Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rules Introduction: Welcome To M42! (Ver. 0.5)

Much as I'd like to concentrate on the Visibility/Shooting rules right now, it's pretty much impossible. The Wife is out of town, the kids are sick, and I've got workmen (finally) banging around fixing the bathroom flood damage from 4 months ago. So instead of getting frustrated every time I'm interrupted, I'm going to instead update some of the easy stuff. The old rules that just need some tweaks to update them to the current mechanics. Then I can get them up on the list of links at right, so that folks who are new to the project aren't totally lost. :)

Welcome To M42!

What Is M42?
M42 is a set of independently produced wargaming rules that allow 2 or more players to stage exciting Sci-Fi conflicts on a tabletop battlefield. These battles can involve units ranging from lowly human/alien infantry, to genetically enhanced and armored super-men, to robots, monsters, tanks, and various exciting combinations thereof!
What Models Can I Use?
You may use any 28mm (1:64) scale Sci-Fi model that accurately represents a model or unit from M42’s faction rules.
Established makers of such models include companies such as Games Workshop, Privateer Press, Mantic Games, Wyrd Miniatures, Corvis Belli, Chapterhouse Studios, and others.
Feel free to mix and match models (or parts) from any of these companies as you see fit. Or check out the growing independent model scene for additional (and often unique) options.
As long as the model you use clearly depicts the M42 unit that you wish it to represent, then you’re good! The only restriction is that you not confuse your opponents!
What About Terrain?
For terrain, you can either make your own, or purchase pre-made (and pre-painted) terrain from companies such as Gale Force Nine and  Pegasus Hobbies.
Games Workshop also sells a wide variety of great 28mm building and terrain kits. But these usually come unassembled and unpainted. Meant, as they are, for more hard-core hobbyists.
Don’t overlook your other options either! Any model railroad building that fits the 1:64 scale (known as S-scale in that community) will be appropriately sized. You may even be able to find some buildings from the larger ‘O’ scale that will work, depending on the model.
If you explore the model railroad section of your local hobby store, you’ll also find great deals on trees, basing materials, walls/culverts, and much more. Look around!
Why Don’t You Sell Models?
The M42 project was conceived as a way to create a model-independent set of 28mm Science Fiction gaming rules that would not be tied to any one company’s product line.
We believe that when a single company controls both the rules and the models for a game system, it inevitably leads to a conflict of interest between what’s best for the players, and what’s best for the company’s own bottom line.
The modeling arm of the company, for instance, might decide to make a new, great looking miniature that has no real use on the tabletop. Conversely, proper game balance may require a new unit that the modeling department isn’t interested in producing. As a result, players either find their competitive options limited to a small subset of the available models, or they are dismayed when their favorite new model is found to be useless competitively.
From a rules standpoint, the company may have little interest in updating their less profitable factions regularly, while they may release update after update for their best selling lines. Leading to distortions in the competitive player base that limits the variety of opponents one will find at tournaments and other gaming events.
Worse, the marketing arm of the company will often put pressure on the game’s designers to deliberately un-balance the rules in favor of a new model kit in order to boost it’s sales. This forces players to either buy the new kit (even if they don’t like it) or always play at a handicap.
As a result of these conflicts, the player base will be artificially split between those who are willing to accept sub-par game performance in order to use the models or unit combinations they prefer, and those who will run the best combinations regardless of whether they like the models or not. This split is not in the best interest of the players and can be blamed solely on shoddy rules and the conflicts of interest that lead to them.
By breaking the link between selling models and selling rules, M42 seeks to heal these divisions and create a balanced, well-written game that both casual and hard-core players can enjoy together. Where every model and unit is useful, and games are mostly won on the field more than at the list-building phase.
How Big Are The Games?
The exact size and organizational structure of a typical M42 ‘Task Force’ will vary between the factions and depend on the exact list that you choose to put together. But in general, M42 is designed to accommodate platoon-sized battles of between 30 and 60 infantry models per side at 1000 ‘points’. With between 5 and 9 distinct units of models.
Smaller and larger battles will be possible, but if you go below 500 points or higher than 2000 per side, you may encounter serious game balance issues in both the game itself and the faction army lists.

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