Saturday, 29 November 2014

New Game: Get 'Ard or Get Out!

Greetings friends!

So for the past few months I've been planning a new game: Get 'Ard or Get Out!

It is a combat racing game designed to promote competition, team work and most of all; fun.

Get 'Ard or Get Out (GAGO for short) is a mixture of XWing style manoeuvres, table top racing and Orc ferociousness. It is also a party game.

To play you need 2-6 players divided into 2-3 teams. At the start of the game every team is given some vehicle chassis, bluetac, and a bucket of bits and bobs ranging from modelling accessories (spikes, armour plating etc) to basic school decorating stuff (stickers, marker pens, foam and pom-poms and coloured card).

Once teams are formed each team is given a vehicle chassis each and 30 mins to decorate it as they see fit. This can take the form of spikes and war banners, or go the other way with bright colours and unicorn stickers. The aim is to act as a team building exorcise that results in a fun and hopefully silly looking vehicle.

Each vehicle has a crew of three Orcs: Driver, Gunner and Boss.

Each Orc Boss is dealt a special ability card at random that only the team who owns the Boss can see. More on this later.

The game then plays out on a figure 8 track (most likely on a 3'x3' board) and the aim of the game is to be the first team to complete 3 laps of the track (or be Last Orc Standing).

Movement is done using the Flight Path System; meaning each team decides per turn what move they are able to do. The available moves are Green (shortest distance with slightest turns) White (moderate distance with medium turns) and Red (furthest distance with sharpest turns).

Whenever you perform a Red move your engine is marked as stressed. This can be removed the next turn by performing a Green move, and will remain in place if you do a White move.

Should you choose however you can do another Red move, in doing so roll 1d6. On a roll of 1 the engine has overheated and for the remainder of the game you can only perform Green moves.

The game has collision detection as well as Heavy Guns mounted on the vehicles and your Boss can try and board nearby opponent vehicle vehicles to try and knock off or knock out crew members of the opposing vehicles.

Best of all are the secret Boss powers!

Like I said earlier, every Boss is given one of these at random and I'm secret at the start of the game. Maybe it's the ability to sacrifice himself to take out an opposing boss, or maybe he's a mechanic and (a limited number of times) a game able to remove the overheating status from your vehicle giving you free Red moves.

Either way, it will be super easy to learn so that even non-gamers can pick it up in 1 or 2 short turns, and hopes to be super fun!

Currently the plans are to feature this game as a simple 'throw-away' game at a small gaming weekend I am looking to host next year, but I've already received feedback from my Game Guru in ways this can be expanded using things like multiple vehicles for every team member; just imagine the mayhem that can be caused when two different vehicles belonging to the same team try to ram another off the track only to smash into each other!
- Of course there is also the possibility of introducing different types of vehicles. Currently it's just 'truck' types, but there's room for all sorts from the lightly armoured but faster bikes, to the much slower but heavily armoured tanks!!

On that note I will leave you for now!

See you track side!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 21 November 2014

First Law: Override - Lore Update (Faction: The Accord)

Greetings friends!

So in my previous post I covered what the situation we were in when it came to the various races who resided on Honos.

Today I would like to expand that by discussing one half of the various factions and sponsors you can join:


The Accord

The Accord comprises of the central governing bodies that make up the Outer Fringe.

It considers itself the first and last line of defence against all threats that Honos and the other worlds like it may encounter.

Made up of all races including Humans, Hydan, Kratel and Reborn this faction accepts everyone as long as they are willing to comply with their own laws.

United Earth Force
The United Earth Force or UEF are both military and government on Honos. Comprising almost exclusively of Humans but accepting of other races they focus on the welfare of Humanity's fight for survival on their new world.

When Humans first arrived on Honos they lacked any form of political body. Until then all major decisions had been made by the UEF when it had instigated martial law during the AI War. To the settlers on Honos and those on the arc ships newly arriving after their long journey from Earth it made sense to continue as things were with the UEF as the controlling group.

The UEF is available to Agents as a Sponsor; providing agents with a number of bonus from military grade projectile based firepower as well as moderate rated ground vehicles.

Believing themselves to be the strongest force on Honos; the UEF regularly encounters conflict with the Hydan purists who consider themselves to have more advanced technology, greater intelligence and more highly evolved as a species. This is heavily tempered by the constant communications and trade that operate between the two races and an acknowledgement of mutual benefits.

The UEF is a good Sponsor to acquire should you wish to excel at projectile weapons, be a ranged soldier and specialise in urban combat.

The Wraiths
While not an actual political or recognised military body, the Wraiths are perceived by most as the deciding factor over Hydan political and military movements.

Established four hundred years ago as a small unit of highly trained assassins, the Wraiths were both respected and feared by the Hydan people. It was only in recent decades that the Wraiths moved from the shadows of myth and legend and became a recognised organisation, previously acting via shadow agents and aliases.

Today the Wraiths are known by all as being the most highly trained single combat warriors in the Outer Fringe, using both stealth and advanced crystal-based technology to extreme effectiveness.

When Humans arrived in the Outer Fringe it was with great reluctance that the Wraiths permitted them and other races acceptance within their ranks, however some do believe that the initiation trials for non-Hydans is much more severe. Regardless of what prejudice any new recruits may experience at the hands of Hydan purists, once fully imitated as Wraiths, all races are treated as equals.

Any Agent may join the ranks of the Wraiths however those of the Hacker and Slicker (rogue) classes are most likely to perform well with the Wraiths.

As an Agent you should look to join the Wraiths if you want to specialise in stealth, subterfuge, infiltration and situation analysis.

Honos Mining Corporation
The Honos Mining Corporation (HMC) started off as an Earth based project, however was very quick to capitalise on opportunities when the settlement and terraformation of Honos began.

Only about 80 years old the HMC is based in New Brasilia in a two hundred storey tall sky scraper; the Ackerman Tower, named after the original company founder Wilson Ackerman. The Ackerman Tower houses it's geology research teams, technological development teams, computer databanks and all levels of management.

When the UEF required terraformers to make Honos habitable it was the HMC who provided the technology and to this day are the global leaders in both mining and terraformation facilities as well as geological and seismic research.

Much of what happens at HMC is based at the Ackerman Tower, but very often agents are required to act in their stead performing field research as well as maintaining and repairing the remote equipment located throughout the Badlands and the Frozen North.

Currently HMC are attempting to set up research and terraformation settlements across the southern Badlands and into the Deadzone but most communications with these settlements are lost soon after being established.

The HMC are always looking to sponsor Agents and would be perfect for you if you are looking to make use of heavy duty equipment and all terrain vehicles whilst perform research tasks and repair jobs for the Ackerman Tower in the remote regions of Honos. Any class would be suitable but those of the Soldier and Hacker would benefit the most from HMC sponsorship.


And that is it for now! Tune in next time when I reveal more about the opposition to the Accord; The Reavers.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

First Law: Override - A Lore Recap

Greetings friends!

So with First Law: Override being restarted and rebooted I should probably go over the lore of the game and what (if any) changes there are.

First up are the races present in game.

As I am sure you already know the game's primary focus is on Humanity and how it interacts with it's new home of Honos; along with any and all baggage that they bring with them.

It was Humans who created the AI (looking for a new name, I've never been happy with INI and now seems as good an opportunity as any to rebrand it) and after loosing control of said AI fled to the stars to find a new home onboard massive Arc ships.

Humans have been living on Honos for going on 25 years now following a brief initial terraformation of ~5 years on the planet, most of those 5 years were spent on board their Arc ships where little to no interaction was made with the indigenous races of the Outer Fringe.

Humans exist as a 3 caste race. The wealthy few live in towering spires of glass and flawless metal while the majority of others live just above the poverty line in constructed tower structures such as the infamous Block of the Western Badlands.

A third caste of outlaws exist. They are a law unto themselves creating their own settlements across the Badlands and Midland regions. Most Outlaws do not live beyond middle age as their younger competition are quick to pick on any weakness either real or rumoured.

Humans are extremely resourceful however and excel at almost every profession available to Sponsored Agents. They also have ties to the Hydan after a good few years of coexistence on Earth prior to the AI war. They are also seen as good recruits for the Reborn however the Kratel do not trust Humans due to the existing ties they hold to the Hydan.

A race of technologically advanced humanoid aliens who stand slightly taller than Humans completely hairless with bone covered scalps and a yellow-blue tint to their skins.

The Hydan home is located just outside the Outer Fringe in the form of a ginormous crystalline structure they call The Bastion.

Roughly three years before the AI war on Earth, a Hydan deep space research ship arrived within the Sol system searching for the origin of radio and magnetic waves they had intercepted. The Hydans ship's shock drive had failed taking them to the outer reaches of the Sol system leaving them all but stranded on Earth.

Always open to new experiences and research the Hydan quickly adapted to Human life and within a matter of years fully integrated themselves.

It was the Hydan working with the AI that allowed the Humans to create their own version of Shovk Drive technology, but it was sadly only a short time after that was completed that the AI turned on the Human-Hydan alliance starting the AI war which eventually resulted in both species fleeing on Arc ships searching for a new home in deep space.

Most Hydan who live on Honos are the same who travelled with the Humans from Earth preferring to uphold the friendships, business partnerships and in some cases; romantic relationships that had begun taking root in the Human Hydan alliance. Some are newly arrived Hydan sent from the Bastion to investigate Human society and what effects it has had on the Hydan who chose to integrate.

Within Hydan culture there are only two castes: The Faithful as they call themselves are the Hydan from the Bastion. They are grateful and forthcoming to Humans but see those who integrated with Hunan culture as traitors to their race. The second caste are those who integrated with Humans on Earth. These Hydan don't see themselves as any different from their Bastion brothers and sisters and try to rationalise any animosity whenever possible.

A race of physically strong brutish humanoids. Unlike the Hydan their features do not directly resemble humans; their skin covered in a mottled thin shell which once a year moults. Their most obvious features however being claw like mandibles that cover their mouths which they use to communicate with click-like noises.

Unlike the other races of the Outer Fringe the Kratel are drastically different in appearance between genders. The males are much smaller than the females, averaging only about four feet tall with very little physical strength. The females; the dominant gender, are much bigger averaging six to seven feet tall.

The Kratel's home system neighbours the Honos system and for this reason they have taken a great interest in the Human's actions of settling on the previously barren and inhospitable world.

The Kratel's culture is brutish and imperial, based largely on might makes right but they are excellent smugglers and black market dealers due to their natural resistance to varied temperatures and toxic chemicals.

Their resilience in the face of adversity has given them the nick name among the Hydan as the cockroaches of the Galaxy and the Kratel are very quick to make use of this advantage whenever possible allowing for Kratel settlements to pop up almost overnight in regions that others would not settle.

The Hydan and the Kratel have a long standing feud. According to the Hydan both races once coexisted on a different homeworld when the Kratel's warlike nature brought the world quite literally to the point of destruction forcing both races to leave in search of new homes. The Hydan settled on the Bastion while the Kratel on their new homeworld. The Kratel deny this as Hydan propaganda created to relinquish their own guilt over their own destruction of their homeworld, and that to date the Kratel have only ever called one planet home.

What little is known of Kratel history shows that the current Empress took control of her people by uniting them and creating peace on a world being torn apart by tribal wars. Stories claim that the Empress was created herself as twelve clones so whenever she died a clone would awaken and carry on her work exactly where she left off. The Kratel say that there was supposed to be one more clone still in hibernation but many generations ago a Hydan assassin killed the last dormant clone while it slept leaving the last Empress as the last of her lineage. They fear for what will happen in years to come as the Empress reaches her advanced years and they harbour a bitter revenge against the Hydan for ending her reign prematurely.

Unlike the other races of the Outer Fringe; the Reborn are not an actual genetic race per se.

The Hydan claim it originated from Kratel scientists who created an AI consciousness which became self aware and began forcing it's will on living beings to further it's reach. The Kratel say the same about Hydan scientists. Ultimately at some point no more than eighty years ago members of both Hydan and Kratel species began appearing on colony worlds as modified versions of their former selves.

Every member of the Reborn appears different depending on what their deficits and strengths were in previous lives. They exist as self aware cyborgs neither flesh nor machine but a unique combination of the two; their mechanical implants providing them with ways around weaknesses and further enhancing what skills and talents they retained.

There have been plenty of interviews with prominent members of the Reborn, and in virtually every interview the question of where they originated from and who their leader is always arises. It is in these interviews that two statements always arise:

The first is that the Reborn believe that they have always existed. That no one created them and that they did not originate from anywhere or anything. They just always were.

The second is that their leader is Mother. They are unable to elaborate beyond she was the first and any other references are seen by others as being of almost religious reverence.

The Reborn do not create new settlements themselves, instead preferring to move into existing ones and repurpose existing structures to be used to further their cause. Referring to their movement as The Order of Reformation they seek to spread propaganda and preach to the local settlers and inhabitants about the love of unity and understanding that Mother can bring into their lives.

When questioned the Reborn's official stance is that they never force anyone to join their order and will only take those who join willingly.

Not anyone can become a Reborn; no doctor or scientist has ever been able to establish what it is that makes the difference but the end result is always the same. Some survive the process while others do not.

Beyond this much about the Reborn is a mystery, however almost all the other races are wary of them with stories of those who arrive in the cover of darkness to steal loved ones away and turn into cybernetic horrors are rife, especially among the secluded settlements of the Badlands.


And that's it for now!

Of course I have only covered playable races, I will at a later point cover non-playable races including the AI and the Pha'Nur.

Next up however should be the factions! So stay tuned!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

First Law: Override - Some more technical info

Greetings friends!

So following on from yesterday's post regarding the reboot of First Law: Override as a game focused on the world of Honos, I would like to now go into a little further detail about what is planned - what is making the transition from the old version into the new, and what is being left on the roadside.

So first things first: the obvious one - Space Travel.

This is gone, obviously. If we're focusing on a single world you don't need space travel.

What is left in it's place however is ground based vehicles.

So now; when you would previously receive a ship from your sponsor you instead get your grubby mitts on a ground vehicle.

What the vehicle is vastly depends on the Sponsor. Raiders will give you a dust buggy, low top speed but excellent handling. The Wraiths however will give you access to a Jet Bike with very high top speed but rubbish handling. As a hover based vehicle however it is not effected by 'difficult terrain' as others may be.

Currently the plan for vehicle control is split between traditional movement as you would see in games like 40k or utilising a modified version of the flight path system as was planned with space travel.

Personally I am leaning towards the latter but in all honesty I have no idea if it will capture the feel of ground vehicles as well as air based vehicles. To counter this my thoughts lie in using custom templates when needed.

I'm also going to dig up my GorkaMorka rule books and read up on how that handled vehicle movement as I remember it being very very good.

Next up is the different types of missions and story packs.

Something I was really looking forward to was what had the working title of 'The Derelict' story pack. Think of it as a combination of Alien: Isolation crossed with Dead Space.

The aim of the story pack was that you and your group had to investigate a drifting derelict ship in space in order to find out what happened onboard. As you progressed you would uncover clues which would unlock additional rewards from the sponsor, security systems would be set off, gas pipes would rupture flooding areas with toxic fumes and bulk heads would fracture exposing players to the vacuum of space.

And if players were particularly unfortunate they would be attacked by an alien or two!

Of course deep space is out, but this has been replaced by the Frozen North. So now with Derelict V2 we have the abandoned research station. If you've ever seen The Thing then you know what to expect. In this story pack dubbed 'Fear Frozen' you are sent to find out what happened in one of three abandoned research stations.

When Humanity began the terraformation of Honos they quickly detected unusual seismic activity below the surface of the Frozen North and dispatched research teams to investigate. Most of these teams continue their research to this day providing little data of use but hinting at something larger they are on the verge of discovering. The three most northern research sites went quiet recently however and so your party must brave the silent stations making sure the air filters and environment controls are working, avoiding faulty (explosive) equipment, gathering research, avoiding exposure to the freezing wind outside and doing whatever they can to stop their fate becoming the same as the previous inhabitants.

For those interested in street brawls there is the UEF who are looking for Peace Keepers involving facing off against street gangs in New Brasilia which promises to be packed full of lots of high impact combat and gun fights.

Then there's espionage! The Wraiths are always looking for Sponsor Agents who have the talents and prowess to sneak into enemy military and research bases and bring back Intel on what they are doing; or maybe perform a covert assassination attempt on the leader of said base?

Of course the game will be retaining the Story Progression System allowing for a huge number of play outs of these stories by mixing and matching outcomes based on different objectives; say you are running an espionage mission for the Wraiths - or maybe the Red Claw have hired you to spy on the Wraiths? Ultimately you will get greater rewards by staying covert and having the enemy not even realise you were there, but should that fail and you have to resort to brute force and killing everyone on site, you will still get rewarded for completing the objective.
- should you get captured however and the enemy made aware of your sponsor's involvement; then the sponsor will be less than happy with those results. Assuming that is you can escape the base alive at all. If not then the respawn fees will not be cheap!

These are just a few examples of the wide variety of story packs the game will 'ship' with. Each one offering a different experience and located within a selection of different places (with alternative locations available for terrain limitation reasons, so if for example you had a tonne of Infinity terrain but not much else, most missions will be available to be played within New Brasilia).

I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have, any questions/suggestions, please fire my way!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 10 November 2014

First Law: Override - Rebooted & Restarted

Greetings friends!

So after my post last week some major changes are coming with the planning of First Law: Override.

As you can probably guess from the title of this post it is being restarted and rebooted!


If you hadn't ready guessed I am taking the leap and leaving the entirety of the Outer Fringe alone, instead focusing on the newly settled Human world of Honos.

You might be wondering why I would make such a sweeping change including removing space travel from the game entirely as a gameplay mechanic?

It's simple really:

When you look at the game from a multi-solar system view it is very much top down in approach, this is both detracting from character immersion but also begins to limit locations to generic stereotypes.

By focusing on a single world you get a bottom up approach which allows for greater character development and a real connection to the world itself.

You might be worried that removing other worlds removes gameplay elements. Well I'm here to tell you that is far removed from the truth!

The world of Honos is a rich and diverse one:

Previously derelict with little of use in terms of natural resources, Honos had historically been ignored by the indigenous inhabitants of the Outer Fringe.

When Humans arrived searching for a world to call their own it was Honos they selected because of its atmosphere. In no way was it like Earth's, but it was similar enough that it would not take long for terraformation to get well underway allowing for proper habitation.

Always the X-Factor; it was Human's arrival that drew the attention of the other races. Both the Kratel and Hydan knew that this new race would throw their normal way of life into disarray and dispatched agents of their own to establish whether these Humans would ultimately empower or destroy the Outer Fringe and their own power bases located throughout.

Like Earth, Honos has two frozen poles and an equator. It is in the Northern frozen pole that the Honos Mining Corporation (known by you all previously as the Outer Fringe Mining Corporation) established a series of research stations in order to analyse unusual seismic readings they had began to detect following the commencement of terraformation. Recently three of these stations located within close proximity of the northern most point ceased broadcasting and the HMC are in need of Sponsored Agents to investigate these sites.

Along the heat battered equator lies the Bad Lands; a region where little grows and the surface is covered in strips of dust and wasteland. It is within the Badlands that the independent city of Free Port was created. Frequented by outlaws and raiders their bounty boards regularly offer handsome rewards for trophies including the heads of giant beasts and even enemy gang bosses.

Nestled in between the Badlands and the Frozen North stands the varied and lush midland region consisting of dense jungles and large stretches of vibrant greenery and sea battered coast lines. Within one of the larger jungle expanses stands New Brasilia informally known as Capital City. Where Free Port and it's Badland settlements consist of shanty towns, New Brasilia is towering spires of glass and metal. The ruling body of New Brasilia is the United Earth Force. Previously focused on the military protection of their home world of Earth, the UEF now thrust into a political leader role are uneasy with how to best lead their people in the new world and are regularly looking to sponsor agents in both peacekeeping and research roles.

Within the Badlands on the opposite side of Free Port is the Block; a sprawling space of tower blocks and support girders. It's own eco bubble providing it with a constant supply of acid rain and noxious fumes for those who venture below the purifying filters. The Block is the home of the freedom fighting Red Claw Kratel who use the site as a base of operations to further their fight against the Kratel Empire and push the black market to fund their own agendas.

High above Honos orbits the planet's singular moon. Previously it was of little interest to those colonising Honos. At least that was the case before AI transmissions were detected originating from it's surface. Now the UEF fears for a secondary attack from the AI and the possible destruction of all organic life in the Outer Fringe.

Across the world you will also find Hydan research sites and listening posts. The Hydan do not trust either the newly arrived Humans nor their time long enemies the Kratel. Meanwhile the Reborn set up churches of Reformation at most settlements as part of a recruitment campaign that no one outside of the Reborn could even begin to explain.

South of the Bandlands lies the Deadzone, a region 1/3rd of the planet that has yet to complete it's Terraformation. The region is largely unexplored covered in a toxic atmosphere with temperature extremes that range from the instantly freezing to the eternally boiling. The few settlements and HMC outposts located on the southern reaches of the Badlands have reported unexplained attacks in the middle of the night, of multi limb clawed beasts that moved and attacked as if controlled by guiding force before capturing injured civilians and retreating into the Deadzone. The Kratel call these creatures "Pha'Nur"; the Walking Shadow and to date only one person has ever survived a Pha'Nur attack but currently no one has been able to make sense of the babble that he has spurted none stop since his rescue.


This is where you as the player come in. As a Sponsored Agent or Spag (working title) in search of adventure and glory you will team up with other Spags as you venture across Honos performing tasks and missions for your sponsor and unlocking the many mysteries the world holds in cooperative PvE encounters.

In your downtime perhaps you want to mix it up a little and take a visit to Free Port's Thunder Dome style arena where you can pit your own survival and combat skills against your friends in competitive PvP arena fights!

It's all there all locked within a single world. All we need now is to build the game to unlock it.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Sunday, 9 November 2014

#GamerGate & Why I can't be involved in the movement anymore

Greetings friends,

So over the past few weeks I've been pretty involved in the goings on of the gaming and journalism movement GamerGate.

I was there when the first hashtag tweet was sent. I commented on the truth as I saw it behind Quinn's manipulation of people and wether or not we should separate her personality from the product she produces. I blogged about the sweeping statements being made about men, gamers, GamerGate and how it was no different to discrimination.

Throughout all of this I have tried to do my part in a meaningful way to keep he movement going but in a positive direction that results in furthering equality.

On Friday however something happened that made this involvement impossible:

Here is an extract from a 'short story' provided by Milo; a vocal news journalist who is a self confessed GamerGate Sympathiser.

Now from what I saw Milo was ripping into someone called Ian:

I don't know who Ian is, and I don't care who he is, but what I saw was one person with an audience writing a 15 tweet long story about Ian and how he is a neo-nazi who masturbates over copies of Iron Sky.

The thing is, this reminded me a lot of 'poking fun at the fat kid' or 'mocking he nerd' that many of us experienced in school at the hands of the 'in-crowd' or 'jocks'.

So I called Milo on this; in a polite and respectful way, and was replied with the following:

Notice the retweets and favourites; almost all of these by different people, so that's ~26 people who either favourited or retweeted this.

I've looked into these people and like Milo almost all have been posting in support of GamerGate.

And this was where my faith faltered.

It was only a matter of weeks before that I along with the rest of GamerGate were screaming at Polygon for advocating bullying and how it was never acceptable behaviour, but here we have a vocal sympathiser for GamerGate and a tonne of other people (this screenshot does not capture the literal hundreds of posts that the 15 tweet story received in support) not only bullying someone, but saying that "you can't bully a neo-Nazi enough".

Now don't get me wrong, I hate what is being done to gaming, and I strongly dislike many of the people who are attacking us and calling us misogynists; but I hate hypocrites more.

I still want to see Kotaku and Polygon replaced with a staff of responsible and culpable people, I still want Quinn and Wu to stop trying to grab the spotlight whenever they can and I certainly want Sarkeesian to stop lying and stretching the truth to make money, but I refuse to stand shoulder to shoulder with people who regardless of motivation, criticise someone for being a bully one week, and then advocate bullying the next.

I'll keep up the good fight; I'll report and blog when I see injustice and BS, but I will not do it under the banner of #GamerGate.

And if anyone's looking for someone to blame, it's these ass-hole hypocrites right here.

You know what the most ironic part of it is? Throughout that whole night the only people I managed to engage in a non-hate filled discussion with? Two Anti-GGers. What does that say?

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 7 November 2014

First Law: Override - Collaboration Needed

Greetings friends!

We've had a bit of a change happen here at chez Loxley and it has released a semi block on First Law: Override for me.

I still need to wait for the ink to dry if you will before I can say what happened and if it is resolved, but we are getting there.

Anyway, this block on First Law has been removed. I am not fully invested yet because like I said in my previous post about this game and my hobby; I don't know who I am making this game for.

With this in mind I am looking for someone I can collaborate with. Someone who likes the initial sound of this game and it's universe, but more importantly someone I can bounce ideas off, who will bounce ideas off me and we can take this idea from some ramshackle thoughts into a workable game.

To open the table here is one major change I am debating: Removing Space and Different Planets.

The planet of Tanka V (thinking of another name, maybe Sanctuary or similar?) is a rich world. It has the beautiful glass and metal spires of Capital City, the grimey girders of The Block, vast wastelands and a seething alien hive below the surface.
- Everything needed is right there; are other worlds needed?

There is of course the issue of other races beyond Humans living on this world, but by removing the spaceship sponsorship reward and replacing it maybe with vehicles (bikes, buggies etc) removes the need to go to other worlds and venture into space.

Yes there are derelict missions; the ones where you explore dead spaceships in space, but there is no reason why that can't become abandoned research stations etc in frozen wastes or whatever?

The thing is; this is a huge change by almost removing the operatic feel of planet hopping and instead tying the story to a single world, which in reaction allows for it to become more personal.

This is just one change among many.

So what do you think? Want to get involved? Even if we're not talking collaboration and would rather be a soundboard; please let me know.

I'm unable to commit much to the wargame hobby etc, as I said before, I can not support it in the large. But this game is something I still believe in.

Anyway I hope you'll get in touch.

**EDIT: Another name for Tanka V could be Honos; the Roman god of chivalry, honor and military justice. After all it is a world colonised by Humans who in turn named their own solar system after Roman gods. It makes sense that after being ousted from their own world by a rogue AI that they would name their new home something similar.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A GorkaMorka sized itch

Let me tell you a story:

The year is 1997, we are in the tail end of Warhammer 40,00 Second Edition, and Necromunda is starting to wind down.

Games Workshop have just released their latest in skirmish wargames; GorkaMorka! A tabletop skirmish game where each player controls a group or 'mob' of Orks as they struggle to prove that that they are top dog and deserve the respect and admiration of their mechanical god 'GorkaMorka'.

Like many skirmish games of the time GorkaMorka consisted of a robust campaign system including the ability to acquire a currency the the form of Ork Teeth or 'Teef' as they were known so you could buy better equipment and new recruits. In addition it also had ruled for gaining experience in order to learn new skills and also sustain injuries which involved trips to the local doc who most of the time would fix you up, other times however the doc would use your boyz in experiments grafting all manner of Ork Tek to their bodies. Sometimes this would be a boon including attaching weapons and wheels to the bodies, other times it would be a hinderance as I saw when my mob leader; Gogmek Narnob has his right arm replaced with a lumbering crane-like mechanism that looked bad-ass but messed up his accuracy no end!

And this was the spirit of the game. You didn't worry about your mob leader or even your boyz, you just charged them into the enemy and hoped that either Gork (or Mork) was smiling down on you that day.

Seriously! The way the game rules were designed it made the more reckless the move; the more rewarding it became. If you tried to protect your leader you ended up missing out on much needed experience points for your leader putting them at a disadvantage which was hard to recover from other than being overly aggressive from then on.

It was hardly the most tactical of games, where most strategies kind of focused around "'It them wiv a choppa!" But it was fun, a kind of fun that I have never found before or since.

This was added by the crucible of the game itself: vehicles!

There were three types of vehicles available: truks, traks and bikes.

The first: Truks. These were 4 wheeled vehicles complete with ok armour, good speed but was hindered by difficult terrain.

The second: Traks. These were vehicles that used tank tracks for 2-4 of its wheels. They were the slowest of all vehicles but were the least hindered by difficult terrain.

The third: Bikes. These were the fastest but also the weakest of vehicles.

Of course other than that there were little to no rules about what a vehicle should -look- like.

Sure you could buy the GW standard vehicle and use it like that, but you could also modify it as you saw fit. This was largely because of the golden rule of GorkaMorka:
A vehicle can transport as many models as can fit on the model

Yup! If you were able to fit the model on a vehicle; then it could ride on it. Of course at the same time, if said model ever fell off the vehicle then that counted as falling off in-game and as such would sustain falling damage and in the case of a high speed pursuit may involve extra damage as they get run over by the pursuing vehicle (more on that in a moment).

There was another rule being that your whole mob must be able to fit on your vehicles at any time, largely due to many games starting off with your mob on your vehicles.

These rules when combined lead many players; myself included to create all manner of ridiculous vehicles of monstrous sizes to fit their mob on board, why my mob actually spent its entire lifespan with only a single vehicle: a truk that was modded out with reinforced Armour, a high powered 'eavy shoota, spikes, a boarding plank and had of course been modelled by fitting the rear chassis from 2 truks together making it's storage space double that of a normal truk.

This truk had a great feel to it. It was mean and dirty, covered in rust and skewered Ork heads, each one representing an zork that my mob had killed. It was also a massive target and could almost always be seen at all times by the enemy.

I remember; one of my favourite moments ever was when we started off a game, my boyz jumped out and started to grab objectives while my truk itself drove at full speed towards the enemy leader who if I remember correctly was riding passenger on a trak, said trak was fitted with a missile launcher which subsequently fired at my truk, blew it to pieces sending my leader sprawling onto the floor knocking him unconscious as the enemy trak proceeded to drive right over him, stop, reverse over him, stop again, drive back over again and repeat this manoeuvre about 2-3 more times!

In almost any other game I would call this a 'dick move', but this was GorkaMorka! There were no dick moves, and in reality I cackled with delight as this happened all the while hoping the trip to the docs would result in either a fix for my boss' arm or something new-fangled to play with.

Of course the games' life turned out to be shorter than I am sure anyone expected as only a year later in 1998 GW pulled support for the game. I may be wrong but I always figured it was down to dropping sales and the poor turnout from it's expansion Digganob.

You see; what made GorkaMorka so amazing was its simplicity. There were only two factions, both of them being Orks and these were split into the Gorkas and the Morkas.

If I remember correctly the fluff describes the Gorkas as "Orks who like Loud Noises and Fast Vehicles" while the Morkas are "Orks who like Fast Vehicles and Loud Noises".

Then along came Digganob introducing three new factions:

The Diggaz: Human's who until recently had been trapped underground had turned feral and saw the Orks as Demi-God like figures. They used stolen Ork Tek and vehicles.

The Muties: Human's who had been mutated by the surface radiation of the planet. They didn't use vehicles instead riding into combat on mutated beasts.

Rebel Grots: Gobbos that had grown tired of their time under the thumb of the Orks and rose up to create a new world order.

All of these factions were great in theory, and our campaign quickly included one mod of each, however while the fluff of them all was great, they didn't play so well - with one exception.

Diggaz: these turned out to be pretty much just weak Orks and played out pretty much like a Necromunda gang, and we all found that if we wanted to play Necromunda, we would play Necromunda.

Muties: they just wernt very fun either to play with or against. It took lots of fan work to turn these from a novelty into a workable mob.

Rebel Grots: in a word - bundle!
That was it! Now playing bundle and trying to get as many of your Grots into combat with a single enemy was fun, but it was a tactic that made playing Orks seem sophisticated and they were pretty rubbish at anything else.

And so it died off, but ever since has always had a place in my heart.

This was the best game I ever played and recently I have developed an itch to play it again; of course I know it's a fallacy. There is no one in my area interested in these games, and the only person who may be interested lives on the other side of the country!

No, the itch comes not from the game itself but the nostalgia. I long to return to that time when I played games every week and really looked forward to each one, as in truly looked forward to each and every game.

I've never had that since, and it's something that my heart finds wanting.

Until next time; stay safe and I'll see you soon.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Beard Comes Off (Faster than I thought)

Greetings friends!

As of Saturday I began my #GeekShave and was already 2/5ths of the way towards my first goal thanks to a very generous starting donation, so first things first I clipped in a new razor head and lopped off my chin-beard.

This was such a surreal experience as this particular part of my face has not been exposed to the elements in twelve years!

One thing that was sweet was my daughter's reaction. For the entirety of her life I have had a full face beard, and here I was with a chunk of that missing.

To say she was upset was an understatement; I her own words she was scared of it, and when it came for me to put her down for her afternoon nap she wouldn't even look at me without crying!

Let's just say I was very grateful after her nap when I got her out of bed and she declared with a beefing smile "I'm not scared of your new beard anymore Daddy!"

After all this complete with photos taken I added them to my justgiving account as well as publicising on Twitter and facebook and very quickly some further donations came in!

It didn't take long before my first stretch goal was completed and I knew my biker beard would become a handlebar moustache complete with sideburns.

This was tackled Sunday morning but I had a plan on how to deal with it and not upset the Mini Moo:

After getting her out of bed but before breakfast I explained that I needed to shave more off because more people have donated and that I wanted her there when I did.

Now the Mini Moo has never seen me shave; largely because I do very little of it normally, so she was amazed watching the beard being removed. More importantly it meant that she saw it happening: there was no big scary reveal!

And so I spent Sunday with the handlebar and sideburns with £40 left until my second stretch goal was hit. I thought that this might happen sometime around the mid to end of the week. Currently the average donations from close friends and family has been around £15 a pop, so allowing for 1 a day that would be 3 days - and I thought this was me over estimating people's generosity.

Imagine my amazement then when today; on the way to work, I get off the tube, get signal on my phone and get a notification that my next goal has been hit!

That's right I have now passed £100 and so tonight will be removing my sideburns leaving me with a Hulk Hogan!

My plan is to get the Mini Moo involved again and I'll remove these burns either before or after I take her for her daily bath, that way again there will not be any surprise afterwards.

Once this is done I'll be posting on my account as well as my usual haunts.

From here there is just £90 (not including the money I am picking up in drips and drabs from work) until I hit my £200 target and go clean shaven for the remainder of November.

If you haven't done it yet you can contribute to this cause at where all donations go towards Prostate Cancer UK; a UK based charity focussed on the research, treatment and aftercare of Prostate Cancer, a lesser heard of cancer that effects 1 in 8 men!

Until next time, stay safe and to everyone who has given me support over the past week: thank you!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley