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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 25, 2006, 04:04:32 PM



Title: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 25, 2006, 04:04:32 PM
So last night a friend and I, finding ourselves with an evening free and a big pile of lego, decided to give Mechaton a go.

I've no doubt that we weren't playing it exactly as intended, first off since the rules were what we pieced together from Vincent's blog posts and from comments I've seen on there I have a feeling there's still some rules which haven't been mentioned (more on that later). Secondly, we didn't have a very big hex map, by which I mean we had no hex map, but we had a big piece of paper, so we drew a bunch of hexagons on it. I think it ended up being about twelve hexes deep and maybe the same across. The rules say that you work out what direct fire range and melee range are based on how big the map is, so we figured adjacent hexes for melee and up to four intervening hexes for direct fire. It made for a fun little tactical game, but I'm guessing the smaller distances meant we missed out on some of the strategic element, because position in a large scale sense wasn't a big issue when you can redeploy across the map pretty fast anyway. I'd really like to know how large in hexes the map that anyone else playing this has been using is.

We played a little two-a-side face-off first of all just to figure out how the rules work. I take very slightly weaker mechs and end up with six points per victory to Richard's four, which feels pretty unfair; I figure this is out of whack because we're playing such a tiny game, and don't sweat it too much. I forget how this game works out exactly; I think Richard blew up my weaker mech and stole my objective, but then I got my surviving mech round behind him and stole his, leaving us on 12-12 at doomsday.

So, on to the real game. We figure two objectives and three to five mechs each feels about right for this map. Also, we sprinkle cover liberally about the map, maybe too liberally. There aren't many squares not in cover, and while mechs get shot into them sometimes, the fact that they take their turn straight after being shot means that generally they run straight back into cover again. (We're playing what I think is the latest iteration of the cover rules, where not being adjacent to any cover gives you -1 to defence.) We didn't put any walls on the map; that might have been a mistake too. I wasn't sure whether the knockback from damage rolls of 4 or 5 was supposed to be in a random direction or at the attacker's choice, since I've seen both mentioned, so I arbitrarily picked the latter, but since blowing someone into a wall is a free knockdown it felt like putting any walls on a map this small would get silly. (Again, it'd be great to know what rules are currently in favour for this one.)

So I start out with three little troopers, each with just their two white dice, a radio aerial for one yellow dice, and four dice of initiative. These guys turned out to be pretty weak, possibly because I wasn't making best use of their ability to spot and shoot, but also 'cause they had no defence, so they lost their radios pretty quickly and mostly got blown up soon after.

Then I take my artillery mech from the first game, and trick it out a little more so it resembles nothing more than a walking wall with weapons poking around and over it. Two dice of armour, two red dice at long range for his artillery cannon, two red dice at direct fire range for his blasters, two white dice and one dice left for initiative. Richard names this one the Tank, and says it terrifies him.

Finally I have one close-combat monster. He has little wings on the back with rocket boosters for two green dice plus his green d8, two big hinged claws with two glowing chainsaws on each for two red dice in melee, two white dice and two initiative. Richard insists on a name for him, so I dub him Eviscerator.

Oh, we couldn't find enough d10s, so we end up using d12s for initiative. I figure this matters pretty little.

Richard is fielding four mechs. One is all-black with a shield generator, some armour plating and two lightsabres. Richard calls him Darth; he has the same dice as my Eviscerator with the greens switched for blues. Then there's a guy with some jump jets and a battery of different-coloured lasers for direct fire combat, and a little recon mech who has no weapons but two radios and a giant engine on his back to make him super-fast. Finally there's a giant mech Richard dubs Doc Ock, who has arms sticking out all over holding a variety of weapons and shields, and has pretty much the same dice as my Tank, except Richard gives him a lance too and splits the four red dice 2-1-1 instead of 2-2-0.

I have five mechs with nineteen dice between them; Richard has four with twenty-two dice. Five points per victory each, which means I start out winning.

The game goes something like this: Darth gets the first move of all and sprints right across the map to my lines to take on the Eviscerator. Also Richard's recon mech parks itself just inside spotting range of the Tank and proceeds to spot it for sixes repeatedly for the first few turns. My little troopers swarm up and make lots of piddly attacks against Darth and the recon mech, but Darth's a hard-ass and takes no damage. Richard's laser mech wades in and starts doing damage to my little guys. The recon mech gradually gets worn down by the fire and gets down to his white dice, and my troopers all lose their radio antennas and then start losing legs too.

First casualty comes when the Tank lets a big barrage of fire off into the (now crippled) recon mech which does totally no damage but blasts him across the map to where Darth and Eviscerator are fighting each other. I have Eviscerator break off and lay into the recon mech with his big scary claws, roll two sixes on the damage dice and cackle evilly as the recon mech is sliced clean in two!

Anyway, it becomes obvious that Darth, Doc Ock and Tank are all hard as nails and not taking any damage, so basically I plug away at Richard's laser mech and he gradually whittles down my troopers. I think at around this point Darth gets a clear run at one of my objectives but turns it down in favour of hunting down the Eviscerator, who is has lost his jets but is still fighting. We finish with one of my troopers left alive with one white dice left, plus Tank and Eviscerator, versus Richard's laser mech on two white dice and his two big guys unharmed. At this point there's two ticks left on the doomsday clock when the turn ends and it's 25-25, so either of us can take the draw if we want it; I can see a sneaky opening on the next turn but decide the odds aren't in favour and end the game. But we decide we should play out the next turn (which was guaranteed to be the last, obviously) to see how it ends.

In the alternate future, Richard opens by blowing the crap out of my surviving trooper and taking the lead. But I get the lucky movement roll I needed, charge the Eviscerator across the back of his lines and take on Doc Ock in melee. No damage, but I get a pair of fours, hurl Doc Ock over a wall of tires and claim the objective for myself! 30-20 to me! But Darth hasn't had his turn, so he charges over in hot pursuit, does exactly the same thing and claims the objective right back. Lucky I did choose to take the draw.

Stuff we noticed:

Blue dice are hella powerful. With two blues you can likely get a four or five in defence every turn, which means that it's very hard for even a powerful attack to be rolling more than one damage die. Of the nine mechs on the field, three of them had blue dice, and those three were left at the end barely scratched; of the six that didn't have blue dice, five of them were trashed. The one that wasn't survived mainly by being fairly lucky and taking advantage of his green d8 for dodging defence a lot.

Initiative seems weak. It doesn't mean you get to go early with any kind of reliability, because of the target-moves-next mechanic which means that that slow mech you were planning to pick off might well have run away before more than one of your super-fast mechs can get it. Also, it seems that often, going later is good, especially for artillery, because you can look at the enemy, see who ended up with a low defence die this turn and unload on them. (Did the initiative defence variant in the original rules end up in or out? Seems like it might make initiative more useful, but it's an extra complication, so we didn't use it.)

Spotting seems unintuitive, in that it seems the way it ought to work is you spot someone, and if you get a good spot roll, that means you unleash your mightly artillery on them next for super damage. But actually, if you get a good spot roll on someone, you want to use it in your weakest possible attack on them, because you know the attack's going to end up at maximum power anyway. I can see how it works from a mechanical point of view, but it feels strange.

Until it came to reviewing the rules before we played I'd totally forgotten the thing whereby whether your move or attack comes first depends on which is higher, which turns out to be totally key. It has some weird effects, like: if you have the choice of attacking in melee with two red dice or at direct fire range with your white dice only, but you'd have to get a move of say five to make the melee attack (and you have a load of green dice so that's a good proposition), you want to make the direct fire attack, because even on those two red dice you're hoping for at most a four so it happens in the right order, whereas if you just roll your whites you might get lucky and pull out a six.

It was really hard to work out when to advance the doomsday clock. That's probably just not being used to the game and how the back-and-forth of victory works yet.

This one's probably an artifact of playing at a smaller scale ('cause of the smaller map) than the game was intended for, but it did seem that an awful lot, you can end up attacking someone who's just on the border of two fire ranges, then (when they roll dice to get a defence value) they have to commit to which of those ranges they're attacking you back at, and then you use your knockback to move them into the other range bracket so their attack's wasted.

We used the rule where red dice count as half a dice when calculating initiative, and also when working out number of dice for victories. This did lead to sticking extra weapons on at least two mechs because they had an odd number of red dice and so the extra one was 'free', which seemed weird. We had it so that when you damage someone, they just have to lose at least one dice, rather than counting reds as two there, which did make it quite discouraging to attack mechs with lots of weapons, just because of the amount of crap they could shed before having to lose anything vital. On the other hand, it seemed like losing two red dice at a time to damage would make it pretty easy to rapidly cripple mechs specialised towards attacking.

There's a handful of specific rules questions we were left with afterwards:

When do objectives get claimed? We interpreted it as you can do it any time your mech is the only one in range of an objective, but that means it's pretty easy to steal one by throwing the defender away from it, and then if they run back it's still yours until they manage to throw you out of the way and get exclusive possession back.

The original rules suggest you can have missiles on your mech that let you roll red d8s, but we had no idea how to figure how that relates to calculating how many initiative dice you get. Presumably there's some reason you can't just have a hundred missiles. Also, do missiles have to be specified as long or medium range or what?

One of the blog posts mentions flying, which sounds cool but I have no idea what that's about.

What happens if your attack and move dice are tied? Do you get to pick which happens first, or determine randomly or what? Also, can you decline to assign a die to something even if you could, because, for example, you want to use those two sixes on your white dice for attack and shield and you have no green dice to put to move?

You can't ever hope to attack someone in order to reduce the amount of damage they'll get to do this turn, right, because by the time you deal the damage they'll have already rolled their dice? This seems consistent, but I seem to recall someone saying something which suggested otherwise.

Anyway, this was a bunch of fun; we're hoping to get to play again tomorrow. Many thanks to Vincent and everyone else who's been involved with designing this game!


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 26, 2006, 09:34:51 AM
I can answer a couple of these questions:

You can only have up to three Big Missiles.

You only use half of your Move to calculate your Current Defend, or a Blue -1. Attack-Defend=Number of Attack Dice. That means that, if they're tied, you can't roll any attack dice.

Flying is done by moving over a Wall. To do so, you need wings, climby feet, jump jets, or some similar dingus.

You're right about taking ownership of vaporators. We haven't been using the Knock Down rules at all, but I think they should remain in use for HtH. I think it should be 6s are damage, 5s are attacker's choice of move or knock down. There are valid uses for both.

Your map size makes a big difference because it reduces the effectiveness of fast guys. Instead, use Legos to measure. Use click hinges on axles in multiples of 4cm. Each "hex" is 1cm. I found it satisfactory, except in one case where some precision would have helped and only shared sportsmanship helped.

Weapons count as one thing when calculating initiative, not two (for their dice). So counting them as half is exactly right.

Spotting works at all ranges. It gives more attack dice (in theory). This really matters out past your front where you've got a spotter and your artillery in the back and no one else really matters. Your scout's running by on scouty business and can spot at Direct Fire range (which normally sie couldn't do because sie doesn't have ranged weapons in order to get the green d8.)

Here's how you play the Doomsday Clock:

If you have the advantage, tick it down when you can.
If you think you're going to have the advantage in the near future, tick it down when you can.
If you think you're going to lose the advantage, don't tick it down.
If you need time to get to a goal or destroy a dude, don't tick it down.

Details are a matter of playing and learning to finesse it. Clock ticks are done in order from most advantaged to least. This matters because ticking the clock can tip your hand about tactical decisions in the next turn.

If you want to keep initiative, don't attack someone who hasn't gone yet. That's a tactical decision. It also matters more when you've got more dudes on the field. When that's the case, it's unlikely that the initiative cascade will effect everyone.

Yes, Blue Dice are hella powerful. They also don't help you get goals the way Reds and Greens do.

Use cover instead. Don't neglect to put walls on the board, and stay in cover unless there's a very, very good reason to risk that guy.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: lumpley on May 26, 2006, 01:35:20 PM
Adam, awesome. You've spotted some of the same probs I have, which is very useful confirmation for me. I think the worst of what you put up with is just because I haven't published the most current rules.

In no particular order:

Moving your target as a damage result is out. Knocking your target down as a damage result in hand to hand - we'll see. Probably it's still in. Probably.

J's right - if you don't have a good sized hex map, use a ruler instead.

Initiative is weak, you're right, but that's okay because the game balances on another point. So consider the initiative dice a minor perk.

You get to decide whether you move then shoot or shoot then move, no matter which die's higher. You do have to declare what range you're shooting your target at, of course, so occasionally you'll still be gambling on a high enough move die.

Missiles are free. Don't take too many. I think there's a rule about it in my notebook but I don't recall what. Oh and they work only at direct fire range.

I hope these'll make your next game even more fun!

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ahdok on May 26, 2006, 05:38:38 PM
I just thought I'd pop in briefly and say I just watched another game of this, as a spectator, and it looks great. Here's a picture of the two robots that survived unscathed (somehow.) "the alien" and "destroyer" we voted Destroyer robot of the match, because he managed to pick some flowers.

http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/mechaton.jpg

And here's how the map ended (to give some idea of the scale used.) - the robots outside the map weren't involved.

http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/end.jpg

I havn't put these pictures in image tags because they're quite big. Looking forward to playing it quite a bit and trying out some different mechanics.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 26, 2006, 09:08:23 PM
Awesome pics!

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Adam, awesome. You've spotted some of the same probs I have, which is very useful confirmation for me. I think the worst of what you put up with is just because I haven't published the most current rules.

Which ones are those?

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Moving your target as a damage result is out. Knocking your target down as a damage result in hand to hand - we'll see. Probably it's still in. Probably.

I think they're both valuable for different reasons. Throwing a mecha away from a vaporator's awesome, in my opinion. Knocking down is great: it gives a(nother) good reason to use HtH mecha because it's hard to get away from them. But physically moving them around the table is also good, not only for the reasons stated, but because you can throw them out of cover to be hit by your friends.

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Initiative is weak, you're right, but that's okay because the game balances on another point. So consider the initiative dice a minor perk.

I was thinking: how about you can decide to skip a dude's turn and take it anytime you like? Like, if your artillery gets a 10 and your spotter gets an 8 initiative, you want the spotter to go first. You're sacrificing some initiative to do it, so it balances.

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Missiles are free. Don't take too many. I think there's a rule about it in my notebook but I don't recall what. Oh and they work only at direct fire range.

"Three" is the rule we were talking about. At 5 missiles, you have a 90% chance of rolling an 8. That means rolling five dice against the average mecha (which has a 3 Current Defend), of which 1 or 2 will come up sixes... eh.

That's fine. So the only issue I see is that a rack of Big Ass Missiles gets you initiative dice if used instead of regular guns, and you could have a huge rack of the things and still get a green d8.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 27, 2006, 01:25:08 AM
As ahdok sez, we played this again with three players last night (with exactly the same rules as on Thursday, since your post here didn't arrive until we were halfway through).

I'm itchin' to try the game at the scale it was intended for, now. (Although I'm still not sure exactly what that is---how big, in hexes, is the map you guys are playing on?) It seemed a lot in yesterday's game like there wasn't enough damage being done, but I think that's partly a result of being able to move mechs as a damage result. It ended up being a lot more tempting to jockey over position on the vaporators than to actually try and wear down the other guys' mechs.

I'm thinking the rule where you have to lose weapons two dice at a time, like you buy them, sounds like a good 'un, because otherwise you can make it take just ages for people to actually kill off your mechs, partcularly the big beefy artillery mechs with four red dice and two blue dice that we all built lots of. Did that end up in or out in your game?

We all said afterwards that blue dice are too powerful, but I'm not sure I still agree---if we were playing the same game again I'd like to try getting a horde of fast, scary mechs and just leaving my vaporators alone and descending on one of the enemy to tear tham apart. We all kind of fell into an unquestioned default strategy of leaving big fat mechs on our own vaporators, despite the fact that the game took seven turns and almost all the victories (stealing vaporators, killing mechs) happened in the last two. And enlarging the scale, which makes green dice comparatively more valuable, seems like it should only help that.

My only big worry is I still think initiative bites, like to the point where I think it's outright better to have a low initiative. What Joshua says here:

I was thinking: how about you can decide to skip a dude's turn and take it anytime you like? Like, if your artillery gets a 10 and your spotter gets an 8 initiative, you want the spotter to go first. You're sacrificing some initiative to do it, so it balances.

... seems like it would do what I want, but I get the feeling it would slow down the rate of play, 'cause it adds an extra thing each go where all the mechs who haven't moved yet get to call dibs on the next move.

Also, after your go is it your target's go even if you ended up not attacking? We played that it was, but if sometimes it's in your interest to go later, that means you can force the enemy to go early by declaring them your target, even if they're like miles away or something.

Anyways, everyone seems keen to play more. I'll let you know how the next one goes.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: lumpley on May 27, 2006, 02:57:47 AM
Yes! One weapon gives you two red dice. When you lose the weapon, lose both the dice. The weapon counts as one die for initiative-dice purposes (in fact, for initiative-dice purposes now you count options, not dice).

I've never noticed that blue dice are a big deal at all, even when surrounded by crappier rules. So let me ask, you're subtracting 1 from the blue die to get your defense number, right? You aren't using the blue die straight, are you?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 27, 2006, 03:38:32 AM
We're subtracting the 1, yeah. The big, beefy mechs still seem to end up with a defend of 5 most of the time, which makes it unappealing to attack 'em as there's only a one in six chance of achieving anything even if you do get a six in attack yourself.. But as Josh says, taking lots of blue dice means mechs that are comparatively suckier at moving around and getting you victories, so I'm keen to try again with a more mobile, aggressive force and not worry about defending my own vaporators so much in the early turns.

Incidentally, how do you guys build your armies? We've kind of been assuming that you do everything in secret, or at least the kind of approximation to secret where you don't ask too many questions about exactly where that mech your opponent's building has its dice, and then reveal your armies to each other when you're done. It works ok, but there's kind a funny kind of subgame that goes on where you're aiming to outguess the other guys and give your mechs either exactly one die less than the next lowest side or one die less than the very highest, because of the points-per-victory thing.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 27, 2006, 08:44:11 AM
Our usual scheme for building is making awesome mecha and thinking about how they're to be used. Most of the time we've done it separately because we can't get enough time to sit on the floor and build together.

That said, it might be a lot of fun to sit down and build a bunch of guys together. It's bound to wind up in a big fracas of explody robots, which is really the point, after all.

Don't forget that points per victory balances quite nicely.

Play on the floor with measurements, or on a Chessex Battlemat (http://www.chessex.com/mats/Battlemats_MegamatsReversible.htm) (or some equivalent) and it should all come out well.

I found the measuring to be perfectly acceptable except the one ambiguous case of trying to get into HtH with a flying guy at the limit of my dude's movement. It was hard to see precisely where the flying dude was, it was hard to measure to the sub-cm level where my dude was gonna wind up. But that only happened once, and it was perfectly fine not to make it (which didn't make any difference in the final rankings at all, now that I think about it.)


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ahdok on May 27, 2006, 10:46:56 AM
At the moment, it seems quite nice to put two flags in direct fire range of each other, and drop a mech on each with 2 points of defense, 2 points of artillery, and 2 points of direct fire, or, put the flags anywhere, and give them 2 points of melee instead of direct fire. Either way, drop a mech on the flag or somewhere near it with cover, and shoot like crazy. This is possibly due to the fact that we were putting on two big sniper rifles for 2 red dice, and losing one for a hit, so these defenders didn't need to lose any of their primary firepower until after losing both direct fire weapons, and an armour piece. They also have 8 hit points the way we're playing them. When you roll four dice for defense (including your wilds) there's a very good chance of getting a 4 or a 5 on defense, which makes hitting them rather pointless. Even if you roll higher than their defense, you're not rolling many damage dice, and you may as well gun for something with no defense dice instead.

To an extent, this is also my beef against initiave as well. If something goes early, and rolls a bad defense, the other all robots all go "ooh, fresh scrap metal" and a barrage of fire decimates it quickly. Going later lets you pick and choose which robots to shoot at, because you already know the defense values, and therefore it's better. Also, if you do roll bafly for defense, fewer robots can capitalise. It sems slightly counter-intuitive that lower rolls are better. This possibly means having lots of initiave is good because you can go last, not first, if you get to choose which dice to take. (Allowing a delay wouldn't help much because everyone would want to delay.) - an example of all this was in the first round of yesterday's game, where the first robot to move got a 0 on defense, and then got chainsawificated to pieces by the next robot to act (five converted hits from six dice - a lucky roll and it wasn't in cover.)

Having said that, in the last round, going first was a big help at one point, because it allowed one of the players to jump a flag before the other got a chance to.

Missles seem a bit overpowered to me, from what I can gather. As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any reason why you wouldn't want to take them, and with any option, you should have advantages and disadvantages to both choices.

One of the things I really like here is the victory point system for objectives and robots. I thought it looked really horribly unbalanced watching the game start out. JJ had four robots, and they were uber, and he got 6 points per robot or flag, whereas Richard had one more robot, and several of them looked quite wimpy, but he only got 3 points per flag or robot. I thought this seemed really unfair at the time.
However, the "this wass a three player game" mechanic broke that completely. So long as you have more than two players, the gameplay will tend towards balancing the scores, because the player who is winning will find the other two working to reduce his score.

One thing I did notice was that in the seven turn game, no victory points changed for the first five rounds. I think this was because the players didn't see any necessity in taking them until the very end of the game. This did mean in the last round, Richard took the game from JJ on, in effect "one roll of the dice" - and while the probability of him winning was reasonable, (I think it was about 2/3) it seemed a little arbitary to me. It might be quite fun to have an "unknown" doomsday point, like in the boardgame evo (where the players know -about- when the game will end, but aren't completely sure.) -  to try and force people to take objectives when they can and hold them.

Another thing I've noticed is that people seem a bit loathe to shoot at the really cool looking robots, so they do better.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 28, 2006, 07:02:45 AM
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(Allowing a delay wouldn't help much because everyone would want to delay.)

Don't forget that you're dealing damage to a mecha before it can do anything. So here's an example:

I have a Scout with super high initiative. He goes first scrambling across the table to take a goal. He spots the goal's guard. Going next is one of my artillery dudes. He pounds on the guard. The guard gets to go, but not until he's already damaged. That means he might have to choose between losing Direct range weapons and losing Artillery range weapons based on whether the player wants to shoot the scout or the artillerist this turn a decision sie wouldn't have had to make if sie had had initiative.

Another example: I have a bunch of guys with high initiative. One of them attacks one of your guys. Let's say it shoots back. Now all my other guys get to attack that guy before anyone else gets to go. It's entirely possible that you're down a mecha before your turn comes up.

Don't forget: initiative matters because you get to set the stage for the coming turn. Everyone has to react to what you're doing. It doesn't only have to do with who gets to smash first. That means you can bait other players, you can take goals that otherwise they would have gotten first, and you can damage before they can.

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I think it might be quite fun to have an "unknown" doomsday point, like in the boardgame evo (where the players know -about- when the game will end, but aren't completely sure.) -  to try and force people to take objectives when they can and hold them.

You do. You don't know when the other players will count down the Clock. See my response above.

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Another thing I've noticed is that people seem a bit loathe to shoot at the really cool looking robots, so they do better.

Well, the answer to that problem's obvious: make your robots cooler than everyone else's!

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At the moment, it seems quite nice to put two flags in direct fire range of each other, and drop a mech on each with 2 points of defense, 2 points of artillery, and 2 points of direct fire, or, put the flags anywhere, and give them 2 points of melee instead of direct fire. Either way, drop a mech on the flag or somewhere near it with cover, and shoot like crazy. This is possibly due to the fact that we were putting on two big sniper rifles for 2 red dice, and losing one for a hit, so these defenders didn't need to lose any of their primary firepower until after losing both direct fire weapons, and an armour piece. They also have 8 hit points the way we're playing them.

Weapons are worth two dice each, total. So a weapon can be, for instance, one Red at Melee and one Red at Direct (a bayonette), or two at Artillery (a sniper rifle). When you lose one, you lose a whole weapon, not just one die. Pop it off and leave it on the ground.

The Big Missile issue smells of unbalance to me, too. It doesn't bother Vincent, but he'd have to explain why. Vincent? Why?



Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ahdok on May 29, 2006, 10:21:14 AM
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Another example: I have a bunch of guys with high initiative. One of them attacks one of your guys. Let's say it shoots back. Now all my other guys get to attack that guy before anyone else gets to go. It's entirely possible that you're down a mecha before your turn comes up.

I'm down a mecha that's already acted this turn. It doesn't matter if all your guys went first, or they all waited, and pounded on him at the end. Also, since you assign your dice and go after the first person to attack you, it's very hard for your opponent to bash off the one bit you really really need this turn (especially since you roll your dice before they deal damage.) - just take off a different bit. It'd be different if the attacker could target bits of the opponent and take them off first.

Personally, I love to be in the situation where I have four mechs left and everyone else has finished acting. I look at everyone's defense dice, pick out a mech with a low value, and then direct all my fire at it in one bunch, and my opponent can't even react, because all his mecha have already acted. I know my attacks will be more effective than at the start of a turn, because I'm attacking a low defense die opponent, (if you go first, you don't know what their roll will be.) This is a huge effect. I know where I want my mecha to go, because no-one can move to counter any of my plans, and I don't need to worry about using up my white dice in shields, because no-one else acts after to capitalise if my defense sucks. (when you go early, it's tempting to ensure you have the best defense possible, even if it's at the cost of some offense.) on top of that, I have the option of using any spot dice that didn't get used earlier. On top of -that- I might get high rolls next turn, and have some of my robots act twice without being counterred. Spring attack!

---

We played another game yesterday on a bigger board. We're I think approaching the scale you guys are playing on now, and it was a far more interesting game, however I still think defense is overpowered. Lemme explain by way of just listing the robots we had at the start and the end (and when the damage occurred.)

Chris
Five robots, three with defense 2, two with defense 1
No robots took any damage in the entire game.
Chris was low on points all game, so didn't suffer many attacks, although all he did suffer paled to his defense.

Me
Five robots, three with defense 1, two with defense 2
Defense 2 robots took no damage, defense 1 robots took 2 hits, 3 hits, 5 hits.
The latter two robots took most of their damage at the end when I was leading.

Richard
Five robots, all defense 2
One robot destroyed, one heavily damaged, other robots lightly damaged
Richard was leading at the start, and in a strong points position all game, but one of his robots fell to a freak dice roll.

Adam
Five robots, all with move 2, one with defense 1, all others no defense.
The robot with defense 1 undamaged, one of the others on one hit, three destroyed.
Adam wasn't really a points threat at any point in the game, and suffered less fire than Richard or me, however he had robots on very low defenses, so they took damage a -lot- faster than the other robots.

I think this served as a good test of how effective defense is, and I at least concluded that at least one dice of defense is a requirement (rather than an option) if you want to not get smashed. We think it's too hard to convert damage as well, since most robots stick in cover all game. A few ideas have been suggested for fixing things, but of them I personally prefer the idea to use N-2 rather than N-1 for blue dice (with move defense being done the same way.) - that way you always have the possibility of having two dice rolled at you, rather than only one. it also makes blue defense and move defense capped in the same place, which is nice.

Photos in (large) zipfiles below.

http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/May26.zip
http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/May28.zip


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ahdok on May 29, 2006, 10:41:12 AM
Sorry, that was a bit unclear, I'm proposing that defense works as follows. Subtract 2 from your shield dice, or halve your move rounded down. You place white dice into either so long as you have shields or engines as appropriate.

Other options that have been suggested are as follows.
Roll a Blue D4 for shield, and not allow white values of 5 or 6 to be used for shield at all. This is very nice, because it caps defense at 4, but means if you roll a blue dice you'll always get at least 1, decreasing the variance by quite a lot. It does mean you're introducing another dice type though. I don't think it's too complicated, and think it could work very well.

Allow scanning to penetrate defense in some way. There have been many suggestions for how this works, from adding one to your red die score when a robot has been scanned, to simply using 5s and 6s on scan dice to lower the defense of a robot by one. etc.

Ensure that when multiple robots attack one in the same round, that one robot suffers a defense penalty. (for example, each time you roll any number of damage dice against an opponent, subtract one from their defense value for the rest of the round.) This should work reasonably well, since they'll have a defense score by the time you try to roll damage dice, and in encourages teaming individual robots, and, it makes sense.

Allow white dice to be used for shield, even if the robot has no shields. - This is a reasonable idea, but I don't particularly like it because it's disparate with the other dice (in that you can't put white dice into artillery fire without artillery, and you can't put white into move without engines etc.) - but it would significantly reduce the advantage of having a blue dice.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 30, 2006, 01:37:44 AM
Don't forget that you're dealing damage to a mecha before it can do anything. So here's an example:

I have a Scout with super high initiative. He goes first scrambling across the table to take a goal. He spots the goal's guard. Going next is one of my artillery dudes. He pounds on the guard. The guard gets to go, but not until he's already damaged. That means he might have to choose between losing Direct range weapons and losing Artillery range weapons based on whether the player wants to shoot the scout or the artillerist this turn a decision sie wouldn't have had to make if sie had had initiative.

This makes me worry that we're doing something different here. As I understand it, by the point you're doing damage to a mecha, its owner has already rolled all its dice, and its Move, Attack, Shield and Spot dice for this turn have been assigned already and can't possibly be changed. Are you saying just that if, for example, you shoot off a mech's very last ranged weapon, it might lose the ability to attack its nominated target with the dice it's already rolled, or are you doing something different with how the dice work?

As for the blue dice thing, we played again on Sunday and I gave my army a total of one blue die. Everyone else had blue dice on I think all of their mecha. Four mechs total were destroyed that game, three of them being mine, which leaves me pretty puzzled about how the blue dice are making so much difference in our games and apparently not in yours. It's still the case that unless you're rolling blue dice, you can't assign white dice to shields, right? Because it's the ability to get a defend of n-1, rather than n/2, that's making the big difference, not the fact that you get extra dice to do it. What I'm seeing in our games is, the mecha with no blue dice generally end up with a defend of either 2 or 3 each turn. Mecha that do have blue dice usually end up with a defend of 4 or 5. Most of the attacks that get made end up being at a strength of 5 or 6, so as I figure it mechs with blue dice are taking half to a third of the damage that unprotected mechs take. It seems to be basically suicidial, or at least a really poor investment, not to put at least one blue die on each of your mecha.

Allow white dice to be used for shield, even if the robot has no shields. - This is a reasonable idea, but I don't particularly like it because it's disparate with the other dice (in that you can't put white dice into artillery fire without artillery, and you can't put white into move without engines etc.) - but it would significantly reduce the advantage of having a blue dice.

Dude, if you can't put white dice into move without engines, how do mecha with no green dice ever move at all?


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 30, 2006, 05:30:26 AM
You can move on white dice if your mecha has legs.  Little jump jets might give you a Green, or perhaps really springy looking legs. Wings might give you another green, or jets, or galloping on all fours.

If you've got wings or crawly legs or, I dunno, a grappling hook, you can go over obstacles, but it's just like being out of cover when you do it: you're hit on a 5 or 6.

Let's check in with Vincent: I'm pretty sure that, if Mecha A shoots at Mecha B, who shoots at mecha C, Mecha B takes hits before shooting at Mecha C. I think this might be the crux of your discomfort with the order of play.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: lumpley on May 30, 2006, 06:22:01 AM
I'll look closely again at the blue dice. My instinct is to power up green and yellow dice, not depower blue dice. Make blue dice appropriately opportunity-costly for their usefulness, not decrease their usefulness.

Here's a disposable rocket rule I can live with: every army gets the same number of disposable rockets. At the beginning of the game, make sure that nobody's side has more one-shot rockets than anybody else's.

Here's the initiative rule that smacked me in the face: if you're rolling more than one initiative die, choose one to keep and discard the rest.

I think I'll change initiative to count up from 1 instead of down from 10, but that's not significant.

Stop arguing about the white dice. The white die text is going to read kind of like this: you can use a white die to a) walk, b) punch, or c) feed one of your attachments.

Turn order:

Mech A's turn. Mech A declares mech B as target. Mech A rolls appropriate dice. Mech A decides whether to move then shoot, or shoot then move.

Before mech A can deal damage to mech B, we need to know mech B's defense. Consequently, mech B declares mech C as target and rolls appropriate dice. None of these dice can be affected retroactively by mech A's attack; they're rolled and they stay on the table.

Mech B assigns dice, but doesn't yet move or shoot or anything. Most significantly: mech B gets a defense number.

Mech A rolls damage dice against mech B and inflicts damage.

NOW mech B moves and shoots and etc. Before mech B can inflict damage on mech C, we need mech C's defense number, and so it goes.

The advantage I see to shooting a mech before it gets to act isn't that you might shoot off its weapon, but because assigning dice under fire is different than assigning dice under maybe-someday-potential fire. Mech B is far more likely to put its high die into defense and a lower die into shooting than mech A is.

Adam, Ahdok, it sounds like your group plays overall a very defensive game, so this effect won't be significant. That's okay. What I'd expect to see, consequently, is lots of games where the person who starts out winning, wins. You've played a few times now - how often has a starting points underdog won?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 30, 2006, 07:24:06 AM
I'll look closely again at the blue dice. My instinct is to power up green and yellow dice, not depower blue dice. Make blue dice appropriately opportunity-costly for their usefulness, not decrease their usefulness.

I'm all for running simulations.

Quote from: lumpley
Here's a disposable rocket rule I can live with: every army gets the same number of disposable rockets. At the beginning of the game, make sure that nobody's side has more one-shot rockets than anybody else's.

I think that means that you have to agree on them before play. I also heartily endorse this rule with whatever endorsement power I have. The question will become "Where will I put my missiles?"

Quote from: lumpley
[Here's the initiative rule that smacked me in the face: if you're rolling more than one initiative die, choose one to keep and discard the rest.

It smacked you because I kept doing that by accident anyway. What do you do on ties where you both want to go? Roll off?

Quote
I think I'll change initiative to count up from 1 instead of down from 10, but that's not significant.

Yeah, I think that'll make it a little easier to read. What about intentionally delaying your turn?

Like, the mecha we've got read 1, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6 for initiative.

I have a spotter and an artillerist. The stupid artillerist went and rolled a 1 with his one initiative die where the spotter couldn't do better than a 2. Can the artillery pass so someone else goes, then the spotter goes, then the artillery goes?

Quote
Stop arguing about the white dice. The white die text is going to read kind of like this: you can use a white die to a) walk, b) punch, or c) feed one of your attachments.

That's clear.

Quote
The advantage I see to shooting a mech before it gets to act isn't that you might shoot off its weapon, but because assigning dice under fire is different than assigning dice under maybe-someday-potential fire. Mech B is far more likely to put its high die into defense and a lower die into shooting than mech A is.

Very true.

Quote
Adam, Ahdok, it sounds like your group plays overall a very defensive game...

Yeah, I'm curious, because our games have come out very interestingly asymmetrical. Try mixing it up and report back your results!

Also, I really want to see your pics, but can't. Maybe you could put them on Flikr (http://www.flickr.com/)?


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: lumpley on May 30, 2006, 08:12:05 AM
No delaying. If you want more control over when your mech goes, give it more initiative dice and hope for a spread. If you give both your spotter and your artillery 2 initiative dice, then you can probably usually use the spotter's earlier die and the artillery's later die.

Roll ties off, no biggie.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 30, 2006, 08:15:29 AM
That is the awesome solution. I like the "Take the dice you like" solution so much it makes me squirt milk out of my nose.

PS I was not drinking milk at the time.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 30, 2006, 09:08:36 AM
I'll look closely again at the blue dice. My instinct is to power up green and yellow dice, not depower blue dice. Make blue dice appropriately opportunity-costly for their usefulness, not decrease their usefulness.

One idea we had (but haven't tried yet) was having yellow dice work so that instead of taking the yellow dice as your attack, you subtract (say) half the value on the yellow dice rounded down from the target's defense before figuring how many damage dice to roll. Means it's more worthwhile spotting heavily-defended mechs ('cause it's a waste subtracting up to 3 points of defence from a mech that only has 1 or 2 anyway), and also means that even once you've spotted a target it's worth getting a high attack roll when you open fire (so you don't get the thing where people go "well, I'm taking that spot die anyway, guess I'll put this '1' in my attack). Also, as an unexpected side effect, it means you can sensibly use yellow dice to spot for missile attacks and get some benefit out of it. Might turn out to be sickly powerful, though.

Quote
Here's the initiative rule that smacked me in the face: if you're rolling more than one initiative die, choose one to keep and discard the rest.

We had that idea, but my worry was that it could make the initiative rolls go on much longer because a) there's choices to be made, rather than the whole thing being totally mechanical and b) you have to put a fixed order on the initiative rolls, because when you want your mech to go might depend on what the other guys' mechs have rolled on their dice. I guess you could say you pick the order for your own mechs and do all your own dice before you see anyone else's, but it still seems fiddly if you're putting dice out on the map by the mechs to show their initiative.

Quote
The advantage I see to shooting a mech before it gets to act isn't that you might shoot off its weapon, but because assigning dice under fire is different than assigning dice under maybe-someday-potential fire. Mech B is far more likely to put its high die into defense and a lower die into shooting than mech A is.

The way it's been working out for us, you always put damn near as high a die as you can into defence as you can, especially if you're going early, because otherwise, everyone sees that your mech has a low defence and pounds on it mercilessly for the rest of the turn with their artillery and anyone else who's nearby.

Quote
Adam, Ahdok, it sounds like your group plays overall a very defensive game, so this effect won't be significant. That's okay. What I'd expect to see, consequently, is lots of games where the person who starts out winning, wins. You've played a few times now - how often has a starting points underdog won?

Lessee ... first game we played, two players, me and Richard, 5 points per victory each, I start out winning 35-30. Lots of mechs get blown up, game ends tied.

Second game has three players: me, Richard and JJ. Starting scores are I think 36 to JJ, 30 to me, 21 to Richard. I don't really remember what happened; I think Richard won, but JJ didn't really have the rules worked out at the point he built his mechs, whereas Richard and I had played the previous game and built big, defensive mechs which spent the entire game guarding our own flags, whereas JJ lost at least one of his.

Third game, four players: me, Richard, Dave and Chris. Everyone starts with five mechs, starting scores: Chris 28, me 35, Dave 35, Richard 42. Everyone except me leaves big, heavy mechs sitting on their objectives for the entire game, although Chris leaves one of his slightly open and I steal it for a while. Starts out with everyone pounding Richard and blowing up one of his mechs. The area around his objectives gets swamped with mechs, but since he has his big, heavy mechs constantly within range of the flags, he never actually loses control of them.

Chris and Dave both send mechs in and steal my objectives, but I'm the only one who didn't put my objectives in cover, so they don't leave their mechs sitting in the open to keep control, and I manage to take one of them back. At the end of the game, Dave and Chris both have a mech on my other flag, and Dave's mech is totally beat-up, but the objective is (currently) his. The score is 40-36-28-15 to Dave, Richard, Chris then me, so it could go in any of three ways: if Dave's mech lives (unlikely), he wins. If Dave's mech dies, Chris gets the objective, knocking Dave down to 30 points and Chris up to 32, which means Richard wins, unless Chris can also take out Richard's damaged mech, in which case Chris wins 32-30-30-15. Anyway, through some freakish chance, Dave's mech survives and he wins.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: lumpley on May 30, 2006, 11:41:14 AM
Initiative: Put all your dice out by your mech. Choose which one to use (discarding the others) as the turn ticks by.

"I go next on 5. Anybody going before that?"
"Well, I have to choose between going on 7 and going on 4... I chose 4!"

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 30, 2006, 12:25:39 PM
I really wish we had those pictures! I wanna see!


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Valamir on May 30, 2006, 12:50:56 PM
Initiative: Put all your dice out by your mech. Choose which one to use (discarding the others) as the turn ticks by.

"I go next on 5. Anybody going before that?"
"Well, I have to choose between going on 7 and going on 4... I chose 4!"

-Vincent

Well.  In the interest of "powering up Green and Yellow Dice" and keeping the rules unified.  Why not make the above the rule for all of the dice.

Red:  Obviously will pick the highest die always here, but leaves the door open for some funky new weapon / rule ideas.

Green:  Sometimes you don't want to move your maximum distance and sometimes what you want to do will change.  Having any of the Green dice to choose from makes Movement options more flexible for faster mechs.

Blue:  Currently Blue dice are "weakened" by being at -1 which is different from all other dice.  Why not NOT do the -1 thing and INSTEAD just have each blue die (at full strength) affect a single attack.  That way the dice work exactly the same as all other color dice.  Choose the die you want to use, use it once, then it goes away (just like Green or Red).  That way you don't get to be uber defend guy just because you rolled a single blue or white die as a 6.  It also means that "dump all the hurt on one mech" strategies will eventually burn through the Blue and White dice (shields are falling) and get down to the base defend number of 1/2 green.

Yellow:  For consistancy in making yellow dice work like all the others, see my earlier suggestion for leaving multiple yellow spotting dice out rather than simply upgrade.


To avoid map clutter consider investing in the little 1mm d6s.  They're cheap, and take up little map real estate.  I used them all the time playing Alternate Armies - Ion Age minis rules which had you rolling fistfulls of dice and leaving them on the table.

BTW:  Vincent was that game an influence for you? because it does Initiative very similarly...1 guy goes, and the next guy to go is the guy the first guy shot at...etc.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on May 31, 2006, 12:47:54 AM
Regarding the photos, I think the links ahdok meant to post were:

http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/May26.rar
http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~dtb26/May28.rar


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ffilz on May 31, 2006, 07:37:30 AM
Hmm, I wasn't able to get at those pictures. What file format are they? Windows barfed on it, Linux tried to load it as an archive but also barfed.

Frank


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on May 31, 2006, 10:17:31 AM
Works fine in OS X!

These are great. I particularly like the dude with the really blocky torso. Bad ass.

Will we be seeing you guys at GenCon? So far, it looks like Vincent, Mike Mearls, and I will be there with armies built, and I think we won't be the only ones.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: ffilz on May 31, 2006, 11:21:53 AM
Are they image files or archives? If the former, it's unfortunate the extension matches an archive format. Also unfortunate to be introducing a new image format...

Frank


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Darren Hill on May 31, 2006, 11:51:30 AM
They are archive files. You need WinRAR (http://www.rarlab.com/rar/wrar351.exe) or a compatible program to open them.

(If you're worried about a direct link, here's the download page. (http://www.rarlab.com/download.htm))


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on June 01, 2006, 01:13:54 AM
J: It would be totally kickass, but unfortunately I really don't think I can afford to fly across the Atlantic this summer. One day, perhaps ...


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on June 01, 2006, 06:29:44 AM
It's a sad day, not just for giant robot, but for giant robotkind.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on June 02, 2006, 01:20:12 AM
The new initiative rule, where you put all the dice by the mech and can pick whether to keep or discard them as they come up in turn? Totally rocks. Initiative feels useful, now. Though I think it means you're even more likely to get pounded on if you roll a low defence.

Thoughts after yesterday's excellent game:

Making the cover sparser is a good thing. We had mostly single hexes of cover with about five empty hexes between them, which means if your mech is slow, it's a toss-up whether you can make it to the next piece of cover in one move or whether you have to choose between leaving yourself exposed and not making progress. Also makes the difference in weapon ranges more important, because you can't get far away enough to make a direct fire attack on that guy you're sharing your cover with.

Putting objectives where they can't be defended from in cover is much more fun, but there's no real reason to do it, sa far as I can tell. In yesterday's game, I was the only one who placed a flag far away from cover, and I did win, but I think I'd have ended up doing so much more easily if I'd just put it in cover and left a fat mech on it from the start. Have you guys been putting objectives mostly in cover, or in the open?


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on June 02, 2006, 04:40:10 AM
I've been putting objectives in cover in such a way that it's hard to get to them cleanly from outside: with walls around them and cover between them sparse. That way, a single mecha can't take both in two turns (or, if they're really close, in one turn, though I doubt anyone's doing that).

Having both sparse and dense areas of cover on a board is also fun. We had a huge, open killing floor that made everyone stick to cover until the chips were really down and had to take the dangerous short cut.

I'll just come out and say this: pounding on the weakest guy on the table at a time is strategically meaningless. Pound on the side that's winning. Otherwise, you're fighting for second place with the current winner getting a greater and greater lead.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Adam Biltcliffe on June 05, 2006, 12:31:19 AM
Quote
I'll just come out and say this: pounding on the weakest guy on the table at a time is strategically meaningless. Pound on the side that's winning. Otherwise, you're fighting for second place with the current winner getting a greater and greater lead.

I wish this was the case, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way for us. Say the mech you really, strategically speaking, want to atack has a five for his defend this turn. If you and the third player or whatever attack him with, say, a total of a dozen mechs, and half of them manage to roll a six for attack (which sounds statistically about right to me), your expectation is that you'll do a total of one damage to that guy. With every non-allied mech on the board attacking him. This seems totally inefficient to me, when you can attack a weaker mech two or three times as efficiently and then blast that other mech later, especially when the game is typically only about six turns long. This is starting to make me suspect that we're still not using the same rules.


Title: Re: [Mechaton] Giant robot combat, up close and dirty
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on June 05, 2006, 08:02:07 AM
Quote from: Adam Biltcliffe
This is starting to make me suspect that we're still not using the same rules.

Yeah, something's amiss:

Quote
Say the mech you really, strategically speaking, want to atack has a five for his defend this turn. If you and the third player or whatever attack him with, say, a total of a dozen mechs, and half of them manage to roll a six for attack (which sounds statistically about right to me), your expectation is that you'll do a total of one damage to that guy.

... but you're saying that all off the winning team's mecha are rolling 5s, presenting you with no options. And doing so while also making attacks that are good enough to prevent you from moving around and taking objectives. Somehow, the dice are all coming up too high on his side and not high enough on yours.

Now, if each of those dozen mecha attack (that number sounds high, but it's easy) and get one attack die each, you should be doing two or three damage to that guy. Let's say the target in question here is built to defend: two Blues, a 2 Red sniper rifle, and a 2 Red missile rack for Direct fire. That mecha had six dice. Now it's got three or four. And you think it's gonna get a 5 defend every time? Rolling two Blues and putting both Whites into Defense, that's only a 52% chance. So if the defender there rolls a 5 instead, making the defend a 4, they're now rolling 24 attack dice, of which four should come up 6s, putting the guy down. And that assumes that you're trying to completely run the player out of dice, that you need hir to lose that mecha. Just bashing it down to Whites is probably enough. And don't forget that it'll lose Blues along the way, making damage even more likely.

Remember this when shooting at the guy in second place while you're in last: that guy's helping you. If you're fighting that guy, you're fighting on two fronts when the defender should be doing that. If you've all got roughly equivalent forces (which it sounds like you're doing), that means the defender is having to take hits at twice the rate as the other two, while the two attackers are receiving the whupping at half the rate.