Because Gangs of Mega-City One was Dredd I and what we are about to release as a playtest pack in a couple of weeks or so is Dredd III.
Dredd II came about towards the end of last year. We had negotiated the licence to a seriously kickass sci-fi property, and needed a set of 28mm skirmish rules – having prepared this for a long time, we knew the BF Evo system would be tweaked for this game, and that the core system would also be used for the next Dredd game. All clear?
And no, I am not going to say which sci-fi property, as the deal is still open and I fully intend to revisit it sometime in the not so distant future.
We wanted to keep the core of BF Evo, with the things that made it unique – so, the four action system and the reaction system stayed in. We briefly mucked about with the idea of a single action system, as the game we were working on lent itself very well to things creeping about and we thought that effectively slowing down the action might allow more things to happen.
Didn’t work out that way. The reaction system completely broke down and so many staples of the BF Evo system – such as Ready actions to prepare complex weapons before firing – disappeared altogether.
We messed around with the stat line too, something that has been mostly retained in Dredd III, though it is used in a completely different way.
The first change was to affect shooting. One of the hooks of BF Evo was that you got to do things in your opponent’s turn, via the reaction system. This has been noted as a Good Thing, as you don’t need to wander away from the table for half an hour while your opponent takes his turn. We decided to turn that up a notch with Dredd II and instead of having a fixed Taregt and Kill number, we had a single Agility score. You rolled a D6 for a shotting attack, adding your Combat score. Your opponent then rolled a D6 and added his Agility. The latter became your target number for shooting – if you equalled or exceeded your opponent’s total, you hit him.
We had a similar thing with ‘wounding’. You rolled a D6 and added your weapon’s Damage score, while the target rolled a D6 and added his Resilience. He could also add his Armour score if your weapon’s AP score did not exceed that Armour score.
In the end we discarded the latter – you can have too much of a good thing!
The stat line was also changed in that instead of having fixed scores (such as Target 4, say), each score was actually a modifier. So, your Agility could be +1, your Combat score +3. This allowed us to scale the game in a completely different way – instead of ‘topping out’ at 6 (because we use D6’s), we could carry on up the scale as much as we liked to include seriously high-powered weaponry and vehicles with armour inches thick (this was not necessarily a design goal, but it is nice being able to scale vehicles and infantry into the same system, rather than having something completely different).
Close combat had been made simultaeneous as well, with both players rolling a number of dice equal to their Close Combat Dice score, adding a modifier and seeing who got the highest score – the highest got to roll damage. Old hands will realise this is very close to the original Gangs system, and that is no great coincidence. This kind of combat does not really work in a battle level game, but is perfect to provide the needed action in a skirmnish game.
Other than that, the system remained close to BF EVo. Our love of using Traits to ring-fence common special rules was in there, for example, though we had ditched the ‘Fire Zone’ rules. They are not really needed in skirmish level games, and instead we had an Auto X trait that allowed you to stack dice on other targets. Or, concentrate on one target and roll multiple dice against his single Agility roll to really hose him down (something we retained in Dredd III, as you will see, but somewhat altered as it was way too nasty!).
So, that is a brief run down of Dredd II as it stood at the end of last year. Why did we need a Dredd III?
Well, another licence property hoved into view, one that was somewhat different from our usual fare. However, it was apparent that, with some tweaks, the BF Evo system would continue to serve well. It just so happened that the changes forced by the new game could be applied to Dredd to make something even better. Hence, Dredd III!