Wednesday, 2 May 2018

EQUORUM SUDORUM SANGUINIS

Hi all

Image result for chariot racing

Ok, I have been teasing you a little bit by hinting around a new game that I've been developing, but it's about time I let you guys in on it.

So, for a little while now I've been part of a board gaming group, which has really engaged my interest in modern board games.  Like war-games, MBGs involve a ton of strategic thinking, planning and well crafted execution in order to win the games, plus they're loads of fun to play - definitely my cup of tea! I've also been using it as an opportunity to bridge the gap between the two genres in an effort to gather more recruits to the Nerd Herd.  Anyway, while I am really, really, REALLY enjoying the games there is or rather was a little itch in my soul that needed scratching.

Now people who know me, know that the two things I love about wargames are Dragons (oh hell yeah, I love me some dragons!!!) and the other thing is Chariots...

I love chariots, I wanted them in every army I've ever owned, even the Dwarf ones!  I can imagine the creak of leather and wood, the scream of the horses and the rolling thunder of wheels.  I wanted to game with them, I wanted to experience the roar of the crowd, the wild abandonment of the teams, the smells that fill the Hippodrome! I wanted something that immersed me into those ancient games of Rome.

Image result for chariot racing

Looking around in the BG world, there is a dearth of these types of games. Sure there are a couple and some even look a bit good, not great, not eye catching but decent and Oh I was so tempted just to pick something off the shelf, already made and good to go.....but..... Naw, they just didn't grab me, they just didn't make me reach for my ever pressed wallet and part with the cash.  I didn't want to compromise on one of my favourite parts of wargaming, it's why I usually steer clear of games involving Dragons.  So what was I going to do? give up? NEVER!  I did what I usually do, make it myself....

and "Blood Sweat & Horses" was born.

Obviously, it's never as simple as that, tbh the current version of the game barely resembles the original that I knocked up, but the core of the idea is there and I'm rather proud of what we have acheived so far.  You'll notice I say we, because I include the core of playtesters that have been kindly helping me to develop the game, without their help I would have a mildly amusing but simple game - with their help it has turned into a bloody epic game that is fast becoming something that I'm very happy with. 

Anyway, what have we got so far? so far we have a very visual game (it is mine after all ;-P) that looks like a miniatures game but plays like a board game.  Coming from a wargamer background I added too much dice based action that relied on good rolling rather than firm strategy, with the help of my board gaming chums - chiefly Darius and Jess, with help from Jayde, Paul and Stefan we have largely eliminated the luck factor and instead introduced rules that reward good, sound strategy.  Still a way to go but boy are we getting there, with every session we play!

Here's where I started - miniatures (obviously! I am a wargamer after all...). The game doesn't need miniatures and you can quite easily use standees for the pieces, in fact during early play testing we used WW2 motorcycle couriers with playdoh helmets...


The chariots are from Irregular miniatures, when I emailed them to see if I could get some chariots from them that were slightly off books, the chap - Ian, was amazing in his help, putting together an order that used Roman gladiators and fantasy chariots to come up with pieces that really worked and were sooooo cheap -  I bought 6! I also bought some fantasy versions for future variants.

perfect!
After sourcing the minis, I set about designing a track.  Now I had to decide whether I wanted to do a classic oval or the Dark Future type disappearing track.  I must say I do love the classics! Out came the blue foam and I starting drawing. 



Once I had the track all marked out, I used a pencil and carved the lines on as well as Roman numerals to denote the lane numbers as well as modifiers for cornering as a visual aid.  Then I mixed up some textured paint and started painting


This was the basic board. At this point the base mechanics of the game was starting to ferment in my brain.  I started with an engine based around activation cards, where players chose from a limited deck of actions and placed them in an order of 4 activation slots.  This way they would have to predict their next 4 moves in advance and simultaneously reveal them and play out a turn.  the idea behind this was for the players to think strategically and to represent the difficulty in controlling a team of horses pulling a small wooden platform!


This was the second play test, with a board rather than the WW2 minis and Dark Future track.  The playing cards correspond to a type of action.


It was enjoyed by all ( I hope) and some really good suggestions started to pile in, particularly on how we can keep everybody engaged in the race at all times.  So time to add a new layer of complexity then....


The Priority Tracker, is a way of players changing the order that turns are played and added another strategic layer to the game.


Event cards that could be purchased throughout the game by performing "exciting actions" such as cornering on the inner lanes or throwing javelins! These cards can modify the performance of your chariot or allow you to affect other players...


some cool dice from Warlord add a lovely touch to the theme


The Priority tracker sits in the middle, along with the event cards as a focal point for the players.


However players were finding their chariots in pieces, with them out of the game it became a bit boring for them and they would drift away....not having that! So we introduced the "Pit Stop" rules.


a little more decoration...








A bit of tidying around the player boards, that they use to keep track of speed, damage and "Favours"






This is more or less the finished board, I might add things later on but in all honesty I don't want to think people will enjoy the visuals more than the game itself.  Anyway I added some traps and obstacles for the players to interact with or inflict on each other


this was the fourth play test and probably the most constructive with loads of adjustments and rule changes. Yes it slowed the game down but wow! they are going to add a terrific depth to the challenges.  My favourite quote of the night - "I felt engaged in the game, the whole time even when it wasn't my go!"






So there we have it, a game in development.  Plans for it include, professionally made up cards (on order), more play testing and then.... Well I hope then, maybe to put it out as a "print and play" to see if anyone is interested in the game.  If they do great, if not then at least we're having fun!

Spero te Fruar
(hope you enjoy)
dGG

36 comments:

  1. Looks great Andy, well done for turning your idea into a reality ( I know from experience how hard it can be) and I hope it succeeds on print & play

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    1. thanks Dave, I hope there will be some interest in the game, if not then so be it, it only started as a club game but you never know!

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  2. This looks seriously awsome

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  3. How very seriously cool, Andy. When you hinted at your development of a board game, I was intrigued, but have to afmit I wasn't expecting chariot racing as the subject matter!

    Looks like a cool and fun game. Once complete, will you be demoing it at your local cons? Would be a way to generate intetest in the rules and pick up some sales/orders for the ruleset.

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    1. cheers Jez, what were you thinking it might be, just out of interest?

      I am open to taking it to local events and of course our Board game con - Uncon, which is starting to generate some interest and attendance in the "Con" circuit with a couple of hundred attendees this year. We are still in playtesting stages at the mo and then I need to get it to a reasonable stage where it can be "Print and Play" able, instead of me interpreting the handful of rules jotted down...

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  4. Awesome, Andy, simply awesome. A staggering amount of work for what looks like a tip top game, and clearly an enthusiastic audience of gamers to boot. Well done :-)

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    1. thanks Simon, it seems to be going down well, the input from the gamers is absolutely invaluable and seems to be very positive so far

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  5. !!!!!!!!! WOW !!!!!!!!!

    Brilliant.

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  6. That looks stunningly brilliant, Andy. I wish you every success with this project. I wish I didn't live so far away from you as I would love to play this.

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    1. I think you’d love it Bryan, shame you are so far away

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  7. This is all kinds of awesome!!! Seriously, just awesome!!! I backed the Kickstarter for the 'Chariots of Rome' board game, which unfortunately failed, but the developers did pre-orders instead to get the game made and mine arrived a few months ago - I watched a game play video and was kind of disappointed honestly. I really think because of your miniatures background you'll have exactly what I'm looking for in a chariot race game. This looks really great, can't wait to it develop further :)

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    1. As I said Ivor, I was the same - disappointed by the games out there. Once I get the rules up to scratch, then Wargamers can do the same as I did, just build the track that they want.

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  8. Bloody hell mate, this is one heck of an impressive endeavour! And it looks loads of fun to boot.

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    1. Thanks Dai,it is loads of fun to play. The playtesters all of whom are board gamers rather than war gamers were engaged and interested. Visually I’m happy with the game, thematically I am too! Once we get the rules tight then I can get it out there for others.

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  9. Flippin'eck Andy, that looks ace mate!
    "Makes Ben Hur look like an epic" to use the misquote ;-)
    Really, really impressed :-)

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    1. Cheers Greg, there has been much watching of Ben Hur - both the ‘59 and ‘16 versions over six hours of viewing.

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  10. Well that's just brilliant! Your mastery of the blue foam is legendary. .

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  11. That looks awesome Andy, top work all round, all it needs is some slots to put the pennies in so you cane bet on which colour will win! (Roger showing his age).

    Oh and Ian really is a top bloke.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Roger I grew up in Margate so totally get the reference with our penny arcades!
      Ian is top class, when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, a quick series of emails and here we are! Perfect customer service. I hope I’ve done his minis justice

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  12. Very good indeed, reminds me a bit of Formula 1 a game I used to play in my yooof

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  13. That takes me back to my youth. (No you cheeky so and so I am not quite that old!) I refer of course to playing the old "Circus Maximus" game by Avalon Hill. I would seriously be interested if this were as good.

    Hopefully talk at Broadside.

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    1. Wasn’t gonna say anything.....
      I’m just waiting on confirmation of my annual leave request for Broadside

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  14. As a kick starter, I`d buy this.

    Looking amazing.

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    1. Cheers Steve, that would be awesome! Plastic chariot pieces and a fold out board, there could be a market

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  15. Very nice board you've made, if the rules are on a par you should be on a winner.

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  16. Great looking game already and a subject I'm very interested in. I played the Avalon Hill "Circus Maximus" many moons ago and although fairly complicated it did provide great fun. I was however disappointed when I found out that it wasn't a true historical experience - more Ben-Hur-ish. All chariot racing games that I know of seem to go down this path, after all it is a difficult subject to make a game of.
    Good luck with this, it all looks tantalinsingly good fun.

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    1. Hopefully people enjoy the game, I’m play testing again over the next couple of weeks (shifts permitting) so it should take reasonable shape. Never played the Avalon Hill game and to be fair have stayed clear of any since I started this project as I didn’t want to just copy an existing game. I’m not sure I can promise a Ben-Hur free experience but hopefully a fun one none the less 😉

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  17. That looks amazing. The effort to cover every detail is "wow". Well done

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    1. Thanks Cedric, I’ve tried to get the look/feel just right

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  18. That looks excellent, and right up my street.

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