Thursday, September 13, 2007


Yup. Like I mentioned before, TCH uses a coin-driven system for task resolution. This was one of the first major tentpoles for the system that I came up with, and has been with me for about as long as TCH. I wanted TCH to have its own identity and not be just another super hero game; I wanted my love for comics and gaming to be apparent in its design. I wanted to say WAKE UP! FORGET THE DICE! LETS HAVE FUN! (and I think I have).

I think most indie game designers are trying to make the type of game they would like to play. I am. I’ve played a number of super hero rpgs since I was a kid; some I’ve loved and some I didn’t. TCH was an attempt to create solid rpg rules sans the counter-intuitive boardgame inspired mechanics that I think are pretty pervasive in tabletop gaming. Some have good features, and others fall short at delivering the experience of good ‘ol comic book action. Don’t get me wrong, TCH has rules, and I wouldn’t really call it rules light (its more medium/medium-well), but each mechanic is designed with maintaining the feel of the game and quickness in mind.

You’ll probably see me refer to my attempt to distill the raw verve of early super comics and lace it in the TCH rules a lot in this blog, but honestly, this was the intent here. The funny thing is that throwing coins gets most people curious, and brings them up to the table during my game shop demos. During the play tests, the only downside may be handling thin slippery coins as opposed to big chunky dice, but that hasn’t really hasn’t been mentioned too much. The other inexorable truth is that pennies are cheaper than dice (your mom’s copy of yahtzee wasn’t free, after all).

The system is pretty easy to grasp; the number of coins that are thrown are modified positively by character traits (characteristics, skills, powers, etc.), and negatively by the complexity of the task at hand. Each coin generates one of two results, called checks (good) and strikes (bad), or heads & tails. You need so many checks to succeed; pretty simple. The check/strike dynamic extends to power rules as well, and most abilities have a number of coins listed to determine their effectiveness during a use.

During game development there have been plenty of cool mechanics that have come up, that work real well with the coin driven system. So far, its been a very rewarding project, and I’m genuinely excited to be able to share some of these features before release. Keep checking back; I’ll be revealing more about the thoughts that went into TCH, and hope to have it out on the market soon.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Story So Far...


I started working on TCH about four years ago, and actually had the core rules, art, and layout finished about three years ago; not bad time. But, y'know, life intervenes; and after a ton of the best & most worthwhile distractions a man can ask for, I'm getting back on track with publishing this game.

Here are the basics (most of which is covered on the front page of the blog):

*TCH is hero role-playing set around the golden age of the genre (late 30s to just past WWII). There is less focus on history than the spirit and recurring themes in those early comics. More fiction than science, and more action than drama. The major themes found in the golden age comics are hardwired in to the system, giving it a fun-loving high-spirited feel.

*Task resolution is based on throwing coins, not dice. This is my hook, and my favorite part of the game. The core mechanic is based on a stack of ten pennies (hey-like the title of the game) and goes from there.

*The game mechanics allow for a wide range character of different power levels to play at the same time. Its not uncommon for superhuman powerhouses and nonpowered mystery men to fight side-by-side and both be effective (in their own ways).

*There is a long list of powers; each one customizable to help distinguish one character concept from another. The powers are also seperated into categories which helps focus power selection and character creation.

Though I've conducted several playtests with friends over the years, I've got a new semi-permanent playtest group set up here in Norfolk, VA to test out the rules. About half of the group was recruited at my local game shop and are totally new to me and the game. The rest are old to me; new to the game.

My friend Win is running playtests in Jacksonville, Fl. with a bunch of people I don't know and who don't know me. This is great, because I can't think of anything more important as a designer than the knowledge that my game works without me being involved in it.

So, I'll post more about the game soon: art samples, section samples, playtests reports, etc.

Until then, take care,