Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters RPG
Designer: Alan Bahr
Artist: Tam Ho Sim
Publisher: Gallant Knight Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2+
Playing Time: You decide
Main mechanic / Theme: Kaiju and Giant Robots RPG
Let’s get some stomp on.
Find more info on RPGGeek.com
Giant fighting robots and kaiju has become a staple in science fiction. It explores the possibility of monsters that are so large that individuals would not be able to stand against them. Then there comes the counterpart of the large, piloted robots to fight against the greater threats of monsters, aliens, and other piloted robots.
Some of the most notable entries in this genre are Godzilla (1954 Original) (2014 release), Pacific Rim (IMDb), and Transformers (1980s TV) (2007 Movie). There are many more, and fans of the genre have their own favorites I haven’t mentioned. These are great places to start a game. These were used as inspiration, along with other personal favorites, for creating Micro Settings that are about two-thirds of the rule book.
Gameplay and mechanics
Mecha and Monsters is based on the Tiny D6 system. If you’ve haven’t experience a Tiny D6 game, it is a minimalistic system that promotes all the players providing greater details to the events of the developing story.
This is a stand-alone production. There is one rulebook needed to play. What you need to know about the Tiny D6 system is covered and the particulars for creating the mechas and the kaiju are included. This includes all types of weaponry be it from technology or evolution.
Games can be designed for players to have the opportunity of taking the role of kaiju. Yes, you can be the mega-monster stomping up and using your deadly gaze against the giant robots attacking you. There are a couple of Micro Settings that build on this premise.
Games can be designed for a long running campaign, or a single session one-shot adventure. The setting provides a solid framework for a small group of players fighting one-on-one or being the kaiju and having the game master take on the role of the mecha pilots.
There are also rules established for creating characters who have the ability to transform into another shape or combining their mecha with others to create a bigger one.
Our ability of playing is currently limited, but what we were able to do had everyone anticipating looking forward to when we can explore more of the variations and settings presented. The system for character creation is easy and doesn’t take long to have one ready to take on the challenges.
I have played Tiny Frontiers, which is the science fiction space source for Tiny D6 (review). You don’t need Tiny Frontiers to play Mecha and Monsters. However, I can see where there are some possibilities of tying the two sources together to expand and existing campaign, in both directions.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout
There are about 100 pages dedicated to information for 19 Micro Settings. These settings provide a wide range of gaming opportunities for game masters and their players to explore. Some are traditional to what to expect. Others give a different view like the shamans taking on the avatars of the gods to fight off the invaders or the Weedlekin fighting the forces of the Ratking during the afterhours of an amusement park.
At the end of the book are a number of quick reference materials. This material makes it easy to find a refresher to the information to allow for quick resolution during a gaming session.
The artwork is right in line with what to expect from the title. It is inspiring to get a game rolling.
Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters is a great addition to the RPGs available. When using a minimalistic system, this gives another avenue for players who enjoy the giant robots, dating back to FASA’a Battletech (Wikipedia), without having to work through the numbers. Don’t get me wrong, I played Battletech (it is still on my game shelf) and like the strategy requirements. I knew and know gamers who don’t want to do the heavy calculations and heavy combat tracking.
The ability to play both sides of the conflict between Mechas and Kaiju provides an additional twist. Allowing players to play the big, vicious monster gives a different approach of how the story can play out.
We are looking forward to getting together and playing a full-on session of kicking some kaiju tail.
Fans of the genre will find this a great way of getting more directly involved in the stories they already enjoy. Players who like the genre, but don’t want to have to go through all of the technical information some systems require, will find this a great alternative to participate in.
About the Author
Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at guildmastergaming.blogspot.com.