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  • Writer's pictureRobey

Buckle your swashes! - Here comes 'Blood & A Black Flag!'

In an unexpected change to our publishing plan, here's a new game!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a major professional crisis.

Without seeking to bore you with my problems, the simple fact was that I had to deal with the reality that Precinct Omega simply wasn't taking in enough money to sustain its financial commitments, modest though they are.

As a result, I had to take a hard look at my plans and make some radical changes, and one of those changes was to halt development work on a number of Horizon Wars: Zero Dark supplements. There is nothing wrong with those supplements and I hope to finish and release them in due course. But I had to wrestle with the fact that the time cost of finishing them to the standard I had set with the three books I released in the last two years (Horizon Wars: Zero Dark, Zero Dark: Operation Nemesis and Horizon Wars: Infinite Dark) was going to be too much to justify based on the projected earnings.

But I still want to create games and game products as good-looking - in fact, better looking, as I learn more about the art of layout and formatting - as the ones I've already made. As a consequence, I took three big decisions to help see Precinct Omega through this phase of its life.

The first, as mentioned, was to halt development on the current crop of supplements.

The second was to look for a three-month professional contract back in the world of Human Resources which would both support my family and give me a chunk of cash I could push back into Precinct Omega.

The third was to release some low-production games I have simmering in my development backlog. These are games that I have mostly finished but which I hadn't planned to release without being able to do so to the same standard as the Horizon Wars series. But instead, I'll be pushing them out without much in the way of art, photography or fiction. They'll be "raw" products along the lines of Precinct Omega's original "One Pound Wargames" idea from years ago (if you remember that far back) - not as cheap as £1.00, but certainly low cost, easy to print with the same design quality as all POP games.

Some will be familiar ideas with a new twist. Some will be completely new designs.

Blood & The Black Flag is the first of these. It's loosely pirate themed, but what sort of pirate is very much up to you. Classic Age of Sail? Sure. Post-apocalyptic raiders? Why not. Deep space smugglers of the far future? Absolutely!

It's built on the same mechanics as my old game, Skrapyard, but with new rules for inventing your own unique heroes to lead their crews and a little tidying up in the rest of the rules.

Future releases will also tap into some familiar territory. I'll be releasing an updated version of my classic MechaWar rules, blended with the Battle Royale supplment, for a standalone gladiatorial mech game inspired by digital experiences like Titanfall. And Ballmonsters will get a new outing with a completely new set of rules and a new vision for this anarchic fantasy sportsball game.

But there will also be some completely new concepts. And one of these I'm developing "live" through a series of video blogs called Game Design Tutor. The first video, on "Foundational Goals" is here, and the second, on "Core Mechanics", is here.

What with my plans to go back to full-time work, albeit temporarily, I'm naturally going to be less present online for a bit. But I'll keep trying to do the podcast, although it may go to fortnightly rather than weekly, and will continue doing new Game Design Tutor videos. Livestreaming, though, will stop for a few months.

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