Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stars & Crosses: Designer's Notes

Stars & Crosses is my dream wargame. You can probably guess a few things about my design priorities if you've leafed through the rule book or played a game or two, but here they are writ large:

1.,Put the rules on the table, not tables full of rules. I put everything you need to know right on the unit base label -- essentially a hybrid between miniatures gaming and the chit-and-board games my mates and I grew up with. You can spend the game looking down  at the board instead of looking things up in a book. Ditto for terrain -- you can look at a hex and know what the move restrictions and cover bonuses are, because each hex has a defining label.

2. No cause for argument. I wanted hex based, not ruler based movement and sighting/range. No room for differences in interpretation, no judge. I still have bad memories of arguments between players at convention games almost 40 years ago.

3. Modular expert rules. You can add most rules a la carte, depending on their relevance to a scenario and the level of detail you want. Leaving one rule out won't break the game.

4.  Visual clarity: For the rule book, a simple type hierarchy, and each page is treated as a unified element. One core concept per page. Lots more room to let key concepts stand out instead of being buried in a sea of supporting details. Color use is limited and consistently applied. The only concession to "frosting" was using an antiqued/foxed paper background texture.

5. If you play my game, I am your biggest fan. As you know, I make custom unit base labels for free and will stat out pretty much any vehicle. I make commissioned Stars & Crosses terrain. And I actually play my game and keep tinkering, with transparency to the community. Several of you have petitioned successfully for different unit stats and those tweaks will keep happening as long as I can keep up.

As per my recen health problems I can actually sit at my keyboard for short stretches but am still very tentative about my back. Thanks for everyone's good wishes!