• Robey

Zero Dark Design Blog 1 - Principles & Dice


Some design points about Zero Dark that you need to know:

1. d12s. This is non-negotiable. 2. An opposing force controlled by a normal, 54-card control deck. This is on the table in both solo mode (where it's the main enemy) and PvP mode (where it's a serious complication for both sides). 3. Fully customizable heroes. Basically, any mini up to the size of a Space Marine terminator can find a place in your team. 4. Hard sci-fi core setting. I hope to have supplements for more pulpy settings, like the grim dark future, a galaxy far, far away, or superheroes in due course. But right now, it's all about keeping things within the realm of the possible.

Why d12s? This comes down to a fundamental mechanic that has been lifted more-or-less wholesale from Horizon Wars. In HW, the roll to hit involves measuring the range and rolling a number d12s to try to equal or exceed the range. The more groups of dice you have that do this, the more successes (hits) you achieve.

In Zero Dark, I've taken this mechanic and applied it more widely so, for example, if you want to extract data from the objective computer terminal you might be rolling a number of d12s against the difficulty of the terminal. If you want to medic an ally, you'll roll d12s against the severity of the wound. If you want to sneak up to an enemy target, you'll roll d12s against how easily you are going to be spotted.

The foundation of this mechanic is shooting and, as we tend to measure our tables in inches, with tables typically being between 3' and 6' in dimensions, it makes sense to work on a scale of 1 to 12. Having established the foundation, it then follows that it is easier to apply the exact same mechanic across all tests for player familiarity.

I don't have any d12s! That's fine. I sell d12s.

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