This is because G Gundam is a very well thought out show. Conceptually it might just be a goofy show about a giant robot tournament with a bunch of really racist mecha designs, but the execution makes it so much more than that. I'm going to delve a little into what G Gundam means to me and what you can take from it for the purposes of BCG.
There will be spoilers for G Gundam below.
G Gundam recap set, reaaadyyyyy go!
Mobile Fighter G Gundam is about a giant robot world tournament. Every four years the space colonies hold a tournament where the winner will rule over the Earth and the other colonies for the next four years. Gundam Fighters are the representatives of each nation, and they all fight each other using the Earth as the ring, until only one remains.
But that's just the window dressing. G Gundam's plot follows Domon Kasshu, pilot of the Shining Gundam and representative of Neo Japan, in his search for the
To no one's surprise, the antagonists are participants of the tournament and had something to do with the disappearance of the Devil Gundam.
Enough retreading of what any Wiki article could tell you! Let's talk about G Gundam in the context of BCG.
Gundam Fighter IV: Tournament Edition
As is, G Gundam is fit in both tone and rules for a game using the unmodified BCG rules. This is a setting where people can punch beams from their fists and their Gundams let them channel their anger into giant swords. It is pretty much perfect, really... Except for one little thing: The tournament structure.
Most of the fights are 1v1, which is convenient if the group consists of exactly two people, but a lot less enticing if there's four or more Players. You could run a game where everyone takes turns having fights, but it probably works out for the best if everyone is part of the same team and the matches are 3v3 or 5v5 or what have you. Like in Build Fighters Try.
|Get it? Build Fighters Try because they're a TRIo!|
This works out much better because BCG is designed with teamwork in mind. Absolute Barrier is a lot better when you are the only target and enemies cannot ignore you, while Reversible Thrusters can outright make you invincible against some enemies. At the same time, Finger Net does very little without any allies to take advantage of it and Steel Guardian is essentially useless.
My Love, my Anger, and all of my Sorrow
From a character standpoint, G Gundam is fundamentally about warriors that express their emotions with their fists. Domon starts as this an angry young adult who doesn't speak much. At the very end of the last episode he admits that he is a guy who only knows how to fight, and that is why he had so much difficulty expressing his feelings to Rain. Domon Kasshu is basically a tsundere. And most of the show is about how a bunch of dudes punch each other until their feelings come out and they get over their various hangups.
One of the most clear expressions of this is in the abundance of combination techniques, as a manifestation of the bonds that the Gundam Fighters have with each other. For roughly the first half of the series Domon fights alone, but in the second half he (and his friends) develop an affinity for Synchro Attacks, with or without Domon. If I had to come up with unique rules for a G Gundam game, they'd be about stronger or more varied types of Synchro Attacks.
There is also a theme of enlightenment and mastery of one's own emotions. Domon starts with the Super Mode that channels his rage into a powerup for the Shining Gundam, but he later replaces it with the Meikyou Shisui ("To have your heart clear like a mirror and still like water") which, in essence, means Serene Mind. The Super Mode renders him vulnerable, like a berserker who does not think his actions through. Thus, Domon needs to master his emotions entirely and have his heart in the perfect balance between passionate intensity and stoic detachment - that's Serene Mind. Also the Shining Gundam upgrades to the
|And enlightenment turns you into a super saiyan I guess. Sure why not.|
Add this to the previous the theme of Fist Friendship and emotions are a pretty big deal in G Gundam. It sounds to me like we could similar thematic notes via tweaking Genre Themes (to focus more on intensity of emotion) along with Synchro Attacks.
But before writing any of those, there is one more thing that needs to be addressed.
Sympathy for the Devil Gundam
Most tournament arcs have a plot twist written into them to make things more exciting, ending in the reveal of a bigger bad that pretty much everyone in the tournament will rally together to defeat. In G Gundam that ultimate antagonist were the people involved in the Devil Gundam conspiracy.
The Devil Gundam was originally called the Ultimate Gundam, and its nanomachines were going to be put to use to nurse the Earth's environment back to health. It is not evil per se, it is just... out of control and fulfilling its primary directive: To self-reproduce, healing itself and evolving continuously.
|Truly this is the face of a Gundam who just wants to make friends.|
The Devil Gundam will wipe out humankind then do whatever it wants to the Earth, possibly eating it in the process. Its instinctual drive is the opposite of the Serene Mind that Domon must master to defeat it, like a more cunning version of Domon when his Super Mode made him a frenzied berserker. The Devil Gundam needs to have a human core, a sort of pilot as a biological heart, and can infect humans with "Devil Gundam Cells" to brainwash and give them superpowers. This implies that the Devil Gundam is not just a rogue artificial intelligence, it is more like the dark side of the human heart - controlling, uncaring, and always hungry for more.
The Devil Gundam is an instinctual monster and a corrupting influence, it is a thing that needs to be stopped and most free-willed participants in the tournament will agree. If you're going to run a tournament-themed, I strongly suggest to also have a Big Bad Evil
The big draw of having a secret ultimate antagonist in a tournament arc or series is that it gives you a good excuse to let all the important characters team up at the end. Even old rivals that were previously defeated can show up to assist! In the context of an RPG it is even more important because having encounters with the bigger bad through the course of the tournament raises the stakes and adds more tension to the plot. Even if the PCs actually lose the tournament, they can still end things on a high note by saving the world from whoever was plotting sinister things in the shadows.
It also helps to spice things up and have some variance in encounters. If your tournament is about 4v4 matches, having an antagonist outside the tournament itself gives the GM a chance to throw as many Grunts and Bosses at the PCs as they wish instead of having to juggle numbers to keep it at 4. Creative uses of elite Grunts or Minibosses can keep parties of 4 enemies fresh, and you can pull shenanigans like a team of three terrible Level 0 Grunts carried by a big Level 5 Boss, but it is still quite predictable.
Breaking away from the tournament structure a little for a more ambitious plot is a good idea.
Look, the East is Burning Red!
That is enough for today. This was all theory, so next time I'm going to put this to practice and write some mechanics with all of this in mind.