Mobile Frame Ship Zero: High Seas (pt.1)

One of the great things about a simple, elegant rules system like Mobile Frame Zero is that it lends itself so well to other applications. I’ve seen people talking about using it for fantasy battles a la Lord of the Rings; spaceship combat; modern military combat. One thing I haven’t seen, however, it using it for naval warfare.

Escort CarrierThis line of thinking has been inspired by a number of wonderful microscale Lego ships such as those scattered about this article. Most of these aren’t much bigger – or more brick intensive – than your average MFZ frame. Ships also lend themselves to the attachment based system of MFZ: close in defence systems (melee weapons), gun turrets (direct fire weapons), missile launchers (artillery weapons), radar systems (spotting), hydrofoils (movement), and so on.

This article is purely a set of preliminary thoughts and ideas on how you could play naval games using MFZ. I’ve not yet played any sea-based games, nor have I thought about it all in great depth. These are mostly musings that I hope to develop on over time.

Shipyard x2One of the first things that sprang to mind is that out in the open ocean, there aren’t any handy buildings available to hide behind. This lack of cover could and would change the game an awful lot. So, why not kludge things so that you can have cover to sit your ships behind: rocky islets; shipwrecks; oil drilling platforms; coastal installations; sea fortresses, and so on. It’s not a perfect solution, but one that might serve the required purpose. The main thing is, it would look cool and keep lots of the stuff that makes the game so interesting and fun to play.

Light CruiserAn area that is much easier to map over is – as mentioned above – attachments. I’d imagine them being a simple change of definitions:

Close combat weapons = CIWS systems, short range guns, boarding parties, etc.

Direct fire weapons = usual forms of naval gun, short range missiles, rocket launchers, etc.

Artillery weapons = hyper long range guns, medium and long range missiles, airstrikes, etc.

Spotting = observation planes, radar systems, drones, etc.

Movement = huge funnels representing big engines, hydrofoils, hovercraft, etc.

Defence = armour plate, chaff launchers, CIWS systems,. etc.

All of these would make attachments easy to identify and offer enough scope for fun building.

One thing that wouldn’t happen would be the addition of white dice to represent larger/smaller craft. As the MFZ rulebook notes, this is a VERY BAD thing to do as it makes changes that cascade through the entire game. Sticking with the basic system allows a lot of variation for type and role of ship, e.g.:

Battleship: 2 blue attachments, 2 direct fire attachments

Aircraft carrier: 1 blue attachment, 1 yellow attachment, 2 artillery attachments

Destroyer: 1 green attachment, 1 yellow attachment, 1 red direct attachment, 1 red close attachment

Motor gun boat: 1 green attachment, 2 red close attachment

More to come in the future, I would imagine.


One thought on “Mobile Frame Ship Zero: High Seas (pt.1)

  1. Cameron Mount

    You just broke my brain. I love Naval wargaming, and now I must try to build some of these to play at home.


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