Weird Stats

Not game stats, but website stats. This morning I looked at the stats for this site to see how many page views there had been. At that point there had been 270. The strange thing was that there had, apparently, only been 1 visitor…

Checking back later, there is still supposedly only 1 visitor today, but they’ve now looked at some 340-odd pages.

The page views sounds about right. The number of visitors is clearly wrong because more than one different person has posted a comment today.

Does anyone else have a site they could check to see if it’s a WordPress issue or something odd with this site specifically?


Posted in Random Thoughts | 8 Comments

DZ FAQ Updated

It’s here.

I’ve managed to deal with 130-something comments plus half a dozen pages worth of other notes. Not as much as I’d hoped to get done, though it’s progress. The Overwatch article I posted earlier will hopefully clear most of that up too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my brain is fried so I’m going to stare blankly into space for a bit.

Posted in Deadzone, FAQ | Leave a comment

Overwatch In DZ

First principles: if all else is equal, simple is better.

The discussion around Overwatch has been both interesting and frustrating to watch at the same time. After reading many comments I ended up more confused than when I’d started, and so I decided to take a step back and return to first principles. It felt like we were getting into ever murkier waters, with all sorts of convoluted situations and logical loops.

Don’t get me wrong: this is my fault. You guys are just trying to understand it, and it’s not clear enough. So, how to make it clearer?

Well, I always start with what’s printed. Once a game is live then what is written and current should be changed as little as possible. That’s my view. It’s fine to clarify what’s not clear, or correct typos and whatnot if they can’t be resolved without change. However, in this case there is a perfectly reasonable way to play Overwatch from what is written in the rules. All you have to do is ignore a confusing comment I wrote in the FAQ. That’s fine. When I post the new FAQ it will be gone.

So, to go back to the rules as they stand in the book, do we need to make any changes? At the moment, I think I need to add a note that you cannot have more than one Overwatch counter on a model at once. This question comes up with the Sentry ability. There is also one phrase that needs to be explained a bit, or perhaps rephrased (see below).

With that in mind, using just what’s written in the rules, how does Overwatch work?

Let’s say I have a model called Bob in my Strike Team. When it comes to my Turn I could activate Bob to Move, Shoot, and so on as normal. Instead, I decide to put him on Overwatch. The Overwatch rules (p31) say I place an Overwatch counter by the model as a reminder. The Turn sequence (p21) also states that I mark him with an activated marker as he has chosen an action (nothing in the rules says I should treat him differently from other models in this regard). The activated marker means that he cannot have another action allocated to him, while the Overwatch counter means that resolving this chosen action has been deferred. So far, so good.

If Bob uses his Overwatch to react to an enemy action then resolve it as per the normal rules. People seem to be pretty clear on how this works. I’ll deal with the odd wrinkle (mostly sentry guns and Indirect fire) in the FAQ proper.

If Bob gets to the end of the Round without using his Overwatch then this counter will remain in place. However, like all other activated counters, Bob’s will be removed at the end of the Round. Again, this is what is written in the rulebook as it stands.

So, Bob could potentially start a new Round with an Overwatch counter already beside him. (This is the situation a model with Sentry starts every Round in.) What does that mean? It means that Bob is still on Overwatch and can react to enemy actions as described in those rules. However, he has not got an activated counter and so he could be given a different action in any of my subsequent Turns¹. Following on from this, if he does react and loses his Overwatch counter then he will still not have been activated this Round. His Overwatch was last Round’s action deferred. So he can be given a new action, which could be Overwatch again.

I think this is both clear and resolves most of the questions posed. Apologies for the confusion.




1: This is the meaning of the phrase at the bottom of the left hand column on page 31. This new action is likely to be in a subsequent Round, but need not be. It must, however, always be in a subsequent Turn. This means that there is always a least a small gap in the Overwatch coverage of a single model for an opponent to exploit.

Posted in Deadzone, FAQ, Game Design Theory | 37 Comments

Thank You For Your Patience

But I’m going to impose a little longer.

I’ve dealt with a bunch of the DZ FAQ, though there is still more to go through. I was hoping to get all of it done (bar the answers that need time-consuming diagrams or videos). However, it’s all taking much longer than I’d like. As I said before, I don’t really want to put out a new FAQ now and then another in a couple of days as that’ll only confuse people. I do want it finished though.

To give you an idea of the task, I’ve got four different Word docs full of comments, questions and emails collected and sent to me from different sources, much of which is duplicates. There were also 520 comments left on the DZ FAQ thread here. Now many of them have either been answered already or are discussions around a topic, so there aren’t anything like that number of actual questions. Even so, with this amount of info to cross-check (never mind the several rulebooks, card decks, etc) you can see why it takes a while to get through.

To give you something interesting and DZ to read while I’m trawling through a little more of this, I’ll write up a core piece of the overwatch discussion for my next post. I’ll continue with the FAQ for the rest of today and post wherever I’ve got to when I stop this evening. This will give you a wodge of new things to read in time for any weekend games you may have planned :)

Apologies for the delay.

Posted in Deadzone, FAQ | 4 Comments

Spy Vs Spy

Nothing to do with Deadzone.

Can anyone recommend any good board (or card) games about spies, espionage, counter-intelligence, and similar cloak and dagger skullduggery?

I can’t think of any really good ones off the top of my head. I’m sure there must be something though. Doesn’t have to be in print.

Any thoughts?

Posted in Board Gaming, Random Thoughts | 30 Comments

Flavours Of News

It’s a classic good news, bad news situation. Which do you want first? The bad news? OK.

The bad news is that I’m going to delay posting up the new DZ FAQ for 24 hours :(

The good news is that the reason I’m doing that is that I’ll be spending twice as much time working on it :)

So probably good news overall :D

I was in the middle of sorting through a bunch of different threads and thought it might be sensible to finish off a bit more while I was in the zone, as it were. Flitting between systems always entails a bit of lost time remembering how things work. I’m also working on a follow up post or two when I’ve made some props to photograph. All in the name of clarity.

Posted in Deadzone, FAQ | 10 Comments

A Design Theory Question

Over the last couple of years I’ve expounded on the theme of game design theory a number of times. Several people have been kind enough to say that these posts have been helpful to them in their own design work, which is very good to hear. I wrote them with the intention that they form a sort of reference for people who were interested, and always intended to return to write more. As always, these will be my own opinion rather than any granite carved gospel – the aim is to inspire and kickstart some thinking rather than to preach. Mostly ;)

What topics though?

Well, you tell me.

There are some obvious topics yet to cover, such as playtesting. However, what I think you may want to know isn’t necessarily the same as what you actually find tricky. It’s clearly better to cover topics that are genuinely helpful rather than being simply whatever happens to have flitted across my brain that morning…

So what elements of design theory intrigue you, or would help in your own designs? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do :)

Posted in Game Design Theory | 13 Comments