Robotech RPG Tactics
|Robotech RPG Tactics|
|Wargame published by
|No. of Players||5,342|
Robotech RPG Tactics (commonly referred to as RRT)
is was a squad based tactical miniatures game based upon the US cartoon molestation adaptation of the Macross Saga anime series from Japan. Following years of nigh-criminal Kickstarter mismanagement, the publisher lost their license and the game was finally cancelled. A small community of fans is working to keep the rules alive as Dimensional Warfare: Tactical. KidsLogic toys is also creating new models for the game. It never quite got off the ground unfortunately, but we can always remember the possibilities..
Simple I-go-U-go squad-based initiative. Maintaining squad coherency, unusually, gives bonuses rather than penalizing units that break it. There are also bonuses for crossfire, enveloping enemies, and tactical positioning. Includes rules for transforming units, a key component of the TV series, which are organic and functional. Most units generate Command Points, which you can use for bonus actions, re-rolls or roll adjustments, and reaction fire. There is an odd focus on melee combat options in the rules, and the artillery rules were so badly-mangled on launch that they had to be updated before the first wave finished shipping to the US. Promised rules for conventional ground-combat units never materialized officially, though the freelancer who had been writing them would eventually release them for free after Palladium (allegedly) repeatedly refused to pay him for his work.
Army building is clumsy. It's based on sub-factions, with a series of Core Squadron cards to which you can attach additional Support cards. Squadrons are small pre-constructed units with the option to buy weapon or equipment upgrades. For each Core, you can take up to two Supports. These include both pilots and additional teams of 1-4 mecha. Each Core Squadron also unlocks one "Special" option, which usually includes specialist mecha and some of the nastier artillery and command options. Each sub-faction gets access to a set list of cards, much of which got errata'd later on.
When it works (and especially when played with proxies for the unreleased units), the game is fast-paced, cinematic, and bloody. When it doesn't, it's a joyless slogging match, slowly blowing up dozens of cookie-cutter units and praying silently for the end of the match.
There are many factions in the Robotech universe, 3 of which have rules in Robotech RPG Tactics: the Robotech Defense Force (RDF), Zentraedi, and the Malcontents. Fan-rules were later written up for the Invid and other post-Macross Saga units.
- Robotech Defense Force(RDF)/UN Spacy
Robotech Forces that were established and based on Earth to defend against alien aggression after the arrival of Robotechnology. They use a mix of Human technology with tech scavenged from the SDF Macross. The ship crashed with apocalyptic results in the South Pacific many years earlier, starting a war which would unify Humanity against the coming alien threat. Heavy on special characters, with a mix of ground-pounding Destroids, all-environment transforming Valkyries, and space-only naval fighters that never got released.
- Malcontent Uprising
Zentraedi who, under the leadership of Khyron and Asonia, turned against humans and Zentraedi that choose a peaceful coexistence. Units use a mix of Zentraedi and Human equipment. The faction is short on Special Characters and at shipping was unable to field almost all of their units. If proxied, however, their mix of punchy powered armor, expendable grunts with good AA capability, and zippy air units make them extremely tactically flexible.
A militaristic race of alien humanoid giants created through genetic cloning. Males and females are segregated in society, with males functioning as cannon-fodder infantry and high-level command, and females operating elite powered armor commando units. The main force of Zentraedi were eventually defeated by the power of Love (and J-pop), as well as having their most militant leader beaten to death with his own severed arm. In general, Zentraedi use oceans of expendable, re-spawning infantry to shield deadly leaders and commandos, though you will need to keep some officers in reserve to shepherd the respawns back to the front before some ass sneaks into your deployment zone to spawn-camp them. Zentraedi grunts do not generate Command Points, but their officers give you substantial bonus points.
Kickstarter and other Controversies
- Around 2010-11, a fan-designed Robotech/Macross game started making the rounds at conventions. When the creator decided to try to license and make it official, he first contacted Ninja Division. At the time they were moderately-successful pump-and-dump Kickstarter specialists with several anime themed games to their credit. When ND, in turn, showed their 3d models and his prototype to Harmony Gold, they revealed that Palladium Books had technically held the license for Robotech games since the 1980s. Through legal shenanigans, ND and PB agreed to market the Kickstarter as a "tactical mass-combat supplement" to the RPG rules.
(see: https://robotechbattles.blogspot.com - the original writer's website.)
- The Robotech RPG Tactics kickstarter was launched on April 18, 2013 with a funding goal of $70,000. It went on to raise $1,442,312 in pledges, drunkenly flinging stretch goals at the walls as it went. At this point, one of the first controversies began. Ninja Division had (according to them) supplied Palladium with complete 3d models, prototypes, and the rules; they were contracted to produce the game itself, while Palladium would handle legal and production issues. Both convention-goers at the time, as well as Carmen Bellaire (who had been hired to re-write some sections of the rules to use Palladium Books™ terminology) reported that the game itself was ready to go. They even posted tactics and combat videos on the site. This tune would change within days.
- Shortly after the KS closed, Palladium announced that they would be taking over production of the game, and planned to change factories. Exactly what happened next is unclear. Palladium claims that Ninja Division failed to perform contracted services, but without specifying what they were. Ninja Division said that they had delivered a production package for a lump sum to Palladium, and that Palladium then tried to force them to re-sculpt all of the miniatures and dozens of new ones for no pay, arguing that the up-front sum paid for production covered any future work. There were also rumors that Harmony Gold or Palladium had directly interfered with the game's rules and model designs (see below), as demo players began reporting significant nerfs to Zentradi units compared to the demo videos and the earlier Robotech Battles closed beta rules.
- After many delays due to this unexpected level of support and the general incompetence of all parties involved (Palladium Books, Ninja Division, Harmony Gold, Chinese manufacturers), (part of) the game finally began shipping to backers in October of 2014, almost a full year after Palladium's original estimated ship date. As a result of the logistical clusterfuck, the rewards were divided into two "Waves". As of February 2017, Wave 2 was still in preproduction while European and Australian backers were still awaiting delivery of Wave 1.
- It's estimated that 98% of the backers were BattleTech fans seeing a way to get their hands on new Unseen models. While this 'fact' is clearly intended for hyperbole, such a definitive claim requires objective data. It's worth noting that when Palladium made the exchange offer, the "good" Battletech models (the Artillery Destroid packs) were gone within a few days and nearly all of the other Destroid packs sold out by the end, while there were still hundreds of Zentraedi packs left to liquidate (Miniature Market bought them up, and still had the packs up at fire sale prices as of early 2020).
- Uproar from backers over preproduction pics of assembled models with dozens of parts and "massive impossible to fill seams" (particularly on the RDF's Spartan) led to a schism in the fanbase between the unwashed masses who wanted Tactics to be a ready-to-play boardgame and True Wargamers™. And also the True Wargamers®©™ who wanted to be able to put together more than one squad a week. This is now commonly referred to as "spartangate". This uproar would increase when models finally arrived years later. A combination of bad CAD and mold design had left several models with parts that didn't fit into the model (Scout Regult), sprue gates on top of details, extremely flimsy parts, and missing or improperly-mirrored details on multiple models.
- Rumors of the possibility of box sales being made at GenCon 2014 before backers received their rewards led to anger and talk of legal action. The response from Palladium was to put the matter to a "vote" that was incompetently (and blatantly) rigged. Which garnered even more controversy. In the end, production delays rendered a month of arguments moot. They followed this "vote" up with a lengthy post whining about the difficulty of producing infantry and vehicle models in 1:285 scale, begging to upscale the Invid-era designs to 10mm or 12mm. The poll on the post immediately shot down the scale shift.
- At the following GenCon, reports began filtering back that the Palladium booth had a suspiciously large number of Wave 1 boxes, and rumors began circulating that Uncle Kevvy had dumped most of the money supposed to be funding Wave II on starter sets. This would prove true (check the "fuck you" letter, below) after three years of steadfast and outright denials from Palladium's webteam and Kevin himself.
- Carmen Bellaire of Rogue Heroes Studio, the publisher of the upcoming Rifts© Boardgame©, posts in the kickstarter on 2/17/2017 that the RRT backers best play nice with his Rifts© Boardgame© kickstarter or he'd burn the RRT. The backers respond in kind with trolling and threats of an organized campaign against the Rifts© Boardgame© kickstarter. After so many mean comments Carmen attempted to change the "Rogue" in his company's name to "an". Kevin Siembieda© then posted an update blaming the backers for Carmen's unsuccessful an hero™ attempt.
- As of March 2018, due to "reasons" (read: incompetence), Palladium Books has, finally, lost the license for Robotech from Harmony Gold. This means that 1) Palladium fire-saled all their Robotech books and, hilariously, their PDFs. 2)Dropped RRT like a steaming turd. On February 27, 2018, Kevin Siembieda© announced "with sadness and tremendous heartbreak" that Wave 2 would never be delivered, and that he'd very much like everyone to suck his ass . Meaning that the backers were being shafted out of huge chunks of their pledges BUT it's ok because they offered backers more of the models they already had in exchange! Just pay shipping! On models you already have too many of because the force org chats are stupid! Needless to say Kevin Fucking Siembieda has used this Rage to ascend to godhood on the cries of a class action lawsuit.
A sliver lining
- In late 2019, Kidslogic announced they would be supporting the game going forward. They are a Hong Kong injection-resin caster normally known for busts and collectibles. Reviews on the models themselves are generally positive, though the Valkyrie and Zentraedi pod sets are considerably more expensive than the older RRT equivalents and the antenna/finger parts remain fragile as hell. You can always use them in BattleTech!