Sep 1, 2014

Get to Know Battle Century Z

First of all, apologies for the late post. The power company decided it was a good day as any for a malfunction that left a noticeable chunk of our capital without electricity. Including the people supposed to provide other services, like drinking water. It was not very fun.

Moving on! I've mentioned a few times that I am already writing the expansion to BCG, Battle Century Z, but I've only hinted cryptically at what said expansion will be. Today in our very originally titled post we remedy this. Cheesy music optional.

Unfortunately I could not find two assistants to cosplay while I ramble about games.
But first let's tackle the most fundamental question:

Why an Expansion?

Because some rules do not belong in the core game. The rules you see in BCG are a combination of what I think is absolutely necessary for a generic mecha system and those that make for a fun and simple game. Some rules are either too genre specific, complex or situational to be part of core. See if I were to add the hundred pages of the expansion to the base game then the manual would be a bloated, schizophrenic mess. Alternative character advancement systems and upgrades specific for underwater use have a place, but it is not in the average game. Thus, they're not in core.

Because content is easier to develop if it is done in chunks and over time. If I focus on the core rules first, I will do a better job at it than if I was also worrying about the expansion content too. By dividing everything into several phases, each phase is easier to do properly. Also, as time goes, I naturally come up with tweaks or new ideas that wouldn't spring to mind from playtesting alone.

Because I want to give you all the opportunity to have a say in what makes it to the expansion. Blogging more frequently and doing more polls has been extremely fruitful in terms of getting to know what People Who Aren't Me & My Friends want (and don't want) from the game. But in order to make an informed choice, I want you guys and girls to settle down and get used to the core game first.

Okay so I've (hopefully) convinced you that doing this as two books instead of just one is a good idea. Let's finally get to what BCZ is going to look like.

What will the Expansion have?

Chapter 1: Expanding the Rules. This is where most of the magic happens. This chapter opens up the selection of Skills, Traits, Powers, Upgrades and Weapons for PCs and NPCs alike. It basically gives all Characters, Mecha and even Bosses a full 50% more options than those available to core BCG ones. Around 40 pages.

Chapter 2: Shifting Gears. The chapter with optional or alternative rules you can use to spice up your game. Add Insanity mechanics for a touch of horror, or replace technology with magic in the swords & sorcery version of the BCG rules. Around 30 pages.

Chapter 3: Weaving Stories. Pre-written episodic adventures and NPCs to showcase some of the expansion's new rules. All are compatible with the BCG core setting in Chapter 5 and include ideas to run them as part of a Hiryu, Wagner or Clarke game. Around 35 pages.

Numbers are, of course, a rough estimation. It will probably take 1-5 or so more pages than that and then there's the 5-10 pages needed for a Chapter 0, index, fluff between chapters and so forth. All in all it'll probably be around 115 pages total.

More feedback and more voices makes for a better game, so I want to continue sharing my working process, making polls, and generally asking for input. But that's not all. I am also going to open commissions for custom content.


The entire point of the expansion is to broaden BCG's horizons (it is kind of in the description of "expansion", really) so I want it to reach as far away as it reasonably can. Even if I were the most creative person in the world, I would still not have the creativity of a thousand people.

That and crowdfunding campaigns need good rewards beyond the first few basic levels to make overfunding possible and actually make a profit, unless you're blatantly scamming people I guess. Put two and two together, and this seems like a really obvious thing to do.

There's going to be a limited number of slots for them, like say 10-20. It will be enough to have some variety in there and allow for crazy stuff I would never have come up with, but not enough to make me go mad trying to properly balance all of the crazy stuff I would never come up with.

They're going to work like this:
  1. You tell me an idea for a Character or Mecha ability you want. It can be a high concept idea ("The Gundam X's Satellite Cannon") or a gameplay idea ("A gun that attacks in an area of effect with infinite range").
  2. I take it to the design & development slate and make sure it is neither underpowered nor overpowered. I may tweak it to this end but I will do my best to stick to the core of your idea.
  3. You are credited in the ability's description using either your real name or a chosen alias. If it is a Genre Power, you will be using said Power. If it is a Weapon, maybe you are the scientist who came up with it. And so on and so forth.
  4. You have your own place in the credits section, one tier above all the plebs other contributors.
One of the coolest things about game design is that I get to give so-called Joy of Discovery with so many people, but by doing things this way I get to be surprised and discover fun things myself. I seriously am having a hard time waiting both to talk more in detail about the expansion and to see what comes out of everyone, but we'll get there soon.

Next Week: Good news oh yes.


  1. Will rules for magical girls, kamen riders, and super sentai heroes be part of the expansion or is that off the table now? I seem to remember BCG starting off as a way to mix all of those together in one game.

  2. Short Answer: You remember correctly. They're still on the table, the question is how and when I'll do them, and that will be up to a vote.

    Long Answer: Transforming PCs could support a whole game by themselves, and mecha also have enough stuff in them to cover the whole expansion. BCZ could be entirely about robots (in that case the other character types get a game of their own later) or devote some pages away from other possible mecha hacks to add those in. I figure that is very much a pollable subject.

  3. I can already picture it now.

    Bits... Forces, various wavecannons (all dem loops man), DOSE...
    Yes, I can definitely see a "scale up" mode, for when you're hitting PL 4/5 and A capital ship isn't what you're facing anymore.

  4. Level with me gimmick, how much is it gonna cost me to get my fin funnels?

    1. Sorry it took me a while to respond this time. I kept trying to get an exact number but because of cost changes (for reasons detailed today) it was up in the air. It still is, but this should give you an idea: Commissions start at 100 and come with a bundle of between three and five copies.

      Also I am obligated to say that we already have a way to handle drone units in Supports. I didn't think about it because I had them already covered in my mind, but we could totally have another method for bits/funnels/dragoons/aerods that works more like a separate unit.

    2. If you can't have cool scene shooting down funnels then it's a bad representation.