Ron Swanson Game Design: Adeptus Titanicus Edition

A lot of people have very fond memories of Epic. For some it was their gateway game into the wider hobby. For others, it had a scale and majesty that made more sense to them, especially in the smaller-scale days of editions past. And for some, it was actually being able to regularly field the heavy hitters of the setting – Baneblades, Titans, Thunderhawks and whatnot. So when Adeptus Titanicus came out, with little bits of future proofing, a fair number of people immediately began pushing for the game to morph into nuEpic, with rules for squadrons of Leman Russ tanks and Space Marine squads running amok between the feet of giants. I think that’s a bad idea. I’ll let Ron Swanson explain why.   In my mind, there needs to be room for a game to focus on doing one thing, and doing it well. In the case of Adeptus Titanicus, this is titan combat. If you read Titanicus, or Titandeath, tanks and infantry aren’t units on equal footing. They are abstract threats, background noise. You don&

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Command Points are 8th Edition’s Psychic Dice

TL;DR: They’re good at injecting flavor into the game, are fun in small quantities, but when deployed en masse break the game. This started as what was just going to be a flippant post to the Variance Hammer Facebook page, but on the drive home things…took a turn. So here we are, talking about how Command Points, and the problems with them, run pretty parallel to the problems 7th edition had with the Psychic phase. But What About Formations? “Wait!” You say. “Command Points and Stratagems replaced formations, everyone knows this!” From a gameplay and source of mechanics perspective, this is correct. Command Points and Stratagems replaced Formations as “The expandable way to inject army-specific feel and special rules into the game”. But it’s not the intent of a mechanic, or what role it fills, that is often problematic. Sometimes, it’s the mechanic itself – and that’s where we hit the 7th edition psychic phase. Looking back on my 7th ed

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Good Decisions Build on Bad Logic

I’m not going to break down the Big FAQ 2 – other people have done it better than I have, and if you’re looking for a source I’d suggest Nick Nanavati’s take over at Nights at the Game Table because you could do a hell of a lot worse than just listening to Nick and doing what he says. My own thoughts on it are mixed, but primarily favorable. What I do want to talk about is what it means to arrive at the right decision for the wrong reasons. Everyone is familiar with this. The student who gets the right answer via a tortured chain of logic. The court case that gets decided in a way you like, but based on reasoning that’s some combination of wrong, problematic, or just plain stupid. A broken clock is still right twice a day, and you can accident yourself into the right answer. It appears in the 40K FAQs, there’s going to be at least one of these every go around. The first time it was about Boots on the Ground. My take at the time was that the rule itself was probably f

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