Note: This post originally appeared here. I’m not playing Mechwarrior anymore, though I still have my House Davion army. This post still applies, as I’m currently constructing my Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard army, and am putting as much RP into the formation of my troops as I can. Enjoy.
It’s funny: RPGs sprung from wargames, and as games like 4e begin to harken back to their wargaming roots, there’s an uproar. But I’m not here to talk about that.
I’ve been a wargamer for as long as I’ve been a roleplayer. Primarily Warhammer and its ilk, but also Heroclix and Mechwarrior: Dark Age.
I’ve recently gotten people in my gaming group into Mechwarrior, which I hadn’t played in at least 4-5 years. It was made by the now-defunct WizKids Games, and was a simplified version of Battletech. Since it’s a dead game, you can find the minis online for dirt-cheap, so we’ve begun stockpiling. Tonight, instead of RPGs we’ve had our first three-way game.
But we find ourselves roleplaying as we’re collecting our figures and playing. We set up our units on the battlefield in a manner akin to our factions (I, for example, am playing the Federated Suns, a militant group, and as such, set up strict formations), collect minis akin to our factions (one player is playing the Rasalhague Dominion, who distrust mercenaries, so, no mercenaries will be fielded with his guys). Note that none of these things we’re doing are in the rules, per se, and can sometimes cause us grief and give us weaker tactics and abilities, but we do it because that’s how the faction should be.
In the middle of the game, if I’m losing and down to only a couple of units, I’ll retreat. There’s no advantage to retreating in the games we’re playing, but it only makes sense. If you know you can’t win, you don’t just get yourself destroyed, you fall back. Now, if I was playing the Draconis Combine, a very Feudal Japanese type group, I would never back down or retreat. You fight to the last man.
I’ll find myself explaining to the other players how one of my units communicates with the other and reports to them the status of a location or something.
Do any of you do this in your wargames? How could you inject more flavor, more RP? Have you taken a wargame and made a pure RPG out of it? Leave a comment and let me know!