MechaStellar VER 8.7 Design Goals – Stellar Warfare

Here’s an indepth look at some of the design decisions that went into the MechaStellar VER 8.7 Stellar Warefare Update. For your convenience I have included the relevant summary line item list for each of those categories from the previous post as well.

Stellar Warfare

  • Based on player feedback changed the +5 Move in exchange for a penalty to instead be a flat +5 movement for Skilled and Ace Pilots.
  • Revised opposing direction rules for Space Combat to instead be [M-1] instead of an exercise in mental math.  For the perpetually Momentum starved players out there worry not for Skilled and Ace Pilots get to ignore that effect.
  • Removed the Reroll 1 Evade die vs Stellar Warships for MS & Titans.
  • Added Low Gravity battle option for using some stellar rules on a standard ground battle
  • Updated the Captain Skills section to instead be Captain’s Orders.  These three options require no Momentum and can be issued by a Skilled or Battle-Hardened Captain at the start of each round with the Design Goal of making Warships a valuable force multiplier for Stellar Warfare. 
  • Fixed Discerning Captain since as written it would not allow the Musai Captain to help out any Mobile Suits in Round 1, which is something we wanted to model with LT Dren and Char.  Backported the change to Tactician as well.
  • Improved several Captain’s Traits.
  • Updated Minvosky Particle Scattering to be Reroll any Evade dice, Prevent Critical Hits & Battle Damage vice Shooting Accuracy-2.  Updated range from 2x Sensors to instead 10+Sensors which is an improvement for most OYW suits and lines up with the new 16″ range which is important for several iconic weapons.

Movement in Space

We spent a lot of time revising and testing the Stellar Warfare rules.  Since it’s a layer of rules on top the base rules one thing we wanted to improve upon was cutting down on excess decisions. 

While the Bonus movement in exchange for a  Shots / Rapid Fire penalty was a nice trade off, some of our players mentioned not using it often just because it was yet another decision to consider while playing the game.  Originally the +5 Movement was meant to be a counterbalance for the opposing direction rules we decided to refresh both of them to be useful and make space fun instead of a hindrance. 

We experimented with a few other trade offs but ultimately scrapped and just turned it into a flat bonus, for Skilled and Ace Pilots.  Similarly, for Space Combat we got rid of the mental math when it comes to reversing directions in space and just replaced it with a simple inertia mechanic where you have to lose Momentum.  I’m sure there’s a physics joke in there somewhere. 

Update to Minovsky Particle Scattering. 

Several items to note here. First thing to keep in mind is that the changes to the number of shots a Warship cannon would make increased lethality by quite a bit. Furthermore, by allowing Warships to Critically Hit we had even higher chances of losing ships early. In some test games entire armadas would be destroyed by Round 2 using the VER 8.6 along with the higher rate of fire.

To counterbalance the increased shots from Warships we had to adjust the effect M-Particle scattering would have. First up was to remove the Accuracy penalty in favor of an Evade Reroll for the target, this also accomplishes our goal of cutting down on the mental math present in Stellar Warfare.

The second change was that while under the effects of M-Particles you cannot Critically Hit or cause Battle Damage. This protects Mobile Suits who were previously immune to critical hits from warships and also ensures that your Warships aren’t losing critical weapon systems early in the fight.

To round things out we also adjusted at what range M-Particle scattering takes effect, switching it to Sensors+10″, which is overall an improvement for most Mobile Suits from the One Year War. It lines up nicely to 16″ which is a critical range for most weaponry (beam rifles, beam spray guns, giant bazookas). 

Captains Orders

Lastly we come to Captain Orders which we are quite happy with how they turned out.  Initially we considered having these come with an Influence cost to match up with the new Strategic Commands section.  Ultimately we decided against it since we wanted to keep that module option since there were a lot of misgivings about making players track two separate pools (momentum and influence) in the core game. 

As a result we scrapped our initial orders and started over shooting for orders that would be useful and cost free.  We split them into three categories focusing on offense, evasion, and movement and eventually opted for a bonus for Battle Hardened (Ace) Captains. 

The three orders are:

All Units High-Alert, Take Evasive Action!

  • Providing an Evade reroll and allowing your units to immediately fall back at the start of the round.

Main Battery and Support Element, Wipe out the Enemy in the L Quadrant!

  • Providing a bonus to shooting accuracy against targets in a given quadrant.

Prepare for Close Range Combat, We’re Taking the Fight to Them!

  • Provides a bonus to Movement and Melee Defense.

These went through several iterations until we found ones that were useful, but not too useful to be unbalanced, but coveted enough that a player may want to consider running warships in their army as a force multiplier.  Overall we’re very excited for these and hope to hear good things from our Warship players out there.

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