Aes: Brass Revolution Version 6, “Unit Cohesion,” has been created! This version represents an advance on several fronts, but not in obvious ways. Version 6’s name derives from one of the key pieces of new content – units – and the overall effort to tighten the game’s system.
The first major overhaul was new software: this is the first version assembled using InDesign rather than Page Maker. This presented some interesting challenges, such as with the Table of Contents, which InDesign is much less flexible about. Page Maker’s “check this box to include it” was much better for a TOC overall. Sizing images was also initially tricky.
The biggest improvement is that InDesign handles tables natively! This has allowed us to organize much of the content of the book much more consistently. Now instead of reserving tables for faculties and mods with more than one line, we’ve used it for all. This has given version 6 a nice visual consistency.
Here are the vital stats:
- Pages: 226
- Faculties: 160
- Modifications: 294
- Number of testing sessions before release: 6+
There are only 16 additional pages, the second lowest increase since version 1 became version 2. This is because version 6 focused more on revising what was there more than adding new content. For example, responsive actions have been clarified, as have surprise attacks. Lock picking is now possible.
The new pages were largely from units, locobustions, loot tables for the Invisible Hand, and some new mods for concoctions and range weapons. Balms got a few new mods, making healing potions are now purchasable for explorers. Equalizers also received more mods. Dozens more are written, but time did not allow them to be typed up. Likewise, roughly 40 new faculties have been written, but weren’t typed for this edition.
One thing version 5 had more than any other was testing. There were 3 normal days of testing with the usual players. This testing phase also included two major events: RealmsCon and GamExpo, both 3 days events with multiple game sessions. These two conventions yielded rich and detailed feedback from dozens of participants in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. The testing cycle for version 5 was the most robust to date and revealed a number of cracks and gaps in Aes‘s system – the Metric Steam Engine – that have been patched for version 6. It was this feedback that showed us we needed to solidify what was there rather than focus on content expansion as originally planned.
There are still some new rules that need to be written, such as how fire and floods spread, light sources, and coordinated attacks. These will be added eventually. Now with a better system, content expansion is the right course.
Version 6’s testing cycle began with the Extra Life event on 11/7 and 11/8. It’ll continue until Ikkicon and/or PAX South in January. With a longer cycle (~2 months) than previous versions, this will give time for the creation of new content and its testing. Range weapon mods, haberdashery, and turngears are all priority items. Another item is a short story set in the world of Aes, which has been solicited for an anthology and is due in December.