Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beware The Electrical Diagrams Of Doom!

Of all the games that FASA produced, I think there is no question that they were best known for Battletech.  They also made a few other games as well such as Shadow Run and Crimson Skies but none of them had quite the following that Battletech managed.  One in particular was their Renegade Legion series of games.

Set in the far future history has repeated itself with the resurrection of the Roman Empire.  Though they were first somewhat benevolent things took a drastic change and the government took on a tyrannical twist, reforming itself into the Terran Overlord Government or the TOG for short.  They began a campaign to conquer the galaxy and when the game is set they are well on their way to doing just that.  One of the last bastions of freedom is known as the Commonwealth supported by a group of TOG soldiers that have seen the light and turned against the TOG, the Renegade Legion.

I'm paraphrasing of course but this should give you an idea how the universe looked.  They did a good job developing the story and also made several different game systems to cover the various aspects of sci fi combat such as capital ship combat, fighter combat, and ground combat.  One that I owned and really enjoyed original, Renegade Legion: Interceptor.  As you can guess from the name, this was the game that focused on fighter combat.

Unlike Battletech with their standardized test style circles that you fill in, Interceptor tracked the armor with a grid.  Instead of just having the weapons inflict a set number of points worth of damage, they actually patterned the damage according to the different types of weapons.  Lasers burn deep into the armor while missiles blast off shallow chunks.  This part was a pretty cool mechanic but when you get through the armor things got a little... weird.

This is a copy of a record sheet for one of the fighters.

Sure it's actually a sheet for a corvette but you get the idea.
See the crazy mishmash of arrows on the left side?  That is the damage diagram, some kind of a mix between a flowchart and an electrical diagram that was used to keep track of damage to the internal systems.

Of the three main combat systems, I'm pretty sure this was the only one that used the flowchart method of damage assignment.  Leviathan (capital ship combat) and Centurion (ground combat) both used different systems which leaves the question "Why didn't they update Interceptor so that it matched up?"  Honestly I have no idea.  Was it the worst system in the world?  No.  My friends and I played a few times and enjoyed it but in the long run it just never caught on with anyone besides me.  Ah well.

So is it something that I would recommend scouring the internet to find?   No but if you have a chance to read some of the setting I'd check it out as its definitely an interesting twist on the whole sci fi empire thing.  Until next time...

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