Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mecha COPS - Session 2

We ended our last session with our heroes half way up the stairs of the Herego building about to start trading shots with heavily armed and armoured bud guys across the atrium.

I opened the session with a bit of a cut scene. Simultaneously the PCs heard screams from the floor above and noise below. Above them and across the atrium a man in a business suit was fighting for his life as a pistol armed bad guy was trying to push him over the glass banister.

The noise from below turned out to be another bad guy, but this one seated in a strange looking mekton. Unlike most mektons which are enclosed this one was open fronted. It was also armed with a strange very large gun that was discharged towards the heroes. It appeared to be a sonic weapon as it made all of the PCs feel sick but otherwise did not hurt them. In these same few seconds their lieutenant spoke over the radio informing them that he was unsure if they had declared a nuclear emergency or not so he was dispatching a road-train with their mektons (the full size mecha, and not the puny road-striker-mecha they had been in so far.).

This was the end of the cut scene, but it allowed me to present the players with a dilemma. People above in trouble and a threat below. I then threw them each a personal flash back to reinforce the split decision thing.

Tanaka was a child walking through a park his dog on its lead, his older cousin holding his hand. Then two large bully-boys slapped the lead from his hand. The dog ran for the lake and the ducks. It jumped into the water but couldn't get out because of the concrete ledge around the water. He ran to the water's edge just as the bullies started slapping his cousin around. He ran back to the bullies and attacked them, and was slapped to the ground for his trouble. The bullies turned on Tanaka and he shouted for his cousin to save the dog...

Yamamoto was in his early mekton training on a road patrol when a burning building caught his eye and he ran that way. At the building he found a woman leaning out of a window screaming for help. She was out of reach of the mekton so our hero piled up some civilian cars and climbed onto them. He could see the room behind the woman was about to collapse, but the woman was shouting to Yamamoto to rescue her daughter, another floor up and another window over. He couldn't reach the girl and the woman's room was about to collapse. He shouted for the girl to jump into his mekton's arms. She jumped...short...

Tylor's flashback took her back a year or two before she joined the mekton squad.She was a sniper on overwatch at a hostage scene. She was watching through a scope as a bad guy threw a civilian against the buildings window and started to swing a knife into his throat...just as her radio alerted her to the fact that the negotiation had gone bad and the villians were going to set off a bomb. In the next window over she could see a bad guy about to press a detonating button. She switched target to the guy with the detonator and fired...

Then the session proper started.

Tylor and Yamamoto took the fight upwards, climbing the stairs and shooting down both the heavily armed men. Tanaka still in his bear-form striker-mekton decided to take on the bad guy down below. He leaped from the stairs plummeting fours floors to pound the mekton below through the wooden floor.

As Tylor and Yamamoto climbed the stairs they discovered the company employees under the guns of a five bad guys. As they took them out Tanaka mauled the mekton driver and used his bear's energy gun to decapitate the last bad guy on the ground floor.

When it was over, ten bad guys and one civilian were dead. Our heroes followed the surviving and handcuffed bad guy to the hospital and put the virtual thumb screws on him. They soon discovered that when they left the Herego building they'd left a nuclear bomb behind! They finally called the boss and declared the nuclear emergency.

They raced back to the Herego building as the population headed for the shelters. At the scene of the previous battle, only the police tape and rubble was left to show that anything had happened. They raced down into the basement.


They smashed through the doors.


They smashed through the inner doors.


Tanaka de-meched and edged into the first room.


Then he saw the corpses in the side rooms.


...and edged into the control room.


After a sharp breath Tanaka burst through the door, bullets blasted all around.


Yamamoto and Tylor took out the two bad guys.


Tanaka took a look at the bomb with its ticking-down counter.


Red wire...or blue




The countdown stopped.

Our heroes returned to ground level but there were no cheering crowds, only Lieutenant Hope on the radio telling them there was a "real" emergency to deal with. One of the planets mega-fauna had broken through the defensive protection and was in the park. They quickly jumped into the police mektons which were sitting on the road train and set off towards the park.

When they reached the park there was a large hole in the wall, but no sight of the mega fauna. They moved carefully into the park and discovered movement under the water of the river. A plasma cannon soon got this winkle out of his shell. A massive snake-like creature erupted from the water and towered over them. They opened fire. The creature flailed smashing one of our heroes across the park into a number of cars. Another thrash opened up a massive hole in the ground as the massive beast collapsed the roof of an underground metro system. The heroes poured in the fire burning up the beast little step by little step until they finally brought it down.

And there ended the session. The PCs have saved the city from terrorists, a nuclear device and a massive mega fauna capable of crushing buildings with a flick of its tail.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

P.A.G. Space Battles - published

P.A.G. Space Battles is two player wargame played with cards laid on a tabletop, each card represents one space ship or piece of terrain.

The Pink Empire and the Green Conglomerate have been at war for centuries with no end in sight. You take control of one these factions, play out your space ships onto the tabletop and seek to DESTROY the opposing force with laser cannons and manoeuvre.

Using a comic art style and an easy-to-learn system P.A.G Space Battles will appeal to the younger player, or the older player just looking for a beer and pretzel game. Games can last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending of the selected scenario and the size of the forces involved.

Five scenarios are included, but you're not limited to just those games. Select your fleets, place down some terrain and battle away in the vacuum!

P.A.G. Space Battles is a print and play game. 7 page rules PDF. 1 page counter sheet PDF. 5 page ship-cards PDF (2 pages of ships, 2.5 pages of terrain, 1 page of card backs)

Currently available from

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Card design for a deck builder

I'm working on a deck builder card game, and have just completed the play testing phase. I've been dickering around with the design of the card for much of the day, and I'm finally narrowing down the final format. As it's a deck-builder game the cards do not have to be used in-the-hand so I haven't had to worry too much about sticking information in the corners of the cards.

It's tricky because I want the art to show through, but still make the cards easy to see and read. A classic design problem. I'm aware that the edges should really be white to avoid the wear issue, but I am otherwise quite happy with where I've got to.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mecha COPS - Session 1

Mekton II cover
Last night we played our first session of a mini campaign of Mekton II, a mecha themed game from 1987. I've had this game for about 10 years and it was way overdue for a dusting off.

As a theme I opted to have the player's be Mecha COPS, an "elite" segment of the force who operate in ... mecha. Each character was given a Road Striker (that's a small transformer) for personal use but also had access to a full size mecha (Mekton) when the situation would call for it.

All the characters had recently transferred to the Mecha COPS and their new Captain was not happy about the transfers, so he gave them the crappy jobs. I started the session with each PC getting a little spotlight scene in which to shine.

Bruce Yamamoto had been sent off to do a rolling road patrol downtown, where nothing much happened. He was pulling his mecha-car into a fast food drive thru when a young lad driving driving a buggy screeched into the area, bounced over a path making pedestrians flee to safety, and skidded his car directly into line in-front of Yamamoto. A small sign in the rear of the car lit up saying "you lose",  played la cucaracha and belched a thick black cloud of smoke out the exhaust all over Yamamoto's mecha-car.

Bruce transformed and stepped round the front of the car. The open mouthed driver shoved his car into reverse. Yamamoto grabbed the front of the car and lifted. Through the mech's P.A. he demanded the driver put up his hands and get out his paperwork. The driver tried to comply, keeping his hands up and trying to grab his paper work in his teeth.

Yamamoto's radio blared with an urgent call...

Emiko Tylor's mecha-bike was parked beside the road on which she played the roll of replacement traffic-light at a four way intersection. Blaring horns alerted her to trouble on the uphill road. Turning she saw a school bus careening downhill in her direction with the driver slumped over the wheel. she ran for her mecha bike.

The kids on the bus were screaming (as you might expect) and one was even trying to climb out the back window. Emiko dived onto her mech-bike, transformed and ran back into the road.

Realising her mecha didn't have the weight to stand in front of the bus she let it pass and grabbed onto the rear as it whizzed by. With her mech's heels digging furrows in the tarmac she brought the bus to a halt and the kid that had been climbing out the back window dropped into her mech's arms.

Tylor's radio blared with an urgent call...

Jimmy Tanaka had been detailed to do foot patrol in Popsi park. That suited him as his beast-mecha had a feature that allowed it to follow him under its own steam. At an intersection ahead he saw an altercation between a man and a woman.

As he got closer the altercation got worse, the man grabbed the woman's child and held a knife to its throat, the screaming started. Tanaka used his bespoke mecha-remote to have his mecha ( in bear form ) growl and tower over the man. He flipped out, dropped the knife (and the kid) and ran for it.

Before Tanaka could follow, his radio blared with an urgent call...

[As an aside, I was unhappy with the above scene, it wasn't dynamic enough I should have come up with something with more action - sorry Brian]

The radio call summoned the players to the scene of a police incident, where terrorists had taken
Cutaway view of the Herego building
control of the Herego building. Police had tried to storm the building, and twenty of them had been shot down in a storm of fire, they needed mecha support!

Tylor on the speedy mecha-bike screeched to a halt outside the line of cops and ambulances and liased with the sergeant on the scene. He explained what had happened in a stressed voice and demanded the Mecha COPS do something.

Transformed Tylor crossed the road and went up the steps to the glass doors. In her imagination she could hear the Captain screaming at her about damage to the building, so she carefully reached for the door handles. Just at that moment grenades dropped all around her from the roof top shattering the door anyway. She edged into the lobby and stalled looking at the next set of glass doors.

Having carefully negotiated these she was in the security entrance. Through the security window she could see that the guard had been killed. The next doors were wooden. She peeked through the portholes into the atrium beyond and then proceeded to try and open the doors. Unfortunately the mecha hands punched through the door and knocked it off its hinges. Doh!

Yamamoto arrived at the scene, transformed and spotted movement on the roof of the Herego building. Bullets started spattering  across his front and off the tarmac all around him. He whipped round his beam weapon and blasted a hole in the wall around the roof.

Fearing more damage to the building Tylor de-meched (is that a word?) and stepped into the foyer, but found herself under fire from a doorway. She traded fire using her rifle and brought down her man. He was wearing torso armor and instead of killing him, her shot felled him. It was the work of a few moments to have him in cuffs.

Yamamoto moved away from the police, hoping to draw enemy fire away from the unarmoured normal cops.

Tanaka trotted onto the scene riding on top of his beast mecha but on seeing the scene of carnage transformed into an upright bear with himself inside its armoured hull.

A bad guy appeared  on the roof holding a rocket launcher. Yamamoto took his shot and vapourised the man and setting off his rocket in a secondary explosion.

Tylor started up the central stairwell and was a level up when Tanaka crashed through the remains of the doors into the atrium and started following her up the stairs. His mech leaving a trail of destruction on the wooden floor and stairs. A grenade was rolled down the stairs towards our heroes.

Outside Yamamoto traded fire with another roof top villain, this time removing his target's head. The body fell over the parapet to crash onto the stairs out front. Bruce ran for the building's entrance de-meched (that word again) and sprinted for the stairs.

Tanaka wrapped Tylor in his mech's arms and raced over the grenade where it exploded harmlessly behind, the shrapnel bouncing off his mech's armour. They rounded the next turn in the stairs and found themselves facing three bad guys.

Tylor took a shot, blowing a leg off of one gentlemen. Her next shot knocked another to the ground, then she ducked behind Tanaka. Bullets bounced all around and off the mech as they returned fire. One of the bad guys had a weird large-muzzled weapon which appeared to fire, in a it was maybe a fire lance? Whatever it was, it missed and set fire to a few inspirational posters of cats.

Tanaka used a huge paw to swipe at the bad guys but they easily ducked aside. Yamamoto arrived in time to see Tylor blast the arm off of a second criminal. Tanaka pinned down the remaining obstreperous  bad guy until they had them cuffed/bound/incapacitated, and then he moved further up, fortunately only squashing the severed limbs and not the bad guys, and demolishing more stairs as he went.

Yamamoto and Tylor stayed behind a moment when they spotted a "device" hanging out the coat of one of the villains. they examined it but couldn't make it out. Realising Tanaka was the expert they took it to him for identification. When they dropped it into his mech-paw he soon recognised it as a remote detonator for a nuke. A hurried call to the police outside left everyone confused as the sergeant out there asked if they were declaring a nuclear emergency and they wouldn't confirm or deny the emergency status.

Yamamoto had seen people on the top floor of the building when outside, so the players decided to keep heading up. At the next turn in the stairs they spotted two individuals across the atrium opposite them. These men were armed with BIG rifles, and unlike the other bad guys who only had torso armor, these guys also had helmets.

There ended session 1.

As stated above, I was disapointed in myself for Tanaka's opening scene, but otherwise I think it went well. It's been a while since I've played a game with such a detailed combat system and I was surprised at how long it took to actually do the fighting. I thought we would have blown through the scenes I had planned at the Herego building, but fighting is rather drawn out. Mind you, the detail in the system stopped it from becoming boring, as the results helped the narration.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.