DESIGNER'S PING PONG
I think we finally have combat where it needs to be (until the playtesters tell us how screwed up it is, of course). It moves fast. You only need 2 die rolls to attack someone, see where you hit, determine damage, and discover any critical effects. But it also has some options for advanced players who want to try tripping each other's mechs, trampling enemy infantry, climbing cliffs, and so on. Dieter has talked me out of having a complicated chart to cover all the possible outcomes when a prone mech tries to stand, which is probably a good thing, but we kept most of the other advanced rules intact.
We still have plenty to do. The weapons need to be detailed – an axe is different from a sword is different from a lance. We know roughly how they'll be different, but now that we have a working draft of combat we can fine-tune them. We want to put together some small tactical options, things like aiming carefully or taking a wild swing. And our first draft of the mech design rules, although functional, sorely needs to be rebuilt to fit the latest evolution of combat.
...I just went over those first two paragraphs, changing most of the pronouns from "me" or "him" to "we." This has been a very collaborative project, and it's getting hard to tell who did what. I know Dieter did the first draft of combat, and I wrote the first version of mech design. But once one of us writes something, we pass it to the other for editing and expansion. Then whoever rewrote it passes it back, and so on. So far we haven't knocked the ball off the table – nobody's duplicated the other guy's effort, and we haven't lost anything in transit. Can we keep it up as we head into 2008? You betcha. Dieter and I have been working together on game projects for more than a decade now.
Projects like special abilities for mech crews. We know that crew members will be an important part of the game. Coglayers can upgrade or repair mechs, mech jockeys help them move and fight, wizards act as living artillery, and boarders... ah, boarders. You'll have a lot of fun with boarders. I've got Dieter's first draft of the crew rules, and I have some great ideas for what coglayers can do. Back to writing!
DragonMech line developer, freelance writer, tall guy named Matt.