Version 5 “Arms Race” by the Numbers

Aes: Brass Revolution Version 5, Arms Race, has now premiered! Here’s how it looks:

  • Pages: 210
  • Faculties: 159
  • Modifications: 281
  • Number of testing sessions before release: 6

With 66 new pages of content, this tops version 4’s 50 page jump over version 3. The development cycle for version 5 was longer than version 4, with double the testing sessions, and the increased time and feedback to create content clearly shows.

This version focused more on rules and mods than faculties. The 7 new faculties since version 4 are all maker faculties. These come from the addition of new gear, including all the weapon types.The large bulk of mod development went into melee weapons, since they didn’t have any. General mods which can be applied to any weapon were also added. Range weapons now only have about a fifth of the mods as melee, so they will be the focus in later versions for development.

Most of the page content is from rules more than anything. The seven main playable kindred have been added. A character creation section is now at the front of the book (with image examples) to help new players. In addition to the gear, there are new status effects, the introduction of postures, a new subtype of modifications, and other expansion of the rules.

One of the most requested features is also in version 5: page numbers and a table of contents! These two basic items were left out of prior versions, mainly due to forgetfulness. Now that they’re present, it will make navigating the book a lot easier.

One of the goals of version 5 was to expand what the game featured so it felt more like a functioning game. The lack of kindred and gear were two of the “flags” that made people see it as incomplete. With them present, Aes feels more like a whole game. There are still elements missing (memories, memberships, etc.), but these are less immediately obvious. The last major missing element is the talents system, which we’re hoping to have ready by version 6.

This will likely be the last version compiled on Page Maker. We’ve finally gotten a copy of InDesign we can use, so we’ll be making the transition over for version 6. That should improve our speed and appearance of the manuscripts, since InDesign can handle formats Page Maker can’t.

Looking ahead, our goal with version 6 will be less in the way of adding new rule and play mechanics and more about expanding on what’s possible already. There are about 30-40 new faculty ideas we have in the wings that will get added in, along with more mods for contraptions, concoctions, and evo control. Autonomy needs to be redone to account for the addition of gear. Haberdashery (armor making) and range weapons will be finished off, as well, to try and put the combat elements of the game fully into testing. The one new thing we want to add is Saboteur, a means of adding negative mods to items. It doesn’t require new rules, but adds a very interesting approach that favors spies and stealth builds.

Version 5’s playtest cycle starts with a bang this weekend: RealmsCon (10/2 – 10/4)! Followed by GamExpo shortly after (10/9 – 10/11). The target is for version 6 to be ready for the next major event on the docket: Extra Life’s 24-hour Game Marathon on November 7th!

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