Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mechwarrior: A Time of War (it sucks)

So we used to play Mechwarrior eons ago and it was fun...little did we know the game system sorta sucked. Whatever. I recently got (6 months is recent) the new Mechwarrior game called A Time of War, which is supposedly a serious revision of MW 2nd edition, not based on 3rd. No real interest in it at all until I saw some posts about the free quickstart rules being passed around for Free RPG Day. Of course this forced my hand and I actually read the book. All I can say is: okay. Yeah, it's Battletech, so what. The system is uninspiring and way too much work for a game that essentially boils down to giant robots beating the shit out of each other. Don't get me wrong, the BT universe is extremely well fleshed out and compelling (if you ignore all the stupid crap that happened in Jihad and Dark Ages), especially if you enjoy war stories, but ATOW sucks. That said, the book itself IS worth the money because there is so much good information. This might be heresy, but BT is one of the more realistic scifi settings if you can get past the idiocy of duels between multi-billion dollar robots to determine the fate of planetary politics. It's not even the dueling part, really, it's just how stupid the robots are from a pragmatic approach. But like I said, it's cool as hell so pragmatism be damned. And I stand by the "realism". There are no aliens (with few exceptions are usually rubber suit-types in most rpgs anyway), all the tech is justified by at least a reasonable scientific explanation (yes, even the mechs), and the politics are reasonable and interesting. It's unfortunate the rpg is crappy, which is why if I was going to run a Mechwarrior/BT game (maybe...) I'd use another system. But which one?

The biggest question would be how to convert Piloting/Gunnery to the tabletop game were that necessary. Of course it's necessary: really important battles should use BT to play out, not some roleplaying system. I thought for a bit, and decided that the D6 system would be the best to use, not because it's the best system (it's pretty good though), but because the learning curve is essentially nil and conversions between the board game and the rp-system would be trivial. Take the Star Wars rpg, change a few skill names, create a couple templates, done. To determine the relevant mech skills if playing out a battle:

Skill LevelBattletech Equivalent

Most competent starting mechwarriors would have 4D or 5D in their relevant skills to start, which would put them in the 5/4 range in BT. Which is exactly where they should be. Yes, it's really this simple. When those battles did come up, they could be played out relatively quickly in MegaMek. Coupled with the ease and speed of D6, this makes the whole idea of a MW/BT rpg viable for someone who isn't a 14 year old kid with infinite amount of time over a summer vacation.


  1. Heh. This must be the day of people thinking about Mechwarrior. I did a "micro" Mechwarrior in response to the gargantuan ToW. I had no use for that huge set of rules. If you'd ever like to give these a spin (8 pages) - feel free:

    1. Very coo,, but please do not use Mediafire...I can give you some webspace you want.