wind is also not to be underestimated in Galleys & Galleons, it can be a player's biggest ally, or fiercest foe. However, it should always be remembered that G&G is a game rather than a simulation - some aspects of naval warfare are exaggerated (such as the chance to cause critical damage and set your opponents on fire), while other aspects are abstracted. Games are fast, bloody, and above all, fun.

The rules have been written with the 16th and 17th centuries in mind, but could be stretched into the 18th and 19th centuries with little trouble. A special set of extra rules are included for players who'd prefer to sail off the edge of the map, allowing for sea monsters, mermaids and dragons (oh my!).

What stuff do I need for the playtest?
You'll need a small selection of model sailing ships, all of the same scale (although the scale is up to you, 1/2400 - 1/300 should all work without a problem). Most games will see each player (2-4 recommended) controlling between 1 and 6 vessels.

You will also need dice of two different colours (at least three white dice and three coloured dice).

Oh, and a sea. You'll definately need a sea, but that could be a desk top, a floor or whatever. Minimum size playing area would be 50cm x 50cm if using smaller scale vessels, but bigger is better.

What are playtesters expected to do?
I'd like to think that my games take first priority in everybody's lives, but sadly, I have to acknowledge that things like work, school, loved ones, other games and even outdoor pursuits sometimes get in the way. 

In the immediate future I would like to hear from potential playtesters who realistically think they could play at least a couple of games a month over a period of two or three months. Each game should last less than an hour, so it'd be possible to get a couple of games in during a single session.

After each session, the playtester would then make a small set of notes about aspects of the rules which did or didn't seem to work during their game, or list any points which need clarification and email it back to me for consideration (and a response of course).

In the first instance, I am planning on sending out the core rules without any of the scenarios or campaign rules included so that testers can become familarised with the mechanics first. Then, after a few games, I'll be able to send out the more advanced/fluffy stuff.

I'd ask all interested parties to drop me an email at irregularwars@ gmail .com

1/450 scale vessels from Peter Pig

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End 2nd edition launch update

(Martin from Vexillia Ltd and I) have finalised the launch date for 01 Dec 2014, so we  thought this was a good time to provide an update on progress.

Pdf rules
Like previous editions of Irregular Wars, the pdf file of the 2nd edition rules will be available through Vexillia Ltd. These are nearly ready and there's already a pdf of seven sample pages available online HERE. A new web page featuring version 2.0 will be uploaded next week.

The pdf will be £7.20 within the EU and £6.00 elsewhere.

People who have purchased previous editions can upgrade to the 2nd edition pdf for £1.50 (within the EU) and £1.25 (rest of the world). Note that the price differenced between the EU and rest of the world are caused by V.A.T.

Hardcopy (soft cover) rules
These will be available worldwide from Amazon. Prices have been set at £12.00 (UK), €16.00 (EU) and $20.00 (USA). Prices for other regions vary depending on the local currency. 

The rules should be eligible for the free shipping option - at least offers free shipping of orders over £10. Other delivery charges may vary with region and the various deals Amazon offer.

Chance cards
For the forseable future, I will have to handle all orders for custom-made Chance Cards myself. They have been designed and are sitting waiting to be printed and shipped on demand.

Martin and I explored several options for producing and shipping the cards and by handling orders myself it will keep costs as low as possible. 

Unless there is a very high demand to justify a bulk discount from the supplier, it looks like I will have to charge £12 including postage for each deck.

I will try to set up a buying link on this blog for the cards, but ultimately if somebody emails me, I will send a Paypal invoice. The order will be placed with the supplier as soon as the invoice is paid.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A daring sloop and strange shores

I've had several photos from Galleys & Galleons playtesting games sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks now so I figured I should probably post them. 

In this shot you can see my beloved Dutch sloop, the Nassau, has cut in among the pirate fleet. All full of his own daring, the captain seems to have forgotten that pirates tend to have cannons on board their ships. He was raked in the stern by the Irrepressible (with the yellow trim). A lantern must have been overturned in the process and the Nassau promptly caught fire. The game started going down hill fast at that point.

A couple of turns later the crew of the Nassau got the flames under control but by this stage she was badly damaged. In the blurry foreground you can make out some pirate cutters rushing in to finish her off. My Dutch fleet sunk one of the pirates in this game, but at the end of the day, I lost every one of my own ships except the flagship Brabant.

This shot is from the third game of the evening. We decided to play one of the scenarios, 'Release the Kraken', where one player is attempting to destroy their opponent's shore fort. However, every time the shore fort gets hit, there is an increasing chance that the sea monster (who lives in an underwater cave below the bastion) will be woken up. This photo was taken after an incredibly luck shot from the Oberon ignited the fort's powder store. 

The fort was out of play but the sea monster was about to be released. The small fleet attacking the fort was promptly smashed up, chewed on and spat out, only to be gobbled up again. A hilarious game, but I think it was pretty clear that some of the points costs need adjusting.

Irregular Wars 2nd edition - publication day -30 (or near enough)

The countdown for the publication of Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End (2nd edition) has most definitely begun.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

IW (2nd ed.) Chance Cards - some market research

The 2nd edition of Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End is on track for a release in the first week of Christmas. The rules will be available as a softcover book from Amazon (all the Amazons, whether you use .com,, .jp, .de, .nl of whatever). Alternatively, you will be able to purchase the rules as a pdf file downloadable from Vexillia Ltd. Existing customers who have previously bough earlier versions of the rules will be able to upgrade to the 2nd edition pdf for a special reduced price (under £2).

However, while the final proofing and editing has been going on, Martin from Vexillia Ltd and I have been chatting about the best way to make the professionally produced chance cards I designed available to those gamers who want them. 

In Irregular Wars, chance cards are not an essential part of the game, but they do add a bit of spice. The text for all the cards will be available in the rule book if people wish to make their own custom deck, but as I wanted a good set of my own, I went ahead and had these produced.

In order to determine the best way forward vis-a-vis production, ordering and maintaining stock, Martin has put together a short questionnaire to see what you guys think about the issue - do you actually want/need high quality cards to go with the revised rules. I'd be much obliged if you would have a look HERE and have a go at answering the two questions.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

More ships and boats for Galleys & Galleons

Even though I have not found much time for wargaming of late, this weekend I was able to work on some more vessels for my Galleys & Galleons playtesting fleets.

Since my last post on the topic I have added another 100 points worth of vessels to my scurvy-ridden fleet of buccaneers. Along with the pinnace Jezabel and the brig Oberon, I can now field the pirate galleon Irrepressable and some more cutters. 

Now at 200 points, this is the recommended fleet size for casual games although we have been having fun with much smaller fleets or one-on-one games in testing. Vessels take incremental damage and the more damaged they become, the hard they become to handle. Players could easily run larger fleets, but they would them probably have to resort to using counters to mark damage. 

For those who are already familiar with the Ganesha Games core mechanic, the fleet list for this little flotilla would look something like this:

The Pirates
The Galleon Irrepressible; 78 points
Q3 C4; Chaser guns,Dread pirate,Galleon rigged,High castles,Swashbucklers

The Brig Oberon; 52 points
Q3 C3; Galleon rigged, Swashbucklers, Swift

The Pinnace Jezabel; 33 points
Q2 C1; Lateen rigged, Shallow draft, Sweeps, Swift

Pirate Cutters;18 points
Q2 C1; Boats, Derring-do, Swashbucklers

Pirate Cutters;18 points
Q2 C1; Boats, Derring-do, Swashbucklers

And just sailing into view is the first 100 points (almost) of my Dutch East India Company (VOC) fleet, the indiaman Brabant, and the junk Celestial Tea Chest. The Indiaman is from Peter Pig and the junk is a 6mm scale junk from Grumpy miniatures with the 6mm crew replaced by 4mm crew by Peter Pig. Still on the painting table are a fluyt and a sloop for the Dutch. There may also be a sea monster, but more of that anon...

The Indiaman Brabant; 82 points
Q3 C4; Chaser guns, Flagship, Galleon rigged, Merchantman, Veteran NCOs

The Junk Celestial Tea Chest; 16 points
Q3 C2; Lateen rigged, Merchantman, Reinforced hull

An Irregular Wars 2 update

Things have been pretty quite on the blog these last couple of months. Work has been getting busier and I've not had much free time to work on anything worth putting on here. 

However, in the next week or two I hope to receive the last edits for Irregular Wars 2nd edition. After I put those through, there will be a final proof read and then I'll be uploading the manuscript onto Amazon Createspace. I am still hopeful that the second edition should be available by the beginning of December, as a pdf from Vexillia Ltd, or as a paperback hardcopy from Amazon (all Amazon websites, .com, .de etc etc). 

However, Amazon is not able to do the premium quality Chance Cards, so these will have to be ordered separately, either from myself or, perhaps from Vexilia (I'm sure Martin will pass any orders on to me that are placed through him anyway... we'll talk it through).

Stand by for imminent progress reports!