Version 1.2 of Legacy 2nd edition is now up on the UFO Press patreon!
This release has a ton of new stuff over the previous one. Besides the gorgeous art running through the whole document, we have:
The last month was pretty great for UFO Press:
I launched the playtest for the second edition of Legacy! We’ve got some feedback already and it’s shaping up very nicely. If you’d like to grab the files and take a look, head here.
I launched the UFO Press patreon, dedicated to funding monthly microgames with a side order of early access to game drafts. I’ve just posted the game for June – Ghost Writer. It’s a two-player game about a digitally resurrected author and the publishing house forcing them to complete their final work.
We went to the UK Games Expo! It was my first time at any event of that size – apparently, it’s in the top 3 biggest board games conventions in the world, bigger than Origins. It was an absolute blast manning the stall, although pretty tiring. Huge thanks to my stall neighbours from Crooked Dice game design studio – they were great company, and their minis look very cool.
As well as selling a healthy chunk of games to customers, a number of UFO Press products are on their way to Leisure Games in London and Stratagemma in Florence. If you’re in their area and want to check out our games in person, go take a look!
Finally, I had loads of interesting conversations with publishers, distributors, designers and other industry figures. Watch this space for developments to come…
- Work’s ongoing for Legacy 2e: we’re targeting a kickstarter in late Summer/early Autumn, though we’ll see what’s right for the game. We want to get this right.
- Ghost Ship is on the backburner at the moment – playtesting showed the game was kinda split between the memories-and-AI side and the freebooting-Firefly side, so I’m trying to see if I can reconcile them or focus on the right one.
- We’re hard at work finishing our designs for The Butler on the Threshold, the Lovecraftian variant of What Ho, World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen. We’re considering a small crowdfunding campaign just for the print run – will talk to backers about it.
I’ve launched a Patreon! Every month I’ll post new RPG content to the Patreon free for all backers. These could be playbooks or scenarios for UFO Press games, subsystems you can drop into ongoing games to do something different for a session, or micro RPGs similar to the ones we wrote for the 200 word RPG challenge:
There are a few other benefits:
- Patrons get access to early drafts of my bigger games before the wider public.
- I’ll host regular patron-only Q&As and polls.
- Patrons above a certain level get full-resolution copies of all the art from UFO Press games I have the license to share.
Why a Patreon?
This patreon has a couple of goals.
First, designing these two for the 200 word challenge was a nice break from my bigger games. It’d be nice to be able to make more without feeling like I was wasting time I could be spending on those other games.
Second, the What Ho, World! kickstarter was quite a bit more expensive than expected. A regular source of funds like this will ensure I can keep UFO Press ticking over.
If you’re interested in being a part of this, go check out the Patreon page!
As I have a few projects on the go at the moment I thought I’d step back and write up where I am with each of them. Enjoy!
Revising the Apocalypse
At the moment I’m elbows-deep in Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, tinkering and tweaking to make a draft for its revised edition. I’m aiming to make it a bit more coherent and better-communicated so that the intended playstyle is both clearer and easier to achieve. Part of that is providing better procedures for moving between the different phases of the game (what I’m working on right now), and part of it is editing the old playbooks so that they hook more directly into the game’s core concept of building a new life in the wasteland and creating the history of a people over generations.
I recently sent out the current alpha draft of Ghost Ship to some other designers and that gave me a lot of feedback to work on! In particular, it’s clear the ‘you are a post-death brain scan struggling to retain humanity` and ‘you are the crew of a cool starship’ aspects weren’t gelling very well. I’m overhauling the spaceflight and ship rules to put a bit more focus on the effects they have on the characters and their living connections, rather than nuts-and-bolts simulationism.
Finally, there are a few minor projects to complete (my 200-word RPG contest entries), finishing up Kickstarter fulfilment for What Ho, World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen, and maybe putting together a Patreon to keep everything ticking over; shipping for What Ho, World/Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen kicked my ass more than I was expecting, and it’d be nice to have a budget to put into microgames/minor projects/early access drafts.
I’ve just made What Ho World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen publicly available! These games are one-shot zero prep comedy games, compressed down into a 90-card deck that fits in your pocket.
Loosely based on the Apocalypse World engine, What Ho, World tries to evoke Wodehousian humour: feckless gentlemen of leisure, dependable servants and meddling great-aunts.
Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen, on the other hand, takes its inspiration from Jack Vance and Terry Pratchett – naive apprentices, squabbling wizards, and scheming demons bound into service!
Both games are available here, on Amazon (UK only) (https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dtoys&field-keywords=ufo+press+storytelling&rh=n%3A468292%2Ck%3Aufo+press+storytelling) or Print-on-Demand at DriveThruRPG (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6097/UFO-Press/subcategory/19570_27513/Hijink-system).
I’ve also uploaded YouTube videos talking about what the deck contains and how to play the game – see here: link to YouTube.
I’m very proud of them, and I hope you take a look!
One of the things I’m hard at work on is a revised edition of Legacy. Part of this process is to identify bits of the original version that didn’t quite work in play: the one I’m talking about today is character focus. One common complaint is that with every player getting their own faction, games often devolve into players taking it in turns to have solo scenes interacting with their families. While I’m also working on structuring the game so that there’s more to push characters to work together, I wanted something to liven up those single-family scenes.
My solution for this was Quick Characters. If you want to play out a particular player character’s actions in detail but the fiction makes it implausible for the other major characters to be involved, the other players take control of members of the active player’s Family using simplified playbooks. These playbooks give some options to flesh out your character, but mostly inherit stats from the active players family.
Using these new characters, you play through the story as normal until it’s time to shift focus to another family or character. At that point, the group can choose – either each player can keep these minor playbooks in case focus returns to that family, or the playbooks can go into a group pool for anyone to pick up as the situation desires. If you’re familiar with Ars Magica’s troupe play rules, this is intended to create a similar effect.
Here’s the playbooks:
How they work
Quick Characters still use the Character basic moves, and have Force, Lore, Steel and Sway, but have simplified playbooks. They inherit a stat line, a move and gear from their Family, enabling them to be generated quickly.
We haven’t written up the family side of this completely yet, but here’s an example:
Enclave of Forgotten Lore Quick Characters:
Add +1 to Lore or Steel.
Take gear according to your Surplus investment (more on this later), +1 to Data or Outfit.
Inheritance Move options:
- Radio Rig: Can sense when Tech is within a mile, and track it down to within 100 metres.
- Pain Box: You have a device that causes intense pain in anyone within a few dozen metres (melee, nonlethal, area, hi-tech).
- Survey drone: You can roll +Lore with Wasteland Survival, so long as your trail is visible from the air.
- Hot Rod: You have an exceptionally fast vehicle (land-based, Might 1 Chrome 1 Brawn 0), and can move points between its stats with 15 minutes of tinkering.
- Educated: If you give advice to somebody based on your knowledge of the Before, they take +1 Forward.
Legacy: Mirrors in the Ruins is now out! We’re going with an Advance PDF system for this release: we’re holding off on activating print-on-demand until early customers have had a chance to flag any issues with the book. In return, everyone who buys the game in its first month will get a discount when purchasing the physical book.
Mirrors in the Ruins brings a different perspective to Legacy by placing players in the role of the monsters that live in the wasteland – the robot swarms, alien invaders, mutated animals and aquatic raiders that normally take the role of antagonists in post-apocalyptic stories. Even monsters must struggle to survive in the wasteland, so what happens when they clash with human survivors? Will they find a new way of existing together in this altered world, or will they repeat the mistakes that lead to the Fall?
As well as 8 new playbooks – 4 Families and 4 characters – Mirrors brings new Family moves covering subterfuge and conspiracy, rules for hostile environments, vehicles and non-player factions, and Mega Projects. These grand schemes may be built over several Ages, and permanently change the Wasteland once completed. There’s a lot to see in this book – I hope you check it out! Many thanks to Douglas Santana, whose ideas and words were crucial to making this book.
Only 48 hours left on the kickstarter for What Ho, World! We’re past 150% funded, which is amazing – I’m really looking forward to getting this game printed and having a proper physical copy in my hands.
If you’ve managed to avoid my endless promotion of the game over the past month, What Ho, World! is a hybrid roleplaying game/card game based on the genteel, free-wheeling and farcical stories of P.G. Wodehouse, Fred and Ginger musicals and so on.
Over the course of a 2-hour game, you’ll make characters like the naive but well-meaning Gadabout and the stoic and wise Servant, be tasked with challenges like retrieving an embarrassing document or ridding yourself of a small but annoying dog, and call on the gossip of your fellow servants or an unexpected cosh to save the day. It’s all based on the Apocalypse World school of RPG design – discrete chunks of rules for particular situations in the story that only get involved as much as they need to then get out the way again. I’ve heavily modified the system, removing dice rolls or a GM so that the deck of cards is all you need to play.
It’s a fun, light group storytelling game that I’m really happy with – please do check it out!
The What Ho, World! kickstarter project is now live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549920133/what-ho-world-a-roleplaying-game-of-farce-and-eleg
We’re coming up to 1 day in and we’re already 25% funded, which is great! Fingers crossed we’ll be able to make it to the goal and hit some stretch goals – I really want this to be the best game it can be.
We’ve had the go-ahead to launch our kickstarter for What Ho, World! It’ll go live at 5PM GMT today; here’s the preview link if you want to check it out before then.