DGS News March 2017 Update

DGS News and Designer’s Blog March 2017 UPDATE!

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

Our website: www.dgsgames.com
Facebook: DGS Games, Freeblades Players
Instagram: dgs_freeblades

Since I last blogged, we have funded our Eclipse Sisterhood kickstarter campaign.  To 225%!!!  The Eclipse Sisterhood is the all female rebellion against the Traazorite Empire and will bring a superb set of female adventurer models into our game line, as well as some exciting new rules.  Not only are we going to make all of the starter models, but four stretch goals that are Eclipse models, three that are Shadow Demon models that allow us to bring you this faction sometime in 2018 *and* four more models from the Let’s Make a Model reward levels.  Bad craziness!  You can see the results here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dgsgames/eclipse-sisterhood-freeblades-fantasy-miniatures

This month, we will be releasing two new Traazorite models: the Ravager, a hero model who hunts for rebels against the Empire and the Daklos Ravager – the same hero mounted on a Daklos, basically our version of a War Pterodactyl.

Also this month we are releasing a new ally model, the Nightwhisper, the first model of your new Eclipse faction.

Rules for these models are available in the Freeblades Rules Companion. The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

Here is the secret update: YOU CAN GO BUY THESE MODELS AND GET YOUR FRC 1.5 RIGHT NOW IN OUR WEBSTORE!  We always encourage you to purchase from your local retailer.  If they do not carry us and you want them to – tell them, and tell them to contact Julie at julie@dgsgames.com.

We know, better than anyone, that it can be a hassle to go back and forth between the printed rulebook and the interactive companion.  One of our most important projects is to combine the two.  In the not terribly distant future, the two will become one and the new rulebook will contain everything and be entirely interactive.  You will buy it like you buy the companion now and you will get all its updates free once you purchase it.  We appreciate your patience while we transition into a true 21st century rulebook situation.

-What else are we working on?
Faeler Swordsman, a follower who can serve in the Falkaaran, Haradelan and Bandit factions.
BrightSword (our RPG) playtest version 7.5 (7.4 is in the download section as an open playtest).
A new Freeblades Campaign – the Inner Sea – league games linked by a story and new options.
The Bard of the Arlian, an ally model who brings the Perform skill into the game system.
Takar Hunter, another ally model who can be built as either a follower or hero and comes with a hunting eagle or hawk.
The Eclipse Sisterhood – playtesting continues, hot and heavy.

– Our next Con is Adepticon in Schaumburg IL, March 23-26, 2017, where we will release the Ravager, Daklos Ravager and Nightwhisper. We are also running participation games, demos and a tournament. Hope to see you there!

Spike and Win!
Jon

DGS News March 2017

DGS News and Designer’s Blog March 2017

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

Our website: www.dgsgames.com
Facebook: DGS Games, Freeblades Players
Twitter: @WorldofFaelon
Instagram: dgs_freeblades

Since I last blogged, we have begun our Eclipse Sisterhood kickstarter campaign.  As you may know, we successfully funded our Traazorite Crusaders Kickstarter last year, and the Eclipse is off to an even better start. We funded very quickly and are now working on stretch goals.  The Eclipse Sisterhood is the all female rebellion against the Traazorite Empire and will bring a superb set of female adventurer models into our game line, as well as some exciting new rules.  You can see, and hopefully pledge to, the kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dgsgames/eclipse-sisterhood-freeblades-fantasy-miniatures

In January we released the Kuzaarik Grenadier. This model is armed with a Vranshar, basically a grenade launcher that fires ice-crystal flechette grenades… and against targets not in line of sight to boot!

This month, we will be releasing two new Traazorite models: the Ravager, a hero model who hunts for rebels against the Empire and the Daklos Ravager – the same hero mounted on a Daklos, basically our version of a War Pterodactyl.

Also in March we will release a new ally model, the Nightwhisper, the first model of your new Eclipse faction.

Rules for the Traazorites and the Kuzaarik Grenadier are already available in the Freeblades Rules Companion. The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

We know, better than anyone, that it can be a hassle to go back and forth between the printed rulebook and the interactive companion.  One of our most important projects is to combine the two.  In the not terribly distant future, the two will become one and the new rulebook will contain everything and be entirely interactive.  You will buy it like you buy the companion now and you will get all its updates free once you purchase it.  We appreciate your patience while we transition into a true 21st century rulebook situation.

-What else are we working on?
Faeler Swordsman, a follower who can serve in the Falkaaran, Haradelan and Bandit factions.
BrightSword (our RPG) playtest version 7.5 (7.4 is in the download section as an open playtest).
A new Freeblades Campaign – the Inner Sea – league games linked by a story and new options.
The Bard of the Arlian, an ally model who brings the Perform skill into the game system.
Takar Hunter, another ally model who can be built as either a follower or hero and comes with a hunting eagle or hawk.
The Eclipse Sisterhood – playtesting continues, hot and heavy.

– Our next Con is Adepticon in Schaumburg IL, March 23-26, 2017, where we will release the Ravager, Daklos Ravager and Nightwhisper. We are also running participation games, demos and a tournament. Hope to see you there!

Spike and Win!
Jon

 

DGS News January-February 2017

DGS News and Designer’s Blog January-February 2017

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

Our website: www.dgsgames.com
Facebook: DGS Games, Freeblades Players
Twitter: @WorldofFaelon
Instagram: dgs_freeblades

Since I last blogged, we have released the Traazorite Crusaders! As you may know, we successfully funded our Traazorite Crusaders Kickstarter last year. Very successfully! Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please!

Traazorite Velozar Knight

This faction currently consists of nine models:

The Keshark, its leader, mounted on a Velozar, a fast-moving dinosaur.
The Sunbringer, the faction’s Caster.
The other heroes: Velozar Knight, Azarim Scout, Bladebrother and Packmaster.
And the followers: Legionnaire (the most dangerous follower in the game!), Cohort Archer and Vezarin, smaller dinosaurs typically controlled by a Packmaster.

In January we released the Kuzaarik Grenadier. This model is armed with a Vranshar, basically a grenade launcher that fires ice-crystal flechette grenades… and against targets not in line of sight to boot!

In March, we will be releasing two new Traazorite models: the Ravager, a hero model who hunts for rebels against the Empire and the Daklos Ravager – the same hero mounted on a Daklos, basically our version of a War Pterodactyl.

Also in March we will release a new ally model, the Nightwhisper, the first model of your new Eclipse faction. The Eclipse is the codename for a secretive group of female warriors and casters rebelling against the Traazorite Empire.

Very shortly we will be launching a kickstarter for the entire Eclipse Sisterhood faction. Keep your eyes open for the launch sometime in late January or early February. As soon as we have the video complete, we will be announcing the launch date.

Rules for the Traazorites and the Kuzaarik Grenadier are already available in the Freeblades Rules Companion. The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

-What else are we working on?
Faeler Swordsman, a follower who can serve in the Falkaaran, Haradelan and Bandit factions.
BrightSword (our RPG) playtest version 7.5 (7.4 is in the download section as an open playtest).
A new Freeblades Campaign – the Inner Sea – league games linked by a story and new options.
The Bard of the Arlian, an ally model who brings the Perform skill into the game system.
Takar Hunter, another ally model who can be built as either a follower or hero and comes with a hunting eagle or hawk.
The Eclipse Sisterhood – playtesting continues, hot and heavy.

– Our next Con is Adepticon in Schaumburg IL, March 23-26, 2017, where we will release the Ravager, Daklos Ravager and Nightwhisper. We are also running participation games, demos and a tournament. Hope to see you there!

Spike and Win!
Jon

DGS News September 2016

DGS News and Designer’s Blog September 2016

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

Our website: www.dgsgames.com
Facebook: DGS Games, Freeblades Players
Twitter: @WorldofFaelon

Our most recent releases are the Falkaaran Shadow Hunter and Jhenkar. The Shadow Hunter is a caster of spirit magic who specializes in hunting demons and closing witchgates. A Jhenkar is a demon bonded to a Shadow Hunter to help him in his quests. The Shadow Hunter brings a new spell list into play that is a version of the one already used by the Haradelan Fist of Vidunar. Players will recognize some of the spells but the new ones help the Hunter reveal hidden models and move in and out of the Spirit World. Rules for these models can be found in the Freeblades Rules Companion. Speaking of the Companion…

The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

Our next release is the Haradelan Bear of Bretan. This model comes with pieces such that it can be assembled as a High Questor or Questing Knight. His rules are already in the Companion 1.3, so you will not have to download an update when he becomes available October 7. You can go check him out now.

Speaking of October, we are going to deliver the Traazorites early!

As you may know, we successfully funded our Traazorite Crusaders Kickstarter in March. Very successfully! Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please!
This project created the starter set for the Traazorite Crusaders faction AND reached four Stretch Goals. In addition, two of our backers chose the make a model reward level, so the project ended up creating 11 models: all of the nine initial models for the Traazorite faction, the Daklos Ravager – a Traazorite warrior mounted on a Daklos, basically our version of a War Pterodactyl – and the Nightwhisper, the first model of your new Eclipse faction. The Eclipse is the codename for a secretive group of female warriors and casters rebelling against the Traazorite Empire.

We are going to be able to deliver the Traazorites starting October 1st, which is more than a month early from their projected delivery date. Now, the rules for the Traazorites will be available at the same time the Traazorites are released to the public. We feel very strongly about taking the time to get the rules right. The good news is, these rules will be in v 1.4 of the Freeblades Rules Companion, so you can have them the day the rules come out by downloading them from the website. If you already have 1.3 or if you got a FRC as part of your reward, it will be free. If not, it’s only $6, so a good deal there. And you get a month to paint your models before anyone can play with them anyway!

-What else are we working on?
Eclipse Nightwhisper
Traazorite Daklos Ravager and Ravager
Faeler Swordsman
BrightSword (our RPG) playtest version 7.5 (7.4 is in the download section as an open playtest).
A new Freeblades Campaign – the Six Barons – league games linked by a story and new options.
Our website. We are bringing a new forum online, upgrading the imagery in the webstore and making other improvements. Thanks for your patience.

– Our next Con is Tsunami Con in Wichita, 7-9 October, where we will release the Bear of Bretan. Hope to see you there!

Spike and Win!
Jon

Designer’s Blog May-June 2016

Designer’s Blog May-June 2016

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

Our most recent release is the Trilian Stargazer.  The Stargazer brings a new form of magic to the game system – Celestial magic.  Vortex and Aetherblast, anyone?  Rules for the Stargazer can be found in the Freeblades Rules Companion.  Speaking of the Companion…

The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

Our next release is the Urdaggar Valkyrie, an alternate Leader for the Urdaggar freeband.  Her rules are already in the Companion 1.2, so you will not have to download an update when she becomes available June 15.  You can go check her out now.

Primary playtesting efforts continue on the Traazorites and our remaining 2016 models.

As you may know, we successfully funded our Traazorite Crusaders Kickstarter in March.  Very successfully!  Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please!

This project created the starter set for the Traazorite Crusaders faction AND reached four Stretch Goals.  In addition, two of our backers chose the make a model reward level, so the project ended up creating 11 models: all of the nine initial models for the Traazorite faction, the Daklos Knight – a Traazorite warrior mounted on a Daklos, basically our version of a War Pterodactyl – and the Nightwhisper, the first model of your new Eclipse faction.  The Eclipse is the codename for a secretive group of female warriors and casters rebelling against the Traazorite Empire.

-What else are we working on?

Falkaaran Shadow Hunter and Jhenkar

Haradelan Bear of Bretan

BrightSword (our RPG) playtest version 7.5 (7.4 is in the download section as an open playtest).

A new Freeblades Campaign – league games linked by a story and new options.

– Our next Con is GenCon in Indianapolis, August 4-7.  Lots of Freeblades gaming planned, so we hope to see you there.

Spike and Win!

Jon

 

Designer’s Blog February 2016

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

There is a lot of new, but first this:

We kick off our Traazorite Crusaders Kickstarter! Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please!

This project creates the starter set for the Traazorite Crusaders faction:

The Keshark is the freeband’s leader, mounted on a dangerous Velozar and just as dangerous a swordsman in his own right. The Sunbringer, the faction’s caster, inspires the legions in battle and discourages their enemies. The Packmaster is a tough warrior in his own right but also controls a pack of Vezarin and launches them into battle at just the right moment. Barely trainable, but ferocious in packs, Vezarin harass and disrupt the enemy. Often by eating them! And the mainstay and might of the Empire, the Legionnaire, the most lethal common soldier on two continents.

The Kickstarter runs from Feb 16th to March 16th.We have lots of stretches planned, so tell all your friends and let’s take this over the top and finish the entire faction. You can find us on Kickstarter at:

Speaking of kickstarters, we are just finishing delivery of the Creatures of Faelon kickstarter rewards. They are now available on our website under the Creatures section of the store.

And what to do with those new creatures? Well, first they are featured in the new Scenario Pack. The Scenario Pack is a free pdf download that contains all 13 scenarios published to date, which includes updated versions of the Beast Hunt and Demon Infestation scenarios that incorporate the new creatures. It also debuts The Nest, a scenario that features the Shalkarak model.

In addition, the three demon models: Ventarx, Mokruhl and Saryad, can be used as part of a Grular freeband. Now, those rules aren’t in the Scenario Pack of course, they are in…

The Freeblades Rules Companion!

The FRC contains a whole set of new goodies to expand your enjoyment of Freeblades:

  • A new way to design Freebands that opens significantly more possibilities.
  • New faction theme rules, now tied to each leader.
  • All of the factions, reinforcements, allies and enemies published since the core rulebook.
  • All of the rules published since the core rulebook, including AoEs, Tokens, and the Well of the Gods.
  • All of the skills and talents in the game system consolidated in one place, with a master set of league advancement tables for all.
  • Master Weapon Table and a consolidated list of all weapon abilities.
  • Stat and spell summaries for all factions in the game system, to include allies and enemies.
  • New gear items to equip your Freeblades, including fine crafted weapons, improved armor and treasure maps!
  • Sixty new magic items, including the Belt of Contempt and the Necklace of Fate!
  • Core rulebook errata and a Frequently Asked Questions section.

The pdf is interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

The FRC is a $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

More New Models

In addition to the Creatures of Faelon and the Traazorites, we will be bringing you other models throughout the year. Next up, the Trilian Stargazer, a caster who brings Celestial Magic to the game system… Vortex and Aetherblast, anyone?

– Our next Con is Adepticon in Chicago (Schaumburg) IL, April 1-4. Lots of Freeblades gaming planned, so we hope to see you there.

Spike and Win!

Jon

 

 

Designer’s Blog December 2015

Designer’s Blog December 2015

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

So much coming your way in 2016, but let’s talk for a minute about what you will be getting before 2015 closes out.

First, The Freeblades Rules Companion:

The FRC contains a whole set of new goodies to expand your enjoyment of Freeblades:

  • A new way to design Freebands that opens significantly more possibilities.
  • New faction theme rules, now tied to each leader.
  • All of the factions, reinforcements, allies and enemies published since the core rulebook.
  • All of the rules published since the core rulebook, including AoEs, Tokens, and the Well of the Gods.
  • All of the skills and talents in the game system consolidated in one place, with a master set of league advancement tables for all.
  • Master Weapon Table and a consolidated list of all weapon abilities.
  • Stat and spell summaries for all factions in the game system, to include allies and enemies.
  • New gear items to equip your Freeblades, including fine crafted weapons, improved armor and treasure maps!
  • Sixty new magic items, including the Belt of Contempt and the Necklace of Fate!
  • Core rulebook errata and a Frequently Asked Questions section.

The pdf will be interactive. This means that rules, page references and index are hyperlinked to the appropriate section of the product. Models in the stat summaries are hyperlinked to their entry in the webstore.

The FRC will be a 92-page $6 downloadable pdf, purchased through our webstore. When you purchase the FRC, it will become a permanent download in your DGS Games website account. So, as we add new models and rules, all you need to do is go back in and download the latest version of the FRC to have everything in one place. $6 for a 92 page full color rulebook as a pdf that you can load onto your tablet or other device, that contains everything you need to play the game that is not in the core rulebook. And you get all the updates to the FRC for free once you have purchased it one time. We think that is a great deal and we think you will too!

We are very excited about this project as we feel it really opens the throttle on our game system and provides for widely expanded game play possibilities in a format that gives you great value and great utility all at once. As a bonus, it will be up in the webstore before Christmas!

A Master Abilities List pdf will go up at the same time in the download section for free that is errata, skills, talents and advancement tables.

Scenarios, model stat cards and stat spell summary play aids will also always be available for free and as soon as the FRC comes online, we will be updating all of these products as well.

We are especially excited about the Scenario pack as it contains the updated Beast Hunt and Demon Infestation to allow you to use those new creatures from the Creatures of Faelon kickstarter and all published scenarios to date in one place.

 

Help has arrived!

I am pleased to announce that Julie Price has joined the DGS team as Event Coordinator and assistant designer. She is building a schedule of events for the 2016 calendar that includes Genghis Con in Denver, Adepticon in Chicago, and of course, GenCon but also events at game stores. She can help you get resources to run your own events or put on demos at your local venue. Contact her on the Freeblades Players facebook page.

What comes next?

Ok, so you enter 2016 armed with a whole new expanded way to play the game, but what comes next?

The Creatures from the Creatures of Faelon Kickstarter.   Early delivery for those with non-project rewards only, or with just Ventarx or Ar-Grush have completed or are in progress.   These models open up several new dimensions to your Freeblades gaming. As a reminder: The Ar-grush is a new beast for your Beast Hunt scenario, but also something coming in a future adventure pack. The Shalkarak is the giant snake summoned by the Snake Mystic we have just released. The Saryad, Mokruhl and Ventarx are demons to change up the Demon Infestation scenario and will be featured at some point in their very own faction. Also, the Ventarx and Mokruhl will be available to Grular players in their freebands.

– Scenarios

First, we are significantly updating Beast Hunt and Demon Infestation to give many more options with the new creatures. Then we are making a couple of new scenarios as well. The Nest will feature multiple creatures in a lair the players will need to destroy, but don’t take too long as more creatures will return to their threatened home. Warrior’s Tomb will be a combined skirmish/looting spree at the burial site of an ancient hero of renown.   The new scenario pack will be ready at the same time the creatures release and will be updated every time a new scenario appears thereafter.

– More New Models

In addition to the Creatures of Faelon: Ar-grush, Shalkarak, Ventarx, Mokruhl, Saryad, we have a plan for each faction in Faelon to get something new in 2016 including some new faction leaders and three casters with brand new spell lists.

– The Traazorite Crusaders

TraazTease3a

Yes, 2016 will see a kickstarter for and the release of the Traazorite Crusaders faction. Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please! Keep your eyes out for more updates soon. The plan is to kick off early enough in the year that delivery also occurs in 2016. So far so good!

Julie has jumped right in and been a key player in getting the Companion completed before the end of 2015 and will be splitting work with me on a number of upcoming projects… quickstart rules, retailer outreach, BrightSword (roleplaying game), Free Captains (battle game), Freeblades Arena (gladiator game set in Faelon), Hostile Shore (pirate game combining elements of both BrightSword and Free Captains), a video channel with game play and other Freeblades videos, and fiction about the World of Faelon. We are all very glad she is on the team!

Spike and Win!

Jon

 

Designer’s Blog October 2015

Designer’s Blog October 2015

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

We just funded our fourth successful kickstarter last week and we’re off to GenCon this week, so crazy busy as always. We know a ton of things will happen at GenCon, so we are putting this out there now so people we meet have a place to go to get recent news. But I will also turn right around and get you a GenCon update soon after we get back.

First, a summary of recent events:

– We attended GenCon 2015 in Indianapolis. In addition to our booth in the exhibit hall, we partnered with 19and1 to run 18 games out on the game floor, 16 of which sold out before the con began. We released the Urdaggar Lioness and Urdaggar Snake Mystic, we made a ton of new friends and the booth was constantly busy. Looking forward to next year!

Download the rules for these two new models here: http://dgsgames.com/downloads/freeblades/published-factions/

– Madeline Johnson won the Freeblades Tourney at Recruits in September. Recruits is a great small con aimed primarily at newer and younger players and we made some great new friends there. Madeline’s victory marked the third in the row for our female playership, something of which we are very proud.

– The highlight so far of the fall season has been the Freeblades Paint and Play day at Tabletop Game and Hobby in Overland Park, KS on September 26th. Veteran modelers and painters helped newer hobbyists by answering questions and demonstrating techniques. A number of 1 v 1 games got played and we capped the evening with a multiplayer Borag’s Hoard. The event was extremely well attended and demand has been high for another, so we will be putting one on at TTG+H on November 21st.

– We are in possession of some of the masters for the models from the Creatures of Faelon kickstarter. The others are in various stages of the sculpting and mastering process. We have delivered all the non- project rewards and are absolutely on track for an on time delivery of the creatures in February 2016. Playtesting is also on track and these models open up several new dimensions to your Freeblades gaming. As a reminder: The Ar-grush is a new beast for your Beast Hunt scenario, but also something coming in a future adventure pack. The Shalkarak is the giant snake summoned by the Snake Mystic we have just released. The Saryad, Mokruhl and Ventarx are demons to change up the Demon Infestation scenario and will be featured at some point in their very own faction. Also, the Ventarx and Mokruhl will be available to Grular players in their freebands.

 

In The Works:

– Freeblades Companion

The Companion is a compendium of all rules and material published since the core rulebook. It consolidates all the talents in the game into one place, with league advancement tables for all. It combines all the new models rules and stats into one place. It add some new options for play, including a greatly expanded list of available gear for your models. The idea is that all you will need, rules-wise, is the core rulebook and this pdf. When we make something new, we will simply update this full color pdf.

– BrightSword

BrightSword is our roleplaying game, set in the World of Faelon and using the same game mechanics as Freeblades. Playtesting is now focused on magic.

– Fiction

We are editing a group of stories about people and events in Faelon. Some will go into an anthology that we will publish and some will start being released over the web for free in 2016. We don’t want you to be limited to just playing the game, we want you to come live in Faelon with us if you choose.

– Scenarios

First, we are significantly updating Beast Hunt and Demon Infestation to give many more options with the new creatures. Then we are making a couple of new scenarios as well. The Nest will feature multiple creatures in a lair the players will need to destroy, but don’t take too long as more creatures will return to their threatened home. Warrior’s Tomb will be a combined skirmish/looting spree at the burial site of an ancient hero of renown.

– New Models

As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line. Currently hot for playtest and development:

  • The Creatures of Faelon: Ar-grush, Shalkarak, Ventarx, Mokruhl, Saryad.
  •  Urdaggar Valkyrie, Falkaaran Shadow Hunter, Haradelan Bear of Bretan, Trilian Stargazer and a couple more as yet not formally named.
  •  The Traazorite Crusaders

Wait, what? What was that last bit? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 2016 will see a kickstarter for and the release of the Traazorite Crusaders faction. Check your rulebook and the Faelon section of our website for more information about this dangerous new addition to the Freeblades game line. Dinosaur-riding religious zealot legionnaires? Why yes, please! Keep your eyes out for more updates soon.

Spike and Win!

Jon

Designer’s Blog. Pre GenCon 2015

Designer’s Blog. Pre GenCon 2015!

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

We just funded our fourth successful kickstarter last week and we’re off to GenCon this week, so crazy busy as always. We know a ton of things will happen at GenCon, so we are putting this out there now so people we meet have a place to go to get recent news. But I will also turn right around and get you a GenCon update soon after we get back.

First, a summary of recent events:

– We funded our fourth kickstarter project – the Creatures of Faelon. This means that no matter what else we do, we will be bringing you five new creature models in 2016. The Ar-grush is a new beast for your Beast Hunt scenario, but also something coming in a future adventure pack. The Shalkarak is the giant snake summoned by the Snake Mystic we have just released. The Saryad, Mokruhl and Ventarx are demons to change up the Demon Infestation scenario and will be featured at some point in their very own faction. Also, the Ventarx and Mokruhl will be available to Grular players in their freebands. Work has already begun and they will ship to backers in February 2016 and be available for sale right after.

– Julie Price won our Freeblades Summer Tourney at the Geekery in Shawnee Kansas on July 18th. Her Falkaarans looked mighty unstoppable. Three of the games were videoed by L2 Wargames and the first one is already up on our FB page. https://www.facebook.com/events/1040782132618367/

The round one game that was videoed:

– We attended KantCon in Overland Park Kansas on July 25th. Richard ran some very well received games on his new snow terrain, which I understand was the talk of the con. We will be featuring that at future events, so stay tuned.

http://www.kantcon.com/

– We ran Omaha Freeblades Day at Ground Zero Comics in Omaha, Nebraska on June 20th. We put on Borag’s Hoard and the Sorcerer for eight great gamers. We tried out a cool player suggestion for the Sorcerer scenario when you play with a lot of players and it was a big hit, so look for that to be added soon.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1612007989017556/

– Advanced Guard and Camp Raid Scenarios are up in the download section of the website. So are the rules for the Snake Mystic.

Download section for Snake Mystic:

http://dgsgames.com/downloads/freeblades/published-factions/

For scenarios:

http://dgsgames.com/downloads/freeblades/scenarios/

Coming Up:

– OFF TO GENCON! So, GenCon 2015. Eighteen Freeblades events in the program with 16 already sold out. Very exciting. We will have the Lioness and the Snake Mystic available for sale. We will be in Booth 2149, so come see us! If you are busy during the day, come by and tell us and we will schedule you for a game in the evening after the hall closes.

http://www.gencon.com/

We have some other fall events planned, and I will get you an update right after we get back.

Rules stuff:

– As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. Currently hot for playtest and development:

  •  “Kickstarter 4” models: Ar-grush, Shalkarak, Ventarx, Mokruhl, Saryad.
  •  Urdaggar Valkyrie, Falkaaran Shadow Hunter, Haradelan Bear of Bretan, Trilian Starseer.

We just had a great playtest session this week focusing on the Lioness and Snake Mystic. The rules are plenty solid, just some tweaks going on, especially to the Serpent Totem Magic spell list.

Scenarios

Trials of Garavus scenario is final and should be up soon. This scenario was featured in the Summer tourney.

2016 Models

We know we are making the Creatures, Kuzaarik Grenadier (maybe faster than 2016), Urdaggar Valkyrie,

Falkaaran Shadow Hunter. What else we are making is going to be set for the first time at our 2016 business meeting. Let us know what you’d like to see!

Spike and Win!

Jon

Designer’s Blog 5/5/2015

Designer’s Blog. May 2015.

Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

First, a summary of recent events:

– Jennifer Felix won our first ever painting contest. We got to give her some cool prizes. Her Haradelans are shown in the forum and we are doing a feature on her soon.
– We attended Adepticon 15, March 18-22, Schaumburg IL. Players got to cavern crawl, battle the sorcerer, fight in the arena, get a demonstration of the game and try an island raid. The betting and bribing in our Arena games is always fun to watch. The beta game of Free Captains was very popular. We released two new heroes and their rules: The Traazorite Zetakor and the Koronnan Mizrakai. They are available in the online store and their rules and cards are in the download section. These are gladiators who both fight in the Arenas of Faelon and serve in freebands. You will be able to use them in your existing freebands in one of your hero slots. The Zetakor model was originally named the legionnaire and produced for a short while, so some of our original fans may have one. But the Mizrakai is brand new – and the first hero wielding a longspear…
– We sponsored the Freeblades Spring Tournament 15, April 25, at The Geekery, 12616 W 62nd Terrace #117, Shawnee, KS 66216. Players used 225 gold freebands and could take one follower from another faction. After three rounds, Madeline Johnson emerged victorious. Three of the top five were female gamers, something of which we are very proud. Thanks to EJ at the Geekery for some superb support and a great place to play. http://www.geekery.biz/
– We attended ReaperCon 2015, in Lewisville, TX, April 30-May 3. Our models were in the various painting events and Tom was there to talk to sculptors and gamers. Rumor has it we picked up a new sculpt from Patrick Keith…stay tuned! https://reapercon.com/

Rules stuff:

– As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. Currently hot for playtest and development:

  • Urdaggar Snake Mystic (can replace the caster in Urdaggar, Black Rose or Black Thorn)
  • Urdaggar Lioness (can replace a Boar Warrior or Berserker)
  • Trials of Garavus Scenario
  • “Kickstarter 4” models

We just had a great playtest session this week focusing on the Lioness and Snake Mystic. The rules are plenty solid, just some tweaks going on, especially to the Serpent Totem Magic spell list.

Scenarios

Advanced Guard scenario is final and should be up soon. This scenario was featured in the April tourney.

“Kickstarter 4”

As you may know, we have been very successful in our use of the Kickstarter crowdfunding site. We have run three kickstarter campaigns that have all funded and all delivered on time. This has allowed us to bring you eight factions for Freeblades in two and ½ years. Sometime soon, we are going to bring you something a little different for Freeblades – something we are very excited about – through a kickstarter campaign. Rules work on this project is going on behind the scenes. We have the first concept art in for this project and it is being very well received. Keep an eye out… I have been spending a lot of time with this project of late. All the models need rules, of course, and these models will bring a number of brand new elements to the game system. Maybe even more new things in one batch since we released Freeblades, have to think about that. Part of that is our new approach to stretch goals. Previously, we simply added models to the faction as our awesome backers took us past the funding goal. Now, we’d like to step that up and reward you with someone even cooler and that has taken more rules writing and playtesting than pour previous kickstarters. Then there is my role as art director. This project has really stretched our boundaries with respect to concept art, bringing some truly exciting ideas to bear. I am very thankful to the great artists we work with. We are also excited that that art is being turned over to two of the best and most well-known sculptors in the business.

That’s it for now. I am off to work on a couple of new talents for the game and some new ideas for the game system, so until next time – spike and win!

Jon

Designer’s Blog 1/27/15

Welcome to 2015, which is going to be a very exciting year!

First, a summary of recent events:

– We ran a Freeblades Tournament at Tabletop Game and Hobby, Overland Park, Kansas on Saturday 24 January. We had 14 players, including 5 who are brand new to the game and playing in their first event. The format was escalation, with a Beast Hunt at 200 gold, Camp raid at 275 gold and the Trials of Garavus at 325 gold. Freebands included three Kuzaarik, two Black Rose, two Falkaaran, four Haradelan, one Urdaggar, one Trilian and one Grular. Jeremy’s defender-heavy Trilians took first place and Andoni’s hard hitting Kuzaarik won best painted. All of the new players received two free models, one from us at DGS and one graciously supplied by Bryan Bledsoe. At the higher gold values, Freebands can gain more than 6 heroes. At 325 they can have 8 and while I was expected to see four Hinterguard, I was surprised no one looked into two Bounty Hunter/Huskarl pairs. I did see two Field Agents do some very cool things…
– Just an additional note about the tournament – we had three female players: Julie, Jennifer and Madeline. It’s very important to us that Faelon is a place where the female gamer likes to play. We want to have our female characters be relatable and act like role models and not be objects who act and think like men. As a designer it was extremely gratifying to have Jennifer, Madeline and Julie join us and enjoy themselves. We hope they keep coming back and that our player base grows ever more diverse.
– We have received and approved the concept art for the Urdaggar Lioness. She is one of our 2015 release models and her arrival brings a new artist to the team: Leeane Krecic. Check out the Lioness on the DGS Games Facebook page. Check out Leeane’s work at http://www.lkrecic.com/
– We announced our first painting contest. Show off your awesomely painted freeband and maybe take home some cool loot. Rules for the contest are on our forum at http://dgsgames.com/forums/topic/freeblades-painting-contest-winter-2015

Upcoming Events:

– Genghis Con XXXVI, 12-15 February, Aurora CO. Our traditional kickoff to the convention season! We will be highlighting the Sorcerer scenario and releasing the Kandoran Sorcerer model at this convention. Come try your hand at bringing this vile creature to justice! http://www.denvergamers.org/
– Adepticon 15, March 18-22, Schaumburg IL. Many Freeblades events at our biggest con outside of GenCon. You can do a cavern crawl, battle the sorcerer, fight in the arena, get a demonstration of the game or try an island raid. Register for the Freeblades events at http://www.adepticon.org/
– Speaking of Adepticon, that week we will also be releasing two new heroes and their rules: The Traazorite Zetakor and the Koronnan Mizrakai. These are gladiators who both fight in the Arenas of Faelon and serve in freebands. You will be able to use them in your existing freebands in one of your hero slots. The Zetakor model was originally named the legionnaire and produced for a short while, so some of our original fans may have one. But the Mizrakai is brand new – and the first hero wielding a longspear…

Rules stuff:

– As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. Currently hot for playtest and development:

  • Sorcerer and Sorcerer Scenario
  • Traazorite Zetakor (can be in any freeband)
  • Koronnan Mizrakai (can be in any freeband)
  • Urdaggar Snake Mystic (can replace the caster in Urdaggar, Black Rose or Black Thorn)
  • Urdaggar Lioness (can replace a Boar Warrior or Berserker)
  • Trials of Garavus Scenario
  • “Kickstarter 4” models

– We have published and uploaded final versions of the Falkaaran and Black Thorn rules to the website’s downloads section. A reminder that older draft versions of the Black Thorn rules contain some incorrect information. The correct version of the two rules books has the DGS Official symbol on the front page – all other versions are superseded.

Scenarios

Camp Raid has gone final and is in the download section. The Sorcerer will be finished for its February debut at Genghis Con.

Faelon Background

Many of you know we have a fiction project in the works known as Prince of Tales. This is an anthology of fiction, containing stories of characters from across the World of Faelon. The stories are being written and edited. We have added a new author to the project, so welcome Eric Cline! Two new fiction stories are in the works. One is Dolphins and Snakes – a story about a clash between two freebands, one Falkaaran and one Urdaggar. The second is the first chapter in what will eventually be a novel about Faelon titled The Crown of the West. We will release these chapters serial-style so that you can follow along as the story progesses.

“Kickstarter 4”

As you may know, we have been very successful in our use of the Kickstarter crowdfunding site. We have run three kickstarter campaigns that have all funded and all delivered on time. This has allowed us to bring you eight factions for Freeblades in two and ½ years. In 2015, we are going to bring you something a little different for Freeblades – something we are very excited about – through a kickstarter campaign. Rules work on this project is going on behind the scenes. We have the first concept art in for this project and it is being very well received. Keep an eye out…

BrightSword

What it is: Our roleplaying game.
Status: The master talent table and Adventurer creation is nearly complete and in playtest. Work is now moving on to weapons and magic.

Free Captains

What it is: Our brass ring…lol. Free Captains is a battle-level game where players lead Free Companies, mercenary bands made of freeblades and running from 30-50 models on average based on faction and point level. Free Captains uses the same core mechanics as Freeblades but with three major additions. One is units. Followers and some heroes will be grouped up so that leaders can give them orders and will move and act together. Two is command talents. Captains and Lieutenants will be able to give commands to units that increase their abilities or allow them to perform in ways they cannot achieve alone. The third addition is one of scope. What players know now as a Freeband leader is a lieutenant in Free Captains. Captains are d16 level heroes with capabilities far exceeding any of the models currently in Freeblades. Yes, this means a promotion for some, like the Black Rose, who, when war comes to Faelon, gathers her associates across three lands into a company for hire. This is a preview of our army-level game Free Captains. This extends to Casters as well. The Casters in Free Captains will be more powerful than those supporting individual Freebands.
Status: playtest has begun. We playtested the Island Raid scenario with a Falkaaran and Urdaggar free companies. The Falkaaran company is in the process of returning to their cog with loot they have taken from the island when six Urdaggar long boats show up. This is the game we will run at Adepticon 15. You can see pictures of the playtest game on the DGS Games Facebook page.

[Designer’s Note. The following information is basically the same from the last designer’s blog. Work continues on all these efforts and we include the info here to update players new to the website.]

Freeblades Arena

What it is: Rules that allow players to recreate gladiatorial arena combat in Faelon. The set will allow players to play Arena in many different ways – stand alone, as part of an Arena league, as part of a combined Freeblades and Arena league.
Status: We initially playtested these rules with historical gladiators. We have playtested this set using the initial set of Freeblades fighters and demoed that at GenCon. The next step is to pull the rules together into a complete set. We intend to have a final set in place for Adepticon in March of 15. There will be an historical supplement called About to Die, which will allow the use of historical gladiators with these rules.

Freeblades Rules Companion

What it is: This will be a free downloadable pdf that places in ONE document all the things you need to fully play the game that are not in the main rulebook. It will contain the rules from the factions published after the rulebook (things like AoEs and the Gaalbohr), all of the talents in the game system to include league advance tables, the new scenarios, the additional faction stats, and core rulebook errata.
Status: in development. A release date has not yet been determined.

Hostile Shore

What it is: This is an historical version of Free Captains. We are partnering with our good friend Matt Green at Laser DreamWorks to make HS. HS is more than a “pirate game”, but will certainly allow for ship to ship actions. In addition to the basic elements of Free Captains, HS will add a “cinematic mode” where the two leaders square off and the action becomes more about them and the other heroes and followers play a supporting role to their duel. Think Errol Flynn and Inigo Montoya.
Statuts: in development. A release date has not been determined.

What does this all mean for your Freeblades models?
-You can play them as a freeband in Freeblades, or fighters in Freeblades Arena.
-You can play them as a free company in Free Captains.
-You can play them in a league that uses one, two or all three of those games.
-You can roleplay with them in BrightSword.
-You will see their story grow as we publish more and more background and fiction about them.

Stay with us for a ton of exciting new things in 2015!

Jon

Designer’s Blog 12/23/2014

Happy Holidays from the gang here at DGS Games! Jon Cleaves here, lead designer, to tell you all about the goings on Freeblades and Faelon.

First, a summary of recent events:

– The biggest news, of course, is that we have mailed out all of the Kuzaarik Forgers Kickstarter rewards! The Kuzaarik went on general sale on Black Friday, November 28, 2014. We hosted a Kuzaarik Release Party at Tabletop Game and Hobby, Overland Park, Kansas that day and had a great time enjoying the game and the Kuzaarik debut.
– We have posted the Kuzaarik Forgers rules and stat cards in the download section of the website.
– We released the Falkaaran Sheriff’s Levy. As of this writing, she also has a Model Spotlight up on the homepage of our website.
– Speaking of websites, we have moved to a new one! We hope you like its style and functionality. Please let us know what else you would like to see our website do for you.
– We attended Tsunami Con 14. We were pleased to have help the con with its initial event and the kickstarter they ran to fund it. We look forward to a great partnership in the years to come. Can’t go wrong giving gamers more times and places to get together and play.
– We have published a new Freeblades Scenario – the Camp Raid. The Camp raid was inspired by player
David Belsheim asking for a ‘capture the flag’ type of scenario. We had a similar idea in the works and moved it up in the schedule for you to enjoy.

Upcoming Events:

– Freeblades Winter Tournament, at Tabletop Game and Hobby, Overland Park, KS. January 24th, 2015. Three rounds. 200 gold first round, 275 the second, 325 the third. Registration at 09:30 am, first round at 10:00 am. All rounds the player will play the same faction, but does not have to have the same core list from round to round.
– Genghis Con XXXVI, 12-15 February, Aurora CO. Our traditional kickoff to the convention season! We will be highlighting the Sorcerer scenario and releasing the Kandoran Sorcerer model at this convention. Come try your hand at bringing this vile creature to justice! http://www.denvergamers.org/

Rules stuff:

– As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. Currently hot for playtest and development is the Urdaggar Lioness…
– We have published and uploaded final versions of the Falkaaran and Black Thorn rules to the website’s downloads section. A reminder that older draft versions of the Black Thorn rules contain some incorrect information. The correct version of the two rules books has the DGS Official symbol on the front page – all other versions are superseded.

Scenarios

Camp Raid has gone final and is in the download section. Trials of Garavus will be next and the Sorcerer will be finished for its February debut at Genghis Con.

Faelon Background

Many of you know we have a fiction project in the works known as Prince of Tales. This is an anthology of fiction, containing stories of characters from across the World of Faelon. The stories are being written and edited. But we have decided to go beyond that and start faster. You want to learn more about Faelon and we want to tell you more about it. So look for at least one new piece of fiction on our website each month starting in 2015 and part of that will be the story of the Crown of the West – a war for the fate of western Faelon – told from start to finish by chapters. We are very excited about this and hope you will be too!

“Kickstarter 4”

As you may know, we have been very successful in our use of the Kickstarter crowdfunding site. We have run three Kickstarter campaigns that have all been funded and all delivered on time. This has allowed us to bring you eight factions for Freeblades in two and ½ years. In 2015, we are going to bring you something a little different for Freeblades – something we are very excited about – through a kickstarter campaign. Rules work on this project is going on behind the scenes. Keep an eye out…

BrightSword

What it is: Our roleplaying game.
Status: A significant amount of work has been done on this project of late. Note that with its inclusion of all the factions and all 1476 spells in the game system, Brightsword work benefits the development of the rest of these games and so a great deal of the work needed to complete these three projects is basically the same as working on core concepts in BrightSword.

[Designer’s Note. The following information on Arena, the Companion, and Free Captains is basically the same from the last designer’s blog. The focus has been on the master consolidated list of all talents and spells in the game system at large, which we think of as “BrightSword work” but is really simultaneously creating the groundwork for the entire integrated game system. Work continues on all these efforts and we include the info here to update players new to the website. ]

Freeblades Arena

What it is: Rules that allow players to recreate gladiatorial arena combat in Faelon. The set will allow players to play Arena in many different ways – stand alone, as part of an Arena league, as part of a combined Freeblades and Arena league.
Status: We initially playtested these rules with historical gladiators. We have playtested this set using the initial set of Freeblades fighters and demoed that at GenCon. The next step is to pull the rules together into a complete set. We intend to have a final set in place for Adepticon in March of 15. There will be an historical supplement called About to Die, which will allow the use of historical gladiators with these rules.

Freeblades Rules Companion

What it is: This will be a free downloadable pdf that places in ONE document all the things you need to fully play the game that are not in the main rulebook. It will contain the rules from the factions published after the rulebook (things like AoEs and the Gaalbohr), all of the talents in the game system to include league advance tables, the new scenarios, the additional faction stats, and core rulebook errata.
Status: in development. A release date has not yet been determined.

Free Captains

What it is: Our brass ring…lol. Free Captains is a battle-level game where players lead Free Companies, mercenary bands made of freeblades and running from 30-50 models on average based on faction and point level. Free Captains uses the same core mechanics as Freeblades but with three major additions. One is units. Followers and some heroes will be grouped up so that leaders can give them orders and will move and act together. Two is command talents. Captains and Lieutenants will be able to give commands to units that increase their abilities or allow them to perform in ways they cannot achieve alone. The third addition is one of scope. What players know now as a Freeband leader is a lieutenant in Free Captains. Captains are d16 level heroes with capabilities far exceeding any of the models currently in Freeblades. Yes, this means a promotion for some, like the Black Rose, who, when war comes to Faelon, gathers her associates across three lands into a company for hire. This is a preview of our army-level game Free Captains. This extends to Casters as well. The Casters in Free Captains will be more powerful than those supporting individual Freebands.
Status: playtest has begun. We will begin demoes of the game at Adepticon 15 if all goes well. There will be an historical version for which the working title is currently Hostile Shore. We are partnering with our good friend Matt Green at Laser DreamWorks to make HS. HS is more than a “pirate game”, but will certainly allow for ship to ship actions. In addition to the basic elements of Free Captains, HS will add a “cinematic mode” where the two leaders square off and the action becomes more about them and the other heroes and followers play a supporting role to their duel. Think Errol Flynn and Inigo Montoya.

What does this all mean for your Freeblades models?
-You can play them as a freeband in Freeblades, or fighters in Freeblades Arena.
-You can play them as a free company in Free Captains.
-You can play them in a league that uses one, two or all three of those games.
-You can roleplay with them in BrightSword.
-You will see their story grow as we publish more and more background and fiction about them.

Enjoy your holidays and stay with us for a ton of exciting new things in 2015!

Jon

Designer’s Blog 10/2/2014

Jon Cleaves, lead designer at DGS Games, here to tell you all about the goings on with DGS Games, Freeblades, and Faelon.

First a summary of recent events:

– We released the Bandit Thief.
– We attended GenCon 14 and partnered with 19 and 1 to put on games for our fans existing and new. Players got to enjoy demo games, tomb crawls and arena matches. We met a lot of people and had an epic time.
– We have completed the masters for all of the Kuzaarik Forgers models and the delivery for our kickstarter is 100% on track.

Upcoming events:

– We will be mailing out the kickstarter rewards the last week of October. The Kuzaarik go on general sale on Black Friday, November 28, 2014. We will be hosting a Kuzaarik Release Party at Tabletop Game and Hobby, Overland Park, Kansas that day and encourage our players groups and retail partners do the same. Questers who want prize packages for a release party may contact me at design@dgsgames.com. Retailers who want to host a release party may contact me or Tom at ceo@dgsgames.com.
– We will release the Falkaaran Sheriff’s Levy the first week of November and they will be on sale first at TsunamiCon in Wichita, KS, Nov 7-9.
– Perhaps the biggest news after the kickstarter completion is the move to a new website. Adam has been doing a ton of work in the background on this project and you will be hearing more about it very soon.

Rules stuff:

– As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. The playtest for the Kuzaarik is pretty much complete and the rules have gone into layout.
– Ok, so more proof that no one is perfect. We have made a mistake with some of the Black Thorn models’ gold values for which I am primarily responsible. We have been working on how to deal with this for a while now and think we have a solution that is best for the players. Instead of an errata that would modify the gold values back down, we have found and playtested appropriate talents that fit the models in question and the faction as a whole. You will shortly be able to download the final Black Thorn faction rules and they will include these changes. Kuzaarik kickstarter backers who are getting printed copies of the Black Thorn faction rules will be getting the final corrected version. These changes are completely in line with our philosophy that mistakes we make are not your bill to pay.

Here are the corrections, and these are official:

– Bodyguard: add Deflect
– Bounty Hunter: add Scout
– Mercenary Crossbowman: add Sergeant [Outlaw]

We think you will be very happy with these changes. They are entirely positive. If you are one of those players who do not play Black Thorn but play against them regularly and think you are being treated unfairly, you should look at it like this: your Black Thorn opponent has been playing down a few gold this past few months and you have been getting over!

Scenarios

We have made the decision to do these individually and not as a pack so we can release each one as soon as it has passed playtest muster. They will be part of the (initially) biweekly website updates on the new website. So, you will be getting the first one before the end of October.

Freeblades Arena

What it is: Rules that allow players to recreate gladiatorial arena combat in Faelon. The set will allow players to play Arena in many different ways – stand alone, as part of an Arena league, as part of a combined Freeblades and Arena league.

Status: We initially playtested these rules with historical gladiators. We have playtested this set using the initial set of Freeblades fighters and demoed that at GenCon. The next step is to pull the rules together into a complete set. We intend to have a final set in place for Adepticon in March of 15. There will be an historical supplement called About to Die, which will allow the use of historical gladiators with these rules.

Freeblades Rules Companion

What it is: This will be a free downloadable pdf that places in ONE document all the things you need to fully play the game that are not in the main rulebook. It will contain the rules from the factions published after the rulebook (things like AoEs and the Gaalbohr), all of the talents in the game system to include league advance tables, the new scenarios, the additional faction stats, and core rulebook errata.

Status: in development. A release date has not yet been determined.

Free Captains

What it is: Our brass ring…lol. Free Captains is a battle-level game where players lead Free Companies, mercenary bands made of freeblades and running from 30-50 models on average based on faction and point level. Free Captains uses the same core mechanics as Freeblades but with three major additions. One is units. Followers and some heroes will be grouped up so that leaders can give them orders and will move and act together. Two is command talents. Captains and Lieutenants will be able to give commands to units that increase their abilities or allow them to perform in ways they cannot achieve alone. The third addition is one of scope. What players know now as a Freeband leader is a lieutenant in Free Captains. Captains are d16 level heroes with capabilities far exceeding any of the models currently in Freeblades. Yes, this means a promotion for some, like the Black Rose, who, when war comes to Faelon, gathers her associates across three lands into a company for hire. This is a preview of our army-level game Free Captains. This extends to Casters as well. The Casters in Free Captains will be more powerful than those supporting individual Freebands.

Status: playtest has begun. We will begin demoes of the game at Adepticon 15 if all goes well. There will be an historical version for which the working title is currently Hostile Shore. We are partnering with our good friend Matt Green at Laser DreamWorks to make HS. HS is more than a “pirate game”, but will certainly allow for ship to ship actions. In addition to the basic elements of Free Captains, HS will add a “cinematic mode” where the two leaders square off and the action becomes more about them and the other heroes and followers play a supporting role to their duel. Think Errol Flynn and Inigo Montoya.

BrightSword

What it is: Our roleplaying game.

Status: Remains in playtest. We have not moved faster with this project yet because we have not found the right partner to move it to the front and currently too many other projects are competing. Also, and this is just a practical matter, it does not make sense to put a lot of effort behind a roleplaying game until our background is more widely known. We feel Arena, Hostile Shore and Prince of Tales (see below) will give us the reach we need to bring this labor of love to publication. I would guess it will become a late 2015/early 2016 project, but it’s early to say.

Prince of Tales

What it is: An anthology of fiction containing stories of characters from across the World of Faelon.

Status: Stories being written and edited. We have ten authors lined up and some of the stories are complete, others in draft. This will be a kickstarter at some point that will produce both a printed trade paperback and an e-book.

What does this all mean for your Freeblades models?

-You can play them as a freeband in Freeblades, or fighters in Freeblades Arena.
-You can play them as a free company in Free Captains.
-You can play them in a league that uses one, two or all three of those games.
-You can roleplay with them in BrightSword.
-You will see their story grow as we publish more and more background and fiction about them.

So, yeah, we are busy. Come join us and bring your friends, there is a ton of exciting stuff happening here and the sky is no limit to what we plan to do.

Jon

Designer’s Blog 7/29/2014

Hey gang! Is it July already? Wow. Just wow. Jon Cleaves here, lead designer at DGS Games. First, thanks to all who backed our Kuzaarik Forgers kickstarter project. We are really excited about this faction and its addition to the game system, and even more so about the coolness of the models. This update is to let those of you who are new to us in on all the things going on with our games so you can see all the ways and places you will be able to play with these great models.

First a summary of recent events:
– We released the Trilian Veteran Defender, Haradelan Questing Knight of Sylvia, Black Thorn Bounty Hunter and Treasure Markers.

– We have posted Freeblades Arena and stat cards for historical gladiators. We put on games of historical gladiators and chariot races using these rules at Adepticon with great success.

– We have funded the Kuzaarik Forgers kickstarter and made one stretch goal! This will bring us to eight factions in two years!

– 813th Legion ran some great Freeblades games at Origins 14 and DGS attended and met a bunch of folks at Texicon 14. Welcome aboard!

Upcoming events:

– There will be a Freeblades tournament in Lenexa, Kansas on August 2d. See the events section of our FB page or the forum for details.

– 19and1 will be running both crawl and “regular” Freeblades games at Gencon in August. We will be there full force. Many of our game slots are sold out already, so we are working to both increase slots and whether that works or not, we will make games available in the evenings after the hall closes. New models being released, so come check us out!

Rules stuff:

-As always, the primary thing that is happening with rules right now is the playtest of new models for the Freeblades line for existing factions. The playtest for the next two is complete (Black Thorn Thief and Falkaaran Sheriff’s Levy) and we are working on the two after those (Urdaggar Lioness and the Saryad).

-The next models up are those for the Kuzaarik Forgers faction. I think we are 90% there with these rules, maybe more. A couple of the Ice Magic spells may need tweaking from their current state. One or two talents may change. Other than that I think we are there and certainly will be for their November completion date.

– We are playtesting our new Scenario Pack 1, with six new scenarios. The playtest draft of this pack is already on the forum and playtesting has gone very well. Four of the six are basically ready to go. Also, the Dryad scenario will be accompanied by the release of a new model: the Saryad, a sort of Dryad princess. This is the start of an effort to increase the creature count in the Freeblades line.

-Freeblades Arena is a working rules set. Our debut at Adepticon went superbly. The work that is being done now is to bring to life how it works as a component of a league, where we really expect these rules to shine. Players will be able to play Arena in many different ways – stand alone, as part of an Arena league, as part of a combined Freeblades and Arena league. Right now as it stands, though, you can really only play it with historical gladiators. That will change soon and we will playtest it as a Faelon game throughout the rest of 2014 and have it all complete for a full debut early next year. Speaking of the historical side, we will also be adding in named figures from Rome’s gladiatorial era.

-A major project that extends across all our games in the line is the Freeblades Rules Companion. This will be a free downloadable pdf that places in ONE document all the things you need to fully play the game that are not in the main rulebook. It will contain the rules from the factions published after the rulebook (things like AoEs and the Gaalbohr), all of the talents in the game system to include league advance tables, the new scenarios, the additional faction stats, and core rulebook errata. The intent is that while a player may choose to organize things differently, a player only ever NEEDS two things to play the game – the rulebook and this download. This means a player who likes a certain faction does not need to download or pay for multiple products just to keep track of potential opponent’s rules.

-We are partnering with our good friend Matt Green at Laser DreamWorks to make a pirate game. The working title is On a Hostile Shore. OAHS is basically Freeblades but with three major additions. One is units, as some followers will be grouped up so that leaders can give them orders. This is a preview of our army-level game Free Captains. Second, it will add a “cinematic mode” where the two leaders square off and the action becomes more about them and the other heroes and followers play a supporting role to their duel. Think Errol Flynn and Inigo Montoya. Third, it will feature combat aboard and across sailing ships. Like Arena, OAHS will have the option for historical play. It will also include ways to play it both as its own league and in a league with either or both Freeblades and Freeblades Arena games. We will debut this game at Adepticon 2015 along with properly scaled ship models from the World of Faelon offered by Laser Dreamworks.

-Our roleplaying game, BrightSword, remains in playtest. We have not moved faster with this project yet because we have not found the right partner to move it to the front and currently too many other projects are competing. Also, and this is just a practical matter, it does not make sense to put a lot of effort behind a roleplaying game until our background is more widely known. We feel Arena, Hostile Shore and Prince of Tales (see below) will give us the reach we need to bring this labor of love to publication. I would guess it will become a late 2015/early 2016 project, but it’s early to say.

-Not technically in the design realm, but we have transitioned day to day management of our Faelon fiction anthology project – the Prince of Tales – to our good friend and teammate, Laura Hardenbrook. We have ten authors lined up and some of the stories are complete, others in draft. This will be a late fall kickstarter that will produce both a printed trade paperback and an e-book containing stories of characters from across the World of Faelon.

-Also not in the design realm, but Adam is working hard on the new website. We are very grateful that you guys are being so patient and dealing with the archaic one we have now while we completely revamp and transition over to a more state-of-the-art design.

What does this all mean for your Freeblades models?

-You can play them as a freeband in Freeblades, or fighters in Freeblades Arena.

-You can play them as a ship crew in On a Hostile Shore.

-You can play them in a league that uses one, two or all three of those games.

-You can roleplay with them in BrightSword.

-You will see their story grow as we publish more and more background and fiction about them.

So, yeah, we are busy. Come join us and bring your friends, there is a ton of exciting stuff happening here and the sky is no limit to what we plan to do.
Jon

Designer’s Blog 4/1/2014

Hey gang!

Happy April Fool’s Day! I hope you have not been the target of too many “fools.” I can tell you that we certainly are not fooling around here at DGS HQ.
I’d say I am sorry that this is rather long, but I am NOT. It’s long because there is so much to tell you!

We are off to Adepticon (Chicago, April 3-6, 2014) the day after tomorrow. We will be debuting the Black Thorn Bounty Hunter there and also a new surprise: Treasure Markers. These are modeled treasure on 25mm bases that include chests, bags of loot, spilled coins, a treasure map, a magic sword, etc. They come 6 to a pack and perfect for scenarios like Treasure Hunt and Looting Spree. We will be initially only selling them at conventions and direct from our webstore.

The Freeblades games at Adepticon will include Bladestone Keep, our massive 10-level castle, and demos in the new Village of Kravlet, a ruined village designed by our good friend Tim Peaslee.

Also at the con, we will debut our new Freeblades Arena rules. Freeblades Arena will be a standalone game set in Faelon that highlights the gladiatorial traditions that have so significantly impacted many of Faelon’s cultures and factions. Each player runs a bladeschool of trained fighters and battles other players across the sands of Faelon’s Arenas. The rules also allow for chariot races, and yes, the cultures of Ryshael race chariots drawn by dinosaurs and not horses… Now, this rules set is still in development with gladiator and chariot models still far out on the horizon. But to get the juices flowing and get some playtesting in, we have made an historical supplement – We Who Are About to Die! – that allows a player to use Freeblades Arena rules to play historical gladiator and chariot games. And, our good friend Merle Delinger will be putting on WWAATD games at Adepticon with his beautifully painted gladiator and chariot models. I am attaching the current draft Arena rules and WWAATD gladiator and beast cards to this post for your enjoyment and feedback.

The Veteran Defender and Questing Knight of Sylvia are done, but the production spins will not be available at the con. They will be available by about April 15th. We shot for the con, but a particular date in April is not as important to us as getting the models right and when you pick one up, we think you will agree.

Well, that covers the first four months of the year, but there is so much more!

May will bring you the Kuzaarik Forgers Kickstarter. This Kickstarter will bring you the 6 starter models for the Kuzaarik Forgers Freeblades faction, with more models as each stretch goal is met. The Kuzaarik are a stout and noble race, ancient and proud. They might not be as tall as others in Faelon, but their strength and resolve more than make up for it!

Then some new models in June, which we will announce soon. Tim Peaslee will be running some Freeblades Dungeon Crawl games at Origins.

August will see some new models released and also the release of our new Scenario Pack 1, with six new scenarios. We will be at Gencon full up and partnering with Tim P and 19and1 to bring you a ton of floor games as well as our new releases at the booth.

Fall will bring both the release of the Kuzaarik Forgers from the Kickstarter, but also a new Kickstarter to make our first fiction anthology. The authors are already being lined up and it’s a very exciting project. We very much want to start bringing you all the depth of the World of Faelon background.

And of course, as always, a couple of secret projects which we will announce when they are somewhat further along. 

Whew! Time to have one more chariot race and then its packing for Chicago. Hope to see you all soon!
Jon

Freeblades Arena Open Playtest Rules 1

We Who Are About To Die! Player Cards 1.2

Designer’s Blog 1/27/2014

Hey gamers! Wow, we have so many things in the works; I don’t know where to begin.
First and foremost, job one around here is to make sure those gamers who already play our games continue to get our support. Before we do anything else or take on any new projects, we start with the plan to continue the story of factions already in the game. So, the top of my priority list as a designer are those models and products coming out for Freeblades thatare associated with factions already published. Each faction will get something new in the coming year. Also, we will be publishing a Scenario Pack with 6 new scenarios that bring new challenges to your Freebands, including a newcreature and a dangerous villain. I have to say theplaytesting for these new models and the scenarios has gone along VERY well and we are ahead of schedule, which allows us to do even more cool things than we originally planned this year.There will also be a new faction released this year, one I think the players will find very popular. You can find the background behind the Kuzaarik Forgers here:

Kuzaarl

Gladiatorial combat is a strong tradition in Faelon, having started within the Krai-jan Empire and spread beyond her shores. Indeed, the original Traazorite rebels were gladiators who formed a secret society. Gladiatorial venues can be found throughout the Empire and in the coastal nations of the northern continent. To showcase this action and allow you to run your own gladiatorial team, we are developing Freeblades Arena. League play will be a strong element as success of individual gladiators is converted to glory and renown for their bladeschool. Players – and spectators! – will be able to gamble on outcomes and determine the fates of the competitors.

Working on this project has shown us an opportunity to help out our fellow gamers with a more historical preference and to familiarize a wider audience with Faelon and the Tiered Dice system. So, we will release the first draft of Freeblades Arena with an historical supplement, We Who are About to Die! This supplement will allow players to recreate the arenas of Ancient Rome using a set of rules fully compatible with Freeblades. We will be partnering with our good friend Merle Delinger to write the historical supplement and debut the rules at Adepticon 14.

We also have in the works a fiction anthology called Prince of Tales. This is our first collection of stories about Faelon and its people to continue to bring the background to life for our fans.

So, to recap, models for every faction, six new scenarios, a new faction, a new rules set and an anthology. And that is just the next ten months…!

Once these things get further down the road you will start seeing references to Free Captains. Free Captains is an expansion and extension of Freeblades that features “army-level” combat. Freeblades are adventurers, but Free Captains are mercenary military leaders, forming Free Companies and entering into service with one of the nations at war. Followers will group up into units led by corporals and sergeants. Some heroes will also group up into elite units and some will stay independent actors. Casters will be more powerful. League play will represent military campaigns. And Free Captains will be impressive and capable enough to have Freeband leaders working for them. This has always been the plan, but we have been working with a slightly different concept until recently and referring to the army-level game as Blademaster. But Blademasters are not army leaders and Free Captains will more easily allow you to integrate your existing models into Free Companies. The success and stability of the Freeblades rules has allowed us to move this timeline ahead just slightly, which is very exciting. Have no fear; this game will not replace Freeblades. We won’t make it until we can sustain both simultaneously. The good news is, a faction release for Free Captains will include many or all of the models for that faction’s Freebands as well. And of course, Free Captains would not make much sense unless Faelon suddenly found itself at war…

It’s a very exciting future. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be on this team and doing my part to bring these great products to you.

Con season is on us! Hope to see you at one soon.
Jon

 

Designer’s Blog 10/24/2013

Hey gang!

It was getting a little quiet, so I thought I would try and spice things up a little. Let me tell you about the things going on here at DGS.

First, we are going after a small business grant from Chase. We have to do several things to qualify and one is to get votes. You can vote here:
www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/49138
That money would accelerate our business plan so much, it would be hard to even speculate on its effects. I can tell you this, we’d at least double the number of models we have planned for next year… I imagine it would have a much greater impact than that – but details and how immediate would be something we’d talk about openly if we were fortunate enough to win. Suffice to say it would it would make things possible soon that we are only now talking about happening in 2015, 2016, 2017.

The masters for the Black Thorn Friday release models are back and production molds are made or being made. Everything there is on schedule. Don’t forget to ask your local retailer about hosting a release party:
www.dgsgames.com/index.php/forum/forum-c…friday-release-party

Personally, I am working on five major projects:
– the Black Thorn Bandits rules final layout.
– BrightSword, our roleplaying game.
– Prince of Tales, our first fiction anthology, full of stories about the World of Faelon.
– our new scenario pack, as yet unnamed, with six new scenarios
– the Star of Haradel, our first Adventure Pack, which contains a story line, maps, themed Freeblades scenarios and linked BrightSword adventure

Work on Freeblades after Black Thorn is focused on a set of new models for next year that includes new stuff for each existing faction as well as a brand new one. Remember, your favorite faction is not going to stop getting support just because it isn’t the newest.

The other members of the team are just as busy, with model production, marketing, demos, convention planning, and running the playtest of our new stuff for next year.

We have a draft set of campaign rules out and will be starting two campaigns soon, one in KS/MO and one in CO.

We are partnering with Silverback Press, who is producing a Freeblades LARP. While LARPs and roleplaying may not be your thing, the design of BrightSword and the LARP will expand the background of Faelon and bring many new elements into your Freeblades games.

We just got back from Feast of Blades out in Denver. We had an AWESOME time with some of our most loyal fans. We showcased Bladestone Keep and saw some truly epic action go down, from the Barek Apprentice of Death to the Falkaar Keystone Cop Staircase Maneuver to the Grand Hall Fireball Ballet and Loot Conveyor. We’ll be back out in February for Genghis Con.

We will also be at Adepticon, Gen Con and Recruits next year. We are looking at adding some new cons to those we attend, so please let us know if you have a good regional fantasy/sci-fi miniatures oriented game convention nearby – we will be happy to take your suggestions.

We are in talks with a couple of other companies about joint projects, but that news will have to wait in terms of getting you details. Exciting stuff, though.

I played two games of Freeblades last Tuesday night, teaching a new player. We played a 150 gold Skirmish and a 150 gold Rescue the Prisoner, me with Black Rose and Bryan with Questers. Dastardly Bandit that I am, I killed off his followers in both games before committing fully to the knights, but in the Skirmish, his apprentices were just too hard on my poor Headhunter, who once again stayed in the fight one round too long. He picked it up quickly and is already working on his own Quester freeband.

We have a tournament scheduled for the 9th of November here in KC, to kick off the release of the Black Thorn Bandit Leader (and the rules for his freeband), the Falkaaran Forester (and you kickstarter backers will just get yours sent to you without having to do anything) and the Urdaggar Bear Form. The tourney is 250 gold Freebands and features a Golat Hunt and at least one new scenario. Join us if you can.
www.dgsgames.com/index.php/forum/forum-c…city-november-9-2013

Well, I think that is busy enough for now. I am off soon to run a Freeblades demo at Collector’s Cache in Lenexa, Kansas. Looking forward to meeting some new players.

Gamers rule!
J

Desginer’s Blog 4/3/2013

Our latest playtest session took place last night at our local game store, Tabletop Game and Hobby in Overland Park, Kansas, the birthplace of DGS Games.

The evening represented everything for which we got into this business. Three epic games of Freeblades, all involving our next faction, Falkaaran Adventurers, on one side and an original faction (Haradelan Questers), our newest faction (Urdaggar Tribes) and a future faction (Koronnan Agents) opposing them. A treasure hunt, a demon infestation and a new scenario – Area Recon – served as the settings. Fire magic, Night Hunter shots, hot Bladesister on Bladesister action, fatestones and tarches and the desperate final battle of a Wolfkarl who didn’t quite get off the table with the last loot marker for the win…what else could one ask for?

This week marks the release of the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor. This means a lot of things, not the least of which being that those models are COOL and you really need to play with them…lol Anyway, shameless plug aside, it means design focus returns full time to what is next. Our process is to playtest what is next against not only existing factions, but also what we have planned for the future. This allows us to keep refining potential future factions and rules, balance all the factions to mitigate codex creep and to make sure we give each faction its own unique nature and not box ourselves into a design corner.

As an example, one thing we know is that there will be factions, probably between 2-4, that will have a follower who has both d8 RAR and a d8 damage ranged weapon. The most dangerous of these will be those with longbows due to their range. A lot of our work last night involved these models – how many should we allow? What abilities should they and should they not have? What synergy issues might arise between these models and the rest of their freeband? These questions are answered, if they ever are…, by playtesting.

There are two major rules to playtesting. First, it is work when it is done right. No one has unlimited gaming time, so time playtesting something under development is time away from playing an established game. And you are working on something that may be entirely broken, leading to an unfair play experience. You have to want to find the problems and you have to be ok with playing something incomplete or unbalanced while you are at it.

Second, you have to not get attached. Let’s say the designer gives you a new model to playtest from your favorite faction. You and some other playtesters try it out and you determine it is extremely cool and should just stay the way it is, but the rest of the crew thinks it overpowered and begins to recommend ways to scale its power back. How do you react? I would suggest that if you find yourself thinking “hey, quit screwing my faction!” then maybe you’ve gotten a little too close to the problem and lost at least some of your objectivity.

So, let’s say we start with a faction having a d8/d8 follower shooter and no limit on how many one can take. Then, after some playtesting, we determine that while in some scenarios, taking too many of these limits your freeband’s ability to do certain tasks, but that in more of them they shoot down the enemy enough that they either have to spend too much time hiding or they don’t even get across the table. Let’s say that after a skull session among the playtesters we decide to limit the model to 0-6 or 0-3. Some playtesters who got all excited at seeing the unlimited d8/d8 shooter line on “their favorite faction’s” list might feel that they have been treated unfairly somehow and find the revised list less fun. Hey, it’s not all about you…lol. Yeah, it was fun last night to infiltrate three d8/d8 archers and shoot away a Koronnan Gladiator on turn 2. But how much fun was that for my opponent? The game has to be fun for everyone!

In any case, the game is in good hands. The core playtesters are some of the best the business has ever produced. Players who know how to break a rule before it gets to you, players who realize it’s our job to do the playtesting and not the customer’s. Players who know this game is for you first and for us and them second.

Some great stuff is out there on the horizon for Freeblades. No need to worry about that now, however. You need to be more concerned about that Urdaggar Boar Warrior bull rushing toward you!

Gamers rule.
Jon

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Designer’s Blog 1/30/2013

Greetings fellow gamers…

This past week I played three different skirmish games. Freeblades was one, of course, but also two others that I enjoy. We here at DGS mean it when we say “where gamers rule.” We want to be that company that stays in touch with our roots as gamers. There are plenty of game companies where the profit bottom line drives over what might otherwise be a decision the gamer would prefer. Our philosophy is that whatever we might not gain financially from avoiding a ruthless bottom line approach, we can, if we are smart, gain back by being the place to which a gamer can turn and have his or her preferences take priority over one more dollar.

Playing other games allows me to stay in touch with what is going on in game design. It also gives us a break from Freeblades which we both play for pleasure and playtest as part of our jobs in the company. We want to continue to enjoy it forever and not get burned out by playing it all the time and not being able to see and use fresh approaches.

I enjoyed the other two skirmish games I played this week. But I was also pleased to note the experience reinforced some of the choices we made designing Freeblades. One of the games uses a random activation system, markers being drawn from a pool to determine which side activates the next unit. While this had some interesting effects, it did cause each side to take their time deciding which unit to activate next, slowing the game somewhat. Also, there were stretches where one side got several activations in a row. This can be fun, to be sure, but it can also be very not fun to be the side on the short end of several units beating up on them without the ability to respond.

The other game had a more traditional sequence, first one player then the other, with initiative changing randomly each turn. This is more like Freeblades, but there were no opportunities for the non-moving player to react: no counter charges or evading or reaction shots, etc. If one player was within charge range with one of his units and rolled higher for initiative, then he could charge and pin the unit in place with no response. On a key turn, before we rolled for initiative, my opponent and I joked about how whoever got initiative was going to win. It wasn’t exactly that way, but did feel a little like it.

Contrast these games with the Freeblades game I played last night. Although my opponent went first on a key turn, I had the full range of options available to me. I could countercharge when he charged me, or stand and give him the first strike, but pull his model further away from the main action. I could also evade and leave his tougher model without the ability to hurt me this turn. These choices weren’t large in number and were usually simple either-or’s, allowing the turn to proceed more quickly than in the random activation game.

I am not trying to portray any other game in particular as less or more enjoyable than Freeblades. That is for each gamer to decide individually. But I have to say I was very pleased to be reminded of where we fit in the scheme of skirmish games – quality tactical decisions each turn and both players engaged throughout.

Gamers rule!
Jon

Designer’s Blog 11/20/2012

Hey gang! Greetings fromDGS HQ.The convention season drives a lot of what game companies do. From February to September we are primarily in execute mode, so the time from October to January is often the best time to plan and work on the future and we are putting that time to very good use. Of course this time is also the holidays and we will always have some goodies for you. Look for our December release announcement very soon. The models are here – one for each faction – and as soon as they are painted and photographed, you’ll be able to get them. And they are VERY sweet.

Job number one around here is the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor. With the help of those fans who got in on the Kickstarter, we will be bringing these models and their rules to you this spring. Our Kickstarter rewardees were told an estimated date of March and that is all on track. This is a brand new faction with brand new talents, spells and weapons. Valor are lightly armored, but they are fast and hit like a hammer. We’ve shown you the Urdaggar Tribes of Valor Unproven, see below the Urdaggar Hunter.

huntergrn3.jpg

We are building up a lot of new material for you. Once we start releasing it we want to give you a steady diet of all things Freeblades and Faelon, so we’re working hard to have plenty done up front: new fiction, new rules, new scenarios, new ways to use existing models, all sorts of things. This will start over the holidays, so keep your eyes open while you are doing all that shopping – hopefully for Freeblades models!

Sooo, I call this my designer’s blog. Since we have our home and facebook pages for news and plenty of help from our friends in the blogosphere getting the word out about our game, it’s about time we spent more of this blog on design.

This week’s subject is “customization.” Customization, as it applies to a skirmish game, is the ability to change the stats of model, particularly weapons and gear, from its baseline. Some skirmish games permit this, some do not. Right now, Freeblades does permit some customization, but it is not very open-ended. A model can gain magic items and can purchase common items such as lanterns and rope, but cannot change out weapons and armor.

This is a conscious decision. While it might seem on the surface that any model should be fully customizable to provide a player the maximum options, there are downsides. The first is that the more customizable the model, the more it loses its identity. This is especially true for us where Faelon is a background that is new to the gamer and we want to establish its unique nature. The Black Rose isn’t really the Black Rose with a flail or a great axe, she’s a swordswoman. A Grular Marauder, as a light cavalry scout, simply isn’t “right” in plate armor. And what if a player falls in love with great axes and every model in every one of his factions is armed with a great axe? Is that Faelon or something else?

The second major downside is the additional rules needed. Let’s say you want to give the Bandit Duelist a toloron. The Duelist is a swordsman who specializes in a two-weapon fighting style. The toloron is a two-handed weapon. If we give him a toloron, he will lose his second attack and Swordsman talent. Should he become cheaper? Is a toloron the same “cost” as a sword plus parry dagger plus swordsman? Is the rules effort to get all that right “worth it?”

So, at least for now, Freeblades are not fully customizable models. But, that is not the end of this story.

First, you will be seeing models that bring some different combinations to the game that serve the same purpose as customization. Wouldn’t we all like a Grular horseman with heavier armor and some more solid melee capability? Sure! And the Grular of course would have one. The Impaler will eventually join your forces. The story of all our factions and models will mature over time and many of the things a player might make happen with full customization will happen through the course of the story of Faelon advancing.

Second, once you buy it, it’s YOUR GAME. You want to play with an AV7, flail-wielding Shakrim Headhunter, you most certainly may. The rules are a guide to play the way its creators see Faelon, but in your basement or game store, it’s YOUR Faelon and YOUR Freeblades. True, the rules are also a standard to permit play between groups at an event where multiple gamer and game groups meet, such as a tournament. Also, we try very hard to produce balance between the factions and their abilities through the official rules. This means that official events will be using the official model stats. But in your games and events, you can have it however you want and we encourage that.
And neither are we going to cast those who want more customization entirely adrift to their own devices. Get on the forum and strike up a conversation with us about what you’d like to see with customization – or any other design issue for that matter – and we’ll work together to get you the Freeblades game you want.

Have a great Thanksgiving and we here at DGS hope all your dice are spikes!
Jon