Thursday 27 October 2022

Factions Louder than Words

I’ve been thinking about how Battletech handles factions.

I was speaking in a Discord about how there’s a lot I love about the larger setting, but it took me a long time to really grasp what most of the factions were about, and even then I still don’t feel especially drawn to any of them.

I contrasted this, obviously, to Warhammer/40k where I think I knew which team I was supporting after flipping through my very first White Dwarf. But I've praised the Battletech setting for its groundedness, so I don't think you need to go wacky with this.

A stronger example is one that always lingers in the back of my head - the factions of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.

I liked the PC game and played it a fair bit, but I really loved the seven factions (and most of the seven expansion factions). Each was helmed by a charismatic leader, centred on an ideology, and upon starting the game you were faced with each of their portraits and a quote read out in their voice. It's pretty easy to look at these and immediately get what each faction is about. It's not exactly subtle.

As you played through the game you'd still hear from the other faction leaders. Not just through diplomacy, but each new tech advance came with another quote, usually from one of the faction leaders. It's like they were always tempting you with which faction you wanted to try out on your next game.

So I'm shamelessly taking this idea for factions in Titanic Bastionmechs. Does this game need factions if I'm generally just using it to play with Battletech minis? No, but it's been a fun experiment so far.

Slap down a portrait, quote, special rule, and some signature modules and mechs onto a page and see what sticks.


Any familiarity to factions from existing games is surely just convergent evolution.

So the skeletons for 10 factions are in the doc now. Lots of gaps to fill in these factions, but aside from anything else they're helping me focus in on a tone for this game.


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