2006-06-21 : Building your mechs

Any given mech can have up to 4 attachments.

All mechs get 2 white dice.

A movement attachment - 4 legs, jumpjets, swim fins, wings, wheels - is worth 1 green die. You may have up to two movement attachments.

A surveillance/communications attachment - a radio, spotlights, laser pointers, radar, a night-vision scope - is worth 1 yellow die. You may have up to two surveillance/communications attachments.

A defensive attachment - armor, a shield, camoflage, stealth composite surfacing, ECM - is worth 1 blue die. You may have up to two defensive attachments.

A weapon - a chainsaw, a chaingun, a laser blaster, a flamethrower, rocket pods - is worth 2 red dice at a particular range (but notice the optional rule about this). You may have up to 3 weapons - 1 for each range.

One single weapon attachment might include symmetrical parts. "All these rocket pods," like "both these wings," is just one weapon.

A hand to hand weapon is worth 2 red dice at hand to hand range only. A direct fire weapon is worth 2 red dice at direct fire range only. And an artillery weapon is worth 2 red dice at artillery range only.

Here's the optional rule: if a given weapon is plausible at two ranges, you can choose for it to be worth 1 red die each at the two ranges. For instance, you might choose for your submachinegun to be worth 1 red die at hand to hand range and 1 red die at direct fire range. You might choose for your sniper rifle to be worth 1 red die at direct fire range and 1 red die at artillery range. If you have both a submachinegun and a sniper rifle, you could, if you wanted, roll 1 red die at hand to hand range, 2 red dice at direct fire range, and 1 red die at artillery range.

You still may never roll more than 2 red dice at any range.

If you take fewer than 4 attachments, you get bonus initiative dice, 1 for 1 with the attachments you didn't take. These don't count as attachments, they don't count toward your army totals, and you can't lose them to damage.

1-shot missiles and rockets are worth a red d8 at direct fire range. You can fire them as part of any attack at direct fire range. They don't count as attachments, they don't count toward your army totals, and you can't lose them to damage. However, every army must have the same number of 1-shot rockets.

In addition to your mechs, build some obs towers, crashed satellites, command centers, comms towers, supply drops, or something - your stationary assets.


I build a mech with a big ol' crane arm, spotlights, a tough and battered yellow shell, and a manipulator arm holding an assault rifle. It gets 2 white dice for being a mech, 1 yellow die for its spotlights, 1 blue die for its tough shell, 2 red dice at hand to hand range for its bashy crane arm, and 2 red dice at direct fire range for its assault rifle. It rolls 1 initiative die.

I build another mech with combination wings and rocketpack and a walkie talkie on its back. It gets 2 white dice for being a mech, 1 green die for the wings, 1 green die for the rocketpack, and 1 yellow die for the walkie talkie. (It also gets a green d8 for having no ranged weapons, but that comes later.) It rolls 2 initiative dice.

I build a third mech with armor plates, a massive back-mounted cannon, and small rocket pods on either shoulder. It gets 2 white dice for being a mech, 1 blue die for its armor plates, 2 red dice at artillery range for its cannon, and 2 red dice at direct fire range for its rocket pods. It rolls 2 initiative dice.

How many to build?
If you've got 2 players, build 3 stationary assets and 4-8 mechs.
If you've got 3 players, build 2 stationary assets and 3-6 mechs.
If you've got 4 players, build 1 stationary asset and 2-4 mechs.
If you've got 5 players, build 1 stationary asset and 2-4 mechs.

Valuing your army
Count up a) the total number of mechs in your army, and b) the total number of attachments in your army.

Your victory points per asset held starts at 5.
Do you have the most mechs? Bump it down 1.
Do you have the most attachments? Bump it down 1.
Do you have the least mechs? Bump it up 1.
Do you have the least attachments? Bump it up 1.
For ties, nobody bumps.


My army has 3 mechs with a total of 10 attachments.

Let's say that you build an army of 4 mechs, each fully stacked, for a total of 16 attachments.

Let's say that Mitch builds an army of 3 mechs, fully stacked, for a total of 12 attachments.

I start at 5. Do I have the fewest mechs? No, Mitch and I tie, no bump. Do I have the fewest attachments? I do, for a +1. My victory points per asset held is 6.

You start at 5. Do you have the most mechs? You do, for a -1 bump. Do you have the most attachments? You do, for another -1 bump. Your victory points per asset held is 3.

Mitch starts at 5. Does he have the most or fewest mechs? No, he and I tie, no bump. Does he have the most or fewest attachments? No, he doesn't, no bump. Mitch's victory points per asset held is 5.

Now, at the beginning of the game, I hold 5 assets: my 3 mechs and my 2 stationary assets. I start the game with a score of 30 (5x6).

You hold 6 assets: your 4 mechs and your 2 stationary assets. You start the game with a score of 18 (6x3).

Mitch holds 5 assets: his 3 mechs and his 2 stationary assets. He starts the game with a score of 25 (5x5).

If the war's called on account of rain, I win, 30 to 25 to 18. If you want to win, you have to take my score down by taking away my assets, and build your score up by seizing my (or Mitch's) stationary assets.

Unbuilding your mechs
Whenever you take a hit, lose a whole attachment.

Lose the die or dice the attachment's worth. If you lose a weapon, lose both red dice.

Once you've lost all your attachments, the next two hits cost you your two white dice.

Once you've lost your two white dice, you're rubble!

1. On 2006-06-21, Vincent said:

Be glad I'm calling them assets now, even though "assets" sucks hard. I was calling them "happies" before.

"Stationary assets" my butt, though. Maybe I'll choose a story and stick to it, let you all suck up the extra cognitive load of having to substitute.

"For 3 players, make 2 broken down peach trucks and 3-6 mechs."


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This makes...
colin go ""Flags" is traditional"*
AG go "Flags, goals, targets, objectives."
NinJ go "That's Peachjeeps."
NinJ go "Colin, it's easier than that."*
sd go "defendables"

*click in for more

2. On 2006-06-21, Avram said:

"Gear" would kick assets if it was a count noun instead of a mass noun.


3. On 2006-06-21, Jeph said:

Sweet! Mechaton marches on...

The only thing about that post that doesn't jibe with me is the equal rockets thingy. I mean, what if we're playing a three-way battle, and I'm really into rockets, but you and Mitch will have none of it?

Oh, wait, scratch that, a second issue: say you, me, Mitch, and Bill Gates are playing a game. You and I both have 3 mecha and 12 attachments apiece. Mitch and Bill Gates each have 4 mecha and 14 attachments. But because of the ties, even though Mitch and Bill both have the advantage over us two in terms of both mecha and attachments, everyone's still got 5 points per asset all around. Bwuh-zuh?


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This makes...
NinJ go "This gets back to a concern I brought up."*

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4. On 2006-06-21, Vincent said:

I don't care about your equal rockets concern! The simple fact is that disposable rockets don't translate well into attachments at all. I'll let eventual play groups come up with house rules like 3 rockets = an attachment, since whatever rule to that effect I come up with will guaranteed suck for 2/3 to 3/4 of play.

Your 4-way double tie scenario's a problem, though. I'll think about it.


5. On 2006-06-21, anon. said:


Would it make sense (i.e. not break the game) to make Missiles another thing you count most-of/least-of for scoring purposes?  That's the first thing that sprung to my mind.



6. On 2006-06-22, Vincent said:

Stations! I'm going to call them stations. Build 3-6 mechs and 2 stations.

Thomas, the only rule that makes sense to me across the board is, every army gets the same number of 1-shot rockets. If you want to count them for victory points instead, please do - that might work really well under your local conditions.

One of the invisible constraints is that 1-shot rockets are expensive, in terms of Legos and real money. I've never seen a rocket design that requires less than like 45¢ worth of parts. The best looking ones are 75¢ to $1.00! Add even two dull-looking rockets to your mech and you've increased its real-world price by 25%.

Consequently, I don't expect "but I WANT to field 6 rockets per mech" to come up all that often.


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This makes...
go "What are you counting as a rocket?"*
NinJ go "My favorite Big Missile..."*

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7. On 2006-06-22, Vincent said:

Oh hey I hadn't thought of using that little dome piece from a gear shift.

How'd you attach them? Just plug them in on a plate, I guess.

Because yeah, those'd be cheap enough. I'll build some and see what I think.

I bet they look GREAT. Cool.

My favorite is a 1x1 round brick on top of a 1x1 round brick with fins, with a gray lightsaber hilt out the back. My second favorite is all penisy - a cone then a goblet then a round brick with fins. Those're the ones they're including in Exo-force sets.

Unfortunately, the round brick with fins, the gray lightsaber hilt, and the goblet are all pricey pieces.


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This makes...
Matt S go "Goblet envy"*

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8. On 2006-06-22, Vincent said:

RE valuing your army, J marginalizes: I think there should be an algorithm, instead of "whoever's got most" and "whoever's got least". Maybe, like, (mecha + (attchments/2)), rounded up. Or something.

Totally not gonna happen. 1) It'd have to invert - more mechs and more attachments means fewer points, not more - and that's just irritating math. 2) It'd have to return a number from 3 to 7 anyway - just plain not enough possible results to make irritating math worth the effort. 3) It'd have to scale with the maximum and minimum army sizes.

In short, why go through the grief of "for three players, your victory per is 12-(6+mecha/4+attachments/10)" when the outcome is going to be that, barring weird ties, the biggest best army's worth 3 and the smallest weakest army's worth 7?

I ask "why" rhetorically, not because I care to entertain any answers. The whole problem goes away when I change the rule to "in case of ties, everyone tied gets the bump."


9. On 2006-06-22, Ninja Monkey J said:

Yeah, good solution. I knew the algorithm was gonna be too weighty, but I wanted to see a solution.

... brain simulation has confirmed.


10. On 2006-06-24, Matt S said:

Oh man! I built my first Mechaton figure today. It's a brute. I'm not sure it's the proper size for play. I meant for him to be a bigger mech called a Cerberus—on account of the three massive cannons over its back. It also has some nasty four-pronged claws. I think he'd be stated out like this:

Wish I had a digital camera! Argh. The figure is built almost entire from Exo-Force pieces. Where can I get software to do schematics? Anyway ...

0624 Cerberus I

White Dice: 2
Red Dice: 2 Hand-to-Hand, 2 Artillery
Bonus initiative dice: 2

I think the Cerberus II needs some kind of armor pieces that could be removed, and hence get blue dice. Also, maybe figure out a way add some range finders or some such on his front torso (he's a pretty squat little guy).

My next one's going to be all about penisy missiles! Already figured out a way to mount three of those goblet-missiles on just a few tidy piecs. It'll practically fall over from the weight, but man will it rock.


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This makes...
Matt S go "Dragonfly"*
NinJ go "Pictures, man! Pictures!"

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11. On 2006-06-24, Jeph said:

Check this baby out:

The boosters on the back give him a green die. The pistol in the right hand is two red dice at direct fire range, and the sniper cannon in the left hand is a pair of red dice at artillery range. The army he's in has two other mecha built on the same chassis: one replaces the sniper cannon with a shield (blue die) and the boosters with some massive rockets (two red dice at artillery); the other replaces the pistol with a flame thrower (two red dice in close combat) and the boosters with an antenna on one shoulder (yellow die) and a pair of big missiles on the other.

Then the army's got two of these:

Each of the huge armor plates protecting the flanks gives a blue die, for two total. The eye and antenna give in a yellow die, and the cannon is two red dice at direct fire range. I figured it was too heavy for the four legs to give it a green die.

For one-on-one, the army can also field two other mecha that I can't work up in Bricksmith 'cuz they've got some MegaBlocks pieces. They've got a tripedal chassis, with two big missiles on the right arm and a sniper rifle (two red dice at artillery range) on the other.


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This reminds...
VB of LeoCAD
VB of Bricksmith

This makes...
Matt go "Link me!"*
Jeph go "A program called BrickSmith"*

*click in for more

12. On 2006-06-30, Uriel said:

Very nice rules. So if you have sensors, lets say an antenna and a spotlight, each worth one yellow die, this would count as two attachments? So in essence is the same rule as before; 7-your dice = your initiative?
I really like the bump mechanic for valuing your army. I wold be nice to see how this affects build strategy. Knowing how many mechas and attachments your opponent will field could be a very good advantage here.

Just so you know there are about half a dozen guys here in Sweden who are eagerly awaiting a complete set of rules to play with. We're building armies, which in itself is so much fun it's a pastime all by itself, but we want rules. We've played short games with the old Mechaton rules, but since we know there are better rules we're mostly just sitting here twiddling our thumbs, waiting and waiting...

My mechaton army

Mostly built by newly aquired bits because my old childhood pieces had almost zero mech potential. Notice the little guy in the middle; I've ordered parts for 5 of those in tan with a different head which is basicaly a forward facing round brick with a 1x1 round plate, giving it a more HAL-9000 look. I just think it's cute.

If you need playtesters you need not look further!


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This reminds...
VB of link!

This makes...
Uriel go "botched linking"*
FSF go "Nice"*

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13. On 2006-07-02, NinJ said:

Hooray for the artillery Fuchikoma!

If you have five identical dudes, you'll have a hard time telling them apart on the table. I recommend getting some of these.

They come in 1 through 4 and 06/90. There are also letters including the Angstrom (which Anyway can't render for some reason)!

Flags might be good, too. I love flags.


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This reminds...
NinJ of Letter link

This makes...
Uriel go "decorated tiles are cool"*
NinJ go "Yeah, I don't know of any such things. There are some in black, though."

*click in for more

14. On 2006-07-03, Uriel said:

The guys at the FLGS wants me to bring my mechs and stuff for a game tomorrow, my first afternoon off work for ages. Possibly because I talk about it all the time. So I got one of the big (BIG) tables with some really beatiful canyon scenario booked and hopefully some people to play with. But there are two problems:

They only have Warhammer terrain and I have no Hex map. I figure it's playable anyway with 1 move = 2 inches. It'll be worth trying anyway. But is there anything I need to know of that won't work using a more free map?

The slightly bigger problem is my lack of rules. I've got the old old rules and various snippets of the new and improved rules scattered around. But I feel very lost in putting it all together, especially since the new rules makes assumption about things that aren't explained. For example I think the change to Hth, Direct and Artillery range are great, but I have no idea how long they are.

Vincent or NinJ, do you have material for new rules that I could have a sneak peak at other than what has been posted here already?
I really want to sell this game to these people and since they are all hardcore miniature gamers I think they'll provide valuable feedback. Hopefully they'll like it too.

On another note I got all my brothers old lego that he had lying at our parents basements. With some hinges I can easily build atleast 10 new mechas out of those. Too bad it's mostly blue though. It doesn't give me a very military vibe (when did you last see a blue tank?).


15. On 2006-07-03, Ninja Monkey J said:

Blue's awesome!

I don't think the rules are really compiled yet, but here are some quickie answers:

For hexless play, make a measuring stick out of Lego axles or whatever. 4 dots is 1 hex. Make them hinged so you can measure different lengths and around corners. You'll never need one longer than 24 dots total.

If you make it 5 dots/hex, you can just count the end of the hinge and use click hinges to measure easily.

HtH range is whatever you set it to be. We usually make it 1 hex distance. That is, there can be one hex between mecha for them to fight.

Artillery range is "anywhere on the field".

Direct range is usually 10 hexes, but that's up to you. It kinda depends on the size of the table, actually. You want HtH to happen ??? it's exciting! ??? so don't make Direct too long.

Here's another one you're probably missing: the new cover rules. I won't go into it now, but check in on previous Mechaton threads. Someone did a recap, if I recall.


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This reminds...
Uriel of todays mechas

This makes...
Uriel go "Thanks!"*
FSF go "Love that one in the lower left"*

*click in for more

16. On 2006-07-03, Vincent said:

I'm working frantically on a document for you!


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Uriel go "Thanks!!"*

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17. On 2006-07-03, Vincent said:

Re Uriel's mechs: my favorite part is the arrows on the blue guy. "Do not get confused!" they say. "This side up!"


18. On 2006-07-04, Vincent said:

Here's the design I've been playing with most recently:

I've built several along these lines but not this one precisely.

2 white for being a mech; 1 green for four legs; 1 red at HtH + 2 red at direct + 1 red at artillery, using the optional rule on those two gats; 1 blue for being frickin' large (I'll call those 1x3 plates on its legs armor); plus the three 1-shot rockets.


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Uriel go "Wicked!"*

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19. On 2006-07-04, Vincent said:

Did somebody already link to these Tachikoma?


20. On 2006-07-04, Ninja Monkey J said:

Those Tachis are cool!

How do the gats get 5 dice?


21. On 2006-07-04, Vincent said:

Ha ha! 1 + 2 + 1 = 4. The gat on the left gets 1 HtH + 1 direct, the gat on the right gets 1 arty + 1 direct.

The optional rule lets you split a gun's two red dice between two ranges. 1 + 2 + 1 is two split guns overlapping at direct range, and it's sw33t.


22. On 2006-07-05, Ninja Monkey J said:


Why is it sweet? Doesn't it encourage generic gun makery? I mean, look in this example: the guns look exactly the same, are built the same, but one has longer range than the other.

Make one long and pokey and I'm with you, I guess.


23. On 2006-07-05, Tris said:

Makes perfect sense to me - they are 2 guns that are best at medium range, but work okay at long and short range.


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This makes...
Uriel go "what if..."*
NinJ go "You lose the dice from whichever one you lose. It's your choice as target."

*click in for more

24. On 2006-07-05, Vincent said:

Tris: right on.

Uriel: since you decide what you lose when you take damage, you just decide which. Like, you're fielding that mech and I do damage to it - you get to decide whether to lose 1 HtH + 1 direct or 1 direct + 1 arty, same as always.

J: instead of thinking of it as two guns, think of it as a single massive gun system built using the rules for two guns. It gets 4 dice, takes up two attachment slots, provides two hit points, but in the fiction it's one mega-gun.

Imagine it unloading the same truly heinous bulletage at you no matter what range you're at, it's just that at artillery range they spread and at HtH you're in their blind spot. Then say you smack it with a hammer and break its aiming computer - now it's all blind spot: just as good as it ever was at HtH range, crappier than it used to be at direct range, useless at artillery.

Or you smack it with a hammer and break its ammo feed - now it can't unload heinous bulletage, it has to do little bursts and rely on its targetting: it's useless if you're in its blind spot at HtH, crappier than it used to be at direct fire, but still functional at arty.

That's why it's okay with me that the two guns look the same.


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Uriel go "I knew that"*

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25. On 2006-07-05, Vincent said:

Oh and why is it sw33t! I forgot to say why.

It's sweet because it preserves one of the tradeoffs you used to have before every gun gave you 2 dice. Given that I'm putting two guns on my mech, I can either do two ranges well, or I can do one range well and two ranges half-ass. Half the time when I play I'm really glad to have made the decision I did - when I spread 'em thin and then that mech gets into fights at all three ranges, for instance - but half the time I wish I'd focused instead.

Here's another related trick. Say this:

The gat on the left gets 1 HtH + 1 direct. The gat on the right gets 1 HtH + 1 direct.

Now when I take damage, instead of losing a range altogether, I knock both ranges down to half-ass.


26. On 2006-07-05, Ninja Monkey J said:

Totally grokked.


27. On 2006-07-05, Vincent said:

Yeah, but lord you know I love to pontificate.

So, um, you sure you're all set? I can't lecture you some more? Even a little?


28. On 2006-07-05, Ninja Monkey J said:


Look at this guy's Tachikoma instead. Ignore the photo quality and check out how much it's like a Vincent Made It mech.


29. On 2006-07-05, Vincent said:




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