It is no secret at all that when we put together for the first time all the ideas that came to our minds when we were thinking about creating a game based on the Punkapocalyptic universe, everything was different from the actual product. At first we frolicked with the idea of focusing mainly on vehicles that could be customized individually, something Mad-Max-2-style. But we quickly saw that we should make it at a smaller scale (something around 1/100 like Flames of War), or the table would quickly be too small, and we wanted to have some old-school 30 mm miniatures. So the next conception, knowing the great memories we all have of Necromunda, was to make a set of rules focused on the campaign aspect of the game, in which the miniature would acquire experience in each battle and would increase its stats and equipment from one game to another, etc. But after threshing it in our minds we came to the conclusion, by personal experience, that campaigns start very lightly but they rarely end the same way, as it is quite demanding to keep track of the games, evolution of the rosters, schedules and the like, and they are finally and slowly abandoned. And as these kind of games are not suitable for playing just a stand-alone game, they end up in their boxes gathering dust forever. So at the end we have decided to stick to the traditional idea of a skirmish game, a little more conservative, but without giving up another variants if the whole thing goes well.
Once in motion, it was really clear for us that this project should rest on two main pillars: the rulebook and the miniatures. For the later we had the superb designs made by Marco Paraja, so if we wanted to get the best from them we should work with modellers of awesome talent. But the rulebook was an entirely personal project.
Before we even started working on the actual rules we wanted to settle some of the basic concepts and begin from there:
- The game we wanted had to have a distinct classical style. Games being released for a while now usually combine cards or other external elements like markers or tokens, and we just wanted the old-fashioned good dice.
- There was something important on the background, the lack of bullets, which are even used as currency, that we wanted to keep in-game. The ammo had to be scarce and valuable, bought individually at a high cost. Firearms should be quite lethal, but used only wisely, as wasting a single bullet should be really painful for the player.
- The notion of the Wasteland being a tough place, populated by people used to seeing and hearing anything, was deeply rooted too. Nothing makes their legs tremble, so we didn’t want any kind of «psychology roll» whatsoever.
- Although there are plenty of mutants and weird beings, everything is lethal here and what does not kill you may well kill you anyway. Everyone should have one «wound”.
- Miniatures would have actions and each one could be used as you pleased, repeating them if you want to.
- There would absolutely not be a «full player turn» one after the other. The acting order of the miniatures on both sides should be shuffled between them in some clever and intuitive way.
I think we knew quite from the start that the dice we wanted were the 10-sided ones. They offer a quite wide array of results and they are a hell easier to use for percentile measures.
The attributes of the miniatures were added as we needed them. The only one we were uncertain about was Tech, but although we are not using it at the present time, we keep some good ideas in the loading breech ready to see the light in the future.
From there on, the key question was to see what actions would the miniatures be allowed to make, test them on the boardgame and adjust the rules to what we wanted the game to be. For this we created a «basic profile» for a standard miniature and use it as guinea pig.
As the rulebook was taking form, the first two factions started to be developed. Each one was based on a clear general notion that sets it apart from the rest. In these particular cases the Gangers are the regular Wasteland warriors, and even the weakest of them are capable of fighting better than those from other factions. But to compensate this they have the least of special rules or equipment. The Mutards, on the other hand, are based on the synergy between them and the great level of customization their mutations give them.
And after that it was time to write down all the rules, test them, change them and maybe discard even them and start all over again. The whole process took almost a year.
At first the rulebook had a greater role-playing game component to it, with combat maneuvers and things like that, but although it did give the rules a cool «Hollywood-movie-style», the game speed suffered greatly and we had to cut many things down to make everything much more fluid.
An example of all the tests and changes we are constantly making to the rulebook, when it was almost finished and after hearing some advices from an external source, we decided to completely eliminate a Penetration against Armour opposed roll that we used after the Strength vs. Toughness one. But we saw that Armour would add well to the Toughness of the miniature and the Penetration stat could modify it, without an extra roll. But wiping out a whole rule entirely always affects other aspects of the game, even the ones you really don’t expect and that were solid enough. We had to re-adjust the Armour values, the point values of many pieces of equipment, the Penetration stats of many weapons, the value of some miniatures that suddenly were more powerful or weaker… And then try it all over and modify the details and descriptions accordingly…
But Alas, we finally have a solid version of the rulebook, with which we are really happy and, even more important, we are playing some fun as hell games.
Even though we are quite aware that there is no perfect rulebook, and that the huge community of players out there can see in a glimpse fatal errors that have slipped our vigilant watch. Or badly explained rules, because one of the most common mistakes is that we have things so clear in our minds that we give them for granted and explain them poorly on the book for you to understand. So we would really like if you could share your feedback with us to know about your gaming experience, what things would you change, which rules are too obscure, or even simple typos. That way we will be able to improve the rulebook and near it to perfection.
We have in mind to include the competitive game in the future, but we have decided to set it aside for the moment to properly lay the foundations of the rulebook. Also we want to have some more factions available, or any tournament held would be too monotonous. All in all, we have to think about this project as a long-distance race, not a speed contest, so we have to be careful not to try to encompass everything right now. This is just the beggining of a really long journey.