From: (Marc-Alex Vezina)

Subject: Mecha!, Version 3.0

Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 20:42:07 GMT

Lines: 213

The Mecha! FAQ

Compiled by Marc A. Vezina

Version 3.0, 12/01/93

(Mecha! is copyright (c)1992 and a registered trademark of Seventh Street Games. All Rights Reserved.)

List of topics:

  1. What is Mecha!?

  2. Who publishes the game?

  3. How much material is available?

  4. When was it published?

  5. Which book do I need to start playing?

  6. What do all these terms and abreviations mean?

  7. Are there any specific background for the game?

  8. Are there miniatures available?

  9. What's this I hear about Mecha! using only miniatures?

  10. Is the game meant for a flat hex-map or free-form terrain?

  11. Are mecha designs made by the players or chosen from a set list?

  12. How large is an average game? How much time? How many players?

  13. What are the combat mechanics like?

  14. What are the proper costs of regular/heavy armor?

  15. What is happening with Combat!, the squad level game?

What is Mecha!?

Mecha! is "a fast-playing, easy to learn battle system simulating Japanese anime giant robot combat" (from SSG). In short, a science-fiction tactical wargame system designed primarily to emulate Japanese animation.

Mecha! was intented to be a generic Japanimation sci-fi game and so is pretty much free-form. All sort of technical systems and abilities are available, so players must tailor the game to a particular background.

Mecha! is part of a planned larger group of games which will also includes Combat! (squad actions), Starships! (starship combats) and Anime! (the RPG rules). None of these have been published yet.

Who publishes the game?

Mecha! is published by Seventh Street Games. They can be reached at the following address:

Seventh Street Games P.O. Box 720791 San Jose, CA 95172-0791 USA

How much material is available?

The following books are currently available from Seventh Street Games:

- Mecha!: basic rules, 23 scenario ideas, how to build miniatures, Spirit Warrior background;

- Spirit Warrior Empire: additional rules, mission generator, Spirit Warrior Empire detailed background;

Upcoming book(s):

- Combat!: small units and powersuits rules, Terran Confederacy background.

Additional material is printed in each issue of Mecha Press, the mechanised gaming and modeling magazine.

When was it published?

The SSG team first wrote Mecha! after watching Japanese science-fiction animation. They weren't satisfied with the existing giant robot system so they decided to write their own set of rules. The original plan was to distribute them freely at conventions but the finished rule set was the size of a small book.

The original name of the game was Mecha! Mecha! Mecha!, from the Japanese Tora! Tora! Tora! of Pearl Harbor fame, but most people found it too long so it was shortened a bit. Thus, the first rulebook, simply titled Mecha!, was released in the summer of 1991 by the newly formed Seventh Street Games. It was followed in December of the same year by the Spirit Warrior Empire sourcebook, which expanded the background found in the first book.

Since then, the guys at SSG have been busy with Combat!, the second part of their planned game line. They are also publishing support material through Mecha Press magazine.

Which book do I need to start playing?

The basic rulebook, Mecha!, is all you need to play a good game. SWE is useful if you want to play with the Azteca background introduced in the rulebook. Combat! will include a new background which is closer to regular sci-fi. It will be called the Terran Confederacy.

What do all those terms and abbreviations mean?

Are there any specific backgrounds for the game?

For the moment there is only one published background, although the game is designed to be able to support any background you might choose. Called the Spirit Warrior Empire, this background takes you to a far-away planet where Azteca warriors uplifted from Earth fight wars for alien masters. Very unusual, but somehow fascinating: "Chariots of the Gods" meets Japanese anime.

Because unusual backgrounds are not everybody's cup of tea, SSG will introduce a new background called the Terran Confederacy where the nations of Earth squabble among themselves with high technology while trying to prepare for an alien invasion they know is coming. This will be fully explained in Combat!. Several Mecha Press articles have already being published on the TC.

Are there miniatures available?

They are currently two lines of miniature available directly from SSG. They are the Hummingbird Warriors and the Jaguar Lords, both from the Spirit Warrior Empire sourcebook. Each line has four mecha and one fighter. Several more series are planned, including ground installations (bunkers and laser turrets).

All of SSG's models are molded in resin. They are multi-part, and all are between two to three inches high (about 1/100 scale).

What's this I hear about Mecha! using only miniatures?

Mecha! is based around the use of miniatures to represent the diverse units in play. The battle is fought on a model terrain (which can be as detailled as you want). Flight is simulated through the use of Battlepoles(tm), long modular poles which are used to hold the models in the air for a spectacular 3D effect. Guidelines on how to make poles are included in the rulebook, though SSG also sell readily made modular Battlepoles made of wood. Any miniature can be used because the game is not scale-specific, i.e. can be used at any scale.

Is the game meant for a flat hex-map or free-form terrain?

At present, the game does not use hex-maps, although the designers have been advised to include an hex- based conversion kit in their next product (Combat!) for people who don't have the time or the inclination to model a full terrain and playing pieces.

Terrain is intended to be designed by the players, although numerous suggestions on how to do it are made in the rulebook.

Are mecha designs made by the players or chosen from a set list?

A complete construction rule set is included in the basic rulebook for players wishing to design their own machine. Numerous pre-made mecha, complete with data sheets, are also included. More designs are available in the SWE sourcebook.

How large is an average game? How much time? How many players?

A game can last from 15 minutes to several hours depending on the players and the number of units engaged in combat. Average game (two players with three-four mecha each) runs around two to three hours.

Number of players is practically unlimited, as is number of mecha. However, games involving more than six units per side tend to be quite long (three hours +).

What are the combat mechanics like?

Very simple and streamlined. The system uses only six and ten-faced dice. Each machine has a number of Structural Integrity points, which in turn give Action Points. These represent the energy available. Energy is used each turn to move, defend, and power weapons. Absolute rule: 1d6 damage point caused to the enemy cost 1 Action Point.

To-hit procedure: attacker rolls 1d10 and add modifiers and gunnery level (if applicable). Defender rolls 1d10 and add modifiers and piloting level (if applicable). Best wins; tie, defender win. Armor is rolled and substracted from damage to give SI damage. Sixes are critical hits.

What are the proper costs of regular/heavy armor?

The rulebook incorrectly states that regular armor costs 25 points per die and heavy armor costs 15 per die. Correct cost is 20 for both.

What is happening with Combat!, the squad level game?

According to Dave Georgeson, the activities of Seven Street Games have been temporarily put on hold until they gather sufficient cash resources to afford printing again. Combat! is completely written up and layouted.

In the meantime, support material mostly takes the form of articles in Mecha Press, the magazine of mecha modeling and gaming.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to post them. They will be included in the FAQ as soon as possible.