Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Talk about nerdgames FOR NERDS.
User avatar
SpammyV
Contact:

Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby SpammyV » Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:48 am

So I have been playing and watching a lot of Super Robot Wars games lately, and because I have desires of running tabletop RPG campaigns and also like put on an amateur game designer/critic/analyst hat I've been thinking about what I would want if I was adapting a system or creating a homebrewed system to use in playing a Super Robot Wars tabletop RPG. I wanted to share it in case anyone had comments or suggestions because God help me I just might do it.

What is Super Robot Wars?
Super Robot Wars (SRW) is a Japanese strategy RPG series. The main series of games feature a crossover between many mecha anime. It’s a game series where you can have pilots show up from half a dozen Gundam series, Macross, Mazinger Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Big O, Code Geass, Tenga Toppen Gurren Lagann, and more. It is a love letter to all of those series and the genre as a whole, full of nods, references, in jokes, and always treating the subject material as completely awesome. The real inspiration for this comes from the Super Robot Wars Original Generation series. Almost every game features some original characters, but OG series is all original characters and robots, nobody from a licensed series. It’s a little more consistent and has some features that aren’t seen in other SRW games.

For terminology’s sake, I’m using the word that’s in the name of the franchise, so every mech is a robot whether it is piloted or not.

In order for the game mechanics to make me really feel like I am in Super Robot Wars, I do not need just to be in a robot(I have Battletech for that). Super Robot Wars has a well-developed set of mechanics and I would like those mechanics to be reflected in the game in order to give me that SRW feel. Here is the list that I’ve come up with:

1: The Morale system. A lot of the things that you do in combat build up your morale, your fighting spirit. The longer that things go on the more pumped you get and the better you are. This translates into damage and defense bonuses, with some benefits above and beyond that. Reaching a high morale level can dramatically increase your chance to dodge, or give you a bigger damage bonus, or activate something that gives you bonuses to all your stats. But the key point is: The longer a battle goes on and the more that happens in it, the better you are.

2: Every attack but your weakest ones should feel like a technique. Most of the best attacks that a pilot or robot have are custom to that pilot or robot and are usually more complex than just shooting someone. At the least, the pilot will fly around, let off a comment, and fire multiple times. I don’t want players to just say they’re using a Giant Revolver; I want them to say and feel that they’re doing a G. Revolver Shootout. You don’t simply hit someone with your colossal sword; you swing like you want this to be the final blow you make on an enemy.

3: Multiple kinds of weapon restrictions. Some weapons are ammo based and have a very fixed number of uses. Some weapons are energy based which means they can be used more and energy can be regenerated. A lot of the strongest attacks have a morale requirement associated with them. Only some weak attacks are completely free.

4: The system needs to be able to handle a wide scale of units. From slightly larger than real world fighter planes, to 20 meter tall robots, to 50 meter tall robots, to giant carrier battleships. For the full feel of the game, attacking up the size chart should make it easier to hit but reduce your damage and attacking down the size chart should make it harder to hit but increase your damage.

5: The system needs to be able to handle both tanky and dodgy strategies. Super robots (like Voltron, Mazinger, Getter, Gurren Lagann) are usually able to tank through a lot of damage, rarely taking more than a fifth of their health from an attack. Real robots (like Gundams, Valkyries, Arm-Slaves, and early generation Knightmare Frames) usually have enough mobility that they can dodge most any attacks.

6: The system needs to handle multiple types of customization/construction. Real robots usually have a few custom weapons that are very powerful and need to use equipped weapons the majority of the time. Super robots have no room to equip weapons except for status effect ones, and make do with their very powerful built in weapons. And then all robots can equip parts to give them different bonuses to HP, Armor, dodge, speed, accuracy, so on.

7: The pilot abilities in the game should be represented in the game. Pilots should be able to upgrade as well during the campaign, improving themselves as well as their robots.

8: The rules should either be open enough to allow for or have explicit mechanisms so that players can create combining robots that can act independently and combine into one large robot. The same goes for combination attacks between two or more robots. The same goes for robots that transform into planes or tanks.

9: The change in what combat is supposed to be. As they game goes on, your units receive more powerful upgrades than the enemy. This means that late in the game, a lot of the mook enemies are not meant to be actually threatening to shoot your pilots down, but to give you a chance to build up your pilots’ morale and get them ready for the boss. The real test is resource conservation. This is meant to emulate the feel in a lot of mecha anime where the main characters get so powerful they can mow through enemy mooks. You should always be feeling like you’re getting stronger based on the challenges that are thrown at you.

The way that most SRW games go, your good guys end up banding together into a unit, military or not, and based out of a battleship they use as a carrier. Then they travel around the world and/or into space. In the downtime between missions pilots interact and sort of bounce off one another. Most have one or two loud or exaggerated personality traits that interact with others’.

So between missions, when trying to recover after the last mission or prepare for the next is when the player characters would do a lot of their roleplaying. However though, a lot of the plot of SRW games actually happens during the missions, as things get revealed or people change sides or a rival shows up. It’s not at all uncommon to deal with some mooks, and then have the stage boss spawn in to dramatically reveal something and then you have to fight the boss.
User avatar
Ringwraith

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby Ringwraith » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:52 am

This does remind it's a crossover where not really much gets made in those areas.
This is from someone who played a bunch of the old Armoured Core games and they're increasingly customisable mech combat games. Although apparently they got a bit too silly with upping the speed at one point (I think when you can design something which can permanently be flying through the air you've now just designed a plane).
User avatar
Supahewok

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby Supahewok » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:35 am

Can't really say much on that, I'm not overly familiarly with the genre. (Edit Spoiler: I go on to say much on that) Kinda leery of a mecha RPG. Feels like it would be go SO slow, as players take forever to fiddle with their robot builds, forever to fiddle with their umpteen special abilities, and forever dealing with umpteen million mooks or a bulletsponge boss.

I'm not even sure you want an RPG, this sounds more like a list for a wargame. Which I think would be a better direction to go in.

I'm also leery of video games translated to table top. It doesn't go well, in my experience. Videogames have certain UI and calculation advantages over live tabletop games. This translates into more numerous mechanics, that are also fairly simple because a computer can't anticipate all that a human player can do, so it has to limit their options. (For instance, in the videogames, can people focus their shots on vulnerable joints? Experiment with acid/corrosion missiles? Explosive kamikaze drones?) Which in turn translates into a lot of cruft in a table-top game that takes time to go through without necessarily adding depth.

Well, that's my two cents anyway. Just find out how other people have handled mecha tabletop games, and use that as a baseline. Develop unique tabletop mechanics for the unique videogame mechanics, but don't feel beholden to a 1:1 translation. Most of all, recognize what mechanics in the videogame play to the strengths of videogames, and examine how to best translate that to the strengths of table top games. Be mentally prepared to cut what you can't fit, and add things that would be a good fit even if they don't have a videogame counterpart.

When translating works into other mediums, what you want to do is keep things that are universal, like theme and tone, and use that as your baseline. For instance, the Firefly board game isn't necessarily a great game or a good mechanical representation of the show (although I think it does indeed do a good job of the latter, but I've heard dissenting opinions). What it does is give players the flavor of the show, and that's what I love about it; you really do feel like you're in the show while playing. That's really what you want to capture when making an adaptation of something.
User avatar
Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:58 am

BOS'N HIGGS, POWER UP THE BLUNDERBUSS OF BRAINSTORMING!!!

SpammyV wrote:1: The Morale system. A lot of the things that you do in combat build up your morale, your fighting spirit. The longer that things go on the more pumped you get and the better you are. This translates into damage and defense bonuses, with some benefits above and beyond that. Reaching a high morale level can dramatically increase your chance to dodge, or give you a bigger damage bonus, or activate something that gives you bonuses to all your stats. But the key point is: The longer a battle goes on and the more that happens in it, the better you are.


I don't think that this is a hugely difficult system to design at a basic level. You can use it as a resource that builds over time, wherein your character earns X morale per round, and it provides a flat +X bonus to rolls; you could use it as a points resource, where you gain Y morale tokens per round and can spend them for a +1 bonus per token; or, you could combine those two systems, where morale tokens provide a flat bonus if you hang onto them or a special bonus if you spend them (see for example the Focus mechanic in Warmachine/Iron Kingdoms, where characters earn a certain number of Focus tokens per turn that they can either spend on spells and attacks or get a +1 bonus to ARM for every token they hang onto -- although Focus points disappear and reappear at the start of each turn, and you don't want morale points to do that). If you're happy for this RPG to have different combat mechanics between PCs and NPCs, you could make it so only PCs can use morale points; this means that, if morale points accumulate over time, you can throw an enemy at the party which they can't defeat unless they manage to survive for long enough to build the morale up for a devastating attack, and that sounds like a very anime-y kind of battle to me. Maybe certain boss characters could use morale as well, but not everyday mooks.

Two major questions arise if you're building this system, though. The first is what kind of stats and dice mechanics you're using, because that will affect how big the morale bonuses should be; a +2 bonus to hit means more when you're using a 2d6 system than it does when you're using a d100 system. The second is whether or not you want bonus morale points to be awarded for certain actions, and how frequently those bonuses will appear. Since you're calling the system "morale", it kind of makes sense for bonuses to be spread among the party for certain things; if, for example, your ally deals a severely damaging blow to an enemy, it kind of makes sense that anyone who can see this blow being dealt will gain a little morale ("If he can do it, so can we!") -- but that might lead to arguments over how the LoS is calculated and how much of the blow you have to see. If you're going to have ways of gaining morale other than earning X points/turn, you need the rules for bonus morale to be clearly delineated.

SpammyV wrote:2: Every attack but your weakest ones should feel like a technique. Most of the best attacks that a pilot or robot have are custom to that pilot or robot and are usually more complex than just shooting someone. At the least, the pilot will fly around, let off a comment, and fire multiple times. I don’t want players to just say they’re using a Giant Revolver; I want them to say and feel that they’re doing a G. Revolver Shootout. You don’t simply hit someone with your colossal sword; you swing like you want this to be the final blow you make on an enemy.


To me, this sounds kind of like you want to have a system which is based on Action Points (like Shadowrun or 2D Fallout) instead of discrete actions (like D&D or Iron Kingdoms). You don't want characters to spend every turn as a "move, attack, reload" kind of deal -- you want them to make careful use of action points and sometimes save them up for a particularly large attack. If you can hang onto action points between turns, or spend action points to boost yourself up the initiative order and take your next turn sooner, so much the better. Another suggestion; while "you have 3 action points this round and it will cost you 2 action points to use that special attack" might be mathematically identical to "you have 30 action points this round and it will cost you 20 points to use that special attack", the second special attack sounds a hell of a lot more powerful than the first (the second set of numbers is probably too big for tabletop accounting purposes, so I would suggest a middle ground).

Actually, that combos pretty well with the morale point system. Let's say that morale points accumulate per round and provide a small flat bonus to certain dice rolls, but you can also spend morale points to gain additional action points. Suppose that your character has 30 action points per round, and they gain 5 morale per round. They can sit around for two rounds doing nothing, then burn their 10 morale points to use a technique which costs 40 action points! This works really well from a character building perspective, because it encourages you to learn techniques beyond your action point threshold. Heck, it would be entirely valid to build a character who had a small, light mech loaded with stacks of overpowered techniques and a really high morale stat, so they can evade attacks for a while until they believe in themselves hard enough to pound enemy faces into the dirt -- in fact, doesn't that sound like your stereotypical anime protagonist kid? Substitute "Pokemon" for "mech" and you've basically described Ash Ketchum.

One small problem with this idea; it kind of encourages turtle go if movement costs action points and you want to stack up on them. Maybe there should be a "movement" phase where you move your speed for free and then an "action" phase where you spend the action points? If so, there should also be an option to spend action points for extra movement.

SpammyV wrote:3: Multiple kinds of weapon restrictions. Some weapons are ammo based and have a very fixed number of uses. Some weapons are energy based which means they can be used more and energy can be regenerated. A lot of the strongest attacks have a morale requirement associated with them. Only some weak attacks are completely free.


I know you don't want to copy too much of BattleTech, but from what I know of it, it handles this very well. I have played the old MechWarrior games, and in those you had a good mix of ballistic weapons with limited ammo and laser weapons with cooldowns.

SpammyV wrote:4: The system needs to be able to handle a wide scale of units. From slightly larger than real world fighter planes, to 20 meter tall robots, to 50 meter tall robots, to giant carrier battleships. For the full feel of the game, attacking up the size chart should make it easier to hit but reduce your damage and attacking down the size chart should make it harder to hit but increase your damage.


I have had MANY MANY THOUGHTS about size in tabletop games, born from the observation that the D&D size system suffers from a serious naming problem -- for example, how are we supposed to tell which of Gargantuan and Colossal is bigger without looking it up? By my reckoning, you can fit a maximum of five named size categories into a tabletop system without any possibility of confusion -- <small superlative>, Small, Medium, Large, <big superlative> (e.g. Iron Kingdoms uses Small, Medium, Large, Huge, with no small superlative, and that isn't confusing) -- anything which uses more than one superlative is going to be confusing (like in the D&D Gargantuan/Colossal example above). One possibility that I've been toying with for settings where size matters is to use clothing sizes; Small, Medium, and Large are the ordinary size categories, while smaller/bigger sizes are represented by XS, XXS, XXXS or XL, XXL, XXXL etc. This would leave things very easily open to size bonuses/penalties if those bonuses/penalties scale in a linear fashion; if you remember that each size below medium gains, say, a +Y bonus to Dodge rolls, then an S mech gets +X, an XS mech gets +2Y, an XXS mech gets +3Y etc. You could also do this with dice if you want the scale to be less straight-out linear; just substitute "Y" with "d6" or "d20" or whatever.

When it comes to the question of mech, though... the usual strategy in tabletop RPGs is to scale things so that "medium" means "human-sized". Now obviously, in the system you're talking about, human-sized mechs would be much much smaller than average, so you need a new baseline to establish as "medium". That also doesn't handle long, skinny things like battleships very well; perhaps they could be represented as two XL bases joined together?

SpammyV wrote:5: The system needs to be able to handle both tanky and dodgy strategies. Super robots (like Voltron, Mazinger, Getter, Gurren Lagann) are usually able to tank through a lot of damage, rarely taking more than a fifth of their health from an attack. Real robots (like Gundams, Valkyries, Arm-Slaves, and early generation Knightmare Frames) usually have enough mobility that they can dodge most any attacks.


I'm going to throw the Warmachine/Iron Kingdoms name out there again, because it's still my favourite damage system of any wargame/RPG. Each character has a DEF stat and an ARM stat. Sneaky little ninja bastards have high DEF and low ARM, while giant stompy monsters have low DEF and high ARM. Attack rolls are 2d6 + MAT/RAT vs DEF, and if you beat the DEF, it's a hit. To roll damage, you go 2d6 + POW vs ARM; if the roll + the POW is greater than the ARM, that means that the character has taken (2d6 + POW - ARM) points of damage. This means that DEF is much more binary than ARM; if you have a high DEF and a low ARM, you're very difficult to hit but you'll get wrecked when someone rolls a lucky double 6, whereas if you have a low DEF and a high ARM, you'll be an easy target but you'll only take a couple of points of damage per blow.

The health system in Iron Kingdoms is also rather good; as written it isn't really set up for customisation, but you could modify it so that it was. I'm going to focus on the system as it applies to warjacks (robots) instead of the slightly different system that living creatures use. A warjack has a 6x6 damage grid, although only the most powerful warjacks fill every square of that grid (i.e. most warjacks have less than 36 health boxes). A health box can be either empty (a "hull" box) or contain a letter (a "system" box); as a general rule, the boxes at the top of a column are hull boxes and system boxes are found towards the bottom. When you take a hit, you roll a d6 to see what column you've been hit in, and you start marking boxes down that column. If you fill one column, you skip across to the next available column to the left, or loop back around to column 1 if you just filled column 6. When every system box has been marked, that system is disabled, and the warjack loses special abilities tied to that system; for example, if a weapon system is disabled, the warjack takes a severe penalty to attack and damage rolls with that weapon, while if the movement system is disabled, the warjack can no longer run or charge. When you repair a warjack, you can choose any box to repair from, so the obvious thing to do is to repair critical systems first; the warjack is only out-and-out destroyed when every single box has been marked.

Now, in the Iron Kingdoms RPG, you don't have a lot of scope for customising a warjack's health grid. The only thing you can do in the rules as written which changes the shape of the grid is bolting on an Arc Node, which adds two extra boxes to the 3rd and 4th columns for the arc node's system -- and arc nodes are only useful to certain characters, so not every character-and-warjack team is going to bother with one. However, if you changed the core workings of that system so that every part you changed modified the shape of the grid, then you might be onto something.

SpammyV wrote:7: The pilot abilities in the game should be represented in the game. Pilots should be able to upgrade as well during the campaign, improving themselves as well as their robots.


This shouldn't be too difficult to do. Your character's final stats should be based on a combination of your pilot and your mech. Some stats are based on your pilot and your mech only provides a small bonus/penalty (e.g. accuracy, morale), while other stats are calculated the other way round (e.g. defence, armour).
User avatar
mwchase
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby mwchase » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:24 pm

Hm. For morale, should it be tracked per-pilot, or just as a single per-side quantity that locks and unlocks pilot abilities based on the overall level?

Should the system support many-sided conflict, or is a tug-of-war "tide of battle" abstraction workable?

From the robot shows I'm familiar with, I feel like pilots should have an advancement system that keys into some kind of skill that the pilot can use out of the robot, but also influences their abilities with it somehow, like singing, crossdressing (or otherwise violating gender norms)*, using power tools, drinking blood, being intense, just plain actual military skill...

*I don't know how this works. I just know that I don't want to face Tim Curry in a giant robot.
User avatar
SpammyV
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby SpammyV » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:43 pm

@ Ringwraith: Not knowing anything about the world/technology of Armored Core, flying robots aren't genre breaking, especially ones that make weird impossible looking zig-zags and 90 degree turns (after a few comments about that I think that it started as an intentional attempt to copy UFO flight patterns). Unless nothing in the games is supposed to fly and these things are just going at what would be takeoff speed all the time.

@ Supahewok: Thanks for the caution. SRW is a series where numbers in the thousands/ten thousands get thrown around, which obviously isn't going to work in a tabletop game. I don't think that Wargame combat is necessarily bad for an RPG though. I run Battletech using the RPG rules for character creation and person-to-person fighitng, but when people get in their 'mechs we switch to the wargame rules. Personally I don't mind a separation between RPG and wargame rules, especially like in Battletech where there's a clear separation in feel because you're getting in the 'mechs. To each their own, though.

@ Lachlan the Mad: You definitely seem to get what getting pumped in this game should feel like.
1: I might have been accidentally misleading. Because only two of ~20 games have been officially translated a lot of things have alternate translations, so Morale is also known as Will, and sort of functions like a mix of both. Morale isn't directly tied to how long a battle goes, that's a side effect of morale increasing with more attacks and more enemies destroyed. If you do gain morale over time it would have to be very slow. Mooks basically can't use morale already because they don't live long enough. Building up your morale to effectively hit a boss is already a part of it, the big attacks you want to hit a boss with have a morale requirement and bosses usually do gain morale when mooks are defeated, so you need to build up morale to fight them on a nearly equal footing. For simplicity's sake I'm thinking of morale being flat bonuses.

Morale gains would be something that could be customized in character creation. Everybody starts with gaining morale from hitting enemies and killing enemies, and then you can take extra morale gains or losses from things like allies killing enemies, taking damage, dodging an attack, so on. Someone trying to play dodgy could choose to lose morale when they fail to dodge in order to gain extra morale on hitting enemies or successfully dodging.

2: Thanks for mentioning Pokemon, actually. The Pokemon TCG handles things by the tens rather than the ones (compared to Magic). In order to feel big but manageable maybe have large numbers but everything ends in 0 or 5. Also, I hadn't considered an action points system because SRW is a move-attack deal. One thing on the "feeling like a technique" front that I'd been thinking on is that taking a weapon also gives you access to special attacks using that weapon and/or another weapon.

3: SRW also has its own means of weapon stats that I could adapt.

4: In SRW the size chart goes SS - S - M- L - LL. As near as I can tell from the various games: SS is human sized (Iron man). S units are usually 4 meter tall ones. M units are 20 meters tall (Gundam sized). L units are 50 meters tall (super robot sized). LL units are pretty much exclusively battleship sized. The game would most likely be on a grid, so everything would fit inside a space. At most, battleships would be like you say, taking up two spaces.

5: Health is actually one place where I'm willing to sacrifice complexity. SRW games just use straight hitpoints where everything is fine up until 0 HP and your robot falls apart. The game does use the defense/dodge thing though. What would probably be tricky in a tabletop game is getting the numbers on that right so it's not really weighted one way or the other in goodness. Although morale gains can make taking damage you can tank a good thing.

@ mwchase: Pilot traits/hobbies would be something I would love to add into the game. Things that give you more options between missions or let you do some special things during missions. If your character is a singer then they can do a Macross and sing at allies/enemies to raise/lower morale. You might also take points in being psychic to be able to use some weapons. Thanks for reminding me of that.
User avatar
Ringwraith

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby Ringwraith » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:31 pm

SpammyV wrote:Not knowing anything about the world/technology of Armored Core, flying robots aren't genre breaking, especially ones that make weird impossible looking zig-zags and 90 degree turns (after a few comments about that I think that it started as an intentional attempt to copy UFO flight patterns). Unless nothing in the games is supposed to fly and these things are just going at what would be takeoff speed all the time.

No, they weren't genre breaking, just sort showed how wonky that particular game was.
Everything was lightning fast to the point of nearly uncontrollable, and the series was always more in the vein of giant stompy robots with jetpacks, but they were generally still heavy. There was a reason could ditch the legs and go for caterpillar tracks!
User avatar
mwchase
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby mwchase » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:51 pm

So, if the size goes that low, could it be practical to fit sentai stuff into such a framework? (I'm thinking stuff like the new Gatchaman, where it kind of varies between bulky Iron Man suits and exotic tank-sized things.)

Also, sort-of-but-not-really related... (Apologies for the shaky-cam. As it says in the description, that's after the stabilization. Believe me, I feel your pain. EDIT: I feel compelled to make totally explicit: the shakiness in this is worse than in Spoiler Warning.)
User avatar
SpammyV
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby SpammyV » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:25 pm

Size can go that low, but it usually doesn't. Most games don't have units smaller than S. From what I understand it was actually a point of controversy the first time they added in more sentai series (Tekkaman Blade) into a Super Robot Wars game. I brought up the SS thing more to explain what SRW thinks the size of a human in armor is. I don't know how much a fan I am of the sentai type stuff in SRW, call me a purist or fogey.
User avatar
mwchase
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby mwchase » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:16 pm

I don't have an opinion on what that makes you. I just saw the size info and remembered, hey that show was fun (still need to track down the non-incoherent cut of the first season finale...)

In any case, is that square grid, hex grid, or does it matter at this point?

Pondering overall progression... I feel like the shows I'm familiar with, when they ramped things up, did it in geometric or exponential fashion. Now, humans have weird intuitions about growth rates. If we can do stuff with the power levels so that it feels like exponential or geometric growth, but is much more tractable from a bookkeeping and strategic perspective.

On the other hand, some systems are explicitly balanced around exponential growth from leveling, and just assume that all PCs are supposed to be pretty much in lockstep...
User avatar
SpammyV
Contact:

Re: Design/Feel Goals for a Mecha RPG

Postby SpammyV » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:45 pm

So I brought this old idea up with a friend who was streaming a Super Robot Wars game, and he referred me to a homebrewed system made by someone who wanted to run basically the same kind of game that I did. The game in question is Giant Guardian Generation. While I've read the rules I haven't gotten to the point of trying to roll up characters, but I wanted to post a follow-up to this and see how Giant Guardian Generation scores.

1: The Morale System. GGG doesn't intensify battles based specifically on the pilot's morale but with a more general Tension system. As battles go on for longer the Tension level rises, adding a bonus to offensive actions and making things more and more dangerous. However there is room to represent Tension as something more personal as characters can raise or lower their own Tension.

2: Combat feeling more special than attack-defend-attack-defend. GGG scores highly here once you've read how weapons are designed. The pre-generated weapons have exciting names and descriptions which should bleed over if you are making a custom weapon. The attributes that you use to design a weapon all make them unique and tell you what it's like beyond the stats.

3: Weapon restrictions. Not a lot here. Weapons generally only have an Energy cost and some will have a One-Shot quality. You will more define the differences in weapons through flavor than by ammo based/energy based/morale restirctions.

4: Unit scale. Not really in this system. Nothing in the system really defines size and nothing ties into size. So, size is something more that you will define through flavor rather than mechanics.

5: Dodgy v. Tanky. I haven't had any experience with the mechanics to see if one or the other is favored, but both strategies seem to be present. You need to make an accuracy check and then try to overcome the target's armor. It's possible to work to never get hit but be fragile, or to have a poor evasion but focus on taking next to no damage from each attack.

6: Customize at the start or build as you go. Not here. Although if you save up XP you can design weapons or upgrades later in the campaign. The supers vs. reals distinction isn't really represented at all, mechanically.

7: Pilot abilities. Completely in the game. The Spirit Commands from SRW are represented here by Genre Powers. As you improve your pilot you can also improve your mech.

8: Combining robots. Mechanically supported in multiple forms. You can have your mech be like an expansion pack for another mech, and that doesn't require the other person to have the combination quality. Or everyone can have and either combine all their powers into an insanely powerful combination. For those two the non-lead robots have their options limited since they are not in control of the whole unit. The last combination style has the combination changing forms to put each pilot in control on their turn. So there's a lot of options if you and some other players want to emulate a combining robot.

9: Changing feel of combat. I feel this is going to be more down to me as a GM than anything mechanical. Keep the sheets around for the enemies they fight at the start so they see how they compare with end-game upgrades to mildly upgraded mooks and all. Resource conservation looks like it will be always important. I haven't rolled against boss-scale enemies yet to see if it's possible that players are going to need to build up their Tension in order to be able to handle bosses. But that's certainly possible. At the least, building up your Tension will make dealing with a boss easier.

So while GGG doesn't score a 9/9 on this list, what GGG does do and does focus on makes me feel as though this system does have the spirit and the tone that I was looking for.

Return to “Tabletop Games”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest