Core Rules

Here’s how “Meatbot Massacre” works. Each player gets a meatbot — a bioengineered battlesuit left over from the Canada Wars of 2203. You may each get a certain number of upgrades (nicknamed “devourables”), which affect the stats of your bot, and you each start with a score in “Massacre”. Certain devourables allow the bot carrying them to ignore particular rules.

Meatjock

Your meatjock has one trait, Massacre, rated from 2 to 10. Your Massacre rating gauges how well you pilot your meatbot. Every turn, you pick a number of actions you want to do, with a maximum limit equal to your Massacre score. If you have Massacre 2, you can do two things per round, and no more, no matter how souped-up your bot is. If you have Massacre 8, you can do eight things per round, even if you’re in a stripped-down, unadorned bot.

Meatbot

Your meatbot has three active traits; Move, Defend and Attack, named after the actions those traits govern. While massacre determines how many actions you can do in a round, these actually are the actions you can perform. These traits’ ratings are the maximum number of times you can use them in a single round. With Attack 3, you can’t attack more than 3 times in a single turn even if your massacre rating allows further actions.

Your bot also has two passive traits, Meat and Stomachs, named after two of the most important parts of meatbot anatomy. Meat is your bot’s health. Stomachs measures how many additional gadgets you can carry.

Finally, each weapon has a Damage trait. Unsurprisingly, it measures how dangerous the weapon is.

Move is the base number of hexes your meatbot can move across per turn. If you have Move 3, you can move three hexes per turn without rolling. You can temporarily increase Move by using an action to roll a d4. You add the result to your Move for that turn. If you roll multiple times, you can add them together. The result is how many hexes your bot can move this turn. You can never roll a number of movement dice higher than your bot’s Move score, however.

Example: Red’s bot has Move 2. If he wants to move more than two hexes, he has to roll a d4. If he does so and gets a 3, he can move 5 hexes. If he really wants to leg it, he can use two actions to roll 2d4. Getting a 4 and a 1, he can move 7 hexes. However, since his bot’s Move is 2, he can never roll more than 2d4 for Move.

Defend is your bot’s ability to avoid getting hurt, whether by using passive methods like armor or active methods like dodging. Simply put, the higher your Defend, the harder it is to injure your bot. You can temporarily increase your Defend by using an action to roll a d6. You add the result to your Defend for that turn. If you roll multiple dice, only the highest single result gets added to your Defend. Again, you can never roll more dice for defense than your Defend score permits.

Example: Red’s bot has Defend 4. He rolls three Defend actions, getting 1,3 and 5. He uses the highest result and adds it to his Defend. For this round, he has Defend 9. He can never roll more than four Defend actions.

Attack is pretty self-explanatory. When you choose to attack, roll a d10. If you roll higher than or equal to your opponent’s current Defend, the weapon hits and does damage. If you roll less than Defend, you miss. If you decide to do Grandstand maneuvers, they do not count against your limit of attacks per turn.

Damage is how much you injure an opponent from a single attack. If a weapon has Damage 3, it does 3 points of damage every time it hits an opponent. Note that different weapons have different Damage ratings — they don’t combine. If you have Gougers with Damage 3 and a Bonespear Flinger with Damage 6, they don’t do Damage 8 when you use either — you do 3 if you gouge and 6 if you fling. Weapons have no limits on how many times they can be used in a round — the only limits on them are your Massacre and Attack scores. In other words, just because a weapon has Damage 3, that does not mean you can only use it three times a round.

Meat measures how much punishment your bot can safely withstand. Every time your bot is damaged, it loses Meat at a 1:1 ratio. If your bot receives an attack from a weapon with Damage 4, it loses 4 Meats. Once its Meats hit zero, it collapses. Welcome to the food chain.

Stomachs represent how many Devourables your bot can possess at one time. Many Devourables only take up one Stomach, but the more powerful ones usually fill several at once.

Grandstanding

In addition to normal attacks, meatjocks can also attempt big, flamboyant, excessive (or often just desperate) maneuvers. These moves are called grandstands, and the specific grandstand moves available are listed under the weapons you need to perform them.

When you attempt a grandstand, you roll a D12. If it comes up 12, you do the move, regardless of your opponent’s Defend. If it turns up 1-11, it failed.

Grandstanding is, obviously, a big big risk. But the fans love them, they do cool, terrible things to your opponent, and some ‘bots get so heavily defended that only insane, over the top stuff can hurt them.

The other advantage to grandstanding is that only your Massacre score limits how many attempts you can make per turn — unlike standard attacks.

Your Basic Meatbot

The lowest-common-denominator meatbot waddles out of the assembly vat with Move 2, Defend 2, Attack 4, 20 Meats and 10 Stomachs. It’s armed with basic claws, teeth and a Plib Gun (see below). It comes with no Devourables whatsoever.

Plib Gun

A plib gun fires single, small projectiles. They’re about the size of a human thumb, and they’re powerful enough to kill a man, but they barely make a scratch on a meatbot.

The only really unique thing about a plib gun is that it’s integral to the ‘bot. Unlike devourable weapons, it cannot be removed. You always have your plibber.

Range: 10 hexes

Standard Attack: Plib guns do Damage 1 at all ranges.

Grandstand Move: None

Basic Claws and Teeth

Your bot can hit and bite, too. Unless you want to devour something (see page 5) or get fancy, you’re really no better off than with a plib gun.

Range: 1 hex

Standard Attack: Biting and clawing does Damage 1.

Grandstand Move: It’s possible to trip, shove or body-slam an enemy bot by making a grandstand roll. This does Damage 2 and temporarily reduces the enemy’s Move by 2 during the movement phase. Move can never be reduced below zero.
Grandstand Move: Tackling an opponent also works. This does Damage 3 and temporarily reduces both your Move and the enemy’s Move by 3 next round. Again, Move can never be reduced below zero.

Order of Action

A meatbot match consists of a series of rounds — like a boxing match, only faster and with more audible thuds on impact. Every time the players roll, a new match starts. The actions taken — defenses, grandstanding, attacks and maneuvering — all resolve in that order. But before any of those actions go off, all players have to pick dice to represent their strategies.

Pick-Your -Action Phase: Each player picks a number of actions equal to his Massacre score. The types of actions are individually limited by the ratings of the governing traits. Once actions are chosen, each player gathers the dice governed by those actions. (Move d4, Defend d6, Attack d10, Grandstand d12).

You do not need to announce what you’re doing—the dice you pick do that for you. Your enemy realizes what you’re doing when your dice hit the table.

Defense: Immediately after rolling, the d6 results rolled (if any) are applied to every bot’s base Defend score.

Attacks: After everyone gets their defense up, Attacks are resolved. The higher the result on your attack die, the sooner you go — so all 10 results go first, then all 9s, then all 8s. Ties are simultaneous.

Grandstands are handled during this attack phase. If you succeed at a Grandstand, it gets resolved before any other attack. Yet another reason to reach for that treacherous d12…

Move: Once everyone is done attacking and grandstanding, it’s time to jockey for position. The bot with the lowest current Move rating has to go first. (This sometimes lets him reach some goal first, but far more commonly means he has to show his intentions first and let the other jocks respond to his position.)

After that, the next slowest moves, and so forth, until the fastest bot cleans up.

If two bots have the same Move, they take turns moving, one hex at a time, until they’re settled. Bots cannot occupy the same hex or pass through hexes that contain other meatbots.

Note: If you rolled a successful attack and couldn’t use it because you were out of range, you cannot “save it” until the movement phase.

When the turn ends, everyone knows where everyone else starts and where they will make their attacks. Smart players check ranges before deciding how many dice to put into attack and defense.

A Simple Example

Red and Nina are facing off. Each of them has Massacre 2, and each is piloting a standard bot with no enhancements. Therefore, each bot has Move 2, Defend 2, and a pair of Damage 1 weapons. Each can take 20 Damage before collapse. They start out ten hexes apart.

Round 1
Pick Phase: Red decides to roll a d6 and a d10, defending and making a simple attack. Nina decides to roll 2d10, making a couple attacks.

Red gets a 3 on his d6 and an 8 on his d10. Nina gets a 5 and a 9 on her 2d10.

Defense Phase: Red’s Defend goes up to 5. Nina’s stays at 2.

Attack Phase: Nina goes first with her 9. She plinks Red with her plib gun, reducing him to 19 Meats. He goes next with his 8 and hits her. She goes last with her 5, which equals his Defend and damages him — just barely.

Move Phase: Since their Move rates are tied, they take turns. Nina goes first and takes a step forward, while Red steps back. They repeat this and stay, stalemated, at 10 hexes apart.

Round 2
Pick Phase: Red decides to get close and try to make up his deficit with a Grandstand. He rolls a d6 to protect himself and a d4 to move in. Nina, not knowing that he won’t attack, rolls a d10 and a d6.

Defense Phase: Rolling a 6, Red’s Defend cranks to a mighty 8. Nina rolls a 5 and rises to a 7 , which she’ll probably pine for in a later round.

Attack Phase: Nina rolled the only attack and got a 6 — not good enough to harm the wildly dodging Red.

Move Phase: Her Move being a default 2, Nina has to go first. She has no idea what Red is doing, so she takes two steps towards him, figuring he might try to get out of range. Instead, Red (with Move 5) bounds directly at her. They end the round two hexes apart.

Round 3
Pick Phase: Nina’s going to try to widen her lead by unloading on Red with 2d10, trusting on luck to keep her ahead or (at worst) even things out. Red needs to close in, so he’s pretty much forced to roll a d4, but he rolls a d10 as well, in hopes of keeping the gap from widening too far.
Defense Phase: Both Defend scores stay at 2.
Attack Phase: Nina rolls a 10 and a 9, easily hitting first and second. Red’s 8 fires third but is still a solid hit.
Move Phase: Nina’s default Move of 2 is used to edge away, widening the gap between them to four, but Red rolled a 3 and raised his Move to 5 again. He gets within clobbering distance.

Round 4
Pick Phase: Nina’s been doing just fine with hyper -aggression, so she rolls 2d10 again, hoping for the best. Red rolls 1d12 and 1d10, hoping for the Grandstand tackle that will turn the tide.

Defense Phase: Defend 2 for both.

Attack Phase: With a 9, Red’s grandstand fails, but his attack of 9 is a rousing success and hits Nina first. She only rolled a 5 and a 6, but against Red’s sad Defend, they both hit.

Move Phase: They both have Move 2, but neither wants to step aside. Red wants to continue trying his Grandstand, while Nina’s doing just fine rolling 2d10 and taking his punishment. At this point, Red’s bot has 15 Meats left, while Nina’s is looking robust with 17 Meats. It’s still anyone’s fight though.

A Complicated Example
Red, Nina and Jack each have Massacre 5 and are permitted to soup up their bots with four Stomachs’ worth of gear but — to make it interesting — no one knows what anyone else has bought.

Red chooses Gougers (1 Stomach), a Lockjaw (1 Stomach) and Hyperheal (2 Stomachs).

Jack chooses two ELMEs (1 Stomach each) and an Up Down (2 Stomachs).

Nina cannot resist the siren lure of a Boom Launcher (3 Stomachs) and backs it up with a Twitchy Flinchpump (1 Stomach).

They start out in a triangle, ten hexes from each other.

Round 1
Pick Phase: Red decides to roll 2d6 and 2d4 — the most he can roll for movement and defense with Move 2 and Defend 2. With one die left, he shrugs and rolls a d10. He really wants to get close, lock up and start gouging, but he can plib too.

Jack’s bot has Move 3, so he can roll up to 3d4 — and he does. He backs that up with 2d6 of defense.

Nina, always the aggressor, rolls 4d10, the most her Attack score permits, and backs it up with a d12.

Defense Phase: Red rolled a 4 and a 2. Using only the higher, his Defend rises to 6. Jack rolled a 3 and a 6, raising his Defend to 8. Nina’s Defend stays at 2.

Attack Phase: With a 3 on her d12, Nina’s grandstand failed. But she did manage to roll up a pair of 10s. Red got a 10 as well, so all of them go simultaneously. Nina assigns one 10 to each opponent, using that luscious Boom Launcher. Each of them takes 2 points of damage. Red can only plib, and he plibs Nina in defiance. Nina’s 6 attack ties Red’s Defend so the Boom goes again, doing him 2 more points of damage. She contemplates booming Jack with her 5 for only one point of damage (since it’s less than his Defend) but decides to save her ammo.

Move Phase: Red rolled a 4 and a 2. They both add to his base Move of 2, permitting him to move 8 hexes this round. Jack rolled 3d4 but only got 1,1,2. They all combine with his base Move of 4 to produce Move 8. Nina stays at Move 2 and has to go first.

Nina moves two hexes back. Ideally, she’d like to hang back and pepper them with her ranged weapon, but since she doesn’t have anything with range greater than 10, she needs to stay close.

Jack goes next. He closes in on Nina, shortening the distance between them to 5 hexes, but maintains his distance from Red.

Red bounds towards Nina at top speed, shortening the span between them to 4 hexes.

Round 2
Pick Phase: Red continues to move at top speed, rolling 2d4. He also wants to step up his attack, so he rolls 2d10, and he adds a d6 just in case.

Nina doesn’t like the charge, so she rolls 2d4 hoping for some mobility too. She also rolls a d6 and 2d10.

Jack rolls 3d10, a d4 and a d6 because he thinks the other two are going to shred each other and he’ll get to be kingmaker.

Defense Phase: Red’s hyperheal fixes a point of damage, and his rolled 2 raises his Defend to 4. Nina gets a lucky 6 and has Defend 8. Jack’s 3 raises his Defend to 5.

Attack Phase: Red rolled highest — with a lowly 7 , too weak to hit Nina, but enough to plib Jack. With a 6, Jack could plib him back, but instead he reveals his Up Down — placing a bomb three hexes behind Nina’s back on a straight line with Red. She’s safe if she only retreats one hex, but if she goes farther back she’d better move at least five to avoid damage. Jack also has a 5, which lets him further build his bomb-wall between himself and the other two. With her 4, Nina booms Red for two more damage. Red has a 4 as well, but it’s beneath everyone’s Defend and therefore worthless. So is Nina’s puny 1 . So is Jack’s 3 but, because he’s using an Up Down, he can place a third bomb to completely bracket Nina.

Move Phase: Jack got a 2 on his d4, so his Move goes up to 6. Nina got a 2 and a 1, so hers rises to 5. But Red rolled a pair of 4s, so his is 10.

Jack makes a lateral move — he thinks Nina’s going to flee Red straight back, bursting all the way through his bomb bracket. He wants to be close enough to keep peppering her.

Sure enough, Nina keeps fleeing. She doesn’t know what Red’s going to do when he catches her and she doesn’t want to find out.

But Nina’s too slow. Red can catch her, and he can move just out of the range of Jack’s bomb. He starts the next round in a hex adjacent to Nina.

Round 3
Pick Phase: Red picks 4d10 and 1d6. He is eager to bite and gouge.

Nina picks 2d10, 2d6 and 1d4. She wants options — escape, protection or fighting back.

Jack’s delighted. He’s going to whale on both of them with 4d10 and a d4 to keep him mobile.

Defense Phase: Once again, Red’s machine heals a point of damage. Rolling a 5, his Defend rises to 7 . Nina also gets a 5, so her Defend is just as high — she’ll need it. Jack’s Defend stays at 2, and his bombs go off harmlessly.

Attack Phase: Jack gets the highest result with an 8, and he plibs Nina just to make her think. He also has a 7 , and comparing the two of them he decides to plib her again. Red rolled 7 ,6,6,6 on his 4d10 — only one attack enough to tie Nina’s Defend. But he uses it with his Lockjaw to attach himself. Then he plibs Jack three times. Jack also gets a pair of Booms from Nina (she rolled a 6 and a 5) and suddenly he’s in lousy shape. With his last two 5s, he puts a pair of Up Down shells between them and his path of retreat.

Move Phase: Red’s Move dropped to 0 when he established his Lock, so he’s going nowhere. Nina rolled a 2 on her d4, which offsets the Lock’s Movement penalty, so she drags Red closer to Jack, adroitly placing him in the explosion range of one of Jack’s bombs while remaining in a clear hex. Jack rolled a 1, and he legs 5 hexes away — out of range of the Boom Launcher and the plib gun. He starts the next round hoping that they don’t have any secret weapons with greater range.

Round 4
Pick Phase: Red rolls 4d10 and 1d12. He is insane with rage.

Nina rolls 2d6 and 3d10. She is insane with fear.

Jack rolls 4d10 and 1d4. He is insane with glee.

Defense Phase: Red recovers a point of damage which is immediately skinned off, plus one more, when Jack’s bomb explodes. Nina rolls a 4 and raises her Defend to 6. Red and Jack stay at 2.

Attack Phase: Red and Jack both roll 9s. Red’s 9 is spend gouging Nina for 3, and Red’s is spent putting an Up Down bomb right on their hex. (Did either of them spend Move dice? No? Pity, especially since Red’s d12 came up a 9.)

Both Nina and Red got 7s, so he takes a point of damage and she takes three more. Jack’s 6,5 and 5 put three more bombs right where they are; each will take a total of 10 damage next turn when they go off. Red’s 5 is insufficient to penetrate Nina’s Defend of 6, but her 5 can get him, and so can her 4. He rolled a final 1, which does him no good. He does decide to release his Lock however.

Move Phase: Nina and Red both regain their Move 2 and, after flipping a coin to decide who has to move first, Nina moves directly away from Red, forcing him to either follow into Jack’s minefield or disengage. Cursing, he breaks off. Both of them get clear, winding up 2 hexes apart. Jack, with Move 7 , snickers and creates even more distance.

Can Nina and Red put aside their differences to clobber Jack? Do they even want to, since he’s still the worst hurt? Will Red try to close with Nina again, or run out of range, powering up the Hyperheal and humming “Time Is On My Side”? At this point, it’s still anybody’s game.