A New Mega-City One (Opinions Wanted)

Discuss Mongoose miniatures game here, including Mighty Armies, Gangs of Mega-City One, and Battlefield Evolution.
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Postby btom » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:10 am

I’ve never designed a commercial game before and my layman’s view of game design is that once you have made the ‘perfect’ rule set you need to simplify it in order to make it playable and then simplify it once again to make it commercial. The easiest way for Mongoose to proceed would be to pursue the skirmish idea with the themed gangs/judges etc.

Personally, however, I think that Dredd is different in that the focus is law enforcement and cannot think of any other game where that is the case. Because of that Dredd lends itself to role-playing but makes a miniatures game quite difficult to accomplish – how do you gamerize that Dredd story when he single handedly busts a 3 perp bank raid? You can do it but the game would be pretty short and one sided. This brings me back to what the game needs to cover. We all agree it needs to make the Judges playable as a faction and enable the full MC1 variety of oddballs and freaks to be played. Role-playing should be kept to a minimum (this is a miniatures game) and the battles need to be scalable letting both players have access to the full range of miniatures and weaponry.

The idea suggested here would be that the Judge player plays a team of judges and the gang player any one of the various gang factions suggested above. Dependant on what gang the non-Judge player chooses the campaign revolves around a particular goal, with the gang player earning credits (for example money, or goods to be smuggled or parts of a bomb) and the Judge player earning investigation credits enabling him to bust the gang.

If the gang player is of a sadistic, megalomaniac ilk and chooses Total War then the aim of the game would be for him to create and explode a nuke and the judges would need to stop them. Total War would need to raise finance to purchase the relevant bits of the bomb and would need to resort to bullying the local gang off its patch or to the occasional bank raid. Once they have the relevant funds they can purchase the bomb parts, smuggle them into the city and eventually be able to plant the bomb in a relevant target.

The Judges will be tasked with the everyday job of keeping law and order as well as ensuring that the bomb doesn’t go off.

Each campaign turn the Judge player allocates his judges into one of 3 categories – Patrol, Investigation and Support. The gang player, dependant on their faction will assign their members to various tasks – maybe putting 6 of them on the protection racket (to earn creds), 4 of them assigned to rob a business (to earn creds/ get a bomb part) and 3 of them to spread dissent on the local Juves/Citidef etc (to distract the judges)

Its important to remember that the Judges, by the nature of law enforcement, will be reactive - the game for them will focus on their trying to get ahead of the curve by getting enough leads/evidence to take the initative (so a good reason to have enough Psi and Tec judges)

Each campaign turn the Judge player has a chance to interrupt the gangs player – for example a Judge on Patrol might be able to interrupt the protection rackets operation. He can then call on any Judges who are in Support mode to help him – they arrive at random times during the combat. Judges in Investigation mode are able to get investigation credits by interrogating captured perps, forensic examination of the crime scene and the like.

The 2 players could interact in a number of ways, for example:

Scenario 1: Total war make a play on another gangs turf. The Judge player plays a generic gang and a battle is fought. Total War win – money from protection rackets etc goes into their coffers. Judge player wins – Total War are set back a notch and probably suffer casualties.

Scenario 2: The Total War player conducts a bank raid. The Judge player plays the security forces and if any Judges are in Support Mode they can be called in.

Scenario 3: The Judge player having picked up enough investigation credits has a breakthrough and identifies a Total War supplier, maybe the Cursed Earth mutant gang they are using to smuggle bomb parts in - Judge player fights against the Mutant gang.

Scenario 4: A random action (modified by any dissent Total War has managed to spread) forces the Judges to bust a Juve gang. Gives the Total War player a chance to inflict some damage without risking his own resources.

Scenario 5: Total War have built up enough dissent credits with the local Citidef and get them to initiate action against the neighbouring block – Block War with Block A + Total War on one side, Block B + Judges on another.

Total War is just an example but each gang would be able to have specific campaign objectives and that I think would really get the feel of Megacity 1 across to the players. It would also let Mongoose release gang specifc supplements suggested by others - i.e. you buy the game box with a generic gang and campaign and then you can buy more specifc gang boxes with character and campaign info (and miniatures?) included.
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Postby SnowDog » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:16 am

Another idea.

I am not 100% sure if the Judges should be a playble faction or not.

Of course it would be cool to play Judges and while they are tough Dredd is still an exceptional Judge and Judges fresh out of academy are far behind his capabilities. Judge faction could be balanced by restricted number of deployable forces, ROE and stiff penalties against collateral damage. Still, if you allow only a small amount of Judges it is very hard to make rules that allow rich tactical options even when you are using only small amount of units.

Other approach would be handling Judges as something that can be used as game artifacts affecting how long the combats can take etc.

In any case I would handle the game a bit like Mordheim. In this case Judges might be considered as one gang. Other kind of gangs could be x amount and there is no reason why they would not get to a fight but I don't see much reason why two Judge "gangs" would slug it out.

I bring this point out because this widens the player pool (and figures/rules sold not to mention opportunities to play).

But I agree that roleplaying aspect should be kept to pretty low since this is still a tactical game, not an investigation.
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Postby SnowDog » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:20 am

Continued from previous because no-one bear to read too long posts...

It would be cool to have a built-in support for having an umpire and thus double blind games :)

Another nice to have thing would be terrain tiles like roads and streets that can be used for pursuits either randomly or based on scenario/umpire's decision.
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Postby Dobey Kweeg » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:06 pm

I think 9 out of 10 (plucked out of air figure admittedly!) want to paly judges.

The casual gamer wants to be a judge. he odesnt care abouit gaining a shuggy hall. He wants to enforce the Law!

So you have judge,s, who are elite but restrained by the law

you have perps who are numerous, usually weak, and have no restraints

that gives you something near a balanced game, IF you add in citizens for the perps to blend into/ hide behind/take hostage/ create completely new problems for the judges.

I'd say the fun of a good MC1 game wouldnt be in gaining a new territory, but in nurturing your judges, who you would know by name - not in an RPG style, but i think Judges should usually survive a session and over time gain abilities - lots of session in fact. When one dies, it might be a real wrench - he (or she) served Mega City well!

Playing as the perps is now fun as you can do all kinds of nasty things to
bewilder the judges, and just escaping justice is winning, however many innocents have to pay to make it so!
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Postby Goldwyrm » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:20 pm

I don't come over here much since the minis went away, but just saw this topic and read the Nov. 3rd Planet Mongoose.

I like the direction. I really like the idea of Judges as another option in addition to gangs, i.e.- a credit (point) balanced faction approach.

One suggestion, even if optional beyond standard pay. Something I'd really like to see would be mechanics allowing for the gang of one. What I mean to say is, in addition to spending points on low level models and equipping them, a player should also be able to buff up a single heroic character or pair of really good characters. I'm not just thinking equipment or stats, but buying "tactical situations". These could be as simple as one time extra actions or free dodges, to having greater tabletop effecting events like a block war breaking out in the area, a big explosion, or air support.

My goal is a game that creates cinematic action. I want a ruleset that will let a player run Judge Dredd alone against gangs, or by an unofficial change of setting and models, the Fifth Element, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Chronicles of Riddick, Aliens, or any number of stories of a few against many. The utility of a rules set to translate into other ideas is a big selling point for me.
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Postby numanti » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:05 pm

I like the dea of a game mechanic that pits a few against many. Getting the balance right would be difficult, though. In the comics, Dredd ploughs his way through dozens of perps taking damage himself only gradually. This could work well - the Judge player with only one or two models, the ganger with 20 - 30, or even 5 - 10 if they are a little tougher. But at some point it might become more like roleplaying where high level characters cut swathes through low level ones... but then again - would that be a bad thing?
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Postby HyperBunnyFreakOut » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:28 pm

One bad thing about the 1 vs many. No one really wants to paint up 30 gangers (or whatever) that drop like flies vs some body who paints a single 1 man army. But that might just be me.
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Postby Dobey Kweeg » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:46 am

HyperBunnyFreakOut wrote:One bad thing about the 1 vs many. No one really wants to paint up 30 gangers (or whatever) that drop like flies vs some body who paints a single 1 man army. But that might just be me.
I think thats just another reasdon why a Dredd minis game needs to radically reinvent the genre - it just doesn't work as a generic combat wargame with a Dredd theme pasted on. It's a much more dynamic and complex world than that.

That is, I presume why the original game went for 'equally' balanced gangs as the main protagonists, but that in itself is limiting. Dredds world is a lot more than just gangs of punks fighting over turf, and really, the allure of the game has to be in playing as a Judge, or as a criminal outsmarting the law.

I think a game that encourages everyone to buy both Judges and perps would be best

You would need a good number of Judges for your own sector house - different divisions and also your prized "named" judges, whose career you would follow and whose life you would actually care for - once hes dead, hes dead, but if you start chickening out of putting that Judge into the line of fire, then SJS will have something to say! :)

On the other side, you'd want a good number and variety of perps to test your opponents Sector House.

On top of that, citizens would be great to model in all their madness - a good plastic set should allow for the building of both low grade perps and cits with a variety of wacky MC1 fashons on display.
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Postby AmanAgain » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:03 pm

xeoran wrote:Nice summary.

On the game contents etc. I think a CD loaded with print-out models is best*. Yes its expensive but there is no way you could fit all the crazy of MC1 or even enough of it, into one game. I'd almost prefer to see Tannhauser style limited number of excellent quality models rounded out with print out or perhaps a riff off Pulp City and the Citizen Tokens ( http://arcaneminiatures.co.uk/pulp-city.asp ) and lots of those.

*Also if rather than using CG models or anything you just had the appropriate picture from one of the comics you could save time, add character and so on.
the CD is a nice idea. If it was going to have figs in a box, then they should be plastics with lots of options. Personally, I have always been totally satisfied with the style of the plastic gangers and the options. I think mine look great, very 2000AD. While the metal judges were also fab, if they were a plastic sprue you'd only need two basic types, male and female, and then various equipment to kit them out as med, tech, riot, etc.

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Postby AmanAgain » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:04 am

I disagree that it wasn't GMC1 enough. As a non-2000AD reader, I actually found it a great and very flavorful intro to the comic world. That should be taken as a compliment to the writer's style, btw. :D

I agree that a Judge "gang" focus would be nice. Sort of the way that LOTR competitions have you put forward BOTH a good and an evil army. It also helps keep you on both sides of the law instead of forcing you to make a choice! But we all thought it was great how one could narc out and "call the judges" to fight when your gang was weak and recovering.

Also, there should be a "Threat Level" system that parallels the fabulous ST mechanic of "Priority Level". The key to law enforcement at the organizational / command level is to assign assets when needed, and neither commit too few or too many assets. This would then dovetail into the scenario system. If you take a force with a higher threat level, then you have to achieve more.

The rules should be virtually interchangable in both mechanics and costs with BE Modern Combat / Special Ops / Apocalypse Z. This will not only promote sales, but prevent needless repetition of rules in other books. IT will also provide a cheap and fast way to get into the miniature rules world of BE - it's easier to paint up 5-7 gangers/team members/judges than an entire army. So you drop the difficulty of getting into the game with 100 painted minis.

Essentially, from a game design point of view, a "strike team" set of rules is an interchangeable genre. And the best thing about the GMC1 system is that you COULD field units of troops, just by using City-Def Traits.

It would be better if the Traits, Equipment and Figure Stats were all costed out, so you could build "gangs/teams" from scratch. this universality will not only increase sales, but encourage people to use the MP rules for other periods.

I'm planning to interest some guys in it using Star Wars figures. GMC1 is a hard sell here in the USA where it's never been quite as popular.

Sci-fi has been crying out for a "universal" set of skirmish rules for years. Lots of guys at "the club" have ST, BE, 40K, Void 1.1, Necromunda, Star Wars and other figures. What's always bogging down the games traction is that you need to learn 5 sets of rules to play.

So my end recommendation is to do a generic set of "strike team" rules, with unit possibilities (but not a unit based game, units are those Stormtrooper "extras" to provide cannon fodder for the strike teams), then make them genre specific, ie Modern Combat, GMC1, William Gibson, Hammers Slammers, whatever.

Can't see how that wouldn't sell, and it gives tons of design flexibility which is the key in today's market wher everyone likes different figure lines and different settings. Who cares if they like 2000AD if they buy the rules to use in their choice of setting - after all, it's the rules and books that make MP solvent, right?
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Postby SnowDog » Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:25 am

I would guess that the actual combat rules would be pretty similar to Spec Ops rules as both seem to focus on small unit action. But that's only a guess.

I don't know about Mongoose but traditionally rulebooks have not been all that important when compared to selling figures. That's why some companies even give out the rules for free...
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Postby ned-kogar » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:42 pm

I'm liking what Mr Sprange is saying in the latest Planet Mongoose! I'm sure there's a way that a campaign game could be the basis, with the thrilling toolkit element as a supplement...!
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Postby btom » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:22 pm

Agree the toolkit idea is interesting - its exactly what I personally would hope for in a new game. However, not sure it would be commercial enough though to attract the masses - most gamers seem to like structure and too many options might scare them off.

Anyway 2009 is looking good for Dredd, thats what matters, now we just need to keep pestering Mongoose for plastic judges.
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Postby Dobey Kweeg » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:11 pm

Personally, the toolkit talk doesnt float my boat. i want a game I can play, not a set of rules that might be used for a hundred things, but in reality, resources and time mean its not used for one. Toolkit is not a bad thing in theory, so long as the game can also demonstrate in practice an "out of the box" use that will draw me in to want to use the other tools.

so if you look at the current Gangs, you get some figures (put those together, painted up a lot) and a set of rules... but Mega City one remains elusive, how am i going to model that? Even the best models I've seen here (and theres been some good ones), create a mostly generic near future urban sprawl, rather than anyhting approaching the Big Meg.

The purpose for playing was all abit nebulous too - sure theres that stuff about building your gang... but it didnt really grab me, whereas spending a day on patrol with a squad of judges, thats got appeal straight away
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Postby MongooseMatt » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:21 pm

Dobey Kweeg wrote:create a mostly generic near future urban sprawl, rather than anyhting approaching the Big Meg.
But suppose, right from the book, you can also play in the Undercity or, say, Cursed Earth? Most players have suitable terrain for those two, I think. . .
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Postby ned-kogar » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:06 am

Say it was a two book boxed set (with eg. judges, markers and a terrain CD):

Book one is slimmish, but contains the basic game: Play judges, while another player throws a crime / gang / series of perps at you within the Big Meg.

The second book contains more exotic perps... additonal locations, more complicated crimes... etc... and provides the Tool-Kit that allows you create scenarios and campains that don't fit in the basic game...

Or the latter's a supplement, of course.

I really really like the toolkit idea!
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Postby Shadow Queen » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:03 pm

You could have some rouge Judges
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Postby lastbesthope » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:23 pm

Shadow Queen wrote:You could have some rouge Judges
But red is such a poor colour for the uniform, and make up is a no no! Or did you mean rogue judges?

:lol:

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Postby Shadow Queen » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:22 am

I have had a bad day LBH and yeah thats what I ment.
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Postby CallMeKermit » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:43 pm

Hi , all!! Here I am with my 2 cents :

1- The Space Hulk comparison is a good starting point, but what about a Space Crusade\ Advanced Space Crusade route? Space Crusade seems really an obvious inspiration , with squads working on multiple shared objectives , with a modular board with sections big enough to play a skirmish game AND an adventure\investigation game.Advanced Space Crusade can be used as inspiration for the cover , duck , prone and reaction mechanics .

2- What about dual game play ? For example , 3 squads of Judges (like Brits , Mega and Sovs ) against a common enemy ( like Kleggs , close combat or range equipped , or Muties ) , controlled by a single player in a cooperative game AND an option for a skirmish game (like Space Hulk Termies vs Termies , or ASC battle option ) , with experience and new equipment shared between the 2 modes of play.

3- The board. I really love square grids , but I understand the freedom of a system without a grid.Well ,give us both options , one in the boxed game and the other in a new article on S&P (maybe with boards examples like the SST Adventure Game) or as an optional rule in the Rulebook or Expansion. In the Dark Heresy RPG from Fantasy Flight there`s an option for playing with both maps and I don`t understand why more systems are NOT offering this alternative.

4-Squad Progression.In my opinion the best way is to have multiple options like individual bonuses( ranks and experience) , squad bonuses (like a previously arrested gang working as informers , or Undercity contacts) and new equipment ( both from ranks AND contacts).

5-A Chase Scenario. With a modular board is pretty easy to play a fast speed chase , moving the rear boards to the front .Also a squad can unlock new options for the chase ( road blocks and new vehicles ) with ranks or contacts.With sections of a specific terrain ( like an Undercity route leaving the city and entering the Cursed Earth ) you can have different hazards , like gangs and acid rain.

Sorry for the Long post!

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