SF Skirmish Games

I mentioned in comments on another post that I was working on two other SF skirmish games, and some folk have asked to know more. Well these are both things I’m sure I’ve mentioned before…

The first is Eternal Battle. This is the latest incarnation of something that has been an almost constant companion of mine for something like a decade (what you might call a long development cycle). I’m so used to it that I forget you don’t know all about it too 🙂

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll explain more about that at some point. However, mostly my recent work has been on another project that I’m calling Old Skool Skirmish (OSS).

OSS is an idea that was inspired by the nostalgia invoked by the style of Macrocosm and Colony 87 miniatures. Now the game isn’t designed for those models per se – they were merely the jumping off point. However, I do have all the Colony 87s, and many of the Macrocosm figures, so I expect they’ll get used in my own games. Speaking of my own games, this whole idea was originally just a piece of amusement for myself rather than something I expected to broadcast more widely. It was, in some ways, another of the periodic design exercises I set myself: in this case whether I could design something in a specific retro style. It’s been loads of fun to do, and I’m very happy with both the way it’s worked out and the reaction my gaming buddies have had to it. If I was carrying the 1980s thing to its logical conclusion I’d sell wonkily photocopied versions of it, stapled together slightly inaccurately. However, I don’t think I’ll go quite that far.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I’ll release it at all. I’m in two minds about whether it’s best kept as a private amusement or opened for wider use. If I keep it just for my own group then I don’t have to make it coherent for anyone else (though vagueness is, in fact, part of the retro style I’m emulating, and the game would be wrong without it). That would save a lot of effort as polishing something for general release is a long part of the process. On the other hand, it would be a shame to keep it to myself. I think I’ll see how I feel when I’ve got the house move over and sorted out my new study 🙂

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19 Responses to SF Skirmish Games

  1. Thomas Cato says:

    Isn’t it already a pretty crowded field? 80s “RT” style nostalgia gaming?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Like I said, it’s not primarily a commercial thing, it’s a design exercise and a bit of fun.

      And “a pretty crowded field”? Really? What were you thinking of?

      • Thomas Cato says:

        Nothing in particular, it just occurred to me how often game designers (amateur & professional) are aiming to recapture the golden age of Rogue Trader. They’re not copying, some will replace IGOUGO with alternate activations, or use different dice, whatever, but the experience they aim for is something that somehow recalls classic WH40K “as it used to be when it was good”, late 80s to maybe mid 90s. And the people they’re all doing it for are the grognards who stick with Necromunda, played with metal only 🙂

        It would be cool if you actually put this out as an inaccurately stapled booklet. With DIY illustrations. Kinda like OSR fanzines such as Crawling under a Broken Moon or Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad. Ok, so they’re pdfs, so what, we can do our own stapling :-p

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Aha! I see where you’re getting confused – you’re thinking of modern stuff 😉

          The nostalgia I’m revisiting was rather faded by the time RT arrived. That was 1987! Of course, I did have and play RT (bought it on the Games Day it was released, from none other than RP himself), but that’s not what I’m thinking of.

          My touchstones for OSS are the entirely pre-40K worlds we visited and games we played with Combat 3000 (1979) and Laserburn (1980); and RPGs like Traveller (1977), Space Opera (1980), and Aftermath (1981). Now those were the days 🙂

        • Thomas Cato says:

          Right…. now that’s old-old skool. But are you sure Marcocosm & Colony87 aren’t too well sculpted for that era? 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Maybe. The advantage of nostalgia is that it’s all fuzzy on the inconvenient details 🙂

  2. Jake Thornton, you big tease! You can’t just mention some games you’ve been working on like that and then say “maybe I’ll keep this to myself”. That’s just cruel. You’ve dangled the mouse toy in front of the proverbial cat and got its attention now. So hand over the mouse toy…. and the catnip better be worth it.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Oh I was going to burble on about it whether I actually released it or not. It’s been an interesting project, and deliberately trying to be retro requires some unusual choices which are worth discussing.

  3. I would definitely be interested in a wonky photocopied 80s-style SF skirmish game ;¬) Release it as a pay what you want on DriveThruWargames (or WargameVault as it seems to be actually called), I bet it’ll get you a few quid back.

  4. James says:

    If you aren’t fussed about the commercial side I would agree with Double-O up there about the pay what you want and just be upfront about both the style, “vagueness” and level of follow up support. Then I think you have the opportunity to get some benefit from your work and make sure you set the expectations of those buying.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I think if I did release it commercially I would do it wholeheartedly. For me, it’s either one or the other: release it properly or don’t release it at all. If I did put it out in a sort-of, half-hearted way I’d still end up with the bulk of the questions and extra work that I would from a “proper” release, and if that was coupled with less recompense then that doesn’t sound like a winner.

      The whole pay-what-you-want model is an interesting one though, even if it’s something that makes a dinosaur like me reflexively shy away. I’ll have to look into it.

      In any case, I’m not going to make a final decision till I’ve moved house – way too much going on already. I am, however, going to play it again this weekend. I suspect mutants may be involved 🙂

  5. A skirmish game that blends modern elements like opposed dice pools and zones of control with older elements like random tables would be interesting. Especially if the game allowed you WYSIWYG miniatures.

  6. catmokey says:

    comments not appearing or just me

    • Quirkworthy says:

      There was one that got stuck in the pending queue, probably because it had lots of links in it. That often triggers the auto spam filter. Anyway, I approved it and it’s disappeared. Not in the trash or spam folders and no longer in pending. So if it was that particular comment you were after then I’ve got no idea where it’s hiding. Maybe it’s just a lag and it’ll turn up later, or perhaps it’s just buried somewhere back in the pile from a couple of days ago.

      Apart from that, comments seem fine from here.

  7. Pingback: Skirmish Plans |

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