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(TFT) Re: Compact Combat vs. TFT (skirting off-topic)

Joe Hartley at jh@metheny.brainiac.com on 11/9/98 10:06 AM said:

>Even other systems like your Compact Warrior game is more complex - it took
>me a while to really get a handle on how to create a character - but
>I don't see many ways to simplify a system without coming dangerously
>close to infringing TFT (but I'm not a game designer!).

Compact Warrior could have been less complex, but not without losing some 
of what we needed to continue expanding it into other realms than 
sword-and-shield combat. The CW product sets the very basic underpinnings 
for firearms, magic, superpowers, and other things we intend to add in 
the expansions. Stripping those out, we would have been able to 
considerably shorten the game, and it would have played fine for just 
basic Melee-level sword-and-shield battle, but we'd have had to add that 
stuff back in for EACH of the expansions (and forced people who wanted 
those underpinnings to buy the expansions). We thought it best to put as 
much as we could in the basic game book to avoid endless repetition. For 
that reason, the complexity level of Compact Warrior falls somewhere in 
between Melee and Advanced Melee.

We designed Compact Warrior from the first to be more than a medieval 
combat game, but rather the core system for a multigenre combat system. 
As such, it's necessarily a bit more complicated for character creation 
than Melee was. Once Compact Comabt is established, I might consider 
going back and doing a faster hack-and-slash medieval combat game that 
has nothing but the very basics, perhaps as a giveaway on the web site.

I'm working with a multi-level sort of strategy here, and I hope it works 
out. Compact Warrior is the core, requred for all games. Unlike Wizard, 
Compact Sorcerer is NOT a standalone game. It requires Compact Warrior 
for play, thus giving us more room in the CS book for more magic 
structure. CS is not just a combat magic game, either. Though it contains 
only a smattering of combat magic spells, it sets the underpinnings for a 
complete magic system that can grow into a lot more. Figure a complexity 
level between Wizard and Advanced Wizard.

Future expansions fit into several categories. Rules Expansions will add 
basic rules structure for a general concept without a lot of genre detail 
or world background. (Examples: Compact Sorcerer and Compact Martial 
Artist, both of which can be used in any era or adventure structure where 
such rules are needed.)

Genre Expansions supply rules, weapons, character types, etc. for a 
general adventure genre. (An example would be Compact Wild West, which 
will have appropriate weapon cards, animal rules, skills, etc. 
appropriate to the genre.) These may or may not require the use of a 
specific Rules Expansion.

Setting Expansions give specific character types, creatures, weapons, 
skills, spells/powers, and background informaton for a very specific 
adventure world. This is where we might do a World of Terrae package, for 
example, which would require both Compact Warrior and Compact Sorcerer, 
but contain material specific to the Terrae background (like Dragonkin 
and Skyborn technology). A Setting Expansion for Gary M. Williams' World 
of Sk'lathia would use Warrior and Sorcerer as well, but would have a 
totally different set of character types, creatures, and specialty spells 
appropriate to that world.

A few expansion packages will be continuing as a series with a lot of 
cards with weapons (Compact Armory) or creatures (Compact Bestiary) and 
shorter rulebooks containing just a few special rules pertaining to the 
cards in that set.

For example, Compact Firearms (in the planning stages) will provide rules 
for things like reloading, fast draw, automatic weapons, burst fire, 
reloading, jams and misfires, suppression fire, etc., plus a relatively 
short selection of popular weapons from matchlocks to modern assault 
rifles. From this basic package, one can extrapolate firearms use in any 
background or era. If you want, you can then buy a guns-oriented Compact 
Armory package with a lot of specific weapons cards, or a genre package 
like Compact Wild West with guns appropriate to that genre or a Setting 
Expansion like Compact S.W.A.T. (this isn't even in the planning stages 
yet -- just an example) and use the guns from it, any of these building 
on Compact Firearms and Compact Warrior only.

By the way, both Warrior and Sorcerer are now in what might be termed a 
Final Beta Candidate stage. If anyone on the TFT list would be willing to 
do some INTENSIVE playtesting at this stage, I'd be happy to talk to you. 
This would be a "play it a lot over a short period of time to find subtle 
bugs and read the rules to see if they explain stuff adequately" sort of 
thing rather than a more casual look for more general suggestions. If 
someone wants to volunteer, and is prepared to really jump into it, let 
me know.

P.S.: Is there any interest in an old-fashioned randomizable solitaire 
dungeon crawl sort of expansion for this that you can play over and over, 
as opposed to a more focussed programmed-solitaire such as GrailQuest 
with a definite set of adventure situations and a definite goal? Which 
would you rather see first?

Guy McLimore / guymc@evansville.net
MicroTactix Games
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