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Author Topic: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?  (Read 2980 times)

plastic_slug

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #30 on: 03 November 2019, 21:04:42 »
I still have a very good condition copy of the Solaris VII box. And it's in very good condition because, in all my years of playing Battletech, no one ever came out and said 'Let's play Solaris instead of regular Battletech!'. I don't deny that some isolated groups may have had a blast with it, but that FASA let it disappear says volumes that it was not a commercial success.

Failure16

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #31 on: 03 November 2019, 21:10:23 »
Sure. Since the turns were quartered from BattleTech turns (2.5 seconds/turn versus 10 seconds/turn as mentioned before), weapons'-fire heat was quadrupled, though not movement. But so was the standard heat-scale (e.g. final shutdown at 120 heat-points).

Of course, you could only fire typically one weapon per turn (unless more were slaved together on a Target Interlock Circuit (think MW3, at least)) so it wasn't that big of a deal. Sure, you were slowed down for the next turn or two until your heat-dissipation capability caught up, but in the end it was no different than what would happen in a standard BattleTech turn.

The rules took some getting used to, but it was still BattleTech. Just hyper-detailed--but generally one player was running one 'Mech so it was manageable.  They key was learning how to make the system work for you.

Which made it realistic insofar as the universe was concerned.  It served to reinforce the difference between a gladiatorial duel/bout, versus a firefight on the line.


And of course it wasn't a commercial success.  Neither were either version of BattleForce, nor Succession Wars, but they were still solid game-systems.  At the end of the day, no BTU game system has survived the tribulations of life and time except bog-standard BattleTech.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                              Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                                One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
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Sellsword

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #32 on: 03 November 2019, 21:42:17 »
So it was a system where movement, damage output, and heat dissipation stayed the same but weapon heat was x4 and weapons had to be cycled.  Sounds like energy weapons were at a severe disadvantage. I also seem to remember that the arenas were maps were much smaller so the abbreviated firing ranges didnt help the situation any. I definitely remember the kurita cave map having a gorge that you couldn’t get across.  I think you couldn’t jump over it because of the cave roof.

I remember not liking the rules even though I can’t remember exactly what they are.  Taking a look at 3055u record sheets. Lots of short range ballistic weapons for the arena mechs which makes since but also seems to limit the style of play.  Maybe that’s why Solaris was unsuccessful.
« Last Edit: 03 November 2019, 21:45:58 by Sellsword »

Failure16

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #33 on: 04 November 2019, 01:14:36 »
You know, in general terms, one can go a long time in this game and never hear people bemoaning the fact that the AC/5 is too good compared to the Large Laser.  Except when, for once in its miserable existence, it gets a single leg up, and then its the Devil...

Just kidding; really.  But think about it: everything has stayed the same, except heat output and range[-bands].  Basic heavy ballistic weapons (half of them, anyways) have minimum ranges that have quadrupled, whereas most energy weapons do not. The damage on all weapons stays the same (though, arguably, Infernos got slightly more effective).  The heat is quadrupled, which sucks, don't get me wrong.  But so does the heat dissipation.

Every S7 turn is 1/4 of a BattleTech turn; the number of heatsinks stays the same and the work the same (i.e. -1 Heat per Single HS/Turn). So my lovely Rifleman fires an AC/5 (+8 Heat) and runs (+2 Heat) and at the end of the turn I shed 10 heat.  So far, I've been running and gunning for 2.5 seconds.  So, in true Dunkirk-style, by the time my BattleTech self catches up to me, I still get to do three more things. 

Next turn (looking towards halfway through a BattleTech turn), I'm feeling froggy, so I'll unload a heavy laser and come to a bloody halt.  At present, I'm at null on the heat scale. I jack myself up 32 points on the heat scale and immediately explode.  Wait, now my heat scale goes up to 120.  And I get to deduct 10 heat for my fabulous, Sphere-renowned cooling system.  So I end the turn with +22 on the heat-scale.

Now into Turn 3 (3/4 of the way through a BattleTech turn), I'm a bit slower (-1 MP; just look at the standard heat scale and multiply everything by 4; that is literally all it is), but still happy I'm driving a Kallon original and not some Red Devil knockoff piece of trash. I figure, Hell, why not? and light off two medium lasers at my buddy leering at me from the other side of the arena as I backpedal.  That adds +25 Heat (2 Medium Lasersx12+1 Walking).  Now I am looking toasty with (22+25)-10 Heat, leaving me at +37 on the scale.

Now, on Turn 4, I'm slower -1 MP), and more dull-witted (+1 THM) than I was before.  But because I got it like that, my opponent in his Archer wants to take a breather too. So, on Turn 4, we rest.  By the end of it, I'll be back down to +27 on the heat-scale.

In BattleTech-scale, I've moved just about 3 hexes total (two forward, one back) and fired an AC/5, a Large Laser, and two Medium Lasers. to be charitable, we'll say I've Walked as well.  When two souls become one, I would have generated +17 heat, -10 HS, for a total of 7 heat on the heat-scale. Sound familiar?


In other words, this is all the same thing, just hyperdetailed. Energy weapons aren't nerfed, nothing is broken that already wasn't in standard BattleTech rules (because **they are the same rules**) and the God Mode machine gun reaches out to 12 hexes (at their longest, +5 THM range) which is a +0 or +1 THM for nearly every other weapon in the game.

I get that hearing "Your Warhammer just built up 80 heat for firing its two PPCs" can be mildly disconcerting.  The smart MechWarrior will then spend some time evading and setting up some advantageous physical altercation instead of getting silly and keep driving it ever upwards.  Because after three more S7 turns (four, total), you'll only have +8 Heat on the 'Scale, just as you would have +2 in BattleTech.

The Heat Scale is there to be ridden like a roller coaster, not feared like a wild mustang. It's a tool like anything else in this game.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                              Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                                One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
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MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #34 on: 04 November 2019, 01:51:42 »
You know, in general terms, one can go a long time in this game and never hear people bemoaning the fact that the AC/5 is too good compared to the Large Laser.  Except when, for once in its miserable existence, it gets a single leg up, and then its the Devil...

But we weren't talking about Grey Death Legion novels. :P
Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

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dgorsman

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #35 on: 04 November 2019, 04:18:14 »
Quote
I get that hearing "Your Warhammer just built up 80 heat for firing its two PPCs" can be mildly disconcerting.  The smart MechWarrior will then spend some time evading and setting up some advantageous physical altercation instead of getting silly and keep driving it ever upwards.  Because after three more S7 turns (four, total), you'll only have +8 Heat on the 'Scale, just as you would have +2 in BattleTech.

To be fair, you wouldn't fire both at the same time unless you had them dead to rights.  Otherwise they would be staggered by as much as 3-4 rounds.  Still the same round in BattleTech terms, but a tad more heat friendly.
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Frabby

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #36 on: 04 November 2019, 05:28:50 »
It was sometime in the '90s that I (well, me and my gaming group) gave the Solaris VII 'Mech Duel Rules a try. It would be a single game.

My takeaway impression was that the Mech Duel Rules was unplayable as a boardgame because of its complexity and micromanagement, but the rules as such seemed solid and we felt that it would make a good game system on a computer that could take care of all the bookkeeping minutiae.

(I can say the virtually same things about the double-blind rules actually.)
« Last Edit: 04 November 2019, 05:31:24 by Frabby »
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #37 on: 04 November 2019, 14:24:01 »
My takeaway impression was that the Mech Duel Rules was unplayable as a boardgame because of its complexity and micromanagement, but the rules as such seemed solid and we felt that it would make a good game system on a computer that could take care of all the bookkeeping minutiae.

(I can say the virtually same things about the double-blind rules actually.)
  I have to agree that the Solaris VII rules weren't for everybody. In fact, our gaming club had a handful of players who were incapable of handling even a lance of battlemechs under the regular BT rules, and one guy, who always insisted on using TSM, was never able to manage heat properly, no matter how many notes we made for him with weapon/movement combinations.

  SVII was designed to encourage close-range combat and melee, and the arena maps/scenarios reflected those intentional limitations.

Kovax

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #38 on: 06 November 2019, 12:08:07 »
Decades ago, we ran a wide-open-field battle, a lance per side, using Solaris VII rules.  The big energy weapons were still king at range, but the knife-fight experience changed dramatically, making the ML and MG in particular far more dangerous once everything got closer.

The most unbalanced item was the Machinegun.  Basically, you could fire them 4 times during the course of a normal BT turn (once in each of the four phases, for a total of 8 damage), and still not build any heat.  On a typical Solaris VII map (fighting in a phone booth, for those of you who remember what a phone booth was), you could quickly close to a relatively short range band.

Medium Lasers needed a turn between firings to recharge and cool, so they only did double their normal BT damage over the course of a full BT turn, but that would double their heat output as well.  It did make some of those designs with only a single ML for close-range combat (like the Valkyrie or Vindicator) more dangerous compared to those with multiple MLs and barely enough HS to use them (Jenner or Fire Javelin).

Autocannons got a slight boost overall, but the AC/5 was one of the bigger winners, since like the ML, it only needed one turn between firings to reload/recharge/cool.  The AC/2 also got a significant boost, being able to fire every phase like the MG, except that it built a little bit of heat each time.  The AC/10 might have gotten a slightly improved firing rate (not sure, but I think it took 2 phases between firings, so it could fire 4 times over the course of 3 normal BT turns), but I don't remember clearly.
« Last Edit: 06 November 2019, 14:33:17 by Kovax »

Apocal

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #39 on: 06 November 2019, 13:12:28 »
the one than that is arguably broken is the non simultaneous fire and damage, which means if I win initiative I can effectively destroy your unit without you having a chance to respond.

I'm guessing people cottoned on to the fact that you could dance around with a boatload of whatever weapon had the best damage-to-tonnage/crit ratio and nuke them once your to-hits were good, dab in your cockpit and accept the shutdown to the crowd's applause?


brother elf

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #40 on: 06 November 2019, 15:48:52 »
I don't think I've ever seen the 3050s weapons additions for S7 – I only saw the ruleset in the Kompendium (which may have been different from the FASA Compendium, Fanpro's German editions often were), and I figured that some of the advanced weapons would be hard to model. Like UACs or RACs, when the small-calibre ACs already got a boost by having better reload times.
(Also, don't for get the rule about bypassing the reload cycle if you like to run really hot – you only get the complete weapon heat again for every turn that you skipped, plus a possible crit roll, plus a possible ammunition explosion.)
Gosh, yeah, this would be fun to play. And/or merge with BattleTroops/ClanTroops, where MGs got their own special kind of power boost, too.
No, I wouldn't want to do company-sized battles with either… I never played under S7 rules, but it did seem to capture the "riding on a knife's edge" aspect very well.

guardiandashi

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #41 on: 06 November 2019, 18:47:46 »
I don't think I've ever seen the 3050s weapons additions for S7 – I only saw the ruleset in the Kompendium (which may have been different from the FASA Compendium, Fanpro's German editions often were), and I figured that some of the advanced weapons would be hard to model. Like UACs or RACs, when the small-calibre ACs already got a boost by having better reload times.
(Also, don't for get the rule about bypassing the reload cycle if you like to run really hot – you only get the complete weapon heat again for every turn that you skipped, plus a possible crit roll, plus a possible ammunition explosion.)
Gosh, yeah, this would be fun to play. And/or merge with BattleTroops/ClanTroops, where MGs got their own special kind of power boost, too.
No, I wouldn't want to do company-sized battles with either… I never played under S7 rules, but it did seem to capture the "riding on a knife's edge" aspect very well.
The 3050, and clan weapons were in the reaches set.
As far as i know  nothing after that was ever officially stated out. For the s7 boxed set rules, because the s7 book used a completely different rukes set, if i remember right it was built around the mw 3rd edition rules, and used 5 second turns

Greatclub

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #42 on: 06 November 2019, 19:17:53 »
The 3050, and clan weapons were in the reaches set.
As far as i know  nothing after that was ever officially stated out. For the s7 boxed set rules, because the s7 book used a completely different rukes set, if i remember right it was built around the mw 3rd edition rules, and used 5 second turns

Probably 2nd edition rules. 3rd came out '99

If I remember, it was really easy to build a Allard-Laio character in 2nd; all you had to do is sacrifice everything but three stats and 2-3 skills.

Failure16

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #43 on: 06 November 2019, 20:50:33 »
...And then let the gamemaster massacre you by giving you an adventure that did everything but involve a BattleMech.


So, a recap of the basics of combat on Solaris VII via the original boxed set:

"The 'Mech duel system rules uses Standard BattleTech rules, with a few modifications to accommodate the change in scale" (Solaris VII Gamemasters Book, p. 45), "borrowing some of the concepts from the Personal Combat section of MechWarrior, Second Edition (p. 43).  That is the long and short of it. Certain aspects such as the concept of "Actions" were taken from MW2E. The dueling rules took up 8 pages, including the Weapons Table.

Initially, S7 was tied into MW2E, though it was updated to MW3E with the inclusion of The MechWarrior's Guide to Solaris  VII; this tome generally dispensed with the proprietary 'Mech Duel Rules, though, using a hybrid role-playing/stripped-down BattleTech system. As such, it can be its own discussion if people want it so.  This is the book that brought about the "5-second turn" paradigm, however.

The notion of non-simultaneous damage was an optional rule (p. 50) and even then each phase was diced for. As an aside, non-simultaneous damage is no inherently broken.  Many games before and since use it (notably SJG's Ogre/GEV, and BattleForce 1).

Some new additions, such as Evasive and Sprinting Movement were added, as well as basic concepts (like Target Interlock Circuits which had game-effect other than allowing a player to bypass the number of actions required to fire weaponry). Many concepts were later seen in other BattleTech products, such as disengaging PPC inhibitors and hot-loading LRMs, and possibly Careful Aim and Aimed Shots.  The Reaches introduced some optional Critical Effects, Underwater Combat Rules and expande upon the meta-arena system.

The turn sequence itself was the same as BattleTech. The turn length was quartered, thus other core concepts were introduced. This included Weapons' Delays and quadrupling heat for weapons-fire. The Delays could be circumvented, as noted above, with some serious repercussions, including inoperability and ammo-explosion. [I played it as a single 'round' of ammo going off, but the rules simply say "an "additional Override Roll of 6+ to avoid an ammo explosion (p. 50) whereas failure of as disengaged PPC inhibitor only caused "a single 10-point hit" (p. 49)]. Movement stayed generally the same, but Jumping Movement could take four S7 turns, which introduced a bit more complexity to that mode.

Some minutia:
AC/10s had a Delay of 1 Turn; AC/20s had a Delay of 2.
Officially stated weapons included the original/Star League weapons and 3050-era clan weapons.
There were six range brackets, introducing a bit more granularity to that aspect of BattleTech combat.
Between the original rules and the hybrid MWGtS7, most of the weapons up to the 3060s were either present or could be reasoned out relatively accurately and with minimal handwaving. Delays would probably be the biggest hindrance.
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                              Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                                One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
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massey

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #44 on: 09 November 2019, 10:53:38 »
Solaris rules looked awesome, but I could never find anybody who wanted to play it with me.

Bison AIs

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #45 on: 09 November 2019, 12:11:20 »
[ orbital dropping in ]

❤️SVII

Generally liked the additional timing challenges, the more interesting choices in the attack phase, and the movement options that have a bigger effect on shots (eg sprinting means no shooting at all). Overpowered MGs weren’t an issue — we played with stock 3025 units (sans SVII-specific mechs).

We’d play pickup games: ~4 player free-for-all, one randomly drawn stock 3025 unit each w/ P/G scaled to weight class, in the factory — always the factory... lots of interesting LOS angles plus elevator games...

Lower gunnery is real useful for opening up the aiming options to compensate for the less firing per turn—combine with tics, I found shot selection much more interesting than in normal BT where it’s mostly ‘don’t heat up too much’. More room for gambling.

-Very- much enjoyed that jumping went from a brainless move to tricky if not usually bad.

Enjoyed the balancing for low caliber ACs via lower delays.

Enjoyed that the heatscale meant shooting almost anything created immediate penalties such that brainless shoot to stay cold was a loosing proposition / pushing units was more the norm than the exception.

Enjoy the LOS system for making maneuvering and terrain more nuanced.


Other things I liked have become optional rules for normal BT:

Enjoyed the numerous ways to get yourself killed (hot loading LRMs, overriding delay, disengaging field inhibitors, etc.)

Enjoyed the maneuver options (sprint and evade) that opened up maneuver choices while having a bigger impact on shots (can’t shoot!)


Generally, all the extra rules made 1v1 more skill based, where in normal BT the dice often need more units for skill to smooth things out.

Bison AIs

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #46 on: 09 November 2019, 13:31:41 »
To the original question though...

It’s a complicated rule set that made the most sense in a niche environment. A little heavy for pickup games and too granular for most scales that groups are campaigning at (merc/house units). If you want to campaign on one planet in the whole IS then right on.

Plus, for an average player looking for something more complex, adding units within the existing rules is an easier way to complicate things then adding more rules. (Though I don’t personally think more units always makes things more interestingly complex.)

« Last Edit: 10 November 2019, 14:26:23 by Bison AIs »

ArchonDan

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Re: Why were the Solaris 7 / Mech Duel Rules discontinued?
« Reply #47 on: 09 November 2019, 19:28:46 »
I really enjoyed the S7 rules, it made for exciting gladiatorial combat but as stated many times it was a niche system. I also loved AeroTech and the Succession Wars game but I could never get anyone to play outside of Classic Battletech.

S7 was an interesting rule set