After months of hiatus, I've finally managed to playtest an early draft of Battle Mechanica with a couple of friends, one of them the great rob-jr himself. This version had minimal rules and was played with only two factions, each with a small number of units. We used Mage Knight minis to represent the units and a map from a D&D campaign. Of course, the size of the bases of the minis were too big for D&D battlemaps, so we had to improvise a bit on that one. It went pretty well though, and the playtest allowed me to spot the flaws in the game.
First, and most importantly, was the target roll. In layman's term, a target roll is the number that the player must get (or exceed) when rolling a dice in order to claim a success. The target roll was originally 6, but after last nights playtest, I found that the magic number is 5.
Second, the grid's square should be bigger so that it could accomodate more that one figure. I noticed that if the figure's base (such as that of a mounted unit with a base of 1" by 2") is bigger than the size of the square, it's difficult to position that figure to attack an enemy that is situated diagonally. This is not really a big issue, but this is just some of the problem that comes with using a square grid map.
Third, the number of figures per unit. I had initially set each unit to 10 men (with the exception of certain units, such as the solitary Commander and a 6-men cavalry squadron). I'm still trying to figure out the proper size for a unit, and I'm also wondering whether I should try an unconventional approach to unit composition (like that of a mix-matched band à la D&D adventuring party).
Fourth, line-of-sight. Should I allow figures to shoot through members of the same unit (like in Warhammer: 40K) or should I strictly follow rules of line-of-sight (no obstacles from shooter to target)? I find that it's much more fun with former, and works well if I opt to go for the "unconventional approach to unit composition").
Fifth, the wargame's direction itself. Should I make this boardgame lean more towards conventional wargame, or should I make it totally outrageous? There a tons of war boardgames out there, and most of them took the traditional route for war boardgames (most of them simulated historical battles), but I think that if I really wanna make this game stand out, I should turn 180° and create something totally out of the norm. I think I'll do that.
That's all for now. Time to make a revision of this game and playtest it again next month. You can read about a review of the playtest here or, if you haven't, check out rob-jr's latest creation, The Nasi Lemak Stand.
Battle Mechanicum by Daniel Marcus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.