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Cohorts - a new kid on the block
As a general announcement to the universe, I'm going to be releasing a whole new module-based PBM game system in the very near future. 

The game system and the first module, Veil of Entropy, is in early Alpha Testing right now and will likely stay in Alpha Test for about 3 months.  Once the system is stable enough and has enough content, I'll open it up to the general public for Beta testing.

PBM is not dead - at least I hope not.

Happy Gaming,

That's an awful tiny amount of information you're giving us, Paul. What genre? Play by web or email? What does modular mean? Want to write an article about it? Need play testers?
(09-01-2016, 07:50 PM)ixnay Wrote: That's an awful tiny amount of information you're giving us, Paul. What genre? Play by web or email? What does modular mean? Want to write an article about it? Need play testers?

Yes, I suppose it was.  I'm new to these sort of forums, so I thought keeping my post brief would be a good start.

The genre is fantasy/medieval.  The game world is made up of primarily 4 major types of units:  Characters, Military Units, Agents and Cities.  The name Cohorts comes from the double-play on Cohorts as friends and Cohorts as a size of military unit.

The game is neither web or email.  It's Windows 10 desktop and/or Xbox One based.  All turns are submitted electronically through the game system and processed by the game servers at appropriate intervals.  The current interval choices for a game are On Demand, Twice Weekly and Once Weekly.

Modular means that Cohorts is a game system that can run entirely different game worlds, depending on the module designer's choice as to how the game should be played.  The first module I'm making is called Veil of Entropy.  It's a high-magic world of Gods and Mortals fighting for survival.

I've already submitted an article to Grim Finger for Issue #14 of S&D.  It's not entirely about the game, but the game plays a pretty big role in the article.

Yes, I'm looking for play testers.  As I mentioned, the game is in Alpha Test right now, which means that it's far from complete.  There is enough there though that players can take a starting set of 5 characters and start adventuring around (a subsection) of the world.  Anybody that wants to play should send me an email and I'll add them in.
What makes the game different from all the other games built upon the same basic premise of characters, cities, magic...?

Is there a website? Is this the first game you've designed?
What makes it different? That's an excellent question. What I'm hoping is that I've used a number of familiar things, like characters, cities and magic in a new and unique way.

I suspect that there are significant parts of the game design that people will say, "That's just like how they did it in ...", but hopefully they follow up with "I like that!" Other parts of the game I suspect they'll say "That's new!" and hopefully they'll follow up with "I like that too."

There is no website (yet) for the game. I had one, back when the game was going to be web based, but when I changed platforms the game design changed too and the website was completely misrepresenting the product. I have a wiki (, but it's also out of date at this point. The wiki references the module Veil of Entropy wiki, but it is also incomplete and a bit out of date as well.

I've got Facebook group set up "Cohorts Game System" where I post weekly status reports and upload various screen shots and videos. I mostly use it to solicit feedback on the game's design.

Is this the first game I've designed? Well, I would say yes and no. The game has gone through many iterations over the past 20 years. The current version looks nothing like the original version, but it still shares many of the basic roots. I used to develop games for Coleco, Atari and the Commodore 64 back in the mid 80's, but I'm not sure that they count any more. Smile
Sounds promising. I'll keep an eye on it.
Thanks! I won't say that I'm banking on it being a success, but I'm hopeful. I think that if I can get some positive/constructive feedback over the next few months, the game should hit the ground running. With any luck, I'll also find some talented people to fill in the "holes" where my skills are less than awesome (like graphic/screen design and storytelling).
I'll give you a tiny bit of feedback right now, not having seen anything yet. Make it work on a web site.

I understand the lure of using a stable efficient platform to leverage your best development skills. But you're already cutting off the bulk of your intended audience. I suppose your best angle would be to make it available as a PC game through Steam, but those are generally PC gamers who are looking for the standard PC gaming fix.

Your approach has been used by the folks doing Cluster Wars -- they did it in MS Access, so you have to install their client, which handles data-synchs behind the scenes. But it's not been perfectly seamless -- people have to stay patched with the latest version, there are problems with different computers, and there are some built-in limitations to Access as a platform for interactive interfaces. They are likely sticking with that approach, but you might want to chat with them to see if they have any advice. (I am going to interview them for the next issue of S&D, so maybe just wait for that.)

Speaking for myself, I am reluctant to install applications locally unless there is some reputable company behind it. If you publish as a web app, you skip all these problems. Perhaps more importantly, people will be able to play on their phone.
Ixnay, thank you for the feedback, but developing it as a web app just isn't an option at this point.  

I fully understand your rationale as to why it's better as a web app, but it's just not financially feasible at this point.  The application, as it is, represents about 2 man-years worth of effort.  I can't afford to throw that away to take a new approach at this point.

As to the issue regarding the other application - that won't happen with Cohorts.  Cohorts is designed to run on Windows 10 and Xbox One.  Hardware and operating systems are not an issue (or at least, really shouldn't be).  All Windows Store apps are safe to run on computers.  They run inside a sandbox and it's impossible for the developer to access anything other than the resources inside the sandbox.  For the application to access other resources, the software has to ask permission, the same way that web apps work.


okay, if it's in the sandbox, then I'm up for trying it. Two man-years of effort? Sounds like it will make quite a splash!

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