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Playtesting Pandora

Just a quick update on the development of the Pandora system before my weekend is devoured by the Alberta Wargaming GT tournament in Calgary.

Mike and I played a couple of games last night based on what has been written so far. He used his old Necromunda Van Saars as stand-ins for the Hyperion gang, and my (sadly unpainted) Eschers played the role of Bandits. We both managed a win (not that it matters much who wins a playtest game!) and a number of minor issues with the rules were identified.

The Sniper's POV. He had plenty to shoot at, and a real knack for making those shots count!

The Hyperion Sniper’s POV. He always had plenty of my Eschers/Bandits to shoot at, and a real knack for making those shots count!

My favorite example: Mike’s Hyperion Sniper rolled the best case scenario for his weapon. The mundane, Common grade Sniper Rifle (naturally -2 to hit at short range) ended up rolling the Hyperion manufacturer (which at the time granted -1 to hit at short range and +2 to hit long range), an Adjustable Stock (+1 to hit at long range) and his scope generated yet another +1 to hit at long range. This meant that his BS3 Sniper was hitting on 2’s against my models in cover, and had a whopping -3 to hit at point blank range. This would have increased to -5 if he was shooting at close range, targeting someone fully in cover.

Yikes! Extreme case scenarios that seem hilarious when you first write the rules (I already figured Hyperion Sniper Rifles could get absurd if you rolled just right for upgrades) sure do become a bit more concerning when they occur during your first full play-through of the rules set.

This reminds me of an old university professor of mine who used to say something along the lines of: “You know you need to re-write your exam questions when they make you laugh like a maniacal super-villain.” Just because something amuses you doesn’t mean it’s fair!

Since the rare Sniper Rifles are even more accurate, obviously something needed to change. As such, I have gone and re-worked some of the weapons and upgrades tables (too many gave +1 to hit at long range!) to ensure things don’t get too out of hand.

Guns where any idiot could always hit on a 2+ at long range regardless of any and all modifiers would be a bit much. On the other hand, you have to make sure that each weapon is worth considering at their listed cost, while offering a unique sweet spot in terms of play style.

This sort of thing is to be expected in the early stages of playtesting. In fact, the whole point is to squash the bugs now before the final drafts go out! As such, I consider the first couple games to be a success. We had some fun, blew some stuff up and the experience will help make the game better. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted as work continues next week.

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