BattleChrome — Zone 17

Origin

In the beginning, there was RoboTech. Geeks looked upon it, and decided it was good. So the geeks went to the video store and rented other anime. And some that had mecha. And it was good. So one of the geeks bought FASA’s Battledroids game. And it was not good. So that geek designed his own game. Its name was Biomech.

We playtested the hell out of it on five different play sessions every weekend at two colleges and one community center. The universe loved it, but the universe didn’t have to buy a copy in order to playtest it. It had 324 cards. And when it was designed in 1983, that would have placed a cover price of a bazillion dollars on it. And that was bad.

So Biomech was tossed into a drawer and forgotten. For a decade.

In 1995, Jon Compton called me and proposed we start a game company. One Small Step was born. And Biomech came out of the drawer. Publishing the game in the 300+ card format was way outside of what we could afford. The design was a card game that was too much of a wargame to make a practical transition to a CCG. The path we settled on was to trim the game to one third of its original size, rename it BattleChrome, and ship the files to the printer.

Zone 17

Once in a while, I get an email from a BattleChrome fan who asks when we will publish an expansion pack for the game. In its current format, the game really has too few cards to realize the elegance of the game’s systems. The thing is, as much passion I had for the game 30 years ago, I’m really quite done with it. I like the subject matter, but I’d rather do something new than revisit an old game with old methods.

This didn’t mean that I had to toss out the baby with the bath water. I had a mountain of background material on paper and in my head, and there was no reason to toss it all. A couple of game types I always wanted to explore included role-playing and miniatures. BattleChrome provided a deserved outlet for both.

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