Big September Update

Hello all. CAPERS is still wrapping up a playtesting round, but here's a whole bunch of little announcements about other things. (If you haven't seen the final CAPERS front cover, go down to the previous blog post and take a look.)

Little Angels / Little Devils

Based on a suggestion from a Twitter follower, I designed a one-page micro-game all about characters making decisions when they're not good at making decisions. It involves that little angel and little devil that sit on peoples' shoulders and give advice. You can download it from the Micro-Games page. For FREE! 

The November Announcement Plan

November is gonna be a BIG month for NerdBurger Games. In addition to going to two big conventions on consecutive weekends, I've got some big announcements coming. Here's a peek. 

CAPERS Preview Edition

I've received the first proof of the 44-page CAPERS Preview Edition. There are a few tweaks to be made, but things are on course. I'll be making it available in early November at DriveThruRPG.com. To learn more about what's in the Preview Edition, pop down a couple blog posts and take a gander. 

Die Laughing Preview Edition

I'll also be releasing a 26-page Preview Edition of Die Laughing in November. Again, more info a couple blog posts down. Keep an eye out for it, especially if you'd like to provide some alpha feedback. I'm pretty damn certain Die Laughing will be the third game from NBG. 

The CAPERS Kickstarter!

Everything is on track for me officially announcing the Kickstarter dates for CAPERS. Barring any unforeseen issues with this round of playtesting, I'll nail down the dates in October and announce specifics in November. Stay tuned!

Social Media Call to Share NerdBurger Games

If you like M&A and what you've heard of CAPERS, please share this website with your friends. I'm officially starting a push to make as many people aware of these things as possible. I can fire info all over the social media and this blog, but CAPERS will be in better shape if YOU tell people about it. 

Point people to this website, particularly the Blog page and the Contact page to stay in the loop. The more people I have reading this blog, subscribing to the monthly newsletter, following me on Twitter, etc., the more likely the CAPERS Kickstarter will open strong!

Craig's Convention Appearances

I'm going to try to tweet about what I'm doing and where I am at my upcoming convention appearances. I normally suck at this. So...if you're gonna be at any of these conventions and want to touch base with me, follow me on Twitter (@NerdBurgerCraig) and fire tweets at me while at the convention to remind me to tell you what the hell I'm doing. 

AcadeCon - Nov 10-12, 2017 - Dayton, OH

I'm a special guest at AcadeCon this year. I love these folks. They've been INCREDIBLY supportive of my game work. And to top it off, they produce super podcasts and run a super convention. 

If you're in or near Dayton, Ohio, consider going. Three days of RPG (and other gaming) goodness plus LOTS of podcast guests. Seriously. The Special Guest List is ridiculous! I'll be running demos of all my games, participating in some panels, playing some games, and talking all about being a giant dork. And I'd love to meet you. 

PAX Unplugged - Nov 17-29, 2017 - Philadelphia, PA

The fine folks at PAX are hosting their first ever convention dedicated to tabletop gaming. Check it out HERE. Board games, card games, RPGs, tons of other stuff. My schedule is VERY much in flux right now, but I'll be running 2-hour games in the Games on Demand room as well as other places TBD. M&A and the CAPERS Preview Edition will be available for purchase at the IGDN booth in the dealer hall. 

Special Event for Murders & Acquisitions Backers? Wanna play a game with me?

Since PAX Unplugged will be attended by many gamers, it's possible there will be a handful of M&A backers/NBG lovers who will be in attendance. I'd like to run a special event for you! If you are going and are interested in participating in this special event, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com ASAP. I'll compile interested persons in a little list. If I get enough, we'll work together to schedule a time and game to play. 

Midwinter Gaming Convention - January 11-14, 2018 - Milwaukee, WI

I'll be at Midwinter for the entire convention. I'll be busy with industry networking stuff on Thursday, but I'll be running demos of all my games and a few full game events all day on both Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday morning. I'll also be hosting a panel on Creating Your Own RPG. If you live in the area, swing on by. And if you're not terribly big into RPGs but instead prefer LARPs, you should TOTALLY check out Midwinter. It's filled with cool LARPs. 

Additional Convention Appearances?

The Schedule page contains info on a few other places I'll be in early 2018. They're all in the Atlanta area or nearby. But if you're interested and have the means, swing on by. 

And Finally, I'm Now Taking Requests...

If you're reading this blog post, you're one of my favorite people in the whole world. You're a lover of all things NerdBurger Games, and I'd like to reward you for your loyalty.

If there's ANYTHING I've been talking about on this blog that you'd like to know more about, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com. Wanna see some more illustrations? Some screen shots of a few pages of the CAPERS Preview Edition or Die Laughing Preview Edition? Info on anything specific about my game design process? Something else? Let me know! I'll make a little list and see what I can do about bringing your request to fruition. This is your chance to make me do stuff and/or pick my brain! Don't let this opportunity pass you by. 

And thank you so much for supporting my game design efforts over these many months. I appreciate each and every one of you. When I started my little game company, I had no idea it would blossom like it has. We're not big, but we're fierce!

Okay...that's it. I'm spent. I gotta get back to work.

Game on,

Craig

Busy, Busy, Busy

Hey there NerdBurger lovers!

As I start (hopefully) wrapping up CAPERS design and start diving into my own personal convention and promotion season leading to a Kickstarter for my little game of 1920s gangsters with superpowers, I have some updates for you. NerdBurger Games is really hopping!

CAPERS Reassembled

I had originally tapped Celeste Conowitch to do some design work for CAPERS. But she and her compatriots and their live play podcast went and got all big and famous after their appearance at GenCon. Ugh. Successful people. ;-) (Seriously, though, check 'em out. They're pretty rad!)

I went searching for a new member for the CAPERS team. As of this moment, I'm proud to say that I have suckered Kevin Kulp into doing some design work in Celeste's stead. Kevin Kulp? Who's that? You might know him as the designer of TimeWatch, which is a fucking awesome RPG that I backed on Kickstarter. Go ahead and buy it. You won't be disappointed. 

CAPERS Preview Edition

As I move toward a Kickstarter to make CAPERS a reality, I've made a decision. How about I put the game in the hands of interested gamers BEFORE the Kickstarter happens? That can help, right?

Right.

I plan to release the CAPERS Preview Edition in a couple months. I'll put it on DriveThruRPG.com as both a PDF and a softcover, both very reasonably priced. The Preview Edition will be 44 pages of hot, intense, super-gangster action. The core rules, some setting info, a smattering of superpowers, a complete introductory adventure, and a bunch of pre-generated characters. Basic layout and with just a few illustrations, but a complete game. Not the whole game by any means, but enough to whet your appetite and give you a chance to take the game for a spin. Stay tuned!

Die Laughing Alpha Playtest

A short time ago, I got together with some local RPG lovers and put my NEXT game through its very first playtest. Die Laughing is a GM-less, short-play, horror-comedy story game. It's a much smaller game than my previous two efforts, featuring a dice mechanic that functions as a countdown to your character's death. And those characters will die...in fun and entertaining ways. 

But what do I do when my character dies? Fear not. There's a bunch of cool stuff in the game rules that will keep you involved in telling the story even after your character is dead...or a zombie...or a pod person...or...

I plan to get this game into the hands of playtesters in the very near future. This initial playtest went pretty well and I'm confident that it will be the third game from NerdBurger Games.

AndoCon 2018

AndoCon is an Atlanta gaming convention that I've been involved with for a few years now. When I attend the convention, I'm usually running games and demos, hosting an episode of the NerdBurger Show, and hanging out. For the 2018 convention, I'm helping organize a Kickstarter to get things off the ground and wrangling a bunch of cool, free stuff that we'll be giving away at the con. 

If you're in the Atlanta area or might want to swing by Atlanta, here's the website for AndoCon. I'll certainly post about it here when the Kickstarter goes up in October. 

The Monach's Court Reminder

A quick reminder for you D&D lovers out there. I wrote a fun little guide to bringing your D&D characters to a monarch's court. It's available at the DMs Guild. Super-cheap pile of D&D goodness.

Mice and Motorcycles?

What ever shall you do if you just can't wait for a new game on Kickstarter? I got ya covered. My friend Derek Kamal of Shoreless Skies Publishing will be launching a Kickstarter for Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse in October. 

HMTM is a FATE-based game of mice on motorcycles doing cool stuff. I'll let you know when the Kickstarter is up and running. If it does well, I'll be writing a little something for the game...which I am totally stoked for. 

It's also worth noting that Derek has contributed to CAPERS, providing a plethora of info on New York City in my game world. 

Murders & Acquisitions Holiday Bonus?

But you ask, "What about Murders & Acquisitions?" Any love for M&A? The answer is...YES!

As we near the one-year anniversary of NerdBurger Games releasing Murders & Acquisitions into the wild, I'm hard at work on the very first supplement for the game. 

It's tentatively titled "Holiday Bonus" and will be 15 pages of M&A fun. A brand new company for the game, an adventure tied to this company, and a smattering of rules stuff...all with a holiday theme, for you and yours!

Here's a glimpse of a few pieces. 

So there you go. I gotta get back to making super-cool games. You go back to playing those cool games. 

Game on,

Craig

Lightning Round of News

Hey there everyone. Let’s keep this quick and to the point.

Affiliate Link

See the link to buy M&A on the front page here at NerdBurgerGames.com?  That’s an affiliate link. If you use that link to go to DriveThruRPG.com and then buy stuff (not even my stuff; any stuff), NerdBurger Games gets a little money. It costs you nothing except pressing that button. You can even copy the link and make it your bookmark for DTRPG so you don’t forget to use it.

The Resplendent Ruler of Oz

There’s a new micro-game available on the Micro-Games page. Free PDF, people. FREE!

DMs Guild

Do you like my work and also like to play D&D?

I wrote a 23-page guide to taking the heroes to a monarch’s court in D&D 5E. It’s on the DMs Guild HERE. Not free. But inexpensive.

Hot…Podcast…Action

I had a nice chat with the fellas at Skirmish Supremacy right HERE.

Team CAPERS Reassemble!

Artist is arting. Graphic designer is graphicking. Cartographer is cartography…cartographer…mapping. Chicago writer is writing…Chicago Style!

One of my writers had to drop from working on CAPERS cuz they are super-successful at some other stuff and have gotten very busy. Yay for Celeste Connowitch and the gals at Venture Maidens! Check them out.

I’m working on getting someone on board to pick up where Celeste wasn’t able to. Hopefully, I’ll get a “yes” from this person this weekend. Stay tuned!

CAPERS Playtesting

Round 5 of playtesting went to five groups a few days back. This is the fine-tuning round. If all goes well, I think I can safely say we’re looking at a Kickstarter in the first three months of 2018.

CAPERS Ashcan

I’m going to be putting together an ashcan edition of CAPERS soon. An ashcan is, basically, a preview promotional copy. Basic layout. Just a handful of illustrations. But enough of the game to give it a whirl, including an adventure and pre-generated characters. It should be available as both a super-cheap PDF and a slightly more expensive, but still pretty cheap, softcover. Stay tuned for more info.

GenCon Sales

I was worried M&A would disappear among the plethora of other games available at GenCon. I figured I’d sell five books. Ten books would be a great convention. I sold fourteen. Big thanks to the folks at the IGDN who made that booth happen!

AcadeCon

I’ve been invited to be a guest at AcadeCon in Dayton, Ohio. November 10-12, 2017, hosted and organized by the RPG Academy. This is the first time I’ve been invited to be a convention guest outside the place where I live and I couldn’t possibly be more stoked to go. I've been on the RPG Academy podcasts a couple times and we had Michael from the RPG Academy on the NerdBurger Podcast a little while back. 

Check out the Schedule page for more info on convention appearances.

A Little More Murdering & Acquiring?

I’m considering putting together a little somethin’-somethin’ for Murders & Acquisitions to release for the end of the year. Here’s hoping I find a little extra time to crunch it out. It’s outlined. I just need to write it.

That does it for now. Stay tuned for a glimpse of the CAPERS front cover, which is thiiiiiiis close to completion.

Game on,

Craig

CAPERS Specs as of 2017-07-27

CAPERS Specs:

  • Approx. 53,000 words written (including James’ portion and Derek’s portion, wrapping up now)
  • Approx. 15,000 words left to go (including Celeste and Tim’s stuff)
  • Plans for approx. 50 illustrations, plus a little something special
  • Plans for three maps, one underway with Mike
  • Front cover design mostly worked out by Owen
  • Interior graphics/typesetting/fonts underway with Owen
  • Projected page count: 150-160
  • Kickstarter video makers and plan locked in (with Michelle and Jim)
  • Playtest round 4 underway with three ongoing groups plus seven brand new groups
  • Plan for playtest round 5 worked out
  • Plans for custom deck of 54 playing cards underway with Owen
  • Kickstarter backer tiers mostly worked out (including ways to get backers’ likeness in illustrations)
  • Plans for 40-page ashcan edition underway for later this year
  • Craig’s con schedule worked out (5 cons) with one possibility still being investigated
  • Editor lined up and tentative start date set
  • All PDF support materials planned, some of it already completed
  • Podcast/actual play plans already set for a couple appearances, more underway
  • Approximate Kickstarter start and end dates decided, to be finalized in a few months

I try to be as transparent as I can about the development of my games. It's kind of a requirement, given that I'm a little bitty company and don't have a lot of reach (always looking for more). Sooooo...

Things are coming together nicely. Lots to plan. But lots already done, so that's exciting. If you know anyone who might be interested in M&A, CAPERS, or anything else coming from NerdBurger Games, send them to this blog to subscribe to the RSS feed. If they'd prefer less frequent updates but still want to be in the loop, point them to the Contact page where then can subscribe to our VERY Occasional Newsletter, max one email per month. 

Craig

 

Die Laughing Alpha Playtest and Other Stuff

Hey there everyone.

A few quick items. 

Die Laughing Alpha Playtest

It's time to get some alpha playtesters for a new game that I've JUST barely started designing. I've put together the absolute minimum needed to play the game and need to see how the system works. If you're interested in giving it a whirl, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com. Put "Die Laughing Feedback" in the subject line. 

The game is called Die Laughing. It's a 1-2 hour, GM-less story game. Players portray characters in a horror comedy movie. The dice function as a countdown clock to your character's death. Even after your character is gone, there are ways for you to remain active in and influence the story.

You can download it HERE. I simply ask that if you download it, please give it a whirl and provide feedback. I can't hold you to this, but I hope you'll be honest and not download unless you plan to play it. If the game gets some traction, I'll expand it with more characters, scenes, and monsters and make a real book with illustrations and all that good stuff. 

CAPERS Playtests

I've got about ten playtest groups playtesting for this next round, including several groups that are brand new to the game. Time to find those little missing bits that I don't realize are missing cuz I'm too close to the game. 

CAPERS is getting closer and closer to completion with every round of playtesting. 

If you'd like to try it out for a one-shot playtest, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com. More eyes on the game will make it better. 

M&A Actual Play Podcast Episodes

The kind folks at the Don't Split the Podcast Network had me on to run a 4-hour actual play on Twitch a few weeks ago. They've broken the 4-hours up into multiple shorter audio-only podcast episodes HERE. If you want to see how CRAIG runs the game, here you go.

Make sure to check out there other podcasts. Great stuff all over that website. 

M&A For Sale at Conventions

In addition to the game making its way into a handful of game stores via Indie Press Revolution, M&A will be on sale at GenCon in the Indie Game Developer Network booth. I plan to also make it available at the IGDN booths at PAX Unplugged and the Midwinter Gaming Convention. More murderers will be acquired soon!

A Glimpse of CAPERS Artwork

Beth Varni has been hard at work on a number of illustrations for CAPERS. I leave you with a look at a finely dressed fellow shooting people with his concussion beams AND flying (sort of) with those same beams pointed at the ground. 

concussionbeam02.jpg

Back to work. Bye bye.

Craig

CAPERS Core Design Conceits and Game Design

Yo!

The next round of CAPERS playtesting will start in the next couple weeks. As I prepare, I've been reflecting on how I got to the point I'm at with the game design. There are a number of things that have been mentioned by playtesters that I thought I would address. I normally don't include design decision stuff in playtest documents, so I think it'll be of interest to the playtesters, as well as the rest of you, to see parts of my decision-making process.

This discussion is less about the specifics of rules text and math results and more about the core conceits of the design and how they've been addressed.

Gangsters with Powers, Not Supers with Guns

I set out to design a game about gangsters. Those gangsters have Powers. Or at least they CAN have Powers. There are rules for non-Powered characters. It's not a game about supers who happen to live in the 1920s and happen to be gangsters. This is an important distinction for me.

There are many supers RPGs out there. Most of them focus on the fact that the characters are superheroes and/or supervillains. CAPERS is about gangsters and feds first and Powers second. This distinction informs a variety of decisions I've made in the design.

Guns vs. Powers

Some playtesters have asked why Tommy guns are as damaging as Powers that deal damage. The reason for this is twofold. First, I want it to be a valid and worthwhile choice for a player to play a character that uses a Tommy gun and focuses his Power choices on utility Powers and things that make him better with a gun.

Second, this is not a game where the characters are fighting against super-powered baddies all the time. They're dealing with regular folk a lot of the time. I need guns to be real threats in these situations. None of the Powers are super-duper Powers. There is no Hulk or Superman. Characters with Powers are frail, or at least more frail than characters like Superman. Guns need to be a threat to such Powers. Every NPC needs to be a threat.

Power Levels

Powers in the game range across levels. Some only have one level of power. Some have 1-2 or 1-3 levels. Some range 1-5 in level. Some playtesters have asked about this discrepancy. Can't a Power that has two levels be expanded to have five levels like some of the others?

The decision to let the level range be what it is for different types of Powers falls on how this isn't strictly a game about supers who happen to be gangsters. The Powers that range 1-5 do so because they require Power Checks that can compare to Traits that can range 1-5 in relative power. The normal maximum for each Trait is 3, but Powers can be used to raise them as high as 5.

Traits and Powers ranging up to 5 have been balanced against each other. I hope. Still playtesting and tweaking.

Complexity of Combat Rules

Some playtesters have asked why there aren't options for dual-wielding, a full defense maneuver, multi-target/area of effect Powers, and burst fire for Tommy guns. After all, many games that handle combat in a more complex manner include such options.

CAPERS already uses a non-traditional mechanic (playing cards rather than dice) and utilizes a unique set of terms that players have to learn. Excluding these options is built on the idea of simplifying the game a bit.

Dual-wielding is, in essence, having two attacks per round. That exists in the game but requires expenditure of Moxie, a limited resource. Making dual-wielding a standard thing that costs nothing makes it preferable to other options that involve only one attack. That adds complexity and necessitates "amping up" a great deal of the rest of the system.

I opted to not include full defense in order to promote characters doing more active things. Full defense (and similar options) can slow the combat.

Multi-targeting is available in limited form for some Powers, but it has a cost. Making it easy to use, again, makes such an option much better than single-targeting. Area of effect Powers are limited to mostly non-damaging effects, and have a cost as well. You can do this stuff, but there's a downside.

Burst fire for Tommy guns is at the top end of problems already discussed. It adds significant complexity and makes Tommy guns that much more awesome. Even without burst fire, they're pretty awesome in the game. They're fucking Tommy guns, after all, and deal the best damage of the guns available.

Finally, if someone buys the game, it's no longer my game. It's THEIR game. There are people who will house rule/hack these things into the game, and that's fine. I just don't want to assume all players want that added level of complexity. CAPERS is "gamist," not "simulationist." Everyone plays with the same restrictions.

How Much Success is Too Much?

Some playtesters have commented that CAPERS seems to see more successes in the mechanics than failures. This is done on purpose. I want the game to be one where the characters succeed. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of ways to fail and it happens a fair bit in the game. But I'm not interested in CAPERS being heavy on failure. There are games that do that, but this isn't one of them.

Additionally, there's a whole sub-set of "success" that is actually "success with complications." I like complications. They raise the stakes, make players think, and cause shifts in the immediate action as well as the entire story. They're engaging and I feel this makes the game better.

Counting Cards

When I first started designing the playing card mechanic for CAPERS, I realized very quickly that "counting cards" would affect individual players' game play. The more cards you flip (before shuffling all the cards back together), the better sense you have of what cards are still in your deck. You may not be able to keep track of every card, but you can certainly know if the cards remaining in your stack tend toward high cards or tend toward low cards. You can keep track of whether you've flipped any of the jokers or aces.

I was initially fearful that players who aren't as good at this sort of thing might feel like they're at a disadvantage compared to those who play Poker regularly and have an easier time keeping track. My solution to this was to encourage the GM to call for all players to reshuffle their discarded cards (those already flipped) back into their decks. "Reset" the randomness, as it were.

My fears proved to be unfounded. In the early stages, many players remarked that the card counting aspect of the game was a feature, not a bug. It was engaging and exciting. If you're rolling a d20 each round, the chance you get a 20 is always the same. However, if you know you have a lot of face cards and aces in your deck, you might have your character take more chances, relying on the "inevitability" of those high cards saving your butt and making your character really rock.

Engagement With the Card Flipping

Here's something I totally did NOT expect when I designed the playing card mechanic.

I've had multiple playtesters remark how ENGAGING the mechanic is. In some games, you roll a d20 and check for success. If you succeed, you roll damage, announce it, and move on. Maybe there's a resistance roll or saving throw or hit location in there. Each time, you roll and report.

BUT, with the CAPERS system, every card flip matters. You're constantly considering whether or not you'll gamble and flip another card to try for a better success. And...more importantly, the OTHER players are engaged in YOUR card flipping.

It's a group thing. Everyone loves a crit. But when you're gambling partial success on the CHANCE of a huge success, it draws the eyes of the other players. I've run may sessions where everyone at the table was shouting their thoughts and directions at the player who was flipping cards. They ALL rejoiced in an ace of spades flip.

It's pretty cool. And something I totally didn't expect to see when I laid out the groundwork of the game system.

In Conclusion...

I hope this helps explain some things for playtesters and gets others excited about trying out the game.

If you're interested in playtesting CAPERS, drop me a line at nerdburgergames@gmail.com and let me know. I'm looking for people brand new to the game to help me find holes in the manuscript. I'm too close to the design and can fill in the gaps in my head. I need people to tell me that I need an example here or clarification there.

Game on,

Craig

Some Friendly Requests from NerdBurger Games

Hey there. If you're on the NerdBurger Games mailing list, you can ignore this Blog post. I'm just throwing this out for those of you who aren't on the mailing list.

This is excerpted from the update I sent to people on the NerdBurger Games mailing list.

Some Requests

I have some requests to make of you. Take a look at the topics below and fire an email to me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com to help me out if you can.

Help Building this Mailing List?

I send an email to you via this mailing list about once per month. That was my promise and continues to be my promise. Only about once per month. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy the games I'm creating, tell them to email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com with a request to be added to this mailing list.

The bigger I can make this mailing list, the more people I can get on board with NerdBurger Games. And that will mean the next game, CAPERS, will have a better chance of funding when I run a Kickstarter sometime in the first half of 2018. I want to keep bringing awesome games to all of you, but I need interest wherever I can find it.

Do You Want to Die Laughing?

While CAPERS is going strong, I've started to tinker with an idea for a new RPG, tentatively titled Die Laughing.

Die Laughing is a horror-comedy RPG that is intended to run in 1-2 hours, based on number of players involved. One of the biggest issues with many horror games is "what does a player do if their character dies?" The player can whip up a new character or play an NPC already introduced. But that's kind of a cop-out.

Die Laughing runs in a short period of time and the rules are built in such a way that even if your character dies, you still have cool and evocative ways you can influence the story. The hope is that even if a character dies early (and most of the characters WILL die), the player still has fun influencing the story in interesting ways.

The game is built on a simple set of rules and a series of cards. The cards help you define your character, set scenes for the game, and allow the Threat (the monster or whatever) to do things. It's a GM-less game where the "GM role" passes from player to player as they group tells the story. A unique dice mechanic involves each player having an individual pool of dice. This pool of dice decreases as the player's character runs through the story, In essence, the dice pool functions as a countdown to your character's death. Fun, right?

Die Laughing is in its most rudimentary form and I'm looking for a few people who can run some alpha tests to see how it runs. You'll need a total of 4-8 players including you to run a 1-2 hour session. More players means a longer session. If you're interested in giving the game an alpha spin, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com with the subject line "Die Laughing Alpha Playtest Request" or something like that.

Continuing Support for Games?

M&A was always intended to be an all-in-one game experience. CAPERS is similar.

BUT, maybe some of you want to see some additional PDF support for our games. If you're interested in such a thing, email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com and let me know. If there's some interest, I might be persuaded to create some supplemental content for M&A (and eventually CAPERS and beyond). If interest is great enough, maybe I can set up a simple Patreon where people can throw in a couple bucks now and then to help me create such content that's more than just text on a page. Artwork and such. That costs money.


Whew. That about covers it. Thanks for reading this little (big) update. I hope to hear from you. Even if you don't want to playtest Die Laughing or whatnot, you're always welcome to drop me a line at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com and let me know how your M&A games have been going.

Game on,

Craig
 

 

 

 

CAPERS Grows...M&A Gets Downsized

As always seems to be the case, things have been busy here in NerdBurgerLand. Here we go!

CAPERS Game Title

I've been working with graphic designer Owen on a bunch of stuff. Primary among those things is the game title. Here's a look at the first pass. It'll almost certainly change a bit and will be in color in its final form. But this is where we're starting.

CAPERS Playing Cards?

CAPERS uses a standard Poker-style deck of playing cards (52 suit cards plus two jokers) rather than dice. Plans are underway for making a themed deck of playing cards available to Kickstarter backers as an add-on. No images to share just yet, but the back of the cards will feature the game title. Most of the faces will be your typical spades/hearts/diamonds/clubs stuff. Jacks, Queens, and Kings will feature illustrations of important NPCs in the game. The jokers will also be custom to the game.

CAPERS Excerpt

My playtesters are putting the game through its paces again. This time around, the players get to create their own characters and try to push the limits of the rules and find broken combos that will need fixing.

Here's a glimpse of two new Powers that will be featured in the NEXT round of playtesting. The Power total has hit 40 and I think that's gonna be it. Plenty of options for players.

M&A Will Be On Shelves at Some Cons

A few months ago, I joined the Indie Game Developer Network. The IGDN is a group of indie developers who share their talents with each other to build the indie side of the gaming world. I'm proud to be counted among these fine folks. Check 'em out.

A handy benefit of membership is found in the IDGN having booths at some of the larger gaming conventions. M&A will be on the shelves at the booths for GenCon and PAX Unplugged this year.

As soon as I order a bunch of books and ship them to the IGDN dude who gathers them all together.

M&A Downsized PDF Now Available

If you're reading this, you probably already have a copy of Murders & Acquisitions. PDF version and two book options are available at DriveThruRPG.com.

In an effort to bring my first RPG to even more people, I've DOWNSIZED IT.

That is, I've created an edition of the game that removes the 5 chapters/70 pages of optional, add-on, mix-and-match rules. This version of the game is the 100-page, slim, "Downsized" version of the game containing only the base game without any of that additional stuff. It's still a complete game, with info for players and GMs, but it's as tight and slim as it can be.

Murders & Acquisitions Downsized is available in PDF form at DriveThruRPG.com for just $8.

It'll only ever be available in PDF form. The point of this edition is to offer up a game for single-digit dollars. If you have friends who are interested in the game but don't want to plunk down $15+, here's a nice option.

What is Murders & Acquisitions Downsized?

Hey all,

Quick update concerning one thing here. There's a more robust blog post in the works, one that will hit on what's happening with CAPERS and so forth. But...

I've been working on something called Murders & Acquisitions Downsized. What does that mean? Here are a couple of clues.

Clue the First:

For several years now, the RPG publishing community has celebrated a little something called Free RPG Day.

Every year (this year it's on Saturday, June 17th), a bunch of RPG publishers create stuff to give out for free to help bring people into the hobby as well as reward longtime RPG lovers. If you're interested in checking out what's available for Free RPG Day, click the link above. You'll certainly find some cool stuff.

NerdBurger Games has been focused for the past several months on getting Murders & Acquisitions out for Kickstarter backers and for others with the game offered up at DriveThruRPG.com.

So, we didn't get anything put together in time to OFFICIALLY be part of Free RPG Day. But maybe we can do a little something?

Clue the Second:

Here's a little glimpse of what I'm planning.

What could this be?

Whatever it is, it's nearly finished. And it will see the light of day soon. Maybe on Saturday, June 17th.

:-)

 

 

 

Murders & Acquisitions Kickstarter Anniversary PDF Sale

If you're reading this, you're a special friend of NerdBurger Games. You're a person who has subscribed to the RSS feed for this blog or who has happened upon it in May of 2017.

As I type this on May 12th, we're celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Murders & Acquisitions Kickstarter hitting its base funding goal. That moment made this game real. 

If you're reading this, you might already have a copy of M&A, in PDF or in book form...maybe both. But maybe you don't. And maybe you have friends who'd like a copy of the game!

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of M&A becoming a real thing, we're offering the PDF of the game for a discount. Normally it costs $15 at DriveThruRPG.com. This sale gets you the PDF of the game for $10. 

Use THIS LINK to purchase the PDF of M&A for $10. Use it yourself. Feel free to share it with your gamer friends. Seriously, share it with your friends!

This offer is only available until the end of May, 2017, so grab your copy NOW!

Happy Anniversary to all of us!

Craig

CAPERS in Illustration Form

Just a quick post for YOU, cuz you read this Blog.

I received some artwork from Beth Varni, who is doing ALL of the illustrations for CAPERS. If I EVER doubted my decision to have her do all of the illustrations (and for the record, I didn't), that doubt would be laid to rest with this. 

And this is roughly 20% of the final illustration. 

Feedback and Distribution

Hey all, time for some news on both CAPERS and Murders & Acquisitions

Big News for M&A Distribution

Murders & Acquisitions has been available for purchase at DriveThruRPG.com for a few months now. And some people (other than backers) have bought it. YAY!

I've recently signed a contract with Indie Press Revolution to make M&A available through them. IPR is an online distributor, so you can buy the game just like at DTRPG. BUT, it also sells to retailers! I still have to finish up the NerdBurger Games page and get everything squared away, but copies of the book have been purchased and are on their way to the IPR warehouse.

So, with any luck, M&A will start popping up in at least some game stores in the next month or two! If your local game store doesn't buy games through Indie Press Revolution, you might want to let them know about IPR. IPR is a great outlet for small press and indie games that wouldn't otherwise be able to get wider distribution through normal channels. 

CAPERS Feedback and Round 3

Round 2 playtest feedback is in and I'm hard at work revising the game. My playtest groups provided ample feedback, which broke down into about forty bullet points of stuff I need to revisit. Future changes involve:

  • Clarifying some rules and terminology.
  • Nailing down how bonuses provided by Powers stack or don't stack with each other.
  • Tweaking Powers and creating some new ones for the next round. 
  • Revisiting Hits and damage and making some adjustments that should ease play and GM tracking of such things.
  • Addition of rules for standoffs where the characters and their foes are facing off with each other before bullets and Powers start flying.

For Round 3 of playtesting, I'll be having playtesters create their own characters with orders to try combos and stretch rules to try to break the game. Gotta find those overpowered combos and bring them under control. 

CAPERS Team Starting Work

I'll be meeting with my graphic designer on Saturday to start working out a bunch of stuff.

  • What the interior of the book will look like.
  • What the covers will look like, including a game title design.
  • Figuring out what it will take to create a CAPERS deck of playing cards that people can use to play the game. 
  • Designing a final character sheet for the game.

James Introcaso of the World Builder Blog has begun work on a game design assignment. He'll be developing a toolbox of options that GMs can use to inject comic book/graphic novel tropes into the style and tone of the game. Things like "super-prisons" and "alternate Earths."

Beth Varni has begun work on illustrations for CAPERS. She'll be doing all of the artwork for the book and is beginning with concepting, following up with actual illustrations. Some of these illustrations will be in the eventual Kickstarter video, but all of them will be in the final book. 

Here's a sample, a couple of ne'er-do-wells making plans to get rich from Prohibition:

A few other people will begin their work in the coming months.

All in all, things are going swimmingly. CAPERS is really starting to shape up.

Game on,

Craig

 

CAPERS Round 2 Underway

Hello all,

CAPERS has entered Round 2 of playtesting. Four groups are hard at work picking apart the game mechanics, including the Powers. I should receive feedback by the end of the month. Then I move into revision mode and start getting ready for Round 3. 

Playtest Document Sample

Here's a look at a few Powers that are in the current round of playtesting. 

CAPERS Team, Assemble!

I've begun assembling the team who will help me put together the final CAPERS game. Here's a list of who is on board so far.

Mike, my podcast partner, friend, and layout guy for M&A, will do layout for CAPERS, as well as provide three full-page maps of Atlantic City, New York, and Chicago. 

Owen St.Gelais, who played the game at a recent game day and is a graphic designer in real life, is going to help with graphic design. 

Tim Eagon, who wrote a bunch of stuff for M&A, will design the Chicago backdrop. 

Derek Kamal, of Shoreless Skies Publishing and a lot of other freelancing, will design the New York backdrop. 

James Introcaso, of the Don't Split the Podcast Network and World Builder Blog, will be designing a fun toolbox of options for GMs to use to interject some comic book tropes into the game. Things like alternate Earths, super prisons, etc. 

Beth Varni, who did a bunch of artwork for M&A (portfolio here), will provide even more artwork for CAPERS

Karen Franklin, who was involved in proofreading M&A, will do copy editing and proofreading.

I've also booked Michelle Owczarski, my friend who made the M&A Kickstarter video, to do the KS video for CAPERS

My thanks to the CAPERS team for getting on board. I'm looking forward to your contributions. 

CAPERS Playtest Live Play Podcast

One of my playtest groups is comprised of the folks who make the Of Steam, Steel and Murder Actual Play Podcast. They posted their actual play recordings of the Round 1 playtest recently. Two parts. Check it out. It gives you a pretty good idea of how the game plays. 

What Else?

I've been developing a bunch of other stuff for the game while this round of playtest runs. Nothing dealing with the core rules. I'm waiting on playtest feedback before I touch much of that stuff. But how about expanded rules and new Powers!

  • Chase Rules - I'm tinkering with specific rule info regarding running a chase scene in CAPERS. Model Ts, motorcycles, speedster PCs, and flying PCs. How do you jump from one moving vehicle to another? How fast is a speedster PC compared to a 1920s period roadster car? I'm working on that. 
  • Standoff Rules - I'm working up a way to resolve the traditional standoff with guns (and powers) out and ready to go. A system that allows everyone to make some quick, important choices in how they stare down their opponents and how those choices affect the fight that ensues. 
  • Additional Powers - Including one that allows your character to shift her bones, organs, and skin in interesting ways. Elasticity. Weather Manipulation. All sorts of fun stuff. 

I've worked out my budget for everything involved in getting CAPERS pulled together. And I've had my fingers in a variety of other things. This little game is starting to take shape.

Game on,

Craig

 

 

The CAPERS Plan

Hello NerdBurgers,

Is "NerdBurger" the right name for a fan of NerdBurger Games? I'm not sure. That's what I'm gonna go with. If you have a better name I can use for fans of NerdBurger Games RPGs, let me know. Drop a comment here or email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com

Anyway, here's the situation. After spending about a year getting the game sort of squared away and then running CAPERS through its first round of playtesting, I'm confident that this little game is going to become a reality at some point. I have a tentative plan in place regarding WHEN I'll bring CAPERS to Kickstarter, but I'm not ready to share that just yet. There are too many variable right now. But, please know the plan now is that this game is going to see the light of day, one way or the other, in time. 

Following is a bunch of info that mostly doesn't have anything to do with current playtests. But I figure you might be interested in seeing where CAPERS stands right now. 

Playtest Update

I've completed game design revisions following my first round of playtests. Many thanks to my playtesters. I hope you enjoy the next round of playtests. I hope to get the second round of playtest info out to playtesters in early March. 

I've also begun running a playtest campaign with some friends to try out a bunch of stuff and see how the game plays in person. We had our first game yesterday and all the players are enjoying things so far. More fun to come. 

Conventions and Game Days

When I was developing Murders & Acquisitions, I brought that game to a variety of local conventions. I hope to do the same with CAPERS. I'm on the lookout for small, local conventions and game days where I can put the game in front of people. I'll continue to work on those plans. 

I'm not in the position right now to take CAPERS to game days and small cons outside of the Atlanta area. That said, I'd be very happy to send playtest documents to people who would be interested in running the game for their friends at home or at a local game day or small, local convention. I'm always looking to build the NerdBurger Games audience. If you'd like to run the game, drop me a line at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com and I'll send you the current playtest info. I just ask that you help pimp NerdBurger Games (M&A included) and help me grow my little game company. 

In time, as CAPERS gets more fully developed and we get closer to a future Kickstarter date for publishing the game, I'll be attending more conventions. I've got a long list of potentials. We'll see where that goes. 

Podcast Appearances

I'm looking to make appearances on podcasts to help promote NerdBurger Games and CAPERS

Recently, I got online with the folks at The Wrecking Crew podcast to discuss CAPERS. These guys are playtesting the game and we talked a bunch about NerdBurger Games and CAPERS. You can check out the podcast HERE. They're a fine bunch of folks and have provided me with great insight into their particular play experience. 

Check back in on the Podcasts page occasionally for future podcast appearances. I have a few possibilities lined up. Here's hoping they all happen. 

Graphic Design

My intention for Murders & Acquisitions was for the game book to read and look, in part, like an employee manual for a company. (Hence "Employee Manual" being a subtitle on the cover and the inclusion of a variety of charts and graphs in the interior.)

For CAPERS, my intention is to build the final game book to look a bit like a magazine from the 1920s. To that end, I've started researching magazines covers and interiors from the 1920s. These magazines feature distinctive fonts, illustration types, and formatting styles. It's been a fun process to look into what magazines looked like a century ago. As my plans for the game move forward, I hope to share some of the things I've found. Be on the lookout. 

CAPERS Comic Pages in the Book?

Many RPGs built around supers feature a few pages of comic book style pages somewhere within. I wasn't sure initially if this was appropriate to CAPERS, given that it's not really a "capes and cowls" type of supers game. It's more low-key.

After spending considerable thought on this, I've determined that a 4-page "comic" in the book is completely appropriate to the game. I've been in discussions recently with an artist to help me develop a 4-page comic/graphic novel style insert for the final game book.

This has put me on the road to researching how to script out such a comic. Yet another "hat" for me to wear as I work on my second RPG. It's been a fun process. If all goes well, there will be a 4-page comic/graphic novel style insert in the final game book. 

But that's a ways down the road. We'll see how it pans out. 

A Little M&A Discount?

If you're reading this, you probably already purchase Murders & Acquisitions. Probably, you were a Kickstarter backer and have gotten the best price for the game. 

However, if you're NOT a Kickstarter backer and haven't yet purchased the M&A book...

Or...if you have friends who are interested in M&A who haven't yet purchased the M&A book...

I have a discount offer for you!

Email me at NerdBurgerGames@gmail.com for a small discount on the Murders & Acquisitions book. 

Tell me what version of the book you'd like (PDF, softcover, or hardcover), and I'll send you a discount link. It's not a HUGE discount, but it'll save you a few bucks. 

Kickstarter backers, please know that this discount isn't huge. You got the best price for the game. It's simply a slight incentive for others. 

This discount offer extends until the end of March 2017, but only if you email me. After March 31st, it's gone. This is an effort to put M&A into the hands of more gamers and help build NerdBurger Games. 

Thanks for being a friend of NerdBurger Games.

Game on,

Craig

Tweak Time

I’ve received the first round of playtest feedback. This round was focused on seeing if the overall game is fun and if the playing card system is viable.

Playtesters generally enjoyed the setting/tone/feel of the game. A few even commented that they were pleasantly surprised after initial doubts. So that’s cool.

Most of the playtesters pointed out some issues with the playing card mechanic, but no one thought it was unviable. It’s going to take some tweaking, but I think the system has a great deal of promise.

Here’s a rundown of the most notable tweaks that will be happening.

  • I need to expand the info provided for the setting/tone of the game. This will come in dribs and drabs throughout game development.

  • Almost every group pointed out that damage dealt versus the number of Hits characters had (and to a lesser extent, characters’ defense scores) seemed out of whack. I’ll be adjusting to make sure a successful attack packs more punch. (See what I did there?)

  • I’m going to simplify the “degree of success/failure” aspect of the system. It’s too complicated right now.

  • I’m going to give aces something extra cool. Right now, you can get a Boon with spades as long as you succeed at hitting the target score (pip value of your card). The pip value needs something to make it a little more worthwhile, at least when you get an ace.

  • I’m going to explore alternate uses for spending Moxie, the pool of points you use to gain extra effects and the like.

  • I need to tweak the wording in a few Exploits (exceptional abilities) for clarity and add more Exploits for continued playtesting.

  • And there’s a few other, little things.

    I’ve also narrowed down the playtester list to four groups who will continue to playtest throughout the year. (Assuming they remain interested, of course.) I’m hoping to have three more rounds of playtesting, maybe four, before the end of 2017. Each round will focus in tighter and tighter on things as the game develops.

    The next round will focus very specifically on the core game system and Exploits. I’d like to lock the basics of the system in place (barring little tweaks here and there) by mid-year.

    Game on,

    Craig

A Look at Capers

Hey there, 

The first round of Capers playtesting is underway. The game is in the hands of about a dozen playtest groups. However, many of you aren't involved in playtesting and I thought you might like to see a bit of the game. Below, you'll see a character sheet and four pages excerpted from the current version of the rules document (which stands at around 50 pages right now).

The Game System

In Capers, every player uses a standard deck of playing cards (with jokers included) rather than dice to determine if he succeeds at a task. For a given Trait Check, you have a number of cards you can flip. The "pip value" (2, 3, 4,...Q, K, A) determines success/failure and the suit determined degree of success/failure. So, a single Trait Check is resolved all in one card flip. You can stop flipping cards at any time and take that result...OR you can gamble for better success. But you must take the result of the last card you flip.

There are ways to gain Boons (which are better successes) or suffer Botches built into the card flips. There are also ways to gain bonuses based on favorable circumstances. 

Damage in combat is based on Color of the card or Suit of the card, depending on the attack type. Color is weaker (essentially a d2) and Suit is stronger (essentially a d4). 

Character Sheet

This is the character sheet for Johnny Lenk, known as "Hotfoot" among his peers. Johnny is a speedster. He's at starting level right here, so this will give you an idea of what a character sheet will look like when your character first starts making his fortune in the vice-riddled 1920s of prohibition. 

Each character has six Traits, which describe his basic capabilities. In addition, a character has some Skills, which represent specialized areas he's particularly good at. Exploits are the name for "super powers" in the game. Each Exploit has a basic effects. Additionally, each has a series of Boosts you can add, which are ways your Exploits can become more powerful, more varied, or create alternate effects. 

Trait Checks

The following describes the basic mechanic of flipping cards when making Trait Checks or employing Exploits that require Exploit Checks (which are similar to Trait Checks in their execution). 

Trait Descriptions

Here's a look at two of the Traits in the game and what you can do with them. The Target Score (TS) in the lists here are the "pip value" of the card flip required to complete the task described. 

Exploits

Every Exploit has a rank value that you purchase to gain and then improve your "super power." Some are just 1-2. Others range 1-5. Each comes with a list of Boosts. When you choose an Exploit for your character, you gain a few Boosts. As you improve your character, you can select additional Boosts. 

Going Beyond

The base game assumes just the basic Exploits. Sort of the baseline of characters who have super powers. If you want to expand beyond this simple form, you can delve into additional things that make the game more complex. These additional rules bring science into the game in the form of "trembium," the newly-discovered element that is responsible for special abilities. 

There will be rules for using trembium in different ways, imbuing trembium into items (to create "power armor" and other "special equipment") which will allow you to play the 1920s version of Iron Man or Batman. 

I'm exploring ideas for animals with Exploits, lairs, prisons for exceptional people, alternate universes, and a variety of other "comic book tropes" translated into the Capers game world. 

More to Come

In the coming months, I'll reveal more of the game. Playtests will help me hone the game into the best RPG it can be and I'll talk a bit about that. There's a lot to do, but I feel things are well underway.

Grab your Tommy gun and focus your heat beams. It's gonna be fun.

Craig