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Subject: Deadzone FAQs rss

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Jonah Rees
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These have just been posted on Jake Thornton's BLOG Quirkworthy but I will post them here as well:


Q = Question. A = Answer. D = Discussion




Q: When will the rules be made public?

A: We're aiming to put an Alpha version of the rules onto the Kickstarter by the end of next week (5th May).

D: I'm playtesting all weekend in-between writing up corrections, then it needs a day or two in layout to make it pretty and get the sample cards organised. The aim is to get a condensed version that will allow you to see the core rules and let us know what you think. It will contain examples of the different elements, but not all instances.

Q: What's an Alpha?

A: An early version of the rules.

D: Rules normally progress through 4 main stages with smaller increments within them. The first is Proposal/Concept, then Alpha, then Beta and finally Release versions. I could call this a Beta (that's what people normally call things that get released to the public regardless of their state), but realistically there are a number of things which still need to be addressed before we get there in my eyes.

Firstly, what is done? Well the core concepts and processes have been developed and the game works as something you can play - it's just not been refined enough yet for me to be entirely happy. What has yet to be finished is the details and balancing of the many weapons, troop types, faction specific cards and so on. I've got roughs for most of these, they just aren't all balanced yet. You can help with that.

Then there's the Kickstarter. To a large extent you guys have the control of how much goes in the final Deadzone rulebook. I've proposed a raft of stuff to Ronnie, and he's tipped a stack more ideas into the mix, but whether we can get them all done or not depends on how well the KS does. It all takes time and time is money. If we get the funding then well be adding more factions, "locals", extended campaign rules and loads more as well as all the extra models, terrain sprues and suchlike you'd expect from a successful Kickstarter campaign. This means that I can't really call the rules a proper Beat because I don't even know what's going to be in the final version yet!

So the Alpha will show you the kind of game Deadzone is and you can easily see where it's going. If you're interested you can even chip in and offer suggestions. Always happy to listen to good ideas


Q: Will the rules include... ?

A: Maybe.

D: The final contents of the rules (and the game in general) depends on the success of the Kickstarter. See my discussion above.

Q: Can I play without the board?

A: yes, with a few house rules.

D: If you really don't like the idea of a board you could easily adapt the rules to a plain table. You need rules for movement, ranges and scatter and all can be derived from the grid measurements (movement and ranges) or borrowed from other games (scatter).

However, I personally see no real benefits and two distinct problems with doing this. Using a tape measure instead of the gridded board guarantees a slower game and also offers more opportunities for disagreements. I chose to use the board to make a slicker, faster and less fractious game as I like all those features.

I'll update these as Jake does.

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Neomaxim Noefaith
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
Hey Jonah! Thanks for this mate (and congrats on the wedding... my best to you both!).

Incidentally going gridless still doesn't have to be an issue, and game-speed isn't always a problem. Like many fans, I think Dust Tactics was a mediocre board-game, that turned into a INCREDIBLE miniatures game, once the grid went away.

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David Boeren
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
Haven't tried Dust Tactics gridless, but I agree it was rather mediocre in the gridded form that I saw. I'll have to see if I can give it another look sometime

Anyway, looking forward to seeing the rules as for me that's what it's all about. Really good minis rulesets are few and far between and I feel like we're overdue for another one.
 
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Jonah Rees
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
I've not played Dust Tactics but I imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to mix the rules for Deadzone and Warpath to create a game that plays more to the skirmish game fans and less board game by removing the grid. I don't actually know the Warpath rules (yet) though so can't actually suggest anything!
 
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Jonah Rees
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
And here are some questions and responses from the comments:


Q: So do the rules play like Necroumunda or Infinity? Or something completely different?

And will there be scope for campaigns, with characters gaining experience and skills and better stuff?

A: A bit like both and nothing like either

There are rules for movement, shooting and cover like both games. Players do take turns, but the card system changes it from a simple i-go-u-go system like Necromunda to more of a hybrid between that and what Infinity does.

It has stuff that neither game has, such as pick-upable items and secret missions (somebody pointed out that Infinity does have secret missions).

In general the rules are very different from either necrimunda or Infinity, being simpler and faster to play without sacrificing tactical choice.

Campaigns? Yes.



Q: How are the vertical distances measured on a grid then?

I’m very happy to hear there’s no I-go, U-go system.

Necromunda’s predecessor Confrontation had system where they used the Initiative of the model to decide who went first, and that Initiative was affected by amount of gear carried, any wounds etc. I loved that system.

What’s your system?

A: Mostly distances on a grid are very easy – just count the squares

Turns are i-go-u-go after a fashion, or they would be just that if the cards weren’t there to mess with things. I originally had only half each side acting in a turn, but that just ended up with players only using the best bits of their force and having the ret as cheerleaders (as happens in Infinity) so I changed it. However, I don’t much like simple i-go-u-go, so after you’ve done something with everyone you have to decide who gets to do the extra funky stuff.



Q: will there be different types of Grenades ? smoke, stun, blast
i do love chucking Grenades.
Not many games use them well if at all.
A: Grenades are always tricky as they can easily be overpowering. There will be several types in Deadzone, and my favourite bit about them is blowing people off tall places with the blast



Q: Will they (alpha rules) be fully playable? I mean are you going to release also some stats for the miniatures in order to play an actual game?

A: Absolutely. The first Alpha will be a condensed version in the sense that it’s only a single scenario, one mission per faction and not all of the different troop types. However, the point of this is to explain the core concepts and to show you what we’re aiming for. The best way for you to see that is to try it out. Of course, the final version will have a load more models, missions, etc, etc and so will be far better, but this shows the ideas.



Q: Are there any plans to introduce Forgefathers and Vermin, when?
So a 3″ x 3″ three dimensional grid on a 2′ square table, with a max of two dozen figs. Am I right in assumening that there can be many figs in a paticular grid, and that most of a paticular ‘gang’ will have the same stats.

A: FF & Veer-myn? Yes there are plans. When depends on the success of the KS. The better it does, the sooner we can do them.

There is a “stacking limit” per square that depends on the size of the models.

There is quite a variety of stats within a faction. There is basically one per model type plus some variants for veterans. many more different stat lines than DreadBall.



Q: Can you allow for a new palyer to compete equally against an experienced ‘gang'?

A: I’ve not really looked at a handicap system yet, but it might be needed for the campaign system.



Q: Will there be rules to use the project Pandora models easily?

A: Possibly. If we get to the Corporation faction (which would be different from the Enforcers) and if we get to the Veer-myn then you could probably use them. However, if we do get to them then we’ll also be making some new cool models

As with all these questions about factions, I’d like to do them all, but when I can get them done depends on the Kickstarter. A really good KS means more factions a lot sooner!


follow up Q
: It wasn’t a request per see to have them in the kickstarter with new sculpts etc but more for cross game promotion, so you buy Pandora and get the option to download rules to use your new toys in Mantics other sci fi board game. Interesting option for boardgame buyers as buy the game, buy Pandora as a kind of expansion and also get exposed to model assemble and the like.

A: Cross-promortion is always an interesting aim, though often more difficult than it first appears. If I do the rules to enable them to be used them we might as well publish the whole faction as I’ll have done 90% of the work. Of course it could in theory save us making new models, but you know what we’re like for making new toys if we have an excuse…

Which isn’t to say that you couldn’t use your PP models. I’m just thinking that the most likely cross promo will be when the factions are done and we pull the PP specific units and mission ethos across.



Q: Can Plague soldiers infect Enforcers or anyone else with the plague, increasing their numbers on the board?

A: Not within the scope of a game. The really dramatic and quick changes are the initial ones from the alien artefacts. These happen very quickly. Stage 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 are much slower and the creature appears to die before they change. In the context of a battlefield these are not fast enough to change.



Q: I was wondering if you will be making rules to allow more than two players (i.e., 3-4).

A: I’m looking at the options for adding two boards together and playing larger games with more players. As it stands, the cramped nature of the battlefield makes adding more factions to a single scrap especially nightmarish, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond doing. I’ve just not really spent much time on it yet.



Q: I’ve seen quite a stir on the KS comments section for solo play rules or missions. What’s the likelihood of that becoming a reality? and how do you envision it’s application into the game??

A: Solo play is something I’d like to do. It wold be a lot of work to make it function well as the core rules aren’t really intended for it. Definitely on the cards though.

How it would work I’m not sure. I don’t think that most game AI systems are very good as they tend to be very predictable and uninteresting. That’s because it’s difficult to do more than that.

Having an AI system that controls a neutral 3rd party is easier than one that controls the 2nd player, and that is likely to come in first.



Q: Are you planning a levelling system within the factions for them to learn new skills? This is something missing from other skirmish games and it would be nice to be building your own elite hit squad.

A: Yes.
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Jonah Rees
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
Q: Is the game scenario based (like Necromunda and Mordheim) or more like Malifaux, in which deployment, scenery, missions etc are all generated randomly, or something else entirely?

A: At present the intention is to have a single method of setting up a game. However, within this it has variable deployment areas, variable (secret) missions, variable terrain, variable item and objective layout and you could both choose different forces each time.

So a bit of variation there, and to answer your question, potentially both.

The “training” system will be a short series of specific scenarios to teach you the game. I’d also like to do a series of “historical” missions, but I have to persuade Ronnie that’s a good idea first. Or you could
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Jonah Rees
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
This was posted in another thread about the different pledge levels:

The Scientist pledge is a board-game edition of the game - it comes with simplified rules, simpler scenery, and is limited to the basic troops from each faction with no specialists. That's why the models are pre-assembled, so that board gamers can get playing quicker.

Assembly is required for all the other pledge levels.
 
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Jonah Rees
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Re: Deadzone Rule FAQs
And another from Jake's BLOG:

Q: Is there a plan for the ruleset to ensure that environment can add notable flavor to the gameplay?

For me, I think the market is very quickly reaching capacity in terms of skirmish games and many sorta feel very samey to me. One aspect I’ve personally been waiting for is one that embraces the environment (i.e., board) itself. So there’s my interest in Deadzone and why I’m backing it…seems like a game that wants to make it easy for players to get more out of their scenario’s environment without adding a lot of overhead to the rules and upkeep.

When you have the proper components, stuff like blasting holes in walls becomes easy to represent and intuitive for players to execute. Visual cues on the terrain itself makes it easy to remember that, oh yeah, you can teleport from here to there. Making an open door behave differently from a closed on can be a low overhead but flavorful when the visual cue is there (well…assuming your doors open/close…).

A: I originally had more interaction with the terrain than is currently in the Alpha. The issue was simply that of speed. The game roars along so quickly that anything not immediate gets ignored. Modern (and therefore SF) combat is fast. At least the busy bits in-between the waiting are fast. Mouseholing through walls would be too slow. It took several iterations of the item/equipment rules to make them slick enough for anyone to bother picking it up. I am uncertain about how the doors fit and so I can’t say whether they are openable or not. Opening and closing them could easily be added back in though, and I wil be doing this if the scenery works that way.

Currently the interaction is in providing cover, blocking LOS, providing vantage points for marksmen and inconvenient sites for objectives, etc. all in all not a bad set of things to do as a start
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Jonah Rees
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Another update:

Q: Are the bases attached to the figures and are the figures assembled?

A: Not 100% sure on this. I would assume that the models would have the in-built mini-base like all other Mantic models and then be attached to a larger gaming base – again like their other models.

One of the lower pledge levels is pre-assembled for board gamers who like that. The rest leave assembly up to you. I don’t think they’ll be in lots if pieces though.


Q: If teams gain experience and skills I would very much see some sort of “inducement” system. Not levelling things up too much but making games uncertain and fun for the underdog as well. I think most Necromunda campaigns fall apart because the band that gains a lot of experience very fast makes the game no fun. Of course the overdog should still have an advantage. The underdog could have temporary reinforcements from the command, or be joined for the mission by an exceptional individual, or get some dirty tricks to even the odds a little

A: Handicap systems are notoriously hard to balance, at least partly because everyone disagrees on where that balance should lie

That said, they are an integral part of making campaigns playable and fun, so I’m obviously going to be aiming for one


Q: Why D8′s? Specifically I mean- I know the arguments for and against D6′s, but why have you gone with D8′s over D10′s D12′s etc?

A: 10 was too many sides and 6 was not enough. Sounds trite, but that’s pretty much what it came down to.


Q: How many models per side did you design the game for in a ‘standard’ point size/scenario? Is the 6 model starter box (now up to 10 models in the KS) enough, or would you see most people getting 2x or 3x that to get the full experience?

A: There is a points system, so how many models depends on what you take. It also varies a lot between factions, or at least it can do. For example, if you take the Enforcer captain in the big armour (TM), a missile launcher, a burst laser, a sergeant and an assault trooper you have chosen costly specialists. Against this small army you could range three times as many opponents if you only took the cheapest troops.

As an average though? We’ve been playing the test scenario with half a dozen a side to get the feel for things. I think probably 8-12 models Per side as an average, though as I said this is quite variable.

The 6 model starter sets give you a core to build on. As there are so many ways you could take the force, giving people the core of commonly used models and letting them pick their own specialists means that people can personalise their armies more easily and just get the bits they want.


Q: >one mission per faction

So some missions may be unique to a faction?

The Survivor made me think about mini-missions, what if he got his sample on the battlefield?

What if a First Gen can force him to succumb? Would that give him different abilities?

Third Gen recruitment could be limited by host bodies left on the last battlefield / models Second Gens killed in melee. Likewise, wouldn’t your First Gen have to infect someone in Melee to recruit a Second Gen?

It might make the game more a sequence of visceral action scenes rather than a fight and then back to the hideout to have a relax.

A: Most missions will be faction specific. Of course there will be crossover with parts of those missions: killing enemy models will often get you VPs, for example. However, most missions will be a different mix of tasks.

I don’t think that rigidly tying recruitment to battlefield kills would work in a game. Two reasons:

1) it only affects (restricts) one faction which seems unbalanced.
2) if you did badly you would be punished for it, kicking you into a negative spiral. Again, this would be unbalancing.

I do like the idea of bringing battlefield results into a campaign system, I just think that you need to be very careful how you go about it.


follow up Q: >I don’t think that rigidly tying recruitment to battlefield kills would work in a game. Fair enough.

>killing enemy models will often get you VPs, for example. However, most missions will be

>a different mix of tasks.
Awesome. That will add a lot to replayability. You’ve done this before, haven’t you? The multiple mini-missions in Malifaux have kept our Wednesday night crew fresh and still going for…2 years now? Are they likely to be randomly generated from their Faction, chosen or a mix?

A: Currently missions are a random draw from a faction deck with the option to discard and redraw if you really don’t like the first one. That’ll probably be refined, but something like that.


Q: Does the game allow use of any kind of terrain (that fits to the squares) or is it playable only with 3″*3″ “bulkheads” and 1,5″*3″ “obstacles”?

A: You could use anything you liked. As long as you can define what is in each square and which squares count as cover you’re fine. The ones we’re making for it are just particularly convenient.

In normal games you never need a tape measure. To reiterate: if you wanted to house rule things you could indeed play without a grid. However, I think this would be worse in several ways (slower, more open to disagreement) and better in none. The only vaguely credible argument I can imagine that some folk might see in its favour is that the board might look a bit artificial. That is nullified by the grid being the edges of the concrete slabs which make up the floor – so the grid is designed into the art. Like I said – can’t see any benefit to losing it, and keeping it gains speed of play and clarity and ease of rules.


Q: Could you please keep an update of how many tiles / floors the terrain sprues cover as the stretch goals are met? I also hope to see rules for my Ork Maruaders and Dwarven Forgefathers! Thanks!

A: I think that there’s a pledge manager linked on the site. Currently the exact contents of each terrain sprue have not been entirely finalised, but the rule of thumb is that you get 6 3×3 tiles (or equivalent) on each sprue. Some will be one design, others a different one, some with windows or doors and others battle damaged. You get the idea. I’m sure that Mantic will put up pictures as soon as they’ve nailed things down. They just want to ensure they get the best mix on the tools that get funded.

Marauders are one of the first 4 factions. FF will have to come after that if the KS goes well enough. Spread the word


Q: Will “faction deck” be one big deck that contains more cards than player has models (like with warmachine/hordes), or does it contain a card per model (so currently a starter would come with 10 cards)?

A: A faction deck will have all the stat cards for that faction, regardless of whether the models are included. So yes, more than the models.However, stat cards are reference, not one per model, so if a starter has 3 of the same type of model then it only needs one stat card anyway. If you see what I mean.


Q: If kickstarter goes well enough, will there be any kind of vehicle units? (walkers/motorbikes/autogyros/etc.)

A: Vehicles? ON a single board a vehicle wouldn’t have any room to go anywhere. The boards are scaled for really cramped and desperate close fighting. Perhaps if you stuck several together you could have one. We’ll see where Kickstarter takes us. I quite like the lander in the video, but we’ll have to see.


Q: Kind of a fluff question this one. Does the game focus on a specific ‘Dead Zone’ like Mordheim and Necromunda are set in one city, or can it be one of many Dead Zones? I’m assuming that each campaign would have to take place on a single Dead Zone as the Plague, presumably, don’t move from world to world.

Related to that, do the other teams set up a base in the Dead Zone and live planet-side for the duration of a campaign or do they have orbiting ships? Is their scope for capturing and holding territory within a Dead Zone that other players could attempt to seize?

A: Deadzone campaigns are more likely to be about resources and information than land (other than temporary positional advantages – mainly to exploit the resources and info). Units might be based on or off planet: it would depend on the faction and the specific circumstances, especially the number of Enforcer interdicts present in orbit.

I’m working up a background for a specific campaign now, and this is set on one specific world as you’d expect. The Plague can actually get off world, and this is one of the things that the Enforcers are particularly keen to avoid. The stage 3s retain enough of their human memories to be operate weapons and some equipment, including the occasional spaceship. Naturally they’d take their friends along for the ride…


Q: What sort of restrictions do the factions have in terms of choosing your squads composition?

A: At present I don’t really know, but I’ll try to remember to come back to it as it is important. If I seem to have forgotten do remind me as it’s worth exploring for the reasons you mention before the KS ends. We’re really focussing on how the game plays at present, rather than trying to break the armies. That will come next. I’d rather have as open a selection process as possible. It just depends on how easy the game is to break with mini-maxing. I do have a plan though


Q: You keep mentioning that the games will be fast, but how fast? How long would you see a typical game lasting?

A: About an hour, perhaps 10 minutes more.




If anybody sees anything else interesting they want added in here then just let me know.
 
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