Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

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Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:55 pm

As work progresses with my Stargate Evolutions Miniature Game, the question at hand this week has been, what system of rules to use: Pre-made, New-design, or Home-grown (from pre-made)?

This thread will look at playing the game with a set of dynamic rules that will highlight the cinematic-style flavor of the movies and TV series for the project.

So perhaps an interesting place to start would be the name of the game. Looking back at my notes on when I first started developing this game, I originally intended to call this Stargate Universe...but quickly found that name was already taken. Though that doesn't seem to stop anyone these days (seeing repeated 'grabs'), I turned to 'Stargate Evolutions' (which to my knowledge, isn't taken). As an interesting aside, you'll note two major game-system influences on direction also contain 'evolved' and 'evolution', so maybe there's a little Karma in there!

First up on the influence ladder is the FiveCore 3rd Edition Skirmish Gaming Evolved rules.
The first thing that hit me, and why I like the idea of using FiveCore 3rd Edition Skirmish Gaming Evolved either: 1. In total; or 2. Totally re-tooled for this game; or 3. Even only in parts is...

    It fits (as mentioned in the Proving Grounds thread) the 'cinematic battles' side of the game in hand. This is an unexpected deviation from norm for me, as I'm more used to the type system dependent on 'Buying Armies', as seen in Battlefield Evolutions: Modern Combat or Axis & Allies Miniatures, and so forth; where each 'unit' of models (e.g., squad of 6 soldiers) has a points value that you add to a specific ceiling count to achieve your battle force.

    In a Points Purchase system, your forces are generated by buying your troops and armaments to create your total force, and your opponent doing the same, with the same allocation of points. An example would be a 100-point army, or 1000 point army, and so forth. You are in effect looking to achieve 'Balance'; opposing forces are about the same strength and capability.

That wouldn't hold up in what I have in mind for this game. Let me give you two examples:

  1. In one scenario, you may have the SGC teams fighting a System Lord with highly advanced powers, and his/her goons; whereas
  2. In another scenario, you may have an SGC team assaulted by extremely hostile other-world inhabitants, whom are warriors and want you dead, but are fighting with spears and axes!

Now in the first example, balance could work to some degree: But your Earthers are going to be the underdogs to any System Lord in play (who is going to be extremely pricey, as opposed to a support squad of soldiers!); so the rub comes from the fact that if using a balance system, there aren't going to be many goons to back up a high cost System Lord. What starts out as a principle to achieve balance, ends up being a hindrance in having a high value figure with little support. I will say, that this is not an unusual phenomenon in a points system...in a WWII game for example, you could have one side with a tank and small squad of grenadiers, versus several opposing squads, though such scenarios are typically not numerous!

In the second example, to achieve balance, you are going to have a shitload of angree townfolk or alien warriors!

In FiveCore, that rules set handles things with a Victory Points system, whereby bonus points are associated with the outnumbered or out gunned force. I like that in terms of this Stargate game, where the missions are generally exploratory/science team oriented, with military only as protection. It just happens our explorers are always being hammered by nasties! I'll get into that more as I flesh it out, but based on my quick read up into that point, it speaks better towards what I'm looking for.
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:22 pm

Another point on FiveCore is, it is designed with taking a more cinematic approach, where action is culled in smaller batches, like the camera zooming in on that action, while the scene around that specific action is static. I have never had experience with that style gaming, but it sounds right up the alley of a game being designed around a movie and television franchise!

This is all speculative on my part currently, however, it sounds like a leader in inspiration in many respects, in the search in how to play this miniatures game....either in part or total rules set.

So, I'm reading the rules (more or less a quick read, to get the gist) and much of what I was seeing, I liked. I'll get more in-depth on this stuff, but a preliminary reaction from what I've read so far (the first 22 pages), is:

    The Activation and Movement of figures was very intriguing.... but in truth, I really had to sell myself of the Standard activation principle, whereby a squad of 6-10 soldiers can activate up to three (only) of the soldiers....the rest of the squad basically holding position, but available for Opportunity Fire (what is called Reaction Fire). It does make sense in a rather elegant way. The designer claims that this was put in place to force the player to make hard choices.

    Movement made sense and I can see it being a viable solution.

    It's when I got to combat that the wheels screeched to a halt! :o Long story short, it takes a solid 6 to kill; a 2-5 is a miss?????????, and a 1 is a knock down.

I don't know about that! I'll stop here for tonight :lol: :shock:
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby josta59 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:08 am

Yep. I wrote recently about why my new rules have only a few people activate per turn and why it's really hard to kill someone, similar to FiveCore. A lot of people seem to think that's more realistic.

Definitely subscribed to this thread.
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:07 pm

josta59 wrote:Yep. I wrote recently about why my new rules have only a few people activate per turn and why it's really hard to kill someone, similar to FiveCore. A lot of people seem to think that's more realistic.


I did indeed notice that and must admit hadn't really wrapped my mind around that concept in play as much as now, sitting and digesting the nuances of this style activation....

As I look at Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat (BEMC) for instance, that system plays in Turns and each side gets to activate everything on their side. Of course, there's the choice to actiavte (as the player) what you want, and you are not obligated to activate everything; but sitting down and really looking at that is making me pause...would ALL your forces have the choice to activate on any one battlefield? Not really. As BEMC states itself at the very first sentence of their Game Turn chapter, the ...battlefield is a confusing place. A lot of soldiers will be pausing in action as they figure out what's happening as they personally go along. The odds of everyone having presence of mind to be doing something, all the time are probably very slim.

I never thought of this until now!

josta59 wrote:Definitely subscribed to this thread.


Awesome! :D
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:00 pm

OK, so I've started writing the rules down. This is of course draft, as I am figuring it out as I go along. I have an overall template I want to follow, but it's very fluid at this stage so I'll tackle this is small bites as I work from beginning to end. Of course, I am also well aware that what is put down on a post at any one moment may be changed or omitted later.

This is in effect, moving out of the concept stage and into the actual rules development. Verbiage in the actual rules draft document will be in blue font.

The draft opening goes like this:

STARGATE EVOLUTION

Welcome to Stargate Evolution, a miniature game based on the hit science fiction movies and television series in the universe of the Stargate franchise. This initial core rules set will be based in the Stargate SG-1 series, with the main characters of Commander Jack O’Neill, Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and alien dynamo Teal’c representing their roles in the SG-1 team.

Please note that this rules set is not for sale, and is not intended for financial marketing and profit. Its use is solely for miniature gaming this exciting and fun science fiction story icon. If you are holding a copy of these rules in your hands, you are agreeing to use it for personal play of the game, or in a game hosted by a Game Master with no intent to profit financially in such an activity.


As in my daily worklife, I have been trained to keep opening statements short and to the point. That seems to follow suit well for rules writing! :D
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:01 pm

Next up is....

THE GAME

This is a miniatures game, best played with 28mm figures, though the system should support other scales down to 6mm. It is to be played on a diorama, on any ‘World’ of your choice. My preference is of worlds that originated the Earth, Ancient Egyptian timeframe of the God of the Sun, Ra.

In my personal game, I have an SG-1 team of the above stated characters, in 28mm pewter. These were once available from a United Kingdom vendor, Phoenix Miniatures. This vendor also supplied Jaffa Serpent Guards, Jaffa with Skull Caps, and even a Jaffa Cannon!

I also use military support SGC (Stargate Command) teams, in 28mm plastic miniatures from Battlefield Evolutions, in American and British. Though the movies and shows highlighted American Air Force Special Forces, my version uses American Force Recon Marines and British SAS.

System Lords and other-world warriors are represented in 28mm pewter Wargods of Aegyptus miniatures, from Crocodile Games.

My chose diorama base will be made up of an ancient Egypt, Great Adventures of the Lost Kingdom Playset, bought on eBay. This was from direct inspiration in the roots of this game. Back around 2008, I’d seen a Stargate SG-1 miniatures game played at Origins Game Fair, in Columbus, Ohio. It was Game Mastered by Glen Cooley, who used that playset as his core model, and built upon it with other pieces. That’s the exact route I went as well, with this playset as my core model, and I purchased other set components to add-on to the diorama. I also built my own pieces, and terrain.
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:02 pm

And finally for tonight....

MINIATURES CHARACTERISTICS

The miniatures are generally deployed in teams, especially for the SGC support elements. Exceptions would typically be members of SG-1 specifically; a System Lord; or a specific character in a scenario, like a captive.

When deployed in teams, SGC and Goa’uld/Jaffa are generally in squads ranging anywhere from 4 to a dozen. For the sake of this system, when dealing with SGC, these squads will be known as Teams. When dealing with Goa’uld/Jaffa, they will be referred to as Squads. And when dealing with alien world warriors, they will be referred to as Packs. When referring to individual figures in a Team, Squad, or Pack, they will be referred to by their national affiliation, such as SGC Marine, Jaffa, or tribe name.

Leaders will be designated specifically, on the diorama. This can be done with an admin marker (like a cardboard chit), a plastic colored ring, token, or whatever works for you. Leaders help with unit (team, squad, or pack) cohesiveness, in providing a Zone of Control (ZOC). When individual figures are within this ZOC, they will benefit with strengths only allowed by being in command, such as full movement; versus a reduced movement modifier when out of command range. A leader helps a figure perform better in deployment, whereas a figure out of command is relying on themselves only, and are hence not as effective with no supervising direction being supplied. Leaders are also an inspiring force on the battlefield, and will help in rallying the troops.

Stat Cards

The miniatures used in the game operate according to their affiliations’ military training, or lack there of. To allow you quick reference to how your forces operate, each type of miniature will be represented on Stat Cards, which will list their statistics, characteristics, skills, traits, special powers, etc. This will help the player utilize their forces with at-a-glance statistics with how they move, fight, and conduct themselves in play.

Teams, Squads, Packs, special heavy weapons, etc., will be listed with their own respective stat card.

……show example…….

Stat Cards (as shown above) contain the following information:

……breakdown…….
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:08 pm

Now just an aside on the above three posts: This is all original.

Nothing is taken from any rulebook, and in fact deviates from the earlier examples of rules sets given earlier ...those rules may provide direct inspiration, but at this time there is no plans to use other rules ideas, except other than for in-concept only. We'll see where things go.

I guess at this point in time, it's important to say that game designers use principles and concepts that are common and found in many like-systems (almost verbatim, in some cases). However, it is always important not to plagiarize, so every attempt will be made in not doing so here. If there would be a direct system rule from a rules system to be used verbatim to those rules in this game, then reference to them will be made here in this thread, and a summation of concept.
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:54 pm

OK, so we are in the nitty gritty of things here now. Designing the Stat Cards will be a big part of this project, and will undoubtedly go through several revisions before we are down to the final cut. In fact, I would guess that it will take several playtests before we figure out what really works.

At the moment, I am planning to to produce these in Numbers (Mac version of Excel, exporting to Excel). Perhaps if I get real brave, I'll explore doing these in Adobe Illustrator.

While on that tangent, let me also point out that I am seeing the need for Admin Counters to be used with this game, so those will be produced too, down the line.

Back on the subject of Stat Cards, this penchant for use goes back to my old Axis & Allies Miniatures days...also used in Battlefront: WWII. Bot those systems showed me the value of being able to quickly reference a units' stats, and remain engaged in the game, versus the need to grab a rulebook and figure out how the miniature moves and fights, etc.
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Re: Stargate Evolutions Miniatures Game, Rules Development

Postby Whiterook » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:19 pm

On to the important topic of Leaders.

As mentioned earlier, they will be designated specifically, on the diorama. The method to denote them could be accomplished in many ways, including the painting of the base edges, tokens, or so forth. I've not totally decided on the method but, I do have some small colored plastic rings that might suffice. I am also thinking of rather than painting the bases, of using colored electrical tape, instead...or similar. Basically, I want the specific miniature model soldier to be quickly and easily identifiable....especially since the games we will play yere by post, will have SITREP pictures.

It is also at this point in the design where I've been putting a lot of consideration on how I want my miniatures to move, and what freedoms and limitations they will have placed on them. A lot of miniature games I've seen allow straight out movement....everything can move, when it wants to. I am shying away from that because I want my miniatures with military training to exhibit the professional traits (to varying degrees) of command and control....

That's where Zone of Control (ZOC) comes into the picture. It's a well known mechanic, and it feels totally right for the environment I am trying to portray/game.

Leaders are planned to be an essential part of miniature control. The SGC, being a military force, will certainly have it. That follows too, along the lines of the Goa'uld, and even alien warriors.

I like Battlefield Evolutions (BE) example of using a 6" ZOC. For 28mm, that makes sense, scale-wise. I figure at smallest, the game would easily play on a 3' x 3' table diorama, and larger. The theory in using a Leader ZOC is, anything within that 6" Radius Command Range is under the control (led) by the leader of the team, squad, or pack. When individual figures are within this ZOC, they will benefit with strengths only allowed by being In Command.

So we know what it means to be in command...the leader can see and communicate clearly and effectively with the men, women, whatever, within that area. That's obvious. But what impact does that have on the miniatures?

In BE, if you are out of command, you can only huddle down and react...you cannot take the field and be fully effective. I get that...for that system. But not for ours! I want the miniatures to be fully engaged still, but with some reduced capability....

The feature that jumps out to me would be a reduced movement allowance. Considering they have no leader to keep them guided and focused, they are operating more independently. But just because they are independent does not mean they are shaken or pinned trying to find their asshole. They're professionals!

When out of command, full movement is not available to that miniatures' movement allowance; rather, they will be under a reduced movement modifier when out of command range.

Next up for consideration will be, what else, if anything, will reduce efficiency of the miniatures out of command.
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