With the release of our rules, the items we’ve had the most questions about was durability and upkeep. Durability is the fortitude of your tools; upkeep is the measure of your character’s personal well-being. You may have multiple items that have a durability cost, but you will need only pay upkeep for yourself.
For our game, we wanted the economy to create hard choices for players that would simulate the hardships of surviving 17th century New England. How do we show that people survived through bad harvests? Repaired their shoddily built homes after a blizzard? Worked enough to feed their sick children?
Creating an upkeep system facilitates this superbly. The four coins you spend at the start of each game symbolizes the strain and labor of colonial times. It is how you bought that pig from the butcher, or for nails to fix your roof, or paid a local tailor to sew in a wool lining for your child’s jacket.
Upkeep creates conversations. If you have only three coins to the end of an event, what will you do to ensure your survival for the coming days? If you are wealthy, how will you spend your excess? Will you offer it to others or save up for higher quality items for your own family? For a favor or out of kindness or for God’s grace, perhaps?
Durability is used to show the degradation of tools. Constant repairs and replacements must be sought in the colonies. Copper and Zinc were hard to come by, so needles were a rare but necessary item. No needles; no sewing, and then your child has to walk in frigid temperatures with a hole in their jacket. Since the best lumber was shipped back to England, the colonists were typically left with lumber that was knotted or that warped easily. While the land was bountiful, it rarely was enjoyed by those who reaped it.
Durability is also used to make choices and bring out conversations between people. Do you want to pay the upkeep for your sword? Instead of paying the smith to repair your sword, you could sell it to them as scrap and make ot through winter, but what happens if another attack comes? How will you keep your family safe? Perhaps the mason will pay costs to keep your weapon in good condition, but what will they ask for in return?
Most weapons and armor will have a durability cost. You may begin your first event with as many weapons and as much armor as you please, but you will need to pay the durability costs by your second event.
One specific note, ammunition – arrows and bullets – have a construction cost like most items, but they have no durability cost. We want your ammunition to be limited, but understand it is cumbersome to keep track of arrows and bullets between games.
What are your thoughts on durability and upkeep? How do you see the economy affecting your ability to survive in Ashwick?