This thread at Vincent’s blog contains the exciting news of a possible new edition coming out this (Northern Hemisphere) Summer, along with disturbing rumours of rule changes afoot. I’m going to look at some of the implied changes here, and give my take on them.
The Provostian Heresy:
This is the dispicable belief that Spotting and Armour shouldn’t tick down a point, as God intended, but rather that a “zero-point” hit should be counted for the purposes of claiming a spot die. In other words, instead of subtracting one from the value of dice assigned to Spot or Armour, you’d leave them unchanged. If a mech is targeted with an attack that matches its armour, that’s a hit for zero dice, doing no damage, but allowing you to claim a spot die and use those instead.
I’m against it. There seems to be a minimal advantage of simplicity, but at the cost of a huge change in the balance of power. Allowing a 6 for armour is a big deal, meaning that one-on-one, mechs will often be unable to hurt each other. It makes spotting a neccesity. I can see that increasing the effectiveness of Spotting is a good thing, but to my mind, this goes too far. I’ve already found that mechs can very effectively “turtle” when they need to, and a couple of armour attachments can make a mech very hard to hurt. This change will make mechs harder to hurt. You get on average one extra die from the extra spot, but you lose more than that on mechs who fire against armour without a spot. It gives more advantage to sides with more mechs, since they’ll be fighting alone less often.
As demonstrated, I’m all for it. Exciting! I’d want to see exactly how it’s being done, provisions for mechs flying off the table and so on, but it seems like it would add fun and variety. I’m especially loving the rule that you your velocity as a spot die on mechs you enter into close combat with. Mechs ramming each other in space!
Area Effect Artillery:
The rule is like this: Any sixes rolled on the damage dice for artillery also hit any mech within 1 of the target.
I’m not sure about this one. I like the idea of area effect weapons, but I’m not sold on this implimentation yet. I have two concerns: First, the area seems very small. I’m not sure how often this rule will be used. Barring mechs in close combat, or those huddling behind cover, it seems like you’re not often going to find mechs that close together. Second, I’m worried that it’s an easy way to get hits on a well-armoured mech. If the mechs are in cover, shooting a mech’s low-armoured neigbor is a more effective way of damaging the high-armoured mech than shooting it directly. That seems wonky to me.
Extra Movement w/ No Declared Target:
This is an optional rule, allowing mechs who don’t target anything in a round to get an extra +1 to their movement die. This is presented as an alternative to the “green d8 for no guns” rule. On the one hand, I like the idea of getting a bit of extra movement for not targeting anyone. The game can sometimes be a bit static, and this would combat that. On the other hand, you get the weird thing where close combat mechs slow down in the final rush to their target. That seems weird to me. Also, the green d8 for heavily damaged mechs, while it sometimes seems a little weird in the fiction, does lead to some exciting results in the game.
Special Environment Attachments:
This a rule that you can declare some or all of the battlefield a special environment (space, water, radiation or whatever) requiring a special attachments. Mechs without the attachment (either because they’ve lost it in combat or because they were never given one) in the environment roll only one white die.
I’m a fan of this rule, especially the idea of having only part of the battlefield covered by the special environment. That’s going to lead to some interesting tactical choices.
“additional initiative die = extra go (w/ no move)”:
Having read the above, you know as much about this rule as I do. I am extremely skeptical.
I guess my instinctive fear of change is affecting me a little here, but on the whole I’m opposed to changes to the core rules of the game. They work remarkably well as they are, and I’m worried that changes to them will change the dynamic of the game in a not-fun way. That said, I’m excited about a new edition, and looking forward to additional and optional rules.