There’s a new Kickstarter project up from the creator of Mobile Frame Zero: MFZ: Alpha Bandit. This takes the fight into space, with players constructing fleets of starships from Lego pieces and fighting carrier group level combat by the sounds of it.
I’ve already backed this project based on the strength of the fantastic Mobile Frame Zero game (follow that link for the free PDF rulebook). We played a series of three player games using Lego Frames I’d put together from my personal Lego collection. The game was fast and furious fun, and worked surprisingly well considering the odd number of players. Unfortunately we sort of stalled on MFZ because it requires a reasonably large Lego collection, and a fair number of odd pieces in order to build a decent squadron of Mobile Frames to fight with. This meant my war gaming friends were stuck with playing with the Frames (and load-outs) I was constructing, and I was stuck constantly reassembling stuff after each war gaming evening.
I hope Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit will get remove a lot of these problems, due to the smaller size of the Lego spaceships involved. The largest vessels, Cruisers, are based on an 8 x 8 Lego plate and Frigates on a 4 x 8 Lego plate. That’s still pretty generous, but not large enough that it requires a huge Lego collection to build a fleet. Lego spaceships also have the advantage of being a lot easier to construct from any random collection of Lego pieces, because of course you don’t need any odd taps and clips for limbs for example.
Even at the lowest backing level, you’ll be getting the ‘in progress’ PDF rulebook files which will hopefully be enough to play the game – that was certainly the case for Mobile Frame Zero. I’m really looking forward to the first one of these appearing in a Kickstarter update. Time to shoo the kids away from the Lego and start building some Lego spaceships! Ok… maybe I’ll let my kids help too.
Update: Looks like Joshua’s blog has early play-test rules on it for Alpha Bandit! They’re early days but will make sense if you’ve played MFZ.
My Kickstarter funded official Mobile Frame Zero rulebook arrived last weekend and it is a beautiful piece of work. Despite having the PDF of the same rulebook in my hands for months now I haven’t got around to actually playing the game, due to a lack of green, blue and yellow coloured dice. Fortunately Dustan was able to hook me up with 36 coloured dice from his local $2 shop down in Gisborne. Thanks man!
Armed with the Gisborne dice, and three groups of Mobile Frames I’d thrown together fairly randomly we played with Lego toys rather than toy soldiers at the last gaming night. Everybody enjoyed themselves and I think the general consensus was that it was an interesting game that is worth playing again. Seeing MFZ in motion certainly lets you appreciate the simple elegance of the system. The basic rule set is minimal compared to some other ‘phone book’ rules we use, and yet the game is tactically rich enough to entertain you for hours. I plan to teach the rules to my 9 year old son this weekend and see how he finds it.
If you’re an AFOL, or just a Dad with some Lego you can borrow from your kids, and enjoy board games or war games, then I heartily recommend trying out Mobile Frame Zero. The PDF version of the rules are free for download, but I’d also recommend purchasing a physical copy of the rulebook because it’s very nicely put together and reasonably priced.
I built this Mobile Frame Zero scale ‘atmospheric fighter’ a while back as another terrain piece for the ‘landing field’ table I’m putting together. It has been kicking around in our Lego collection since then, and has come close to being broken up several times so I thought it was time to capture the ship and a MLCad plan.
I’ve also bought a new laptop recently and was keen to see how MLCad performed on it, so I spent a couple of afternoons working in MLCad this long weekend. I think it’s also worth capturing any models you build as plans like this because the Mobile Frame Zero game includes rules for incoming fire damaging terrain, so players will basically rip apart your nice terrain during play! Click on the image to the right for the ‘.ldr’ file that you can load into MLCad. I haven’t quite mastered the art of producing ‘build plans’ from MLCad yet, but the model is broken down into small groups internally that will hopefully lead to a logical build if you want to replicate it.
As I mentioned in the last post, Mobile Frame Zero includes rules for cover taking damage from missed shots. As the covering terrain is all made entirely of Lego, the rules dictate how many bricks the firer is allowed to remove from terrain for each missed shot. As you can imagine a completed game of Mobile Frame Zero will have a lot of brick debris scattered around the table. This is a great idea in terms of game play, but it does mean your carefully constructed Lego terrain will be ripped to pieces during a game!
This is one of the primary reasons I’ve been learning MLCad. I love building terrain with Lego, but if it’s going to be taken apart again I want a permanent record of what I’ve built. The advantage of using MLCad is of course I can share my creations with the growing Mobile Frame Zero community. I spent an hour and captured this building I built as an MLCAD plan. You can download it by clicking the image to the right.
I’ll be posting more terrain and MLCAD plans as I get them built. Feel free to use them for your Lego constructions. If they see some play on your table, or blog, or you modify them into something more interesting I’d love to hear about it, and links back here are also welcomed!
While I wait for the MFZ rules to be released as a ‘backer only’ preview I’m still building all manner of Lego constructions. MFZ is typically played on a 3′-4′ gaming table, so I’m looking to fill that area with enough Lego terrain to provide adequate cover. I’ve build my two teams of ‘frames’, but haven’t quite sorted out their load outs yet (so I’ll post them later).
However each team of frames needs 2 – 3 ‘stations’ to battle over. You’re awarded victory points depending on both the condition of your frames, and the number of stations you control. Stations are apparently treated as indestructable in MFZ, which is unlike normal terrain. Keeping that in mind I’ve created a small set of ‘communication’ stations that have a minimal footprint on the table, and hopefully don’t look like they provide any sort of useful cover.
I’m also working to master MLCad, which is an open source alternate to Lego’s official ‘Lego Digital Designer’. As MLCad doesn’t have the ‘snap to’ logic that LDD has, it’s a little more flexible in terms of creating the crazy Lego joins that can be common in Lego robots at this scale. MLCad is also noticeably faster than the slicker looking LDD, at least on my crappy old P4. I plan to capture anything of interest I build in MLCad files if I can. Here’s a sample station as an MLCad file.
The Mobile Frame Zero Kickstarter project has been officially funded and there’s a ground swell of support coming from both Lego and war gaming fans around the world. The Flickr group is really jumping with some fantastic Lego ‘frame’ designs too. According to the latest update backers might be part of a community review of the rule-set which means hopefully we’ll see an early release of the rules!
Mobile Frame Zero was at Pax East too, and attendees there apparently enjoyed the game system as it was easy to pick up, but tactically deep enough for hard core war gamers. There’s also a strategic element in terms of the size and composition of your team of frames. As the MFZ authors secured plenty of funding (916% of what they were asking) we may also see some expansions to the MFZ rule set as well, possibly in the form of a larger scale space battles rule set. That’d be great because it’ll allow even more Lego building options.
I’m furiously building Lego creations for a Mobile Frame Zero table (the images are my two latest builds) and spending far too much money on Bricklink buying exotic bricks, both for Frames as well as sundry terrain pieces like vehicles, barriers and all plant life. I’m trying to put together two teams of 4-5 Frames each which means I can play Mobile Frame Zero with my eight year old son, as well as my small group of gaming buddies. I’ve also been getting no figure painting done either, I’ve just been playing with building all sorts of robots and terrain from Lego. Frankly it’s great fun and the fact Lego gives you instant, colourful and attractive game pieces means I’m looking forward to trying the rule set out.
Do you like independent war games? Do you like killer robots? Are you a father with at least one son and a Lego collection?
I figure a fair number of visitors to this blog fall into one or more of those categories, which is why I’m mentioning this slightly off-topic Kickstarter project I recently stumbled across: Mobile Frame Zero – Rapid Attack.
It’s a war game featuring battling robots built from micro Lego pieces which is roughly a month from closing on Kickstarter at the time of this post. It’s already funded too. I can’t say I’ve played the game, or know anything about it other than the Kickstarter description and that it involves making cool micro scale robots from Lego parts. However their introduction video features some happy war gamers so the system can’t be totally awful. It’s also an update of an earlier game called ‘Mechaton’ by one of the authors for Mobile Frame Zero, which Board Game Geek knows about and ranks fairly highly at 7.53 (out of 10). The other designers seem to have some game design pedigree behind them too. At any rate I took the plunge and spent a whole $10US for the lowest funding bracket. Looking forward to getting that PDF when it’s done!
To get you inspired, there’s a Flickr group which includes some great micro Lego robots. If you’re after some of the smaller Lego parts you’ll need to build these robots BrickLink is a great place to find a local reseller of single Lego parts. They even have New Zealand and Australian resellers on there!