Robotech RPG Tactics, The Words Escape Me

For some reason the words that I normally “see” while writing are gone.  I think I spent too much time writing over the weekend.  Really, if I wasn’t writing on Building Blocks, FU! Slow Cooker, or something related to school I was writing a blog or cooking.  That I am having problems writing today is not that much of a surprise.  Kind of annoying as I was planning on working on a few smaller writing projects.  Ah well, they will wait for tomorrow or later tonight.

There was one activity that I did that was not writing and is related to the title.  The kids and I played a game of Robotech RPG Tactics using the rules as printed.  The experience was not horrible to the point where I would suggest that nobody play the game, there was some fun had. However, the entire experience was very clunky as I expected.

The kids got a single unit of 1 commander and 9 soldiers from the Zentraedi side. I had a single unit of 1 commander and 3 soldiers from the Earth side.  For the sake of my fingers and your reading I am not typing out all of the names.  Keep in mind they had 10 figures to my 4, however my 4 could transform from robot to half-robot-half-plane and finally an airplane mode.

  • Going by the suggested set up we used the entire living room floor (6 feet x 4 feet).  Yep that huge.
  • The squad cards had some information mostly damage silhouettes, for keeping track of damage done to each unit.
  • The specific unit cards had some information on front, on back, and the cards were not consistently organized.
  • For example: My boy wants to move his commander and then shoot.  One the front of the card is the movement and shooting skill, on the back the weapons. Meaning, until stats got memorized, a lot of flipping of cards.  Meanwhile, damage done to each unit was kept on another card.
  • Related to the cards, all of the keywords for attacks, movement, and miscellaneous abilities found on the front and back of each card were not explained  on the cards.  What good are reference cards if I have to look up information in another source?

Here is how our game went:

  • Two turns were spent getting into range.  Which was odd, given that the ranges for weapons average around 1′ and movement was in an average of 6″ increments, why suggest such a large playing area?
  • When the shooting finally happened it was…odd.
    • Turn 3: They damage three of my guys.
    • Turn 4: They kill one of my guys.
    • Turn 5: I kill six of their guys in attacks from two of my units.
    • Turn 6: I kill the last four of their guys, they kill one of mine.

Why was this odd? Because there was way too much luck involved.  Tactics did not enter into the game at all.  In a nutshell, here is how combat works out:

  1. declare target and weapon being used.
  2. if you have a command point, spend command point or more to shoot with other weapons
  3. roll 1 die per weapon adding gunnery skill to each die (keep in mind the weapon is on the back, the skill on the front, and keywords for the weapons are in the rulebook)
  4. if the total of a die + gunnery skill is equal or greater than the targets defense that is a hit, but…
  5. the target can spend a command point to attempt to dodge, reduce the damage, or shoot down the attack (if the attack was missiles)
  6. if any of step 5 happens the damage can be negated or halved
  7. then apply damage which in most case instantly killed the zentraedi, but only damaged the earth units

Now if you like rolling lots of dice and then being able to roll more dice to negate or reduce the effects of the initial action then this will be fun for you, but I like my strategy games to be about strategy not who can roll the most dice.  As you can see from our game, once the shooting begins the game is over quick.  Way too quick for my tastes, the only reason I didn’t take out all ten figures on Turn 5 was because I rolled bad on multiple dice.

For me the jury is still out about Robotech RPG Tactics, I have discussed my issues with the miniatures, the quality of the writing, the organization of the rulebook and cards at length.  Having played a game I see issues related to those issues and more.  There will be a couple more games to see if the clunkiness irons out.

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