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Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie» Forums » Variants

Subject: MechaScape: HeroScape-MechWarrior mashup rss

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Elstree
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I thought I'd post a few images of something I've been working on. For a long time now I've really want to play a shooty mech game with large numbers of mixed units, but with rules as quick and easy as HeroScape. I'm still working out the rules, but here are some pictures of the project in progress:

Overview




Lefthand skirmish, high angle




Lefthand skirmish, low angle




Righthand skirmish, high angle




Righthand skirmish, low angle




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Michael Byrd
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This is a great idea. Kinda wish I hadn't sold all my mechwarrior 10 years ago.
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John "Omega" Williams
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On another site there was a thread on combining HeroScape and Battletech.
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Denmark
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Looking good!
When the rules/stats/stuff is finished, please share, if doable...

Expensive mountains, unless you are casting your own.
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Pete Hornburg
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Very cool!

Are you basically playing Mechwarrior on HS, or are you importing stats to play with Heroscape rules?
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Ted Conn
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I like where you're going with this...

How do you like those clear bases? Litko? I've eyeballed them for a while now, but have never pulled the trigger.
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Elstree
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Re: Materials

The figures are MechWarrior clix, which I've bought off of ebay over the past couple of years. The best option is to be patient and wait for larger lots of a single faction.

I've rebased them on 1/8" thick clear acrylic discs, 1 3/8" diam for infantry, 1.5" for vehicles/mechs. (In retrospect, I wish I'd gone 1.25" for infantry, but I'm committed now.) I bought mine in bulk from www.zlazr.com. After shipping they work out to about $0.19 per base, which is far cheaper than what Litko charges. I'm quite happy with them. I could probably have gone thinner (1/16") with the infantry bases, but the 1/8" thickness for mechs adds weight that keeps them from getting easily knocked over.

The terrain, of course, is HeroScape. The setup pictured above uses three original master sets. (I don't know what you mean about expensive mountains. I think they only cost me $25 when I bought them at WalMart. )

The trees come from a variety of sources. The temperate trees are Safari Ltd. Toob Trees pictured here, but much cheaper at Michael's with one of their online coupons. The palm trees are of two types, pictured here and here. (The trees are crucial for evoking the sense of scale for the mechs. Otherwise your brain interprets them as human height. Standing one next to Deathwalker 9000 is what inspired this entire project originally.)

The trees are mounted on 1/16" thick acrylic "copter blade" bases that fit in the gutters between hexes. Any hex adjacent to a tree is considered wooded. The quad-mechs and some larger vehicles (not pictured) are mounted on special double-hex "peanut" bases. These and the tree bases were custom cut for me by a friend with a laser cutter. Here's a picture (click for larger image).



Re: Rules

This is a work in progress so I don't have final rules yet. I've looked at a bunch of off-the-shelf rule sets I could use (Battletech, BT: Alpha Strike, Armor Grid Mech Attack, MechaForce, MiniMech, and many others) but decided against them for various reasons. What I want is something that plays as quickly and cleanly as HeroScape, but handles large numbers of units well while capturing the basic feel of a classic mech game. For now that's meant adopting the basic movement, attack, and defense rules from HeroScape while borrowing some of the activation, terrain, and formation mechanics from MechWarrior, and adding in a few additional rules for things like critical hits and heat. I can explain more if you like, but that's the basic idea.
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Jim Millard
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Elstree wrote:
Re: Materials

The figures are MechWarrior clix, which I've bought off of ebay over the past couple of years. The best option is to be patient and wait for larger lots of a single faction.

I've rebased them on 1/8" thick clear acrylic discs,...

Why re-base?

I am curious about this, but one of the main attractions of MWA [and AoD] was for me the 'clix'.

IMO, just leave them on their bases; that way they can be played either way.
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Ted Conn
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I can't speak for the OP, but personally, I own hundreds of these things and find the clix game to be "meh". I've rebased them for Alpha Strike and Dropzone Commander to great effect. The bases, especially for the mechs, are ungainly and bulky.
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Elstree
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mitservices wrote:
Why re-base?
Aesthetics, mostly. As pointed out, the mech bases (especially quad bases) are too large to fit on a single hex. This can complicate placing figures in adjacent spaces or in spaces next to elevated terrain. Vehicle click bases fit somewhat better but pose similar problems. Plus many of the vehicle figures will actually fit comfortably in a single hex. Why occupy two spaces when the figure itself doesn't need to?

The infantry figures are the only ones that do fit on their original bases within a HeroScape hex, but it would disturb my wa to have half the figures on black click bases and half on new acrylic bases. It was all or nothing.
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J Weintraub
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Two of my favorite games in one? Consider my interest piqued. I see you're using Mechwarrior Dark Age models. Are you using the dial info as a starting point for your unit stats?
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Denmark
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The tree bases are a great idea! Great technical solutation, that gives you a lot of terrain pressence on the board, without needing too much actual terrain! I mean,mone tree creates a forrest of three spaces, plus it doesn't block movement into forrest territory.
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Elstree
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Warbanner wrote:
I see you're using Mechwarrior Dark Age models. Are you using the dial info as a starting point for your unit stats?

Yes, I'm using MW stats as a starting point. I typed all the starting values and special equipment for the units I own into an Access database. I have a set of queries I run that transform those values into my current working playtest values, and then I run a report to generate "cards" for each unit. For example, attack and defense values have to be transformed from the 3d6 system used by MW to the dice used by HeroScape (not an easy task, as the probability surfaces have different slopes).

Some stats have to be adjusted separately for each unit type. For example, all infantry figures in my rules have only one life (like HS squad figures), but if the original MW figure had higher or lower than average life I instead adjust their defense to compensate. I'm trying to be as systematic about this as possible so I can provide the transformations I used to others who may own different units. I want to avoid idiosyncratic tweaks to individual units if possible.


jtspecial wrote:
The tree bases are a great idea! Great technical solutation, that gives you a lot of terrain pressence on the board, without needing too much actual terrain! I mean,mone tree creates a forrest of three spaces, plus it doesn't block movement into forrest territory.

Yep, that's the idea, though the trees definitely look better when they're placed more densely on the map. Right now my working rule is a hex is either wooded or not; no light/med/heavy woods no matter how many trees are adjacent to a hex. I tried adding +1 Def for each adjacent tree initially and the bonuses stacked up so quickly that some units quickly became almost impenetrable, especially with elevation. Working out how to draw line of sight when there's an imaginary forest in a hex has also been a tricky problem.
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J Weintraub
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Two more questions, if you don't mind.

So, for the purposes of transforming the MWDA stats from 3d6 to HS, would I be correct in thinking that the calculation for defense involves tweaking the unit's life so you have two variables to play with?

Are you creating special powers and attacks for units to indicate various BT universe equipment (stealth walk for ECM units, fly/jump jets, etc.)? In the same vein, I presume you'd make synergies to map formation movement.
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Elstree
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Warbanner wrote:
Two more questions, if you don't mind.
I don’t mind at all, if you don’t mind reading my novella.

Warbanner wrote:
So, for the purposes of transforming the MWDA stats from 3d6 to HS, would I be correct in thinking that the calculation for defense involves tweaking the unit's life so you have two variables to play with?

Mapping MW attack and defense onto HeroScape dice is actually surprisingly hard. Start with the observation that the mean roll on 3d6 is 10.5. That means, for example, that a unit with an MW attack of 7 has a 50% chance of meeting or exceeding an MW defense of 18. Ideally, you’d like to map those attack and defense values onto HeroScape attack and defense values that yield a similar chance of success. Suppose you go with the transformations HS Attack = MW Attack - 2 and HS Defense = MW Defense - 12. This would give the attacker a 51% chance of success. (See this Google Spreadsheet for the probabilities of each combination of attack and defense in MW and HS.)

However, as you deviate from this pairing of attack and defense values, the match between MW and HS probabilities gets worse. For example, an MW Attack of 7 versus an MW Defense of 20 would succeed 26% of the time, but (using the transformation above) an HS Attack of 5 versus a Defense of 8 would succeed 36% of the time. More generally, as you move away from the 50% cell, higher defense figures are easier to hit after the transformation compared to the original MW probabilities, and lower defense figures are harder to hit.

About 88% of MW units have Attack and Defense values in the ranges of 7-10 and 16-21, respectively. Since you can’t get an exact match, the next best option is to get as close as possible in that range and live with the deviations for the fringe cases. Go ahead and try to find a pair of offsets that minimizes the differences in probabilities. There are a few good candidates, but they all force compromises. Generally the ranges of the best matches still make it harder to hit low defense figures and easier to hit high defense figures. One way to get around this may be to add a point of life or two to high defense figures to compensate.

By now most of you are probably thinking I’m over-thinking this, but among other things I’m a statistician so I can’t just let details like this go. I’ve spent hours on this. The easy way out, of course, is to not use HS dice at all, but instead use the original 3d6. After all, that’s what these stats were originally designed around. For purely aesthetic reasons that doesn’t appeal to me. For one, I like rolling defense dice. I love those moments where you need a really good roll for your unit to survive a brutal attack and [drumroll] you get it! I also like adding or subtracting dice from a pool rather than adding or subtracting numerical modifiers. I just find it easier to keep track. Finally, I just like the visceral punch of rolling a fistful of dice. So, you can see I’m pretty committed to making this change.

I should also probably mention here I'm not using the HS variable-damage system; I'm using the MW fixed-damage system. Any number of skulls in excess of defense lands a hit, and the weapon determines the fixed amount of damage inflicted. I may create some special abilities that inflict damage-per-skull, but those will be exceptions, not the rule.

Warbanner wrote:
Are you creating special powers and attacks for units to indicate various BT universe equipment (stealth walk for ECM units, fly/jump jets, etc.)? In the same vein, I presume you'd make synergies to map formation movement.

As for your second question, yes, I plan on translating the MW special equipment into HS-like abilities. Where there’s a close match with an existing HS ability, I’ll adopt the existing text as closely as possible. Some units may end up with a few novel abilities. For example, in playtesting it’s become apparent that infantry units could really use a bridge-layer vehicle to span water, so I may give one of the amphibious vehicles this special ability if they’re parked in a water hex between two land hexes.

Infantry formations are another matter. This is already too long but I’d be happy to explain my working rules for that in another post.
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J Weintraub
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I was happy to read that; I'm not a statistician, but I am a math teacher, so I think I can handle it. Fixed damage, eh? I'm thinking between that and adjusting life, you should be able to tweak the numbers to acceptable ranges. I'd think that since MWDA itself had to play around to translate from the original BT stats, you don't need a 1:1 mapping, just so long as the units are be viable for their cost.

I have a regular HS group, and a lot of MWDA stuff left from my tournament days; if you ever want someone else to playtest your rules, I'd be more than happy to give it a go.

BTW, I agree that it's better to use the HS dice, for all the reasons you mentioned.
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Tommy Rayburn
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Why not just keep the original dials, so you don't have to drastically make a new game? Is it because of base size? Could you just not have it take more spots since it is bigger?

How are you handling terrain and height?
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