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Para Bellum Teasers Jan 2021

Para Bellum Teasers Jan 2021

Para Bellum Q&A Transcript

Questions pertinent to the games were captured.  Outside questions were omitted.

Questions on First Blood

Q: Are there plans on restricting Ranged so we don’t see 100% ranged armies on the board?
Definitely – given the fact that First Blood is its own game system that means that there are going to be inherent fixes that are required.  Given the fact we want First Blood to be its own fully competitive game that means that also points cost will be balanced accordingly.  There is going to be a balancing update the same way that happened with Conquest. 

We will be balancing the points and exploring fixes to make sure that ranged is not more preferred.  We don’t feel its dominating but definitely feel it could be taken down a bit.  When we were designing the game we decided to make ranged not cause resolve.  In this way we need to find a way to reign down the ranged in First Blood as well.

It will have its own organized play track, events, tournaments to be able to follow.

Q:  First Blood having its own track of events.  Will First Blood and Last Arguments of Kings have different impact on the living world?  Or are both games have the same amount of interactions with the interaction of the living world.

A:  They have a different focus and the main – creating little vignettes for in the future, not to be available soon – don’t get excited! – vignettes that will basically allow you to play out an important scenario, skirmishes, assassination attempts, ambushes, etc.  And in the vignette you can input a code and two players agree the result and those will have a tremendous impact.  Those guys will have their votes count for more.

We don’t want people to feel its PAY TO WIN but its to reward those that play out the scenarios, and this will happen with organized play kits with mini campaigns who like to run for narrative players that don’t want everything to be competitive, these will be linked and can be submitted when there is a character clash for example.  We will let players say hey in our campaign this side won and its going to count for a few votes in that direction or the other.

Q: SO a campaign can go back and forth between First Blood and Argument of Kings?  Or are they exclusive?

A: honestly I never considered them separate so I can see them intermix continuously.

Q:  Are you planning on expanding mechanic in a different direction and go away from Last Argument of Kings?  At the moment the feeling is its only a hobby thing for Last Argument of King – there’s no reason to play First Blood since the rules are the same (as LAOK). 

A:  I think definitely first blood is another tool to experience the narrative.  Definitely there are certain mechanics we have in mind for LAOK that will be translated differently to FB.  The idea is to expand FB in a way for its own wargame.  You can use same miniatures to play.  But yes we want FB to be not a stepping stone for LAOK but a meaningful gaming experience for someone to play on a smaller scale.

Q: are you going to do a two-player set for the other factions in warbands?

A: Shows Hundred Kingdoms Warband.  All factions will have them.  You get both rulebooks for LAOK and FB.  Entry point for both games.  Three regiments and two characters.  That is the overall setup.

(shows the contents of the factions)

All of these are designed to get a really good start in conquest, or supplement your armies, or try things out for FB.  

Very good price point and regiment selection.

The dream is to make a new starter box for two new factions.  Whether that is doable is a lot of molds, sculpting, C&C, design that goes into it, and that eats into how quickly we can release all of the armies.  That’s one of the most delicate balances that we have right now which is you release seven new armies and then you are really excited about your army but you only get one or two new units a year!

So we are trying to balance the growth and variety with the growth and the depth of the factions.  And for example the nords were hit difficultly hard with dual kits for them given the ideas in our head and artists could not get anything to work together.  In hindsight we could have probably done something with raiders and stalkers and in the future its something we are paying closer attention because its easier to deliver both breadth and depth of the game.  The bread & butter of wargame.

Depth of choice in an army and outside.  Multiple different armies.  Multiple opponents.

The dream is yes, multiple starter boxes with different factions but not close enough where we’ve started planning out.

Questions on the Living World

The army builder has been developed well.  We are thankful we managed to create with your feedback a web app that works neatly and provides all the right tools.  The latest update was rules finder feature so you can find all of your rules.  Now the next big update is we want to do a Quality of Life update and focus on how we communicate visual information.  To help you build your army list more efficient.  Drag and Drop. 

We want to make sure this is truly a functional application that ties into the rest of what we offer as a system. 

One of the changes is being made under one roof – your central profile.  Our communication.  So living world is slowly becoming more than a map that you vote now and then.  It becomes a communication tool between us and you and vice versa.  This is what we wanted in the beginning.  Of course lore wise that will not stop being a focus. We want to show you with both LAOK and FB the events in the lore are reflected in the game and that is best systematically and easy for you to do it under one roof and one account.

When you play your battle and find an outcome and insert your code that is your contribution to the living world and increases your votes and influence.

We want constant communication what you play on table and what you see on world happening.  We are expanding on this its not an easy and fast process if we want to do it right.  So we are taking it step by step so game and lore do not suffer but come slowly in a route that keeps communicating.  And the amazing thing about this for us and we hope for you too is that you are the center piece of that.  Its your battles your votes your living world.

You will be able to select a retailer and a club on your profile coming up.

Planning on launching the in store OP in May.  A lot of that will tie in to the living world, as players and retailers as you sign up, if you are on store locator your retail store is in the living world.  If we know about your club (submitted by players and vetted by Leandros) – player activity will level up the club.

The club can gain levels.  Ranging from hosting official recognized tournaments to organized play kit support, big or small kits (big difference), the ability to host your own organized play directly, then to become a candidate to run regionals.  The more active a club will come down to who has the most active community.

Then we’ll figure out if there are competing instances where we have a rotating sequence. 

But you know all of this is COVID permitting.  One of the things we want to do is beyond the haha I beat you aspect is give people the incentive to join the organized play.  I want to underline is NOT JUST TOURNAMENTS!  Paint and takes, tutorials, mini campaigns, mini narratives, its going to run the gambit to cover hardcore competitive and more narrative players.  I don’t want that tension in my hobby, its going to cover both.

One thing we’ve done is rewarding alternative sculpts in organized play.  I mean resin heads and shields for different units within each faction so each faction is going to have several sets of these that will be rewarded as the players…

(shows alternate heads you can earn which you could put on your models)

Regular round shields coming for huscarls, not the big coffin shields that some people didn’t like.

The Three Factions that We are Preparing

We’ve included graphics from some of the designs, some are earlier designs, but we want to show you the full on of the ideas.  

(weavers)

Shows some images.  Insect looking.  Based on seasons.

City State Hoplites images shown.

Q: When do Weavers release, I’m really excited for them.  I like the insects will there be any felines?  Non insects?

A:  yes very much so the insects are kept to one sub faction one type of insect, terrifying to everyone around them because they glom together in a hive mind.  They are terrifying and effective the other courts are like… yeahhhhh lets keep them small and few.  Definitely not all insect faction little bit of everything.

Mossy giants.  Fish, lobster, all sorts of things.  Not fish gnomes people.  Not fish gnomes. 

Satyrs are the scary guys.  The ones you cross over when you see them because you’re a little worried.  They touch on the difficult situation of the city states, they are remnants of the old dominion before the bred were hunted down, they are not equal except in the democratic states, where they are not all that equal either because of their appearance.

They find their niches and there is tension in the city states about incorporating them.

We have two version, satyr version and the fawn version (shows the satyr version).  The concept was always spec ops, the scary guys that run ahead of the formation breaking up the enemy phalanx and disordering them.

Old Dominon – byzantine aspect.  Period of history that was massive but not explored despite beautiful visuals.  Its somewhere we want to focus.  Dashes of Rome, Egypt as well. 

What I like with the OD you see undead when you see troops.  You don’t see the typical shambling… you see disciplined and capable soldiers that can fight.  I like the disciplined feel when I see in the poses and stances and this is one of the things I love about them.

Capturing the faded glory of the empire that was.  Capturing the melancholy… more than the terror.  To mix those together … what was before.  The glory of what came before.

W’HADRUN

Path of Conquest is best way to get into the w’hadrun.  I find these new release of the faction very interesting.

Shows art for W’hadrun.  They are big.  They are very big.

Wanted to make them do 2 wounds each but prevented them doing sexy thing with them. 

It does evoke orc archetype in they are created and meant for war.  They are very innocent though.  To west there is fallen civ. 

Its going to be a much more complex and deeper than most army people think orcs are.  There are one of the curious things we did about them inspired by the zulu is the warchants.  So one of the curious traits of the spires is they crafted into them is hearing that comes up time and again in lore and dev, and they are a musical race.  This translates onto battlefield.  These chants and warcries give bonuses.  The longer the chant goes, the stronger the bonus.

Its split into the four cults of the w’adhrun gods.  The more powerful it becomes.  So it is actually a deep army that is going to require very delicate play from players, but in the right hands when you combine their stats with the chants they are going to be terrifying.

But they cant be too easy to pull off because then you overwhelm your opp0onents.  To that end the alpha rules have been sent out and we sped up the release significantly from original time schedule.  So that’s why we are at alpha stage even though they come really soon.  Coupled with COVID… and our playtesting group being sequestered with children in the house, not be allowed to play a lot of tabletop, been a challenge to put together.

We’ve release it now to a select few people who are going to tear it to shreds and build it to its beta.

When you see the rules they are not like other factions, they have army-specific rules.  The 100k and Spires always use cleave and armor piercing are universal.  There are things in w’hadrun that are ONLY applied to them.

It flags a design process when it comes down to updating rest of armies and what is coming next.  So we have taken all the feedback from people playing for all factions, and we have seen and how we want to make the game better in that how it plays better and every faction plays how it appears in the lore.

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING that was behind our design thought for EVERY faction.

There will be ARMY SPECIFIC special rules for all factions when the time comes for another update for the rules overall and we are already working on it and testing and seeing all the things you’ve commented on and we are very excited to make the game even better.

The character upgrades were a big stepping stone, the w’hadrun are another one and we are excited for the future of Conquest and FB!

Q:  The printed books are they out of date too quickly and what is the thought process on them?

A:  The printed books compliment each other, and for example the companion book coming out does not effect rules at all.  Companion book is how you link battles together, not what you do IN battles, how you interact with each other.

We have map mode in there with full blown – deeper than most board games I have seen – different scoring objectives, reinforce armies, you can finish it with a die roll or dive into a proper conquest game – and then we will have a smaller focus on development of an army.  A personal path of conquest.  A different mode – you start with first blood warband and grow it into full army.

Or full army and grow it and develop it.

Eventually army builder will remember this so when you log in it keeps track of your army and experience you have earned.  I’ll be frank we are going very crunchy on this.  Different activities will give you different things, while sitting on an objective is great it doesn’t make you good in combat etc.

Veteran units will be minor and major achievements.  They will find it harder to score the minor achievements because when militia survive its impressive but when dragon slayers survive its not very impressive.  Its harder to level up big units. 

Rule of cool.

Developing your own guys.  So its something army specific but unit specific experience honors you can earn.

Misc Questions

Q: is FB in army builder soon?

A: yes.

Q: unique terrain – …. We will discuss later

Q: Specific rules for themed armies.  Is that coming with next faction specific rules?  Or different?

A:  It is different in sense that the army specific special rules will be a stepping stone to work toward that.  So yes when you are playing your faction you can play a full sub theme but will have to take certain steps. We will have it but not in same update with army special rules.

It’s a gradual process.  We have to create the structure, create the space, and a light med and heavy for each sub faction that are different from the other so its not just cosmetic.  Then we can truly discuss ok whats the advantage of running crazy religious fanatics for 100k?

What will this look like?

This is the part I love of rules design.  And its where I love including a lot of character in the rules.  The stuff you fall in love with an army to make it shine. 

The sub faction – theme – armies are a great way to give light to regiments that wouldn’t have.  So maybe you find some regiments – why would I field this?  This is because some of them are designed to work with certain rules and even better with some sub factions.

This is something we want to communicate.  Balance is a little different for us.  We have a different scope of whats coming and we balance on whats coming out next sometimes.  Definitely the sub faction theme gives light to regiments you won’t play otherwise.  We want to reward a collector of the faction and play a good game with your whole collection.

Q: are orders getting a light unit?

A: they had one but they were cut because they took up a slot that were too similar to others and didn’t make sense to cover the same role.  The idea is yes there will be one for everybody so …

We’re toying with the idea of regiments taking up different class in different sub themes and this is one of the ideas we will be working with.

That changes balance up quite a bit and is very important.

Resin:  Incarnate Sentinels – the steel forged for dweghom – the Order of the Ashen Dawn for 100k

They are GLORIOUS!!

They could not become a plastic kit.  The molds cost a million dollars  a piece so we have to find another way to make it happen. 

They look good.

They look VERY GOOD.

Q:  Date for next rules release?

A:  After w’hadrun we are looking to work on next rules update.  We want to make sure small balances and faq coming that adds to what is out now.  Few balances.  Few minor changes.  Actual update introduces new rules for the army lists.

Q:  Hero hammer – are we rebalancing those?

A:  def the hero update provided a lot of depth and gave a retinue – the design process was to emphasize that a character is not just an absolute god of combat that destroys everything.  It comes from the power of the retinue that follows the character.  Except for the nords.

The retinue system was there to help add more character to the characters.  Right? 

So certain characters became stronger, so you will se really see strong builds with hold-raegh or blooded.  There was a strong build for eruption and dweghom.  These are things we want to contain.  We want characters to be the adhesive that brings army together RATHER THAN being the army.

Our design process aims toward that.

We have an eye on the blooded and dweghom characters.

Q: will there be updated assembly instructions?

A: yes there will be assembly instructions coming to the kits

Q: Mimetic Assassin – Evasion 5 – too powerful?

A: Yes that is a strong combo you built sir.  But definitely important to understand the assassin is a character difficult to … its good at combat but difficult to provide other strategic opportunities other characters do.

That said – evasion 5 is something we want to look at. 

Faction 6 is 2022 – Early 2022.

All Images are owned by PARA BELLUM and posted here with permission.

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auticus_@d

Software engineer, data science, machine learning, AI, game designer, and writer.

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