Warning This a Long Post
Had a chance to looks over the stats for the Savage World's version of this game. SMG seems to be a co-publisher. With this post I'm looking how it can do animate accurate mecha combat. In order to play the game you need a copy of the rule book. I'm using the 2nd edition rules. Later edition might correct a few things that I'm unaware of. I'm no expert on this system but I'm well experienced with RPG in general..
I'll begin first with some game terms,
AP (Armor Piercing): The number of Armor Points that a weapon ignores.
Toughness: The target number a weapon needs to make in order to damage a vehicle. Any Armor points are included in the Toughness and indicated in parentheses.
Damage: The dice are rolled as listed.
All dice rolls (including damage) are open-ended. If you roll the highest number on a die you can keep rolling and adding it as you keep rolling the highest number. A more accurate attack can give damage bonus too. For the sake of these examples we’ll assume that all combatants rolled normal dice values without any extra bonuses for good rolling.
I’ll be comparing Toughness values against Damage for the VF-1, Regult & Tomahawk.
Toughness: 18 (Armor 4)
GU-11 Damage: 3D8 (AP 6)
Toughness: 18 (Armor
Particle Cannons: 3D10+2 (AP 10)
Toughness: 43 (Armor 25)
Beam Guns (arms): 4D8 (AP 10)
GU-11 vs Regult
Scoring multiple hits from burst fire is possible. For these examples we’ll assume only one rounds hits. With an AP value of 6 the GU-11 ignores 6 out of the Regult’s 8 Armor points. We roll 3D8 against the adjusted Toughness value of 12. Dice range for this roll is 3 to 24. Scoring a hit against the Regult’s Toughness that can cause damage is possible.
Regult’s Beam Cannons vs VF-1
With an AP value of 10 the Beam Cannon ignores 10 out of the VF-1’s 4 Armor points. We roll 3D10+2 against the adjusted Toughness value of 14. Dice range for this roll is 5 to 32. Scoring a hit against the VF-1’s Toughness that can cause damage is possible.
As you can see a VF-1 & Regult can trade shoots that sometimes cause damage and sometimes not. Things fall apart with the Tomahawk.
Regult’s Beam Cannon vs Tomahawk
With an AP value of 10 the Beam Cannon ignores 10 out of the Tomahawk’s 25 Armor points. We roll 3D10+2 against the adjusted Toughness value of 33. Dice range for this roll is 5 to 32. Scoring a hit against the Tomahawk’s Toughness that can cause damage is nearly impossible. The Regult would have to have rolled a “10” on at least one of those 1D10 in order to get bonus dice for a chance at damage the Tomahawk.
Every 4 points you roll against the Toughness Value will cause a wound. If a Vehicle suffers 4 wounds total is it considered wrecked. It is possible to destroy a Vehicle from a single wound by rolling for that result on a damage location table. With Human vs Human non-vehicle combat a single wound can put any cannon fodder character out of the fight. My version of the rule book (2nd edition) doesn’t say if this applies to vehicles or not. Looking back at the GU-11 vs Regult. As you can see with a damage value range of 3 to 24 the GU-11 can not only damage a Regult it can cause multiple wounds have a single shot. A Regult is going a have a very hard time scoring any damage against the Tomahawk. There are Destroids with weaker and stronger Toughness numbers.
The belief that Destroids should be very hard to hurt is a mistaken belief that has been around since Palladium Books Robotech RPG was first released. We compare Destroids to a Tanks and treated them the same way - a heavily armored power house. If you watch the animation a Destroid's ability to absorb an attack from a Regult is about the same as VF-1’s ability. High Damage capacity numbers vs low weapon damage numbers was a big problem with Palladium’s Robotech. It took forever destroy Mecha without using a bunch of missiles. Many RPG’s systems will favor Player Character survivability over how the setting’s universe should function. I’ll agree that no Player wants their Character to die from the first hit to the head they take. The problem is that many Games cater to the demands of Players who want to play as any type of Character. For these Players many Games have try to make everything balanced. Players aren’t at a disadvantage for picking a weaker Character type. In my opinion when Games do this they should use some sort of a Player Character special rule for increase survivability. Every Mecha has poor survivability rating against a direct hit but Playing Characters and Main Villains are so lucky that enemies can only score indirect hits against them. The Savage Worlds system does see a difference between heroes and Extras. But with such high Toughness ratings for some Destroids it doesn’t matter if a PC or NPC is piloting. Neither is going to be threaten by an attacking Regult. If I were a Player, I’d always pick the most armored Destroid. I think you’d have house rule and lower the Toughness values for some Mecha.
Agile Mecha and Dodging
Savage World is quick and easy system. I think it was designed for pulp action not vehicle combat. If you were in a boxing match, you’d roll your Fighting skill dice vs your opponent’s Parry value. The Parry is their fighting skill divided in half + 2. With Ranged combat it is your Shooting skill dice vs the range to your target. A character maybe a little harder to hit if they have the Dodge Edge but, in most cases, hitting Max Sterling with a throwing knife is easy as hitting Ben Dixon at the same distance. Applying this system to Mecha combat and you’ll see that it is as easy to hit a VF-1 as it is to hit a Tomahawk at the same distance. There doesn’t seem to be a vehicle dodge Edge. Mecha does have a stat called Handling Value that provides a bonuses or penalty for piloting rolls. I think you might to house rule that you include a Mech’s Handing for ranged attacks against it. That way a VF-1 is harder to hit than a Destroid with lower Handing.
Besides Range the relative Speed of a target can make it harder to hit. They’ve got Speed Stats measured in MPH. You’ve got to figure what it would be per 6 second combat Round. You could run a game using miniatures on your kitchen table as long all Mecha units are walking. Flying Mecha is difficult to use with walking Mecha. Their movement per round flies them right off your kitchen table and into your living room. This has been a problem for all Game Systems unless it is a game that uses abstract Movement rates over accurate ones. Not only do you have to figure Movement rates per Round you have to force all combatant to use the same method of movement or House Rule abstract movement rates or stop the game as you try to recompute things.
Now a stupid mistake according to the Savage World stats by Battlefield Press and SMG the VF-1 can’t fly in robot mode. This same mistake was in the original VF-1 stats by Palladium Games. The last version of the VF-1 by Palladium I think did fix this mistake. If they watched episode 35, they would have seen the VF-1 flying in robot mode.
I apologise once again for this long post. I enjoy thinking about game mechanics way too much. Overall, I think these publishers did a good job applying the Robotech setting to both Game systems. I do wish they proofread things more and re-watched the series to take notes. Finding the best system for Mecha games isn’t easy. A highly accurate system would be so slow it would be impossible to play. All systems have to compromise somethings. Is it too hard ask them all to compute movement rates per Round for you? Give you both accurate movement rates and abstract movement rates? Plus play test to make sure Mecha can get damaged by weapons that should be able to damage them? I would run a mecha based game with this over Palladium any day but I'm still going to have to house rule a few things.