Monthly Archives: July 2009

War is On!

Last night Malcolm and I met up to fight the first battle in a mini-campaign we’ve been planning for a little while, inspired by Maschinenkrieger mechs.  We’d both built sets of WWI/WWII styled mecha and hover tanks, and I was very eager to pit my little guys against Malcolm’s forces.  My dudes were styled as a WWI Japanese force, with red and white stripes on a grey background, and slightly steampunky mechanical looks.  Malcolm’s guys reminded me more of WWII Germans, with sleek dark grey turrets and a “Walking Tank” look.

For this battle, we tried something a little different from the usual game.  Instead of choosing forces and then determining points, we just decided on a set number of assets for each of us – four mechs and 12 attachments.  This meant that the forces would be dead even, which was an unusual feeling.  Usually in a two-player game your role is very clear: You’re either attacking, in which case you’re trying to pummel the opponent as fast as possible, and take stations, or you’re defending, in which case you’re ticking down the clock as fast as you can, and trying to hold on.  In this game there was much more of a feeling of attack and defence.

The result was a win for me, after a worrying first turn I managed to turn it into a pretty convincing win, but it was a fun game, and I’m looking forward to playing some more games in the same format.




Originally uploaded by chandlerparker

Chandlerparker posted this very streamlined frigate at the tail end of last year, but as we’ve seen aircraft and land vehicles so far today, it seems appropriate to have something that floats.

Bonus reading: games under (and on) the water.


Maikuro Gunner

Maikuro Gunner

Originally uploaded by Fredoichi

Utilising a lovely blend of bright and dark shades, this drone/tank/something by Fredoichi is small in scale but big in character. It could be Ghost In The Shell tachikoma scale, it could be the size of a Challenger tank, it could be even bigger. The design, however, works well within all of those scales.



Micro junk

Originally uploaded by <(Chris B)>

Today we look at some non-mech vehicles.

First off, aircraft. Particularly these neat little designs from Chris B. Scaled nicely for Mechaton, too.

When playing Mechaton in Japan with Simon, we came up with a little rules change when using airborne vehicles. They got an automatic green D8 for movement (for free) but could not hold stations or engage in hand to hand combat. I remember it working rather well. Perhaps we need to try it out again.


This Is Frasier Crane, I’m Listening


Originally uploaded by bermudafreze

I can scarcely believe that we failed to blog this marvellous microscale mech crane from Kyle Vrieze. It was created as part of the Civilian Mecha Contest a couple of months ago and I was astonished by it back then. Who knows why it wasn’t blogged.

Not only is the crane itself a wonderful piece of design, but the presentation – complete with modular buildings – is exemplary. Stuff like this would look great on a Mechaton table, either as scenery or as part of a fighting force. Twin hand to to hand weapons to represent the massive hook being swung at enemies? Movement dice to represent the multipedal design? I’m certainly thinking of building one!


Droid Bodies: The New T-Piece?

When I started buying lego for Mechaton, the pneumatic t-piece was all the rage.  It showed up in everything, its distinctive little hollow ends poking out of every nook of the best mechs, mocking me.  It mocked me because I didn’t have any t-pieces, but I could see that they were fantastically useful pieces.  After all, everyone was using them. 

When I finally got a few (I now have a total of four of ’em!), I felt like my possibilities exploded.  So versatile! They were the secret to getting those really tiny but flexable joints that Mechaton mechs rely on.  Of course, only having a couple of the things really cramped my style.  I had to ration them out, and I I used too many in one mech, I’d be stuck without any for the rest of my force.  Also, since they only come in light greys (and mine are horrible light bley), they seriously limited my colour palette.  Their little hollow ends are also very distinctive, and I found myself tiring of the look they gave a mech.

But all that’s over now.  The cool kids are using droid bodies.  The things are showing up everyehere now, and it seems like they’re required to build anything of any quality anymore.  Their parallel horizontal bars at either end make them perfect for what was before a very difficult joint for lego.  And once again, I’m stuck without any.  Or at least I was until recently! I semi-accidentally acquired some the other day, and I have to say, they live up to their reputation.  They made perfect shins for a little future-WWII Japanese walking tank I built recently.  I am a convert!

Dynamic Destruction

Back in the days of my youth (which recede ever farther with each passing day), I used to play a fair number of SF wargames: Battletech, Dirtside and Warhammer 40,000 to name three. They provided differing levels of fun and different experiences. The 1/300th scale SF armour of Dirtside was always a favourite. One thing they lacked, however, that Mechaton has in spades is a dynamic and changing battlefield appearance.

By ‘dynamic’, I mean that both the terrain and your units change, physically, as the game progresses. Shooting at cover knocks bricks off and scatters them around the battlefield. Hits on mechs blow of weapons, armour, arms and legs. You can see the progression of the battle in the very models you have created to play the game.

Now, this isn’t a very profound or deep statement, but it is something that many wargames, with their carefully crafted terrain and intricately painted models, lack. Not many games allow you to deal a crushing blow to an enemy unit and, at the same time, crush the model ‘neath your victorious palm. This dynamism, the ability to make changes each passing minute and see those changes affect the game in progress is immensely engaging.

I don’t really have much more to say on the subject, really. But, blowing apart Lego mechs is great fun, I think we can all agree.