Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 11, 2012.

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An indie tabletop wargame of tiny giant LEGO® robots battling across your tabletop! by Vincent Baker & Joshua A.C. Newman.

Once Mobile Frame Zero is in production you'll be able to find it and an entire garage of community-supported sites and tools at MobileFrameZero.com!

Giant robots! LEGO®! Strategy and tactics!

Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack is the tenth anniversary edition of Vincent Baker's Mechaton. Build yourself a company of robots called mobile frames out of LEGO, give yourself some objectives to defend, lay out a table with a few friends, and fight! We're making sure you've got all the parts we've got so you can have the most fun you can with the game. You'll get play instructions, building instructions, even instructions for how to make your own setting. 

Because, just like a LEGO set, building what's on the front of the box is fun, but building your own thing is where it really catches fire. So that's what we want you to do! Build robots, play with our setting, sure! If you're into VOTOMS, Dougram, Macross, or Gasaraki, then we want to play with you! We've put a lot of love and care into the designs and the setting and we're excited to see what people do with them. But then check out the advice on building a setting and house rules, too, and go to town!

About the rules

Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack is designed to be playable with two to five players, each fielding a company of mobile frames of different strengths. The game keeps tension high by making sure that no player ever quite has enough frames, equipment, or time to be a sure thing. In fact, the player in the strongest points position to win is the player with the weakest company; if you expect to fight from a difficult position, be ready to run away and come back in another round!

Play starts with the doomsday clock set to 11. Every turn, it ticks down by one automatically. At 0 the game ends. But adding to that is the possibility that each player can mark it down faster. If you're winning, you'll mark it down every round. If you think you'll be winning this round, you'll mark it down. Players never really know how soon the game will end until the very end.

Rules are tightly tied to the frames themselves. Every frame has its own two white dice, then has added to it up to four subsystems. Those systems help the frame move, attack at one of three ranges, defend themselves, and observe & communicate. When a frame takes damage, it takes damage by losing those systems. 

Play takes between 2.5 and 4 hours, depending on the age and number of players. Eager 10-year-olds seem to grasp the game well, but it offers a constantly flowing sea of tactical options to more experienced players.

About the Setting

It's the year 0245 of the Solar Calendar. The Earth-centered Solar Union has overstretched, abandoning the interstellar colonies and colonists that can no longer produce enough for its vast and struggling population.

When the Solar Union's colonial efforts reached the homeworld of the Ijad, they found their first opposition. Religiously opposed to empire, they quickly adopted the SU's technologies of interstellar travel and the muscle cylinders that made their mighty mobile frames possible. The Solar Union now finds its own technologies turned against it as the Ijad fight in their quadrupedal Scrambler frames to force back the tide of the Solar Union.

Inspired by the Ijad religion and rising against the Solar Union are the newly-formed Free Colonies. Fighting with labor frames and homebuilt mobile frames built from scavenged muscle cylinders, they take inspiration from the Ijad's liberation theology in the hopes of achieving Badhal — self-determination.

Within these factions are many more. You'll define your Ijad religious factions, your companies of United Mars Foreign Legionnaires and Terran Trade Marines, you Free Colonial popular movements. They might not agree with their purported allies, and they might find themselves friends with those who would be their enemies.

Mobile Frames

The United Mars Foreign Legion's ST-07 "Chubs", backed by their ACT-022A "Chub Tub". The Free Colonies' Hi-Leg — a low-cost homebuilt mobile frame and the converted labor frame, the Commissar. The Ijad's "Scrambler" and "Stalker" (names given the frames by the Terran Trade Marines who first encountered them) are often supported by Swerves, tiny flying craft designed to pierce and cut between the plates of enemy frames.

A sample of decals — a change in printers has allowed us to print a greater variety than you can see here.

Kickbacks

Soren and Joshua are working hard to bring some unique, limited edition stuff that we can't possibly mass-produce to you guys.
  • Decals are the first. Designed by Joshua A.C. Newman specifically for the Kickstarter, you'll receive sheets of transparent decals to distinguish your companies. They'll include symbols for all three factions including industrial markings, rank insignia, religious slogans, and kill markers.
  • The Mobile Frame Garage is a kit thoughtfully designed by Soren to give you a pile of parts appropriate for building mobile frames. Designed for players who don't have a big bin of LEGO at home, tiny hinges and other parts give you all you need for a company of five mobile frames. Presented in neutral colors, you can liven up your particular company by adding in parts from any LEGO set.
  • Soren's Special Edition kits are designed and hand-assembled by Soren to give you real punch right out of the box. There are only two of each faction, so choose wisely.
  • A custom-designed company by Joshua will set you up right. You'll chat with Joshua, who will help you figure out what faction you like the most, how you want to play tactically, and custom design and assemble your company.
  • A custom-designed company by Soren will make your company the most coveted in all of LEGO mecha. You'll consult with Soren and Joshua, working out what faction you want and how you want it to work tactically, and then Soren will build it up for you.

  • Who are we?

    Vincent Baker (@lumpleygames on Twitter) is the designer and publisher of Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, The Abductinators, and a bunch of other games. His website is lumpley.com.

    Joshua A.C. Newman (@JoshuaACNewman on Twitter)is the designer and publisher of Shock:Social Science Fiction, Shock:Human Contact (a Kickstarter project also), and Under the Bed. His website is glyphpress.com.

    Sebastian is our apprentice. He's Vincent's son and Joshua's godson. He's got a game coming out soon called Blasters for Hire about space bounty hunters.

    Soren Roberts (@harmfulmechanic on Twitter) is an extraordinary artist and designer in the LEGO medium. He's been wowing the LEGO community with his mecha for years. You can see his work in his substantial Flickr stream.

    One thing we're not is employees of LEGO. We're a bunch of guys who love it, but we're not them, at all. In fact, I can even tell you that there are other great building toys that you could use with the MFZ rules like Gundam models, Mega Blocks, or even little squads of metal miniatures where each unit, instead of a system, represents a die. 

    Want to see something neat?

    You should check out the Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack Flickr pool. There are hundreds of robots from within and without the Solar Calendar from all different skill levels.

    You'll also see a lot of neat stuff over at Zeekhotep's blog, No B.S., Just ABS. One thing you'll see is an interview with Joshua, talking about MFZ and where it came from! You'll also be able to participate in an ongoing discussion of tactics and building.

    Cel•Style

    Mobile Frame Zero is being published with the cool kids over at Cel•Style! Check out their incredible catalogue!

    FAQ

    • The kits are expensive for us to make, so while we'd love to make more of them, until we find a way to do so cost-effectively, we can't make more. The book includes instructions for purchasing and assembling mobile frames, though, because we want you to get set up right to play!

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    • Not only is there a chapter in the book about how to buy the parts you want, and not only are there instructions in the book for the Free Colonies' WTF-04 Hi-Leg, the United Mars Foreign Legion ST-07 Chub, and the Ijad "Scrambler", but there is also substantial discussion going on in the comment threads in the updates. Some of the instructions are already published for backers! Come chat with us!

      You can also download the parts list for the Mobile Frame Garage here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1392732/FullGarage%285%20units%29.html With it, you can order your parts from http://Lego.com's Pick-a-Brick

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    • Nope! We're just big fans.

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    • I don't understand the question, but I'll tell you that, in addition to LEGO, the rules will tell you how you can play with Gundam models or stands of metal miniatures. The rules are so much fun, they only become slightly less fun when you're not playing with LEGO.

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    • One of my favorite opponents is 11. He beat me pretty badly the last time we played by being smart and committed. I'll get him next time, though.

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    • Absolutely. When you look at the combination of 90-some configurations of frame across teams of 3-7, it gives you tremendous planning opportunities, plus the game really rewards short, medium, and long-term planning. Plus, we should get to play with the LEGO as much as the kids.

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    • I'll do you one better! At $15,000, the game became Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike! That means you can upload, download, share, mod, and even publish the game yourself as long as you're not charging for what you've created!

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      A PDF copy of the game rules! You'll need dice and LEGO or another building toy to play. You'll get the PDF as soon as it's finished!

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      The Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack book, printed and glossy, and shipped to your door, plus the PDF as soon as it's finished! We're pricing it as low as we can to make it a kid-friendly price. You'll need dice and LEGO or another building toy to play. (please add $5 for international backers.)

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      Two copies of the rule book for you and a friend! (Please add $5 for international backers.)

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      The Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack book & PDF with a sheet of special edition decals for all three factions designed by Joshua A.C. Newman! You'll need dice and LEGO or another building toy to play. (please add $5 for international backers.)

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      Three copies of the game! You people sure like to play with your friends!

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      Two copies of the game with decals! You guys sure have a lot of friends! (please add $5 for international backers)

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      Three hard copies of the game (with PDF, like every other level), plus decals for everyone! (please add $5 for international backers.)

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      | THE MOBILE FRAME GARAGE | A kit of LEGO parts hand-selected by Soren, designed to set up players who don't own LEGO to make mobile frames of any faction. Use it to make five fully-equipped frames from the instructions in the book or design your own! Add any LEGO or Mega Bloks set from the store or buy some weapons from Brickarms.com to customize your company! Specially designed for players who don't have LEGO at their disposal, and priced as low as we can afford, so if you've got a big bin of bricks, please leave this limited kit for those who don't have them! Of course, it comes with the rules and decals from above. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | THE MOBILE FRAME GARAGE! | I've been working hard to get them and now my dream is coming true! Thanks to Paul Janssen, I'm able to offer more Garage kits to backers! Of course, comes with a PDF and hardcopy of the rules and a decal set. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      |THE MOBILE FRAME GARAGE| OK, here's 100 more! The parts list for the Garage is in the FAQ. Please consider ordering parts from Pick-a-Brick or Bricklink if you're concerned about price. I only want happy backers! Because of the extraordinary success of the Garage kits, they'll all come with bits of terrain and/or objectives! Includes the PDF, rules, and decals. (Please add $10 for international backers)

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      |THE MOBILE FRAME GARAGE| The final level of Mobile Frame Garages! Paul Janssen's working hard to collect parts from all over the world to satisfy demand. It's very unlikely he'll be able to do any more of these at all! As before, includes the PDF, rulebook and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | A SOREN SPECIAL EDITION KIT! | "We die here today for God!" The Ijad company "Armored of God", known by Free Colonists and Legionnaires alike as the White Devils. Led by the scholar Adaj, they use their artillery to great effect against unbelievers. Of course, it comes with rules and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | A SOREN SPECIAL EDITION KIT! | "This machine kills Fascists." The Free Colonies company Haski's Hammer, led by Comrade-Captain Lahus Haski, has converted old labor frames, scavenged mobile frames, and industrial machinery into a fast-moving, close fighting, coordinated machine of liberation. Of course, comes with the rules and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | A SOREN SPECIAL EDITION KIT! | "We're not all going to make it. But we're going to win." The United Mars Foreign Legion company, the Red Shoulders, charges in fast in their ACT-02. They wading into direct fire range and dealing withering fire. Slow but well-armed, they rely on dealing damage rather than speed or hiding out of range. Of course, comes with the rules and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | CUSTOM MOBILE FRAME COMPANY BY JOSHUA| Designed to your specification! You'll talk with him about what faction you want and how you want it to work tactically. Joshua will build and ship your company to you. Includes the rules and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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      | CUSTOM MOBILE FRAME COMPANY BY SOREN | Designed to your specification! You'll get an interview with Joshua (for tactical advice) and Soren (so he can put his mad skills to work) where you'll tell them what faction you want and discuss how you want it to work tactically. Soren will build and ship your company to you. Includes the rules and decals. (please add $10 for international backers.)

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