Dwarf King’s Hold in Space

As some of you will have guessed, the Corporation figures I’ve been playing with are for the current “Dwarf King’s Hold in Space” project I’m working on. It now has a much better name than that: Project Pandora. That’s the series title anyway (at least, I hope there will be a series of them). I’ve started with the same sort of assumptions as I did for DKH: make a single, standalone game, but build into the framework the possibilities of expanding it to include other races, other environments, and so on. That way, if Ronnie decides not to do another (which would plainly be crazy) then it’s still fine as a game on its own. On the other hand, if/when everyone clamours for more then the “more” has a chance to dovetail properly. Nothing so disappointing as an expansion that feels like a rushed collection of floor sweepings. With that in mind, I’ve been roughing out other races and so on while I do the core rules and the stats for what we’re putting in this initial box. By the way, this one is currently entitled Grim Cargo. It’s had a couple of names so far, but that’s my current fave 🙂

So, what can I tell you about Project Pandora: Grim Cargo? Not lots, so far. It’s currently slated for release early next year, and is a 2 player game set in the chilly darkness of space. The box will have some very nice Mantic models in (including some of those tasty Corporation chaps I mentioned earlier). The enemies of the Corporation will be the mysterious 8th race, of which we are not allowed to speak 😉

As the design isn’t entirely stable yet I don’t want to go into too many specifics just yet. All I’ll say is that it’s shaping up pretty nicely.

Oh, one final thought. For those of you that think this will just be the same thing as DKH with a silver Lycra jumpsuit on, think again. I have currently decided to retain the core dice mechanic of the DKH series, but not because I’m being lazy. It’s actually more work to retain it than it is to start again, but I think that there is a value to keeping a “Mantic Style”, as it were. Players use tokens too, though they work very, very differently from DKH. THinking about it, about the only similarity is that there are tokens and they let you do stuff. The rest is new. I’ve gone back to basics and started from scratch because SF skirmish is not just a dungeon bash with guns. It’s a fundamentally different process and deserves to be modelled as such. There’s nothing wrong with DKH, it’s just that it models a different reality.

But I’m rambling. When I’ve got more to say then I’ll be back. So watch this space 🙂

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26 Responses to Dwarf King’s Hold in Space

  1. pancake says:

    Nice bit of information jake, hope the corporation minis turn out like the pics. Looking forward to this mate.

  2. Keith says:

    Well It would be stupid not to do this after the success of DKH, lets hope this games just as much fun and different enough to make it worth while! but it seems you’ve already got that in hand.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Doing my best.

      One of the articles I’ve got in my head (but haven’t actually written yet) is about starting points for designs. This one starts from a particular understanding of how small actions with firearms work, though obviously this is SF so things are a bit Hollywood too 😉

      • Keith says:

        I hope that means unnessacery explosions, and if only you could work in a special rule to represent a good quip at the crucial moment! maybe thats hoping for too much hollywood.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I’m not sure that the explosions will be particularly unnecessary, at least not in this box. I don’t think that explosions mix terribly well with fragile spaceships. Flamethrowers, on the other hand…

        At least, there will be if the models have them. Not 100% sure yet what I’m going to get…

        Quips, though. I thought that’s what the players were there for?

  3. Now…. you know how to tickle our interest ;).

  4. Pingback: Dwarf King’s Hold… in Space?

  5. While I am still absorbing your work with DKH it will be very interesting to see how you deal with a shooting game.

  6. supersystemscifi says:

    This is awesome.

    Here’s hoping it gets to the same point as having DIY warbands like the latest DKH expansion.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Me too 🙂

      I don’t think this will go down exactly the same route as DKH, but I don’t have my +3 crystal ball of scrying to hand, so it’s hard to be certain. It’s something that I’d like to get in at some point. However, one has to start somewhere.

  7. Curis says:

    Awwww, it would be awesome if it crossed over like Ultra Marines and Mighty Warriors.

  8. Poosh says:

    Hey Quirkworthy, I’m so glad you’ve not gone down the lazy route and are actually putting effort into this game i.e it’s, as you point out, a game in itself and not just “dwarf king’s hold in space”. It will be a treat, and I’m defo looking forward to it.

    My only problem, well not problem as there is a reason behind what Mantic did/do, but I kinda wish the latter DKH release had a few new plastic/resin models in them. I realise that’s not feasible right now, but in the horizon it would be lovely to have a few new, original – special – models to sweeten the deal.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      “DKH in Space” is just an amusing shorthand so people are in the right ballpark, mentally. It also gave me an excuse to swear at Gimp again, as is only right. Never was a piece of software more aptly named.

      The only reason DKH exists in the first place is that I persuaded Ronnie that I could reuse his plastic figures and get some more mileage out of his existing tooling costs. It would simply not have happened if the models needed to be made specially. When DKH came along the Mantic releases were planned for KOW quite a long way ahead, and in a way DKH has only really just caught up. What happens from here on will be interesting. Of course, what happens to DKH now really depends on how many people buy it.

      Putting existing hard plastics in a set is cheaper than resin plastics and will therefore either give you, the customer, more figures for the same money or cost you less.

      Pandora is in a different place in the life of Warpath(compared to DKH-KOW) and so will have a different relationship with that figure range, but it will always be cheaper to put in existing models, and always cheaper to use hard plastic than resin plastic or metal.

      If you have models made specifically for a game then that game pays the costs for the concepting and sculpting as well, driving up its price. That then has to be passed on to the customer in higher prices or lower model count. I’m not saying it won’t happen because I think that it may well do at some stage – I’m just trying to explain a bit about the background of the process.

      • Poosh says:

        Yeah, this is all expected. I do hope though, 3/4 years down the line we’ll get a few original models. All these factors are a nightmare but make complete sense. I think we all have fond memories of Hero Quest (the game a lot of people point to as their “first contact” with miniatures).

        It’s the same with Mantic as a whole though. Early days with limited capital, most of it borrowed I assume, means only being able to do so much.

        Oh, you mentioned below that you wish the card was thicker, I certainly thought the card was good and solid in the box. Maybe that’s just me but I was happy with it all.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Nice to hear. I think the card does the job as it is, but if you compare it with some other games it is a little thinner. Some people mutter darkly about this. Mind you, it could be that the other ones are all over-engineered ;P

        In terms of models, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing specific models for the characters that appear in Ancient Grudge. These are obviously going to be available separately as they aren’t done yet and the box is being made, but it sets a precedent for making them which is likely to translate into a model in the box eventually. At the pace we’re going, 3/4 years is an age so I’m sure we’ll get things sorted before then 🙂

  9. Thalenchar says:

    What a great heads-up. Nice to get a bit of a look in the design process that goes into a game like this. Like a lot of long time tabletop gamers I am a bit of an amateur game designer, interested in game mechanics, balance, and all that lovely stuff, and I love reading about how one of the ‘ professionals’ goes about it.
    Good stuff!

  10. wachinayn says:

    I’m very happy to hear that you’ll develop new mechanics for this, instead of just keeping the DKH engine “as is”. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it, considering that DKH already has a mechanic for shooting. But I’m very happy of this development. 🙂

    I liked DKH, but I have the gut feeling that I’d like Project Pandora more. Knowing that I’m going to love the 8th Race helps too.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The shooting bit is one part that will (probably) stay. If I change the way the tokens work (as I have) and the races (as I obviously have to), I need to leave something to carry the Mantic “feel”/style. If you see what I mean. The best thing is to retain the core dice mechanism for melee and shooting, with appropriate tweaks for different training, weapons types, doctrine, etc. Interestingly, I don’t consider the melee/shooting mechanic to really be the core of the game. I think of that as the token system, as this is what drives the way you play. I could replace the melee rules in DKH with a different dice system or a card system and the game would play and feel much the same. If I replaced the token based action system with a fixed IgoUgo turn sequence, for example, you’d have a very different game.

      I’ve been playing Pandora this morning, and it’s feeling like quite a different game already. Obviously with the same core dice there is a family resemblance, but that’s the whole point of retaining it 😉

      Hope you’re not too disappointed, wachinayn.

      • wachinayn says:

        Well, I find your “attack roll” a very original mechanic. Tokens I haven seen before (don’t remember where just now, though…), but the dice rolls attracted me.

        I’m sure I won’t be dissapointed. But I hope you’ll make me stop playing Space Hulk. 😉

        By the way, now that you mention card systems… I’m curious. Was a card system even considered for the game production? I ask because I can see how tokens can be made using the same process for making tiles, but cards would require additional “tooling”. And with that, additional costs.

        I don’t know if I have managed to explain my question very well…

      • Quirkworthy says:

        We looked at a number of options during the design process, and cards were one of these. However, you have to balance what you can add to the game with how much extra it would add to the cost. Adding a little more card to the sheet (or using the existing card differently) was minimal or no extra cost. Adding a new process such as printing playing cards would have added to the price.

        There are usually set up costs for each process you use (card, print, models, etc), so it’s always less costly to use fewer different processes in the design.

        Mantic sell quality products at low prices, and these board games must fit that model. Whilst I’d love to have thicker card tiles and special models in every set, that would greatly add to the production cost, and therefore the cost to the customer. Oddly, the best way you can encourage Mantic to up the spec is to get all your friends to buy some. It’s simple economics: the more they know they can sell, the more they can print at once, and printing more at once drives down the cost per unit which in turn allows them to put in thicker tiles and special models for the same price to the customer. It’s the same for any game by any company.

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