Tuesday, 23 August 2016

MIA Playtests

First off we apologize for not posting on our blog for some time. We have been busy with holidays, shipping Kickstarter stuff and attending shows.
However, at our two previous shows we have run four games of Flint and Feather and taught rules to seventeen players. This is a slow process getting the rules out there and teaching them to gamer's everywhere.
At Historicon in July we had eleven players around two games. The first game was run by Howard Whitehouse and had five players competing over an assault on a village complete with a long house and surrounding log wall. The attackers consisted of three groups of five warriors in one warband while the defenders had ten warriors. I am told the assualt of the village failed but both sides suffered tremendous casualties.
The Iroquois advanced through a throng of trees to the north of the village. They were met with stern bow fire from the walls as they approached.
The first group of attackers went against the wall and were repulsed by the defenders with heavy casualties. This assault was followed up by the second and third groups led by their players and these groups were also repulsed. Thanks to all the player that helped playtest this game.
Cigar Box Mats were used in both these games and they helped make our games look impressive for the audience that surrounded them at Historicon. This scenario also gave us a chance to try out the defensive position rules. These rules certainly stiffen the defensive players in close combat.

We really enjoyed our time at Historicon and our support there grows every year. We will continue to support the HMGS and this venue and we appreciate the support of our fans at the show. Every year we plan new releases to coincide with this show and our supporters have helped make the trip down to Fredericksburg an outstanding experience for us.
The venue there is outstanding, modern and clean. The weather can be very warm at that time of the year but being inside does well to negate any discomfort this may bring. We also take route 17 when we drive in and never have had any trouble with traffic because we stay away from I-81. We believe as a company that getting out and meeting the gamers is an important part of our summer campaign. Also, providing new and innovative products for the show ensures continued relevance and gives you, the gamers, something to make your trip worthwhile. We will continue to strive for these goals as we grow our company. Thanks to all for your continued support!

In the second game we ran at Historicon six players squared off in a three versus three player game. Each player controlled a small six warrior warband. All the warbands were created fairly equal. However, a player showed up with his own warband and figures. Tim had some Patawomeck figures and they took part in the game taking a position on either side of the table. This warband added an interesting wrinkle to the game as Tim choose to arm most of his warriors with bows, which meant they were all using knives in close combat which gave them a -1d6 modifier when in melee. The trade off of missile fire weapons versus a slightly less powerful close combat result was effective in the game. The warband was able to cause some damage with bows before charging and winning a close combat. However, his group was pulled well out of range of the enemy and had very little effect on the rest of the game. We are going to have to playtest this strategy more to make confirm its effect on the game. Tim also made use of the move cautiously rules which we usually do not teach in demo games but made sense with his bow first strategy. Stay tuned for more thoughts on these points.
Off to the right flank we had a Great Warrior versus Great Warrior combat as the two leaders of their groups charged into each other in the middle of a frozen river. This combat was fierce and fun for the participants as the two leaders squared off. Meanwhile on the left flank more cautious movement resulted in a late game exchange of combats. Furs markers played an important role in the game and both sides captured a warrior from the other and after two hours of playing it was determined that things on the table were relatively even. As it was getting late the referees decided, with the acquiescence of the players, that the fight was relatively even at this point and both sides could go home and claim a victory to their tribe.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Oshweken Playtest

Tom's Archers huddle behind the rocks for cover.
Oshweken is a village on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, Canada.We were in Brantford for a local show at the Legion Hall and ran a day long campaign game of Flint and Feather. My goal was to work through a couple or few games using the campaign rules in between tabletop games to see how they ran and tweak any issues. We were successful in that we did get a chance to get a good assessment of the campaign rules.
We had two players lined up, Tom and Wayne, who sat down to bash on each other. Neither had played the game before so it would be a good test of the rules. This was also the first convention playtest that we used Shaman rules and Orenda. We also used the Warband Record Sheets for each player. Four Sheets of six man Warbands had been prepared the night before. Each Warband was created equally using a Great Warrior, Companion, Veteran Warrior, Warbearer, Stripling and Shaman. Therefore all Warbands were valued at 135 Furs each, as per the chart on page 2 of the Basic Rulebook. All abilities and skills were used from the Basic Rulebook except for two instances. First, we have made up about ten Shaman skills which were rolled randomly for the Shamans (what the heck we have to playtest them all anyway). Second, I made up a new skill called Arm of Oak which allows a Key Character to use a Huge Club, and the Huge Club gives a character an extra +1d6 for Counterblow when using the Huge Club. I have found this ability a little redundant (similar to Fox' Guile) so we may have to change the benefit slightly, like make it for Parry instead of Counterblow, and allow you to do an attack die out of Parry.
Wayne's Warband approaches after splitting to retrieve furs.
So the first game we played we used a basic set up and a grab the Furs Markers goal. The game progressed well with Wayne attempting to gobble up as many furs markers as he could, he got four by the game end. Meanwhile Tom played a more conservative game and based his defense around a rock outcropping which allowed him to hide and shoot arrows and then attack with some melee armed warriors from behind the rock. His tactic was successful as he was able to shoot down a stripling before the close combat was joined. In the ensuing close combat Wayne's Companion was injured and knocked down while both Great Warriors were injured. A Warbearer was also beat up. Wayne's group failed their Nerve Test and ran away leaving their Companion to be captured and tortured by the victorious Warband. With the death of the Stripling and the capture of a Companion as well as three Furs Markers captured the game was given as a victory to Tom who collected 100 Points and totaled out at 180 as per the Victory Table on Page 30 of the basic rules. Wayne meanwhile did not go home empty handed, gaining four Furs Markers, he achieved 50 points for being partially successful in the game, and he topped out at 69 Furs after considering all his loses and damage he created.
The Shaman (in wolf form) leads the charge.
In the between games section the Companion was rolled for and not accepted into the tribe but rather tortured to death. Wayne rolled for his Great Warrior with no effect on the brave. The warbearer also recovered from his wounds. Tom on the other hand lost the use of an arm on his Great Warrior and promptly retired the figure. He then promoted his Companion to Great Warrior and bought two new abilities for the new leader. He also purchased three Warbearers and a Stripling to further outfit his Warband.
We found the chart for the injuries to Warriors to be rather one sided. In terms of injuries sustained your figure either died, he retired, due to a severe wound, or there was no effect on him. Secondly, the points seem to come fast and furious and allowed a victor to really stock up on new recruits, abilities and equipment. Possibly 100 points is far too many for a winning side as this would allow you to buy up to three or four new models quite easily. Also, this could be the intent as warriors tend not to get old and skilled rather they are just replaced with fresh blood after a tabletop battle. More testing will have to go into the campaign rules to find the right balance.
In the second tabletop game we rolled up a scenario from our scenario pack and got the mission of "Trip to Kebec" right off the bat. This scenario is important because if you are the player traveling to Kebec you can buy the Shining Wood, a great boon to any warband. We will continue part two of this blog with a discussion about the Trip to Kebec Scenario next week. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Modelling the Three Sisters

One of my friends had bought me some Christmas wreath material that he swore was great to use to model corn rows. He was right. However, when modelling corn rows for the legendary pre-contact era one must take into consideration that the first nations peoples planted in clumps rather than rows. Also, they grew the three sisters together, which were corn, beans and squash in the northeastern area of North America with which we are concerned. So I decided to try and model the three sisters together rather than simple corn rows. So here is a quick demonstration of how to model the three sisters for your Flint and Feather tabletop skirmish games. I don't think this is anything new to the gaming genre but adding the three sisters in may be a bit of a novelty.

1. I started with wood rectangles of 1/8 thick wood, cut to 2" x 4' size. A glue and water mixture was slathered on top and fine grain sand drizzled on top to provide texture. This was allowed to dry and then painted brown with light brown highlights. The ground was completely mottled and allowed to dry before moving on to the next step.

2. Holes were drilled in clumped patterns on the wood, and the corn stalks were cut to size ranging from 3/4" tall to 1 1/2" tall. The wires of the Christmas wreath material was then white glued into the holes to stand up the corn stalks.

3. I got some small fake plastic plant sprues from the local dollar store. I then cut these into smaller clumps using a knife. Small round balls of green, orange and purple colours can be used for the squash. Small size green leaves on stems can be cut to size for the vines on the ground about the squash. These were glued in place on the bases.

That is pretty much it. Three easy steps to get some good looking three sisters patches for use in your games. Bob Murch has already prepared a discussion on modeling Longhouses out of birch bark pieces here.
Together these two topics allows you to create most of what you need to create a First Nations village. The only thing left is the wooden palisade that ringed the village. I am looking forward to completing my village and running a scenario based on a village assault

Flint and Feather Natives hiding in the Three Sisters.


Monday, 6 June 2016

Campaign Playtest

I am very proud to report that we sat down with four players on Sunday evening and started working on the campaign rules for the Flint and Feather game. We started by making up 100 Fur Warbands each. We had four players, two of which had played before but in the earlier playtesting versions. So we put two players on each side and started teaching the rules with our new upgraded warbands.

 We found a couple of key things out about how the rules were written. In no particular order these are:
1. Furs Markers should be set up no closer than 9" to either player edge and at least 6" from another marker in order to play on a 36" square board.
2. Huge Club is still in equipment but has no effect in the basic game.
3. Monsters move at the end of the active players turn. So, Active Player takes first action, Reaction by opponent, Active player takes second action. Monsters now move. Second Player become Active Player and does first Action, first player Reaction, second player finishes turn with second action. Monsters now move again.
4. We had our first occurrence of  a group not being spotted until it charged into the enemy. This was due to the player running, so it brought up the converstation of an auto-spot rule. We are working on this.
These were the major issues we found with the basic rules. Some of these issues are us just the rules writer not being effective at communicating his desires via the written word. Others are just oversight. We will work on getting the basic rules updated and reposted.

Onto the Game
We played a quick game in which one players group was unable to spot his opponents group, due to running to get a Furs Marker. He ran up beside a Furs Marker and then tried his spot into some trees, so his opponent was in concealment and rolled a six. He had already spotted the second group at the beginning of the game so he fired off three arrows at the second group, which was actually farther away. He rolled three ones, killing one warrior and causing a wound on a second warrior. Fine shooting indeed.

You can see the bowmen shooting at the targets behind the first group.
Of course at this point the opponent rose up out of hiding and charged into the unsuspecting foe. The fight was quick and bloody with a Veteran Warrior being knocked down and captured, and the Companion and a Warbearer getting wounded. The players warriors failed their  Nerve test and ran away with a demoralized result. At this point in time we decided to move on into the campaign rules as none of us had ever played with these rules.

The Campaign Rules
 The winning side had collected 179 points and divided it between the two players. They had also grabbed three Furs Markers when the game ended and received points for those as well. These points are divided up into three categories. Furs allows you to buy new warriors to replace loses. Experience is acquired equal to 1/4 of the points total. This is used to buy new equipment or attributes for your warriors. Finally the remaining points go towards the Great Warriors Reputation or Orenda. Each injured figure also gets a roll on the wound chart to see how they are effected by the blows they received. This can come as a modifier during the game or outright death.

So we have just started into the campaign. Look for more updates as we move thru the games.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Potawatomi Playtest

The Great Warrior
We were at Little Wars in Lombard, Illinois playtesting the Flint and Feather game on the weekend.
This area was inhabited by the Potawatomi people of the Great Plains. During the Beaver Wars they fled to the area around Green Bay to escape attacks by both the Iroquois and the Neutral Nations who were expanding their hunting grounds. The Potawatomi called themselves Neshnabe and they were part of a long term alliance with the Ojibwe and Odawa tribes.

Marching across the frozen tundra.

We set up our table with a new tabletop mat that we purchased from Cigar Box Battle Mats that we purchased at the show http://www.cigarboxbattle.com/
This mat added a great look to our tabletop. We thru in some frosted pine trees with excellent basing by Dave McKay. This mat really makes the battlefield look nice with a minimal amount of work.
Moving to cover behind the rocks
Taking cover from bow fire.
We taught the game to six new players and they picked it up very quickly. They enjoyed their time and really thought the game was a good Friday Fun night game. It took about three hours to get a result with the players actually pushing the action much further than needed. The winning team grabbed five out six of the Furs Markers and had killed the Great Warrior and both Striplings on the losing side. It was truly a great victory for them. However, the players wanted to see extended combat and thus on the final turn a medicine roll was failed (or succeeded, depending on your point of view) and an Oki appeared out of a sinkhole and started to inflict damage on the winning side.
It was a very successful test of the rules and we are very happy that all the changes we have made to the rules over the last few months were met with approval from these new players. Thanks to Jon, John Paul, Anthony, Thomas and the two Steve's who took part in the playtest. Photos have been attached to show the action.

The Kickstater is set to begin, we just need approval from Kickstarter to start the project. Look for us to begin as soon as this approval is given.
Edit: After I finished this blog entry and posted it I went back to check the Kickstarter and we are approved! So its official we will be a go on Wednesday morning! Stay tuned for the official launch notification.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Kickstarter Update

We would like to issue a formal update about the Kickstarter for Flint and Feather.

As you all know we have been working on getting the Kickstarter ready to go to present to our supporters. We had the preview posted last week and we have since taken it down.
Thank you for all who provided feedback on the Kickstarter.
However, two things came up over and over again from those who provided feedback for the Kickstarter. First, people were looking for the rules. The Flint and Feather rules are in playtesting right now. Some of you have played them at conventions. This is great and we will continue to run games such as at Little Wars on the upcoming weekend. We are scheduled to run a playtest game on Saturday night. If you are available please join us.
The second thing that came up was the fact that some people only wanted one set of miniatures rather than both box sets that we were offering in the basic pledge.
So we had to reconsider the Kickstarter given these two requests.
After hours of discussion and planning on how we can work out the timing, we came up with a solution. It was decided that we would run the Kickstarter with the purpose of getting the miniatures released as soon as possible while raising funds to complete the rule set. With this in mind our plan is to move forward with getting the miniatures funded and shipped by July 2016 while getting the rules funded and shipped by December 2016.
We realize this schedule is aggressive but we believe it will be achievable. Therefore we spent the weekend working on the Kickstarter and we should have something ready to begin this week. Believe us we want this Kickstarter underway, but we also want to be able to present a great product to our loyal fans. Thanks for the patience but we are trying to get this done correctly up front so the end of the Kickstarter is achieved in a timely manner.

Also, in order to have a video about the gameplay in the Kickstarter we completed our first (hopefully) game play video where we show the Close Combat rules for Flint and Feather. So for the loyal followers of our blog, here is that video for you to see. Thanks all and keep an ear open for the Kickstarter kickoff later this week.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Basic Game Playtest

My Companion and Shaman hide in the trees.
Our playtest started with each of us choosing twelve figures to play. I had the brown based Mohawk while my opponent had the green based Huron. Both players separated their Warband into two groups. I had my Great Warrior with the Veteran Warrior and some Warbearers in one group with my two Companions and Shaman along with the Stripling and a Warbearer in a second group. My opponent had a similar setup. But he had a Companion with the Veteran Warrior with the Companion with the Great Warrior. This is the first time we had used Veteran Warriors so they were a neat addition to our force pool. It was also the first game with Shamans and Orenda involved (see the previous entry).

Moving towards a Furs Marker.
I won the initiative and took the first movement. I rolled a two and the Huron player rolled a five and in these rules the low roll is good, so I won the initiative. I immediately moved my Great Warrior at a walk forward to attempt to get to my first Furs Marker (again see the previous entry for more about Furs Markers). I could not reach the marker immediately so I spotted my opponent. My Great Warriors group was successful at spotting opponent. He was considered in cover because a set of woods was in between our groups, so I needed to roll a three or less and succeeded.

The Huron React towards the enemy and the Furs.
 The Huron now responded by moving to the edge of the trees and attempting to spot my warriors. He was successful in his spot and now both sides had one group visible. He was obviously on the way to one of the Furs Markers we had placed before the game started. His second group attempted to react and ended up failing the roll. All groups must roll less than the CV of their leader in order to "react" to an opponents move. The Huron's second group, led by a Companion, needed a four or less to activate and failed the roll, achieving a six. His group stayed in place and was not allowed to react.

As my second action in my turn as the phasing player I rushed my Great Warrior forward and stationed the Veteran Warrior next to the Furs Marker which looks surprising like a small puddle. The Veteran Warrior must stand for one turn beside the Furs Marker to claim it. At which point it will move to my side of the table and be considered my loot from the game. The player who gets the most loot wins the game. It is now the Huron turn. The player takes the Turn Indicator (we use a large 54mm figure on base) and he makes his Medicine Roll. The Huron rolls a two and all his groups may move.

The Huron player attempts to move his Companion led group forward and rolls two dice for a walk move. He rolls two ones. The walk move takes the highest of two dice so he can move the group one inch forward. Not a fast start for that group. This group attempts to spot the second Mohawk group that contains the Shaman and are not successful rolling a six which will never spot any groups. The other Huron group parks on the edge of the woods and fires some arrows at the Mohawk group out in the open, picking up the Furs Marker. No wounds occur.
The Companion leads a rush and take a wound from Bow fire.

The Mohawk player, me, now gets to React to the Huron movement. One of the Companions in the group with the Shaman charges towards another Fur Marker, however, in a strategic or greedy idea, depending on your point of view, I have them skip the closer Fur Marker and run toward the marker that is further away, trying to get a jump on my opponent in collecting the Furs Markers. As this small group approaches the Furs Marker (a column in the picture) the Shaman and the second Companion activate and the Shaman takes the "Create a Spell" action rolling one die and placing it on the Orenda Sheet. The Group led by the Great Warrior activates and the Veteran warrior picks up the Furs Marker. There are two bowmen in this group and they open up with fire at their opposite numbers, both missing the target.

The beginning of the second turn and I fail my Medicine roll.
For their second action the Huron groups both move forward. The group near the back of the table performs a walk move and takes a long bow fire at the rapidly moving Mohawk group on that flank. They manage to cause a wound to one of the warbearers that accompany the Companion. Missile fire requires a successful roll less than the firing figures CV. This is modified for movement. The Huron fired a Stripling with a bow and a Warbearer. They had walked forward so the Warbearer needed a two or less (CV of three - 1 modifier for moving is 2 or less). The Stripling gets the same modifier so that figure needs a one on a d6 to successfully hit the target group. One hit occurs and a random figure is chosen as the target with a die roll. Key Characters can choose their target but others roll randomly to see who they hit. Once the hit is determined, a roll is made on a wound chart with a higher roll causing more damage. Damage can be modified by range, bows do more damage at 12" (they get a +1 modifier) and even more damage under 6". Knives, tomahawks and spears can also be thrown in the game.
The second turn of the game begins and the Mohawk player fails his Medicine roll with a six on the die. The Medicine roll is performed by each player at the beginning of their turn and determines which groups may move for the turn. There is a also a special result called the Medicine roll. A six for the Medicine results in a few weird things happening in the game, including checking to see if wounds get worse or better. The phasing player can only move one group and that group can only make one action which the opponent still gets to React to in his phase, and then the turn is over. Also you must roll on the Medicine table, which brings unusual elements into the game. In my turn I roll an unseen ditch. As you can see in the picture above a ditch is found in the terrain that was not seen before and the opponent places a 1" by 6" long ditch which takes a whole action to move over appears. So much for going in that direction.

To be continued...

A note about our Kickstarter:
Our Kickstarter is ready to go. If you have not seen the preview please take a look at it here link
Look for us to start this Kickstarter on Friday.