It’s a new year, and that means: more games! And our most recent games of Pac Rim BT have been enhanced by the addition of Pac Rim HeroClix figures. We don’t have anything like a full set yet: 4 of the 5 kaiju, but only 2 of the 5 jaegers. In quality of execution these range from acceptable to awesome, with Knifehead here being the best of the bunch in terms of vibrancy and detail.
Of the ones we have, Scunner is actually the worst: the least-detailed sculpt, and the lamest paint job. But it scores a handful of cool points for being a fairly faithful translation of this concept painting by Simon Webber:
There’s a much darker reproduction of this image floating around online; this brighter version is a photograph I took of a page from the movie’s art book, Pacific Rim: Man, Machines, and Monsters. That book is flat-out awesome, and if you liked the movie or are remotely interested in the universe it is a must-have. I’ll probably devote a whole post to it soonish.
Of course, we wanted Pac Rim figures for one reason: so we could roll with them! We got going a couple of Saturdays ago, when Peter and Kelly came over for a game day. Over the course of a long afternoon and evening we also played the card game 1000 miles, Dixit Journey, and Mario Kart 64, but we spent most of our time running an epic game of Pac Rim BT. Kelly, Peter, and London each took one jaeger, and I controlled the three kaiju threatening the latest incarnation of Stompopolis.
At this point we only three Clix, all kaiju, so we used various mecha figures and toys for the jaegers. IIRC, London took Gypsy Danger, Kelly took Striker Eureka, and Peter took my favorite, Coyote Tango. They were up against Knifehead and Raiju, statted as well as we could figure from the movie, and a Leatherback look-alike. We armed the Pleatherback with a sonic shock wave attack, like the one used by Slattern near the end of the movie, instead of the potentially game-ending EMP organ. As usual, the jaegers had more ranged attacks and the kaiju were more brutal at close quarters, but in terms of tonnage and capabilities, the two sides were about evenly matched.
The game was a veritable feast of gore and destruction. Kelly’s Striker and my Raiju were both knocked out midway through by headshots, but everyone else was in to the end. I made it into the city with Knifehead and Pleatherback and flattened a half dozen buildings, but that was mostly thanks to a string of lucky initiative rolls. When the jaegers got to move second, it didn’t take them long to wipe out the alien menace. That reinforced something I’d learned playing BattleTech: initiative is nice at long range, but in a close-quarters fight it is just crucial.
Partly because that game with Kelly and Peter was so massive, London and I decided to downscale for our next fight, with just one map and two units per side. As usual in our two-player games, we each took one jaeger and rolled dice to determine the kaiju strategy (like, on 1-3 the kaiju heads for the city, on 4-6 it attacks the closest jaeger, go!). In the foreground of the photo above are the “kaiju blue” dice we use to roll everything for Team Scaly.
By this time we had more Clix, enough to represent both sides. London took Gypsy again, and I statted up Crimson Typhoon. We went up against Knifehead and Scunner. (I have scans of our record sheets for all of these things and I will post them soon.)
Man, this fight was over quick, about one hour in realtime. I call it the Quadricapitation Battle because everyone went out by headshot. In the very first round of actual combat, Scunner crushed the cockpit of Crimson Typhoon, killing my pilot Maniac Patton (named for Maniac Mike’s Cafe at Cable Airport, and the WWII general). But Scunner’s victory was short-lived: the blue dice dictated that it attack Gypsy Danger next, and London blew it’s head off with a lucky plasma blast while it was crossing deep water.
That left Gypsy fighting Knifehead, and thanks to some lucky initiative rolls on the blue dice and some unlucky hit location rolls by London, it looked like Knifehead might carry the day. But then Gypsy won the initiative, got in behind Knifehead, and went to town with the swords. Knifehead could only fight back with a tail whip. With two sword hits, London had a 1 in 3 chance of getting a head hit on the Punch Hit Location Table (2 rolls on a 1d6 table), so it wasn’t surprising that he scored. But Knifehead’s tail whip also hit, and I rolled boxcars on the regular hit location table: a 1-in-36 chance. So Gypsy cut Knifehead’s head off, only to have her cockpit crushed by Knifehead’s tail. London had lost pilots before but I didn’t know how he’d handle losing the game, or at least not winning. But the ending was so crazy and mutually-assured-destruction-y that we both just laughed.
What’s next? London wants to push on with statting up the rest of the well-known or at least well-illustrated jaegers and kaiju, like Romeo Blue, Horizon Brave, Karloff, and Slattern. And the physical combat rules aren’t quite where we want them to be yet–we need a mechanism for picking up another unit and throwing it, which we see on both sides in the movie (Crimson Typhoon throws Otachi, and Leatherback throws Gypsy). We’re also thinking about adding in fighters and maybe tanks, although mostly to give the kaiju some annoying gnats to destroy. And even when we’re not innovating, it’s a crazy fun way to play BattleTech.
A word in closing: last time I checked, the Pac Rim Clix were going for ten bucks a pop through the third-party sellers on Amazon. Bump that! You can get them for a much more reasonable $2.99 per at GoHastings.com, which is where we got ours.