Playtesting, Weapons and Damage ... Oh my!

I know I promised info on weaponry, but I wanted to take a moment and discuss they public demo of Outrider that occurred this past Saturday, as a lot of changes came out of those seven sessions. We had a few surprises at the event. After listing the demo in the community calendar, we drew a few interesting guests. The local paper sent a reporter and photographer to event - the resultant article has generated a good amount of interest. We even had people from Reveal Entertainment (a game/toy company in Abilene, TX) showing up, thinking that the event was a public demo of one of the company's products that they had not heard of ...

There are some changes to be made based on that extended demo. Most of the changes will come to the way that collisions are handled, as the present rules are a real bog, even to players that are familiar with the game. It helped me tremendously to see new players come to the table with no prior experience and see what areas they struggled with. I came away with absolute areas to focus on.

But enough of my yakking ... we've talked cars, not it's time to talk GUNS, GUNS, GUNS!

Weapons in Outrider

Over the course of the game's development, the weapons have gone through many changes. In the game's humble beginnings, there was no mention of the weapons, other than a firepower stat and a weapon arc. Later incarnations yielded specific mentions of 'parodied' weapons (i.e.TYN-E10 'Tiny Gun' standing in for the M134 Mini Gun, etc.). When secondary arcs were added, the idea that ALL arcs were the same gun seemed counter intuitive.

The feedback I received from play testers was wonderful. I'll admit - I don't know squat about real ballistics and Hollywood and video games have skewed our perceptions. We've come to believe that the mini gun and the shotgun are unbeatable relics - not to belittle them, by any means. I just had the ranks 30 cal/50 cal/mini gun/cannon floating in my head all throughout development and I received LOTS and LOTS of emails, making cases as to why one weapon would outperform another.

Well, after taking that knowledge and spending some time building models to match the various builds, it occurred to me that there was no need to move into a more detailed direction - in fact taking a step back to the abstract may be better. I can simply give my car a WEAPON rating and then model it the way I want. Let's say I have a WEAPON rating of D12. I could say it was a 30mm Auto Cannon strapped to the roof or maybe it's twin M2 50 cals on the hood ... get the idea? The arcs (primary and secondary) stay the same, but it grants the player a little leeway in modeling the vehicle. It also allows one model to be used for multiple builds.

All that being said, I still have a ranking system that helps players visualize the construction of their vehicles. The lists below denote the range of possible weapons a WEAPON die could represent.

Small Arms & Light duty Machine Guns

This class includes infantry-level weapons that have been modified by Outriders to be vehicularly-mounted.
The most common type of weapon found on Outriders’ cars, due to their cheap cost and wide availability.
Weapons in this category would include modified SMGs, Assault rifles and the occasional belt fed machine gun like an M1919 or M60 (pictured).

Medium Duty and GP Machine Guns

Any that requires a bipod on stanchion usually qualifies. This is a hard class to define. Typically, it ccould be represented by doubling up on MG-42s or FN MAGs or distilling that firepower into one weapon that doesn't go up in caliber, but way up in ROF, like the M134 (pictured). I've found more mini gun minis than possibly any other weapon for modding cars.

Heavy Duty MGs & Anti-Vehicle Weaponry

This class includes weapons that cross the line from anti-personnel to anti-vehicle classification. The bigger calibers of this class equal increased armor penetration. This is where Ma Deuce resides (M2 Browning). Which to rank higher, the M134 or the M2? This issue has been one of the longest ongoing debates. As impressive as the M134 is, I think it's gotten it's fair share of pub from movies and games. So I thought I'd show the M2 Browning a little respect ... I mean it was/is used as AA, AV and used to be mounted in the wings of fighter planes(!) Other weapons in this class would include the M85 (pictured), DShK, NSV/Kord MGs.

Heavy Ordinance & Friggin’ Artillery

A class of large, weapons more at home on tanks, the explosive shells of these weapons can shred through just about any vehicular armor with ease. This is sort of a catch-all category for stuff that would likely blow a car-sized object up with one hit. Well in our fantasy universe, it takes six! This class may be the most open to interpretation of all, as it can include things such as the M242 Bushmaster (pictured), the M230 Vulcan all the way up to 120mm cannons used on tanks. Ive even had a few players model their cars with missiles/Rocket Pods (below) to represent this grade of armament.

Yes, but what does it all mean?

All and all, at present, I'm just encouraging players to model cars the way they like and just let the vehicle bases and dice allotments govern the details. If they want to switch from game to game, all it takes is a card and dice swap and the same model can go from fast attack vehicle to Rammin'Stein and still be 'legal' to play. The speed and the fun factor have always been at the center of this design. Some people want high levels of ballistic detail and other just want to roll dice NOW!

I'm not claiming that Outrider is a simulation (far from) but I think it works in a way that many can understand, while still holding a bit of tactical depth that can keep veteran players interested.

NEXT UP: Collisions and ramming and why I hate them (lol)

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