Sunday, 29 January 2017

Big Stompy Robot Newsletter

An interesting new project courtesy of Gav Thorpe...

Sci-Fi Artwork from Gav's Website
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One of Sammy's Robot Toys
First of all, let me say a big THANKS for your interest in this project. I don’t know where it’s going to end up, whether it’ll just be a fun hobby thing or turn into something more commercial. Either way, having you keeping an eye on me, giving me an outlet for some of these thoughts, is a big help.
I don’t know if it’s something I’ve always had, or if it’s the years at Games Workshop, but I have developed quite an outcome-orientated relationship with my creativity. That is, I don’t write a story ‘just because’, I write with the aim that it will get published.
Similarly, that thinking has crept into a lot of my gaming, or rather games designing, and that’s been holding me back, I think. Getting too hung up on what the final product might look like, who the audience is, how I would market and sell the thing, has meant that lots of projects have faltered after the initial flurry of activity.
Big Stompy Robots is going to be a bit different. It’s inspired by the people I met at Daffcon last year – chaps like Mike Hutchinson, designer of the forthcoming Gaslands game; the Paranoid Miniatures team and their Lovecraft-inspired Mythos; Des Brennan, the man behind Grand Arcanum games and the Roots of Magic. I’ve taken a leaf from the likes of Michael Thorp, creator of one of my favourite games and miniatures ranges, World of Twilight. My friend Carl Brown, founder of Second Thunder Games, creator of Open Combat; a guy that has put everything into making his game work, because it’s what he wants to create.
These people wanted something that wasn’t out there, a game nobody was making. They went out and made it. I’m sure they had an eye to making it as a business at some point, as do I, but they started with passion and desire. They began by making the game for themselves and then turned an eye to how they might share it with other people.
That’s the approach I need to take. Big Stompy Robots is a game for me. It might never be anything more than a few models and some homemade cards and dice. And that will be enough.
But it might not... I’m sure there are lots of other folks out there who like to see a few tonnes of metal blasting each other to bits, and I’m hoping that this game will catch their attention and maybe we can start something bigger here.
Infinity Cutter Miniature (NOT painted by me!)
All of which means baby steps at the start.
There will be four main components to these updates. I’ll take a look at how the rules are coming along, what I’ve been doing on the painting and modelling front, and what’s happening with the terrain set I’m going to build up.  On top of that, I want to include some gameplay videos to show you how the game actually works, and to showcase the basic mechanics.
Somewhere down the line I hope to open up the rules for other people to try out and give feedback, and of course the dedicated Big Stompy Roboteers subscribed to this newsletter will be the first to know. That’s a while away yet, my first priority is getting something together for the ROBIN show in a few weeks’ time.
First playtest with Carl of Open Combat fame

The Rules

I blogged about my first playtest earlier this month. There’s not much else to say on top of that, other than I am very pleased with the start. There are lots of cool things I want to expand with later, and I want to get in one more game before unleashing on the public, but on the face of it the rules are good to go for what I need at ROBIN.

The Models

I’ve started putting more detail on the models – warning labels, personal designs and such. In the fullness of time the mechs will have three weight classes based on the size of the miniatures – scout, standard and heavy – but to keep things simple for ROBIN I’m concentrating on the standard chassis mechs at the moment. This means my wardroids miniatures will have to take a backseat, as they would be classified as scout class, and similarly my Infinity Cutter is too big.
To make up the shortfall in models I have ordered three more mechs in the shape of Heavy Gear Blitz models from Dreampod 9. I’ve just received notice that they have been despatched, so hopefully they will arrive some time before the end of next week – time left to get them painted.
My Painted Hunters
My Painted Wardroid
I’ll never win any Golden Demon prizes, but I think the models will be table-ready soon. The biggest hurdle now is the bases, as I want them to match the board I’m making, which means I can't finish them until I've made the board.
Which leads me nicely to...

The Terrain

I’ve gathered some more materials ready to update the base boards and make some rock formations and columns. I don’t think I’ll have the full compound ready in time, so I am hedging my bets to get something finished rather than nothing. To that end, I’ve decide to sequence my work to get the bare minimum done first, enough that I can lay out a table on the day. If I have time after I will then add in some shacks, and then maybe the roads, and so on.
Beginnings of a terrain board for Big Stompy Robot Game
Kez has expressed some interest in helping out, so I think after a tutorial on making polystyrene columns, we should be able to churn out quite a few in a relatively short time. That way, whatever else happens, there will be something for the mechs to move around, hide behind and shoot through. (Yes, you can shoot through stuff, as will be explained in the video on shooting in a  couple of newsletters’ time).
So, let me finish with a link to my little video explaining how the power system works. This is the spine of the game, all the other mechanics work off these simple principles.
This is actually the third take of this video - note to self: don't record videos in portrait, and make sure you clean the fluff out of the microphone...
Basic Game Mechanics Video
There is now a Big Stompy Robot game page up on my website, and I'll collect together any blogs etc there, so check back regularly if you want to keep up-to-date.
If you get the chance to come to ROBIN on the 12th February, come along and say hi. If you say ‘I’m a Big Stompy Roboteer’ then I'll have a robot-themed treat for you too!
Red On Blue In Nottingham (ROBIN) Logo
Finally, as with my regular monthly newsletter, this isn't one of those 'do not reply' emails.  It might take a week or so, depending on how busy I am, but I reply to every email I receive.  All questions, suggestions, and general motivation welcome.

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