JP On Gaming

Sunday, March 5, 2017

[Mecha Battles] Creative use of initiative

It would stand to reason that most games have an initiative system based on two players where all get to do the same number of move such as Warhammer/40k and Warmachine/Hordes leading the way.

When thinking of Mecha Battles, I keep seeing these sequence where the main character goes all out and smashes like a hundred of the bad guys going on a massive tear. This is very much inspired by anime. And well, I HAVE been watching a fair amount of Gundam...

So what would be a good way to design an initiative system that would be quick and simple and allow for these random bursts of awesomeness from one character?

I came with a simple system: drawing playing cards. A system inspired by one of my favorite miniature game: Larry Brom's The Sword and the Flame. Whereas TSaTF forces a reshuffle after a joker is drawn, I decided to keep drawing from the deck, with a joker allowing the winning player (red or black) to get an extra action or bonus to all dice roll for the turn.

After play-testing this rule, I found that the player got to choose whether or not to spent his actions on one mech or spread their actions. This worked surprising well, and led to the following sequences:
- Kitty moved forward with her GMs firing into me, and downing my pink Zaku.
- I won initiative three times in a row and destroyed two of her GMs with my cannons.
- Kitty used her Gundam to rocket boost and close the distance with my Zakus. (That's the situation outlined in the picture)
- Then as she drew the next card, she thrashed me.
- My Zaku retreated and shot into Gundam
- Gundam charged again and destroyed my Zaku
- Winning initiative, I used my large cannon to destroy Gundam.

This flow of event mimics scenes from an anime show. So that part of the system does what I want to do. This lucky happening makes the game extremely dynamic.


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