Expansion Mechanics I
Genre Powers help distinguish pilots from each other. Some pilots are better offensively, others are better defensively, some have more or less powers (and points) than others due to being more or less experienced. The point is that, even if two PCs ride identical mecha, power selection can make different personalities shine through different gameplay.
But Genre Powers are also a pacing mechanism. By that I mean they let the user control not just the ebb and flow of battle but also the way that a character develops. Genre Powers direct the pacing of a battle because you can blow most of your powers early to pull a quick win or you can try to endure until the last possible minute to make sure you are at full power before an alpha strike. Genre Powers have a hand in character development in that you can decide it is time for your character to mid-scene learn a new trick or to set aside differences with your teammates for a moment of perfectly coordinated teamwork with a combination attack.
Genre Powers are the glue that holds BCG together. Because there's so few of them to go around that all of them have to pull their weight, sometimes being so strong that they need to be restricted so they can only be used once per operation. The powers with those restrictions are the universally useful ones that you'd see spammed endlessly if they didn't have that condition, while the powers that only work for some builds or require some setup mid-operation don't have that problem.
The existing powers in BCG are what I consider the base of the game, the general toolbox that has something for everyone in it and sticks to rules that are relatively simple. Genre Powers for the most part try to be pretty straightforward in that you activate them and get a benefit, though some of them need you to make a choice when you first grab them, it is all pretty simple stuff. Partly this is because simplicity is good, but partly it is because I want someone who picks up the BCG core rules for the first time to have an easy time understanding everything. With the expansion I am going to take a few more risks, adding more dimensions to powers and making things more interesting. How interesting? Well, why don't I show you rather than tell you?
As a note though, these Genre Powers aren't even in "beta" state yet, the expansion is SO far away right now that I must add a disclaimer: Anything I show off here might end up getting scrapped. With that said I wouldn't be showing them off if I wasn't confident that I will be able to keep them at least conceptually even if I might have to tweak the rules a little. Also there aren't any witty descriptions yet, sorry. Onward to the previews!
I Have Control
Effect: Choose an Enemy Grunt and spend an amount of Energy equal to their Power Level. You gain control of that Grunt's Actions during their Turn, though you may not have them eject or self-destruct. At the beginning of every one of your next Turns you may spend the same amount of Energy again to maintain control over that Grunt.
Don't you hate being outnumbered by a dozen or more of Grunts trying to beat you through attrition with their incessant poking? Do you groan when Rivals/Bosses deploy with support-oriented Grunts to make them even stronger? Boy, wouldn't it really suck for them if you took over a whole bunch of key enemies or stole an elite grunt for yourself? Now imagine what would happen against a Boss that just used Make my Monster Grow!
Adding energy costs to powers is interesting design space because energy is usually a resource that is spent in the same 2-3 ways every turn. By adding some really strong powers that make use of it we can encourage more variety in how energy is spent each turn. Yes, this means there will be more powers dependent on the use of energy as a balance mechanism.
Twin Strike (Specialist)
Effect: Choose two Weapons when you take this Power. You can take two Offensive Actions this Turn to attack the same target with both Weapons, using one first and then the other with your second Action. This second Action does not get to Move as part of the attack and the use of this Power uses up your next Action in advance. You may use this Power once per Operation.
To say that this is powerful is an understatement, for maximum burst damage power you can even use it with two different Techniques! Just make sure you finish off the enemy with it, because standing around for two rounds (especially after using a Zweihander or taking overheating damage) is going to be awkward. Twin Strike works extremely well with a build designed around exploiting its burst damage potential but it is also very vulnerable to tanks who can survive the second strike and get to retaliate with a better Tension bonus and don't have to worry about counterattacks for a whole Round.
Powers that use actions as a cost are pretty hard to design, because they need to have very strong effects but they also need to be very conditional. In Twin Strike's case this means having to build your weapons loadout around it (especially if you want to use it with Techniques) and telegraphing ahead of time which weapons the enemy has to watch out for. You also don't get to reposition between attacks or to carry over buffs from one attack (like those from support upgrades) into the next. There will be more powers that use up your future actions, but you can expect them to have similar limitations. Having few of them and ensuring each one is unique is especially important considering that we don't want anyone to end up attacking 4-5 times in a row and clearing out the map by themselves.
Hang in There!
Effect: You or another Pilot that is about to be defeated through Plot Armor Damage or was already defeated returns to fighting condition and their Plot Armor is restored to full. You may use this Power once per Operation.
This basically has one purpose: It is a failsafe against Invasive enemies. Invasive enemies deal reduced damage but have a chance to take you out for every 5 points of damage they deal (more like 10, since all their damage is halved). Games revolving around constantly encountering Invasive enemies can get repetitive because of how brutal (and random) they sometimes are, especially against PCs with low Systems.
If you're going to run into Invasive enemies often then this power is invaluable, otherwise it is... Somewhere between alright and useless. This kind of design is important to have in the expansion too, since I want to enable more kinds of games with different playstyles.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what the expansion is going to look like. Of course, there'll be more updates like this down the line. The next set of previews will be about Weapons.