June game: Polis

Polis was our June Patreon game. It has now been taken down but will be available soon on the Black Armada itch store.

Hello everyone!

It has been very busy this last month. I’ve been away at Play Modena, Becky launched her crowdfunding campaign for Wreck This Deck, and the two of us both went to UK Games Expo. Plus I have been feverishly working to progress Lovecraftesque second edition. On top of that it was our youngest child’s birthday, which is almost as much work as these.

Somehow, amongst all this activity, I’ve managed to finish Polis, which is this month’s Patreon game. Here is the blurb for the game:

Here is a settlement. It is unique and filled with potential. And from this settlement you are going to grow a city.

This is a game about the rise and evolution of a city. You will start with a simple map of a settlement, with its surrounding terrain and a some starting details. Over time you spark its growth, and watch it grow and change over time into a full-fledged city. You will populate it with vibrant cultures, build beautiful buildings and neighbourhoods. You will shape your city with festivals and monuments, wars and revolutions, bounties and catastrophes. With each change, the city will evolve and respond until you have something truly unique.

You’ll need a couple of people (or more), some index cards or a virtual equivalent, and a few hours to play. If you want to, you can play for much longer, until the process of adaptation and change leaves you with a city that has changed utterly.

Polis was developed using similar mechanics to my earlier creation, Biome, and inspired by games like Microscope. It’s a world-building game where you take turns to make changes you your world, and then the entire table makes further changes that react to what you did. The result is a city that feels like a living thing – responding and adapting to change, evolving over time. Like its predecessors, there is a lot of fun to be had just building and growing your game world, but it is also very fun to dive into the world and play scenes in it, and the mechanics make it matter when you do.

It’s a very fun game and I hope you enjoy it.

Best wishes

Josh

Blog post: How to be a cooperative player

Addie Stardust on Twitter asked for tips on how to be a cooperative player, and it turns out that I have some thoughts about this.

Cooperation means working together to make the game better. This might mean working with the GM but it also means working with the other players around the table. An important starting point here is that WE are working TOGETHER. So it’s not just one person being a cooperative player and helping everyone else, it’s a collective effort, and you get to look after yourself as well as the others. Ok? Let’s go.

The rest of the blog post is continued on the Black Armada website. 

Links to our current Patreon games

If you are new to our Patreon or looking for our latest games and want to save a bit of scrolling, here are the current links to what you get as a patron.

At Crew level, you currently have access to these games:

  • Grimbark – a light, silly game about good doggos in power armour, doing their utmost to protect the immortal emperor from squirrels, hoovers and other such terrible threats.

  • Heartbreaker – a GMless game of epic fantasy in the tradition of Michael Moorcock. You’re a powerful warrior and sorcerer, bearing the cursed sword Heartbreaker. Struggle against decaying empires and mad gods and meet your fate.

At First Mate level, you also have access to design diary posts, work in progress drafts of our bigger games, and to this:

  • Lovecraftesque 2e, a late playtest version of this storytelling horror card game. Includes print files for the game and a virtual playroom you can use to play the game online.

Patrons and non-patrons alike are welcome at the Black Armada discord.

March game: Monsterball

[Monsterball was our March patreon game. It has now been taken down but you will soon be able to get it on our itch store.]

Hey everyone!

This month’s game is a brutal fantasy monster version of football (or soccer for USicans), played as a journaling game. Monsterball creates a procedurally generated and very lightly tactical game of football, either against a fellow human or an NPC team. It is surprisingly gripping and you may find yourself blowing on your dice as your ratling striker nears the ideal position to score a goal.

Monsterball obviously pays tribute to a certain tabletop fantasy ball game, but it has taken on a life of its own and feels similar but different. I’ve incorporated ideas from American football, most especially the draft, which means your team will be a mishmash of players from a mix of fantasy races. As you play through matches you’ll have to retire players due to injury, while others will become invaluable star players.

It’s a good laugh and I hope you enjoy playing it. Let me know how you get on!

By the way, I’m just under 2 weeks off my last day at the office job. It’s been a very long wait. I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into some more great designs and I hope to share some new stuff with you very soon.

Yours

Josh

Exciting news for Black Armada games

Hello folks!

We are excited to let you know that I (Josh) have handed in my notice at my day job and from April will be working on Black Armada full time.

This will mean an increase in what we can do across the whole spectrum of our business, from big projects like Lovecraftesque second edition, through the smaller games and designer diaries we produce through this Patreon, to our blog and podcast. It promises to be a new beginning for Black Armada and I’m really looking forward to getting started on it.

I hope and expect that this will mean the Patreon moving to a more regular flow of content. We’ve been forced to slow the games we release here to a trickle lately, but once I’ve got the bit between my teeth you should start to see us returning to the monthly release pattern that we had before the pandemic. Watch this space!

I cannot wait to get started.

Yours excitedly,

Josh

January game – Desperate Measures (for Last Fleet)

Desperate measures was our January Patreon release. It will appear on our itch store soon.

Hey folks

Last year was a funny old year. This patreon has been a bit quiet as we struggle through the late stage of the pandemic. But as we move into 2023, we have big plans afoot for Black Armada and we’re really looking forward to sharing them with you very soon.

In the meantime, I am delighted to share with you a new mini-supplement for Last Fleet. Desperate Measures combines a quick-play scenario that I’ve written with convention play in mind – but which would be suitable for any situation where you want to jump into a tense situation and tell a complete story in one session. It comes with a pack of planets, ships and other bits that you can drop into your campaign.

Hope you enjoy them!

Josh

October game: Imposters

[Imposters was October’s Patreon game. It has now been taken down but you will be able to find it soon on the Black Armada itch store.]

A few months back, I was thinking about imposter syndrome and how many of us experience the feeling that we don’t really belong where we are, and that thought sparked a game. In Imposters, you really don’t belong: you’re secretly a robot, a ghost, a vampire or a time traveller. The world around you doesn’t make sense and constantly trips you up.

Imposters is about that experience of a world that isn’t made for you, the ways in which the human world doesn’t really make all that much sense, and the ways in which you can support each other through it. It has a vibe similar to What We Do In The Shadows, Being Human, Ghosts and (for those with long memories) Third Rock From The Sun. You can play it as a straight drama or with more of a sitcom feel, or perhaps blend the two together.

It’s a lovely little game, juxtaposing farce and pathos, and I hope you enjoy playing it.