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Home iheart Presents iheart Presents: Mobile Frame Zero

Are you a tactical tabletop gamer (or want to be)? Do you love building and playing with LEGOs? Then you need to take a look at Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack, a new indie tabletop wargame that has you build a company of custom robots, called mobile frames, to wage war against your enemies.

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of tabletop wargames, but I’ve been remiss to actually play one. I’ve spent a good deal of time in my local gaming shop looking at all the cool looking wargame products (like Warhammer) only to shudder at the price tags. On top of that, I really don’t have the time, patience, nor skill to paint a ton of tiny plastic soldiers. Mobile Frame Zero, on the other hand, purposefully tackles the issue of cost to play as well as utilizes a medium (primarily LEGOs) that allows for broader audience appeal and skill.

Cost
So how much money does it take to get into Mobile Frame Zero? The answer is anywhere from potentially nothing to as much as you want. The rulebook has been freely published as a downloadable PDF or you can support the designers of the game by purchasing a physical copy of the rulebook or making a donation.

When it comes to building your company of mobile frames, there are no official miniatures to buy; you use anything you’d like to create them: LEGOs, MegaBlocks, models, office supplies, whatever! The beauty of building your own mobile frames is that once you have a small pool of parts, you don’t need to continue to buy more and more; you can always just rebuild or reconfigure what you already have. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for a cheap way to acquire LEGOs or MegaBlocks, I heartily recommend checking out garage sales.)

LEGOs! Don’t have LEGOs?
How about office supplies?
(CF-07a Sentinal by milt69466)

The one thing you may truly need to purchase is some colored dice. This game does call for a ton of dice. Different actions call for different colored dice (mostly d6s and a few d8s) to help keep things straight. Check your local gaming shop to see if they sell cheap bulk dice or hit up a local dollar store. Dollar Tree carries 10 packs of dice for, you guessed it – $1, that include the colors needed.

Game Length
Mobile Frame Zero takes an estimated 2.5 to 4 hours to play a game. As I understand, this ranges from quick to average compared to other tabletop war games.

Gameplay
Your objective is to take and hold stations that belong to your opponents while destroying their mobile frames in an effort to take control and have the highest score at the end of the game. Generally, games have a fixed number of rounds. Gameplay revolves around six different systems that your mobile frames can potentially have: defense, movement, surveillance/communication, hand-to-hand weapons, direct fire weapons, and artillery weapons. Each one that you build can have two to four of these different systems, allowing for a great deal of choices and customization while not feeling too overwhelming. A big part of the game actually takes place before a single action is taken by strategically building a cohesive and effective company. While actually playing the game, each of your mobile frames can take four different types of actions (defending, moving, spotting/targeting enemies, and attacking), which correlate to the various systems that you gave it. The effectiveness of your actions are dictated by rolling dice. By adding systems to your mobile frames, you increase the number and/or size of dice that you can roll for a given action.

Important Links
If you’re interested in additional details or just want to look at some awesome designs, you can check out their website, Kickstarter page (the game was successfully funded back in April 2012), or variety of Flickr pages and blogs dedicated to Mobile Frame Zero.

  • Mobile Frame Zero website
    • Check out more info and download the rules PDF from here.
    • Don’t be intimidated by the number of pages in the PDF! The pages are actually half-pages and use pretty large font. The first 60 or so pages simply describe the official setting and factions therein. Also included are a number of step-by-step examples of various actions and a large section on building your company of mobile frames. You’ll also find step-by-step instructions for building six different models.
  • Mobile Frame Hanger
    • Official forum for Mobile Frame Zero where you’ll find tons of help on rules questions and building your own mobile frames.
  • Mobile Frame Zero LEGO Garage Kit Part List
    • This “Garage Kit” is a great base list of LEGO pieces to have for building your own models.  (See page 207 of the rulebook for a guide on buying parts.)
  • Mobile Frame Zero Kickstarter page
    • Find information and cool pictures of mobile built out of LEGOs.
  • Mobile Frame Zero Official Flickr page
    • See TONS of pictures of player-made models.
  • Soren Robert’s Flickr page
    • Soren is a part of the Mobile Frame Zero team and designed a lot of the “official” mobile frames for the game. His creations are truly amazing!
  • Mechatonic
    • A Mobile Frame Zero fan blog with some great examples of custom models.

Final Thought
I know Mobile Frame Zero isn’t a true “print and play” game, but the potential for this to be a free or inexpensive “build and play” game really speaks to me, and hopefully it will to you, too. So give the game a shot. If you find it’s not for you, the worst case scenario is that you now have an army of mini robots that you built. How can you go wrong?!
Soren Robert’s Moon Fang Tribe

* Uncredited images are from the Mobile Frame Zero official website

2 replies to this post
  1. Building your own models out of anything reminds me of a strategy game that used stuffed animals. I can’t remember the name of it, though… But the size and color of the critter determined its attributes, and then if it had wings it could fly, for example. It was fun to turn one’s bedroom into a fluff-filled war zone!

    Wish I could remember the name… I don’t know what happened to my books. )o:

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