COVER and DEFENSE SYSTEMS
In Mechaton, anything that stands in the way of you and your target gives that target cover - including terrain and other mobile frames. (It's not clear how LOS calculations work. On a reading of the Mechaton rules, it looks like there's no such thing as blocked LOS? Only being in cover and not being in cover?) On a successful attack, you subtract their defense from your attack value and roll that many d6 damage dice. Without cover, a 5 or a 6 on those rolls does damage. If your target has cover, the 6 does damage to your target, and a 5 does damage to the cover. Pretty nifty mechanic, I think.
In the rules preview on the Kickstarter page, Joshua mentions that a mobile frame with 2 defensive systems may "provide cover to its teammates without risking itself in the crossfire." Some questions arise from this:
- If I'm targeting a frame behind another frame with 2 defensive systems, I assume rolls of 6 still do damage to the target?
- Do 5's not do anything in this case?
- If I'm targeting a frame with 2 defensive system directly, do 5's damage him or is he immune to those, acting as his own cover, basically?
Another mechanic which seems like it may have undergone changes is spotting. In Mechaton, you pick a spot target at the same time you pick your attack target, and assign a spot dice (Yellow or White) during your roll. That spot dice sticks with the frame you put it on, and any successful attacks on that frame later in the round may use the spot dice you placed instead of their attack remainder when determining how many damage dice to roll. You can assign spot dice to any frame in direct fire range (regardless of LOS/cover?).
One change has already been made clear, and that's on allowable spot targets. From the Kickstarter page:
Joshua A. C. Newman wrote:While any frame can spot another in plain sight, only those with yellow dice can spot another in cover. If a frame has two yellow dice, it can spot anywhere on the table.[b]
So, it seems, if I'm reading this correctly, that these are the potential spotting abilities:
- If your frame has 0 spotting systems, you may spot an enemy frame in Direct Fire range, as long as it is not in cover
- If your frame has 1 spotting system, you may spot an enemy frame in Direct Fire range, regardless of cover
- If your frame has 2 spotting systems, you may spot an enemy frame [b]anywhere on the map, regardless of cover
Another potential change seems to be the effect spotting has on your attacks. One comment in particular on Kickstarter gave me lots of questions (it was in discussion to someone's proposed stats for a frame):
Totally fair! That guy's a good solitary bruiser. You'll want a commander or scout in there somewhere to get a spot on his target first, though, to really optimize. That way he'll get to roll between 2 and 13 hit dice (yikes) rather than between 1 and 7.
It looks like the spot number is added to your normal hit dice count now, instead of replacing it?
In the Rules preview, Joshua mentions this:
Hand-to-hand weapons do approximately twice as much damage as ranged weapons, as their wielders know up close where and how to hit their target.
How do you think this will present itself in the rules? Will you double your hit dice count? Will you be able to do damage on rolls of 4+, instead of 5+? There's not really much information to go on here, but I thought I'd throw it out for speculation.
Lastly, Joshua has told us that the Initiative system has been drastically changed. It's not clear how, though. This is all I found related to Initiative:
Initiative is totally different. There are actually two new systems. One is really fast but has some odd results, while the other one is faster than the old system (did you know we were spending an hour per game rolling dice and placing them around the table?) but not as fast as the weird one, and works really intuitively.
Yeah, it's now divided into tactical initiative (which works completely differently) and combat initiative (which works the same).
I'm not sure if it sounds like there will be two sets of initiative rules to choose from (one using the classic rules) or if the initiative system has been split into multiple mechanics.