Prioritizing rules issues

There's a list that I keep on my desk. It's not one piece of paper but a stack of post-it notes that I'm constantly adding to. It's become two piles because now I'm working on development of two games, Heavy Gear Blitz and Jovian Wars. The purpose of these list is to ensure that passing comments by players on the forums and messages to me do not get forgotten along with my own epiphanies and thoughts. There are rules comments and then there are rules observations. Questions about how the rules work and what their purpose is and that's where the concept of priority comes in. 


Giving attention to a rules issue can be just a simple application of time to review the wording of a rule and compare it to the question and answer the question. Sometimes I'll make a note for my lists or update the FAQ. When it's time to play test I'll make notes on a piece of paper of any observations that stand out that I want to review and mull on. Often a rules issue can affect many other rules and parts of game play and that's where it gets complicated. Staying on task for what the focus is can be very difficult. That's what the list is for.


One such issue was in the new Beta Update for the Heavy Gear Blitz. Specifically the Link weapon trait. A simple improvement to the Gunnery skill was seeming to make less and less sense as time went on. Mounting two weapons side by side does not increase accuracy, if anything it reduces it or prevents the firing of one weapon's recoil from affecting the other but increasing accuracy is not a side effect of this. Not in any reading on the subject that I've seen (comments on this welcome!).

The general effect of mounting multiple weapons together is to increase the rate that can target a firing zone. In the beta update I amended the Link Trait to confer the split fire ability (see 10.5) to a weapon or to improve the split fire option of a weapon representing the increased rate of fire that is possible. In a discussion on the forums one of the outcomes has been to distinguish that slapping split fire onto a weapon is pretty redundant if all it does is give it split fire.

The discussion has moved to the idea of letting weapons with Link break a basic rule of split fire where the attacks have to be separated across different targets. Allowing all the attacks to be focused on one target is a very powerful adjustment to the rule and one that should be easy to explain and resolve since it only modifies the targeting rules, it does not add any additional rolls. The discussion on that is ongoing and you, the players, get to help with this. This kind of collaborative approach is exactly what the living rule book was always about. My thanks to everyone who's taken the time to send notes about their experience.

Sometimes an issue like this drags on for a long time and the note never leaves the list, and sometimes the note goes in the file for archiving. Nevertheless the simplicity of keeping a physical list is a huge boon to me in my efforts curating the rules development of Heavy Gear and Jovian Wars. 

To the credit of the community the list of things that need addressing is always getting shorter as more and more issues get resolved. Eventually there will only be one item left on my list: "Review Threat point Values" and "Test!".


I look forward to seeing you all joining in the community and the kick starters that lie just over the horizon.