Monday, February 17, 2014

Broken Contract Artist Search and Other Ramblings

Concept art by Sam Alcarez
I put out a call for artists on Facebook and on this blog and a bunch of friends directed me to artist friends of theirs which I genuinely appreciate. One of those leads has already sent over 5 sketches. Sam Alcarez has taken the ball and run with it and I can't wait to show off what they can do. In a couple of days I'll re-post the Security Officer blurb on the Broken Contract Blog with some of Sam's Security Officer art. In the meantime, go over to the blog and read about Actions and Interruptions if you want to know more about how the game plays.

In other exciting news, Zombicide Gaming Night at Next Dimension was packed and we're looking forward to doing it again. Tomorrow night at Next Dimension we'll be playing Settlers of Catan. Also, today I got an e-mail from Brian Parisi showing off some bulkhead doors he created for the Zone Mortalis boards he's going to share with me for this year's 40K Warzone Tournament at Adepticon and they look great.

Speaking of which, the tweaked rules for this year are up on the Adepticon website now:

40K Warzone Tournament 2014 Rules

More soon!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artist Wanted II - Character Concept Design Brief #1

Breaker Concept Sketch by Oliver Zavala.
A lot of people viewed the Artist Wanted Ad a few days ago and I got some responses. For those who might be interested but don't want to commit to anything, I created an initial "design brief" so that you can scribble something out at home or on your break at work and if you think its pretty cool you can send it my way via e-mail or a link to wherever you want to put it for viewing. Here's the specs:

Character Concept Design Brief #1
Ideally character concepts will show the character from head to toe. Any details or equipment that might need additional focus might need to be separated out or shown at a different angle. This will allow a sculptor to get a sense of the composition. Examples of this might be unusual/unique weapons, cool details like charms, logos, or something loosely concealed. The characters are described as having a gender identity, but that is a loose guide. In a co-ed indentured servant operated mining colony where everyone is on the same playing field, gender norms and roles would be blurred or thrown out the window. Depictions can be as ambiguous as you want them to be. Additionally, I mention on of the sketches to be a person of color. This is to encourage a diverse future where class is more important than race. There are some links to visual references at the end of the post.

Overview of Breakers vs Security Officers

The Breakers are indentured servant miners. They are given the bare minimum to complete the job. Shovels, pick axes, the occasional head lamp and/or breather (mask). Their clothes would be pretty utilitarian, like the "Cool Hand Luke" workers, but occasionally with heavy duty overalls, like in this image - For the most part they're just disgruntled men and women who turn on their taskmasters. The important thing is for them to be dynamic, varied, and action packed. These are rioters.

Security Officers
They are poorly paid brutal security guards. The "western" looking prison chain gang guards from Cool Hand Luke are a good starting point. Give them a kevlar vest and a taser instead of rifles and it’s the right look. On the Concept References Pinterest there is an image of the riot cop with the riot shield and helmet but no armor to speak of. He's so bare and at risk - that's how I imagine the security officers. Throw a brimmed hat on him or something else to give him a little more western feel and he'd blend right in to the visual. Once again, they're trying to stop the miners from rioting and escaping the mines so they'd be action packed as well.

Where To Begin?
Ideally do a rough sketch of at least one Breaker and one Security Officer and send them to me and we can discuss the look and feel. If you’re really enthused you can do more, but this would be to show off that you have a good idea of the look and feel being discussed. This does not need to be finished work. Just a rough sketch to get a feel for the look.

Starting Character List

Breaker Characters
Gaylen: Gaylen is the daredevil of the group. A young agile female who is used by the IronSky Corp to get into tight areas to plant dynamite and other dangerous duties. She would be lightly equipped to not interfere with her mobility, but she’d have would have a breather with exposed eyes/upper face and some sort of head lamp. She carries concealed dynamite that she stole but could be depicted throwing it. She also carries a shovel.

Bickler: Bickler is the grizzled veteran in the mines. Formerly a soldier, he didn’t have the status, connections, or value to be kept in uniform as he aged. He was discharged and signed a contract as a miner and was dropped here. He should look older and a bit haggard, but solid. He carries a pick axe and a chip on his shoulder. He might have a headlamp, but he should have an exposed face to show his grizzled features.

Trest: Trest is the Genetically Modified Brute. He was engineered strictly for labor purposes and stands taller than a normal man and is more hulking. Trest is pure muscle and brawn. He carries a pneumatic drill (like a horizontally held jackhammer) and wears a gas mask and overalls. He’s unknowingly addicted to corporate supplied narcotics and is prone to violent outbursts.

Security Office Characters
Officer Moerta:  Moerta is a security guard equipped with a Shock Baton and Riot Shield. His head is exposed, but the lower part of his face should be covered with a breather. He is a person of color “just doing his job” and he is exceptional at close combat.

Officer Anlika: Anlika is the diplomatic Officer, more adept at talking through confrontations than violence. Anlika has short cropped hair, an arc pistol (high powered taser) and a standard baton. Visible empathy gives credence to her attempts at diplomacy but will have no qualms about taking down a Breaker if she has to.

Officer Hickley: Equipped with a Kevlar vest, Crowd Control Repeater (a larger sub machine gun with rubber bullets), a baton, and possibly a helmet or maybe just sunglasses. Officer Hickley is a sadistic authoritarian. He will fire indiscriminately into mobs, while shouting uncontrollably and then follow it up with some hearty kicks and cracks with his baton.

Have a go at these concepts or use it to spark your own and we’ll take it from there. There will be plenty more Characters to develop from here and an expanding universe of ideas.

You can find some helpful references here:

Thanks for reading! Send me your concepts. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Artists Wanted for Broken Contract

I'm looking for up-and-coming and established artists willing to help me get my miniature board game off the ground. I need people willing to work with me to flesh out concept sketches to base miniature sculpts off of and I need finished character art, box art, and a logo to to take my game, Broken Contract, to the next stages of development.

At this point the rules are just about ready to enter Beta Testing by the general public, but if I'm going to be able to attract crowd funding through Kickstarter I'm going to have to have a much more polished presentation. To put it simply, before I can run a Kickstarter I really need some solid art and at least a few miniature sculpts.

Without a stockpile of funds to dole out for commissioned work I'm at a catch 22. I need the Kickstarter to acquire funds, but I need artists and sculptors to run a successful Kickstarter. What I really need are some people who are really interested in getting in on a project like this to build their portfolios and be willing to gamble on a later reward for work completed. Even still, it would need to be "on the cheap" for now (even in this "bill me later" scenario), and depending on how successful the Kickstarter might be would could potentially scale up.

Its a lot to ask, I know. Still, play testing has seemed to demonstrate that the rules are fun, and people seem to find the background engaging and full of opportunity. This project has legs, but I need some help to boost it to the next stage. Get in touch and let's help each other out.

So what's this game all about?

You can find out the basics here: Background Introduction
Here: Breakers
And here: Security Officers

But the condensed version of what you'd be drawing are rioting miners and the security officers that keep them in place in a dystopian sci-fi wild west setting. Imagine Cool Hand Luke meets Firefly as good points of reference. You can get a feel for some of the ideas by looking at my "Concept References" Pinterest.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in this please get in touch and let's work something out. I'm determined to make this game a reality.

-Nick Baran

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Broke Contract Blog and Thoughts on Warhammer Visions

Last week I made the decision to give Broken Contract its own space. This has its pro's and con's. I wanted it to have its own dedicated space so that as I go into Beta Testing there is a place where people can find it. I also wanted it to have chapter headers so that if people just want to read a bit of the fluff without sifting through all the game design ramblings, Angels of Absolution pics, Adepticon prep, etc. Instead, they can just click on the relevant heading. The biggest disadvantage to that plan is that unlike 2ndCityWarzone, Broken Contract doesn't have followers and it doesn't have a spot on the BoLS blog roll yet which is where a lot of my traffic comes from. So if you've been reading up on Broken Contract and think its looking pretty cool, please please please go to the new blog, Follow it, and if you have a blog roll: p9lease add it.

Broken Contract Blog

Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot to report on the Broken Contract front. Its been over a week since the last play testing and after I sifted through the core rules to correct any areas that stood out from the session, I began working on the scenarios in greater detail. In the last few weeks I had mapped out how I envisioned the mining complex and created key locations. Going into this week I had written a bit of narrative about each key location and this prompted me to look at the win/loss conditions I had created for the original couple of scenarios. I was using a Victory Point system that gives and takes based on goals achieved and mistakes made. It occurred to me, to add to the narrative feel why not carry those Victory Points over from scenario to scenario so that you look at your night of gaming (or your campaign) as a whole instead of as individual parts? Then I could build special rules into certain accomplishments or failures so that they carry with you so that the VP's sort of act like experience points but that can be taken away. I'm curious to see how this idea goes.
Warhammer Visions

 I wanted to take a moment to comment on everyone freaking out over how much they hate Warhammer Visions. I've been playing GW's games for 20 years now and have been reading WD for the full duration. Its had its ups and downs as a magazine. Everyone has their favorite era - mine was from about 2000-2006 though people complained about it then too because some issues were too heavy on this game system they don't play, or that one. But as I've gotten older I've found that the one thing that I keep my WD's around for is as a painting reference. Long after the rules for each edition are obsolete, and the fluff has evolved, the one thing that always endures are the photos. It just so happens that when I would get a new White Dwarf the first thing I did was to flip through it from cover to cover looking at the photos. Now, when I grab an old White Dwarf off my shelves, generally speaking, is that I flip through it looking for some photo I remember seeing years ago that inspired me.

Now we have Warhammer Visions - essentially a beautiful magazine of just photos. I flipped through the first issue and I was pumped. This is the magazine for me - a timeless reference I can keep on my shelves for inspiration. While everyone is cancelling their subscriptions I'm wishing I was in a position to start a new one.

And on a final note, as people gnash their teeth about the price. There is a push right now to make the Federal Minimum Wage ~$10. When the minimum wage was ~$4, White Dwarf was ~$4. The world has changed quite a bit since then, but if the Federal Minimum Wage goes up to $10.10 or whatever it is, and Warhammer Visions is $12, well that seems about right to me for 250 pages of gorgeous full color photos. That's my take.


PS. Broken Contract Play Testing will be happening February 9th at Noon. Drop a line if you want to come check it out.