Monday, October 13, 2014

Preview of MEST 2.0

The CelestiCon game session that we hosted a few months ago solidified some thinking on the MEST System rules.  There I encountered several very inquisitive and observant players - more so than normal - and I realized that the existing version 1.5x rules needed to be updated and revised ASAP.  And so Aggro and myself decided to update it using many of the concepts we've been stewing over for the past couple of years.

Here's a few of the changes that made the cut for version 2.0:

New Features

  1. Group Actions made it in!  This tremendously speeds up the game during the maneuver portion of each battle.  This is an evolution and complete simplification of the Trooper concept posted as a MEST Group entry nearly two years ago. It behaves more like what I created for the Soldiers! game.
  2. Go Points made it in! This works well with Group Actions. Its a bit more limited but cleaner than the MEST Group entry..
  3. Reacts made it in! This works well with the Group Actions. Its nearly the same as the version on the MEST Group entry.
  4. Suppression made it in! This works well with Group Actions. Its nearly the same as the version on the MEST Group entry.
  5. Magic System made it in! This is a cleaned-up version of the system we used for our Mythos genre from many years back. The Basic Rules with its vanilla genre comes with 9 spells.
  6. Custom Archetypes made it in! This is a relatively flexible way to generate new archetypes for the vanilla genre.  It is an improved version of what was posted to the MEST Group entry.
  7. Many new traits made it in to support the new custom archetypes.
  8. Many new weapon made it in the list. I finally corrected Blunderbuss and Coach Pistol, and brought in Automatic Rifle (like the BAR) again.  Many new Archaic Melee weapon were introduced, each of which receives the Impale trait.  This includes the Long Bow which also has that trait.

Critical Changes

  1. Hidden status is now more powerful.  The 1.5.2 rules have it so that Hidden status awards a die to the Defender for Range Combat.  The revised rules disallow targeting a Hidden model for Range Combat; it needs to be Detected first.
  2. Base dice now carry-over as bonus Base dice.  The Rule-of-Three for cascades is gone.  This simplification of the math for the main rules makes the game play much faster.  I ran the numbers through my Simulator project and basically its a wash; so simple is better.
  3. "Night, Clear" Lighting is now renamed to "Twilight, Overcast" Lighting.  I found this cool link on Wikipedia that I was able to convert into the MEST Visibility scale.  As a result, "Night, Clear, Full-moon" will become Visibility OR 4" ... but that is for the Advanced Rules.
  4. I've discovered that certain traits such as the Leader, Tactics, or Stealthy are very powerful and so I altered point-cost formulas for them.  Same goes with the INT (Intelligence) attribute.  There were several dozen tweaks to the existing traits and reformulation of all BP values.  As a result, for example; being a Leader is now very costly but will be in alignment with its benefits.
  5. We've expanded the IP spending list to include the equivalent of a "Oops! That's on Wait status" option, and to facilitate the Group Actions concept.
  6. The Pack Mentality and the Leader traits have been altered to work with the Group Actions concept correctly.

Organization & Edits

  1. Lots of stuff was moved around. Many rules were edited for clarity.  Exceptions were simplified or made very clear. There were lots and lots of edits to make this stuff readable and understandable.
  2. I tried my best to close loop-holes in concepts and in phrasing.  For example, the WYSIWYG concept also applies to terrain.  If you can't fit a model into some place upon the battlefield, maybe it shouldn't be there. Also, for example; I did my best to make it clear that any test involving POW is a Morale Test. Rally Tests, Fear Tests, and Bottle Tests are all versions of Morale Tests.  
  3. Friendly Fire has been simplified, as has Multiple Weapons.
  4. I got rid of a lot of the "rules as written" versus "rules as played" stuff.  There were a lot of rules that we no longer used.

Hi-Fidelity Version

The full-color Basic Rules document will need to some more effort because it is an Adobe InDesign file and take a lot of time to edit.  What I've learned is that because I did parallel edits with the low-fi version at the same time as the hi-fi version I had been limiting myself by trying not to affect page-count or page-layout too much.

Anyhow, along with the hi-fi version of the rules I'll need to update all of the optional downloads such as the Fantasy Gladiator stat cards, the Retropocalypse stuff, and a few more things. I hope to have all of it posted before the end of the year so that 2015 is the year of MEST 2.0.

Low-Fidelity Version

As for the low-fi (concise) version of the rules, I'll post the draft of that for download in a few days.  The final version of it will require that Aggro and myself double-check with a few more play-tests.