Progress and play testing

Wow! A long week has finally come to an end and I’m way overdue taking notes on what happened around Bladestorm in the past weeks. First of all: work on the new Rulesbook is proceeding as planned with lots of improvements left and right. The new table of contents has been approved and is just coming into effect as the Basic and Intermediate Game chapters have been updated and finished. Yes!!

One aspect of the Intermediate game – the introduction of partial cover outside and inside buildings – has been toned down a little after review by the play test group. Different modes of partial cover would be too much to track and make game play bulky, so we decided to leave but one general rule for partial cover against missile attacks. Just like all other rules, it is supported by notes and examples to ensure easy adaption into your games.

Play testing has yielded a number of interesting results.

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Picture 1: Five players free for all with 1.500 points for each group. Mayhem!

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Picture 2: Five players (2 vs 3), with two converted high level Rolemaster heroes vs. a point equal in Orcs


The full rules – especially the magic system – were tested in a typical tabletop setup as well as on maps with square tiles. The guys managed to review a slew of game concepts and I am glad that the team has two real power players among their ranks. Test matches have every player assemble one or a group of combatants worth 1.500 TPC (Total Point Cost). This way, we get totally different encounters and styles of play.

First of all, I am happy to say that the game works great in both environments: free movement as well as movement on a 1″ square grid is fluent and fun. However, just as could be expected, some imbalances were discovered regarding the point values in the magic system and the value ranges for race modifiers. All this will be taken care of to ensure better game balance in the finished product.

Next up is the consolidated writing of the Standard Game Rules. And to be honest: I can’t wait to start reviewing the spell lists and implement the great realm of Mentalism!

Until next time!

Celebrate 25 Years / Work Started on 2nd Edition

Great news! A month has passed and we were totally overwhelmed by the download rates that the Bladestorm Quick-Start Rules have been receiving on DriveThruRPG and it’s sister sites. From late August until today Bladestorm and all it’s accompanying material has been downloaded over a thousand times! I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody out there who has been supporting the revival of Bladestorm and been giving rules suggestions and feedback with posts or by silently reading our updates as they appeared on the MX forums and our Facebook page. This is truly a great and unexpected success.

Believe it or not, but Bladestorm is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this October. I just thought it fitting to dig out an old Bladestorm ad as it appeared back in issue #162 of Dragon Magazine in October 1990!

Bladestorm ad 199010
As some of you have noted, the Bladestorm Quick-Start Rules did not introduce any big changes, aside from the fact that they also allowed the game to be played on 1″ square dungeon floor maps and introduced software support for the creation of combatants and units. All the while we collected your inputs and pinned down new ideas during months of playtesting.

So starting today, I am happy to announce that work on the Bladestorm Second Edition has officially begun. For now, we do have a long list of new concepts, updates and additions that you can look out for, discuss and actively influence here on the MX forums. We want Bladestorm to be the great game that it was always meant to be. A simple, yet flexible set of rules that brings your miniatures and heroic quests to life and make people of all ages come together to share an adventure.

The feature list contains the following:

  • separation of mount and rider (previously treated as “one”) (update)
  • allow use of 1″ square tiled floor maps which are quite popular from other games such as Pathfinder/Descent 2nd Ed., etc. The movement rules need to be updated for that. (new)
  • introduce musicians (bards/drummers/horn blowers) similar to spell casters. Players can select from “song-lists” that will have certain effects on those listening. (new)
  • introduce spell lists and spell levels for mentalists (new)
  • introduce rules for war machines such as heavy ballistas, stone throwers, etc. (new)
  • allow players to use partial cover against ranged attacks (new)
  • updated rules for ranged attacks on unaware combatants and combatants engaged in melee combat (update)
  • corrected, expanded and better explained combatant creation for combatants, units and war machines (update)
  • allow combatant development based on experience points that enables combatants to “improve” when surviving battles. Enable “buying” points for experience earned after defeating enemies. (new)
  • rpg character conversion rules from HARP, Pathfinder, Rolemaster FRP / (Unified). (new)
  • introduce character classes with skill trees as an add-on to regular combatant development

As it stands today, this list is of course not final and is up for discussion in the upcoming months. I am looking forward to your suggestions and will gladly help with the setup of your gaming rounds and any questions that might arise.

If you have a great idea that you think would work great for the Second Edition, send me a message via the MX forums or our Facebook page.

Happy Birthday Bladestorm :)

Silent Death Saturdays at Game Kastle!

That’s right! Every Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM I’ll be at Game Kastle in Santa Clara, CA running an open ended pick up game of Silent Death: The Next Millennium! Yesterday a vicious little duel between Colosian and Red Star fighter patrols played out as reported here on our Facebook page:

So if you’re in the vicinity or just have an itch to fly ’til you die, come on down to Game Kastle on Saturdays where you’ll find me waitin’ for fresh mea, er, worthy opponents! Yes, that’s it! Worthy opponents looking to tangle with this old SPAC dawg!




For details and directions to the fabulous game shop that is Game Kastle: Game Kastle

Latest updates: More photos and captions galore added to the Kagetora gallery! New game play photos added to our Facebook page (and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!)! More things in offing soon, so stay tuned to your TBD receivers!

No Time for Pirates!

On several occasions fans of Silent Death: The Next Millennium have reported on the pirated copies of our Core Ship miniatures being sold through various vendors on EBay and elsewhere. We’ve been all too aware of these unauthorized copies of our plastic ship miniatures since the sprues were first put into production so many years ago. The problem for us as a small independent game company in dealing with such pirates is that they are based in a foreign country (The People’s Republic of China) that is notoriously unsympathetic to foreign complaints in their courts concerning the theft of intellectual property to begin with, to say nothing of the sheer expense of engaging legal counsel capable of effectively arguing our cases in a PRC court with any hope of success.

For this reason we’ve been forced to suffer having our revenue affected adversely whenever someone knowingly buys these rip-off copies instead of our plastic or metal figures. We like so many small companies in our hobby are forced to rely upon the good will and loyalty of our customers to do the right thing and not support these IP pirates. It is that simple.

For the record there are only two legitimate sources of our plastic Core Ships, and that is EM4 Miniatures and our own Metal Express online store. Purchasing those plastic sprues does not convey any rights of use of the imagery or the figures themselves save for personal use by the purchaser. They are not without our prior written consent to be duplicated or reproduced in any manner physical, printed, or electronic.

It is that simple, and any claims to the contrary are simply not supported by the facts.

Quick-Start Rules released

Almost 25 years after it’s first release, Bladestorm is receiving a very important update. Today, I am proud to announce the release of the new Quick-Start Rules for MX’ tabletop skirmish game.

First of all, it’s a facelift to say the least. The cover itself is an outlook on the type of artwork which we want to see also with future releases. Crisp, capturing illustrations will meet battle scenery on the inside which is taken from actual tabletop action. As can be expected from a title which is released in 2015, the new release is full color inside and out.

Bladestorm Quick-Start Rules 7601

On the content side, the Bladestorm Quick-Start Rules resemble the Basic Game of the main product. Conventions, dice-rolls and the underlying mechanics are explained in detail. Changes to the Rulesbook include:

  • The ability to also use map sheets with 1 inch square tiles which have become increasingly popular with tabletop roleplaying games.
    This feature will evolve in the upcoming Second Edition release
  • Text rearrangements to the battle example to clearly follow the turn sequence.
  • Introduction of a turn-sequence bar to help keep track of an ongoing skirmish fight

The Quick-Start Rules then offer a more detailed view on scenarios and game balance. For this purpose the concept of Total Point Cost (TPC) is explained. You can then dive into the two scenarios to start your first game. In the first one, you can replay the example fight. The second scenario is offered on the backdrop of the Bladelands known from Shadow World. Here, on the continent of Folenn, soldiers of two warring holds engage into a standoff at the gates of an outpost.

Both scenarios are supported with full featured combatant cards. These cards also mark an advancement over the previous release. After months of play testing, we are happy to offer these streamlined cards as free downloadable templates. Quickly produce stats for your combatants (and units) and store them on your computer for later use.

In the last chapter, the Bladestorm Quick-Start Rules focus on combatant creation. Two ways are lined out which intend to achieve the following:

  • A random (yes, random) method for creation involves a number of dice rolls to create a combatant that is fit to be played under the Basic Game Rules. Games setup under this method are not going to be fair or balanced and might result in some ludicrous fellows.
    However, this method introduces the mechanics of combatant creation, which you can do by paper or with the help of an software tool.
  • The planned method of combatant creation makes use of an Excel based helper tool called the Bladestorm Calculator. It is also offered for download as a free version to support combatants introduced in the basic game.
    The Bladestorm Calculator uses the same basic approach that has been outlined during random combatant creation but instead of dice, it gives you the ability to fine tune every aspect of the combatant or unit you wish to create.

This concludes my little tour of the new Quick-Start Rules. Download, setup and enjoy a test drive of this really cool and fully customizable tabletop game.

Everything you need can be found online at: