More Mecha!

Mekton Zeta cover For some reason I’m in the mood for some more Mecha in my gaming life. Back in the early ‘90s we played Battletech almost weekly and I have some fond memories of a short-lived Mechwarrior campaign. But after that I haven’t played that many Mecha RPGs or tabletop games anymore. We planned to play Heavy Gear, Robotech and Jovian Chronicles but none of the campaigns really got into gear. And now – out of a sudden – my mind is on Mecha gaming again. Things started with a renewed interest in Battletech, the game that helped to turn me into the gamer I am today. But while I have fond memories of the game, I also remember the issues I had with it. Restricting the available mech designs to the 3025 era helps a lot, since I am not too fond of the Clans, but still something still irks me about the game. And aside from the first two editions, the Mechwarrior RPG has always been way too crunchy for my tastes.

So I started looking into alternatives. I love the Heavy Gear setting, but the miniatures are pretty expensive and I’m not sure if I want to invest into another miniatures game at this point. I may look into the RPG side of Heavy Gear again, but at the moment I found another interesting alternative.

Mekton Zeta is quite old, but it looks like it could scratch my Mecha itch. Getting a print copy is almost impossible here in Germany, but luckily there’s a PDF copy on DriveThruRPG. The PDF was created from a scan of the printed book and it shows, but the quality is ok. The rules look simple enough, only Mecha creation is a bit more tricky. Instead of being tailored for a particular setting, Mekton Zeta can easily be used for all kinds of Mecha settings. Heck, you could even use the Mecha creation systems to build fantasy creatures. The roleplaying game has a strong focus on anime drama and a character’s backstory and relations to NPCs and other PCs play a vital role. There’s a lifepath system that helps you to come up with a cool backstory.

Yes, the game is quite old and both the layout and artwork are not up to snuff with today’s standards, but it’s still a very cool game, that you really should check out if you’re into Mecha anime-style action. I’m not sure if you can use the Mecha combat rules for a Battletech-like tactical game as well, but with some tinkering it might be possible. By the way, there will even be a new edition which has been funded through Kickstarter recently.

What are your thoughts on Mekton? Have you played any edition of the game yet? What are your thoughts on the genre in general? Please share your thoughts below!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

2 thoughts on “More Mecha!”

  1. I still have a soft spot for Mekton after all those years. It’s a decent system, even if some parts are pretty dated nowadays. Never cared much for the official settings. The construction system can get pretty involved. Oh – and you can use Mekton to do BT, just do a quick online search to see what others came up with.

  2. I’ve played Mekton a looooong tim ago. I prefer BESM for mecha games. I’ve also done it in M&M.

    Of course the big issue with Mecha games is trying to ensure that you don’t ley the mecha scale parts outscale the human scale parts.

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