RPGNow.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info













Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Mecha vs Kaiju: Big Book of Kaiju - Introduction
by Joshua K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2016 19:35:48

Ok this book is all about fluff and you know what i love it. To many game designers just kick out stats and rules but dont bring their worlds to life. Supplements such as this help bring the worlds they have dreamed up take on a life of their own. further due to there not being any rules or stats the content from this book can be used in any setting that features kaiju. Its extremely well written my only gripe is its just to short for me. I honestly felt like i was reading a novel that ended way to soon. Way to go to the publisher.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha vs Kaiju: Big Book of Kaiju - Introduction
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
by Bill H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2015 14:41:25

Originally published at http://www.themandragora.com/

Mecha vs. Kaiju has a fairly simple idea at its core - the player characters are pilots of giant robots (mecha) against gigantic Kaiju (Strange Beasts) - giant monsters (think Godzilla, Rodan, etc.). These mecha defend the islands of Japan against these Kaiju. The RPG uses the core FATE system as its rulebase. I understand there was a previously published True20 version of Mecha vs. Kaiju, but for review purposes I'll focus on the FATE one though. You'll need either the FATE core book, or FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE) to play the game.

The author is definitely a huge fan of Japanese anime, and this shows through in the writing. The style is clear and concise and the whole concept has been polished. The first version came out in 2008, way before the Pacific Rim movie or the Evangelion reboot. I watched Pacific Rim before running this and it's definitely worth doing to get "fired up" creatively for this, or Robotech or Evangelion! He's obviously done his research and his love of the subject matter is evident throughout the Mecha vs. Kaiju rulebook. Although I'm not a huge fan of the older Godzilla movies, I did feel the enthusiasm he has start to rub off on me as I read through the book.

So what do you get? The Mecha vs Kaiju book is pretty extensive (just short of 180 pages), so I'll break it down into chapters, and summarise my thoughts at the end.

Chapter 1: Introduction. Not much to see here, but an interesting list of films for inspiration!

Chapter 2: Character Creation. This has a number of anime archetypes such as Dasaiko ("creepy girl/boy") and Raiburu ("rebel/rival"). There's enough here for you to come up with a basic character at least. However as one of my players pointed out no one really cares about the dice in your biology skill when your piloting a 100-ton mecha. The human aspect tends to boil down to how good a pilot you are or how accurate. As Mecha vs. Kaiju uses FATE, an example of character creation would have been great to have.

As an aside, FATE is very difficult to pick up if you've never played it before - or GM'd it in my case. The concepts of aspects, compels, stunts etc., is hugely overwhelming if you've never played FATE. Mecha vs. Kaiju could definitely have done with a bit more "hand-holding" in that chapter! Maybe an obligatory "what are roleplaying games?" chapter would be useful.

A number of new skills and stunts are introduced - one is "Mecha weaponry" which covers melee and ranged combat whilst piloting a mecha. I would have preferred two distinct skills for that.

Chapter 3: Mecha Assault Force. Largely a history and what I would call a "fluff" section, it's designed to give players a bit of background of the Mecha Assault Force's history. It's rather good.

Chapter 4: Mecha-related Rules. Mecha vs. Kaiju allows you to design your own mecha, using the FATE rules. There's a lot of flexibility here and there's some great ideas. Some of the stunts are right out of Saturday morning cartoons and anime! A very well written and well thought-out chapter. The only criticism I have is that there's only two mecha listed - again it'd be nice to see some more "off the peg" mecha than the two listed. Chapter 5: Gamemaster's Section

Like Chapter 4: Mecha Assault Force above, this section deals with some sample kaiju, and their design using FATE. There's a lot of ideas here and again you can see the author/designer's love of the genre. The descriptions of the kaiju are largely a dialogue between a group of NPCs which really make for great reading!

Chapter 6: Secret History of Japan. Under no circumstances should players read this section. This is what is really going on in Japan and around the world. I'll not go into it here, but there's some seriously good plotlines here.

Chapter 7: Campaign Scenarios. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Sadly, this section has a lot of really annoying errors or inconsistencies. Not to mention plot holes. Some are basic spelling errors. For example, there's a "Battle at the docs". It's not always clear on the sections you need to read to the players, either. I'm not sure I understood those scene aspects - how are they used? Some clarification required.

There's also some pretty big assumptions made - for example at the gravel pit, and the ninja pitch up. The players are unarmed. Against ninjas. That's not going to go well.

They only have a few hours training before the roc-u kaiju turns up? What about the montage? Even with the milestone in training there's a good chance they haven't enough mecha-related skills so the whole battle with the Roc-u can prove frustrating.

Mecha vs. Kaiju has some great ideas. The design of the Mecha and Kaiju are solid. The meta-plotline is very creative.

My only major criticism is, like Cthulhutech, you essentially have multiple games. One is a mecha-based slug-fest against the Kaiju, the other facet a secret war being fought by normal humans in the shadows. It's all too easy to focus on one facet while marginalizing the other during a game - and frustrating for players too.

The production values are fine - the artwork, very evocative. Some images look stretched (e.g. page 59) though, and the spelling/formatting errors are jarring. The Kaiju on the cover should be stat'd up!

I'd have liked to have seen more suggestions for the GM to encourage new players to create aspects, engage players, etc. It takes the fact that you're already RPG players as read. That aside, FATE is a tricky concept if you're used to D&D 4e!

In conclusion: this is a great game if you've an established group that's already familiar with FATE. There's some great ideas. If you're not, it might feel like you're all ice-skating uphill - but that's not Mecha vs. Kaiju's fault, that's FATE!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks a lot for your in depth review. Here are some comments: --Fate Core is a different kind of game, and it can take some practice. The Google+ Fate community is fabulous, and can be very helpful for new GMs. Since this is a sourcebook I stayed away from the typical \"welcome to gaming\" writeups, but the Fate Core rules have lots of ideas on that front. --Mecha Weapondry: Feel free to make \"Mecha Shooting\" and \"Mecha Fighting\" into separate skills! --Kaiju: The monster on the cover is \"Kaibutsu\", who is featured in the kaiju section. --Campaign: The basic campaign is designed to drop both players and their characters into the deep end. I appologize if you felt that you as a GM were dropped in as well. If you feel this is too difficult for your players feel free to modify the difficulty by allowing some or all of them to be trained pilots. The ninja fights are meant to inspire players to try things other than trading blows, such as creating advantages or using teamwork. A good way to get them to do this is to use these tactics for the baddies. --The \"multiple-game\" aspect can be a challenge, but is an aspect of the genre: from Godzilla movies following gangster capers to Evangelion spending hours focusing on the mental health of the characters, there have always been two aspects to the genre. The campaign \"episode guide\" can help you balance out these stories for your players. If you have any other questions or comments I\'d love to hear them. Thanks a lot. Johnathan Wright
Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
by Jeff C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2015 11:37:39

Alas, I couldn't wait for the print version to come out. Although I'm still good for one when it finally does become available. I love this book! This is by far my favorite FATE based product right now. I've been a giant robot fan for years. I used to stay up all night just to watch badly dubbed kung fu and the various Godzilla movies on the late, late show.

My favorite part of this book is the author's emulation of the genre. The anime archetypes are astoundingly well put together. So much that I'm adapting them to other FATE campaigns. It's obvious that someone has spent some serious time watching roughly the same anime series I have. The mecha construction rules are crunchy enough for most gamers, but not so intensive that I have to spend hours with a calculator. This is a game where you can create a really great giant robot in minutes as opposed to other games where you can almost build a real one in your back yard faster than you can on paper. I agreed wholeheartedly with the treatment of martial arts in the game. You can develop entire games based on nothing but martial arts, but MvK manages to present a functional, useful, basic way to deal with all the various fighting styles, etc and stay within the mecha genre.

I also really enjoyed the scenarios included in the game. Without giving any spoilers, I will say that I would very much like to see more campaign material or even straight fiction based on the characters and storylines presented in MvK. It's really great as a gaming book, but I also got very interested in everything that was going on in the story with the various npc's.

The only thing I didn't like quite as much about this product is the introduction of magic into the game. I'll admit, I'm a sci-fi mecha gamer at heart. I would have been just as happy with this being grounded in more of a scientific base. I have railed against game designers that can't get away from making a modern era/futuristic rpg without any magical or psychic mumbo jumbo for years. With all due respect to Shinto and other elements introduced in MvK, I would have been perfectly content with radioactive monsters and freakish genetic mutations without and mystical or psychic causes. Or, at the very least a thin veil of technology over mysticism. On the other hand, some of my favorite anime- Freezing, Chrome Shelled Regios, and Evangelion touch upon the mystical and even religious world a little bit, so it's not all together a bad thing. To MvK's credit, the use of Shinto and the Oni, etc is VERY well-handled and I'm still overjoyed with the final result.

I think MvK is highly adaptable to any anime series and I'm very gung-ho to create other campaigns with many of the concepts introduced in this product. I also think it works ridiculously well for a campaign based on a certain Saban Entertainment martial arts/giant robot live action series that the author was very careful to avoid any direct reference or distinctive likenesses-to in MvK. Go-Go Johnathan on a job well done there. Lots of love for Strike force Ichi-Ban on that one. I have an eye toward a lot of my favorite anime in terms of adaptation, and in many cases it's not even a big stretch. Job well done!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for your detailed critique! I\'m deeply gratified you enjoyed it so much. The inclusion of magic was, indeed, an attempt to make the setting as inclusive as possible. The great thing about it is, when you run your own game, you can completely ignore the magical aspects! Except for ninja magic. Ninjas always have ninja magic ;)
Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
by Randy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2015 20:52:05

I may not have a lot of gaming experience, but I found the concepts to be fun. A friend at work looked my copy over quickly, which led to a discussion back and forth about different play styles and scenarios. Looking forward to playing them out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
by H. M. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2015 23:48:27

Giant Robots! Giant Monsters! In a Fate Core adaptation of the original setting!

It's obvious that the author has a real love of Japanese kaiju cinema--there are plenty of references and call-outs to the classic rubber monster movies I grew up watching. There's also a compete campaign here, with an elaborate alternate history and tons of hooks to engage your players.

Personally, I want to blend this with Kaiju Patrol (also powered by Fate), so I can include some Ultraman-style action, side by side with the mecha.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha vs Kaiju: Fate Core
by Jeremy F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2015 22:58:30

A great idea, well-executed. The original True20 version of this came out way before Pacific Rim, and the authors love of both giant monsters and anime robots really shows. A new adaptation to the Fate system was the perfect way to bring this very lovingly detailed and fully realized game/setting back into the light.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 6 (of 6 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG