Nordic Weasel Games

The blog home of Nordic Weasel Games

More insight into the process

One of the things that is changing this year is to give you guys a bit more of insights into what I am working on at any given time, particularly when it comes to experiments and ideas.

For now, this will probably be mainly on Patreon but the plan is that each month you'll get to see a "snapshot" of what a project looks like at the moment. These snapshots may be playable or not, it just depends.

The value to you is that you get to have a sneak peek into upcoming things, but you can also help out by letting me know if you find a particular snapshot exciting. If it is playable (or reasonably so) you can of course also test things out and get feedback in at the early stages.

If you are newer here, bear in mind that not every project is a solo game and not every solo game is a warband game :) 

With that folks at any Patreon tier can have a look today and see a snap shot of a tentatively titled "gothic horror" game. 

Leipzig 007 and 008

I realised I forgot to post on the blog about update 007 so today is a two for one, unless you already checked your Wargame Vault account.

These last two updates bring in Follow On missions (a mission you complete successfully has a chance of spawning a follow on mission, which uses a different objective table) and Patrol missions (missions where the enemy is deployed using "blip" markers that can move erratically and spawn additional enemies. Since some objectives require fighting the enemy and some do not, this should create some interesting moments in trying to figure out the best path forward.

The blip spawn rates on the resolution tables may require tweaking to dial in the difficulty. 


If you are confused about what "Leipzig" is, other than a fun vacation destination, it is a take on the "Five Parsecs" type of engine but for historical games set in the black powder era available here https://www.wargamevault.com/product/308041/Five-Kilometers-From-Leipzig-beta-version 

At present the rulebook is 25 pages so its still early days but new features are being added pretty regularly now. This is a great opportunity to experience the early days of a ruleset and help shape the way forward as things that are bare bones now (like character advancement) will get fleshed out more in the future. 

One of the things I have missed doing is this level of "living system" development where things can get updated and feedback can come in, in a lively manner, so I am enjoying doing this. 

V3 Renegade Scout. Aka the future

So I have wanted to do an update to Renegade Scout for a while, but the question of what to do has been bothering me for a long time.

"Unified Space" based skirmish gaming is getting a little crowded and the original goal of providing essentially an alternate rule set for old school 40K has been achieved. 

I think there is still room in the indie gaming space for a stat-heavy scifi wargame with an emphasis on points driven games, but which is more open ended than the big commercial offerings. 

The plan I have in mind for a third edition of Renegade Scout is essentially this:

A: Make a few rationalisations of the game rules to slim things down just a tiny bit. It'll still be a pretty detailed game, but try to shift some of that detail towards having more tactical options and less stat fiddling. This may break compatibility with 40K or it may not. 

There's also some obvious clunk that could use tidying up like hand to hand combat. 

B: Move the focus away from the Unified Space setting and instead towards more of a "build your own" scifi approach with more open-ended and generic troops. Im thinking maybe a trait system to allow building your own alien troops, as well as the possibility of working with figure manufacturers to provide stats for specific figures they own.

C: The original game won't disappear. It'll continue existing as a legacy game for the original purpose: Act as an alternative / hypothetical evolution of the original Rogue Trader. This means the folks who do use the rules with their old 40K armies are still able to do so. 

D: Continue work on making the game easier to use, both in unit building but also in having more ready to go scenarios you can plug your armies into. 

What do you think about this plan? Excited? Outraged? Strangely hankering for a burrito? Let me know.

Ask Me Anything discord results

I solicited the Discord for questions for an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) and this is the result, both quite serious and very very not so :)

I have abbreviated a couple of questions slightly and the names of the guilty and innocent alike have been deleted.

Questions in bold and answers in italics. 

Would you be willing to do miniature-less RPG versions of your games?

I have dabbled in RPGs before (Blade and lockpick for example) but I assume this means “Leagues/Parsecs RPG”. I have some notes for a Parsecs based RPG though I am not sure how combat is gonna work there and it is up to Modiphius if they want to pursue that route (and if they do, it will likely be a 2D20 game). I also have some plans for a beginner friendly RPG this year which will be sort of a new direction (but influenced by things I like such as BRP). 

How many times have you wanted to beat people with a stick for bad jokes?

With a stick specifically? Zero. My weapon of choice is the frozen burrito.

How much Wood could Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck could Chuck Norris?

Assuming a perfectly spherical Chuck Norris moving at constant velocity after being chucked, I should say 190 pounds. 

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of The Lord of the Rings movies *and* books?

Books: The journey through Moria feels incredibly oppressive and while Moria is fantastic in the film, I am going to pick the book version as feeling much more alien and difficult so that is my favourite. My least favourite part is probably gonna be ole Bombadil. The story just grinds to a halt here and it’s hard for me to not agree with Jackson on this one. I know the super fans will get mad at that one, but either he goes or the songs go.

Films: Film-Moria is also fantastic but I think the breaking of the fellowship is peak film Lord of the Rings. The drama of Aragorn and Boromir, the hobbits realising that Frodo is leaving them, the brutality of the Uruk Hai and the running battle. It’s all fantastic stuff. Aragorn and Boromir reconciling at his death is a tear-jerker. 

For a downer in the films, I’d have cut about half the dwarf jokes. I don’t really dislike any of the changes in the films to the story, though there’s probably some I’d have done differently. 

if you could collaborate with any other game designer, who would it be and why?

I don’t know if he designs any more but Arty Conliffe, the creator of Crossfire which still blows my mind to this day. Otherwise Rick Priestley or Andy Chambers because I idolised both as a teenager. 

I sort of kind of worked within the vicinity of Chambers since I wrote the solo mechanics for the Mutant miniatures game, which he designed. But I never actually talked to him or interacted in any way. 

Why is Denmark, how is viking, what is Nordic Weasel rules for Denmark?

Denmark is because after the ice age a bunch of people moved up there. Viking is pretty good but a little difficult these days. Best Nordic Weasel rules for Denmark is of course KPS. 

Which rule set was the most puzzling to produce?

I usually start from a mechanical idea in my head, so I tend to be lucky that it becomes obvious pretty quickly if the mechanical basis is gonna fit together or not. 

The original Five Men in Normandy with the 1’s and 6’s mechanic because part of the design conceit is that most die rolls cannot be modified, so I had to bend in a few pretzel shapes to make everything work right. 

I really like how cover works in that game (though players always stumble on it, because its ironically very intuitive to a non gamer, but not to an old hand at miniatures) but it came about due to not being able to just say “-1 to hit”.

If you could go back to your early days of writing rules what advice would you give yourself?

Never get into arguments with people online. You will never gain anything from any of that time and you will feel like garbage afterwards. 

When are you coming to Ferret Con? The UK one, not the US... Oh wait  *cheeky giggle*

At some point I hope to do a big European tour (when Im rich and famous) so you guys better get some curry ready. 

Where have you heard Nordic Weasel Games in the world that surprised or pleased you?

I used to keep track of where people were from. Obviously North and Western Europe and North America are heavily represented, but I’ve had people pop up in Japan, Egypt, Brazil and Vietnam, so I think we are officially on every continent. 

You occasionally hear of RPG scenes around the world, but miniatures gamers are much more niche.

Which Nordic Weasel rule set deals with Turnips best?

Squad Hammer is probably the best bet for all vegetable warfare needs. After all, it is up to you how many space orcs one turnip is equal to.

Which setting or genre would you like to produce a rule set for but it's probably not viable or you suspect there's just not the market?

What do you find engaging about that genre, historical period, mechanic?

Why don't you think it'd be viable?

World War 1 anything. Now I think there IS a market but its quite small. The Great War is my big passion in life, I have found it fascinating since I was a kid but it is heavily steeped in mythology and a very dismissive attitude as being “unplayable” that I find both aggravating and completely unfair. 

People are VERY hesitant to shake off their preconceived notions about history from when they were in 6th grade and that is hard to fight against.

Jaffa Cakes, a deep deep deep love of Hambut but they taste like horribness mixed with putrefaction. He is unhinged and clearly has faulty taste buds, which Nordic Weasel rule set would be best to punish his heresy with?

I would not dare to intervene in British baked goods disputes. Rogue Hammer has you covered for assassins-and-space-knight action however and you can presumably use the “not tyranid” list to cover the cakes. 

What is your favorite laser turret and why?

It would be something out of Phineas and Ferb. It probably does something horrible like make you appreciate the discography of Journey.

What has been your biggest challenge to writing rules?

The Suck. Every creative project has something the creator hates to do. For a lot of video folks it seems to be editing. For me, its the “everyone knows” parts of the rules, things like terrain or exact turn sequence stuff. All the busy work basically. The Suck is where your project will go to die, because you will realise the next 3 days at the keyboard is just churning out stuff that is needed but which you do not enjoy creating. 

This is actually kind of tying into a bigger thing to write anything, I think: We want to believe that writing is all inspiration and flower dust, and sometimes it is that and the words flow and the muse sings sweetly in your ear. Other times its sitting at the computer, putting on some death metal and grinding out 3000 words because BEEP it, its getting done today. 

When writing rules, how do you approach, and actually achieve, balance?  

“Balance” is something that has to be understood in context. In a solo game it means the game has a challenge but also doesn’t punish the player too hard. In a competitive game it usually means that the options available are all viable to use, at least to an extent. 

For Five Parsecs I think most people agree it could probably be about 10% more difficult than the book was at launch. I was definitely over-cautious. So in that case, you can go back in a future version and make SMALL tweaks. Reduce a reward a tiny bit here. Change a couple events to give 1 less credit, look at the enemies and update some of them. This one we increase the number encountered by one, that one we change from Toughness 3 to 4 and so on. 

Its a cumulative effect throughout the game. 

And what is the easiest die to build a system around (as in d6, d10, d20, etc.)

To the frustration of some, I use D6s unless I feel strongly otherwise. I have nothing against any other die type, but each “point” on a D6 is about a 16% chance, which is usually the smallest interval I care to create a rule for. 

If you want to have a larger list of modifiers, you generally want to increase the die type to a D10 or a D20, in order to accommodate them better.

What area of gaming have you felt too controversial to cover, and if you did, how might you do it sensitively as a way to explore a difficult topic?

I am going to take this as “areas that I am interested in” because I find, f.x. the sacking of ancient cities after a siege to be controversial if done as a fun and giggles game, but I also don’t usually play ancients era games.

I think I would say partisan warfare in WW2. The issue is that you can play out the actual fighting pretty easily and its easy to figure out how to make asymmetric forces fun on the table. But it is hard to escape the fact that afterwards the Germans are going to roll into a Belarusian village and shoot 50 civilians in response. 

I suspect this is why most “commando” type games are pretty firmly based in Hollywood and not trying to be realistic, including when we did Where Sten Guns Dare. 

One answer is to be pretty blunt about what the game really represents: Sit the player down in the history section of the game book and explain what this all means and what was at stake for the men and women who fought in these actions. Maybe it ends up being too grim to play, I don’t know. One of the scenarios in the East Front box for Advanced Squad Leader is the Warsaw uprising and knowing what happened to everyone involved, I just couldn’t play that scenario. Others will not have this problem and that’s fair. 

How do *you* pronounce “wyvern?”

I’ve always said “Why Vern” but I have absolutely no idea if it is correct or not. I might recommend the danish Lindorm instead. 

What mechanic(s) have you seen in games that really made you think, "that's genius!”?

Gonna call out Crossfire here. There may have been others who thought of it beforehand, but Crossfire basically eliminated range. A movement action continues in a straight line until you reach terrain or is hit by fire and weapons can fire across line of sight. Combined with a non linear turn sequence (you can continue taking actions until you fail one) it really makes the game one of the most dramatic and exciting I’ve played.

Some of its ideas have been adapted by other designers later on. 

Would you prefer to see a big game if yours being run or many linked games?

Why? What would you like to see from it and what would you hope players would get from it?

Depending on your answer which rule set and setting?

I think linked games are actually easier to pull off, but those big convention mega-games are always a lot of fun, so I am going to say a game of Starport Scum (f.x.) where you had 6+ players all with different objectives and causing complete chaos around the table as everyone is busy shooting at each other or trying to negotiate (or backstab) each other. 

I would hope that the players would walk away with a new understanding of what miniatures gaming can be and why it does not have to be limited to strictly “my army versus your army rolls dice until one of us is dead”.

Do you play any of your own games, when not designing or play testing?

What and can you give us a two sentence story of something cool that has happened in one of the games?

Most weeks play testing things takes up my available hobby game time. Luckily, I enjoy that process a lot but it can be difficult to “disconnect” to just play and not think about whether I really ought to have done x instead of y.

The most memorable was a game of Five Men in Normandy where one particular US sergeant just would not die or run away. We started joking that he was obviously a Hollywood type hero with a cigar and my opponent started playing super aggressive with him, running him forward to get into hand to hand combat. And the Germans still couldn’t hit him worth a damn. It was one of those moments where the dice conspire to just perfectly tell a story. 

If I had a model of a sentient pair of pears armed with sword and shields in 28mm, photo on request, and I asked you to write a 2 line ideas of game for them:

What would the game be called?

What would be the key mechanisms or parts of play you'd hope to use/the player to have most fun with?

How many fruit puns would you hope to get in the rules?

“A few good pears”, a riveting game of grocery store supremacy. The game is a warband game where squads of fruit fight for control of the store before it reopens Monday morning and the defeated are all eaten. 

It’d probably include some random tables for weird stuff that happens in a grocery store, like a rude customer picking up your warband captain and putting him with the cucumbers. 

Probably a fruit pun every 5 pages.

Have you ever done a Nordic Weasel 1 page game jam?

If not, then why, what theme would you choose and which rule set would you use as a basis?

If you have then same questions.

I have done a game jam but not a 1 pager. I don’t tend to find the idea of something interesting in itself, I need to see the execution, at least partially, and a single page tends to be too little for that. 

If I was going to do one, I would create something from scratch. For a theme, lets say plastic army men battles.

What are the top 3 challenges of being an indie games developer and how do you try to overcome them?

The biggest challenge easily is being noticed. There’s a wealth of games and if you are starting out, all of them have more players than you do (even the ones that are realistically played by 3 people worldwide). Simply getting people to give you the time of day is always going to be your biggest obstacle, especially if you are not producing a glossy rulebook.

I am going to borrow from Cal Newport (who borrowed from Steve Martin) and say “be so good they can’t ignore you”. Create things that are interesting and which will catch somebody’s eyes, even if its just a single person on a single forum. Then continue doing so and continue getting better at doing so. 

The second challenge is not having clarity. Are you making one game? Are you hoping to be the next Games Workshop? Are you looking to make money? The answer is not always what we think it is. If your dream is to make a living but your practice is to work on one game for an hour every Sunday, you don’t have that clarity. Are you spending a lot of time marketing a game that doesn’t yet exist? Are you buying expensive software but you are actually just intending to play this game with your friends? 

It is really easy to find you wasted time, money or energy and got nowhere closer to what you want, because you didn’t know (or weren’t honest) about what you wanted.

The last is to be mercenary. If your goal is to make games that people play then there needs to be games that people can play. I had a conversation once where I explained that at the time, I had about a 3 month sequence for a new game from conception to some sort of public release. They scoffed and said their rules had been playtesting for 7 years. The rules were not for sale and I suspect still are not available another 5 years later.

If you want people to play your games, you need to get them out there. I’m not saying you have to cut corners but you have to be pretty clear-eyed about what you can do, what you can do later and what won’t matter. 

This comes up a lot when it comes to working with other people. My games have always looked a little guerrilla, because I do the layout myself and it’s the best I could do at that particular time. “Your games would sell better if they looked nicer”. Yes, I bet they would. But an artist costs money and what happens if they flake out a quarter of the way through the project. A professional editor costs money and what happens if they go radio silent when the game is 80% done? A cool, flashy page layout is awesome but what happens if I don’t understand how to fix an error myself later? This is not to dismiss that those things are all good, but that the cost is not zero and you have to do some thinking about the solutions.

Equally the top 3 benefits and how do you get the best out of them?

I am going to take this as the greatest benefits of being independent, versus just being a game developer. 

The obvious one is that you are in charge of your own destiny. Nobody can tell you know because it won’t sell (it just won’t sell but sometimes that’s okay). I read a book that said the key to being satisfied has less to do with having the dream job, and more to do with having a job you are good at and have some autonomy within. 

A second benefit is that you can be more agile than the big guys. If a player finds a glaring error in a book you can go in and fix it and upload the corrected version to Wargame Vault in an hour. Compare that to games you bought 10 years ago and they were never fixed even though it was a PDF only release. Take advantage of that.

Lastly of course being the scrappy underdog means you get to be cool and punk rock and definitely not a fat 44 year old family man. 

Have you ever thought of doing a rule set not about violence directly but something like fire rescue, search and rescue, the challenges of getting humanitarian aid to a warzone or a natural disaster?

Something where violence is never done by the PCs but may be done to or around them, though not necessarily?

I’ve kicked around ideas within combat oriented games but always end up not going through with it due to worries that it ends up being boring, but logically theres no reason it ought to, right?

One idea I have is a sort of fantasy village simulation where you have events happen to (and involving) particular characters which you can then influence. Maybe more a dice game than a real “quest” but something that could be a lot of fun. 

I think rescue missions are actually a great option: Fire fighters seems like a really good case for miniatures even. Hm.

If you got an fax say you'd be chosen to make the miniatures game for an intellectual property, what would that property be and why is it Paw Patrol?

What would be some of the cool things you'd hope to play with when writing the rule set for whichever property it was?

Based on children's television watched by hour in my household it would surely be Octonauts. 

I think an underwater exploration game would be a lot of fun actually with characters getting themselves into trouble and you then have to send someone else to help them out. Plus you would get to make your own sea creature characters.

Also as you complete each mission, one of the “normal” sea animals will be your friend and help you out in a future mission. 

What might a Nordic Weasel game about time travel look like, how would you make it work mechanically?

I actually have like 4 lines of text for that. It’d be based on a squad of scifi characters going to different time periods to prevent evil something or other from doing something or other. You would have some sort of stealth mechanic where you can only use your scifi weapons when none of the locals are in line of sight. 

What is best in life?

A well stocked Chinese buffet

Is Bill Correct?

That’s how I live my life. I see what Bill says and then do that. 100% success rate and I highly recommend The Bill Way. 

Who is your Anti-Blaster dream team?

I feel like this is a reference to something I don’t know what is. Blasters from star wars? I take a Hotchkiss machine gun and a few French Poilu and those storm troopers can eat lead!

in five parsecs what color schemes do you envision the major factions like unity and species wearing or using if any?

The Unity military scheme is black and grey with red elements. Typically people do red armour plating over grey and black uniforms and kit. 

For Precursors, bold colours or pastels (they are space hippies after all) and K’Erin probably go for earth colours and reds to show how tough they are. 

Soulless would wear whatever looks the most intimidating (so near-black metal robots basically) to the meat-sacks.

What's your "white whale" of games you want to create - the idea you have that you just haven't been able to get to work yet.

A big RPG inspired by Drakar och Demoner, a Swedish fantasy game from my youth. Dreams of Dragons was a take on that, but was too fiddly and while I was thinking about what to do with it, Dragonbane came out and basically scuppered that plan. 

What's your "white whale" of miniatures? The mini that's been eluding you for years

There’s a few out there but nice big ranges of figures for the Danish-German Slesvig wars of 1848 and 1864. Pendraken has one in 10mm but it’d be nice if there were more options out there and in some scales it just is not represented at all. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out writing game rules.

Work on it every day if you can. Even if you only wrote 100 words every day, by the end of the year you will have a 30k word book. 

Other than that, it depends on whether you are trying to make the dream game, having fun tinkering or wanting to be a business. The most open ended advice is “when you find playtesters that are not crazy and will actually read your game, lock them in your basement and never let them out, because that is hard to find”. 

Who is your favorite member of this discord and why is it Hambut?

It is Hambut because sometimes I wonder if my jokes are the worst, so it is helpful to have a baseline to measure myself against. 

When did you move to the new world? And forgive this deeply annoying question, but would you ever go back?

I met a lady and since it was easier for me to move (due to speaking the language) that is what happened. If I am being honest, I was also ready for a change of scenery and the idea of living in a foreign country seemed like a great opportunity.

Moving back has been discussed but it has not been viable though perhaps with an eye towards retirement in a couple decades.

What is your favorite GW faction to play? What's your favorite to paint? (Can be fantasy or scifi)

In 40K I played chaos, space wolves and imperial guard at various points. The Guard is still my favourite of those. I did enjoy painting space wolves. 

In Warhammer fantasy based games, I go for skaven if I can (usually Blood Bowl and my brief time with Mordheim)

Any plans to do an 'engine' style system (say like Savage Worlds/Cypher Engine) as a template for folks to create their own settings? 

Squad Hammer is basically that. I am (SLOWLY) working on getting it to where I want it to be, so it can be made available under the ORC license and allow people to build their own creatures and campaigns. 

With Battletech, there is the option of bolting on the Mechwarrior Destiny TTRPG to the tactical mini's game. Any plans for having modular TTRPG's to use in isolation/with your products or are you more keen on keeping it to minis/wargaming RPG's more strictly? 

I am definitely very interested in that (and as mentioned in another question, I have been tinkering with a Parsecs RPG), but I don’t think the right solution has presented itself just yet. The usual problem is that you have to learn two different games and then try to bolt them together. I think the ideal answer is gonna be something designed from the ground up to be both styles and well integrated. 

Expanding on the above - who would you pick to do a 'cross platform' collab for a TTRPG product to be able to fit with NWG, and why? (If indeed you were to that is)

So a miniatures connection to an RPG? I did send Chaosium a pitch for a Glorantha miniatures game once but they never replied to me. But probably that or something for the new Dragonbane/Drakar och Demoner. 

Essentially games that I am already interested in and feel passionate about in some way. I would have said Harnmaster but they already have a set out there (Battlelust) so probably not interested there.

Are you good at playing games? E.g. what would your ranking be in miniature wargame tournament of 23 people?

I am absolutely dreadful. Its a long running joke that I usually lose my first game against a person. I tend to be bad at sticking to plans and I usually get over enthusiastic about pulling off some dumb move that statistically won’t work. I did used to play 40K tournaments (2e/3e era) and would generally place in the middle of 40ish contestants. You got scored for results, painting and “gamesmanship” and I could usually break even on wins and losses and make up points by being nice. 

How do you feel about your indie competition?

Really fucking talented usually. I think the general level of quality is quite high now and a lot of the games we see being written are really inspiring. 

I think for a long time miniatures gamers tended to sort of reinvent the wheel a lot, but we are finally starting to have some institutional knowledge (though it is still far behind the RPG folks, minis gamers don’t really have theory at all) so we can build upon past experiences and create cool things. 

Which joke on NWG discord server has made you consider to ban someone?

No jokes that I can think of, though if something got cruel I would step in. We so far have never had an instance where I had to ask someone to leave, though I do talk to people privately when things get a bit heated. Usually people understand what I am trying to achieve on the server. 

(I know this was probably a tongue in cheek question so forgive me)

Any idea of how to include diversity in games, without making it feel forced?

I am not sure if this means “attract a more diverse audience” (as in women make up half a percent of historical miniatures gamers, how do we increase that?) or “make a game more diverse in itself” (as in being a more varied representation of humans?). 

If it is the former, I think the main thing is to be a normal person. I don’t think there is anything inherent in miniatures gaming that makes it any less appealing to f.x. women than RPGs (which women already play) or board games (which women already play) so I don’t think we need to fundamentally alter things other than the general things to make the hobby more welcoming to newcomers (which we should be doing regardless). But we do have to be normal people. A good start is to stop saying “female painter” unless it is actually relevant to the discussion (which it basically never is, nobody ever calls me a “male painter”). 

To the second question, I think it depends on your topic. For historical gaming, I think once we step away from the usual suspects (101st airborne etc.) there are all kinds of interesting stories to be told. I recently read a book about the Indian army in France in 1914 and 1915 and it was incredibly inspiring. I think people get hung up on what they are “supposed” to be interested in, and once you get over that, there’s a grand world to explore.

For science fiction and fantasy, I think just do what you want to do. What makes something feel forced is if it is not genuine on your part. Put what you want to have in your story and the true audience will be on board. 

My policy when writing is that when speaking in the abstract, I always use terms like “the player will roll” instead of saying “he will roll”, “soldier” instead of “men” (though that may change in some historical contexts) and so forth. In a game example I sometimes invent names but in those cases they are usually people I know personally. 

Was the collaboration with Modiphius a big jump in popularity for NWG? Was is a success from the economic pov?

To part 1: Yes, absolutely. A lot of players won’t take a chance on a PDF game or simply do not know whats out there, so having a big glossy book helped me reach a lot of people who loved the games when they checked them out. Many of those go on to be interested in more stuff. 

To part 2: It has yes. I probably can’t talk about specifics but it’s been a plus overall and has helped make my position a bit more stable, writing games as a full time job.

What are your thoughts on a game in the style of Five x from y, but with a bigger model count? An "adventure wargame" with a whole army. Would it be too complex to manage or could it be fun?

We have discussed that actually. I think it could be done but you do have to streamline things a little. 

The obvious answer here will be “Five Parsecs Tactics” but the campaign rules there will be fairly different. If you want the exact same model (random events, XP tallies etc.) I think the best bet is to follow the officers and unit leaders and lift things up a step (so instead of character events, maybe you have unit or army events). 

Do you plan on revisiting 6mm games at some point? LaserStorm is one of my favourites in that scale, but you've grown as a designer since its release.

Yes! Not only is my compatriot Jason working hard at updating Laserstorm, but I am working on sorting out a 6mm/10mm grand fantasy battle system. Probably something fairly workhorse and conventional but with tons of creatures and fun things to put on the table. 

Which of your painted minis are you most proud of?

I don’t own them any more, but my Chaos Space Marine army circa late 2nd edition. The army started being built before the codex was released, so it was a lot of scrounging for miniatures including a titan model pressed into service as a dreadnought. The figure I really liked was an old Space Wolf Blood Claw sergeant where I cut off his power fist arm and replaced it with a chaos dreadnought power claw. It looked ridiculous and huge but juuust within scope for the figure so it didn’t look impossible. He was my faithful leader for many a battle. The paint scheme of that army was dark blue and purple with red trim, which did look a bit muddled at a distance 

Has there ever been a game feature from another writer or publisher that you have envied?

The very old Fast And Dirty scifi rules I wrote in the 2000s was very much intended as “my version of Stargrunt 2” trying to hit all the beats Stargrunt (from Ground Zero Games) did but in my own way. So I suppose yes, all of Stargrunt!

is there any game mechanic or content that you wish you could steal from another publishers game and would fit well with 5Parsecs?

This happens a lot. Its actually part of why I have a strict policy that I do not read or play anything in the same genre when I am working on something. If I am working on scifi rules, no scifi games!

For me, its usually less specific mechanics and more ways of looking at the game. For example theres a fan warhammer game called “In the Emperor’s Name” where you have a cool split between investigation missions and more combat oriented missions. You have to play the former to get to the latter basically. That would fit great in Parsecs and it seems so obvious, once you see someone else do it. 

when you play your own games,  such as 5Parsecs, are you in the mindset of one of your characters (such as the captain) or as an omnipotent being making the big decisions? 

Ever since I was a kid, I always played board games (and later minis games) on my own and I’ve always just played both sides to see what happens. A big part of gaming for me is to experience it unfold step by step, so I prefer the neutral arbiter role. 

What is your opinion of the Inq28 art style? 

I think a lot of what gets made is really impressive technically. The level of skill at display in minis painting and figure conversion is really high compared to when I was a teenager. I must admit, purely personally, I am a little worn out on the “Blanche” look. 

When a particular art style becomes the default, it usually means it’s time for something new to bubble up, so we will see what that is. I am sort of hoping it turns out to be cool hard scifi vibes.

Have you read through the necromunda fan supplement Sumphulk?

I have not unfortunately. From a look online it looks quite impressive so kudos to the team for managing to pull this one off. Most group projects online go nowhere so the team must have had a strong vision and great organisation. 

What is your opinion on discord as a platform? Better or worse than a traditional forum? As it is a closed garden, is this a good or bad thing in your opinion?

I think Discord actually fits a different role than the forum does/did. To me Discord is a crap place for actually storing and retrieving knowledge, but it is an excellent place for socialising. To me, its more like the “bar” analogy I think. You check in and see what is going on. That perhaps makes it stronger for creating a community, but I don’t think it can supplant “old school” internet resources in itself for a hobby community. 

As an old Linux hand, I think the battle against the closed gardens was always doomed. The problem is that large scale adoption is basically a question of “where did everyone go?”. Over time that can change, but only slowly. Right now, “everyone” is on Discord for live chat communities, so it doesn’t tend to matter whether an alternative is technically superior. 

What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard of someone using a Story Point for?

Since I know who asked this: Putting tougher enemies into their games ;) 

How old are you? 

44 as of this February.

What was best birthday gift this year?

Europe in Turmoil 1 and 2 from Compass Games. They are two “Twilight Struggle” style games about the pre WW1 and interwar political struggles respectively. With those, I suppose you could play an entire run of the 20th century leading into Twilight Struggle and finally 1989.

If sky was the limit and money would not be an issue - what known franchise/universe/IP you would like to write licenced game for the most?

Mass Effect, no question. I didn’t play the games until after they were all released and playing the trilogy back to back in one long run is one of my favourite video game memories of all time. 

A tactical game with procedurally generated missions and quests in the Mass Effect universe? I would so be on it. 

What game you started working on just to realise it's too "out there" and subsequently drop it?

Im trying to think if one of the dropped projects was really weird, but I don’t think so unfortunately. Usually it gets dropped because the mechanics end up not being that interesting, it feels too much like everything else on the market or I just realise I don’t care that much about the idea.

There was a dice game about fighting monsters in a spooky forest that was definitely a rip off of Demon’s Souls on the PS3 which I dropped for being rather too dull and dreary. 

Do you regret your decision to do this AMA? 🙂

No, it turned out to be a lot of fun and nobody asked about sprouts.

TOP3 coolest weasel related projects from fans?

Honestly for me its always seeing the cool paint jobs people do, especially when someone shows a warband that has figures from like 4 different places. 

Ive talked to a couple of people who will swap out entire components like using Rangers of Shadow Deep combat with Five Leagues which I always find really fascinating. There’s also been some 40K, Star Wars and Star Trek conversions of Parsecs that were a lot of hard work.

I apologise for not name dropping anyone here, I don’t tend to save links a lot. 

What should we expect from the map based campaign in 5P Tactics and how in depth will the campaign be compared to other 5X games?

The campaign is actually three parts that can each work individually or together.

The “persistent game” part is experience and levelling up your troops. That works on a unit basis with special skills you can get. Its a lot less detailed than 5P of course because you could potentially be commanding an entire company of dudes. 

The story portion is basically a big random events table but where some of the results are typical stuff like one side gets reinforcements, there are also results that really shake things up, like another faction entering the war or you changing perspectives. Pick a new army in the story and now you are playing from their side. 

The map portion itself features a map where you mark regions that are being fought over. Each side has a strength in each region and as the war progresses, strengths will wax and wane according to events and combat rolls. The players actions can benefit that in the region you are operating within and can result in winning (or losing, with my dice) a region, opening a new offensive etc. 

The idea is that you can take one, two or all three elements and use them together to get the degree of campaign you want to play. I hope that makes sense? 


Fantasy KPS is coming

The stars have aligned and I am actively working on the fantasy version of Knyghte Pyke and Sworde. This will also double as basically being KPS2.

The full game will be a sprawling beast with lots of fantasy critters, monsters, magical items and so forth. The scale for those not familiar with KPS is groups of 3 or 6 figures so it is very easy to collect for (if you already play Dragon Rampant just halve all your units. Conversely if you start with FKPS you can later double your units and play Rampant).

The way this will work is a "development preorder". 

For 10 USD (paid to my paypal at nordicweaselgames@icloud.com ) you both preorder the game and get access to the play test version. 

As of this time of writing elves and horde orcs have both made their appearance but updates will be coming at 5 day intervals until the book is completed. You will have time to give input, catch errors and help influence the game. 

Once the book is finished, you will get a download code to the full version on Wargame Vault so you will also end up saving 5-10 dollars depending on the final book cost. 

Simple? I hope so. Go forth and paint little orcs and elves. You will need them.


PS:

To avoid confusion or people being upset at buying the wrong thing, I have taken down the old version of the rules. If you must have a copy of the original, email me and we can figure something out. 

Repost: The Weasel rule of miniatures placement and shot decision

That sounds rather ostentatious but this is really more of a "best practice" when playing miniatures games. It appears in some of the books but it is worth discussing here:

The Weasel rule of miniatures placement:

When positioning miniatures on the corner of buildings or at the edge of terrain features, always clarify verbally to the other player if the figure is intended to be AT the corner (and thus able to fire and be fired upon but counting as being in cover) or BEHIND the corner (and thus out of sight unless outflanked).

A simple act like that can save no end of confusion and irritation when you realize a turn later that you did not have the same impression of the state of the game and battlefield.

The Weasel rule of shot decision:

If you are unsure if a figure is visible or out of sight, assume it can be seen.

If you are unsure whether a figure is in cover or in the open, assume it is in cover.

These two stances are intended for use only in cases where it really is quite marginal. Being permissive in both cases tends to move the game along and tend to balance out. 

Five Kilometers from Leipzig 006

Yes, after a very long hiatus, Leipzig gets an update.

This expands the Notable Incidents table to 10 results, adds a Battle Conditions table and polishes up the Brawling rules a little bit. 

Stay tuned for more. 

The rumour mill and other FAQs

It has been a little bit since we have done some Frequently Asked Questions. This time they are not rules ones but general business ones.

First and foremost, if you are a blog follower only you may not have said hi to the newest addition to the household:



Say hi to Lawrence, joining Ludwig and Lancelot. He looks like a bandit because he is a lovable little scoundrel.

Now on to the questions: As usual they are paraphrased from posts on facebook, discord or by email. I pick out questions that come up several times as well as ones that come up once, but I suspect they will come up again. 

Is there a plan for a new edition of Five Klicks?

Not planned at this moment We have discussed it but that is all so far.

Will there be expansions for Bug Hunt?

Not planned at this moment. I have some ideas for down the road though.

Will there be more Parsecs expansions?

I have started work on expansion 4 (I realise the count can be a bit confusing depending on whether you count the upcoming Compendium or Bug Hunt). So maybe it should be "number one higher than the number currently available" :) 

Will there be more Five Leagues expansions / a hardcover expansion book?

Expansion 2 is going through editing, I started writing expansion 3 and the plan is for them all to get a hardcover book down the road. 

Why can't I find all of your games on drivethrurpg?

Okay, so the way the site works is that while Wargame Vault and Drivethrurpg are technically the same store front and share accounts etc., they are basically two different front ends. When you upload a book, you have to choose which sites they are uploaded on. Since most of my games are miniatures games and not RPGs, I did not traditionally upload to drivethru. 

From a user perspective, it doesn't matter which site you purchase the PDF on, it is all linked to the same account in any event.

Will there be other games using the "5X" engine that are not Parsecs/Leagues?

Yes, you will see one soon and Modiphius has a range of plans.

Will there be other solo campaign games that are not 5X?

I am working on one yes. 


Upgrade your design: The Kill List

I suppose this is more of a writing tip but one tool I use a lot is the Kill List.

This is created when you are getting near the end of the project and is basically the list of tasks as well as additions and segments still need to be done. By this stage you should have everything basically ironed out and have a clear idea of what you want to go in the game and what you have decided not to include.

So a Kill List might look something like:

*Write 3 more scenarios. 

*Rules for alchemy.

*Revisit monster summoning rules.

*Check all playtest feedback.

and so forth.


The list can be quite long, I usually add everything to do it that I can think of and if you think of additional tasks ("Oh shit, I need a cover picture") it goes on here. What does NOT however are new features. By the time you write your Kill List you should be narrowed down on the feature set and things can only be dropped from this point on (within reason). 

The list can be in any format. I prefer to keep it on paper since there is a tangible sort of finality in crossing something off the list. 

When you have your Kill List, keep it in sight at all times when you work. Each day pick items from the list (as suits your schedule, I recommend doing at least one) and knock it out. Keep whittling down the list until you are at the end of it. 

History Dad plans

Initial test responses to History Dad has been pretty positive. I have some big plans that I won't jinx just yet (game design superstition, the more you talk about something the bigger the chance the universe will align to make it not happen) but the first expansion will be a campaign book covering Poland 1939. 

The intention is a few pages of potted history, unit details with prefigured points costs, tank stats, then delving into a couple of specific battles and making scenarios around them. 

I want to take this opportunity to talk about "national characteristics" in the game. These are something that tends to come and go in game design. Currently we are in a phase where most big games include them. I am going to buck the trend and NOT include them in the main rulebook for a couple of reasons:

First I think a lot of times special unit rules come around because the rules are abstracted to a fairly high degree. With History Dad while the mechanics will be quite simple, they are also pretty tangible. For example we are not going to shy away from having stats for lots of different weapons in the full game (History Dads love their hardware after all), so there's no need to make a special rule for American infantry with M1 rifles: The game rules will already reflect that.

Many other things can be reflected through the simple troop quality and morale systems. The classic set up of 1941 Soviets vs Germans doesn't require any special rules: If you make your soviets Green, they are unable to move and fire which means the Soviet player will have to commit to actions and will be more stumbling and less flexible than their German counterparts. 

Of course the flip side of this is that you are also not forced into a specific path either. The Soviet frontline strength on the eve of Barbarossa was something like 2.5 million soldiers. Were every single one of these "Green"? No, of course not. Some had veteran NCOs and officers, some had seen action in Finland, some just had it together more. They may not be the majority based on most historians assessments, but then a tabletop army is 40 guys out of 2.5 million. They don't have to be slavishly linked to the majority assessment. 

So as a player you can absolutely field a Veteran platoon of Soviet infantry in 1941 if that's what you want to do or what your scenario requires. 

However I also recognise that it can be fun to have a bit more flair and the scenario books will do just that. What we will do here is to delve into a much smaller scale, so the troops in a particular scenario might have a special rule that makes them more shaky or determined or sharp shooting or whatever the situation requires them to be.

We will also include some suggestions for how you can modify the core rules for a specific theatre of operations.