Home Forums Sci Fi General Sci-Fi Gruntz-Battletech: reengineering a game system

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    I figured I’d put this in general since one is a 6mm (ish) game, the other a 15mm game, and here’s me mashing them together to play in 28mm. Well, not really, playing in 6mm really but still.

    Anyhoo, I’ll start with the all-unimportant story for context:

    I got Gruntz about a month ago, but realised last Thursday that I had a game coming up in a few days and I’d spent the entire time building and painting mechs and tanks and completely failed to learn the system barring watching the very helpful video on the Gruntz youtube channel (whilst painting of course). So I rolled up a few mechs using Gruntomatic.com, ran them against each other in some quick tests and, well, came to the conclusion that stuff died too fast.

    First of all I halved the damage dice from +2D6 to +1D6. That helped, but then I realised the root of my problem. The entire weapons system needed to change to better represent the vast array of armaments available in Battletech. Reading in bed on Saturday night I realised that the points cost for the weapons was actually really easy to work out, mostly being range+damage+area of effect+whatever if applicable and divide by 6. Armed with that nugget of knowledge, I resolved that I would create an appropriate list of armaments, without completely breaking the game or just having a vague guess at it. So here I was, with only a couple of days to re-work a game system originally designed for mech combat that became a primarily infantry system back into a mesh-orientated game.

    This lead to the Sunday of Spreadsheets. Numbers Happened. A lot of numbers. Working out damage averages vs soak stats, working out adjusted ranges, working out average damage outputs for grouped weapons, single weapons, missile weapons, how to rate LB X type Autocannon vs plain autocannon and Ultra Autocannon, how to work out combined SRM 2 launchers vs SRM 6 packs, where the cut-off line should be in terms of collecting weapons together. All that stuff, some more, and stuff less on numbers and more on just tweaks to other stuff like Perkz (which needed more adding and a lot removing).

    By Monday morning I had a big list of common armaments. I could then go to work creating unit cards, selecting variants that would be thematically appropriate for the Lyran and Free Worlds League forces that would do battle, though ignoring for now the fancier tools of ECM, C3 networks, specialist ammunition types and a bunch of other stuff. So far so good. Creating unit cards though had to be done manually, so hours were spent in Paint.net editing, cross-referencing, rechecking and all that fun stuff. Also ran a few quick tests here and there to check the results in reality vs the numbers on the screen.

    Tuesday had arrived and my sleep had been awful because it’s May and in May, reality spends a lot of time inflicting pain and suffering upon me in a variety of ways. Such is Life. I spent the couple of hours I had to spare in between essential tasks like eating, drinking, watching humorous videos on youtube and checking emails (the Dark Souls boardgame kickstarter went really well, glad I bothered to back that… for now) on the task of finishing what unit cards I needed, arranging them for printing and making sure everything was in roughly one piece for the incoming game. I grabbed a quick reference sheet for Gruntz from Clear Horizon, and my book with notes (despite being pretty much surgically attached to a PC for about 17 years now I still make most of my notes on paper) to go along with the general accoutrements of gaming, promptly forgot my camera and went off to play.

    The game went well. Deploying on the planet of Preston http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Preston_(FWL), the Lyran force consisting of a Battlemaster, Marauder, Thunderbolt and Thanatos mechs faced off in a fairly forested area against a Stalker, a couple of Hunchbacks, a Cicada, an Urbanmech with a couple of Myrmidon medium tanks to round it out due to the lightness of the unit compared to the fairly heavy Lyran lance.

    Environmental conditions came into play as the lighting at the club failed for about an hour and a half (barring the emergency one) then inexplicably came back on as it got proper dark. The guys playing Star Wars Armada on the table over had their own portable sun in the form of a very bring phone lamp, which looked neat at least. But we had to switch to lighter coloured dice as the evening went on just to read the rolls properly. All the mechs having a unique outline did actually help though, would have hated to try and play some ultramoderns skirmishing under the same conditions. I guess it was ok I didn’t have a camera after all?

    The Lyrans lost, the Marauder was MADdening in it’s ability to not get hit for a couple of turns despite maybe 5 mechs/tanks shooting at it, stuff got shot and blew up all in a fairly satisfying manner. I’ve still got some tweaks to do here and there, a whole extra chunk of weaponry and restrictions to work out, compiling a quick reference sheet with all the changes, adding a few more that came up and were discussed following the game. Which is still a whole lot of work ahead.

    So for now I’ll disappoint those who came expecting a nice .pdf with collected rules all ready to go, but leave with some unit cards that can illustrate some of the changes going on.



    James Rivera

    Wow!  Very pretty unit cards.

    I would like to know more.  😉

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