sandlemad Posted March 18, 2020 Share Posted March 18, 2020 https://www.goonhammer.com/the-goonhammer-interview-with-james-hewitt-part-1-age-of-sigmar-and-40k/ There's a good interview on Goonhammer with James M Hewitt of Needy Cat Games, possibly best known in the GW games community as the designer of the excellent Adeptus Titanicus rules. Here he talks about his experience working on the early releases for AoS. There's some fascinating stuff there, he's got a good bit of criticism as someone who has seen how the sausage gets made, even though you'd never characterise him as an AoS-hater or anything. On the 'funny rules' that accompanied the first warscrolls: Quote As an example, one of the ones I did was for the Keeper of Secrets. It was all about making games thematic and evoke the background, and to add interesting interactions between the players, so the rule was if after a character within 6” of the Keeper, because y’know six is the number of Slaneesh; if an enemy character within 6” of the Keeper makes an attack roll you can offer them the chance to make more attacks, but if at any point the roll contains three sixes (or whatever it was) their character is slain. [...] And they came back. And I think the problem was kind of a… the telephone game. Basically, to give an example of the problem, a manager on high gets offered a banana and says “I don’t fancy eating that banana”. The next manager, one rung down from them, who wants to be seen to be doing a good job says “oh, my boss does not like eating bananas, so I’ll stop sending bananas his way.” It might have been because that particular banana wasn’t what he wanted, or he wasn’t in the mood for a banana, but it results in all bananas being embargoed. And it carries on. “Top boss doesn’t like fruit!” says the next manager down, “Well, let’s not produce anything with fruit.” Then eventually it’s “So, the manager at the top doesn’t like eating food, never send food his way.” It was a tense time, lots of pressure, and everyone was trying to please the person above them a little bit too much. From what I can tell it’s not quite as much of an issue these days. But what it meant was that if Top Manager at the top said “That rule is really colourful, and makes people play the game in a different way that’s not just rolling dice, that’s really cool”, that then trickles down to the rules team being told to add more silly rules, and it ends up with someone in the team going through all the compendiums replacing some rules that were more like “+1 to hit” with “+1 to hit… if it’s raining outside!”. On how the core rules were designed: Quote Everything – all the core rules – was designed, written and tested around that core box. Now, when you think about the contents of that core box, it is all infantry, with short range weaponry. The only ranged attack in there is the hammers being thrown, so the rules were written around close up engagement with no ranged combat at all. Because that’s what we were told to do. And it got to this point where there was this sudden mad dash. There was this huge long development period, behind closed doors, and then suddenly, it all had to be done yesterday. And so, there was no time to consider questions like: Right, how does ranged combat work? How does a massed ranged army function? What does it do? How are you dealing with different types of units? Y’know, combined arms… That all became… “just get it done”. On the assumptions behind the core rules only being four pages long: Quote I wasn’t designing the core rules, Jervis was, but we’d all been involved in testing and feeding back and working out the rules for the other armies and things, we kept reassuring ourselves by saying “it’s alright because we’re doing a big hardback rulebook and that is going to have a commentary section”. [...] So it was all about lowering barriers to entry and there was this thing about we’re going to put commentary in the rulebook, there’s going to be a big section of rules commentary. That four page document is still the core rules, you still havae to read that, but the commentary section would have loads of examples, diagrams and edge cases and things like that. So the quick start would give you [the ability to] sit down and play it, but if a weird thing comes up we’ll go check the big rulebook. That was always the idea. At the 11th hour, a lot of stuff got changed. And one of the things that got changed was the rulebook. Someone decided they didn’t want a hardback rulebook, because that felt too much like old Warhammer. So instead they decided to have whatever the first book was called – I think we just called them the Realmwars books? Realmgate wars? The first book was mostly narrative, with scenarios and maybe some battlegroups/battalions, whatever they were called in the end. And that was it and all the stuff that had been put in, I mean, it had been written, I’d seen it, the commentary section was pinned up on the wall and it was done, but it got pulled entirely. It's well worth reading the whole thing, dude's got some good thoughts on game design and interesting experiences. 8 7 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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