Friday, September 14, 2012

Wreck Age - the Introduction: Get Involved in a Real Dark Future!

Old School here to talk about a game that our friend Brian at A Gentleman's Ones and his partners are trying to get off the ground; Wreck Age. I got my first Wreck Age model at Adepticon last year and wondered what it was all about. Well, this post will tell you a little abut the dark future of Earth, where the Wreck Age setting takes place. The game can be played on the table top as a miniature game and as an RPG as well. This post will introduce you to the back story and give you an introduction to the rules. We will follow this up with a post about factions later, but if you want to know more now, check out their Kickstarter page and learn more about the game and how you can be the first to get your hands on the game and its cool models!


What is Wreck Age?
Wreck Age depicts the desperate struggle of humanity after betrayal and disaster have decimated Earth as we know it. Your introduction to Wreck Age begins in the 26th century - in what we now call the Resurgence… “Year Zero.” ... Intrigued yet? Let's keep looking!

200 years previously, the world’s elite and privileged abandoned a desperate planet on the verge of complete collapse. They promised that subsequent waves would follow once they had cleared a proper path.

They lied.

Despite gasping and anguished attempts to salvage the polluted husk of a planet, Civilization teetered then tipped into utter devastation. Billions died.
Humanity has watched countless generations pass in despair and desolation. But now, in the Resurgence, for the first time in hundreds of years, crops are growing more stably, the birth-rate is rising, haggard communities are reaching back out into the surrounding territories. For the first time in centuries, there is hope.

In Wreck Age, players participate in the Resurgence –humanity’s second chance to save itself from extinction and to build upon the ruins of the past. Some have banded together, while others go it alone. Some ride to war, while others work ceaselessly for a lasting peace. In Wreck Age, survival is crucial; your wits are your best friend, and sometimes the only reward for a job well done is living to see tomorrow.  

Now that we know the background, let's take a look at the ways the game can be played and a glimpse of the rules of the game:

First and foremost, Wreck Age is designed to tell a story –but one that builds upon itself in several different forms. In sum, we wanted to find some fundamental commonality between the traditional tabletop wargame, the strategic dynamism of a board game, and the profound depth of an RPG.

The rules are simple, intuitive, and streamlined, but offer enough flexibility to allow players to engage in any scenario they might imagine. The 26th century is both diverse and dynamic; it is a wide-open space in which players will find plenty of room to build their own background and realize their specific vision. Wreck Age is both expansive and compelling. Like most people, we abhor tedious bookkeeping in our games, so we have developed a system that makes hit points and ammunition abstract, while still allowing a player both to be wounded and to run out of ammunition.

The world that we have created remains far greater than an individual encounter on the tabletop, yet that encounter promises to be both enjoyable and frantic. A resourceful player can win a confrontation without resorting to base violence, opting instead to disarm, trick, trap, or break an opponent. Indeed, not every Encounter requires a battle at all, unless that is the way players engage their characters. As a word of warning, we should mention that combat is quick and extraordinarily brutal, so if you decide to take up arms to resolve every problem, you may find yourself creating a lot of Characters …and with that in mind, we have made Character generation quick and enjoyable.   

As mentioned, the mechanics are fast and furious, which sustains a level of “realism” in the game itself. Characters will not wade directly through an almighty hail of bullets with only a scratch on the cheek to show for the effort. If you are not careful, your Character will die; however, the creation of each Character works intimately with a survivor Community in the Wreck Age, and these communities will train a party of explorers, warriors, or nomads similar to the previous one, so even if/when you face mortality, you will find it quite easy to pick up reasonably near where you left.

The Community is the single most important and defining facet of character creation. These tightly knit enclaves represent the last struggling vestiges of humanity and form both the moral and the ideological disposition of your Character. Your Community will shape the resources at your disposal and will offer the means and the impulse to use them.
…which brings us quite naturally to the good stuff: in this section, we are going to teach you how to use the rules to play Wreck Age. First, we will describe and define a few basic terms and explore the basic mechanics of the game. Second, we will examine how to build a Community and the fundamental role that Community plays in the world of Wreck Age. Third, we will walk through the creative development of your Character. With these fundamental elements in hand, you will be ready and able to explore all manner of gaming possibilities offered in Wreck Age.

Cooperative Role Playing and Tabletop Skirmish Game:
Uniquely, Wreck Age offers two avenues through which you and your friends will explore humanity’s despairing state in Year Zero and beyond; you can play Wreck Age as a Cooperative Role Playing Game and/or as Tabletop Skirmish Game. Ideally, you can play Wreck Age as both, a unique hybrid game system.     

At its core, a Role Playing Game is a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Whereas cinema, literature, and television are passive, Role Playing Games engage the participants actively as audience, actor, and author. In Wreck Age, participants act the role of characters in an imaginary world that is organized adjudicated by a Narrator (aka game master, referee, storyteller, and so on). The Narrator’s role is twofold: s/he not only conjures a world and cast of characters with which the player interact (and facilitates how those interactions proceed), but also advances the more grand narrative events of the storyline in conjunction with the players. As such, a cooperative Role Playing Game is not a zero-sum dynamic; the only way to lose is to not enjoy the game itself. Moreover, players are writing the story together, as a collective team.

By comparison, tabletop wargames incorporate miniatures or figurines into strategic play in order to reflect fantastic, futuristic encounters. These miniatures act as physical avatars or proxies for the players themselves and work dynamically in their real surroundings relative to one another. The tabletop format shifts the focus from interpersonal narrative construction to tangible strategic complexity. In Wreck Age, then, participants have the opportunity to test their strategic mettle in direct antagonism to their opponent.

Wreck Age offers a perfect hybrid of the Cooperative Role Playing and the Tabletop Skirmish wargame experience; players can emphasize either mechanism as they like, and are encouraged to explore the possibilities offered within, between, and across each mechanism.

Your Character: Weaver crossed through the Headlands a week ago, and noted with curious excitement as she trailed slowly through the desolate low hills and into the cool shelter of the white rock canyons. Protected from the merciless sun, the land once more slowly became lush and gently fertile. She heard birdsong for the first time in days. Exhausted from the travel and exposure, Weaver set her pack and her rifle down in the shade near a calm, trickling font. The skin on her arm was pink and beginning to blister.

Weaver dipped her hand into the small stream and carefully sipped the bitter water. She had come through the Headlands, a barren hellscape to be sure, in a desperate gamble to find the outpost known to lie secreted amongst the maze of small canyons. She carried news and goods for trade, aggressively.

But where was this outpost? Had she lost the path somehow?

Though relieved to have come through the Headlands in good nick, she was growing increasingly vexed. She peeled a layer of dead skin from the back of her hand, rested, and paused for the scorching midday sun to pass…

The Game:

Rule #1: The Golden Rule
Wreck Age is designed to be an enjoyable game, not a source of stress or confrontation beyond that depicted within the game itself. When presented with an unexpected problem, players should discuss the matter, decide what seems sensible and fair, then get back to playing as quickly as possible. When at an impasse, simply assign options to a die and roll it. The most important consideration is always your collective enjoyment of the game itself.

Weaver: She woke with a jolt. Weaver had drifted off with her burden and her exhaustion. The shadows had withered across the stream and the warm sun on her burned hand had pulled her back from the dreaming. She stiffened and turned with a sudden panic as her sense returned. She softened. Her pack and rifle were still there as she left them, untouched. She had not woken from the softly heard footsteps of an intruder, had she? It was only the sun.

Weaver crawled back across the white rocks and weeds beneath the overhang behind her. She collected her gear. How much time has passed? The canyon shadows were truncated and tricky. They moved too strangely to tell for certain. She looked out across the stream for a clue and thought she saw an odd shape on the rock across the water. It was hidden by the bright glare of the sun before; it was certainly man made. She craned her neck and squinted. Her hand inched toward her rifle.   

++You must take a “Wits” check.  In her Character profile, Weaver has a Wits value of 3, and so you may roll three dice to make this check. In standard circumstances, Weaver requires a result of 4 or better on these rolls to successfully pass her test. She rolls: 5-4-2. She has passed with an added bonus for having done so twice++

Weaver squinted again and the shadows on the rock across the valley resolved themselves into recognizable shapes –small, subtle carvings in the stone face, invisible until a brief moment or so when mid-afternoon sun would set beyond the false horizon of the canyon top, still hours before the world grew pitch: a circle and a line, two figures on either side, one laying, one standing, arms raised, a plea, a prayer, a code, a traveler’s code.

Weaver shouldered her pack and raised herself tenderly to her feet.

She knew where she would find the outpost

Universal Conditions
The tabletop game necessitates a reasonable amount of abstraction. A character might crouch and peek around a corner, though the miniature representing that character obviously cannot. Common sense is imperative, though there are some universal conditions that merit consideration and specific attention:

-All measurements are performed in inches. Unless explicitly instructed otherwise, measurements are always taken from the edge of a model’s base and, when necessary, to the edge of another model’s base. Exceptions will be rare.

-No measurements can be made before declaring an action; a skilled player must judge distances wisely.

-An individual miniature will be referred to as either model or Character throughout these rules. Characters act independently from all others. There are no units in Wreck Age.  

-Models are presumed to have a 360-degree field of vision at all times, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

-When prompted to make a check, unless otherwise explicitly stated, the target number for success on any given die will be 4 or greater (abbreviated to 4+) on a six-sided die (d6).

Characters (the individuals that compose the Wreck Age dynamic) are assembled from a series of relative attributes. There are 8 basic attributes in Wreck Age: Action Points, Movement, Shooting, Fighting, Power, Nerves, Wits, and Renown. These indicate the general abilities of each character in a variety of possible functions.

Attributes are generally rated from 1 to 6, and almost every game mechanism that involves chance builds from these eight attributes. In most circumstances, this value will identify the number of dice the player must roll when making a check for that characteristic (though this mechanism will be described in greater detail in the section “Checks and Target Numbers” below). Unless otherwise stated, an unmodified target for that check will require a roll of 4 or better to be successful (4+). In standard circumstances, a player will need to have at least one die roll equal to, or higher than the target in order to succeed at the action attempted. Additional successes beyond the first will invariably have an additionally positive influence on the consequences of that role.

A more involved explanation follows for each attribute:

By way of example, we have included a series of Character attributes from some personalities with whom you will now be familiar, and another yet to arrive in our introductory narrative. We offer these here as a relative measure of one Character in relation to others and as a first glimpse at just a few of the individuals that comprise the Wreck Age (note: for the moment, please observe and then ignore the Skills section of the profile. These will be discussed in greater details in a moment).

AP        M         S          F          P          N          W         R          Skills:
3          3          2          2          2          3          3          3

AP        M         S          F          P          N          W         R          Skills:
3          3          1          2          2          3          3          2

The Vagabond
AP        M         S          F          P          N          W         R          Skills:
2          3          1          1          2          2          2          1

Encounters: Turns and Rounds
Whenever the sequence of a game evolves in complexity to a point that it can no longer be determined with a simple attribute or skill check, the action of the game will “slow down” to a more manageable pace. This is called an Encounter. Players focus the actions within and Encounter into two basic subsections: Turn and Round.

As suggested, an Encounter represents abstract measure of time usually dictated by a specific Scenario. The Scenario is designed to accommodate the complexity of what would otherwise be simultaneous action: a daring escape, for example, or a sudden eruption of (often extraordinarily violent) activity. An Encounter lasts until it is resolved completely.

Each Encounter will occur over the course of one or more Turns, which represent the actions and reactions of all entities involved in the Encounter. Each Turn, then, is made from a series of individual alternating Rounds equal to the highest Action Point value of any Character in the Encounter (note: paralyzed, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise debilitated Characters are ignored when evaluating the number of Rounds in each turn). Generally speaking, each Round allows for Characters to expend a single Action Point in the give-and-take of simultaneous action in that Turn. 

That's the end of the road for now. Once you have a rulebook in your hands or on your tablet, then you can see the rest. The best way to do that is to help raise money to see this game make it to it's full potential! You can do so by checking out the Wreck Age Kickstarter down below. There are only hours left to get involved, so please visit  the Kickstarter! Check out the pics, the rules and the factions, which we will also cover later today!

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