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Subject: Building a ruleset; where to start?! rss

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Odd T
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Hi,

First let me start by stating I am a total Noob when it comes to designing rules and such, so I hope you bare with me!

Me and my brother are going to make some miniatures/kits of mecha suits and want to have a game to go along with them so people cannot only buy and paint them but also have some fun time playing a game with them. We have the theme and background pretty much settled but now the tricky part comes and that is designing the rules for the game!

I have some early ideas on how movement, shooting, etc could go but am lost on how to build up the mechs. I think of armour values, weapon systems, shields and all but how would I go about what values to assign where and how much points would the finished mechs be in the end? There are lets say three basic types of mecha (and many sub-levels!) for example; light, medium and heavy and there is a pool of points to be distributed to the different areas to establish what class a mech should be placed in each with his own limitations. Each pool would be of the same value but it depends on where you place them.

For example; a lightclass mech has a maximum of 10 (just saying something!) armour value and can have 2/3 weapon systems and a maximum of 15 inch/cm movement. While a heavy class mech would have a maximum of 15 armour value and can have up to 5/6 weapon systems and a maximum of 5 inch/cm movement.

For movement and shooting and all other actions I am thinking about using an energy pool. Say each mecha has 20 (?) energy points which he can use to move, shoot, fight and any other actions that might be available. Again with each system having its limitations. For example a player can use up to ... points on movement, so many points on shooting/weapons systems etc..

It might be wise to explain that the mecha we are going to make are intended for 28-32mm scale wargaming and that the mecha will be varying from 8 to 12 cm in height, give or take. For now the mechanics will focus on the mecha fighting each other but at a later stage other things will be added like Monster Machines, mutants and mech-zombies and such!

Hope my first post makes a bit of sense (?) and that there are some people here who can maybe guide me in the right direction!

Thanks up front!!!

Odd.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Why not use existing rulesets?

Song of Blades and Heroes is a somewhat generic set of rules for miniature combat. I think they may even have made a version that deals strictly with mecha ... they have a yahoo group, and you can probably ask what other gamers have done.

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Sturv Tafvherd
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Oh ... and you may also want to take a look at
Mechwarrior: Dark Age
or
Mechwarrior Solaris VII

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Odd T
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Thanks for the replies!

If I want to bring this game onto the market I don't think I can just 'borrow' existing rulesets from other companies Can I?! whistle
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Sturv Tafvherd
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You can probably work with the guy(s) who authored Songs of Blades and Heroes to make your own "re-skin" of the game using their rules. There's a ton of examples of other people who have done that.

As for Mechwarrior, WizKids had stopped making that game, and they may be looking for something newer / better. They re-made the game of Mage Knight, so if you manage to re-tweak the old ruleset and you have designs for the mechs as well, you might be able to talk to WizKids and have them publish it.
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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Play to your strong suits. If you're good at designing mechs but have never designed a game, you may want to consider working with one of the game designers on here to develop a ruleset that works with your theme.
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Cat Lord
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If you've got designs, I've got a game. I wouldn't mind collaborating. (Check out my mech based game and tell me what you think)

Should you want to go your own way, I will gladly offer opinions on your system as it goes. Up front you want to consider the complexity of the system. In addition to Mechwarrior/Battletech, you might want to look into Heavy Gear for a moderate complexity, easy learning curve mech game.
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Odd T
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I am definitly open to someone (or more) willing to help me out by bouncing back the stuff I come up with and share his/her views ideas!

I am not so blind as to think I can do everything on my own (that's why I'm posting here in the first place! )BUT, I do want to try my own hand at it first to find out if I CAN do it myself! A matter of misplaced pride maybe or something like that but as my mom always told me ''you don't know if you can do it unless you have tried''! laugh

Edit: I will check out you stuff asap Cat Lord!

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Jake Staines
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PhantasyIV wrote:

you might want to look into Heavy Gear for a moderate complexity, easy learning curve mech game.


Also consider the newer Heavy Gear Blitz! Locked & Loaded is a possibly better starting point, depending on what you're after - the old 2nd ed. Heavy Gear (as linked to above) is a slower game with a bit more emphasis placed on individual units, and smaller-scale games; Blitz is the latest version of the game, which plays more like a miniature wargame. By which I mean you can have more than five minis on the table and the game doesn't last five hours.


You could say that the earlier HG games were like a modernised version of Battletech in a lot of ways, while the newer ones are like a version of 40k for people who like their miniature wargaming to have manoeuvring and tactical choices and other things that 40k seemed to me to shed wholesale in the late nineties.
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Cat Lord
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I've found that Battletech offers a high level of complexity, which is pretty awesome because you can micromanage, aiming is important, and if a unit gets hit there are cumulative effects. However, with so much minutia the game slows down immensely without a decent number of people maintaining the units.

To touch on Mechwarrior: Dark Ages, it followed WizKids "Clix" system, which I found extremely effective but its simplicity sort of spit in the eye of the diehard fans of the original games. I also feel that because it focused less on the mechs that it took away from the feel. The Clix mechanic is far from perfect, but ease of play is very high.

I can agree with Jake when he says the HG that I posted is also more designed for a tactical level game, and for the same reasons i gravitate to BT, it's because there's an RPG attached to it. However, it runs a lot smoother than BT because the attack roll determines pretty much everything by if it hits and by how much.

As for HG:B! I haven't tried that and will have to look into it - thanks for the recommendation.
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Jake Staines
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PhantasyIV wrote:

As for HG:B! I haven't tried that and will have to look into it - thanks for the recommendation.


For what it's worth - you can download a cut-down set of quickstart rules here:

http://dp9.com/index.php?option=com_jotloader&view=categorie...

They leave out a fair bit, but they're a good starter if you have some spare 28mm minis to proxy with and want to see if the system is for you without putting down any money.

(I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with HG:B, but on the whole I think it's a good streamlining of the earlier rules to allow larger, more structured forces.)
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Odd T
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Thanks for the links and tips guys, reading through them and am getting some helpful pointers!

I do would like to share that I am not looking to make the game exactly like those games you mention but they are helpful none the less.

My bro and I have started work on the actual mechs this week and my idea is to have a simple mechanic out (free PDF) when we release our first few kits so people can play with them if they want to (or they just use them in other games if they want, totally up to them!) and then make it a sort of a 'living rulebook' where together with the players we make it a streamlined system. And when it's good we can always make printed copies in the future right?!
 
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Cat Lord
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It's a good way to start, but never invest a lot of money on the first prototype. I've been working on my game for almost ten years (off and on until the past year or so) and even though my latest release only says "1.8", the nature of the beast has changed so much that I'm glad I only used generic pieces. So unless you have funds to spare, I recommend sticking with paper-based materials unless you've got stuff lying around. I almost said "unless you're absolutely sure it won't change", but evolution of a system can be harsh that way.
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Jake Staines
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PhantasyIV wrote:
I almost said "unless you're absolutely sure it won't change", but evolution of a system can be harsh that way.


I would go further, and say that the best way of making sure that some part of your game absolutely won't change is making a high-quality component for it.

Once you've done that, and spent your time and money, you're going to be pretty reluctant to make it redundant or obsolete!
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Odd T
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I guess I did not explain myself very well!whistle

We are going to making the mecha suits no matter what and the game is meant for people who would like to play with the figures as well, besides the building and painting part.
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