Our new Ezekiel 10:14 expansion for Angels - Michael's War is now out!
Add these cards to your existing Angels deck, or swap out a set inside your deck with this one for a new twist on game play.
This expansion adds the new ability, Ezekiel 10:14, that boosts the power of your Angels when a Major Victory is in the Center Row. Now you can wield the many faces of the Angel described by Ezekiel all those years ago.
NOTE: You need Angels - Michael's War (a non-collectible card game) to fully appreciate this expansion.
We are making a new version of our role-playing game, -U- the Game of Stories. In the original version we used a slot-machine like d6 system. This time? Well, it's been a journey.
What to Roll...
The core mechanic of the game is Descriptors. Every character has 7 set Descriptors, called Attributes, and any number of other Descriptors to flesh them out. Next to each Descriptor is a number. That number determines how many dice a player will roll for that character. But what dice are we rolling, and why?
To get what dice to roll, we went through several iterations of this. First we started with D6's mimicking some of the more Fate/FUDGE mechanics with 1s and 2s counting as 1s and 2s, while 6s were counted as -1s. Good, but fiddly. Next, we decided to use ten-sided dice with 3 or so numbers counting as successes. Good, but kind of hard to remember.
Then, Aaron (the A of A'n'SR) ended up having a 20-sided die around for some random reason, and started rolling it for fun. Rolling the die, he decided we should use it. After doing some dice calculations using http://anydice.com/program/576a, we came up with the resolution mechanic for the new game. Roll a d20s equal to the points of all applicable Descriptors. Each 5, 10, 15, or 20 counts as a success. If you roll at least 1 success, your character succeeds. This method has worked great, but we are now playing with rolling six-sided dice with 1s being a success and 6s being rerolls. We'll be playtesting that in April and May, and see which one is more fun.
The Ironic Part
The irony of our search for the perfect dice mechanic however is this: we had a similar option in our book -U- Options: Character Checks all along. Yes... we laughed too. Shows us for not looking at what we had before trying to find something new again.
Next time, we talk about blaming the Game Crafter for 10,000 words.
We are making a new edition of -U- the Game of Stories RPG. So what is the biggest difference between the new version and the original? Descriptors.
I Blame Fate
One of the games that we really enjoyed playing early in 2014 was Fate 3.0 by Evil Hat. It is a truly marvelous game, that we enjoyed greatly.
When we kept playing it in a longer campaign, however, we found that we started doing things that we liked in the game less and less. We started using Fate tokens less and less, and writing down aspects became an odd habit. The thing that we really noticed in Fate, after some time, was that we thought somethings should not have to be rolled for.
For instance, when someone turns into a dragon and gains the Dragon the Size of a House aspect, why should that require a token to invoke? We were probably playing something wrong, but this is what happened.
So, we decided to change how we were playing. And when we did that, we realized the beginning of our game, and the core part of it: Descriptors
At their core, Descriptors are really just a brief description of a part of a character, and a number next to it to rank how strong that Descriptor is for that character. This idea led us down the path of determining what Descriptors everyone had, which led us to creating set Attributes for each character.
With Attributes and other Descriptors we now had a good feel for how the characters would be made. But what did the numbers mean? This took us a bit to figure out. Finally, though we decded it would be the number of dice a player got to roll. What dice to use, though?
Next time we talk about our quest for the perfect dice roll mechanic.
In 2015, we are making a new edition of -U- The Game of Stories roleplaying game. Where to start? How about the goal and feel of the game.
The Feel of the Game
The first goal for our RPG is how it feels to play. Is it an exercise in math and charts? Does it feel like you are just randomly rolling dice? Does it feel like a board game with a little story? Does it immerse you in the story? All of these are good and legitimate things to be, so what is the feel we want?
In a nutshell, we want our RPG to feel like something you could tell a TV show or fast-paced movie story with. A quick-moving, character driven story-telling game. That is the goal for the feel.
How That Affects The Design
So, how does that affect the design? Well, for one, it means that the layout of the book must be easy to get through. In fact, chunking it into bite-size mini-books would be a good idea. It also means the actual page layout should be clutter free. If the game is supposed to encourage stories to breathe, then the actual pages should evoke that. White space will be our friend on the pages, and in the section headers.
The feel also impacts the art style for the book. Honestly, this is a tough one. We could either go with artwork bleeding into the text in a lighter grey scale to indicate that it is all a mesh of idea and words, or we could make sure that the art is sectioned off keep images from being distractions to the text. Also, the art can be either clean-cut lines with shadings and colors, or it can be sketch-like art that indicates that the ideas are still forming. Honestly, we're not too sure which way to jump for the core rule book. Thankfully, words come first.
The feel really impacts what rules we use in the game. The rules have to be light, simple, and flexible. They need to stay out of the way of the story and not involve charts or the need to reference the book at all. Using descriptions of things instead of lists of skills, and lots of free form text is important.
We're sure there is more,but this is a good enough start.
Next time, we look at the core mechanics of the game.
Welcome to a new feature from A'n'SR -entertainments, where we talk very openly about creating a new Roleplaying game. We are tentatively calling it -U- the Game of Stories 2nd Edition, but who knows how it will turn out. Let us know what you think via e-mail, facebook, and/or twitter.
Why a New RPG?
Anytime we start thinking about what we want to do in the new year, we take lots of things into consideration. What are we playing a lot of, what do we see others playing that they like, and how successful have we been in the past.
We keep playing a lot of role-playing games and deck-building games. We see people playing lots of different games of choice, mainly whichever niche they enjoy. We keep selling more roleplaying games than other games. Since two out of the three things involve roleplaying games, the answer was really obvious of what to do next: roleplaying games.
Why a 2nd Edition of -U-?
So, why do a new edition of a game that is still selling? A few reasons, really.
For one, the game we have in mind is really an extension of the classic -U-. It has its roots in simplicity, the three core stats, and the idea of using simple terms to give bonuses to those stats.
For two, we really like what we have done with -U-, and want to reuse our stuff again. We want to take the Settings, Setting creation system, and all the books Powered by -U- and put it into one big volume.
And lastly, we want to make a game that more people can use to create their own things for. We are thinking about Creative Commons licensing to do this, but, who knows there may be other ways. However we do it, it would really mean a new game, since the old one was created as protected material.
Next time, we talk about what things are in the game.
Every year in November, A'n'SR -entertainments tries to come up with our overall plans and goals for the next year. Well this year was no different, and here are our 2015 goals we have set to be accomplished.
Goals in Summary
In all honesty, this is going to be a light year for us. After a year with 21 releases, followed by a year with a Kickstarter and 2 conventions, we are taking things a little easy.
Most of the stuff we are working on (the Angels dice game and Angels solo game) are both over 50% complete. We are alpha-playtesting a new RPG we are working on. We have started the conversion process on some of the things we wanted to do already. We are in pretty good shape for getting an "A" in 2015.
Our first expansion for Angels - Michael's War is out now!
Angels: Humanity & Redemption
Fight in the mundane world of Earth as more Angels and Demons use the power of Human Form to wage their war. Then, use the true power of Redemption to make Fallen Angels come home to Heaven. All of this in a simple 16-card expansion for the non-collectable game succesfully kickstarted earlier this year.
Add this great expansion to your Angels collection now!
2014 Goals and Statuses
Goal: Successfully Kickstart Angels - Michael's War card game
Result: Successful... with changes. We totally ran a successful Kickstarter. We had to knock the price down from $2,000 to $777 due to some printing changes that made us change our plans, but we succeeded, and got to experience some great things along the way.
Goal: Launch 2 other card games through TheGameCrafter.com
Result: Successful. We launched Pyramids of Mars and Faith Hope Love in 2014. This was very much the year of the card games.
Goal: Start releasing our RPGs on TheGameCrafter.com in the 2nd half of the year.
Result: Successful! We launched -U- the Game of Stories on TheGameCrafter.com. It even sold pretty well in the first month. Very pleased with this.
Goal: Write a new RPG game line for 2015 release.
Result: Unsuccessful. While we were playtesting our new RPG, it started to come apart. at that same time, we found Fate Core. Because of that, we've shifted gears and are working on Fate RPG materials.
Goal: Get an Angels Dice Game ready for 2015 release.
Result: 80% Complete. We are doing some playtesting and trying to figure out a way to make it less expensive. $40 retail for a dice game where you have to put all the stickers on is a lot, to us.
Goal: Get an Angels board game ready for 2015 release.
Result: Unsuccessful. We were working on this, honest. Then... it died. The game idea just didn;t work. Instead, we put the time into making more variants for Angels - Michael's War card game work.
Goal: Update DiColumns or release a deluxe version of the game (optional goal)
Result: Unsuccessful. Thank goodness this is a stretch goal. It will be on the list next year, too.
Goal: Get our RPGs as Print on Demand games (optional)
Result: 50% there. With us taking a look at our RPG lines and looking at Fate, we wanted to hold off until we were sure which way we wanted to jump.
Final grade: B
In our next article, we'll reveal our 2015 plans
Each year, in October, A'n'SR -entertainments takes stock of the goals we accomplished in the year, and sets new goals for the new year. After a very nice evening of sweet tea, pencils, paper, and some good hard look at our financials we have done just that. So... how did we do?
2014, overall, was a huge success for us. We did things that we never dreamed of 5 years ago, when we began. At a glance, here are our major accomplishments.
2014 had so many cool moments, it is really hard to list them all. Suffice to say, this was our best year we've had for A'n'SR.
In part 2 of our 2014 Year in Review, we'll look at our 2014 goals an decide if we met them or not.
Aaron and Stephanie Richardson of A'n'SR -entertainments.