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Battle Mechs - First Look

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questccg
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Introducing "Battle Mechs"

Hi all... Hamish (HPS74) and I (questccg) have collaborated on a "Pocket Arcade" game that is a Mech simulation. The game features a refined "Pocket Sport" Dice System which was tweaked after a bunch of iterations of the game.

The early Print aNd Play (PNP) files are available to download if you want to have a closer look at the game.

You can download the ZIP (with PDFs and TXT):

HERE (UPDATED v0.7)!

It's a SMALL "filler-type" game where you control three (3) Mechs and you can play solo with the included Mission #1.

Or you can battle it out with an "OPEN" Player vs Player (PvP). Although we have not tested it with multiple players, it is possible to play probably up to four (4) players. The restrictions are table space for all the included "hardware" cards.

If you have a couple free minutes to check it out, we would really appreciate it. Maybe read through the rules or perhaps check out the game in more detail. Either way comments and input are welcomed.

We'd just like to know what fellow "Designers" think of our collaborative effort.

Thank you.

HPS74
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Double the fun

I should chime in here and say it has been a fresh approach collaborating with someone else here on the forum and interesting to see how this started from two different idea & thoughts, and how we chipped away to bring it somewhere in the middle.

Feedback, comments, likes and dislikes is what we're seeking here and I'm glad questccg was happy to post and share the beta mission for some open dialogue from more experienced designer here.

If we can get a good fun working little game from this exercise, I'd encourage more collaboration between the forum members!

As they say, two heads (mechs) are better than one!

questccg
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Some other details

The process to create the game and reiterate took about one (1) WEEK and I just finished off version 0.1 of the game and rules.

It was a lot of FUN working with Hamish considering he had several Dice Systems that he has used for other games.

So we did a bunch of recycling and then we went a little bit overboard with all of the game's "Extras" and trying to make it an EXPANDABLE game not only a "filler-type" game - one you would want to COLLECT...

Yeah that was another of MY constraints: I wanted a game that could fit into the Living Card Game (LCG) genre.

But overall an excellent collaboration (in terms of the result and effort)!

questccg
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Missing information

I realize that I "rushed" the release of version 0.1 of the PNP files and I have since thought to make some corrections based on some of my own observations.

I will update the ZIP package, including the rules, and make the newer version available later today.

Again if you find missing elements or items in the rules documentation, it's because I put that documentation together in about 1 hour. With today's revisions, you should have a better version of the game (v0.2).

questccg
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Update to version 0.2

Hello all,

I've updated some "hardware" and added some missing elements to the rules. One omission was the REWARD (Green) dice. The dice was part of the package, but it was not explained in the rules.

If you picked up the OLD (v0.1) package (ZIP), I recommend you download the newer version (v0.2).

Cheers!

Note: Same files with minor corrections/additions. To confirm what you get in the downloadable archive (ZIP) is three (3) PDFs and one TXT file (rules). The archive is less than 250kb.

questccg
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BGG Entry - to attract more GAMERS

Here is the LINK to our POST on BGG:

BGG Recommendations Entry

We wanted to OPEN up the game to the GAMER community as well as BGDF designers.

We're still very much looking and open to feedback/comments/ideas regarding our game (from Designers & Gamers alike).

Cheers.

X3M
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So... Which one is the

So... Which one is the encounter table?

Maybe re-read your mission manual and make sure the names will guide new players to the correct cards that you have supplied.

HPS74
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X3M wrote:So... Which one is

X3M wrote:
So... Which one is the encounter table?

Maybe re-read your mission manual and make sure the names will guide new players to the correct cards that you have supplied.

Good suggestion X3M....Kris and I will take another look at the files to see how we can clear things up and guide players more intuitively.

The encounter table is the side with table and chart. I'd appreciate any and all folks that have some time to try the game out and assist with feedback.

Thanks X3M!

questccg
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Rules ... need clarification!

X3M wrote:
So... Which one is the encounter table?

The "Encounter Table" is the card with the table on it... There is only one... But I've got to re-work the rules and add clarifications...

This is still an EARLY release of the game.

Hamish wanted feedback from the Community and so far - not too much as far as responses. But thanks for taking the time to download and read the rules. Like I said I will work on "refining" them to add more clarity!

questccg
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Name conflicts

X3M wrote:
Maybe re-read your mission manual and make sure the names will guide new players to the correct cards that you have supplied.

I agree the PNP need re-working. This is just an ALPHA. A *NEW* version of the game's rules. For heaven's sake we need to change the name - there is a video game with the exact same name (http://www.battlemechs.net).

That was doing some more Googling and BGG brought up no hits for "Battle Mechs" so I thought it would be okay to use.

But since there is a Video game already using that name - for now it is only a working name...

questccg
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Update to version 0.3

Hello All,

Following some confusion about the "Encounter Table", I have modified the Mission card to indicate which is the "Encounter Table".

For rules - it's going to take more time... I will start working on them, but it may take a while before I make that update available.

Perhaps by this weekend the new rules will be ready. We'll see...

Note: This is still an ALPHA version. It means that the rulebook and the cards are not final. We will probably rename all the Mechs and "hardware" so that they don't conflict with the Mechwarrior Saga or FASA Corporation.

We don't have a license for their IP and quite frankly, I think we can get by without using their terminology or brand (BattleMechs).

JewellGames
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I will look over it tonight

I will look over it tonight and tomorrow.

HPS74
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Thanks Gregg

Much appreciated - sent you a ping re D8 too.

questccg
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FYI

JewellGames wrote:
I will look over it tonight and tomorrow.

BTW it helps if you have the right colors of DICE as opposed to using 2d6s.

Then the game boils down to something like:

-Roll the Red die
-Roll the two White dice
-Roll the two Blue dice
  -If you roll a 6 (left-most Blue die), roll the Black die

It's an OVERSIMPLIFICATION, but it really is the CORE of the game.

Note: Don't think this came easy. We went through many Dice Systems and iterations before we narrowed it down to these dice. It was a process of playing and trying out. And Hamish was open to try TWO (2) dice combinations which allows us to develop this system...

An example:

We originally had a Mech dice you would roll to TARGET and LOCK on to your enemy mech. Instead we favored the TWO (2) dice system to allow for ALARMs on every roll. If an enemy rolls an alarm, that ends his turn. If you roll an alarm, you have to roll the ALARM (Black) dice!

The two (2) dice system makes the game FEEL more like a game of CRAPs because it has a very DYNAMIC feel... Rolling the two dice adds to the game's excitement... Good rolls or bad ones! :)

An example:

When rolling the two RANGE (White) dice, if you roll SNAKE EYES (2), this is a Mech COLLISION! This of course sets off an ALARM and you hope to NOT get damaged...

The rules need updating for things like FUEL, IF on your turn you want to CHANGE the RANGE between you and your opponent, it costs ONE (1) FUEL to roll the two (2) RANGE dice. Hopefully you have enough fuel for the Mission!

questccg
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My apologies...

For the "poor" rules. Indeed the rules need to be more complete and better categorized into set-up, sequence of play, etc.

My and Hamish's bad for wanting to get the game out within a WEEK of conception. Obviously we wanted feedback and knew that there would be issues with the rules...

But that didn't matter, fundamentally you could still try the game.

However it is true that the rules need some work. I will be working on them soon to try to give them more clear style that even a child could play the game... That's not the goal, but why not have clear and easy rules.

We're not quite sure of the DEMOGRAPHICS for this game. Although the game has DICE, I don't think younger children will want to play - not sure. So there is a question about who is this game marketed/designed for?

questccg
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Rules ... need clarification!

Also has anyone else had the chance to download the archive and check out the rules?

Comments/ideas are welcome. We released this ALPHA because we wanted people to make comments and have suggestions.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the game, rules, artwork, etc.

Thank you.

questccg
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Popularity of the GENRE

There was a point that was brought up in the other Mech thread that I wanted to address. And the point was "popularity" or "over-saturation" of Mech games. To my knowledge there are NOT many Mech TableTop Games. Yes there may be many VIDEO GAMES in the genre but the amount of TableTop Games is rather limited...

Secondly there is probably ZERO Mech games that use dice as their primary mechanic. And since these dice work on probabilities as opposed to only chance, there is quite a bit a difference between this game and a more luck-based game like Yahtzee.

Even with similarities of a two (2) Dice system as we have introduced, it only breeds "familiarity" with more popular Dice games that are roll-and-move or casino style games such as craps.

Therefore there are NO games that DIRECTLY compete with this game. It is UNIQUE even if the theme may be very popular in other game segments or industries. Yes Mechs are popular - but how many do you know that rely on DICE to simulate the game? Probably zero to none...

And so I think our game is DIFFERENT from all those other Mech games... Even if there are similarities with theme - perhaps that's where all the commonality ends.

X3M
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After this weekend, my job

After this weekend, my job takes less time. I will take a look again at this game. Can't do it sooner, sorry.

The mission story is something that has peeked my curiosity. Perhaps I can get some inspiration from it.

HPS74
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Thanks to willing helpers

I appreciate the folks reaching out to lend us a hand....I understand we all have our own designs, lives etc....so anytime to look this over is very much a kind gesture.

I/we will have some better direction on the game as we try a new approach to collaborating via a live Skype playthrough.

Kris and I will do a real time play through...and if it goes well (who knows) a screencast may be the next step.

Obviously we still want the blind playthroughs....but this kind of bug testing is a new thing......for me anyway !

questccg
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Simulation is FUN.

HPS74 wrote:
...I/we will have some better direction on the game as we try a new approach to collaborating via a live Skype playthrough.

Kris and I will do a real time play through...and if it goes well (who knows) a screencast may be the next step.

We (Hamish and I) did a play-through of a game over Skype - and it was FUN. Obviously we are *simulating* Mech battles and the feel of travelling between mission waypoints as we try to detect enemy Mechs.

Some details:

  • The game took 40 minutes to play.
  • We did NOT get to battle the Boss... unfortunately
  • But we did manage to salvage a couple pieces of hardware.

Because of this play-through, we have come up with a USE for POWER: it allows you to use "hardware" in the 9000+ range. Things like Cooling Units or Repair Drones. These could have helped in our first game, now knowing we can take advantage of these facilities on our next game...

Cheers.

Note: The game is NOT easy. We got some "lucky" rolls from Hamish which sped things forwards making it possible to beat the Mission even if we did not fight the Boss...

questccg
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What I LIKE/LIKED

One thing is that the ENEMY Mechs use the EXACT same weapons as your Mech. As such they deal real damage - and well you could lose your Mechs IF you don't play SMART.

Hamish came up with the idea of making the "LR Ion Blaster" do +2 Damage but has only Long-Range capabilities. And so we spent a couple Fuel rolls to try to get in Long-Range distance. And that worked out, allowing us to do 2 damage to some of the tougher Mechs (for this 1st Mission).

It's not like you can just blow through all your enemies. No it takes some thinking, using all of the Mech available to you and using them smartly to make sure you cause damage (and take damage) - but allow them to survive the encounters.

questccg
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Not your average game

From my perspective the game FEELS very much like a "simulation". And Hamish had pointed out "The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43" another solitary game that is a U-Boats simulation. Well obviously that game is a bit more in-depth, but I feel that "Battle Mechs" (working title) has a certain "resemblance".

Although you can play the game SOLO, you can also play CO-OP as we did. And the game actually felt "real"... Our light Mech started taking a lot of damage from the enemy THREATs ... and it's kind of there where the game becomes REAL: you don't want to lose one of your Mech.

We will explore this game further and answer the questions that arise as we test this game into a "beta". If anyone wants to playtest the ALPHA, feel free to download the ZIP Archive with the PDFs from the Original Post (at the top)!

Cheers.

questccg
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Update to version 0.4

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that I have uploaded and made available version 0.4 of the ALPHA. It has some "hardware" corrections for the 9000+ items and a damage change (to give you a better reason to use the Heavy Mech).

Again comments/feedback/suggestions welcome.

If you want to get a copy of the latest version, please click on the link in the Original Post.

Thank you.

Fhizban
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just some random thoughts of

just some random thoughts of mine (I know its a filler game):

first of all: like the mission card layout a lot. I also like the simple and slim design of the whole thing (in regards of mechanics).

some thoughts on cosmetics:

1) update the card layout to the mission card design, that would boost the whole project a lot.
2) do you need the text on the dice at all? a table with results 1-6 would be enough in my eyes. that saves the need of custom dice, makes the game cheaper to produce. it could be played just with regular d6.
3) writing on cards on a filler game is a bit hmm, there is a more elegant solution to this i guess.

final some critique (this is not meant negative):

what I dislike is that you can basically do nothing. there is no decision making besides some hardware upgrades. you just roll and progress, roll again and hopefully progress trough the missions.

dice games in general have this aftertaste that the game is playing you and not the other way round.

again, this is not meant negative - just some thoughts of mine.

questccg
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Limit to what is possible...

Fhizban wrote:
2) do you need the text on the dice at all? a table with results 1-6 would be enough in my eyes. that saves the need of custom dice, makes the game cheaper to produce. it could be played just with regular d6.

Hamish has a source for custom dice that is pretty unbeatable. Even cheaper than standard dice. So the custom dice are rather affordable.

Fhizban wrote:
3) writing on cards on a filler game is a bit hmm, there is a more elegant solution to this i guess.

No writing you use CLIPs. These babies (for now you can use paperclips):

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/slider-clip-red

Fhizban wrote:
final some critique (this is not meant negative):

what I dislike is that you can basically do nothing. there is no decision making besides some hardware upgrades. you just roll and progress, roll again and hopefully progress trough the missions.

Actually because of the DESIGN the rolling is based on probabilities as opposed to sheer luck. But I understand what you mean... The ODDS are in the player's favor to WIN - but if you have to battle every enemy, you are going to be pretty "beat up".

And some of your choices are "limited" in that you can only REPAIR damage at MOST 4 times. And you can only re-position your Mechs 12 times during the mission... So it's not as "simple" as you think. There is a fair bit of strategy involved.

But I understand your impressions: dice = luck. True but our dice are NOT equally likely. 2d6s bring up ODDs.

However you are right that you go from one patrol point to another - this is true. We have other missions - but are keeping those under wraps for now. If you would be able to play a "campaign" and choose which missions you embark upon and maybe play CO-OP (which is FUN) that also adds a dimension. CO-OP players are all on the same side - but in two (2) player CO-OP game you can alternate between who is the player and who is the enemy... Obviously always voting for the player to come out ahead; so to speak.

And again it is a "filler-type" game. I would have loved to make all five (5) missions available from the start. But it's not possible considering packaging constraints. We're already pushing the limits with the "hardware" mini cards adding them to the Poker box.

So remember all this game is meant to fit in a 2.5" x 3.5" Poker tuck box: 7 Custom Dice, 5 Poker cards, 9 Mini cards, 12 clips, 3 cubes, instruction sheet...

We are really "pushing" what is possible...

questccg
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Update to version 0.5

Hi all,

I've uploaded a NEW version of the PNP game (still in ALPHA). This version has "percentages" on the Mech cards so that you can better understand what level your Mech is at in terms of Damage, Heat, Fuel and Power.

I have also began working on the rules. There is now a "set-up" section which explains what Mech you can use and how to set-up the game prior to the start.

If you want to get the latest version, please click on the link in the Original Post.

Thank you.

questccg
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Anyone with any type of feedback?

Was just wondering if anyone has had the time to do a couple dice rolls and playtest this ALPHA? It's really EASY to play, although playing the complete mission can sometimes be a real challenge. We're still discussing matters like heat reduction and new hardware for future missions.

But we'd like to hear from YOU, know what you think, feedback, comments...

X3M
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V0.5

I started doubting myself when I read this:

questccg wrote:
It's really EASY to play, although playing the complete mission can sometimes be a real challenge.

Add up ranges? The 8+11 = 19. No doubt you don't mean that. It always would be above 12.
So I figured, only the 2 dice? But then there is only 1 situation where we can escape.
What happens at 8 to 11? We have the enemy in range? What happens below 8? The enemy has us in range?

Then, what are the enemies? I figured that looking at the mission card. Some # numbers are linked to those weapon cards. But I don't know for sure.

"Program" language doesn't work well for a play-test.
But then again, I might be an idiot right now. So I suggest someone else from this forum takes a look at this game.

questccg
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It's an ALPHA - very, very early release...

X3M wrote:
Add up ranges? The 8+11 = 19. No doubt you don't mean that. It always would be above 12.
So I figured, only the 2 dice? But then there is only 1 situation where we can escape.

Right - escaping is a rare option and in most cases you will want to battle the enemy mech until he is destroyed.

X3M wrote:
What happens at 8 to 11? We have the enemy in range? What happens below 8? The enemy has us in range?

It's just the RANGE: distance between YOU and the ENEMY. If the enemy is too far away, he will re-roll the range dice to be CLOSER (lower value). You can roll the range dice to move further away also (at the cost of one fuel for the mech you want to use).

X3M wrote:
Then, what are the enemies? I figured that looking at the mission card. Some # numbers are linked to those weapon cards. But I don't know for sure.

Enemies are like Drone, Commando, Firestarter, Enforcer, Raven, Timber Wolf. Each enemy has specific weapons (or hardware). You use the weapons to figure out if the enemy is in firing RANGE. If not he will try to close the distance by rolling the RANGE dice. If he is out of range still, he passes his turn. Otherwise if he is in RANGE, he will attack.

The rules need some additional clarifications. Don't be discouraged, it's still an ALPHA game... Very experimental. The part about hardware is not very clear - I agree. I will work on refining that sections so players can better understand the steps.

questccg
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Adding story elements

Following the last playtest with Hamish and I, he said he wanted more "options" to the game... More choices that has to be made. We had this EVENT option which was not really being used (currently) and I thought it could be for expansions.

I took the evening off to ponder on his points and see what I could come up with based on his comments/feedback.

What I put together tonight was "fragments" of the storyline in SIX (6) distinct and equally likely EVENTs. These events change the outcome of the game in some way, depending on luck or choice (again depending on the EVENTs you get).

Each EVENT has a "bonus" that alters how the mission is played. Some more drastic, others more subtle. In any event (pun intended), now there is some storyline that accompanies "Mission #1: Lunar Patrol".

We still have not playtested the latest installment of the game. So I will be playtesting it with Hamish first - to get his thoughts and see if the implementation fits the "itch" he had been looking for.

Once we playtest this version, I will compress and upload this LATEST version for all to download and try at their leisure.

Thanks and cheers!

Note: To me when I look at the "Mission" card and see the numbers, I think of the STORY behind this mission. Ya to the rest of the World they are just NUMBERS. Without me communicating parts or fragments of the story, there is no way to engage the player's imagination and wonder about the Mission.

As such I believe TODAY's exercise of adding some "fragments" of a story may make the game feel better "rounded". It could lead to some visualization about what is happening on that Moon.

We'll see what Hamish has to say when I present to him the revised version with much of what he was asking for - in slightly a different format but still very much close to what he proposed.

Keep you all updated of our progress with this ALPHA.

questccg
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Solo playtest

Tonight I made a solo playtest of the latest version of the game. It turns out that the new version was rather "hard". I battled seven (7) Mechs and when it came to the "Boss", I rolled a CLEAR so he had gotten away! :P

The REWARD system is improved, but some of the "hardware" (H-Ware) needs to be better explained how it can be used. For example the "Basic Cooling Unit" should be able to "cool" any Mech and used X Power for that turn.

Small things like that.

The modified EVENTs never were introduced as part of the game - I never rolled an event, was always rolling DETECTs (which were 50% odds). So I have reduced the DETECTs to 33% and CLEARs to 33%, and kept one THREAT and one EVENT.

That should make the game more fluid and less DIFFICULT when rolling always DETECTs or THREATs. I will apply corrections to make the game "smoother".

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