How to cook Fastapasta

The above shot shows the Battle of Fastapasta at the end of turn one. I used the embryonic "Thirst of War and Blood" to fight the battle. Over the last couple of weeks these rules, in their tabular form, have received much attention and 'on paper play-testing'. They are still not right, but they are certainly getting there. 

In the very first initiative the French turn a march card. On the far side of the field the French command, including the Swiss pike, rolls more and triple - three moves! The Swiss have a D12 combat die and, moving their combat die in inches, advance 36" in a single bound. This is a game of decision; as in real war, once the enemy starts to move it is often too late to transmit orders to intervene - which is often far too easy in most war games, where things are signposted by movement rates that are far too short. 

What is more, they have rolled even so can initiate a melee versus the Landsknecht pike square. They win the first round. The Landsknechts only save themselves from rout by expending a morale chip to invoke stubborn status - they have lost less unit integrity (UI) than the total number of rear rank stands - to convert a rout into a push back.

Almost immediately the French turn a melee card, on a won 'lull card' roll where the initiative can be stolen, and must resolve the ongoing melee. This time the advance of the Swiss is slowed - a hard fought melee, the Swiss still have the advantage but the sheer weight of the Landsknecht pike square is beginning to tell.

The Swiss storm the earthworks (below) rolling over the artillery and into contact with the Landsknechts. This will prove to be important later....

The French turn an officer check card and rally back their losses. (I've used some nice contemporary portraits on the leadership quality markers - this one is Alfonso of Ferrara).

In the next round of melee a draw is obtained - more UI losses but no advantage to either side.

Then the Imperialists turn "Four horsemen"; a characterisation card. It gives four extra impetus points to turn cards! It enables the Imperials to position themselves against the French attack which looks like it is about to become general.

The battle between the Swiss and Landsknechts continues on every melee card that is turned. The fight turns dramatically in the Landsknechts favour, but they are unable to take full advantage because they are pinned by the other Swiss pike square.

On the other side of the field the advance of the French Landsknechts and Picard pike is slowed dramatically by well timed artillery fire. Both squares are vexed and move at half speed.

 Then the turn ends on an equal roll, in this case double ones.

Below are some shots of the field at 'turn end'. They show that much more went on in the turn (of 17 impetus each) than is pictured in detail above.

The Fight between Landsknechts and Swiss.
The Imperialists rush their Papal allies to guard the rear of the camp. 
The Imperial camp under attack.
Here they come!

I'm fighting this one solo. I aim to get in several more turns over the next few days. I'll try and do a similar report for all.

Hero Tower Defense Thursday: Day 19 - Happy Holidays! HTD Pre-Alpha v0.001 Release!

Go here to read Day 18 of Hero Tower Defense Thursday.

First off, Happy Holidays everyone! We'll all be taking a short break while we enjoy the holidays but we might jump in every now and then to answers comments and such. I hope you all have a good time during the next several days and get lots of cool stuff!

Speaking of getting cool stuff, we here at Sam & Dan Games would like to give you guys a small gift of our own; the first release of HTD! Yay! Now you may have noticed the title "Pre-Alpha v0.001." This is pretty accurate. In other words this is like the very beginnings of HTD's physical form. For those of you who haven't been following the HTD's posts you might play this be wonder where the rest is. We've done a lot of stuff but as with most big projects the inital stage of development takes a lot of time in order to build the foundation and set things up for everything else to follow. You guys have been very helpful in that process with giving us feedback and we plan to continue asking for it every step of the way. This early release being one of those steps.

This version is basically just a demo survival map with some basic, core functions of the game. You have to protect the character with no armor (we don't have armor done for them yet :P) for as long as you can. Eventually you'll get overrun but it's a good testing ground for trying things out as we continue to add stuff. There are no profiles, leveling up, choosing skills, or manually triggering skills but they'll be coming soon.

While there isn't much there right now, this is our starting point, and from now on we'll be releasing updates for HTD as often as we can. There's a lot to come and we'll be asking the community for ideas and suggestions on a regular basis. Everything from quest ideas to weapon concepts to level designs. We have plenty of our own ideas but it's not like we can think of everything and having you guys help out is a great resource. Kevin's blog, KXN @ HTD is one way you can voice your opinion on such things. He puts up art related polls and asks for feedback on stuff he's currently working on as well as answers questions you guys might have for him.

So play around with this early release, see what you think, and let us hear your feedback in the comments! Have fun and Happy Holidays!


Hey guys! It's been a long time coming but we are finally at the release for Hero Tower Defense! I'm pretty much going to repeat most of what Dan said! The game is really early, but I hope you guys can see what is there and use your imagination to see where the game is going to go. Some small things that aren't mentioned is that you can use the arrow keys to move the map and the "-" and "+" to zoom in and out. I wanted to thank Kevin (our artist) for doing such a great job! Thanks pal! I also want to thank Dan for answering all the SnD Coin emails and for taking over the design of HTD! ;P My family and girlfriend (they probably won't read this) but I thank them for all the support, letting me spend all this time on the computer! Lastly I want to thank you guys for such a great year, I say this a lot but I always mean it that without you guys we wouldn't be here right now releasing this game. I hope you guys have a good Christmas and New Years. See you guys in 2012!
As always let us know what you think!

The Battle of Fastapasta - Deployments

Having fought a battle on similar terrain over the last two weeks, Peter and I liked it so much we decided to use it again but on a larger table with more room behind the Imperial camp. The scenario is quite simple, the French and Venetian force must destroy the forces of the HRE and the Pope by attacking them in their well situated camp.

The Battle of Fastapasta will be fought next Wednesday night.

French Deployment

Much of the main French Venetian force in front of the camp is pictured here.

Pike: 180 figs
Shot and crossbow: 72 figs
Gendarmes and other heavy cavalry: 32 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs
Guns: 3 models and crew

To the left of the troops pictured above, Gascon crossbowmen are advancing through the woods toward the priory.

I've decided to do infantry skirmishers 3 to a stand (60mm frontage x 45mm deep). I'm not going to penalise skirmish fire when formed up 'deep' as they represent troops moving about (front to back and vice versa) to shoot and reload, but their depth will make them a better target - Dn1 for skirmish, Up1 for being deep.

Venetian Stradiots. Poorly situated behind the bulk of the Venetian force. Fully based, I like my depiction of 'cavalry skirmish' on extra depth bases even more.
Venetian pike and shot at the crest of the long ridge.
French Landsknechts - bloody traitors!

The French flanking force. A very powerful force including Swiss pike and Medici's Black Bands.

Swiss pike: 108 figs
Shot: 32 figs
Gendarmes: 16 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs

Imperial Deployment

The main Imperial camp. The bulk of the Imperial and Papal forces are here.
Coronelas: 144 figs 
Papal infantry: 92 figs
Heavy cavalry: 16 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs
Guns: 2 models plus crew
Brigaded coronela, Papal crossbows and artillery man the defences.
Romagnol pikemen in red slashed white stand ready to support.

In the background (on the road) a Spanish officer takes his dog for a stroll before the commencement of battle.
The priory is manned by Spanish veterans - woe betide any attackers here!
Spanish and Papal cavalry stand in reserve to plug any breaches.
The outpost. Guarding, what was thought to be, the only bridge over the major river to the rear of the camp this contingent has been surprised to see the French - the French must have put a pontoon across the river somewhere downstream.

Landsknecht pikemen: 90
Italian shot: 12
Heavy cavalry: 8
Genitors: 16
Guns: 1 model plus crew

Imperial banners - my own personal favourites; it's the eagles.
 The Imperial artillery emplaced outside the village.

Actually, it is a shot of my newest building; which I you like too.

Hopefully, with spare time between now and next Wednesday and having purchased two new bottles of brown acrylic ink today, I might manage to finish the basing before we start playing. I'll post some shots and a report on how the rules are coming on.

Pokemon Tower Defense: v5.3.1 release! Hero Tower Defense week! Taking a break!

Want to get the legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using SnD coins! Purchase some SnD coins and get Ninja-ja bonus items free! Click here for more info.

Visit the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon, get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items and change your avatar! 

What's new in v5.3.1
  • New Multiplayer Map - Multiplayer gets an upgrade, more paths, more choices.
  • New Achievements - Go back to older gyms and win special shadow pokemon.
  • New Level Cap to 72 - Getting close to 100!
  • New Mystery Gift Elf Avatar! - Thanks Kimmy Lube!
  • New Daily Gift Prizes! - Snd Coins and Shadow pokemon have been added to the prize list!
  • New Game Corner Prizes - Shadow Pokemon have been added to the prize list!
  • New Ability - Added Guts to the game, more will come in future updates.
  • Shadow Pokemon! - Added a shadow pokemon a new kind of rare pokemon to collect, exclusively available in the game corner and daily gift. They earn experience at a lower pace and can learn an exclusive TM Shadow Rush.
Where can I play?
Hey guys! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I'm happy to say that almost everything has been added for this update. The layout will be coming this week along with the new features. Let's talk a little bit about Shadow Pokemon.

Shadow pokemon are meant to be like an anti-shiny. You can't catch them in the wild, you can't buy them with SnD coins and they get less experience per kill. You can get them by completing certain achievements, buying a random one in the game corner or winning one in the daily gift prize. This prevents them from being hackable and it also encourages trading any repeated shadow pokemon with other players. Many have been wondering which pokemon you can get in shadow form. Well pretty much any pokemon that you can get in the game will have a shadow version. This include shadow mew, raikou, entei, suicune, and victini! Also every shadow pokemon has the same chance of showing up. Many of you have asked for me to add new moves and different mechanics from the pokemon video games that came out with shadow pokemon but that was never my intent. These shadow pokemon are just special, they don't need to be cleansed... on this game... Also these pokemon retain their type and they have STAB with their original type. Their only shadow move "Shadow Rush" has the advantage of hitting every type as normal effectiveness.

Other than that this week is going to be about getting Hero Tower Defense out! Because of this my weekly progress will be about different things in HTD. So expect HTD to come out before the 25th and then the week after that I will be taking a break to just spend time with loved ones in bringing in the New Year.

I'll be fleshing out this list as the week goes on.

New Pokemon Center Layout and Features (70%)
Trading my pokemon from my account samO (100%)
Adding a new pokemon for trade (100%) - Shadow Victini!
Finish the first HTD version (100%)

I hope you guys are enjoying your holiday break and as always let me know what you think and thanks for sticking by us!

Hero Tower Defense Thursday: Day 18 - Native Skills

Go here to read Day 17 of Hero Tower Defense Thursday.

Today I want to go over Native Skills (NS). I apologize in advance for all the abbreviations I'm about to use. :)

So what are NS? NS are skills that you start with and require no points. Each character will have one Native Elemental Skill (NES) and one Native Class Skill (NCS). There are 5 different NES, one for each elemental. The NES you end up with is determined by the character's native element. They are kind of like a racial traits but instead of being based on the character's race they are based on the character's native element instead. The NCS on the other hand is the same for every character. You'll see why in a moment.

All NES are ranged direct damage skills, there's no projectile and not based on your weapon, it just instantly hits. They all have a some sort of duration based effect (e.g. DoT, Buff, etc) and are stackable up to 5 times, each time increasing it's effects and renewing the duration. It's also worth noting that these skills can be used on allies as well. Also, NES are unique in that they are able to generate elemental charges around your character. These charges can be used various ways which I'll explain later.

Here's a list of the NES and how they are currently set up:

Fire: Sets your target on fire causing it to take continuous damage and increasing it's Fire Attunement

Water: Douses your target with water causing it to be continuously healed and increasing it's Water Attunement

Nature: Binds your target with nature causing it to be immobile for a moment then continuously healed as well as increasing it's Nature Attunement

Light: Empowers your target with light increasing it's Physical and Magical Power as well as increasing it's Light Attunement

Shadow: Inflicts your target with shadow decreasing it's Physical and Magical Defense as well as increasing it's Shadow Attunement

As a reminder, attunements are a unit's resistance and effectiveness with each elemental's skills.

Now for the charges. For every NES use that character will receive a charge of that elemental type. So since the NES is linked to your native element it means that characater can only produce that type of charge. Every character can hold up to 5 charges each charge increases the characters attunement corresponding to the type of charge. So if it's a fire charge, it'll increase your fire attunement, etc. The charges are consumed by Finisher skills (FS). These skills require at least one charge but will consume whatever charges you currently have stored. Each charge will increase the FS power to varying degrees depending on the type of the FS and the type of the charges consumed. So for example, if you have 5 fire charges and you use a fire FS it's power will be boosted a lot. If you have 5 water charges and you use a fire FS you won't get much of a boost at all because water counters fire.

There's one FS with the exception to this rule and that's the NCS all classes start out with that I mentioned earlier. The NCS is a FS that lets you transfer whatever charges you have available to another unit. So now you can have a character with one native element holding the charges of another element, it just requires some team work. This also means that you can have a mix of charge types on a character since you can hold up to 5 charges.

This brings up one other point. Say you do a charge transfer and the receiving target goes over the limit of charges they can hold, or perhaps they already are full and you transfer for to them, what happens? Well, first it will check to see if there's any charge spots available and fill those then whatever are left will do a type check against the other elemental charges and either replace them or get countered. Here's a couple simple examples:

1. You transfer 5 water charges to a character with 5 fire charges - all the fire charges get replaced by the water charges. So the target ends up with all water charges.

2. You transfer 5 water charges to a character with 2 fire charges and 2 shadow charges - one water charge gets added, the two fire charges are replaced by two water charges while the 2 shadow charges remain because shadow counters water. So the target ends up with 3 water charges and 2 shadow charges.

I sounds more complicated than it actually is but these NS are meant to be important and used strategically and not just as a "Click skill, do damage" type of move. At the very beginning you'll be using them constantly just because you won't have many other moves to choose from but their importance will remain high throughout the game. This also allows for some interesting stuff to do with strategies for general attacks, boss encounters, level objectives, etc so expect to see some fun things going on in the future.

Well that was a bit long but fun to write! On a side note we're all working hard to have as much ready for the upcoming release as possible. However, I've said it before and I'll say it again just to keep everyone on the same page. This release is basically a prototype of what we have physically developed so far. Design and concept is the majority of what we've been doing so far and so we've only just begun to start physically developing the game into something. But we promised to give you guys something as soon as possible and we want to hear your feedback every step of the way so we're showing you what's essentially a just-started, pre-alpha, v0.0001, right-out-of-the-gates release. So just keep that in mind please. :D

Kevin also has a new poll up on his
blog, KXN @ HTD for choosing Male Hairstyles so head over there and be sure to cast your vote!

As always, let us hear what you have to say in the comments and thanks!


Christchurch Primary - Tablet Project Week 3

Shahina Ismail – 2I

Children used the tablets on Friday to research information on Electricity for their own information books.
The children were very excited and keen to use the tablets; we did have problems with the connectivity of 2 tablets, so we were only able to use four between a group of six. One of the tablets did connect to the Wi-Fi but a message came up saying the connection had timed out.
Children needed step by step guidance on how to operate the devices, and it did take a while to get onto our research part of the lesson. They were unsure of how to get onto Google search and one tablet had the search tab at the top of the screen, this confused the child who was using it as it was a format he had not encountered before.
Using the tablets was a real bonus for our lesson as it enabled children to extend their learning, making the lesson cross curricular, and allowing them to access more information than would have been available to them in class and using book. EAL and SEN children benefitted as they were able to access BBC online science games and develop their understanding in an interactive, visual and fun way, with sustained concentration.
We look forward to using them again!

Thirst of War and Blood - Italian Wars

Peter and I have started to work on a new set of rules for fighting battles set during the Italian Wars period. Last night we started play testing the basics. The rules have a working title: Thirst of War and Blood. The title comes from a satirising of Europe, in 1522, by Erasmus.
  "These are the instruments, you must know, that are still irritating Kings to thirst of War and Blood under the splendid notion of Empire and Glory: and with the same art and industry they inflame the spirits of the Nobility likewise and of the Common People."

The test game I set up uses most troop types and terrain. It is clear that the rules will be quite an easy task to get right as most of the donkey work on basic mechanisms has already been done for the 'Ager' series - melee with pointy sticks doesn't change much over time! It is more a matter of giving the rules a distinctive period feel; which will be harder but rewarding.

Here are some shots of the battle. The troops are on newly sized bases, but the bases are unfinished - thankfully they are not, being dull brown, too stark.

The French are attacking the armed camp of the Spanish and their Papal Allies. The Spanish are rushing reinforcements to the camp.

The Spanish reinforcements arrive just in the nick of time.

The French flanking attack appears - Medici is here!

French pike assault the outer defences and break into the camp before being checked by a newly arrived brigaded coronela.

The battle at the barricades and ditch is in full swing. The French Landslnechts are being held back under muderous fire from artillery and Spanish arquebusier. The battle is in the balance.

Peter and I will finish this battle next week. I hope you like the look of things to come.

Pokemon Tower Defense: v5.2.1 release! Weekly Progress list!

Want to get the legendary dogs? Shiny Mew? or any other shiny pokemon in the game? Adopt them today using SnD coins! Purchase some SnD coins and get Ninja-ja bonus items free! Click here for more info.

Visit the PTD: Pokemon Center - a place to trade pokemon, get your Daily Code, adopt Pokemon, view your items and change your avatar! 

What's new in v5.2.1
  • Story Mode Level - After saving Meowth and defeating Sabrina you must now train against your past opponents. Can you get past them?
  • New Pokemon to capture
  • New Moves (12)
  • New Achievements
  • New Mystery Gift Delibird Avatar!
  • New Pokemon up for trade on my account samO
  • Added new moves into pokemon center move list
  • Fixed abilities text being messed up when you pause the game
  • It is no longer possible to have space or special characters in the avatar chat room
  • It is no longer possible to have 2 people with the same name in the avatar chat room
  • The chat will no longer scroll automatically if you have scrolled up to read something, if you are scrolled all the way down the chat will still scroll automatically
  • Making multiplayer point to the PlayTowerDefense Website
  • Creating a new database to hold user data, the current ones are getting filled
Where can I play?
Hey guys, nice to see you again! Do you come here often? Anyways.. enough small talk, let's get straight to the action! I've received a lot of good feedback for the new level and new achievement, so I'm glad you guys enjoyed that. The closer we get to New Years and Christmas the harder it is to complete updates. So many presents to buy, so many games to play, and events to go to! But don't worry here at Sam and Dan Games we won't let you down, even if things come out a little late, they will arrive!

This week we will be doing a new multiplayer map that will replace the old one. Because let's be honest the old one is LAME! So I hope you guys will enjoy it. Along with that will come the new layout for the Pokemon Center that I think a lot of you will enjoy, it's been a long time coming but thanks to Velocity, we have it ready to go and should be up this week. Along with the new layout we will have new improvements, using magical technologies like AJAX (Google it, if you are curious), you will be able to see what the user requested for his trade without having to leave the search results page. On top of that I will adding other features that have been asked for a lot during our time here.

ON TOP OF THAT! We will have new daily gift prizes, new game corner prizes, new abilities, new achievements and new level cap!

New Multiplayer map (100%)
  • Level Layout (100%)
  • Pokemon Team Defense (100%)
  • Pokemon Team Offense (100%)
  • Implementing new changes in server code (100%)
New Mystery Gift Avatar (100%) - For Monday!
New Pokemon Center Layout (50%)
  • Layout and Graphics (100%)
  • Implement PHP (0%)
New Pokemon Center Features (75%)
  •  Layout and Graphics (100%)
  • Implement PHP (50%)
New Daily Gift Prizes (100%)
  • 1 SnD Coin implemented (100%)
  • Random Non-Evolved Shadow Pokemon (100%)
New Game Corner Prizes (100%)
  • Random Non-Evolved Shadow Pokemon (100%)
New Achievements (100%)
  • Implement in game (100%)
  • Implement in server (100%)
New Abilities (100%)
  • Ability Guts - Boosts Attack if there is a status problem. 
    • Implement Ability in game (100%)
    • Add to Rattata, Raticate, Machop, Machoke, Machamp (100%)
Level cap to 72 (100%) - New Chapter means more level caps!
  • Implement in Game (100%)
  • Implement in Pokemon Center (100%)
  • Implement in Save Code (100%)
TM (100%)
  • Shadow Rush (100%) - Only usable by Shadow pokemon. 55 Attack Power, 18 Cooldown, Shadow Type. (Normal effectiveness against all types.)
  • Adding Move Names to the Pokemon Center Move List (100%)
Shadow Pokemon (100%)
  • Implement in Pokemon Center (100%)
    •  Display Shadow with a dark purple background (100%)
    • Allowing trainers to request and search for Shadow Pokemon (100%)
  • Implement in Game (100%)
    • Programming (100%)
    • Graphics (100%)
Change Seaking's attack in Route 12 from Soak to Aqua Ring to prevent flying pokemon from being able to go in the flying only spots (100%) 
Added the Ability Keen Eye to Hitmonchan (100%) 
Fix issue with Shadow pokemon showing up as shiny when learning a new move or evolving (100%) - Thanks everybody that let me know :)
Lowering the amount of energy the attacker gets in the multiplayer map (100%)
    PTD First look is below! Check it out!

    That's what we have for now, let me know what you think and keep coming back to see our progress and PTD First Look by Graphic Force. Thanks!

    Becontree iPads project - week 5 and 6

    In the last two weeks we have used the iPads for both starter activities and as extention activities for early finishers.

    In Maths the children used the app Super 7HD, a game which sounds easy but gets challenging fairly quickly. The aim is to make 7 by drawing a line between numbers. Some of these numbers are negative and the numbers are constantly moving. You have to avoid collisions between numbers that would take you over 7, or it is 'Game Over'.

    The children enjoyed the app. It exercised their mental maths skills and gave them an added time pressure. They also had their hand/eye coordination tested in trying to be accurate when tracing lines between numbers.

    In English we used Bubble Spell as an extension for quick finishers. This is a lovely app with a gorgeous under water theme, perfect for our year 2 children. There are three difficulty levels and I used the easy level with my lowest attainers.

    They are presented with a word and a visual representation of the word. The word then disappears but the visual cue stays on screen. They are then presented with a number of bubbles containing letters and they must select the correct letters in the right order to spell the word. The bubbles move, so the children have to search for the letters and you can change the time allowed to get a word up to 59 seconds.

    The children worked in pairs on this and it kept them very focussed. My only criticism of this app is that it would be beneficial if the word stayed on screen slightly longer than the couple of seconds that it currently displays. However, tapping the visual cue does show the word again.

    Following our work with the iPads, our EAL coordinator is considering purchasing an iPad to use with our EAL children.

    Hero Tower Defense Thursday: Day 17 - Community Request: Game Mechanic

    Go here to read the Day 16 of Hero Tower Defense Thursday.

    So for this post I'm going to take a small break from posting a game progress update in order to ask you guys a question.

    We definitely have a lot of ideas for HTD and you guys have given us a lot of help with those ideas. You've also given us some great new ideas as well. This is all very helpful to us and even though the first version of the game will basically be at the prototype, pre-alpha, v0.01 stage in development we look forward to hearing your feedback on that as well. This will just help us a lot because you'll be able to get your hands on it and tell us what you like or dislike right from the beginning while the game is still wide open for changes.

    This is all to say that your comments, suggestions, ideas, and feedback in general is very useful to us. In a past post I asked what game references you guys might like to see in the game and I found those suggestions to be quite helpful and ended up with a large list of good suggestions. So I wanted to call upon our fans again and ask you guys to think of some game mechanics that either you've thought of yourself or you've seen elsewhere and then pick one that you'd really like to see in HTD. For example, something like siege weapons that you can build and place like towers or maybe housing for your characters, etc. Just try to limit it to one suggestion though because I know a lot of you have a bunch of ideas but give me the one game mechanic you want the most. Also try to think about how it'll work in HTD's TD/RPG gameplay. It's ok if it's already been mentioned before because nothing is 100% at this point and things can always change. Plus, if lots of people want the same thing then this will let us know.

    So let us hear your suggestion/idea for your most wanted game mechanic in the comments. I look forward to reading your responses! Also, Kevin has a new poll up on his blog, KXN @ HTD for choosing Male Hairstyles so head over there and cast your vote!


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