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March 1, 2009

I discovered Mechaton online in 2002.  According to Vincent that is the year he wrote it and put it online.  I didn’t realize it was brand new when I found it, I just knew that it gripped me in a way that very few things in my life have.

When I first discovered Mechaton online I was instantly hooked. At the time my kids had a HUGE Rubbermaid tote of Lego. (Some had been mine as a kid, and some of that had belonged to my cousins before me) This was fine for about a week, then I ran out of the proper “Mecha Making” parts, and the kids were yelling that dad was hogging all the cool stuff. Shortly there-after I discovered Brick Link, and my wife became a Lego widow.

I am a gamer.  I have been since the late 70s.  I won’t bore you with a list of every game I ever owned or played, but I will mention a few.

I like tanks and robots.  I read all the Bolo and Hammers Slammers books in high school.  I played Ogre and G.E.V.  I joined the army and drove (what else) tanks for four years.  My first box set of Battletech said Battledroids on the box.  I had preordered it after reading a review.  I also own Mecha, Mekton, Heavy Gear, Robot Warriors, C.A.V. and a few others I can’t remember off hand, as well as several downloaded rule sets.

Mechaton combined my love of robots and tanks, with a childhood love of Lego (which I had put down for 20 years.)  Now if I wanted to field a custom mech, I didn’t need to get out my modeling tools and paints, I just opened up a box of Lego.

When I first found Mechaton I was very much into the local gaming scene.  Unfortunately due to my job that is no longer the case.  I tried to introduce some local gamers to the joys of Mechaton, but was not successful.  I guess if there is no risk of the game going off the market, or the game company making your huge investment obsolete then what is the point of playing right?   

My major Mechaton opponent was my son.  At first we played Mechaton as we found it online, but soon we started to hack the rules into something more.  We added rules for infantry, wheeled tracked hover and grav vehicles, jets and missiles.  We divided the mechs into weight classes, and then finally by tech level.  The game ceased to be WYSIWYG and started to require a stat sheet for each mecha.  A lower tech MECH wears all its weapons visibly, but a higher tech MECHA can be many times more powerful with no visible weaponry at all.

Even with all of these changes the game at its heart was still Mechaton. 

My son has since gone off to school and moved out of the house.  He is still a gamer, but spends much more time on computer and consol games than the table top variety.

I am amazed at the level of interest in Mechaton that is evident online right now.  In the 6-7 years since Vincent wrote it, I have googled it at odd intervals to check up on new rule variants, and to see what others have made with their Lego.   The activity over the last 6 to 8 months has been growing at a huge rate, so I am throwing in the towel, and adding my own voice to the ever growing chorus.

I can’t and won’t promise a daily update.  Possibly not even weekly, but I will post when I have something of relevance to discuss. 




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