Anyone remember the PC game Syndicate? The little trench coat and mirror shade corporate cyborgs running around causing mayhem? Well, I played far too much of it back in the day.
Wanting to offer more fast-play options at our weekly game sessions, I wrote up a set of rules in hommage; a cyberpunk skirmish game where you and your friends play a team of Agents tasked with various missions of questionable legality and high lethality.
It’s called HARDWIRED. We’ve play tested it. It works. It’s easy to learn. Plays fast once you get the hang of it. And it’s fun.
The free, Beta version has been removed. The latest iteration is available at AMAZON and WARGAME VAULT in both electronic and print-on-demand hard copy format.
UPDATE: Hardwired has been rebranded as EXPLOIT ZERO.
Look for it at Amazon and Wargame Vault. Thank you.
It’s a solid little game. It doesn’t reinvent the microchip, but it’ll give you an excuse to paint up (or buy and then paint up) some cool cyberpunk figs, set up a gritty, urban Sprawl, gather your gaming buddies, and infiltrate the nearest top secret, gene-tech research facility. Which isn’t a bad thing, right?
Good Luck, omae
Pix from some of our Cyberpunk games below.
41 thoughts on “Hardwired: a Co-Op/Solo Cyberpunk game”
So glad you released this. Thanks!
no problem. hope you enjoy it.
The step dice pool for actions was something I was recently considering myself. Very interested to see how it plays.
I think it was our recent run of DnD sessions that got me thinking about using more than one die type. The die type pool forces players to prioritize which action do they want to have the greater chance of success. I added the Free Move to make sure an Agent wasn’t completely high and dry in the event of a string of bad rolls. It seems to work fine.
I’m going to try it tonight. I’d thought of using a D12 initially. What made you decide not to? Odds?
Wasn’t a deeply considered decision. I simply decided 3 possible actions per turn was a decent reflection of an Agent’s capacity, and I wanted the least probable chance of success to be 50%. So… D6 on up.
I suppose if there were some system of advances, a campaign structure of sorts, an Agent could earn a die shift. But only after some serious combat experience.
Makes sense. In keeping with Savage World and Pulp Alley that way, too.
I think it was the pressure of having to prioritize/decide from a range of diminishing probabilities which action/die type to roll that appealed to me. The co-op dynamic makes the Agents potentially overpowered, but given that the actions aren’t certain, it generates a sliver of the tension that puts a nice edge on the game.
Very cool- will have to dig out some of my old figures for this.
Thanks for sharing it.
Nice. Which old figures?
I think I might be missing something. The rules state that CAPs can only be activated for short periods of time as they drain the Agent, but they seem able to activate each activation, right? So, the roll functions as the cool down if you fail?
Yes, they can be activated each turn but they don’t so much burn out the Agent as have limited run-times. CAPs can only be turned on for short duration. (one turn) Must be poor wording on my part. A failed roll is simply a fumble for whatever reason. (maybe the CAP was in fact resetting, or you were distracted by a bullet snapping by your head…)
That makes sense. I’ll run it again.
I’ve just completed my first run. A really great, quick, fun game. I went with three agents – 2 Ronin and a Splicer – so I chose to roll three lots of H-Sec groups each turn (one roll per agent), though still appearing at any of the four entry sites. I think that should keep the balance,
A few questions – H-Sec units’ movement – is it 4″ per action? How many hit points do the level 2 and level 3 H-Sec guys get? – I played at still the one hit point but with 2 and 3 actions respectively – they are still brittle but there are lots of them. I might make a change so that (randomly decided on entry) melee H-Sec get a free move or get to move 8″ as normal because most of the level 1 H-Sec, even with guns, didn’t take any part in the action other than closing off an area from the agent team.
For my melee H-Sec I might use robodog-like figures or, in the manga theme, some of the chaos wolf things from GW with the spiky metal bits that I aquired in some ebay win.
One of the reasons that the level 1 H-Sec were absent in a large part was because of the Adrenal Boost CAP that allowed the agent to move up to three lots of 8″ in a turn. Was that right? I made the Adrenal CAP roll and then moved 8″ with the free move and then rolled for the other two actions to try and move and if both were successful it was 8″ at a time. You could really kit out a splicer/medic only team that would be very hard for the bad guys to catch with this. Great fun!
In a strange way I can’t wait for the time that a run goes bad and all the H-sec forces appear really close to the team and blocking off their exit.
As I said – a really great game.
Glad you liked it. Two Ronin and a Splicer, eh? Sounds like a tough game. The Splicer have a Drone?
You are correct:: H-SEC moves 4″ as well, and they only have one Wound, regardless of Quality. They are indeed brittle, but the quantity makes them challenging. (hopefully)
Yes, the Free Move does benefit from Adrenal CAP and if your dice cooperate, you can jet across the table. That’s the tricky bit tho. If the dice turn against you, you get H-SEC popping in at the worst time in the worst location. The Agents suddenly have to fight for their lives.
Speaking of Robo Dogs, you see Khurasan’s latest robo dog things? They’re technically 15mm, but they look great with 28mm.
Thanks for contacting me. Let me know if you have any more questions.
No Drone. I wanted a relatively straightforward first game. So the Splicer just had a Gibson Macro hacker program and a McCoy dermal patch. The Ronin both had only Smart ammo. No second gear option, The scenario had the team needing to go to either of two uplink towers on the board, successfully hack in and send some incriminating data (as if from the target corporation’s systems). Then exit the opposite table edge. They could choose to make a second hack attempt and if successful they could divert one enemy reinforcement unit away from the board (cancel one single H-Sec roll so only two groups of level 3’s appeared rather than the three I was running with). This the Splicer did with ease. I hadn’t thought what the consequence was if he had failed – probably extra units arriving. I will be doing a 4 agent run next and will look into taking a Drone.
Just a thought on the 6th turn of a six turn game. If the Agent team needs to exit the map they would either do so on their phase of the last turn or they wouldn’t, in which case they would lose. Either way there didn’t seem the need for the 6th turn enemy reinforcement roll.
Will keep a lookput for the Khurasan robodogs although I couldn’t find them on their website just now.
Check out Khurasan’s FB page. Scroll down thru their Photos and the gundogs will be there with comparison shots next to a 28mm figs.
Are those the ones that look a bit like the Boston Dynamics Big Dog robot? Not sure how I feel about those – I think I would prefer a bit more of an anthropomorphic robot dog myself. In my searches though I did find these
Some of those admittedly digital models look just mean and nasty. Like you wouldn’t want to be being chased down by even one of them never mind a pack. I’m going to keep an eye on those when they cast them.
What about these?
They are not bad. I’ll have to see if I can find an outlet over in the UK coz the postage is crazy otherwise.
Back onto Hardwired though. Drones – not sure they are so great? I did a quick run to test one out earlier with two agents – one with a two-gun Drone – and the Drone just seemed to slow the team down. Admittedly when it did open up it took out quite a few H-Sec. Just that the Splicer was last off the board because he had spent a lot of his actions powering the Drone and had to face a barrage of shots before he escaped on one health.
I know the Drone doesn’t act as cover but does it draw fire with regard to the H-Sec AI? Do they target it as the closest enemy? If so is that all the time or only when being piloted?
I’m guessing it has 1 hit point. Is it a D6 defence roll or D8 being a Drone?
So one at a time:
At this point, Agent Drones are classed as Equipment in that they don’t act as cover, etc. We extended that to mean they don’t draw fire either. (Too small and zippy. Plus H-SEC is more concerned with stopping the actual Agents)
Agent Drones require a concentrated effort. That was intentional. I didn’t want them to be overpowering or a magic bullet. With a proper load out, in the context of a team, they can be just the ticket. You do recall the Pilot CAP link only requires re-rolls/reengage if the link is broken with Combat or Injury, yes? Otherwise, the initial Pilot CAP is sufficient to transfer Actions and the Drone can roll its own D8s.
Yes, Agent Drones have 1 HP and use a D8.
Seen the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer?
Just saw the trailer. Looks crazy good, if I was a 1st person shooter guy. Not so many quick-twitch muscles these days!
Might be fun watching my 19 year old son tearing the place up though.
Hopefully it will have a strong the single-player campaign. I’m too old for online twitch riots myself. We’ll have to wait and see…
I just ran across this and may I say it’s awesome? A solo/co-op cyberpunk tabletop minis game!
I have a question re: CW Macros.
I roll a single die (any type) and on a success (4+) I use the CW Macro (say a Williams Macro) by rolling 2d10? A success here means I will gain the benefit : “2 D10s to Pilot Allied Drone. Effect lasts Duration of Game”?
Means each time my Splicer wants to re-establish a link so he can pilot a drone I get to roll 2d10 for the test?
Thanks again for the rule set! I do have some other questions re: LOS and cover but I can make up some stuff as I play.
Hi. Glad you like it. It feels like co-op games are the trend. And I’m a huge fan of cyberpunk.
So to answer your question:
A Splicer is going to get 2 dice rolling for Remote Pilot CAP anyway. The Williams Macro was introduced as a way to assist other Agent SPs – like a Ronin – with drones. Remember, Macros are one-shot items AND the normal Piloting restrictions apply. (see Drone Link, p. 12) so ‘lasts for duration’ only applies so long as/until the link is broken.
So unless your Ronin has multiple Williams Macros, they’re only going to get a single dice to re-establish the Drone Link next time.
Macros are really there to boost Splicers. Or give other SPs a shot at some cyber-related challenge under extreme circumstances.
Any other questions, LMK.
Yes. Thanks for the explanation. Clarified a lot of things now. It just shows that despite the brief rules, a lot of thought went into them.
I’m planning a test game this weekend. I’ll let you know if I run into any questions after that 🙂
Thanks for the kind words and for bringing it to my attention. Very glad I had an answer that sounded reasonable. 😉
I have no doubt Hardwired would benefit from some clarification and editing. If my schedule allows, I’ll do an expanded, revised iteration this year. Maybe commission a cover, some original artwork, and publish it…
Hope your test game goes well. And do feel free to contact me again with questions.
War in the Shadows, NuYen in the Bank.
Have finally managed to play a test game using 4 Agents. Simple fast and fun but some clarifications if you don’t mind?
1. Terrain/Cover. There’s combat penalties for ranged shooting but no penalties for movement? Or I’m not reading the rules correctly?
2. What’s the range of a micro-grenade? 18″?
3. What’s a Large Blast Template? 3″? 5″?
1. Correct. Terrain modifies the attacker’s Attack Roll and – depending on its type – the Defender’s Dodge/Defend. Terrain/scenics may block or alter a figure’s ability to move, but have no bearing on Combat.
2. Yes. 18″ range.
3. We use Pyrkol templates, which IIRC are patterned after the stock GW set. An LBT is 5″.
Thanks for the replies.
Also: terrain. What’s the penalties on movement?
Lastly : if you’d like me to be a playtester for Hardwired 2.0 I’d be happy to do so 🙂
There is no Reduced Movement on Rough Terrain penalty and our default rule is it costs an 1″ to hop an intervening obstacle (like a half-wall or desk, or police barrier) less than the height of the miniature.
And I’ll send you a PDF when 2.0 is complete.
Cool! Thanks for the quick response. Look forward to 2.0 🙂
In the meanwhile, I’ll keep on playing the free rules version. It’s solid enough for many games to come.
Thanks, that means a lot to me. And that I did something right, rules-wise. I’ll post occasional updates on the progress. I’m trusting the interior art work artist keeps his deadline and I can release a finished version in June.
Getting ready to play my 2nd game. Another question regarding hacking Security systems. Say I want to hack a security system that needs 3 successes. I have 3 actions. Do I have to achieve all the successes during my activation or do the successful hacks carry over? (Say I managed 2 out of 3 during my activation as I flubbed my d6 rolls).
Also the wording of McCoy: Usually only 1 die roll is considered a success in the game even when you roll 2 dice. Assume for McCoy that I roll 2d10 and if I get 1 success I heal 1 wound, and 2 successes heal 2 wounds?
Hacking Successes carry over. Mark them with a token or glass stone or note on Agent’s stat sheet.
Yes, a McCoy allows you to heal two Wounds. (Damn it Jim, I’m a doctor.)
Thanks! And an Agent Drone has only 1 wound?
Yes. Also because they’re small and fast, ranged/melee attacks against them suffer a -1 penalty
At least the small ones. anything larger than 1/2 the size of the Agent model is doesn’t get that benefit. (and of course bigger would be an easier target, so +1 to attack rolls)
Haha. Good point. I’ll post a batrep of my latest game but not yet because I’m away from home and can only do so Sunday night.
Good point about the smaller drones. (I had a few on the map) and the larger drones (I had 2).
When are the 2.0 rules going to be out? I’m not too keen on buying a set of rules just to have to upgrade them soon after.
As the beta is gone is there anywhere to demo the game or watch it played? Been looking for a good game to use my old models with.
The updated version was released earlier this month in print and electronic format at Amazon, and pdf at WargameVault. (print version coming there too.)