Sunday, June 01, 2008

Robot Warfare

I have just published a little set of wargame rules for miniatures. Not published in the "going to a publisher" sense of the word but rather in the "posting the details on my web site" sense.

I've had a hankering to play Battletech with my son for a long while, but have been afraid that the rules would proove a little too slow for him. Also the cardboard stand ups I have for the game are a little uninspiring.

So I spent a few weeks keeping my eyes open for some minis to use in a game I would devise that would give me my Battling Robots fix.

EBay came up trumps. A seller specialising in all of the cheap tat, that passes for toys at the cheap end of the market was selling a set of plastic robots. These are not Battletech minis which I had found to be too expensive even second hand. These are unbranded low quality plastic. Just what I needed.

They are about the right size and just fit into a Battletech hex. However following suggestion from a BGG user I broke out my Heroscape : Rise of the Valkyrie set and built up some interesting terrain. The robot minis actually fit better onto these hexes.

Then I had to come up with some rules.

I wanted only D6's. I like games that use simple dice, A throwback to my Traveller RPG days I guess. So 2D6 was going to be my "To Hit" mechanism. That decided I built a quick table giving to-hit numbers based on range. Then I threw in modifiers for a couple of circumstance.

Looking at the collection of Robots I realised that many had no ranged weapons at all, and relied upon a simple sword. So I needed close combat rules as well. 2D6 opposed rolls came to the rescue!

I specifically wanted to use these rules with my son and I remembered the crestfallen look on his face once when we played risk. I went first in the first turn and launched a whole bunch of attacks. He was totally depressed by the wave of success I had. I didnt want that effect to happen in this game.

So I started having a game where players took turns to activate one robot to move or fight. Incidentally, I was using action points, 3 action points for the robot to use when activated.

I test played these rules myself and realised that there was a problem. With only being able to activate one robot at a time there would be a tendancy to only use one robot until it died and then move onto the next robot. That would give me no tactics to mention.

I revised the rules to allow a player to activate two robots on a turn and I also gave the robots an additional action point because the test play had revealed that turns were very very limited.

So then I was ready. I called my son in he got excited at the look-of-the-thing and we set to.

Or rather he set to. I limped slowly into the general region of "to". With six robots each he hammered me 6-1

Take a look at the rules

1 comment:

scrapyardarmory said...

Not bad rules, quick and easy.

If you are looking for quick play and inexpensive figures, you may want to take another look at Classic Battletech.

The Intro Box Set contains 24 plastic miniatures and quickstart rules for only $40.

The quickstart rules are a simplified version of the full game. Basically, no internal structure or heat. Best part, the rules are a free download at the CBT leap page: