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CloseFriend
Aug 21, 2002

Un malheur ne vient jamais seul.


So I've had this project bouncing around in my head for a while. I want to make a wargame set in 20s-30s Chicago. Think Risk/Civilization/SmallWorld with hooch and Tommy guns and fedoras. I've taken a look at board games with similar concepts—namely Gangster and Family Business—but unlike those I want to emphasize combat, since why else do people play boardgames other than to brutally murder their friends by proxy?

Anyway, my design has run into one important hurdle: I know an estimated total of gently caress-all about guns.

So you gun nuts come in right about here. I'd like to get some help modeling this in a way that makes it fun and fast-paced without a total dearth of realism. I don't want absolute, slavish realism, but I want the game to make sense to people who've handled real guns before. (I know I might've gotten more interest posting this in Trad Games, but at this stage my issues have more to do with verisimilitude than game design.) Just so you don't think I've pulled everything out of my rear end, I've already done extensive Googling and Wikipedia'ing and just a few hours ago I finished Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights by Jim Cirillo.

To keep it simple, I decided for now to narrow down the available weapons to one of each type…

  • M1911A for a pistol.
  • Single Action Army for a revolver. (Maybe a Colt Official Police in addition/instead?)
  • A Tommy gun, of course.
  • Winchester Model 1897 for a shotgun.
  • Winchester Model 1897 for a rifle.
  • Miscellaneous weapons like a Federal Gas Riot Gun, Mk 2 grenades, knives, lead pipes, billy clubs, etc.

For available ammo, I then have: .45 ACP; Colt .45; 12 gauge; .32-20 Winchester. (I didn't see a huge benefit to having a bunch of different calibers.) For the .45s, I'll have two options: FMJ or JHP. Each FMJ will have a chance of going through the target and/or ricocheting. JHPs will do more damage.

The way I have it set up, the game will play like this…

The game will feature several characters with varying proficiencies and stats. Some will have high hit points, some will excel at melee fighting or stabbing, some will handle a shotgun really well but suck at handguns, and so forth.

On each turn, each character has an action. Different actions have different speeds. From fastest to slowest, I currently have: punches, melee weapons, revolvers, pistols, shotguns, rifles, submachine guns, and throwing a grenade. Characters will also have the ability to hide behind different objects: cars, crates, barrels, brick walls, etc.

In keeping with Cirillo's emphasis on cover, concealment, and distance, I plan make those three of the biggest factors in accuracy. Characters will have the ability to stand 1-6 spaces apart. 1 space translates to melee range while 6 spaces translates to a distance of at least 50 yards.

Characters will "fire" by rolling 12-sided dice. To hit, the die must read a certain number or lower. This die roll will decrease by 1 for each space between shooter and target (handgun accuracy will drop to almost nothing at a distance of 50 yards). Each die corresponds to roughly (very roughly) 1 bullet/pellet.

So for a well-trained, seasoned shooter at, say, 10 yards, I came up with this…

Revolver/Pistol
Number of Dice: 4
Maximum Roll Needed to Hit: 10
Damage Per Hit: 3 for FMJ; 4 for JHP
Expected Damage Per Turn: 10 for FMJ; 13⅓ for JHP
* Revolvers take longer to reload, but pistols have a chance of jamming that increases for characters who don't do well with them.

Submachine Gun
Number of Dice: 8
Maximum Roll Needed to Hit: 6
Damage Per Hit: 3 for FMJ; 4 for JHP
Expected Damage Per Turn: 12 for FMJ; 16 for JHP
* The hit probability of ½ may seem low, but it yields the maximum possible standard deviation, making the submachine gun the second most "random" weapon. Due to weight, characters lose 2 spaces of movement whilst holding one.

Shotgun (shot)
Number of Dice: 10
Maximum Roll Needed to Hit: 5
Damage Per Hit: 5
Expected Damage Per Turn: 20.8333…
* Due to weight, characters lose 1 space of movement whilst holding one.

Shotgun (slug)
Number of Dice: 1
Maximum Roll Needed to Hit: 8
Damage Per Hit: 28
Expected Damage Per Turn: 18⅔
* Due to weight, characters lose 1 space of movement whilst holding one.

Rifle
Number of Dice: 2
Maximum Roll Needed to Hit: 11
Damage Per Hit: 3
Expected Damage Per Turn:
* Due to weight, characters lose 2 spaces of movement whilst holding one. Unlike every other weapon, damage per hit increases with space. I figure with more distance, a rifle user has more time to aim for something vital.

To give you a reference point, fistfighting will have an expected damage ranging from 1 (Abe Vigoda's mother) to 11 (Rocky Marciano). Knives will have an expected damage of about 1-2 but with a high chance of other effects like blood loss or disarming. Incidentally, I based damage amounts on muzzle velocity and stopping power, which probably vastly oversimplifies things.

A few miscellaneous questions…
· Does there exist a website where I can find contemporaneous gun prices? I tried using an inflation calculator and some online gun auction sites, but you can probably imagine how that went.
· Would JHPs have had a lot of availability in the 30s Chicago setting? Would cops have had the ability to use them?
· FMJs would have a chance of penetrating certain covers or concealments, like cars or crates or furniture, while JHPs would have virtually none. Does that sound right?
· I'll probably add in a choice of shooting at the head, torso, or pelvis. Shooting at the head would have the lowest probability, but the most damage. Shooting at the pelvis would have medium probability, but it would disable movement and, for FMJs, make ricocheting virtually a non-issue. (I got the idea from a passage in Cirillo's book where he mentions shooting FMJs at a low angle so any ricochet has less of a chance of endangering bystanders.) Does that sound about right?

Anyway, I feel pretty close to having a playable prototype here, but I want to nip any potential problems in the bud, so if you have any comments or suggestions or nitpicks or mistakes you can point out for me, I'd really appreciate it. I just wanna make the most fun game I can, and to do that, I need your knowledge of pain infliction through metal! Thanks!

CloseFriend fucked around with this message at 07:26 on Jul 20, 2014

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Kthulhu5000
Jul 25, 2006

by R. Guyovich


Off hand...

Your weapons could be better. For the '20s to '30s Chicago period, weaponry could be:

Colt M1911 .45 ACP works for a semi-auto pistol. The Luger 9mm and Mauser Broomhandle (in 7.63mm) might also be good to incorporate.

I'd definitely say use the Colt Official Police in .38 Special over the Single Action as a revolver. Though you could also use the Smith and Wesson M1917 revolver (also in .45 ACP, using 3 round "moon clips" to load).

Tommygun is about the only SMG choice for that era, of course, in .45 ACP.

You'd have several shotgun options:

Sawed down side-by-side (12 gauge, 2 shells)
Winchester 1897 pump action (12 gauge, 5 shells)
Browning Auto 5 semi-auto (12 gauge, 3 - 5 shells; go with 5)

Rifles could be:

6mm Lee-Navy bolt-action rifle
Winchester 1894 lever-action (in .30-30 Winchester)
Springfield M1903 or M1917 Enfield bolt-action (in .30-06)
Remington Model 8 semi-auto (in .35 Remington)
Winchester 1910 semi-auto (in .401 Winchester)

You can also include the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (full-auto, holds 20 rounds of .30-06)

For rifles, the M1917 Enfield would be a good choice; post-WWI, they were a commonly available surplus rifle. They also share ammo commonality with the M1918 BAR.

For shotgun ammo, you might want to factor in the difference between 00 buck shot and slugs. A typical 12 gauge shell loaded with 00 buck consists of nine pellets, while a slug is a solid chunk of lead. Just a note that might be relevant.

Prices can be hard to find, but according to the Unofficial Tommy Gun Page, Tommyguns were about $225 apiece in the 1920s - 1930s, with underworld sales up to $1,000 to $2,000. Handguns, rifles, and shotguns would have been comparatively less. Don't worry too much about having it exact.

JHPs weren't terribly common back in that era, at least for handgun cartridges, and the police were pretty much using .38 Special revolvers with FMJ bullets.

The basic theory is that FMJs penetrate more, while JHPs penetrate less.

Fridtjof Nansen
Jun 12, 2013

People find it difficult to resist your persuasive manner.


If you're looking for variety, start with this page: http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Public_Enemies

And then look up other "Gangster-Era" movies and browse what they've used.

IMFDB is sweet and catalogs guns in movies. At the very least it will give you stuff to browse through for ideas.

Quickshanks
Oct 3, 2011

So damned good.

Just put four real loaded handguns in the box and a pair of dice.

CloseFriend
Aug 21, 2002

Un malheur ne vient jamais seul.


Thanks a ton, man! I've already started working this stuff into my designs! I changed the main revolver to a Colt Official Police; I haven't decided whether to throw in other revolvers like a Police Positive or a Webley .38 Mk IV or a S&W Model 10.

Fridtjof Nansen posted:

If you're looking for variety, start with this page: http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Public_Enemies

And then look up other "Gangster-Era" movies and browse what they've used.

IMFDB is sweet and catalogs guns in movies. At the very least it will give you stuff to browse through for ideas.
Thanks! I already used IMFDB (and for that matter, IMCDB) extensively to gather up research materials. I used Dick Tracy, the original Scarface, The Thin Man, The Big Sleep, Angels With Dirty Faces, and a few other noir films I've seen for material. It hadn't occurred to me to use a Michael Mann film, but that makes sense given Mann's punctiliousness with guns in his films.

I actually have a much bigger list than I put here, but I had a ton of revolvers, three pistols (an M1911A1, a Model 1902, and a Model 1903) and one other rifle (a Krag-Jørgensen), so I didn't see a lot of benefit to having a bunch of different weapons when most of the variation happened within one type. But now that I've seen Kthulhu5000's list and all the different weapons listed for Public Enemies, I'll probably make some changes there.

Quickshanks posted:

Just put four real loaded handguns in the box and a pair of dice.
If only I didn't have such a drat hard time rounding up play-testers in the first place…

CloseFriend fucked around with this message at 06:24 on Jul 21, 2014

hangedman
Dec 20, 2003

Fish out of water

My only suggestion from a game design perspective is that random elements in games (video, board, or otherwise) are something I've never enjoyed. To some extent a dice roll is a generally accepted mechanic of most board games, but it seems like you're making some element like, "a rifle headshot that insta-kills a player is a one out of twelve chance," which is close enough to zero to make a player never choose it, and is a fluke of luck that will make the player on the receiving end feel screwed out of a turn/game. Moves or actions that result in failure / stasis rather than progress (in your case, a "miss") don't provide agency to the player. Players that aren't happy aren't going to help you promote your game by telling their friends about it.

Consider this: from the time period you're looking at, most gangs and criminal groups were organized, multi-man operations. What if you designed it without the dice at all? What if 3 spaces or closer was a guaranteed hit with a pistol or shotgun? Etc, etc. Is this purely a one-on-one gunfighting thing?

CloseFriend
Aug 21, 2002

Un malheur ne vient jamais seul.


hangedman posted:

My only suggestion from a game design perspective is that random elements in games (video, board, or otherwise) are something I've never enjoyed. To some extent a dice roll is a generally accepted mechanic of most board games, but it seems like you're making some element like, "a rifle headshot that insta-kills a player is a one out of twelve chance," which is close enough to zero to make a player never choose it, and is a fluke of luck that will make the player on the receiving end feel screwed out of a turn/game. Moves or actions that result in failure / stasis rather than progress (in your case, a "miss") don't provide agency to the player. Players that aren't happy aren't going to help you promote your game by telling their friends about it.

Consider this: from the time period you're looking at, most gangs and criminal groups were organized, multi-man operations. What if you designed it without the dice at all? What if 3 spaces or closer was a guaranteed hit with a pistol or shotgun? Etc, etc. Is this purely a one-on-one gunfighting thing?
That thought had crossed my mind many times. I do math for a living, so I know that board game dice rolls effectively regress to the mean over time. I don't really like dice elements myself for that reason.

With that said, I put that in to give some variety in guns. Since the damage follows the binomial distribution, having different gun types with different levels of risk gives the player more options (e.g. the reliable rifle vs. the risky Tommy gun). I also want the game to feel at least a little like a real-life gunfight would, and gunfights have aleatory elements by their very nature.

But you make a very good point. I'd like to have a Euro-style game with no randomness whatsoever, or something like SmallWorld, where the only randomness occurs incidentally, or something with qualitative random effects so that the mean becomes functionally irrelevant.

Also, to answer your question, I'd like to have gunfights similar in spirit to chess, with each player having several characters in groups that each attenuate over time. Clearly, I've started juggling around a lot of different ideas here. I gotta keep thinking on this.

TopherCStone
Feb 27, 2013

I am very important and deserve your attention


When were Keith style lead semiwadcutter hollowpoints first made available? Those might be realistic for revolver rounds.

How are you playtesting?

infrared35
Jan 12, 2005

border patrol qt


Plaster Town Cop

TopherCStone posted:

When were Keith style lead semiwadcutter hollowpoints first made available? Those might be realistic for revolver rounds.

How are you playtesting?

Keith-style semi-wadcutters would be a possibility, but virtually nobody used them, at least not in police work. Heck, most departments were still using lead round nose well into the 1970s.

mbottoms
Nov 15, 2012

Wouldn't you like to...

infrared35 posted:

Keith-style semi-wadcutters would be a possibility, but virtually nobody used them, at least not in police work. Heck, most departments were still using lead round nose well into the 1970s.

I tried to suppress it...but I'm really bothered by the pistol/revolver categories. A revolver is every bit as much a pistol as a semi-automatic handgun.

hangedman
Dec 20, 2003

Fish out of water

CloseFriend posted:

That thought had crossed my mind many times. I do math for a living, so I know that board game dice rolls effectively regress to the mean over time. I don't really like dice elements myself for that reason.

With that said, I put that in to give some variety in guns. Since the damage follows the binomial distribution, having different gun types with different levels of risk gives the player more options (e.g. the reliable rifle vs. the risky Tommy gun). I also want the game to feel at least a little like a real-life gunfight would, and gunfights have aleatory elements by their very nature.

But you make a very good point. I'd like to have a Euro-style game with no randomness whatsoever, or something like SmallWorld, where the only randomness occurs incidentally, or something with qualitative random effects so that the mean becomes functionally irrelevant.

Also, to answer your question, I'd like to have gunfights similar in spirit to chess, with each player having several characters in groups that each attenuate over time. Clearly, I've started juggling around a lot of different ideas here. I gotta keep thinking on this.

I'd say the differentiating characteristics between the guns could be a little more elegant. A thug with a handgun is going to be a little more mobile/agile than one with a Tommy gun. The number of rounds spent before having to reload is also a factor. Say a pistol holds 8 rounds, a revolver 6, a rifle 3, and a SMG 2 "bursts." Perhaps the rifle isn't usable within 2 movement spaces of another enemy character. I think putting together a "team" then becomes a little more strategic of whether you plan to blitz the other guy or whether you want to post up in cover and take pot shots at them from afar. Or, you could do the X-Com enemy unknown thing and make it so that snipers can't move and fire in a single turn.

To get back around to the gun thing, though, there are a few things I would say:

1. It is certainly possible for an adequately skilled handgun shooter to make hits on a person-sized target out to 75 or even 100 yards. An untrained goon might struggle to get hits beyond 15 yards, if the targets at my shooting range are any indication. Mechanically, most well-made, off-the-shelf handguns will shoot within a 6" circle at 50 yards. Revolvers tend to be a little more accurate thanks to a fixed barrel not having to move back and forth (unlike that of most automatics) and "lock up" just a tiny bit differently each time.

2. JHPs were not really a super-viable thing until the 1970s, at which point the technology began to take root and spread pretty rapidly. Expansion was pretty difficult to get a handle on. Most automatics were designed around "ball" ammo, and unusual bullet shapes typically snagged on something as they made their way into the chamber. If you want a good insight into one guy who really started making the first viable JHPs, google a guy named Lee Jurras.

3. For period-appropriate guns (keeping it in the 1920s, say, I'd say the following are good choices:

Pistol: 1911. Would be by far the most ubiquitous thing at that time. Maybe a Colt 1908 if you want something fancy.

Revolver: S&W Military and Police (functionally and mostly cosmetically identical to the Model 10, but the number changeover came in the 1960s), maybe a Colt Official Police / Police Positive.

Shotgun: Winchester 1897 is a good choice. The Browning Auto-5 if you want to put something else on a card.

Rifle: I like the idea of the Krag. Winchester lever actions (1893) would have been common, but there's a chance that a player might think it as more of a "cowboy gun" and slightly anachronistic. Perhaps a Winchester 1895 might be interesting just because it's a little funkier.

SMG: A Tommy gun is another good choice, however common. There's an ad we float around in the photo thread that shows that Auto Ordinance was trying to sell the Thompson SMG to farmers or just about anyone who wanted one. From 1925 to 1934, machine gun sales weren't regulated. More below on that:
http://www.nfatoys.com/tsmg/web/coltguns.htm

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I'm just going to throw the Remington Model 8 in the mix there. Internal magazine fed semi-automatic rifle that fired what we'd almost call an intermediate cartridge today in some variants. Available in a bunch of different chamberings, though. It wasn't as common as, say, surplussed out Krags but it was very popular with law enforcement during the 20s and was very much on the radar of organized crime. They crop up surprisingly often in those period photos of "Dillinger Gangs Guns" or "Guns found in Bonnie & Clyde Deathcar" etc.

That said, if you're going to do a game you need to embrace it as a game, including a bit of random chance. This isn't going to be a simulator and authenticity should be a far, distant 2nd to an enjoyable experience. Real gun fights are random as hell and the centuries have seen thousands upon thousands of highly skilled and trained elite military operatives felled by some illiterate, untrained peasant who got a lucky shot off. poo poo happens. From the game angle part of playing a game is modifying your strategy on the fly to try and deal with your opponent just rolling 3 natural twenties, or whatever your game's equivalent is.

Cyrano4747 fucked around with this message at 19:17 on Jul 22, 2014

Creamed Cormp
Jan 8, 2011

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


hangedman posted:

My only suggestion from a game design perspective is that random elements in games (video, board, or otherwise) are something I've never enjoyed. To some extent a dice roll is a generally accepted mechanic of most board games, but it seems like you're making some element like, "a rifle headshot that insta-kills a player is a one out of twelve chance," which is close enough to zero to make a player never choose it, and is a fluke of luck that will make the player on the receiving end feel screwed out of a turn/game. Moves or actions that result in failure / stasis rather than progress (in your case, a "miss") don't provide agency to the player. Players that aren't happy aren't going to help you promote your game by telling their friends about it.

I've been making my own "homebrew" game, and since the whole randomness of the genre pissed me off to no end, I ended up making a system in which while the random element is still present, roleplaying well and being smart will compensate for it.
Basically, you need a deck of cards and a bunch of poker chips (about 30-40 per player, I guess). Everytime one of the players does something that is interesting/well roleplayed/says a one-liner before blasting some schmuck in the face, he receives chips (as many as the DM thinks is a good idea).

Everytime there has to be some sort of conflict resolution, the DM picks from 1 to 5 cards (1 being ultra easy stuff, like driving 10mph over the speed limit, to 5, being absolutely ridiculously hard stuff, like shooting something with a smoothbore khyber pass SMLE while hanging upside down from a crashing helicopter) and the player picks one card for free then "buys" extra cards with his chips. Both look at their cards, pick their strongest card, compare with their opponent and highest score wins.

This is pretty much the base of the entire system. Of course, I had to add a shitton of extra rules to make the whole thing work better for shootouts and brawls, but I'm not going to talk about it here, since there's like 4 pages of rules in my WIP rulebook.

However, if I was to make something that would work in the context of prohibition era while also remaining simple, I would "stat" the various weapons along those lines:
- size/weight : let's say a character can carry up to 10 or so points of weight, so along those lines, a handgun would weight 1 or 2 depending on size, same for a knives. Heavier stuff like the Thompson or BAR would weight around 5 or 6 while handier rifles around 4.
- attacks per round : How many time can a player attack with a particular weapon during a round. Rifles would be slow, but submachineguns and handguns would be able to attack more than once per round. An axe won't attack often either while a knife can quickly go stabby stab stab.
- firepower : how much damage a sucessful attack does. Handguns would need several attacks to kill something, while shotguns would pretty much be a one hit kill on any enemy. If you want to add hollowpoints/softpoint round in your game, it could be as easy as adding +x damage to every sucessful attack.
- range. Kinda obvious.
- caliber/magazine capacity. Everytime they attack, remove a shot from the magazine and when the magazine is empty well they need to spend a round reloading. Maybe make SMGs fire bursts of like 5 shots, I guess.
- bonus to hit : add this bonus to your card for an extra chance at beating your enemy.

Then you can also very easily create character sheets. They basically only need to know how much they can carry, what they have in their inventories and how many hitpoints they have left. Bulletproof vest would be simple enough, I guess :
"can stop up to a particular caliber, anything that is weaker than said caliber damages the vest, anything over goes through and damages the target. If an attack succed on the wearer with more than x points of difference, a non armored part of the wearer's anatomy is hit, ignoring the armor".

Well, I guess that covers most of my dumb ideas.

canyoneer
Sep 13, 2005


I only have canyoneyes for you


Cyrano4747 posted:

That said, if you're going to do a game you need to embrace it as a game, including a bit of random chance. This isn't going to be a simulator and authenticity should be a far, distant 2nd to an enjoyable experience. Real gun fights are random as hell and the centuries have seen thousands upon thousands of highly skilled and trained elite military operatives felled by some illiterate, untrained peasant who got a lucky shot off. poo poo happens. From the game angle part of playing a game is modifying your strategy on the fly to try and deal with your opponent just rolling 3 natural twenties, or whatever your game's equivalent is.

Yes.
I play some board games (Settlers, Small World, Bang!) and some video games. It's a common complaint in the Battlefield 4 thread about balance (because BF4 is poorly balanced, but not as much as BF3 was).
"The anti-aircraft gun shoots enormous shells! It should one-shot infantry and punch a 3 foot hole in them, because real life AA guns blah blah blah"
Yes, but that wouldn't make the game very fun. Making the jets have a "realistic" flight model and minimum speed would make them utterly useless in maps of Battlefield scale.

I don't know how the creative process works to develop a game, but when games are best when the mechanics are fun and interesting and happen to fit the theme. They are still good if the game mechanics are fun and interesting and only tangentially related to the theme (Fluxx).

Herr Tog
Jun 18, 2011



Grimey Drawer

I just wanna wish you luck

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Rent-A-Cop
Oct 15, 2004

I posted my food for USPOL Thanksgiving!



I like the idea of having both a Thompson and a BAR in the "machine guns" category. The BAR could offer higher damage and rifle-like penetration at the expense of only having 2/5ths as many shots per reload. Would make an interesting choice for players who want to play the heavy. Shoot from now till judgement day or turn a car into confetti in seconds?

I also wouldn't worry much about "realistic" accuracy since the vast majority of criminals aren't and never have been crack shots. The chances of your average random mook coming anywhere near the actual mechanical accuracy of a handgun are basically nil.

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