(MS) Design Goals – Rapid Mech Creation

In the previous post we talked about keeping the rules system including both Mech classes and weapon profiles flexible and robust enough that we could keep the option open import Mechs from other universes if someone wanted to run a Super Robot Wars style game. Along a similar line to that is a core design goal of Rapid Mech Creation.

There are a number of Mecha games on the market including some very fun RPGs. More often than not these systems trend towards a complexity of mechanics. These complex systems allow you to create very unique Mechs, it can be quite a bit of fun to build one!

For example when building your Mech you might have several base stats like strength, hard points, power, etc. Then there will be several derived stats like HP or Hull Integrity, Attack, Defense etc. Then there are often a dazzling array of different equipment options you can purchase with character creation points to further differentiate your Mech, upgrade its stats, assign weapons, improve engines and generators etc. There may also be rules for pilots that are just as complex or just a simple bonus like making you more accurate when you roll your 2d6 to see if you hit the target 6 hexes away.

As you may have guessed the issues with these systems is that complexity often takes a great deal of time. Building a Mech can take a couple hours for wargames that lean towards complexity or even a few days for RPGs. RPGs of course usually only involve one Mech per player so it’s not unexpected they take longer. Mech Wargames like Battletech can involve a lance of 4 Mechs fighting an enemy of similar size. Other systems may be larger or smaller.

At the end of the day creating a mech in a complex system can be quite a time investment. Often a very rewarding one. You can get around the time investment step by using pregenerated Mechs but there’s always something fun about making your own.

For our system since we wanted scalability as a goal, not just 4vs4 but also the option for 30 vs 30 we wanted Mech Creation to be very rapid. Being able to put together a new Mech in 30 minutes or less, enough time to order a pizza before you sit down with your friends to game.

In our system we have three primary stats Frame, Performance & Pilot. Each of these can be assigned a number and from there all your derived combat stats can be calculated, after assigning 3 numbers you’re now halfway done. From there each Mech has a number of equipment slots based on its Frame Level. You can use these EQ slots to reinforce your Mech improving its HP, or upgrading/optimizing its Thrusters to improve its movements, or you can put them into Low Cost to make your Mech as cheap to field as possible. Llastly you can spend them armaments like machine guns, giant bazookas and directed energy weapons.

Let’s say you are building a decently powerful Mech and you go with Frame 3 , Performance 5 and a rookie Pilot 0. Frame 3 gets you 10 equipment slots. You put 3 points each into Reinforce and Thrusters and use the remaining four on weapons. You decide on a shoulder mounted chaingun, some fire support ballistic missiles on your other shoulder, a high power energy rifle in one hand and a superheated retractable blade on your left wrist. All in all that thought experiment would take you about 15 minutes to put together a fun mech with a lot of firepower in MechaStellar. Not too shabby!

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