Tag Archives: simon

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!



I finally got around to taking photos of some of the ships we used in the last Spaceaton game. 

The Human Improvement League build elegant, ghostly ships using their advanced technology.  Each ship is controlled by a single implanted brain, a member of the League who has trancended their physical body.  The League’s pilots are some of the best in the galaxy – unsurprising since they literally live in their ships.

The Poisson Belt is one of the few genuine frontiers left in the galaxy.  This maze of asteroids, dust clouds, and nebulae has resisted amalagamation into any of the large factions, and its population of miners, outcasts, criminals and pirates exist almost without laws.  Ships built in the belt tend to be clunky and inelegant, but they get the job done.  Many factions hire privateers from the belt to suppliment their own forces.



More Adventures in Space

This weekend saw Richard and I embark on another adventure into the world of Mechaton in space, or “Spaceaton” as I’ve rather unfortunately taken to calling it. 

Our chief change to the rules thus far has been the use of “vector movement” indicated by a couple of d8s at the base of each ship, and the use of different sizes of ship, from one-white-die “Corvettes” to giant three-white-dice “Dreadnoughts”.  You can read more about our first space-foray here.

This time around, we were trialing another departure from the core Mechaton rules – torpedoes.  Both Richard and I are fans of the old GW game “Battlefleet Gothic” (despite its failings), so when Malcolm suggested torpedoes that actually stay on the table and take several turns to reach their targets, we were right on board.  Torpedoes work like this: Instead of declaring a target, when you roll dice you can try to launch torpedoes instead.  Each Torpedo Tube attachment gives you a single red die for the purpose.  Once you’ve rolled, you can assign a five or a six either from white dice, or from your red dice, to launch a torpedo.  Only fives and sixes count – you either launch a torpedo or you don’t.  You place torpedoes at direct fire range away from your ship.  At the start of the next turn, the torpedo gets an initiative die.  On its initiative, the torpedo travels 2d6 towards the nearest enemy ship.  If it hits the ship, it counts as a “six” hit against that ship.

So how did it go?  First, let me outline the battle.

The Free Worlds Confederation – a plucky alliance of planets independant of the Whole Galaxy Empire was escorting a cargo freighter and a ship full of refugees to one of the more far-flung free worlds.

But they were ambushed by a patrol of Red Faction Corsairs!  The dastardly Red Faction is always doing the Empire’s dirty work, when they’re not themselves preying on the Empire’s shipping. 

My Confederation ships were pretty comprehensively beaten by Richard’s Corsairs.  I foolishly sent my corvette off in a mad plan to sneak behind the enemy and capture their long-range sensor platforms.  The plan failed when I foolishly engaged in a firefight with one of Richard’s cruisers, rather than drifting on past.

From there, his Dreadnought continued its slow drift towards the rest of my fleet, and obliteration was inevitable.  Still, it was a fun game.  Torpedoes added a fun and random element, where you were never sure if you’d get the initiative to speed away from the torpedo before it impacted with your ship.  I think some provision for shooting down torpedoes might be in order.  This would encourage teamwork more, and give another role to the otherwise puny corvettes.

Next time we’ll be trialling rules for fighters – allowing ships to act as carriers.  We’re still working on the rules, but I’m being drawn towards a modification on the current one-shot-rocket rules.

Tiny Violence

I was very impressed with Mr. Buildy, by Mǝmory, which was posted along with a bunch of other neat little mechs over on No B.S, Just A.B.S. I decided to have my own crack at the build, substituting some heavy weaponry for building equipment.  Here’s what I came up with:

EDIT: I don’t know what’s making these photos look like ass in IE.  They look fine on the flickr page.

Campaign: Third Battle

To refresh the memory, you can check out the campaign backstory, campaign map, campaign goals, the account of the first battle and the account of the second battle before you get started.

This was the battle where I get the criteria and decided that it would take place at the spaceport held by Richard’s off-world mercenary forces. There would be a restriction in place that no artillery could be used because of the sensitive nature of the site. The special objective was a newly arrived senior mining engineer, sent by the corporate employers of the mercenaries. So, the objective multiplier would be Mining x1.

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Rules Changes – Threat or Menace?

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.

Vector Movement:

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.