Monday, 31 August 2015

WiP: Preping more nomads...

I've not finished painting the other  tray full of nomads yet, but on Saturday Seb kindly helped me get a pile of figures preped and based, so I am cracking on with doing the weapons and shields... The figures on the left all await GSing (mainly straps on muskets and holsters) while on the  right they are all done. I have also taken some more pics of the  archeotechologist as a couple of folks were asking about him...


Saturday, 29 August 2015

WiP: Team ATR project day

So we thought that things might come together a bit faster if we had a joint work day - I'm  busy with a paint brush, Seb is ordering scenic supplies and  Emma is busy cutting out bases for scenery...


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

WiP: Northern Nomads

A few WiP snaps from my desk - please ignore the part painted Valkyrie crew and the horde of  grey-primed dark-ages types on the paint station in the background!


 From L: A scav/archeotechologist, nomad warrior, Carn Ikea Torsson, a selection of pack mules and part of a hunting dog. The building in the background will be the 'traders hut' in the display game... Yes, it does have a sofa and a washing machine outside it. No... I don't know why either!
From L; Hunting dogs, light cannon 1 (Warlord Frame gun), light cannon 2 (Boot Hill 'come take it' gun), 2 part-converted Warlord gun crew (ECW Scots -> Northern Nomads) & a part built cart as scatter for the village in the display game.
The gun crewman hunched over will be getting a slung shield and will have some GSing done on his coat. The chap leaning forward with the fuse needs some work done on his trousers, and may well get a belt...
Assorted part painted Northern Nomads
(Note: angry northern lady!)
More assorted part painted nomads....
Close-up of Carn Ikea Torsson, my commander for the display game
(Ancestral shotgun for the win!)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

An evening with the nomads

From the journal of Kendall Nintendo -  self-proclaimed explorer, archaeologist of dubious merit and suspected charlatan
"I found myself invited to a banquet of one of the savage northmen's petty chieftains, a man called Carn Bjorn, of Clan Drakkar. The banquet was held in the Carn's feasting yurt - a massive tent, formed from the hides of 36 mammoths, set at the heart of a sea of tents, yurts and the wheeled sheds the nomads call 'Kampacans'. The feasting yurt had a great bench set across the far wall, and three massive fires in the centre. To one side, food was being served on rough tressel tables - hunks of reindeer and mammoth, flat breads and dried fruits. On the other side the band were getting ready for the nights merriment, tuning guitars, checking drum skins and polishing flutes.
In the centre of the bench sat a large man in a red tunic, baggy trousers and dark blue caftan-style coat draped over his shoulders. A bushy beard, fur hat, and long straight sword hung from his broad belt finished off the ensemble. He was flanked by even larger men, clad in long coats of chain mail, their burnished helmets reflecting the light of the fires. This was Carn Bjorn himself, slayer of a hundred mammoths, said to be the favoured grandson of the great war godess Kalash and her twin brother Nikov.
I  hung back, whilst a small man in characteristic tattered clothing of an upcountry scav prostrated himself before the mighty Carn. Such men are often found outside the major cities, peddling tat excavated from among the ruins of the Ancients. The scav raised his head, digging in the sack next to him, and pulled out several rusty lumps which he pushed across the floor towards the Carn. The armoured man on the right of the Carn leant forward with interest, but at that moment a wild figure with spiked hair lept in front of the Carn.  It was his technomance, a shamechanic of the lowest grade, who proceeded to wave his wire bedecked rhythm-stick whilst chanting protective apps incase the acheotech carried Malware curses into the heart of the tribe. Fools. Surely they must know that Malware can only be dispelled by the application of the proper rituals to invoke the mighty god Norton himself?!
The scav had flattened himself at the technomancers appearance, but had now half stood and was chanting back a litany of uninstallation to counter the technomagic. Guards from the Carn's Vaktar-gang had come rushing in drawing pistols, swords and axes. Seeing the oncoming mass of chainmail, fur and weapons the scav evidently decided that a possible technomagic virus was better than a rapid disemboweling. He put his hands up, and was dragged bodily out of the tent to face prosecution by the  clan's law-speaker. The Carn nodded his thanks to the technomancer, and I decided that I would keep my distance for a while whilst the guards calmed down. I circled the feasting yurt, taking in the sights of a barbarian camp - the men's costume was varied, and it seemed that baggy trousers were in fashion, protruding from under the skirts of tunics and jackets. Furs, long hair and beards added a savage note, further excentuated by jewellery made from animal teeth and fragments of old tech. The clan's ladies typically favoured long dresses, with cloaks and aprons instead of the men's furs. Several were dressed in a similar manner to the men, and from the weapons stuck through their belts I gathered that these must be the famous nomad shield maidens, but before I could engage any in conversation the band started.
The  guitarists started shredding heavy rifts, whilst the drums pounded and the pipes wailed. There lead singer began a most extraordinary song,  practically growling out his words in a savage frenzy. The effect was mesmerising. The crowd in the tent went wild, violently shaking their heads in time to the music, causing their long hair and beards to swish rythmically. I  had heard tales that the certain sects, the metallurgists, of the ancients had once practiced such music and dance as part of their rituals for controlling iron and steel... ''

The rest of the page is unreadable, the ink having run from a spilled drink or partial submersion.

- Xander 

Lead Space - The Highland Spring Water Clan

So these guys are now filling up my paint queue.

The Highland Spring Water Cartel are providing support to the City of Manchester's forces. The nomad marauders activities are bad for business and the Highland Spring have been busy putting together a coalition to head them off. In practice this means that Manchester is doing a lot of the heavy lifting, but the Highland Spring have been making their presence known, to let the minor factions know that Manchester can't take all the credit, if nothing else.

A Highland Spring NCO and banner bearer

The full Highland Spring contingent

The only real conversion I've had to so far; he now has an FN MINIMI.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Plug and play setting element, or, what do you want to play today (part 2)?

And so, to the final part of my series on how to customize your game world in All That Remains.

The assumption behind a vanilla game of ATR is that the apocalypse happened to a world more or less like ours. The technology is familiar and radiation is more likely to give you a bad case of death than three arms and precognition.

Of course, plenty of post apocalyptic fiction takes place in radically different settings, and ATR is designed to allow you to mix and match your favourite setting elements to your satisfaction.

Thus, the final thing you must agree with your opponent, before building your forces, is what setting elements your world includes.

To me the "big three" are futuristic technology, mutations and psychic powers.

Futuristic technology itself will be scalable, with three levels representing potential future development, speculative technology and what is essentially science fantasy.

20 Minutes Into the Future - the lowest level - includes things like OIWC systems and micro drones. Technology that is still very new or not quite mature.

Speculative fiction contains technologies that are mostly in the realm of science fiction but still grounded in reality. Powered exoskeletons, robots, and sentry guns belong here.

Science fantasy contains the technologies most divorced from reality - at least currently. Powered armour, energy weapons and androids are unlocked at this level.

The future technology element also modifies the Fog of War deck, by adding cards that can "glitch out" complicated technology or send robots into fratricidal rampages. This level should also result in new faction building rules for all AI factions.

The Mutants element adds well... mutants to the mix, allowing you to modify the base stats of your troops or give them wings and natural weapons. Mounts can also be modified to create agile leaping raptors or gigantic armoured beasts. The charges of animal handlers can also be modified allowing various mutant beasties to rampage across the battlefield.

Psychic powers allow you to field various psychic characters to support your forces, or interfere with your opponent. It's as simple as that really.

These will be produced after the main rules are done, initially as separate documents, but will be eventually incorporated into the main rules. Speaking of which, I've spent a lot of time on trains with my fancy new laptop recently, and the rules are evolving quickly.

Other 'minor' setting elements I'm thinking of adding are:

  • More options for very primitive factions and visionary re-inventor types
  • Rules for heroes - i.e. adding unique characters to the game
  • Archaeotech - rules for randomly generating future weapons, that may easily backfire on your forces.
I've got the feeling that I'm missing something important here. If you can think of a setting element I've overlooked or something you'd like to see in All That Remains, why not add a suggestion in the comments?

Hopefully the next post I make will contain some lead candy.

-- Sebastian

Friday, 21 August 2015

WiP: Northern Nomad Warriors

Just to say that I have made a start...
Currently on the table are:
3x 'nobles' (heavy infantry)
1x standard bearer
2x musician
2x gun crew
1x animal handler
27x warriors
3x captives (will become objective markers)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Northern nomad force composition

I think I have finished sorting out what my Clan Torsson northern nomad force will consist of for the  display game:

Veteran Warlord (Carn Ikea Torsson) with armour, shotgun and improved melee weapon.
6 man veteran retinue with armour, mixed muskets, blunderbuss, muzzle loading pistols and improved melee weapons
A standard bearer
2 animal handlers (and 4 hounds)

Clan Torsson  Skvatrgang
15 man experienced warriors with armour, mixed muskets, muzzle loading pistols and improved melee weapons

4x Clan Torsson warrior warbands
Each 10-12 warriors. 2 will be  average quality, 2 will be  experienced.  All will have mixed muskets, blunderbuss, muzzle loading pistols and improved melee weapons

2x ultra light cannon with 2 experienced crew

2x Armoured  war mammoth with experienced crew.
1 will have a howdah with 3 warriors armed with muskets and pole arms. The other will have a  ultra light cannon mounted in the  howdah, and the 2 crew will be  armed with pole arms.

(No idea what that comes to  point wise ?!)

Plus there are 4 objective markers  - 2x fleeing citizens/lifestock and 2x captives/lifestock/Clan Torsson plunder and baggage.

I'm going to be a busy boy!


Friday, 14 August 2015

Ammunition, or, what do you want to play today (part 1.5)?

I've received a questions about the last post regarding ammunition which probably should have been covered there so here's a quick summary.

Availability of ammunition, or the ability to manufacture it reliably is obviously something that will shape the armies and combat doctrines of your faction. All That Remains being a post-apocalyptic game, reliable supplies of ammunition may be hard to come by.

Unless you're playing in The Walking Dead universe where everyone is apparently resupplied by the USAF on a nightly basis...

Whenever a unit which includes one or more non-primitive firearms fires it's weapons, it rolls an ammo dice, which with a roll of a one indicated that that unit has run out of ammo - for it's modern weapons.

Units can be resupplied with logistics points, which are purchased during your force selection, and are spent to resupply your troops. If you run out of logistics points, your squads will start to run out of ammunition.

It should be noted that costs for logistics points "ramp up", i.e. the first one will cost X, the next will cost 2X the next 4X and so on, so eventually buying another logistics point will become uneconomical, where that point is, is up to you.

That's all there is to it really.

I haven't put that much work into it yet, but I'm currently leaning towards not changing the cost dependent on setting level, the cost of guns themselves should be enough to incentivise or deincentives their use.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Scalable tech levels, or, what do you want to play today (part 1)?

Cards on the table, "tech level" really isn't the right phrase... but more on that later.

I really appreciate pointed war-games. What I mean by that is, wargames that have a points system to help balance game-play. Now, points systems have their detractors and they have a point, they can only go so far to balance a game and some companies (naming no names but you probably know who I'm talking about - cheap shot I know) gave up anything but the illusion of balance some time ago. I very much doubt that I'll be able to give All That Remains anything like close to perfect balance, what with all the planned features, but I am going to try my hardest.

No, the great advantage of points systems over scenario based games (such as Force on Force - and don't get me wrong I love me some scenario based games as well - check out BIG Force on Force for some epic stories) is that you can contact your mate, set a time and place, agree on a points limit and just turn up. There's no need to design scenarios (which is just another form of balancing) or plan in advance what terrain and specific figures you'll need for that scenario, it's just points limit, build a force, turn up.

Which I suppose is a rather long winded way of introducing the fact that ATR is designed to allow you to quickly tailor the "flavour" of your game world, but keep things easy to pick up and play.

Now back to the scalable tech level thing. The available technology at the time of, and after The Fall in your game of ATR is scalable, but that will be addressed, but through the plug-n-play elements.

What I was trying to express could, more accurately, be termed, "gun saturation."

There's no doubt that guns can really define a work of post-apocalyptic fiction, and as war-gamers you'll all be aware of how different games play depending on whether the setting has firearms - particularly automatic firearms - or not and, by extension, how firearms changed the historical battlefield.

There are three levels of, what, for lack of a better term, I am going to call "gun saturation" for now. Depending on what style of game you want, you and your opponent should agree on what level you are using before putting your forces together.

The default level strikes a balance between the three. The closest approximation to this level is probably Fallout 1. In the original Fallout there are plenty of firearms to go around, but melee fighters (or "builds" in the case of the player character) are clearly still a viable tactic. In this setting guns are fairly common, but it is conceivable that a faction would be able to survive and prosper with very few, or none. Primitive firearms will see use as well, as factions manufacture them to make up capability gaps. Factions that specialise in firearms will have to balance their desire for firearms - and resultant small numbers- against the possibility that a melee armed force will overrun them. This is probably the closest to what is known colloquially as "Brit-apoc".

Guns are most abundant in what I am calling the Postman (Film) level. Most soldiers will fight with an automatic weapon of some kind. Modern firearms are reduced in cost relative to other kinds of weapons, meaning that choosing primitive ranged weapons will offer worse value for your points. This style of game will play very differently to the other two, with most of the action taking place at range, with melee combat being rare, and assaults - unless meticulously executed - are likely to fail.

The third level is what I am currently calling the "Fury Road" setting. Modern weapons are so rare that they become real heirlooms. Those that are on the field will probably be the signature weapons of important warriors. This setting plays differently too. The battle will probably be decided by melee combat, with primitive weapons providing support. Forces that focus exclusively on modern weapons will probably be infeasibly small at this level, or at the best have to play a canny game against a sizeable, if more primitive army.

A fourth, unwritten level is of course, to not have firearms at all, either modern or modern and primitive. However, ATR is not being written with this in mind, and there may be better rulesets to capture this type of game - in fact, we're working on one, very much on the back burner right now though.

I hope this piques your interest. In my next post I will cover how you can customise your game world with plug-n-play setting elements, including everyone's favourite post-apunkalypse tropes.

I've got lead!

The postman brought goodies!

World building, or, Apocalypse How?

So, with Xander making a start on describing the world of our display game - I must admit I hadn't given much thought to it before today - I thought I should give you an idea of how world building affects your game.

I mentioned on the About page that All That Remains is designed to allow you to set your games in any post apocalyptic setting you want, including - as Xander noted - any of the various settings found throughout the post apocalyptic genre.

The most obvious detail you'll want to decide on is how civilisation came to an end in your  world. Your choice of apocalypse will make itself felt through the board you fight on, and the Fog of War deck, a deck of cards drawn on any time one of your units rolls a 1 on a Quality Check.

Depopulation bombs are one type of apocalypse you can consider. For whatever reason the population of earth has been reduced, suddenly and drastically. Pandemics, environmental collapse or a global economic meltdown are all good examples of this kind of apocalypse.

This is the "vanilla" setting for ATR, and doesn't affect the board or add new cards to the FoW deck.

Nuclear war - the big one. This setting adds cards to the FoW deck that can render terrain pieces suddenly unusable as pockets of fallout are found lingering to poison the unwary. New items such as Geiger counters and HAZMAT gear can be bought to protect your troops from its effects. Background radiation fluctuates wildly, potentially blocking radio messages to your support assets and troops.

A super volcano or small asteroid may have hit your world, plunging it into a deep winter. Blizzards may spring up without warning slowing, but concealing troop movements, or disappear just as suddenly, leaving your units exposed.

And lastly, everybody's favourite, Zombies! Now you might think that this would result in a very different game. And you'd be right. And wrong. Remember how in The Walking Dead zombies sort of became a secondary threat? It's a bit like that. The zombies of this world have started to decay and recede as survivors bind together to create new societies. And of course forgetting that they were almost wiped out, begin the time honoured tradition of competing with each other for dominance.

In a Zombie apocalypse game you can use your silence as a weapon, or open up to quickly achieve your objectives. Because zombies without a unit in sight will head towards the noisiest unit, and the noisier both sides are combined, the more zombies are attracted to the fight... Best bring those crossbows, just in case... The FoW deck also becomes zombie themed, with zombies suddenly lurking in the cellars of houses you thought were safe, and infected among your own men, because of course, "it's just a scratch." Just remember that the focus is force on force violence, the zombies are just an inconvenience. A hungry, hungry inconvenience...

These are the three I've put thought into so far, I'll probably post a thread over at the Post-Apocalyptic Wargames Forum (check 'em out) to brainstorm more.

 Of course there's nothing to stop you mixing these settings. Mix nuclear and deep freeze and you've got a Nuclear Winter, for instance.

And if you combine zombies and deep winter you get...

Ha! No but seriously, G.R.R.M's lawyers would metaphorically eat us. Then G.R.R.M. would actually eat us...
More exotic settings can also be handled, albeit in different ways. Machine apocalypses can be handled with the upcoming future tech rules, with all machine factions. Alien invasions can be easily represented, either by treating the invaders as basically human with advanced technology, or by using the upcoming mutant rules to flesh out truly alien species.

In both these cases, it should be remembered that ATR is designed to be a post apocalyptic ruleset. Thus machine factions and alien armies are better dealt with in this light. For machine factions, perhaps view as just yet another powerful group in the wasteland, like the various robotic factions of Darwin's World. For aliens, consider a scenario more like Armageddon Empires. Earth there was fairly ancillary, merely a planet caught in the crossfire of an interplanetary war. Once the front moved on, the stragglers and deserters of the two alien empires were no more impressive than the angry humans set on reclaiming their planet.

Hopefully, this has given you an overview on how you will be able to inform your games of All That Remains through your world building. In my next post I'll talk about the variable technology level and the plug and play elements.

-- Sebastian

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The 'world' of the display game

This is the setting for our display game, told from the  perspective of my northern nomads - it's not the default setting for ATR [There isn't really a default setting for ATR - Seb], just an example of what is possible. Please feel free to use whatever setting you want for your ATR games - Twilight 2000, Fallout, or anything else you can imagine!

Game details:
Tech level: At the time of the Fall, the technology level hadn't progressed too far from current levels (e.g. projectile weapons, no functioning robotics)
Apocalypse: Depopulation bomb

All That Remains: The aftermath of post-Fall north-west Europe. The ice-sheet is just off the top of the map...

-The northland trader sits opposite you across the fire, the ruddy flames highlighting his bearded face and reflecting dully from the hilt of his straight sword, buckles and the  CD which forms the centrepiece of his animal tooth necklace. He takes another swig of beer from his tankard before speaking-

''The world ended with a splutter. That's what they say, anyway. As far as I know, no-one from then is still alive to ask. My great grand father could barely remember the early bad years after the Fall - the ones we now call the dark days. Someone once told me that one of the  Ancient's weapons misfired: It unleashed a plague that  killed almost everyone. But then, someone else told me that the whole world tilted on its axis slightly - they said a rock hit it. I've seen plenty of rocks land, but I can't imagine one big enough to make the whole world move... It's fair to say that I don't know.  It doesn't matter now. People died. The  Ancient's civilisation crumbled like stale bread. Things changed.

People drifted from place to place, trying to find somewhere to live. In the north, where my people are from, winters started getting really bad. Then they got worse. The ice didn't always melt in summer. Year by year, the  ice sheet creeps southward. Some years, it barely moves. Some years it moves miles. So the people kept moving, trying to outdistance the ice sheet. People from east and west became one in those early years, breaking into smaller clans to travel, only coming together for major feastivals. As the ice grows, the sea recedes. At least we can wander further.

We graze reindeer and the mammoths. Someone once said that all the mammoths died long ago, but they must have been lying.  There were mammoths in my great grandfather's day. He said they were kept in special places, Zors, where folks could go to see them.  No point in looking at a mammoth.  Farm them, hunt them, use them to tow your kampacan. But not look at them. When we get close to tribes that aren't of the People, we trade. Or if we can best them in battle and take their things, we do. The weak and useless don't last long in the north. Those who fight back we respect. War is part of life, death is part of life too. Like 8 month old reindeer jerky. We don't make peace, but we move on when the fighting profits no-one and goes on for too long. Often we come back and try again. But always we tell them that the Ice is coming. They say that their walls are thick and that their fires are warm. We shake our heads at such foolishness. The Ice in unstoppable. 

Some tribes in the south live in cities, and the Ice has pushed us so far we occasionally come into contact with them . I could not imagine such a thing as a city until I  saw it with my own eyes. So many people living together,  and so many ways of doing so. In some places,  everyone chooses a leader. In some,  they say god chose for them. Mammoth dung the lot of it. Each of our clan's is led by a Carn, and each year the Carn's pick the mightiest to be the Great Carn of the People.

That's enough from me - the beer is doing the talking for me... I'll tell you more another time youngster...''

-He stands up, shaking out his long hair snd adjusting his fur jerkin. The old tech charms on his belt chink gently against each other as he strides away, mutterings to himself in the guttural tongue if the nomad people-


Xander's original army idea...

The Northern Nomad raiders weren't my first 'army' idea.

A while ago I painted up these chaps, with the original splurge being "Mortal Engines: Pre-traction era Nothern Nomads - These figures are all flights of fancy. The figures with the Red-starred shields are 'Rus' (a people that only vague reference is made to, and no details given). The green painted helmets and red-star-on-green-background are both references, of course, to the USSR; as is the brown leather armour (although it is somewhat less obvious). I imagine that these will be low grade warriors, probably formed up into large units (and possible supported by a few arquebuses/muskets and crossbows as either integrated support - ECW style - or as separate units. I was thinking of using some of the new Empire plastic hand gunners to provide the firearms) and thrown against the enemy's warriors whilst the main power will be Druhuzina style heavy cavalry. Or something like that anyway. The chap with the carbine has been done as some sort of north-country trader/old-tech scavenger (hence the grenade), who will probably be used as a independent character."

I had planned to resurrect them for ATR: they'd be the soldiers of an aggressive neo-medieval city state, inspired by stories of the 'great red army'. They were still going to have the semi-uniformed pike and shot infantry, a light cannon and heavy foot knights with pistols (The T-brotherhood... hence I was going to be fielding brother T-34 and the mighty T-80, etc). They may even have had archers, to provide a rapid firing close-support. The rules have a range of 'combat doctrines', which can be applied to the army lists to help tailor the list and bring out the background of an army more. Thus this group was going to be using doctrines such as 'Yesterday's war'; which gives soldiers a bonus in melee and using primitive weapons (If I've remembered correctly?). 

It would have been a striking sight, but in the end I decided it had the potential to look far too much like I had simply rocked up with a WHFB Bretonnian army (as they were going to be the principle source of figures). As part of our aim is to pique people's curiosity when they glance at the table ("what are those thatched houses doing among the the ruined multi-stories? Are those mammoths?! And why have those guys on the other side got a machine gun?!?") we didn't want to give people the opportunity to dismiss it as just being 'Warhammer'....


Another welcome

I just thought I'd pop up and say hello - I'm the other half of the project (not entirely true... Emma has promised to help with scenery). Seb is the man behind the rules, and has to put up with me spamming him with ideas (good, bad and bizarre) of modifications. A good example are the weapons options - the crossbow pistol only made it to the list because I have a few figures armed with them, much to Seb's annoyance (?). [As pointed out by the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett, pistol crossbows are for posers -- Seb]

I've been dabbling in PA wargames for the last 15 years or so (general wargames for a few more), and as time has gone on I've leant increasingly further away from the  classic Mad Max/Fallout/Zombie tropes. My last project was 'WinterApoc' - a UK set (and thus low fire-arm density) gritty setting, visually inspired by The Road.

For ATR, I am planning a force of 'northern' nomadic raiders. I'm drawing heavily on some of the descriptions of the nomad empires  from Philip Reeve's World of Mortal Engines book series. The general asthetic will be cossack-meets-Rus-viking, although I am shifting the emphasis  heavily on to infantry. With war-mammoths (and possibly war wagons - although I haven't spoken to the man that writes the rules about that yet...) The nomads have a  black-powder technology level; so expect savage warriors with hand axes and firelock muskets supporting the heavily armoured retinue of my warlord (lots of chainmail and pistols...).

Hopefully that will give some sort of introduction!

-Xander (v_lazy_dragon)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Welcome to the All That Remains: Armies of the Aftermath Project Blog

Is it not nifty?

Admittedly it's a bit bare right now, but hopefully we'll have some WiP photos and the design intent document - detailing what I'm trying to achieve with the rules - up soon.

Meanwhile, why not check out our About page?

-- Sebastian