You know, I can’t think of a time when I’ve actually used water in a Mechaton game. Which is odd, because it is such a useful environmental feature. Maybe it’s because of a lack of blue bricks to make streams, lakes and seas. Maybe it’s because of a lack of thought about how to utilise it. Then again, what about a game of Mechaton that doesn’t just use water as an environmental feature, but one that uses water as the environment itself. Mechaton meets The Abyss?
Rules for water-based mechs (or adapting mechs for use underwater) have been discussed before and what I’m about to talk about probably has an immense amount of crossover with not only them, but also with discussions on using mechs in a space environment.
First off, there’s the simple use of water as an environmental feature. I generally take it as read that, like modern tanks, mechs can wade across streams of reasonable depth. In order to do anything more than that (i.e.: to create an amphibious mech), you’ll need to buy a specialised water movement attachment.
The water movement attachment allows you to roll a green die for your mech while in the water. Think of the difference between an armoured personnel carrier that can wade across the stream and an armoured personnel carrier that be launched from a ship five miles out to see and move under its own power to the shore. That’s exactly the difference we’re looking at.
In anything beyond wading depth, a mech without the water movement attachment suffers several disadvantages:
It temporarily loses a white die and loses the use of any movement attachments.
It’s going to start flooding (a water movement attachment also fully waterproofs your mech, for obvious reasons).
If your mech spends longer than one turn in water deeper than wading depth, it is, for the purposes of the game, gone. Sunk, flooded, immobile, good bye, you should have bought that water attachment.
Therefore, it goes without saying that for games that actually take place under water, everyone is going to want the water movement attachment and they effectively take the place of standard movement attachments. Unlike standard movement attachments, however, they are an absolute necessity for everyone.
Now, weapons underwater.
Standard weapons are unlikely to work very well under water. Projectiles will have their range cut drastically. Energy weapons will just act like a big kettle, artillery round will simply land at your feet. Not so good.
For fully underwater games, assume that the weapons used are specialised. I you are mixing it up and combining surface/underwater games, then I’d suggest that both ranged and artillery weapons are limited to a range of three. Likewise, if you use specialised underwater weapon attachments on the surface, then they are also limited to a range of three and underwater artillery can not be used at all.
Note how the different types of artillery become just like normal ranged weapons in the wrong environment. I’d also propose something special for underwater artillery. I imagine underwater artillery to be something like torpedo (whether traditional of the supercavitating, high-speed type) launchers. Here’s a thing: underwater artillery hits the turn after you fire it, regardless of where the target has moved to.
Now, all of this is all very rough and ready and has never actually been tested in play. There is also a complete lack of any thought on the three dimensional aspects of underwater play. Something to return to in future postings. What would be really interesting is a Mechaton game that combines both types of mech and both types of environment. Half the playing area land, half the playing area water, underwater buildings, docks, maybe even some kind of large sea vessel? Interesting.