It’s no secret that I am a fan of the Tiny Frontiers RPG. I am also a fan of anything involving Giant Robots or Kaiju. Therefore, I was excited to hear that Tiny Frontiers was getting an expansion that would include both. I backed the Kickstarter (since apparently I back every RPG Kickstarter) and received my copy of the book back in February. I read through it right away, but haven’t shared my thoughts on the game until now.
I guess it’s accurate to say that Mecha and Monsters is an “expansion” for Tiny Frontiers in the sense that it expands a four page appendix in the original book to forty odd pages of rules and nineteen new micro-settings. However, it is just as accurate to say that it is a stand-alone game. You don’t even need to own the original Tiny Frontiers book to use this new book. The Mecha and Monsters rulebook contains all of the rules that you will need to give your players control of a powerful Mecha and let them get right down to punching monsters.
Furthermore, there are even quick rules for creating a pilot, or Jockey, if your group so desires. But, you’re not buying this book to build a Jockey; you’re buying it to build Mecha and Kaiju. Their creation makes up the core of Mecha and Monsters. Players build their personal Mecha by selecting a chassis, then customizing that chassis with a variety of sensor systems, weapons systems, defense systems and movement systems. Each of the four core chassis are unique in their strength and the numbers of each of the four system types that are available to them.
The Game Master goes through a similar process to build Kaiju for the players to battle. The base platform for these beasts is the Bioform. Like the Mecha, each Bioform is made unique through customization. The GM can pick a varying amount of Evolutions for their kaiju based on the selected Bioform. These Evolutions fall into the categories of Intelligence, Attack, Defense and Movement.
All good Kaiju movies need somewhere for the creatures to do their stomping. Mecha and Monsters has that covered. The rulebook includes tools that let the GM create a unique city either by picking features or randomly generating one with die rolls.
Speaking of the destruction of cities, Mecha and Monsters introduces a new mechanic called the Devastation Gauge. The Devastation Gauge keeps track of the ebb and flow of your battles and allows the GM to decide when the city has been saved or lost. Positive actions by the players such as defending citizens or felling Kaiju moves the meter towards saving the city. Property damage by the Kaiju moves the meter towards losing the city. The greater the boom the more the meter moves.
The only bad thing about Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters is the current lack of availability of physical books. If you check out the Nocturnal Media web store, you won’t find this book there right now. I reached out to Alan Bahr and he let me know that they had already sold out of the first print run of the book. That’s a pretty good problem to have. Alan also assured me that Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters would be available for Print on Demand very soon.
If you are a fan of giant robots punching giant monsters why don’t you already own this game? The rules are simple and straightforward. Like Tiny Frontiers and Tiny Dungeon you could easily pick this game up in the morning and be running a session by the afternoon. Any one of the nineteen micro-settings included in the book give a GM enough ideas to work up a quick adventure.
Because there aren’t a lot of complex new rules introduced in this game, Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters also works marvelously with Tiny Frontiers. The combination of the two books gives you all the tools you need to run adventures in and out of the cockpit.
I recommend picking up this book. You can pick up a PDF copy at DriveThruRPG for $15.00. And, go ahead and buy Tiny Frontiers as well while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.