2007-09-13 : Mechaton campaign: battle 5 setup

Here's Emily setting up the next battle:

Okay, it's going to be security and enforcement. The Rasili, ahem, liberators have decided that the impotent Tarkut regime is unable to protect their own people from the Paktali dogs, so they are declaring martial law. Citizens now must observe curfews, and a military occupation commences in force.

The battle will take place in the capital city during rush hour. The streets are crawling with peace enforcing mechs and vehicles. Civilians are everywhere, as are buildings and civilian vehicles in this prosperous and populous city.

The objective is the parliment building. The Rasili have taken over its security. The Tarkut feel they should be protecting it. And, of course, the scurilious Paktali want to DESTROY it.

The parliament building in question is the little green legislative office in the center of the map, right across the street from that one red touchdown facility.

J and I have to field tiny little armies of 3 mechs each. Em can field whatever she wants (and I presume she's going to field 6, to match the two of us put together). Em, all we still need is, how many 1-shot rockets?

If Emily takes this Security & Law Enforcement multiplier, she will decisively end my maybe-I-can-win-at-least-one-after-all comeback. This battle is extremely high stakes for me, and to be frank I'm a little stressed out about it. Picture me (as Minister of Glorious Prevailance) pacing behind my desk, grinding my pipestem into shreds between my teeth, giving istructions to and receiving reports from my secretaries and team chiefs with this emotionally truncated efficiency.

Occasionally, though, I remember that I still have that guy chained to a wall underneath a warehouse somewhere, and that makes me relax a little. Something to look forward to, even if I'm on my way out.

1. On 2007-09-15, Vincent said:

My army is all built and ready. Let's schedule.

My army has a secret weapon which will prove once and for all that I'm the legitimate law enforcement body in Tarkut City. It doesn't give me any dice but when you see it you'll totally admit defeat and retire from battle. It's: flashing bulklights. No copying!


2. On 2007-09-17, Vincent said:

Emily says in person: 3 1-shot rockets each.


3. On 2007-09-21, Kilodyne said:

Ive been reading the campaign notes recently.  While I???m extremely jealous that I???m not able to participate in this campaign, I???m beginning to realize that, in my opinion, there???s a little something missing from the campaign as its being played.

After reading through the campaign notes a couple more times, I think I???ve figured out what that something is: campaign level resources.

Currently, aside from some fantastic role play to create the backstory, the only thing tying each individual battle to the next is a running total of points. In my opinion, what makes the idea of a campaign so appealing, is the opportunity to macro manage resources, to choose how to assign those resources to individual skirmishes, and the concept that the results of one battle affect start of another.  Again, in the current campaign, all of this occurring only within the realm of role play.

Mechaton, by its design seems to embrace the idea of simplicity, and it campaign rules should be no different. I don???t claim to have a perfect solution, but one idea that did come to mind would be to make your campaign victory points worth something at battle setup.  For example, you might blackmail some Space Port executive, sacrificing a few Society and Conscience points for the delivery of an extra oneshot rocket. Unfortunately, I can see this idea drifting farther and farther from simplicity as you try to determine the appropriate cost for each resource.  The idea though, is to create a structure where players can sacrifice points they???ve already obtained in an attempt to ensure the next victory.  Sacrificing too few points will not give you the resources you need for victory, and sacrificing too many points will not give you a return on your investment.

Maybe I???m in the minority and this is not the way Mechaton campaigns need to go.  Vincent, do with this idea what you will. I just thought that is was my duty as a fan of the game to help it develop into the best game possible.

Oh and I???m still waiting for 2 of you to get together and have 2 simultaneous battles fought sequentially works out. 8 mechs averaging 3.5 attachments split any way you choose between 2 battlefields without revealing beforehand how the mechs are split.  Maybe its just me, but that sounds like gold! :)


4. On 2007-09-23, NinJ said:

Kilodyne, you've just described a death spiral mechanic. The more I win, the easier it is to win next time, which gets me more resources for next time...

Perhaps more importantly, though, the very point of Mechaton is the "build your guys" philosophy; that is, you build your guys, show off what you've got, and use it. You don't have outside resources that you use to build them; you build your resources on your robots ??? they *are* your resources. (As well as your turns as a decision maker on the strategic level.)

Because we get to choose the arena of combat in a circle, though, we get to make strategic decisions. We look at our scores, figure out what we need and what we don't want others to get, and make the next battle about that.


5. On 2007-09-24, Vincent said:

Hey Kilodyne, let me tell you a little about my vision. In my head there are three different Mechaton campaign games.

The first is the one we're playing, which is designed and done. It'll be in the game book by this winter.

In the second, at the start of the campaign you'll design your whole campaign army on paper. There'll be some minimum and maximum for army size, I'm guessing 15-24 mechs or something. Anyway, in each battle you field mechs from your campaign army, and if they're damaged, they're damaged for the rest of the campaign, and if they're destroyed, they're destroyed for good. I figure this'll be the one that scratches your long-term resource-management itch.

For that game, I've been thinking about how to repair or replace mechs between battles, and your idea of linking it to spending victory points is very interesting. Thank you!

In the third campaign game, you'll have named pilots, probably with special abilities, and the campaign will be all about what happens to them individually. I haven't thought much about this one yet.

Now, at the minimum, each of the three has to be fun to play on its own. But it might be possible to play any two of them or all three of them together - so that you'd have the three victory categories with multipliers, PLUS you'd list out your campaign army in advance, PLUS you'd have named pilots with special abilities. I'm not certain that'll be possible, but if it is, sweet!

So, there's the plan.

Oh and if you or anyone else comes up with cool campaign rules, I'm psyched. Tell me all about them.


6. On 2007-09-24, Kilodyne said:

To NinJ:
You do have several valid points.  It is *very* easy to fall into the death spiral trap, but with the proper aproach and some playtesting for balancing, it should not be too hard to avoid. Without hurting my head too much, I can think of 2 main ways to avoid that trap. 1) Create multiple resources in such a way that obtaining resource A makes obtaining resouce B much more difficult. 2) Create a singular resource with a cap on the returns of any investments of that resource.

In my opinion, with the victory points mechanic already in place, option 2 seems to be the way to go.  The idea is that there are a limited number of victory points you can win in each battle, determined by the number of mechs and objectives fielded. if you have a maximum total of 50 points, for example, that you can win in a particular battle, and you spend 40 points in additional equipment, even if you play a perfect game, the maximum return on that 40 point investment is 10 points, however a player that spends only 10 points, doesnt necessarily win the battle but plays well may end up with a 20 point return on that investment.  The underlying theory of this is that a resouce advantage should provide more options for winning, but also make that player more volunerable.  I'm not saying balacing would be easy for such a mechanic, but in theory it should be quite workable.
. HAHA! Since you bring it up, perhaps even *more* importantly than the "build your guys" philosophy you mention, is the freedom to laugh maniacly while you rip apart your oponents prize model and not feel guilty about it afterwards since it only takes him a few minutes to rebuild later!  Seriously though, you are correct about the philosophy of the game.  I was only referring to the mechanics through which the game is played.  Any additions to the Mechaton rules should maintain the same level of simplicity. That's the same reason 3 or 4 demension vector attacks were ixnay'd in the space battle, the level of complexity didnt match the the mechanics for the rest of the game.

I understand what you are saying about the strategic decisions, i really do. My problem is that all the strategic decisions are made in preparation for or during a single localized battle.  I'm looking for a framework for enabling strategic decisions on a war level. Instead of "this battle is for S&C, if I cant win it I have to make sure that Vincent can't" im looking for a way to have decisions like "S&C is very important to me. I'm willing to give up a lot of influence in who wins the next J&E multiplier if i can have a better chance at winning the next S&C multiplier or at least ensure that Vincent cannot win the S&C multiplier".  Does that make sense?

To Vincent:
HaHa! Great news for me! Thank you for sharing your vision. I have given some thought to named pilots as well especially ejection rules. Forcing the player to choose between abandoning the costly mech, its position, and potential remaining usefulness in battle vs saving the pilot, with comparitivly small recruitment costs but hard to obtain expirence, has merit, I think.  My only thought for this was that a pilot can eject with 100% success on their go. If a mech is destroyed a pilot can auto-eject with a success rate that is inversly proportional to the damage done to that mech over the turn. Unfortunately, I havent thought of a good way to model a pilots learning curve yet. Thanks again for sharing your vision. I cant wait to see how the other campaign options develop.


7. On 2007-10-02, Matt Wilson said:

"In the third campaign game, you'll have named pilots, probably with special abilities"

I still think all the individual ground troops should have names, but maybe I'm just dark that way.


8. On 2007-10-03, NinJ said:

*I* think that *cover* should have names, when the cover is people.


9. On 2007-10-04, Ben Lehman said:

I think that the *bullets* should have names. Each one of those spakkity-spakkity shots? A human life.

That's right. I'm that hardcore.



10. On 2007-10-04, NinJ said:

I think we should name every single block. Nay, every single dot on every single block. We should use the Burning Wheel lifepath generator to tell us about their backstories.


11. On 2007-10-05, Matt Wilson said:

Oh, believe me, the blocks and bullets all have names.

Ben and Joshua.


12. On 2007-10-06, Uriel said:

And now for something completely different:

Gun Fleet: a Mechaton mod coming soon.


13. On 2007-10-06, Vincent said:



14. On 2007-10-06, NinJ said:

Are the chips altitude? Ablative somethingorother? What?


15. On 2007-10-17, Uriel said:

Chip = dice.

Not an actual part of the mod, you could play without it, but it makes it easier to see what to roll.


16. On 2007-11-05, Vincent said:

I just Bricklinked a bunch of tan and white bricks for architecture, and a bunch of civilians. Let's play as soon as they arrive!


17. On 2007-11-05, Joshua said:


This coming weekend is no good. Maybe my place, some night next week?


18. On 2007-11-06, Emily said:

Seconded, not the weekend. Though Friday would be fine.

Alternatively, what about next Monday?


19. On 2007-11-08, Vincent said:

Yesterday I received in the mail 30 brightly-dressed people of Tarkut (some assembly required). I have every reason to expect architectural materials sometime in the next couple of days.

Next Monday? Let me check with Meg, but maybe yes!


20. On 2007-11-09, Joshua said:

On reflection, it would, indeed, be crazy to try to play before JiffyCon. I have family here through Monday, so that leaves us Tuesday through Friday. That seems like a slim frickin' chance.


21. On 2007-11-09, Emily said:

Ah, well. Those civilians are safe for another week.


22. On 2007-12-15, Traifan said:

When is game 5 happening?


23. On 2007-12-18, Joshua said:

This Thursday!


24. On 2007-12-18, Vincent said:

I thought Em bagged out of this Thursday. I thought she had something more important to do, although maybe that's code for "I concede utterly! My humiliation is absolute!"


25. On 2007-12-19, Joshua said:

I think we can safely assume!


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