We recently held not one, but two, playtests in April. The first was hosted by Junction Craft Brewing, a local microbrewery built in a 1930’s Art Deco building! The second was at our usual haunt, 401 Games!
At both of these playtests, we work-shopped the final mechanic we designed for the game – morale. This was added in response to a common request players had during Breakout Con. We hadn’t included an “aid” move in any of the phases of the game and instead used informal rules to mediate players engaging in collaborative actions. However, something like wouldn’t work in the final game. Jonathan Lavallee, a game designer here in Toronto, made a great comment at one of our playtests. He loved our game, but gave us an important piece of advice. How can we make EVERY game of Ross Rifles run and feel just like the ones we facilitate? One of the ways we’ve addressed this has been an extensive history chapter in the book. The other, is the morale mechanic. Morale works similar to “inspiration” in D&D 5th edition. In Ross Rifles, players are awarded morale tokens from the GM for role playing and contributing to the narrative. These can in turn be spent to participate and aid fellow players in collaborative actions with a +1 bonus. In doing so, players have the ability to share both the risks and rewards of actions!
We’ve also been experimenting with live-streaming platforms like Twitch TV. Twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 PM (EST) – one of the design team members streams video games at twitch.tv/dundaswestgames! These streams have been tests for our future plans of live-streaming our TTRPG gaming sessions. First on the list: Ross Rifles.
Art news! While I’ve done all of the graphic design related to Ross Rifles (the covers and layout), we have yet to find an artist to do the interior art for the book. Until now. We’re currently collaborating with a local, Toront-based illustrator named Samantha Braithwaite. You can learn more about them at instagram.com/samanthabraithwaite. Here are a couple of drafts of Sgt. Masumi Mitsui that will be used for the section on the Sergeant playbook. For each playbook, we plan on having an illustration of a famous Canadian soldier of the same rank!
Travel news! Lead Designer Patrick Keenan will be living in Georgia for an archaeological dig as a student on the G.R.A.P.E. Project! G.R.A.P.E. (Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition) is an international multidisciplinary research project investigating the emergence of farming economies in the South Caucasus.
Learn more about G.R.A.P.E. at: http://www.grape.utoronto.ca/
Daniel Kwan (Lead Designer, DWG)