[MS] Ver 8 January Playtests

We’ve been working on some major adjustments to the game rules regarding Melee, Momentum and Pilot. Below are some photos snapped during a few of the games and some highlights.

Simple playtest for VER 8 with GMs and GM Command Space vs Zaku II and Zaku II F2s. The battle ended in a bloodbath with both sides nearly wiped out and a pair of GMs as the survivors.

We wanted to put the new Melee system through the ringer so we took two of our biggest Melee power houses and pitted them against one another. This was a good series of tests to let us narrow down what the benefit for the Melee Attacker should be. Also a good check to see whether or not if a unit with a higher Melee stat would be undefeated.

Continuing on with our Federation vs Zeon tests we kept to a fairly small game with <500 points and not too many models on either side. This test was a really good one to see how the new melee system that goes back and forth and allows each side to attack & parry handles units with different melee dice pools at the lower end of the spectrum. The melee dice pools ranged from 3d10 to 5d10 and you can really feel the difference, the GM Land Combat Types (represented by Powered GMs in the picture) only had 3d10 Melee but with some excellent speed and careful positioning they were able to strike a fatal blow late game blindsiding a Dom and using their beam spray gun to blast a hole through the back of a Zaku II. The game closed out with two remaining Gundam Ground Types and the Zaku R2 in a stalemate. Had the game continued all the terrain would have been destroyed leaving the R2 nowhere to hide.

Testing: Back & Forth Melee System (small dice pools), Pilot Bonus MK II, New Pilot Skills, Terrain Destruction

Commander Traits: Three Times as Fast (Zeon) & Vigilant Leader (Federation)

Pilot Skills: Skill Defense, Improvise, Focus

Along similar lines the Zeta test was to test out the Melee system when there were higher melee dice pools, for this one we had a range of 6d10 to 7d10 which gave us enough dice to see how worthwhile it would be for the Defender to try and strike first sacrificing defense in the process. Only two pictures for this one but as you can see many Hizacks perished while pursuing and ultimately bringing down the Gundam MK-II.

Testing: Back & Forth Melee System (large dice pools), New Pilot Skills, Pilot Bonus MK II

Commander Traits: Three Times as Fast (Zeon) & Vigilant Leader (Federation)

Pilot Skills: Skill Defense, Improvise, Make it Count

Whenever we do a new edition we always like to recreate some classic battles, so we set up Ramba Ral vs Amuro and the Black TriStars vs Amuro. One nice thing for VER 8 is that with the adjustment on points costs for Performance and Pilot level the total points costs for both sides were much closer than VER 7.

We ran through several iterations of these tests since it’s a great chance to test out new Pilot Skills and the way Pilot bonuses interact while doing iconic match-ups. What we noticed was that our initial draft of new Pilot wasn’t going to work, simply because making Skill Defense cheaper just led to stale mates where nearly every match finished with a stalemate. Not very fun for a war game! So we made a slight tweak and went at it again.

With the Ramba Ral battles we had Amuro lose 3/4 battles, the Zaku IIs were more of a threat than expected providing continuous fire slowly chipping away HP. We had a great time using the Vulcan’s on Gundam and shredding Zakus with it. Fortunately the battles never felt lopsided, Ramba Ral kept winning due to superior positioning making sure the Zakus were always benefiting from Cover and doing his best to ensure Amuro could never accrue enough Momentum to overpower him in Melee.

Testing: Back & Forth Melee MK II & MK III, Pilot Bonus MK II & MK III, New Pilot Skills

Commander Traits: Bold Leader (Zeon) & Unyielding (Federation)

Pilot Skills: Skill Defense, Vulcans, Moment of Clarity, Mow them Down, Make it Count!

For the Black Tristars we had better odds, 3/4 victories for Amuro with the loss being when the Black Tri Stars player switched entirely to hit and run tactics and ignored Melee as best they could. This meant their Momentum pool was lower but still managed to eke out a win. Newtype II really proved it’s worth with the rerolls letting Amuro barely win dodging the last shot while he was at 4300 DMG taken before finishing off the final Dom.

Testing: Back & Forth Melee MK II & MK III, Pilot Bonus MK II & MK III, New Pilot Skills

Commander Traits: Vigilant Leader (Zeon) & Unyielding (Federation)

Pilot Skills: Skill Defense, Vulcans, Moment of Clarity, Improvise, Make it Count!

Our first iteration of our 0083 test pitted Dom Tropens and Zaku II F2s against GM Customs and GM Cannons, as you can see in pictures 1 & 2 it was a bloodbath. The game started with moving the GM Cannon IIs into range to blast the Dom Tropens with their TL Beam Cannons. Melted off the Zeon’s Momentum pool but unfortunately it meant the GM Cannon II was now the closest unit. For these tests we weren’t doing any pilot level or traits so everyone had to target the nearest enemy model. As a result it meant the unit with the worst Evade was then tanking all the shots from the Raketen Bazookas. Both sides emptied their Momentum in turn 1, so by Turn 2 Mobile Suits were dying with every attack.

One of the major conclusions in this test was to adjust how Shields work. Currently Shields provide a bonus Block when faced with 5+ shots, this was meant to be a bonus block against high rate of fire (ROF) weapons like a Machine Gun or Gatling Gun. What we’ve noticed instead the last few months is that it provides a power incentive to avoiding pushing a weapon up to 5 shots, whether it be a twin-linked cannon or high-tech beam rifle rapid firing as soon as you hit 5 shots Shields could block an extra shot. Statisically it often wasn’t a good trade for the attacker. So we changed it up such that Shields provide a bonus block against PEN 0 weapons, something we tried out with AT Fields and really enjoyed it. Overall provides the same net effect but doesn’t penalize a beam cannon or similar from making 5 Shots instead of 4.

In the immediate rematch we saw a similar high casualty toll on both sides by turn 2, even when tweaking starting Momentum. By the end of Round 2, all the GM Cannon IIs and GM Customs had been wiped out save for one. His opponent were three Dom Tropens, one of them behind him after executing a masterful blitz through enemy lines and slaying the last GM Cannon II. All hope appeared to be lost, but he won initiative and so the story of ENS Bob unfolded.

(The GM Customs have shoulder insignia to denote South Burning, M for Monsha, B for Bates, at the time we couldn’t remember Bates name since he and Adel were the quiet ones of the GM team in 0083 and so we used ENS Bob instead which stuck)

He pushed forward with a barrage of fire from his GM rifle before clashing Melee with the nearest Dom Tropen, alas they had enough Momentum to weather the storm. The 2nd Dom Tropen charged forward and struck at ENS Bob’s back, but miraculously even without the Shield he rolled well enough to parry. The third Dom Tropen pushed closer into range. Next round the Dom’s went first but again failed to bring down ENS Bob, now it was his turn, his melee strikefelled the first Dom and he chased the second bringing it down for 400 HP with his rifle. The third Dom placed a shot but with the swell of Momentum from the previous victory ENS Bob emerged unscathed. The final round he won initative, finished off the Dom Tropen and realized the 3rd Dom had gotten into rapid fire range for his bazooka and ENS Bob had just enough movement to reach him in Melee. The game closed out with ENS Bob’s GM Custom completely unharmed and the bodies of his foes lying at his feet.

After a successful and wildly fun test we decided to up the ante and upgrade units making 5 units on each side Pilot Level 1 and giving them a Pilot Trait. The 0083 Team took the Immortal trait to signify the Immortal 4th Team, the Zeon Team took the Elusive trait for 3 Dom Tropens and 2 Zaku II F2s so they weren’t as constrained to Cover.

Testing: Back & Forth Melee MK II & MK III, Pilot Bonus MK II & MK III, New Pilot Skills, New Shields/Elusive, New Focus & Gunner’s Gambit

Commander Traits: Unyielding (Zeon) & Galvanizing Display (Federation)

Pilot Skills: Skill Defense, Mayhem, Counter, Improvise, Take the Shot!

Improvise turned into an excellent skill for the Dom Tropens who had a high enough Evade that often spending Momentum to reroll was far more efficient that simply using Skill Defense; Take the Shot came in handy a few times to ensure a Dom or Zaku scored a kill. Mayhem was very fun with the GM Custom’s who after a Melee victory would then fire a burst if their opponent survived.

Overall a very close match up even with higher Pilot Levels and traits. Out of several iterations our favorite was when ENS Bob turned nearly every Melee hit into a Critical after a reroll (Picture 5 above). Picture 2 was a fun turn where a GM Custom was able to pop out behind cover, Blindside a Zaku then had just enough movement to push forward and hide his backside behind the same cover, unfortunately a nearby Dom used Full Throttle, skipping it’s shooting action, to go for Melee vengeance as seen in the picture. If not for some stellar rolls on the GM Custom side the Dom team would have easily thrashed them that game. We finished with Immortal Team winning 2/3 games.

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