Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Son of Playtest Updates

Good news first: Everything's comin' right along. I just finished updating the intro scenario to the most current version of the rules and will be uploading it for all you currently active playtesters out there (as opposed to the inactive ones -- maybe I should call you "Action Playtesters" and "Resident Playtesters" instead) sometime on Wednesday. Which is today, from where I'm sitting.

Feedback has been very useful, so thanks for that. Most of it's along the lines of "There's a misspelled word on page four!" but hey, that stuff's important too, so it's all good. More of that and everything else, please. Keep it coming. You're helping make a better game.

Requests for a better character sheet have been heard. Unfortunately, they've been heard by me, but still I think what I have here is a definite improvement. I'm not saying it's the end-all-be-all or anything -- just that I like it more than the last one. I'll be uploading it (with a side of PCs) shortly after the intro scenario. If you have an Atomic Robo character sheet you've made for your playtesting group, or just because you like making character sheets, send it my way. (Unless you've already done that, in which case thanks for having done that.)

The bad news isn't really all that bad, but: I'm pushing Round 3 back by a couple weeks. Initially, I'd expected to time it with Big Bad Con, but owing to a few factors, including a totally unproductive first experience at SoCal Smackdown (...), I'm going to hold off. For one, I'd like to be able to incorporate a bit more playtester feedback, from home playtest groups and the Big Bad Con playtests. From my perspective, there's no rush to fix some desperately broken rule, so better to take more time on Round 3 and put out a more complete playtest packet rather than make you pick out subtle differences between the two versions like some overly wordy activity out of Highlights for Children.

Now, if you're in Round 3, which is a lot of you, but I guess you don't know it yet because I haven't told you, you're probably like, "Aw shucks." But don't be like that, because when you do get called up, you'll have a tighter, more complete game to play around with. I dunno. Sounds pretty good to me. Expect to see an announcement for that in mid-October.

And if you're reading this going, "What the what?" don't just go like that -- get in on the next round of the playtest. I expect it'll run through the end of October, so there's still time to sign up. Science needs you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Playtesting at SoCal Smackdown

So hey! This weekend I'll be running Atomic Robo at SoCal Smackdown at the Anaheim Convention Center in beautiful-ish Anaheim, California. You may recognize Anaheim as the home of Disneyland, California Adventure, and fleeing suspects being shot in the back by local PD. Yes, you read that right! Disneyland!

I'll be there Friday and Sunday nights at 7:00 pm, so come on out. If you played ARRPG at Gateway or GenCon or wherever, this will be an entirely different scenario. Not only will we be playtesting the most current iteration of the rules, but I'm also taking the weird character and extras rules out for a spin.

In addition to a few proto-PCs -- they have just info provided in to start playing, but plenty of blanks for you to make them your own during play -- there'll also be a couple weird characters up for grabs:

  • Henry, a rogue Helsingard warbot fighting its inherited impulses who's joined Tesladyne to atone for its creator's/clones' sins, and
  • Jenkins. Jenkins.
Either or both should make for an especially interesting playtest -- especially if we have both of them in play. If you've read the Extras chapter in the playtest docs, that would make things... well, I'm just going to say "interesting" again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Round 2 -- Play!

Hey, so last night, as recklessly promised, the next round of Atomic Robo playtesting begun. If you got an email about it, that's you. Get to work!

Round 1-types, I'll send you an email today as part of our weekly check-in, but the revised playtest docs are up now if you want to download 'em. Everything labeled "Sept v2" is new or has been changed; everything else -- a ground total of one document -- is the same.

I'll go into the revisions in more detail in the email, but for those of you watching from the sidelines or still sitting on the bench waiting to get into the game (soon, I promise!), here's a short list of what's changed/new:
  • Aspects chapter
  • Extras chapter
  • Challenges in general
  • Hypothesis Challenges in particular -- they're not even called that anymore!
  • Stress
  • Skill terminology
  • GM's fate point budget
  • And much, much more!
I'm excited about the changes and new stuff, myself -- I think it's already a much-improved game, thanks to playtester input, and it'll only get better from here.

And if you want to get in on the playtest, it's not too late! Click here! Follow instructions! Remain calm! Trust in Science!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

[Atomic Robo] Playtest Updates

Lots of times, I like to make this joke I stole from Peter Schickele where I say "A number of people have asked me about [something-or-other], and both of them wanted to know..." etc. See, the joke is that it's not many people doing the asking, even though it doesn't sound that way at first.

I cannot make this joke with Atomic Robo.

Interest has been... high. Very high. A side benefit of this has been that I've really gotten familiar with contacts and mailing lists in Gmail. Just never needed to use 'em before! But now I really do, because as I type this -- and I'd have to check on this to make certain -- I'm pretty sure Round 3 of the playtest is full. Round 3. In case you're just joining this whole Robo discussion, I haven't even announced Round 2 yet.

Now, that said: Do not despair. If you're interested in playtesting, please please download the Disclosure Pledge and follow the instructions thereupon. These playtest rounds are like unto waves on the beach, one after another. I will get you in there somewhere.

So if you've done that already and you're not in Round 1, you're probably wondering, "Well, when do I get to get in on this?" Here's the scoop on that.

  • I'm in the middle of a revision right now. The game has already gotten better, thanks in part to the feedback of the Round 1 playtesters, which has been invaluable. I'm especially excited about this revision, partially due to the Extras chapter, which I think is pretty cool.
  • I expect to update the playtest docs this weekend. (An email will go out to the Round 1-types when I do.)
  • Shortly after I do that, I'll also email the Round 2-types. So: to more definitively answer your question, this weekend. That's the Mike Olson Guarantee.
  • Round 3, whoever you are (and there are a lot of you), I will get you guys up and running within two or three weeks. Thanks to Morgan and Chris, we've got a couple ARRPG playtests happening at Big Bad Con the first weekend of October, and I want to make sure that everyone involved gets to experience the best version of the rules I can make available. As it happens, the timing's perfect for Round 3.
  • Assuming there is a Round 4, and I see no reason to believe there won't be, it'll probably begin around the middle of October. It'll also probably be our last round of playtesting, because we need to wrap this thing up by November at the very latest. (Originally, it was October, but the parallel development of Fate Core, and the resulting revisions and rethinking of ARRPG, kinda messed with that a bit. Fate Core's awesome, by the way.)
For the record, even though I said I'd only be taking 20 groups in Round 1, I took... more. And even though one could reasonably assume I'd only earmark another 20 groups for Round 2, I've earmarked... more. Because I'm a big softie and have a hard time saying no to Atomic Robo fans.