Expansion Mechanics III
The character creation process is a fun minigame in itself, or at least it is to me. I want to make a character who is both cool conceptually and is strong in gameplay terms, balancing all the options that appeal to me and weighing them together to figure out which ones mesh together the best. That is more or less what I do, and if you like BCG at all then I figure it can't be too different for you.
One of the new mechanics introduced in the expansion is about this minigame, and they go by the name of Design Flaws. What are Design Flaws? They are Upgrades (though honestly it would be more accurate to call them Downgrades) that give your Mecha a critical weakness in exchange for more MP to spend when creating it. Think of them as Features that give MP instead of having a positive half to them.
Why would you take them? A very wise videogame character once said to think of intentionally designed weak points as character flaws to make your giant robots more human. Because your mobile weapons need to be treated like people with feelings too. Or maybe you are doing it because you like a good challenge. Indeed, Design Flaws are not to be taken lightly, you need to build your Mecha around minimizing their downsides. But enough about that, let's take a look at two examples!
Limited Battery Time (+30 MP)
Effect: At the beginning of every one of your Turns after the first one, your Mecha reduces its Energy Attribute by 1 until end of Operation. After your Energy is reduced to 0, you will lose your current Level of Threshold every Turn instead.
This is a prototype so experimental that it cannot run for more than a few minutes at a time. It is so inefficient that after its battery for external equipment runs dry it the limbs will start to power down individually until it can't move at all.
A pioneering example of innovative and cutting-edge technology indeed! Mecha so powerful they have a time limit are a genre staple, usually around five minutes or so. It is hard to make one round equal one minute of narrative time, so this is more like a single minute of operation time. But hey, +30 MP! That's a whole power level's worth of stuff.
So what can you do with that extra MP? Well obviously you want to win your battles quickly, so you want a focus on offense. Not only that, but in case your time runs out and you start to lose levels you will want healing abilities to give you more than a full level of Threshold per use. That means you're building a glass cannon of some kind, but the specific kind is up to you.
Those 30 MP can get you +2 Might and Duelist/Sniper Model, or Experimental Reactor plus a Beam Saber and Rifle. You're going to want a high Energy stat, but you can't rely too much on it, so that adds another element of tension.
Walking Coffin (+60 MP)
Effect: Double all the Damage that you take.
Your Mecha is a fragile little thing and the designers have made it a testbed of every feature they could think of, but apparently forgot to armor it with more than aluminum foil and to fill the tank with something other than explodium.
Now this is gutsy! This essentially cuts your Threshold stat in half, and the 60 points are more than enough to take the stat all the way to 10... Which is more like 5! So it is not a very good use of your points, though then again, you are getting it 'for free' so to speak. Even then, any healing you would receive is effectively only half as good as it used to be, so you definitely want to think about taking this.
With this Flaw you want to maximize your defenses and positioning, and you really want something to soak damage like Absolute Barrier (one point of energy blocks 4 damage with it, making it VERY efficient). But if you rely on it too much you will explode violently against anyone who can ignore Active Defenses, so you also want to avoid getting hit in the first place too.
Fittingly enough this is strongest at low power levels when everyone has low Threshold values anyway and your extra MP can make your other stats really shine. From power level 3 onwards your inability to raise your Threshold is definitely going to hurt.
Design Flaws FAQ
Does the MP from Design Flaws count towards Power Levels? No. You add it to your initial Mecha Points pool of 100, which does not count either.
Are Design Flaws shared while Combined? Design Flaws are Internal Upgrades and like any other Internal Upgrade they will be shared with the rest of your team.
Can NPCs take Design Flaws? Only PCs and Rivals can take Design Flaws. Grunts with Design Flaws would be obscenely overpowered.
These two are big examples, the kind that shape an entire build with great power at a great cost, but I also want to have some lighter ones as well. Those are a bit harder to design, because when your drawback is something like "You do not have weapons" you simply build a support mecha and ignore the flaw as best as you can and not think about it too much.
It is possible we could end up with a bunch of Design Flaws worth 20 MP and over, yet none of 15 or less. This is design space that hasn't been explored in BCG yet so it'll take quite a bit of experimentation before figuring out what works and what doesn't... But that's what part of what makes working on the expansion fun.