29 June 2012

Interview with Robert Faust, writer of Brink of Battle

Another addition to the "Q&A" based interview section.

This time around Robert Faust, writer of the "Brink of Battle" skirmish rules sheds some light on the background of the rules, upcoming projects and gives you an insight into the venture of selfpublished rulebooks by answering 32 questions.




Q: Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in the miniature wargaming hobby?
A: I was born in 1970 and grew up during a time when Star Trek, the original G.I. Joe, and Big Jim’s Wolf Pack were hot items here in the States.  I started playing with those, and of course, Green Army Men, and would set them up in pitched battles against each other, their ‘official bad guy’ action figures or an imaginary foe.  As I got older I started building plastic military models and was always captivated by the small figurines that would sometimes come with a kit. Later I would play with Star Wars figures, Adventure People, and Micronauts. Again, epic battles would ensue!  Seriously though, as I got older I started wanting something more ‘defined’ to simulate my miniature action figure battles.  I even bid on some proper miniature tanks and infantry for some WW2 game I saw at an auction when I was eight.  I lost, and learned that you don’t start with your maximum bid….

I had started getting the itch for Hasegawa’s 1/35 scale WW2 models, and built some of their infantry sets.  Then one day in 1981 a buddy of mine told me about a game he played with his family callede Dungeons & Dragons.  He brought over his poorly painted Grenadier Paladin figure and I was hooked. The real force multiplier for me though was an article I read in my Dad’s April 1982 issue of Popular Mechanics entitled “Fantasy on a tabletop”.  It took everything that I had been working on and playing with and put it all together on the map.  Then I got the old D&D Erol Otus Starter Box that following Christmas and followed by The Traveller Book, and my course was set from there. So I’ve been painting miniatures for about 32 years and have been wargaming/roleplaying with them about 30.  We discovered Warhammer in 1987 around the release of the 3rd edition rulebook.  I think Chas or myself had a copy of Ravening Hordes even.

Q: What's your earliest miniature wargaming related memory?
A:Well, for a ‘proper’ wargame with rules and associated models and such it would have to be Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition.  Back then we had a very limited palette of figures to choose from for that game.  At least in my area we did.  So to make a unit of the same types of troops was hard.  But, after I bought my first Elf blister sheet and added the plastic archers from the first boxed set, I had enough to get by. 

I bought Scarloc’s Wood Elf Archers boxed set soon after and was blown away by Glam the Laughing Warrior.  The entire concept of the Elf Wardancer was brilliant!  Badass acrobats with wild hair and clothes; for me it was the best idea EVER.  Almost 30 years later they are my all time favorite troop type.

Q: Brink of Battle is a rare ”Rule of all rules” type of ruleset, at least for skirmish games, What triggered you to write this kind of rulebook?
A:The short answer is that I was unsatisfied with what was on the market at the time.  Now here comes the long answer: I was a huge Mordheim player and still hold that game dear to my heart despite its mechanical limitations.  The atmosphere of that game is potent and unmistakable. I was also a Flames of War player who kept using German Fallschirmjager like they were Black Templar Space Marines.  I lost a lot.  So, one day as we were playing an Operation Husky campaign that I had written for our club the idea came to me to play a Mordheim styled game with WW2 miniatures instead. 

I did some digging and didn’t find what I was looking for.  Historical systems were either stuck at platoon level or larger, and didn’t have the man-to-man level of skirmish that I was seeking.  I wanted a Dirty Dozen or Kelly’s Heroes type of feel.  I bought several rule sets and was stunned at how they were either too beer & pretzels or they were exercises in new Accounting practices.  I didn’t want either so I wrote my own. About 3 months into development I thought it would be cool if I could use the same rules to do my favorite period, Thirty Years’ War.  Then it dawned on me that since I was writing historical rules, there would be little difference in the men fighting battles other than their training and equipment.  I wasn’t dealing with Orcs and Elves, so human profiles all around were easy to work with.  The only hard part was creating mechanics that accurately represented the various war fighting methods and gear used in different eras of history.

Q: How long have you been working on this ruleset upon release?
A:I started late in the evening of April 20th, 2006.  The book went live March 19th, 2012.  So it’s been a six year part time job.

Q: Were there any existing rules that triggered you to write BoB or add inspiration to what you wanted to achieve?
A:I don’t want to throw anyone’s rules under the Panzer, but there were about 4 rules sets that inspired me to write something closer to what I was looking for.  One set was so poorly written that I couldn’t get past a few pages.  It hit the ebay chopping block not long after.
As for positive inspiration, there were definitely some key conceptual influences that I drew from. I’ve mentioned Mordheim already, and we can add Necromunda to that grouping, though I never did play it.  Traveller was a huge influence on me, despite the fact that it was a RPG.  Traveller had its own atmosphere, and if you looked closely with some imagination handy you could see how it could be used to play any type of game really.  Megatraveller was an even bigger influence, especially with the Interrupts mechanic.  It could get a little wild, but I loved the way it could suddenly alter the tempo of the combat encounter.
Other systems that all had things that inspired some thoughts or another were Heroclix, Twilight Imperium: Armada, Crossfire, DBA, Gladiator by Avalon Hill, and the Vs. system collectible card game.


Q: The rules use D10 dice, what made you choose this particular gaming aid over the ever popular D6?
A: Great question. Initially I kicked around all possible die mechanics except d4’s which I am prejudiced against as a legitimate die.   D6 is a saturated market, and yields too little range of chance for what I was trying to represent.  I fiddled with d8 & d12’s even, but at the end of the day the d10 offered enough distance between extremes to represent the utter chaos of the battlefield, without getting lost in too great a distance, or limited by too little of the same.
I’m very happy with my choice as it really does keep players on their toes when things go all Blair Witch during a combat.

Q: Games like Combat Zone use several different type of dice based upon which type of weapon you are using. Did you consider any other type of dice or are you set on adjusting things with written modifiers?
A: As I mentioned above, I’m really happy with everything working off of a d10 base.  I wanted a streamlined and elegant system that didn’t force players to hop from dice to dice, or table to table, in order to play.

Q:  I think the rules are great and well written – but I did see one complaint and that was the lack of “real” pictures. You do have silhouettes in the examples – but the book is black & white and without any shiny content. What was the reasoning behind this decision?
A: Yeah, we’ve had only one guy grumble about the design that I know of.  Most everyone else I’ve talked to or corresponded with has said that they love that it’s easy on the eyes to read, since I used a 10 font and not 8 or less as with some books.  I’ve also had more compliments on the use of silhouettes and diagrams as they don’t clog the explanation of a game mechanic. They are used to give the reader a subliminal stimulus that this game can be used for any historical conflict. I had a two-fold purpose to the interior design of this game.  First, it’s a Rule book, not a Hobby book.  I think our industry has done a great job of promoting and instructing players on the hobby side of miniatures.  And while I could put together a Hobby book, that wasn’t what I was writing.  Better painters and modelers than I have numerous instructional books and DVDs’ for people who want that kind of information.  At the same time, the customer base of this business is now expectant of all future releases being Hobby books like the ‘norm’.  So, if people are looking for a Hobby book with lots of eye candy, this isn’t for you.

Secondly, since I don’t have a miniatures line to promote or endorse, I needed to stay completely neutral in my presentation.  I didn’t want anyone to say, “Oh Bob Faust used Company X miniatures in the book so I should do the same”.  You might think that wouldn’t happen, but I spent enough time in hobby retail management to know better.  Many people follow along with what is ‘official’ and I didn’t want to establish that for the core rulebook.
The other side to this is that you are paying for a Rule book that gives you 100% value.  No part of what you buy is ‘fluff’ or pretty pictures.  I’ve seen too many Hobby books that people spend a helluva lot more money on than BoB, and the actual Rule content is crap.  Then the FAQ and Errata start piling in.  I wanted to give my customers 100% value.  They get 3 games in one, and when we add more supplements their value increases dramatically compared to other games that have lots of swell photos.

Q: What was the greatest challenge of writing rules that need to be so generic that they can be used for anything and everything?
A:The greatest challenge has been dealing with the term ‘generic’.   I have a pinch of OCD in me that triggers around a need to be original. When I hear BoB described as ‘generic’ I shiver.   Getting people past the ‘generic’ term and on to the ‘flexible’ or ‘versatile’ terms is my best method for coping with this moniker. 

In reality, the hands down hardest part about writing an All Periods system for historicals is avoiding The Argument.  We Historical players can be a temperamental bunch and the last thing I wanted to do was put myself in the middle of the ‘Real History’ debates.  I know my favorite periods well, but I’m not even going to try to tell someone about their favorite period.  It would be a pointless argument.  So instead of ‘telling’ people what the different soldiers in human history are like in a list, I’ve created a dynamic system that allows the players to create those types of troops according to their opinion or research, instead of mine.

Q: Correct me if I’m wrong but the rules are both written and self published by yourself. How difficult is the process of self publishing a set of rules these days (if you don’t mind telling that to those aspiring rule writers out there)?
A: You are correct, Alex, I did write it and self-publish.  Thankfully, by the time I was ready to publish, the Print on Demand industry had established itself for the mainstream.  I’m more of a Kirk than a Spock when it comes to computers and such.  I can fire the phaser and make the Klingon disappear, but I don’t know how to fix the damn thing.  So it was very challenging for me at first.  Add to that the ridiculously frustrating lack of more advanced writing tools like Indesign and it was an uphill battle, barefoot, in the snow, and under enemy fire!
The next book will be done with more user friendly software.  I’m just glad that Alan and Gilbert knew this technobabble stuff.  I’d have been utterly lost without them.

Q: What made you publish the rules by yourself as opposed to looking for an established publisher within the hobby?
A:I didn’t want to put up with any bullshit.  My three Life Heroes are Batman, Captain Kirk, and Ronald Reagan, if that tells you anything about me.    I considered approaching an existing publisher, but knew full well that someone else’s ego was going to need to put its ‘stamp’ on my work.  That wasn’t going to happen.  So I had decided early on that self-publishing was best for me.  True, I wasn’t walking into an established brand or instant marketplace, but I wasn’t passing control over to someone else either.

I have an old issue of Starlog magazine from the 80’s that had an interview with Harlan Ellison where he’s asked to give advice to new writers who are given movie deals for their stories.  It profoundly impacted me as an aspiring game designer.  He said never to let other people take control of your story or script.  Always fight to keep your vision intact.  He said that some Producer would say that the Alien’s shit should be blue instead of green just so he could go home to whomever he sleeps with and say, “I told them the Alien’s shit should be blue instead of green. It made all the difference….”  That’s why I followed this course.

Rules of Brink of Battle

Q: How would you best describe the core idea of playing Brink of Battle? To me it is a generic historical skirmish game which I think is bound to divide players into two camps.  There will be players who can take the rules and make their own stories and scenarios, and players who want a more heavily themed game straight out of the book. What is your selling point if someone asks you about the BoB rules?
A:It’s crunchy enough to chew, but easy enough to swallow.  Brink of Battle is flexible enough to give you the biggest bang for your gaming buck, but also flavorful enough to scratch that itch when it comes to the ‘feel’ of the game in a particular period.
There were three main product objectives when I started out that, according to third party feedback, I have reached.  First is cost.  $30 bucks USD for a system that you can use for ALL of your different miniatures was important because it gives Retailers better access to new gamers who don’t want to commit to a 300 dollar army.  Now a Brick & Mortar store can sell that box of Zulus that have been collecting dust on the shelf because the guy playing BoB only needs 20 of them.  Done deal for the Retailer.

Second was using what you already have on the miniatures shelf.  No ‘official’ company products to push and a game designed for the sake of a solid system, not just to sell miniatures.  That is an important distinction.  In the past three months that BoB has been on the market, I have lost track of the number of times a player has said, “Cool, now I can dust off those models I haven’t used in X number of years and get stuck in.” Or the number of times a retailer has said, “That’s great for those guys that won’t buy a boxed set of plastic Hoplites because they don’t want to start a whole army. Now they can.”  And since figures don’t need to be re-based to play, it’s a win-win for all parties.

And finally, my third objective is player ‘buy in’.  I wanted the player to take the rules as written and be able to re-create any of his favorite conflicts on the table top.  There won’t be a Power Creep in this game because technically speaking, everyone has access to the same stuff that their opponents do.  This will become more apparent with the Fantasy and Sci-Fi books, because there is more leeway than with the ‘facts’ of history.  Being able to build your own force as you see it is one of the key features of this product.

Q: Is there anything players should think about when picking up these rules if they want to recreate a particular conflict? I have gotten a couple of questions about how well the rules would work for “X/Y/Z- war”. I myself think the rules require a different mental approach compared to games that serve you everything. What are your thoughts on this matter?
A: I think of all the reviews that have been done of the book, you said it best, Alex. Brink of Battle is a ‘toolbox for the imagination’.  That’s great, if you have an imagination!  Sadly, there are some in our hobby that are rather challenged in this area; or others who are just plain lazy.  Most players, in my opinion, have plenty of imagination, but not enough free time to use it.  I know that BoB would have been done in under a year had it been my only focus.  This has become apparent by the talk on certain forums about coming up with pre-generated lists for players to use.  Since I like to listen to my audience, I’m going to include some Plug & Play options for those with less time, but only with the declaration that it is a ‘suggestion’ and not ‘official’. The other brain change that takes place is the way the game is played.  It is complex at first, but once you’ve gone through a turn or two, it becomes intuitive.  That’s the key.  Playability with enough crunchy realism to keep you interested.

Being that this game keeps both players constantly involved in the play of it, some people chide against it simply because they have been playing mostly My Turn, Your Turn, also known as IGO UGO types of games.  Now they have to put on a tactical hat and deal with the fact that every, and I mean every, action executed by a player has a hand in changing the tactical landscape of the game.  For some people it takes a few games to get comfortable with the dynamic tension that comes from alternating activation games.

Q: The rules involve both players regardless of what is happening on the table, there are always rolls and counter rolls – even when the player is testing his own troop morale the opponent is involved. What made you write the rules this way?
A: Sheer boredom. I value my free time quite a bit. Nothing chaps my ass more than sitting there watching my opponent pick his teeth and move 120 models across the board, or dither for ten minutes about his next move.  Then I get to sit there while his figures kick the piss out of mine?  And mine do nothing?  Balderdash! Let’s both get stuck in and have a blast!
In my opinion the hardest task for a wargame designer is to accurately reflect the simultaneous activity of a real battlefield.  My method of handling this is the alternating action/activation.  If you have ten models and I have ten models, alternating the actions of one model each opens up the interaction of simultaneous motion. Things can happen between the first activation and the last that fundamentally alter the outcome of the battle.  This is how we create dynamic tension, which is what makes good games fun to play.

Now, I’ve only had one guy say he didn’t like the fact that Rout Checks are also an opposed roll.  As I reminded him, your opponent is only generating a d10 result and adding the number of models you’ve lost so far in the game to create a target number.  That’s it. It’s purely mechanical.  His Dice Mojo has nothing to do with the outcome of your check.  It’s just random number generation.  You then take the Command Rating of your Commander and add that to your d10 roll. You meet or beat the opposing score, you’re good to stay and fight. It doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever to establish a core mechanic and then ditch it for one type of test.  The only impact the enemy had on your check was killing your guys and forcing a check in the first place!   But if someone wants to play it differently, hey, it’s their game now. They can modify it all they want, so long as they don’t blame me if it doesn’t play as well.

Q:The rules also stack die-rolls with unit stats and combat bonuses which at the end of the day include a fair amount of counting. Were you ever afraid it would be too much  information to keep track of and how do you balance things between clever use of modifiers and large amount of numbers?
A: I like things in 3’s.  Three Ratings, Three Phases of a Turn, 3 components of a model (Ratings, Traits, & Gear).  The numbers are in 3’s as well.  So you hit the enemy.  You have three numbers to add: 1. Base Damage of the Weapon; 2. Damage Bonus; 3. Trait bonuses.  That works for Close and Ranged combat.  The important step is to prefigure the Base Damage.  That is, if you have a CON Rating of 5 and a Sword which has a Damage of 2, then you should have added those together beforehand on your Roster as a 7 Base Damage.  For Ranged weapons they just have their base number.  So your base damage is 7, your Damage Bonus was +4, and your weapon has the Vicious Trait adding +2 to any Damage bonus.  You grab a d10 and add 13 to the result.  Not hard for me, and I’m calculator dependent when it comes to math!   It gets easier the more you play. 

Since there are only Bonuses which add, and the only Penalty is to divide your modified number after bonuses in half and round down, I’ve tried to keep it clean and elegant in its execution.
So, to answer your question in full, no, I’ve not been worried about players being swamped with numbers.  It’s like all new intellectual endeavors; they feel wrong and counter intuitive at first, and then your brain lays out some new neural pathways coded for BoB, and you’re fine after that.

Q: Will players see some kind of campaign or scenario editor that matches the custom ability of the character builder of the BoB core rules in the future?
A: Chas and I discussed using Army Builder and such.  That may still happen, though I’ll have to first feed him, then beat him into doing it.  Damnable WebOgres. You really gotta watch ‘em.
Seriously though, a couple of our guys on the Facebook group, Aaron and Leigh, have been working on an Excel spread sheet that will have drop down menus to choose from.
It’s in that department of Time & Knowledge that I presently lack.  In being the sole author on this, I spend most of my time working out the next rule mechanic or such.  I don’t have much time to put those things together.  That’s the great part about having fans of your game; they have brains that you don’t and are usually willing to help out.  I value that immensely.

Q: What I like about the weapon profiles is the ”Sword for all seasons” idea of weapon performance instead of having a separate profile for every single weapon ever made. How did you decide upon this idea and was it hard to make the profiles generic enough but without losing “character”?
A: I have done more research on weapons and weapon systems than anyone I personally know.  It occurred to me that Weapon Categories, or groups, was the best way to handle the incredible variance in weapon types.  I mean, seriously, how many versions of the Sword are there?  Gobs.  I wasn’t about to stick my finger into the hair splitting on weaponry that can happen all too easily when making historical rules based on real battles.

So instead of counting bullets and biscuits, the Sword for all Seasons concept popped into play.  If you have a battle axe, a Falchion, a Scimitar, and a Kopesh, the one thing they have in common is that they are heavy cutting edges that utilize a full swing and are not as balanced for the riposte as would be an English Longsword.  Consequently, they really tear up flesh if they hit areas that are not as well protected by armor.  This is represented with the Damage Bonus and the Vicious Trait.  Vicious adds a +2 bonus to any Damage Bonus you do with that weapon.  The idea is that since Damage Bonus equals ‘how well you hit’ with the weapon, a weapon that hits well and is made for cutting is really going to cut! Having Gear Traits that modify the base Weapon Profile allows me to create a weapon category that will reflect real world use fairly well.  At least well enough for gaming purposes.  Case in point: Using a Flamethrower in BoB is so damn satisfying on a visceral level.  

Q: At the moment we have cavalry rules in the main rulebook. Will we see small vehicles in the future? Granted that the rules are skirmish based and take place on a fairly small playing area but it would be cool to throw in a jetbike,  some crazy interwar vehicle or a modern armored reconnaissance vehicle in the games played.
A:It’s interesting that you used Cavalry and Vehicles in the same paragraph because the Cavalry Hit Location rule is in there because I took it from my notes on Vehicles.  So the answer is yes, there will be a vehicle supplement out next year that will hopefully cover a wide range of mobility options for all periods. Perhaps the hardest part of using vehicles at this level is keeping them proportionately balanced when using so few models.  I want all ‘soft’ skinned vehicles represented, as well as motorcycles, sidecars, some Half-tracks and some light tanks.

I’d love to see some Panzergrenadiers roll up in their 251 and jump out while laying down machine gun fire.  Or see my beloved Fallschirmjagers cruising in on their bikes and sidecars laying down the hurt in southern Italy. The Cavalry Hit Location rules are a lead in to Vehicles, and Vehicles will be a lead in to the Science Fiction supplement.    But we’ll have to wait awhile on both, since the Fantasy book is going to be a monster project!

Q: The rules state that the game is primarily meant for one off games and tournament play. Tell us a little about your ideas for tournaments using these rules?
A: Pick-up, One off, and Tournament games are basically the same thing.  You show up with ‘X’ number of points to your force and I do the same.  Then we play a game and that’s that. No after action report to see who lived and died etc.
At the time, this concept was more appealing to me.  Plus, I was saving the Campaign system for later when I released the Campaigns supplement.  So the idea of two guys using their ‘set piece’ forces seemed to be more viable in a Tournament setting than other arrangements.
I haven’t been to too many big Wargaming Conventions, so I can’t speak to whether or not anyone has done a skirmish game tournament.  But, if not, then we’ll certainly be doing it.  It will be done like a normal Swiss system tournament, with the Setting and Year predetermined by the organizers.
So, for example, let’s say we picked a conflict like the Thirty Years’ War.  We say the Setting is Magdeburg and its environs and we select the year to be 1631 just after Tilly’s men sacked the place.  Players would register with their Forces based on 750 points that we have set as the Supply Point build total.  If they have named their individual models appropriately and they are all painted, then they get the +25 Supply Point Bonus I have included in the rules to reward committed players, and then we’d start the tourney.

Q: The rules also include a campaign system that allows models in one’s force to gain skill, become injured, die or even get captured. The whole “after action” phase is similar to other games featuring campaign rules.  Was the campaign system something you wanted on the outset of the design of the rules or something you felt obliged to add due to the popularity of this feature?
A: As I mentioned above, the Campaign system was going to be added in a later supplement.  My First Born Gaming group in Reno whined and cried for it to be included. So I added it in and now they are happy.  What can I say? I’m a soft touch.

Q: Is it possible that we will see scenario effects such as weather and time of day added to the rules?
A: Yes you will. The Darkness & Bad Weather rules are finished, and were going to be in the main rule book, but due to aforementioned whining by certain parties, unnamed, those rules were pulled to keep the page count and focus more reasonable.
I plan to add the Darkness & Bad Weather rules back in when we do the Spec Ops micro-supplement sometime in the future.  Once the Fantasy stuff is in the bag, maybe we’ll look at that next.

Q: At the moment the rules are pure skirmish, single model activation. Have you considered expanding upon your ideas and making a large battle game with units/squads/formations?
A: Yes I have.  I noted down any and all ideas that sprung into the darkened pit of my mind while writing BoB.  Among those scrivenings are rules for converting and scaling upward for company level games, on the same mechanical chassis as BoB.
Before I embark on that I need to have established a strong sales record with the skirmish rules.  I will also need to have a large community of players demanding it.
Future projects

Q: I think I read something about you working on your own line of miniatures, ”Miniatures by Faust”. Care to tell us about that project and how they relate to the Brink of Battle rules?
A: Hmmmn…not sure where you heard that. I have my miniatures blog Figures by Faust that shows my work over the years, but not a miniatures range of my own.  I have been looking to price some sculpts to offer in a Kickstarter for the Fantasy rules, as I need more technical equipment and scenery to do the full color pretty pictures version of the book.

Q: There are already hints of Fantasy and Sci-fi expansions for BoB. Tell us a little what we can expect from the Fantasy supplement and how that will differ from the core rules?
A: By the time you post this, the Epic Heroes FREE Ashcan supplement should be available on Wargame Vault.  It’s called an Ashcan version because its only 36 pages of rules, with very little fluff, and in a two column format.  The finished book will be much more, have a Hall of Heroes section, a Plug & Play Bestiary that will have generic pre-generated profiles for the common races and monsters of Fantasy milieus, and a kickass Magic chapter that will give you truly innovative magic rules.

You will be able to build your own Monsters, create any type of fantasy Race, have Flying rules, Build your own Magic Items, and also the option to collaborate with your group to build your own fantasy background world, use the Epic Heroes background, or our Historical Fantasy back drop of Dread Europa.  My goal is to fundamentally change the way people play Fantasy Skirmish games.  We’ll see how it goes! One unique feature about the Fantasy book is that it’s Fantasy for All Periods!  Want to play Weird West or Weird War 2?  No problem, it’s in there.  Want to run Cthulhu games?  Its in there.  It will allow you to add Magic & Monsters into your historically based games without trouble.

Q: Following up with the same question on the Sci Fi supplement?
A: You can currently download the Sci-Fi Gear rules from our website at www.brinkofbattle.com  That will allow you to start playing BoB games with your existing Sci-Fi miniatures.  I understand you and a friend had a great time with these using your 40K models.  So, yes, you can play Sci-Fi games today with what is on the website. The actual Sci-Fi book will have rules for new Traits, Gear, Psionics, build your own Space Montsers/Aliens, some vehicles, new scenarios, as well as how to play games in Zero G!  I can’t wait to roll that out.  The Sci-Fi book will expand on the materials presented in the Fantasy book, and will allow you to play Sci-Fantasy games like John Carter of Mars, Gamma World, Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, etc.  Or you could play Traveller, Star Wars, or Star Trek just as easily.

Q: Will the upcoming expansions be released as standalone products and will they be available in both PDF and book form like the main rulebook?
A: All supplements will be released as standalone items.  You will need the main BoB rule book, and can then purchase the supplements you like, without having to sit through other genres you don’t like, or having extra copies of the rules stuck inside.
I plan on having printed copies of everything except micro-supplements.  All products will be available in pdf and since I’ll be going exclusive with Wargame Vault soon, will have bundle deals as well.

Q: Any other projects in the pipeline that you would wish to share with us?
A: I’m investigating, in my copious spare time, the process for doing a Kickstarter for Epic Heroes.  I think I’ll have to give it a month or so for players to get a taste and be viable supporters.
We’re going to start a Fantasy Campaign with world wide access in the next few weeks.  Probably starting in the middle of July and ending at Pacificon Labor Day weekend here in the states with our first official BoB Tournament.  I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop on these items as well.
We still want to do a series of videos that show how to play the game.  I was planning on writing a monthly or weekly article that would focus on one feature of the game.  I want to have a branded line of products like hats, shirts, mouse pads, shot glasses, etc.

A few quick and short questions

Q: What is your favorite period and setting to play with Brink of Battle?
A:Period 2 Thirty Years’ War.  It my favorite period and has such great gaming opportunities at the skirmish level.

Q: Favorite movie?
A:Batman Begins.

Q: Favorite boardgame?
A: Fortress America.

Q: What other miniature wargames do you play?
A: I really like Heroclix.  I also like Twilight Imperium: Armada. Its hands down my favorite Space combat game.  Even though it uses cardboard flats, it plays like a wargame.  I have my Maximilian Landsknechts still for DBA, and don’t really play anything else that isn’t Brink of Battle.  I got out of the Games Workshop line of games after I started writing BoB.  Same story with Flames of War. Not much else has pulled at me.  I just see new miniature lines and think, “That’s sweet.  I could use that in Brink of Battle…”

Last question

Q: Is there anything else you might want to tell the readers out there that have not already been asked or mentioned?
A: I do. The last six years of writing and bringing my game to market has been very much a wonderful learning experience.  I encourage anyone who is thinking about writing their own game to give it a go.  Don’t let anyone discourage you.  When you take your ideas out to the Big Bad World Wide Web, you will get the good with the bad.

I sometimes marvel at the lack of maturity or tact some people exhibit online.  They will tell you your rules suck, yet they won’t proffer any of their own.  But for each one of those types, you’ll find others who have constructive comments, and who genuinely want to see you succeed.

Recognize early on what your target market is.  What type of gamer are you selling to?  Are you focused on the Teen players who are just getting into wargaming?  Or are you selling to the Grognards like me who have been doing this for decades?  My game isn’t for everyone.  I recognize that, and when someone outside my target demographic balks or has a negative comment, I roll on by.  No point in trying to sway them when they weren’t the customer I was looking for in the first place.

Thanks Alex for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts in this format.  You really are an asset to this community, and a friend of Strategic Elite!

Noch Weiter!

Bob Faust


  1. Great interview. I can't wait to see more BoB stuff from Bob soon,

  2. An excellent interview, the rules do sound very interesting???

  3. Thanks guys,

    Ray if you're interested in the game there is a review of the rules and a couple of battle reports about it here on the blog :-)

  4. And once you read the reviews Ray buy them. I bought them based on the review and have had no regrets.

  5. Great interview, very interesting.

  6. Bought 'em. They're great. Trying to get my group interested. Biggest selling point is the small investment of miniatures. Also found that Faust's gaming/life experience mirrors mine, creepily.-J

  7. Maybe we are Grognards that were separated at birth, Baron! :)


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