Creations that dock and combine

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Creations that dock and combine

Postby Vason » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:52 pm



As we all know, the only thing better than two giant vehicles, is slapping two giant vehicles together into one giant-er vehicle: http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/70705_Bug_Obliterator

I am curious, however, if doing so in Brikwars is actually advantageous, or even supported by the rules? Ideally, the giant-er vehicle would be greater than the sum of its parts, able to dish out and take more damage than it could as separate units.  I would guess that it could use the Squad and Teamwork mechanics in order to distribute damage and power up more weapons? Or is there a better way to handle it that I'm not seeing?
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Zahru II » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:23 am

I know silent_sigfig preferred fusing together warmachines into a singular murderwagon during my forum battles - it usually yielded good results!
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Craigallot » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:40 am

It would probably be easiest (and maybe most efficient as well) to count it as a single creation then. It'd combine the SP, power and weaponry of both, meaning that it could save a creation that's about to be destroyed but still has all of its guns / energy shields / crew attached. It'd also give said creation the needed power to start firing its guns again. Of course, the two would have to be compatible, sticking your half dead airplane on a tank that already needs all of its power to fire its guns isn't gonna do much. :)
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby stubby » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:27 pm

Bragallot wrote:sticking your half dead airplane on a tank that already needs all of its power to fire its guns isn't gonna do much. :)

How dare you, sir! I'll be the judge of whether my at-capacity tank is improved by a half-dead airplane or not.  :sparta:

In most circumstances, a combined creation will be either equal to or a little less than the sum of its parts, so I see no issues here. Combine as much as you want, wherever you think it's cool to do so.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Craigallot » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:17 am

:why: I just want people to make the choices that allow them to fire the biggest amount of guns.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Vason » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:20 am

Let's take Voltron as an example, a Creation that combines 5 into 1. Voltron gets shot by a single giant laser, taking 4 points of Size damage. Since it's a single attack, all 4 points have to go onto 1 of the Lions, yes?

Would it be too cheesy to allow Voltron to redistribute the damage throughout all 5 on it's turn? How many Ü or CP would an ability like that be worth?
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Duerer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:26 am

What I always feared with combining robos what the loss of overall size with the newly formed unit. The size points of certain individual units could get lost once being integrated as the robo's limbs, since these aren't usually counted towards a mech's effective size.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Vason » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am

Duerer wrote:What I always feared with combining robos what the loss of overall size with the newly formed unit. The size points of certain individual units could get lost once being integrated as the robo's limbs, since these aren't usually counted towards a mech's effective size.


Teamwork from the Weapons Chapter will help alleviate the loss in Power from lower effective size, while being a Squad helps ensure that each incoming attack affects a different part of the Mech. Being a lower effective size would actually help slightly, as incoming attacks wouldn't get as high of a bonus to hit as they would against something with as naturally high Power. Their MOM and  POP are ccombined from being a Squad, too.

I'd say the biggest weakness that a combiner mech has is against single high-damage attacks that can blow away any individual piece in one shot. However, an enemy wanting to focus on one piece would have to Single Out said piece; otherwise, the Mech would get to decide which piece gets hit with each attack. Movement could potentially be wonky as each piece takes damage,  but :fudge:

Are there other benefits of Large total Size that I'm missing?
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby stubby » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:14 am

Vason wrote:Let's take Voltron as an example, a Creation that combines 5 into 1. Voltron gets shot by a single giant laser, taking 4 points of Size damage. Since it's a single attack, all 4 points have to go onto 1 of the Lions, yes?

Nope. The relevant section is actually in the Component Damage rules:

Component Damage wrote:By targeting narrow connection points (the tail section of a helicopter or the waist of a giant wasp), a successful Component Damage attack can divide one large Creation into two or more smaller ones. The Size Ratings of the new smaller Creations are reduced to reflect their new stature, but each then inherits the full Size Damage of the original Creation, which may mean that one or both are instantly destroyed. Each section may use whichever weapons and devices remain attached to them, but only if they still have the necessary remaining Effective Size and controls to activate them (Chapter 8: Weaponry).

Voltron takes 4" of size damage as a single creation. Under standard rules, if the lions all detach, then each lion inherits the full 4" of damage. This is part of why combining isn't a great advantage.

Duerer wrote:What I always feared with combining robos what the loss of overall size with the newly formed unit. The size points of certain individual units could get lost once being integrated as the robo's limbs, since these aren't usually counted towards a mech's effective size.

This is the other part. A combined creation almost always has fewer size inches than the creations it's combined from.

If you wanted to make combined units viable, here's some ideas.

6. the easiest thing would be to make a house rule outlawing size damage vs the combined unit. Limiting it to Component damage only would avoid all the size damage complications.

7. redistributing damage wouldn't have a great feel to it, but some kind of Isolated Systems perk might work. Whenever Size Damage hits, it damages Voltron's overall stats as usual, but the damage itself is contained within the torso lion. When Voltron takes enough damage to destroy that one lion, it breaks apart. The other lions inherit whatever excess size damage was left over when the center lion was destroyed.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby stubby » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:39 am

Vason wrote:Teamwork from the Weapons Chapter will help alleviate the loss in Power from lower effective size,

If you can have a robot with full power sources in the arms and legs just by combining other robots, then all robots could have full power sources in their arms and legs, combined or not. We'd have to change the power balancing for every unit in the game.

Normally I explain this away by saying a robot's limbs are devices that draw as much power as they provide. But if you really wanted to go this route, then I'd say you could Teamwork the power from any lion, but you couldn't use that lion as a limb at the same time - it'd just be locked in place while its power was being used elsewhere. It's similar to the Heavy's Compensating ability, where he can give himself 1 extra Power as long as he doesn't use his legs.


Vason wrote:while being a Squad helps ensure that each incoming attack affects a different part of the Mech.

Distributed squad damage depends on the idea that squad members are mobile and interchangeable and can swap places without enemies noticing. If Voltron was quickly swapping his leg with his head and his torso with his arm, I would notice; I don't think he can benefit from this kind of advantage.

If you had a super-fast robot that could reconfigure itself fast enough to swap body parts mid-attack, then maybe, but this still seems pretty iffy.

Vason wrote:Their MOM and  POP are combined from being a Squad, too.

Again, because of the way they're connected, I don't know if combined MOM and POP would work for these guys either. If I'm trying to knock you over, I'm not knocking over your torso and your head and your arms and your legs; I'm just pushing your torso, and if it falls it takes all the other stuff down with it. If you're trying to knock me over, you're not hitting me with all those parts in coordination, unless you're doing some kind of cannonball jump; only the mass of your torso is transferring directly and the kinetic energy of all the other parts is lost to flopping around in the impact.

Vason wrote:I'd say the biggest weakness that a combiner mech has is against single high-damage attacks that can blow away any individual piece in one shot. However, an enemy wanting to focus on one piece would have to Single Out said piece; otherwise, the Mech would get to decide which piece gets hit with each attack. Movement could potentially be wonky as each piece takes damage,  but :fudge:

Again, Singling Out depends on the idea that squad members can swap places quickly. If I'm firing at your elbow I'm not suddenly mixing it up with your butt.

Vason wrote:Are there other benefits of Large total Size that I'm missing?

If you want to find the real benefits of this scheme, it's probably the fact that you've got five mech pilots who can all switch between Assisting each other and making separate attacks on the fly. It could actually be pretty fun managing which limbs get locked and which pilots are doing what on each turn.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Vason » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:35 am

I can definitely see where all of that comes from, and makes a lot of sense if I were to have bought, say, Voltron as a single Creation that wants to be able to split. I'm instead coming at this from the angle of "Voltron is not a Creation of its own, but instead is a Squad of 5 separately bought Lions whose Squad Plate Koincidentally looks like a Giant Robot".

If, instead of making them look like a Giant Robot, and instead put all 5 on an actual Plate, they would be able to use Squad Damage, MOM and POP would be combined, while Teamwork could be used as normal (what kind of action is that? Divert all Power is a Full Round, but I don't see what Teamwork is). They'd be what I would count as "specially designed", not needing Mechaniks to jump them together, so they'd be able to help power a giant cannon if they had one. Any Lions not required for that could Assist or attack by themselves as usual.

One thing that they would not be able to do on the Plate would be to allow the Pilot of one Lion to fire weapons from the rest of the group at a single target on a single Action. However, even if he were able to do so due to being docked together, those weapons would still need to be powered by somewhere, requiring the Pilots of other Lions to spend their actions on Teamwork rather than attacking themselves.

I think we're getting to similar places from different directions. The Action management of each individual unit is indeed the main benefit. Overall I feel like Squad mechanics are more intuitive in this case than singular Creation mechanics, since it wouldn't really need any sort of houseruling, other than allowing the Squad Plate to look like a robot(giant robots use Robot-Fu to block attacks with specific limbs all the time, TBH), and giving the main part access to weapon firing controls of the rest of the squad.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby stubby » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:57 pm

Vason wrote:I can definitely see where all of that comes from, and makes a lot of sense if I were to have bought, say, Voltron as a single Creation that wants to be able to split. I'm instead coming at this from the angle of "Voltron is not a Creation of its own, but instead is a Squad of 5 separately bought Lions whose Squad Plate Koincidentally looks like a Giant Robot".

I guess, but why have it be a giant robot if you don't want to fight with a giant robot? I feel like the "this giant robot is only cosmetic and you're really just fighting 5 separate lions" strategy misses everything cool about fighting with a giant robot. If you just want to use them as a squad, what's the point of combining them in the first place? You shouldn't do something that crazy and dramatic without making it interesting somehow.

The alternate strategy of "this is a giant robot whenever it's advantageous to me, but it's also five separate lions when it's advantageous to me, but most importantly, it's not either of those things when it's disadvantageous to me" is guaranteed to generate bad will among other players. To compensate, you should let them turn all their dice into special dice that only count when they roll their highest numbers, but don't count whenever they roll anything other than their highest numbers.

Vason wrote:If, instead of making them look like a Giant Robot, and instead put all 5 on an actual Plate, they would be able to use Squad Damage, MOM and POP would be combined,

Let's try a more immediate example. Say two players each have a 10" school bus with 20 passengers. But wait! Player 2 decides that theirs is a squad that's just shaped like a school bus. In one masterstroke they've tripled its Power, Size, MOM and POP, and ability to soak damage by distributing it to its passengers. Same units, same vehicle, but Player 2 is now going to win any confrontation between them.

Ignoring the question of whether this is balance-breaking, allowing this interpretation makes every large creation in the game too complicated to be worth playing anymore, unless players are willing to voluntarily pass up those obvious advantages (they won't be). There's a reason that units are measured just once by their total physical size, and not by adding up the sums of all their parts and cargo and passengers.


Vason wrote:while Teamwork could be used as normal (what kind of action is that? Divert all Power is a Full Round, but I don't see what Teamwork is).

Teamwork is open-ended; it's whatever contributes to the power of whatever they're Teamworking on. Five guys pulling a rope together are Teamworking to pull it with five times the strength. Whether it takes an Action depends on the specific kind of Teamwork happening. It's not as strict as Divert All Power.

It makes sense that lions are designed to be able to divert all their power systems to power up the main robot, but that sounds a lot more like Divert All Power proper than like taking cooperative actions that support the robot's action. Which is why deactivating those limbs for the turn makes the most sense to me.


Vason wrote:I think we're getting to similar places from different directions. The Action management of each individual unit is indeed the main benefit. Overall I feel like Squad mechanics are more intuitive in this case than singular Creation mechanics, since it wouldn't really need any sort of houseruling, other than allowing the Squad Plate to look like a robot(giant robots use Robot-Fu to block attacks with specific limbs all the time, TBH), and giving the main part access to weapon firing controls of the rest of the squad.

If you wanted to use Robot-Fu to Parry, I'd treat it like Parries in any other circumstance, requiring an Action Roll and an Action (of which you'll have plenty, what with five pilots), and treating the limb in question like a CC Weapon that had been used for the turn. It'd be believable to parry with an arm, less so with a leg or with the head.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby stubby » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:05 pm

All that being said, a giant robot built out of five smaller robots is going to cost a lot more than a similar giant robot that's not built out of five smaller robots, so you definitely want to get some kind of gameplay advantage out of its combinational nature. The trick is to find something that feels special and unique and not just munchkiny.
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Duerer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:09 pm

When the combined robo already suffers from shorter size than all sizes of its original components combined, why not give it also overall higher armour/energy shields when combined?
Also, wouldn't having arms be an advantage in itself already, since it can grab and throw things now?
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Re: Creations that dock and combine

Postby Vason » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:41 pm

stubby wrote:If you just want to use them as a squad, what's the point of combining them in the first place? You shouldn't do something that crazy and dramatic without making it interesting somehow.


I'm definitely in agreement there. Having a Giant Combiner mechanically be basically just a squad is less interesting than it could be, and if I thought I could come up with a houserule that would make it more badass and interesting, I would. But I also think it kind of fits the theme of that type of Giant Robot. Big team of people use the power of The Team (aka, throwing every bit of Ü/CP they can into one thing) in order to take down a foe that would have kicked their butts individually. I suppose the advantages of combining, rather than just squadding up, comes from gaining limbs, and being able to draw power directly from the group. (Oh, also, if SN are in play, oftentimes they would be able to be used between individuals without buying range.)

Mainly I'm trying to figure out some way to have any kind of docked vehicle, be it Galaxy Squad or Voltron, be viable options using the same subset of rules, and be more interesting than just "Docking your Tank and Buggy together just makes a same size Tank that now has a pilot and Gunner"

stubby wrote:The alternate strategy of "this is a giant robot whenever it's advantageous to me, but it's also five separate lions when it's advantageous to me, but most importantly, it's not either of those things when it's disadvantageous to me" is guaranteed to generate bad will among other players.


That's definitely a fair point. One would need to take the goods with the bads. I would say that how expensive a Combiner would be to field could help alleviate some concerns (I've found out firsthand how bad it can be to have all your Ü/CP in one basket), since if one is being fair about things, the opponent is going to get a Giant Robot, plus 4 other similarly sized things. I'll admit that my earlier question about damage redistribution was ill-informed, and probably a bit munchkiny, though.


stubby wrote:Let's try a more immediate example. Say two players each have a 10" school bus with 20 passengers. But wait! Player 2 decides that theirs is a squad that's just shaped like a school bus. In one masterstroke they've tripled its Power, Size, MOM and POP, and ability to soak damage by distributing it to its passengers. Same units, same vehicle, but Player 2 is now going to win any confrontation between them.


I see your point here, and that would be a move by Player 2 inviting a good shin-kicking. However, P2 also would have fallen into a bit of a trap: his bus may now have more soak, but it's due to his passengers being wide open, and the bus' speed is reduced to that of the Minifigs. Sure, P2s bus is now able to obliterate the enemy in a crash, but if P1 does a drive by and has every fig inside his bus fire on P2s bus, every fig minus 1 is nearly guaranteed to be hit. An explosion would, in my opinion, hit everyone in it's radius, including within the bus. Meanwhile, P2s figs have to go through P1s bus first. P2 can't take the good without the bad.  All that said, though...

stubby wrote:Ignoring the question of whether this is balance-breaking, allowing this interpretation makes every large creation in the game too complicated to be worth playing anymore, unless players are willing to voluntarily pass up those obvious advantages (they won't be). There's a reason that units are measured just once by their total physical size, and not by adding up the sums of all their parts and cargo and passengers.


Yeah, it's way too complicated to get into.

stubby wrote:Teamwork is open-ended; it's whatever contributes to the power of whatever they're Teamworking on. Five guys pulling a rope together are Teamworking to pull it with five times the strength. Whether it takes an Action depends on the specific kind of Teamwork happening. It's not as strict as Divert All Power.

It makes sense that lions are designed to be able to divert all their power systems to power up the main robot, but that sounds a lot more like Divert All Power proper than like taking cooperative actions that support the robot's action. Which is why deactivating those limbs for the turn makes the most sense to me.


That makes sense. I wouldn't want to penalize humanoid combiners more than tank-style ones, though http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/70704_Vermin_Vaporizer


stubby wrote:If you wanted to use Robot-Fu to Parry, I'd treat it like Parries in any other circumstance, requiring an Action Roll and an Action (of which you'll have plenty, what with five pilots), and treating the limb in question like a CC Weapon that had been used for the turn. It'd be believable to parry with an arm, less so with a leg or with the head.


I was referring more to being able to take successive hits on different robots Squad-style than actual parries, but that makes sense too.
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