We just had to upgrade the software that runs this site, which means that a lot of stuff doesn't work anymore, including the downloads section. We'll get everything back to normal as soon as possible (the main Hex site has to be upgraded first, though). In the meantime, you can see the current draft of the playtest rules here. If you have questions or comments, contact us using the link on the right or via the M-Force Facebook page. The core rulebook will be out later this year.
I said last time that hopefully I'd update before another year and a half went by, and what do you know? It's only been 3 months! Best of all, this time around I'm not just posting to give you a bunch of excuses about why M-Force isn't out yet. I'm posting to let you know that there's a new draft of the playtest rules available in the downloads section. There are a few additions and changes to the existing stuff, but the big addition is Chapter 3: Working For M-Force, which provides a lot of detail about what's expected of M-Force agents. Check it out and let us know what you think (either on the forums, via the Contact link, on Facebook, or on the QAGS subreddit).
As you've probably guessed from the fact that we haven't posted here in over a year and a half (and the last one wasn't even M-Force-related) and the fact that 2012 is almost over, the new edition of M-Force is going to be released (quite a bit) later than we originally hoped. Initially, we were shooting for a mid-2012 release date for the core rules PDF. Obviously, that didn't happen.
What slowed us down? In a word, Hobomancer. Hobomancer was originally scheduled to be released in October of 2011, but it kept growing. And growing. And growing some more. In the end, we ended up with a 160-page book that wasn't finished until the end of May 2012. Usually when a book ends up taking six months longer than expected, that's a bad thing. In the case of Hobomancer, it was a very good thing, because all of that time was spent refining the game into exactly what we wanted it to be. So definitely worth the extra time we spent, even if it did delay M-Force 2E by at least a year.
By the time we got Hobomancer out the door, we were right at the beginning of convention season, which cuts into our working time even when we're not trying to recover from a project that ended up being two or three times the expected page count. To make matters worse, we had people moving, having kids, switching jobs, taking on other projects, and all that other "real life" stuff that can really cut into a part-time game company's production schedule.
That's not to say that there hasn't been any work done on M-Force 2E. In fact, if you go to the downloads section, you can find the newest version of the playtest draft. It has more setting information as well as some rules changes and a few other tweaks as well as an expanded Big List of Words.
The main rules change from the previous draft is on the artist formerly known as Competencies, which are now known as Specializations. Originally, Competencies were sort of "super skills" to help differentiate different M-Forcer's specialties. In playtesting, that idea didn't work, leading to characters rolling against targets of 20 or higher way too frequently when Competencies were stacked on top of regular Skills. In the new version, Specialties add to the Success Degree, not the chance of success. So, for example, if a character has a Job Number of 12 and a Specialty of +3, he still rolls against a 12 but adds +3 to the result if the roll succeeds. A roll of 11, for instance, would give him a Success Degree of 14.
In addition to working on a draft of the rules, I also wrote an M-Force novel for National Novel Writing Month. You can read the rough draft here, but be warned that I have not looked over it since finishing at the end of November and I didn't even have time to copy edit the last half of the book (I think Chapter 12 was the last one I've looked over at all). So there will definitely be lots of dumb spelling and grammatical errors, and there's a very good chance that the whole thing is terrible. If you decide to read it, keep in mind that it was written in 30 days and you're not paying for it.
So, do we stand on M-Force? That's hard to say at the moment, since we have several projects in various stages of development right now. I'm personally hoping to keep my writing commitments for most of our current projects to the "contributor" level so I can focus on M-Force, but I'll still be on the hook to help with editing, layout, and of course dealing with the day-to-day business stuff that we have to keep up with. If everything goes smoothly, we'll probably get at least the first few M-Force PDFs released in 2013. But, as I stated in the first blog post on this site, we're not promising anything. We want the new edition of M-Force to be exactly the game we envision, and if that takes longer than expected, so be it. That plan worked pretty well with Hobomancer.
I'm going to try to at least post more frequent updates to this site over the coming months--I'm pretty sure I can beat that "one every year and a half" standard. In the meantime, you can download PDFs of the first edition as well as the current playtester draft of M-Force 2E from the downloads section (if you don't have a copy of QAGS, you can download the Qik Start rules from the Hex web site. Feel free to look over what we've got so far, give the rules a spin, and let us know what you think, either in the forums or through email via the "Contact Us" link to the right.
Happy (Monster) Hunting,
A quick PSA: While the M-Forcers in the New Orleans game are protecting a fictional New Orleans, the guys at Gamers for Humanity are about to head to the real NOLA to help out with the continuing rebuilding efforts. That takes money, and if you donate $10 or more to help them out, Hex will give you a free copy of American Artifacts 2. They Leave next weekend, so the sooner you can donate, the better!
Hex Games is proud to support Gamers for Humanity in their fundraising efforts for New Orleans. The first 100 people to donate $10 or more to Gamers for Humanity’s New Orleans trip at www.gamersforhumanity.org will receive a copy of the new gaming supplement American Artifacts 2. Your donations will make this year’s New Orleans trip possible, and Hex Games wants to thank you for helping out.
Gamers for Humanity will be taking their 4th annual New Orleans Work Trip from Sunday March 13th through Saturday March 19th, 2011. Help them lift up a city that has been laid low many times. New Orleans is more than just Mardi Gras; New Orleans is music and hospitality and relaxation and neighborhoods and caring and welcoming and warm weather, and it’s also hurricanes and flooding and oil spills. New Orleans and its people need your help. Gamers for Humanity needs your help.
If you join the trip to New Orleans you'll be helping a city full of wonderful people, and having fun along the way. If the trip isn't for you, you can donate to assist the volunteers with travel and housing funds. Most of the volunteers are like you--they want to help, but aren't swimming in vast piles of cash. And remember, once you donate $10 or more, you will receive your PDF copy of American Artifacts 2.
American Artifacts 2 gives you 20 magical items uniquely suited to the New World. Some are objects from American history, like Crispus Attucks's musket ball, or from pop culture, like Zuzu's petals. Some were created by wizards who act like scientists, and some by scientists who act like wizards; Nikola Tesla's ray gun, William Faulkner's pocket watch, and Benjamin Franklin's automaton all blur the line between magic and science.
All 20 artifacts are suitable for use in a wide variety of games. Each entry includes a description of the artifact, background information, and game mechanics. The artifacts range from the charming, like Mark Twain's cigar box, to the cosmically powerful, like the Shard of the True Plane. A detailed timeline is also included, that offers a clear overview of the occult history of America. And don’t worry, you don't need to have read the original American Artifacts to use this book. To learn more about American Artifacts 2, visit www.hexgames.com.
Gamers For Humanity is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, incorporated in the State of Iowa. They are dedicated to helping improve the world around them through:
*increasing the participation of gamers in charitable activities across the nation by providing opportunities for enjoyable and meaningful volunteer work.
*providing human services to people and communities in need.
*encouraging the enjoyment of life for people of all ages through the playing of games.
They work to accomplish these goals by doing the work of organizing volunteer opportunities and opportunities for giving, and by collecting donated funds and items to be distributed to people in need.
Visit the Hex Website!