Rules preview: balance & victory

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Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby lumpley » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:32 am

Hello!

When you're building your companies, MFØ doesn't require you to build to a certain number of points or balance your company against your opponents' or anything like that. Instead, it gives you some broad limits and lets you build your company just how you want it. When you come to the table to play, you compare your companies, and the game's victory conditions do the balancing.

Suppose that I drop Captain Hattapon with 6 hardass shock marines to put down one of these counterproductive seize-and-burn actions that you Free Colonists are always getting up to. I'm fielding 9 assets - my 7 mobile frames, plus 2 drop ships. You're fielding 7 assets - your 5 mobile frames, a protein processing silo, and a cache of ordnance (illegally seized). I outweigh you 9 to 7 and outgun you 7 to 5, just the way I like it.

Here's how the game makes it into a fair fight.

Because my company is larger and stronger than yours, assets are worth only 3 points to me, but 7 points to you. At the beginning of the battle, I have 9 assets, each worth 3 points, for a total of 27. But you have 7 assets, each worth 7 points, for a total of 49 points. You're winning! In order to win, I have to somehow close that gap and overtake you. Fielding the larger, stronger company puts me on the offensive.

2 turns in, let's say that I've been able to concentrate my superior firepower and destroy one of your frames, but haven't lost one myself. I still hold 9 assets, so my score stays at 27. Now you hold 6 assets, so your score drops to 42.

4 turns in, let's say that I destroy a second of your frames, but you take one of mine out too. Now I hold 8 assets so my score drops to 24, and you're down to 5 so yours drops to 35. You're still winning, and I'm starting to get desperate.

On the fifth turn, I make a costly hard advance, losing one of my frames but seizing that protein silo. I still hold 8 assets - I lost a frame but gained the silo - so my score holds at 24. You're down to 4 assets, though, so your score drops to 28.

Most battles last 6 turns. I've got this one last turn and you're still 4 points ahead. I'm battered, strung out along the battlefield, my drop ships are at this point undefended, and I still have to blow up another one of your frames, without losing another one of my own, to win.

So when you're building your company, choose whether you want to field a large company or a smaller one. Fielding a bigger company means that everything is worth less to you, so you have to accomplish more in order to win. You've got to be smart, fearless, aggressive and lucky. Fielding a smaller company means that everything is worth more to you, so you have to dig in, fight mean, and hold on to what you've got. Think strategically and plan for your position.

Questions welcome!

-Vincent
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby MittenNinja » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:36 am

That is super slick! I had been wondering how that worked!
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby schoon » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:15 pm

Thank-you for the insight into the balancing rules, Vincent!

However, being a designer myself, I'm going to play devil's advocate on you.

What if one player fields a small number of highly mobile Frames, and then plays the Monty Python defense (running away as fast as he can)?

Sure, that's not very fun nor sportsmanlike, but that's the devil of it.

That's one of the reasons that I tend to like story-driven scenarios!
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby nova3k » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:18 pm

This is good stuff. I was wondering how it worked. Thanks man!

EDIT: Like schoon said, whatabout just fielding like 2 guys with 2 blue dice each just trying desperately to survive? Cuz it would seem like at that point leaving his guys alone and staying alive would keep me in 'winning' status the whole game.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:23 pm

Then they're abandoning their objectives! That might be good, though; if they can get their opposition to spread out to take "easy" objectives, the runner/defender might be able to take out a few offensive frames.

I've often played this way, actually. My first advice to the defender is usually figure out what you can afford to lose. You don't want to lose frames; you want to lose an objective that you can retake later, or one that's so far from your opposition that they won't be able to get back to defend by the time you take two of theirs.

Running away is totally a valid tactical decision. In fact, getting your damaged frames off the field is a good way of preserving their points.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby lumpley » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:32 pm

Right! Along with your frames, you always have to field stationary objectives, usually 2 or 3 of them, like the drop ships, the weapons cache, and the protein processing silo. You can abandon them if you want to, but there's no "just" about it, it has serious tactical consequences. Sometimes you'll do it and it'll be the right thing, and sometimes it'll be a mistake.

I'll give a preview of the legal company sizes and compositions in a little while.

-Vincent
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby nova3k » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:42 pm

lumpley wrote:I'll give a preview of the legal company sizes and compositions in a little while.


Drat! I was just about to ask about that lol.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby lumpley » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:58 pm

J's thing about getting your frames out of the battlefield to preserve their points isn't true! That was part of some failed campaign rules we tried. It's just that he loved running away so much that he thought it was part of the actual game.

YEAH THAT'S RIGHT JOSHUA

-Vincent
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:15 pm

You mean that campaign that I was winning*? Or the other one that I was also winning?

(INB4 CAMPAIN RULES NAO)

Yeah, I think Vincent's right. You can't run off the table right now, at least not without losing those points. I can think of weird little edge cases where it might be worth it to lose the points ("stop chasing me and take my enemy's objective!"), so we should say it that way.

I can think of a fleeing-off-the-table rule that might make sense, but it's not going to go in 001 because it needs testing, and it's the kind of rule that only comes up so often, so it'll take a while to generate enough real-world scenarios to figure it out. The most obvious one, if anyone wants to try it on a house rule level, is that you only don't lose points when you're in last place.

In any event (and this is actually the level that I thought Schoon was talking about at first), there are very often reasons to run away on a tactical level, abandoning an objective or area of the board for one where you can make a difference, or pulling the wounded back to move frames in better condition forward, or just getting a frame off the line of contact so you don't lose the points.

*I don't think I was winning the first one, actually. I think Emily was. Please note the gerund. Those rules had a big ol' flaw that just made us all mad at each other so you don't want to use them.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Ken » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:10 pm

This is awesome. The more I read about this game the better it gets.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:27 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:You mean that campaign that I was winning*? Or the other one that I was also winning?

*I don't think I was winning the first one, actually. I think Emily was. Please note the gerund. Those rules had a big ol' flaw that just made us all mad at each other so you don't want to use them.


As a side note, those campaign rules nearly gave me a stomach ulcer, Newman!

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby CADmonkey » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:53 pm

lumpley wrote:and the game's victory conditions do the balancing.

I started wargaming back in the 80's when the idea of having unbalanced armies and balancing a scenario through victory conditions was pretty common. It's become something that I miss from "the old days", so the aspect of balancing through victory conditions is something that interested me a lot when I first read Mechaton.
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby schoon » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:38 pm

lumpley wrote:Right! Along with your frames, you always have to field stationary objectives, usually 2 or 3 of them, like the drop ships, the weapons cache, and the protein processing silo. (snip)
-Vincent

Ah, so objectives are mandatory. That does change things. I'm looking forward to seeing it in practice!
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby schoon » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:47 pm

Malcolm_Craig wrote:As a side note, those campaign rules nearly gave me a stomach ulcer, Newman!

Cheers,
Malcolm

There are campaign rules!?

Are these in the book, or something your group was using to make things more interesting?
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby OrangeKNight » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:26 am

A very interesting glimpse you've given us, can't wait until we can get the full rules and get rolling(the dice)!

Mike
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby MikeDamrat » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:46 pm

It seems like one of the cool things about this being a LEGO game is that nearly everything can be destroyed. Mechs can be destroyed. Terrain can be destroyed. Downed mechs can be used as cover and further destroyed. All of these things fit into the rules perfectly, and provided that the involved players are okay seeing their creations ripped to bits, it makes for a really cool aesthetic as the game progresses, with bits of mechs and destroyed terrain scattered around the battlefield.

What about the stationary objectives, though? Can they be used as cover? Damaged? Destroyed? It would seem to make sense to me that one option would be to just flat out destroy an objective instead of trying to take it (IE: "If we can't have it, NO ONE CAN!"). How well is this sort of thing supported by the rules? Or are stationary objectives just considered non-existent except for the purpose of capturing and holding them (and aesthetics, of course)?
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:30 am

MikeDamrat wrote:It seems like one of the cool things about this being a LEGO game is that nearly everything can be destroyed. Mechs can be destroyed. Terrain can be destroyed. Downed mechs can be used as cover and further destroyed. All of these things fit into the rules perfectly, and provided that the involved players are okay seeing their creations ripped to bits, it makes for a really cool aesthetic as the game progresses, with bits of mechs and destroyed terrain scattered around the battlefield.

What about the stationary objectives, though? Can they be used as cover? Damaged? Destroyed? It would seem to make sense to me that one option would be to just flat out destroy an objective instead of trying to take it (IE: "If we can't have it, NO ONE CAN!"). How well is this sort of thing supported by the rules? Or are stationary objectives just considered non-existent except for the purpose of capturing and holding them (and aesthetics, of course)?


As far as I am aware, stations are immune to damage.

And you're right, the dynamic nature of MFZ is one of the things that makes it so attractive.

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:32 am

schoon wrote:
Malcolm_Craig wrote:As a side note, those campaign rules nearly gave me a stomach ulcer, Newman!

Cheers,
Malcolm

There are campaign rules!?

Are these in the book, or something your group was using to make things more interesting?


These were abortive, now abandoned campaign rules from a few years ago. They gave players headaches, stomach aches, and led to all manner of foolishness (mainly from me.)

Cheers,
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby The Trilobite » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:49 am

This seems simple, elegant, and clear.

Are there any points that you've noticed as sometimes causing confusion for folks, and, if so, how have you explained it to people?
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Re: Rules preview: balance & victory

Postby lumpley » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:32 pm

Malcolm_Craig wrote:These were abortive, now abandoned campaign rules from a few years ago. They gave players headaches, stomach aches, and led to all manner of foolishness (mainly from me.)


Those campaign rules were the utter pits.

-Vincent
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