GRAVETIDES Rules– Experimental Activation

Hi!

With the intention to give a better idea of how the core GRAVETIDES rules play, this is the first of a series of posts in which we will both describe specific aspects of the rules and discuss some experimental rules proposals.

In this post will be described an experimental ships & squadrons activation rules based on the blind drawing of colored cubes that should add a bit of uncertainty and ‘fog of war’ to GRAVETIDES naval battles.

The same rules with some minor adaptions may be applied to other naval fantasy games.

If successfully play tested this new activation rules will eventually become part of the GRAVETIDES core set.

For each fleet in game a number of colored wooden cubes corresponding to the total of its ships (Flagships and Independents) and squadrons (groups of three vessels acting together) are placed in an opaque container (for example a dice bag), with each fleet using cubes of a distinctive color, different from the one used by other fleets.

To complete the pool, a number of cubes equal to the division by 5, rounded down, of the total of ships and squadrons in game is added to the container.

These cube must be of another color different from the ones corresponding to the fleets in game.


For a game with two fleets each composed by a Flagship, two Independents and two squadrons, place in the container a total of twelve cubes, five of one color for the first fleet, five of a different color for the second fleet and two of a third color ([5+5]/5 = 2).


For example, the pool will contain five black cubes, five red cubes and two yellow cubes.

Following the Initiative Order determined at the start of each Turn, players alternate nominating up to three ships or squadrons of their fleet to be activated, drawing a corresponding number of cubes from the container.

Players can Move & Fire one of the previously nominated ships or squadrons for each cube of the corresponding fleet color drawn, placing them near the ships and the Command ships of the squadrons to mark their activation.

Conversely, each drawn cube of different fleets colors allows the opposing players to move and fire with one of their ships or squadrons.


After nominating one ship and one squadron, the first player in Initiative Order draws from the containers two cubes getting one of its fleet color and one of the opposing fleet color. The player can move and fire with the ship or the squadron nominated before, and the enemy fleet can do the same with one ship or one squadron of its choice.


For each cube of the color not corresponding to any fleet, a ship or a squadron nominated for activation by the drawing player can only Move OR Fire.

The player chooses which of the previously nominated ships or squadrons move or fire, placing the cubes near their models to mark their activation.

After nominating two of its squadrons, a player draws from the containers two cubes getting one of its fleet color and one of the color not corresponding to any fleets. The player can move AND fire with one of the squadron, while the other can only move OR fire during the same Turn.

When all ships and squadrons have received an activation cube the Move & Fire phase of the Turn ends, followed by the Boarding and End phases as described in the main GRAVETIDES rules.

One or more cubes of a further different color can be added to the poll described above in order to trigger, when drawn, special events like a change in weather, the activation of sea monsters or the appearance of a strange marine phenomenon.

These rules are still under play testing and, so far, seem to work well.

What do you think of them?

Criticisms and suggestions are welcome as always.

Stay Tuned!

In Failure We Learn

Hi!

This post is a reflection about our last Kickstarter and the possible reasons of its failure, written both to help us understanding what went wrong and to possibly collect your feedback, thoughts and suggestions.

Going straight to the point, we think that the main reason we failed was due to our incapacity to see a big change that has affected the hobby of miniature gaming in three years from our first successful Kickstarter for the undead war fleet: 3D printing.

When we devised the ICE, LIGHTNING & FIRE Kickstarter for our three fantasy war fleet we thought that having physical resin model cast in resin was still something our potential pledgers would appreciate and were also ready to pay for, and for this reason we didn’t worried too much about the high cost of resin casting and its consequences on pledge levels.

But we were wrong.

During the campaign, one of the pledgers of our first Kickstarter (thank you!) and other people pointed out that while the warships were OK, the market for such niche models is expecting to be able to buy digital files (STL) and print them autonomously on the now ubiquitous 3D printers.

Looking at the other on-going Kickstarter campaigns in the same period when our one was online, a very high percentage of them were indeed offering very good-looking miniatures in STL format.

Despite this late realization we left the Kickstarter live for its entire planned period, registering a good number of people that were observing the campaign, meaning that there was interest in what we were offering, but with only a few observers converting into real pledgers by the end of the campaign.

This, added to the undoubted advantages that selling STL brings in, like zero costs on casting and shipping, possibly being faster in creating more models, and leaving the buyers to print the models at any scale they desire, has convinced us that the correct way to proceed is trying to offer digital models after having all our current warship translated into that format.

All the above to say that we will try to be back with a new Kickstarter, the format that seems to better fit our purposes, offering low cost digital files of our war fleets for personal use only, in the hope to generate enough interest to continue with our GRAVETIDES project, that aims to create never-seen-before fantasy naval fleets with their gaming rules.

The final answer is: what’s your opinion on this?

Are our conclusions sounding or you see other reasons of our failure that still defy us?

Thanks for taking the time to read all this, your feedback will be really appreciated.

Stay tuned.

Thank you!

Hi!

This post is to publicly thank our pledgers and everybody who has shown interest in our Kickstarter campaign or in the GRAVETIDES project as a whole.

As all failures, this one comes with lessons to be learned and we’ll take our time to try understand and correct our mistakes in order to be able to better plan our next steps.

We believe that the best advice can come from the community and If you have any observations, criticisms or anything else that you want us to know, just write it in the comments.

In the immediate future we will continue to post new articles about GRAVETIDES on this site and on our Facebook page, keep following us if you want to see where we’re heading.

Independently of its current outcome this campaign has been a pleasure to prepare and follow, let’s hope we’ll be able to plan something new in the near future!

Thanks again to all !

Soon on KICKSTARTER!

HI!

Just to let you know that our new Kickstarter will go live on the 1st of June.

Rewards will include one to three GRAVETIDES war fleet chosen among the ones of Kavenid (the undead vessels offered in our first Kickstarter) , Nadvidia (the Frozen Dead) and Neghorreth (the undead Necralchemists).

Hope you’ll join us in this new adventure and help us continue working on this project.

Help us creating a new world!

ICE, LIGHTNING AND DEATH

Hi!

After a laboured and long preparation our new Kickstarter will be live in the first days of June (the exact date will be announced as soon as available).

In the past months we’ve shared all the steps, from background writing to concept design and digital sculpt, of the new GRAVETIDES warfleets models that will be offered in this Kickstarter working at the same time in refining and testing our gaming rules and now it’s finally the time to release the results of our work.

The outcome of our first Kickstarter for our Undead Warfleet confirmed that there is interest for new and original fantasy warfleets models and gaming as also attested by the launch of a new naval ruleset by a notorious UK-based games and models producer.

We just hope that our new offering will be good enough to replicate the good success of our first foray to help us keep working on the GRAVETIDES project and be able to continue releasing new models (we already have A LOT of concepts and designs ready or in progress) and hopefully have the GRAVETIDES ruleset and their background polished enough to be released as a real game.

Stay tuned for news !

GRAVETIDES Beta Rules 10.0

Hi!

After a good deal of playtesting the GRAVETIDES Beta Rules have been updated to what can be considered their actual final state.

Further modification and rule refining are still possible but V10.0 can be now considered to be the Release Candidate of our naval fantasy rules.

Rules updates are mainly relative to hit allocation with a total redesign of the Ship Cards used to track damage and vessels status with the introduction of counters in substitution of pencil and eraser, something that really speeds up the flow of the game without (we hope) losing the level of detail we deemed necessary.

Ship Cards for the GRAVETIDES Warfleets, Kavenid, Nadvidia and Neghorreth have also been updated.

Constructive feedback on every aspect of the rules (grammar and wording included!) are more then welcome.

As a final note the preparations for our next Kickstarter are nearly there.

As usual stay tuned….

Playtesting WIP 2

Hi !

Another lock down day, another playtesting session.

Lesson learned from previous testing games (at the moment always in solitaire) have led to a complete redesign of the Ship Cards.

Pencil and eraser are gone and counters are used to record hits to the different parts of the ships or to track their status.

The new Ship Cards design also reflect new damage allocation rules that allow for a more streamlined game without renouncing to a certain level of detail allowing for different effects depending on side hit.

To allow for faster and more cinematic battles moving and firing turn phases have been unified and warships hit points values trimmed down.

All these changes will be soon incorporated into the GRAVETIDES beta rules and warfleets description making the current ones obsolete.

All is set up!
The new counters
The new Ship Cards after one Turn (Nadvidian Warfleet)
The Hailstone Mortar squadron targets the Floating Mausoleum while Bonreammers approach from their starboard side
Kavenid warfleet Ship Cards after the second Turn
The Frozen Galley rams and board the mighty Floating Mausoleum
Hailstone Mortars and Bonerammers clash into battle!

Meanwhile we are now looking into preparing our next Kickstarter with the intention to make it live before Summer.

As usual stay tuned !

The Neghorrethian Bringer Of Miasma Print

Hi!

The print of the last warship of the Neghorrethian fleet is finally here!

Differently from the other vessels of the Necralchemist fleet the Bringer of Miasma is powered by an internal combustion alchemical engine whose exhausts are used to propel against enemy warships glassy spheres filled with toxic or explosive fumes known as the Miasma Orbs.

The Bringer can also release its deadly Orbs directly in the waters on its wake plaguing the seascape with floating mines to hamper enemy shipping movements or to protect friendly vessels creating secure areas impenetrable to foe vessels.

More details on the Neghorrethian warfleet can be found in its dedicated page and GRAVETIDES rules for the Great Operator can be downloaded from here.

Stay tuned !

Playtesting WIP

As lockdown is returned until Easter (hopefully for the last time) it’s a good time for an intensive afternoon of solitaire playtesting of the GRAVETIDES core rules using the models from our Undead Fleet Kickstater and warships of the new Nadvidian Frozen Necrorealm fleet that we have discarded in the process of learning 3D printing.

Playing the game with a good number of actual models with their respective experimental special rules even if the obvious limitation of solitaire play and of a small and round table to play on has been a totally different experience than trying the game with counters representing generic warship with no strange weapons or other bizarre characteristics.

The war fleets of Kavenid and Nadvidia are ready to wage war
All is set up for battle
The Kavenid Ship Cards
The Hailston Mortar squadron sails forward
The Frozen Galley rams the mighty Drifting Mausoleum
A Stormbarge attacks an approaching Corpseship
A Bonerammer sends a Stormbarge to the bottom of the GRAVETIDES sea
Boarding actions in progress!
The Glacier Fortress is under siege !!

These plays have highlighted the necessity to simplify damage allocation and to remake (again!) the Ship Card to allow faster recording and tracking of damage and status preserving some aspects of the GRAVETIDES rules we deemed important like the allocation of attacks on different sides of the target and some other ‘finesses’.

In the end we are now working on a new version of the GRAVETIDES core rules that will introduce some differences such as:

  • damage rules will be simplified keeping the allocation of hits on different ship sides where it really counts
  • Ship Cards will be redesigned and simplified with damage tracking and vessel status recorded using counter instead of rubber and pencil to speed up the game and enabling players to check each vessel conditions with a glance
  • clarifications and tuning of the movement rules, mainly for warship propelled by magic
  • range and distances measuring clarifications
  • admirals and sorcerers ranking will be simplified with the ability to have higher quality officers to be treated as a perks to be bought during fleet composition

These changes some other ones will be reflected into ships experimental rules starting with the ones of the Kavenid ad Nadividian war fleets which were used for playtesting.

Last but not least we have also received some suggestions and clarifications requests that we will try to incorporate in the GRAVETIDES core rules.

Further playtesting will hopefully be done and reported soon.

Thanks for watching and stay tuned!