A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I've been workin on the iMac.. all my free time long! (On Cheatsheets)



Erm.  Actually though I have.  Though not ALL my free time.  I have DVDs to watch and videogames to play too.

But the point of this is that I for whatever reason decided because I have been in a Battletech kind of mood, to FINALLY take a serious look at the copy of Battleforce I got off Ebay a couple years back.

And I am REALLY impressed.  Its just the sort of deep but not supercrunchy hex wargame I was looking for to indoctrinate a friend into the fine art of moving cardboard on hexagon maps and rolling on funny charts to see what happens when this bit of cardboard shoots at that one.

But the quick reference chart Fasa provided looks like this:


    Copied version of the playsheet as to leave the worn book alone a bit.  The Clan mechs are for size comparisons.  The Star was originally gonna be an homage to Mobile Fighter G Gundam's Shuffle Alliance with paint schemes inspired by the quintet.  As you can see, only God Gundam, Neo France, and Neo China's mechs ever got done way back in the mists of time.  Neo Russia will be the Highlander, and Neo America is the Pheonix Hawk.  As powerful as the Clans are I don't think the Madcat 2 has a LOVE LOVE TENKYOKEN attack:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fUJ6LehQ3I

This does not work when there are way more handy and informative charts and things in the book that it would be ideal to have on a cheat sheet.  I in fact filled TWO pages and probably could have gone for 3 with larger print, more detail, and less abbreviations.

A good cheat sheet helps players know the important rules.  It slows games down to have to look things up every few minutes, especially the first couple times you play a game.  And for chart heavy games, those of us with limited mindspace to memorize things will be using the things FOREVER.  (Some folks have the main Battletech charts memorized.  I... do not.  And I have been playing since 1988 when I first bought the 2nd edition boxed set thanks to a review from my first issue of Dragon Magazine.)

In many cases the game's creators fail to make an ideal sheet and fans improve on them.
Like this wonderful dude:  
http://www.headlesshollow.com/freebies_games.html .   Many of his sheets BLOW AWAY the officially made ones and pretty much make playing the game a snap, increasing the amount of gametime you get, the QUALITY of the gametime, and just generally making things more pleasant for all but the most adept speedreaders and memory machines.


Heck, most RPGs I play I buy the GM screen just for all those glorious charts in one handy spot!

(Boardgamegeek has tons of great fanmade sheets too.  Sadly, you won't find many if any GW game sheets as that company decided to go to town on the 'Geek and many great fanmade gaming aids created not for profit but for LOVE OF THE GAME are now lost to the Ether.  Man, does GW need to be put in its place or what?)

Well as you can tell by the sheet I showed for Battleforce, its kind of empty, and has TONS of wasted space.  It has but a mere 6 tables.

I needed a better sheet, and my old G5 iMac came bundled with Appleworks so even though I have to deal with the terrible columns and rows formatting SUCK that so many WYSIWYG programs have, I can at least make an improved sheet, albeit one that isn't fit to suck on the toes of that Headless Hollow cat's.

I slaved over a keyboard off and on for a couple days, and managed to fit in 13 tables, 2 explanation graphics (one was just a copy and scan from the rulesbook), a summary of Force Construction rules, the main game and campaign game play sequence rules, and a quick page reference for the main game rules along with the odd rules mention.  I didnt have the access to smaller than a 9 point font, meaning I could have fit MORE if Appleworks would allow it.  Because copying and resizing made for ugly barely legible text I had to draw and type everything.

But the work speaks for itself, and I share the JPG versions here for the tiny amount of people who have the game, or have the access to play the game with others:












See I cover lots and lots of important and handy info, meaning when I do get to play the game it will be a faster experience with less rules lookups.


Plus I plan on doing a review of the game so the sheets will help out in giving you readers something to refer to.


I have a superior PDF format on the ol computer and the original .cwk files for Appleworks if anyone out there wants to take my work and improve it.  The PDF version looks a LOT better for some reason.  A lot lot lot better.  Appleworks is happier converting the drawing file to a PDF than a JPG.  Go figure.  

Obviously Battleforce is Copyright FASA Corporation, or whoever owns the rights these days.  (Probably a mixture of Smith & Tinker, and Microsoft.)

3 comments:

Christian said...

Nice!

scrapyardarmory said...

FYI, a new BattleForce rules set was released last year in Strategic Operations.

Lots of good stuff there.

You can even try out the basics with a free set of rules direct from Catalyst Game Labs.

http://www.classicbattletech.com/index.php?action=products&mode=full&id=234

Happy Gaming.

Captain Rufus said...

I looked at it, but...

Its almost a completely different game.

Battleforce V1 is more a no record sheet all info you need is on the counter hex and chit wargame. One with hidden unit rules and all sorts of neat bits like that.

From the looks of it, V1 is more what I want. Its more a wargame that is inspired by a "Machine Sheet" game as opposed to being "Epic Scale" Battletech.

Take a look at the counter example on my sheet (if I ever get to do a playtest review I will have photos of the actual counters. It was scheduled to be played last week, but with 1 "oops we didn't get to play period" session, and 2 cancellations, I am 3 weeks behind right now.) and see how completely different it is from current Battleforce.

V3 might be a fun game, but V1 is a hex n chit wargame with some strategic depth and a little Stratego feel to it with the hidden unit type rules, which is something I want.

Its the next step after Ogre/GEV but not in the Squad Leader level of complexity.

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