by Marc A. Vezina
The huge Fencer folled forward, its powerful CPU emotionlessly calculating the optimal route for the most efficient victory. Although the Combine command post was 16 miles ahead, the Fencer still estimated an 87% survival chance.
The cybertank crested a tall hill, its guns trained on an elusive radar blip somewhere in the woods. An identification sub-routine confirmed the prescence of a Combine squad of Heavy Mecha three miles east. Although the new units had been entered in the Fencer's databanks, it had never seen one up close till now. As they came forward in a lumbering run, the Fencer fired, taking one attacker down in a flash of nuclear fire.
As they returned fire, the Fencer noted that the mission's success probabilities had just dropped sharply.
Cybertanks fighting armies of heavily-armored vehicles, battling for world domination – this is the world of Ogre.
But imagine a slightly different world, where the tools of warfare didn't quite develop along the same path. A world where the Nihon Empire's engineers didn't stop at the battlesuit level, but upgraded them to fierce 10-meter tall robotic soldiers guided by human hands, soon to be copied by everyone else. This is a totally unofficial alternate world, but let's imagine for a moment that it is possible . . .
The 21st Century just got a little deadlier!
Mecha are a cross between the common infantryman's battlesuit and the various armor units. Like their more conventional brethren, they are armored with heavy Biphase Carbide Armor plates and carry advanced railguns shooting tactical nuclear shells. Full integrated holosense communications and state-of-the-art electronics make them perfectly battleworthy, while powerful fusion jets increase their maneuverability.
They are tougher than infantry, yet just as mobile – but they are slower than tanks. They are also more expensive. By the end of the Last War, only the Nihon Empire, the North American Combine and the Paneuropean Federation could field them. They are rare in the resource-hungry Factory States.
Unless mentioned, all rules from Ogre Miniatures apply to mecha.
Stacking, infantry-carrying rules and terrain modifiers are the same as in Ogre Miniatures, p.26.
Mecha are able to step and jump over obstacles. Thus, they ignore any unit smaller than Size 6 when travelling along a road. Mecha may also use their arms to shove a unit out of their way; they count as three squads of infantry for that purpose (four for Superheavy Mecha).
Mecha may not enter buildings. They may, however, move near and kick and punch them, causing as many damage points as their size divided by two (rounding up) every turn.
Mecha use a special movement code: Walker, or WLK. This represents their particular ability to walk over obstacles and maneuver around them.
Walkers move at normal speed n clear terrain and get the usual 2" road bonus.
If the road is blocked by a Size 2 or smaller unit, they may ignore it (they simply step or jump over it). Walkers are unaffected by streams, but they cannot enter water. They move at half speed in swamp, rubble, forest or town.
Walkers in town, forest or swamp have their defense strength doubled. Walkers never get stuck in swamp – they can jump out!
Walkers may go down cliffs of any height at no extra movement cost. Climbing a Level 1 cliff costs nothing, cliffs of more than 1 Level cost 1" of movement for every 3 levels or part thereof.
Strike Mecha have a double movement code. This allows the owning player, at the beginning of his turn, to choose the mode he wishes to use. Once chosen, however, all restrictions pertinent to that mode are applied in full until it changes modes again. Should the machine become disabled, for whatever reason, it cannot change modes until it has fully recovered. The current movement mode is indicated by a small counter near the base of the figure (no marker being walker mode).
Mecha use the same combat rules as the other vehicles in Ogre Miniatures, with a couple of exceptions.
Mecha hit but only disabled use the same rules as normal armor units, except that they may only move at half speed on the turn in which they recover. This represents the unit actually getting back on its feet, since a successful attack is certain to throw the mecha to the ground. If using the optional disabled rules, disabled mecha may not move at all.
Mecha weapon systems have their strength doubled in overrun attacks, just like infantry – their weapons are much more flexible than vehicle-mounted weapons. Mecha may never be rammed (except by other mecha, see below), as they simply step or jump out of the way! Superheavy Mecha may ram in overruns as if they were a Mark I-sized cybertank. The actual attack is not really a ram of course, but rather a physical attack which may disable the other unit, like overturning a tank or ripping out its treads. As such, a Superheavy Mecha ramming always leaves a hulk. Smaller mecha may not ram – they do not have the mass, speed or strength to cause significant damage.
Mecha may ram each other. This represent the two units engaging in physical combat. Use their size as the Attack and Defense values: for example, a Superheavy Mecha "ramming" a Light Mecha attacks at 2-1 odds. Such attacks always leave a hulk.
Line of sight is measured from the top of the mecha's miniature (generally one and a half inches off the ground). Mecha can claim hull-down concealment from cover half as tall as the mecha miniature; the mecha is assumed to crouch or otherwise lie down behind this cover.
Mecha Unit Miniatures
Since the new units are not part of the official Ogre world, there are no miniatures available. One must do with existing miniatures or, if the modeller's proficiency allows it, sculpt entirely new ones. Several lines of mecha exist on the market, so models will be easy to find.
Whatever the option chosen, the miniature must be clearly identified as one of the four types of mecha. Obviously, small models will represent Light Mecha, while larger ones will represent either Heavy or Support Mecha, depending on their armament. Strike Mecha can be differentiated from standard Lights by bigger feet or different paint jobs. We suggest painting small letters on the base (L, St, H, Su, Sh) to clearly identify the machine. The center point is located on the head of the mecha, or the center of the body if the machine is not humanoid.
The Light Mecha is a small one-man walker equipped with one or two railguns for self-defense. They are mostly used for reconnaissance and guerrilla tactics, since they can go just about anywhere. On the down side, their small size doesn't allow them to carry much in the way of defensive electronics or armor.
The Light Mecha can carry one squad of battlesuited infantry on its hull, riding on hand-holds and using their weapons normally. Militiamen do not have the strength to hang on during the mecha's lurching movements, so they cannot be carried at more than half speed.
Movement Mode: WLK
The Strike Mecha is a variation of the small one-man walker equipped with hover units under its feet and main hull. Expensive and highly specialized, they were never built in great numbers. They were mostly used for reconnaissance and guerrilla tactics, since they can go just about anywhere. Unfortunately, they suffer from the disadvantages of both walker and GEV.
The Strike Mecha, because of its specialized nature, cannot transport squads of infantry.
Movement Mode: WLK/GEV
* Second move in GEV mode only. See Movement.
A more powerful version of the Light Mecha, the Heavy Mecha is slower but carries more equipment and armor. It is slower than a Heavy Tank but still more maneuverable, so it is used in dense terrain where the progress of a conventional unit might be impeded.
Heavy Mecha also carry more weapons and better fire control systems, making them much more dangerous than the lighter version, even when running across broken ground.
The Heavy Mecha can carry one squad of battlesuited infantry on its hull, riding on hand-holds and using their weapons normally. Militiamen do not have the strength to hang on during the mecha's lurching movement, so they cannot be carried at more than half speed.
Movement Mode: WLK
The Support Mecha is similar to the Heavy Mecha, but trades some of its offensive punch for longer range. The usual railguns are replaced by batteries of smart missiles which have high maneuverability and an ample fuel supply. Like the projectiles carried by the Missile Tank, they use submunitions to pound their target into oblivion.
The Support Mecha, because of its specialized nature, cannot transport squads of infantry.
Movement Mode: WLK
The monstrous Superheavy Mecha was the end product of research attempting to create a unit capable of facing an Ogre head-on in broken terrain. As a result, most of the designs developed were towering machines, standing nearly as tall as a smaller Ogre's conning tower. They still had the disadvantage of being crewed by humans, however.
Superheavy Mecha usually carry a set of railguns or cannon on each arm. This allows the gunner to choose between one attack at strength 6, or two attacks at strength 3. These attacks need not be against the same target. Superheavy Mecha also mount two AP guns which are used exactly like the ones mounted on an Ogre.
Although it is large, the Superheavy Mecha is not invincible. When hit, it is disabled or killed as a normal unit. It cannot lose one arm and continue to fight.
The Superheavy Mecha can carry two squads of battlesuited infantry on its hull, riding on hand holds and using their weapons normally. Militiamen do not have the strength to hang on during the mecha's lurching movement, so they cannot be carried or move more than half speed.
Railgun Attack: 6 (or two attacks at 3)
Railgun Range: 6"
AP Attack: 2
AP Range: 2"
Movement Mode: WLK
Special thanks to Marc A. Vezina of Dream Pod 9 for allowing us to reprint these rules, which originally appeared in Issue 12 of Mecha Press magazine. Check out DP9's Heavy Gear page!