Getting Started With Mobile Frame Zero – Part 2

Please welcome our newest columnist Samara Duncan!

Last time we talked a bit about getting started with a great new game, Mobile Frame Zero. With two major elements– a tabletop game and creating custom LEGO┬« models. you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. If you are feeling like giving up before you even start, please don’t. Just apply the principle of KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetheart) to make it manageable. There is plenty of time to add in all the amazing details that make this game something special.

Your Frames Don’t Have to Be Anything Special

If you start off by browsing the MF0 Flickr page you can get intimidated pretty quickly. There are some amazing designers out there, and it takes time, experimentation, and a wide variety of parts to make some of those stand-out frames. Unless you already have a large LEGO collection, you’ll need to put in quite a bit of time and money into the game before you’ll have the inventory to field an army of that caliber.

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If you simply don’t have the finances or the desire to field that kind of an army, it is entirely possible to field a respectable army with a single trip to the LEGO store, or anywhere that carries a decent LEGO selection. Smaller LEGO sets have appropriately sized pieces, and many can be transformed into a nice looking frame or two without too much trouble.

Mixels are the undisputed champions of simple and dirty set building, but there are plenty of other options. The forums, G+ group, Facebook community, as well as blogs by Mantisking and Dark Cloud all have plenty of posts along these lines. If you have a LEGO store nearby, the “Small Pick a Brick Challenge” posts are an option, otherwise stick with “Single Set Challenge” options. These challenges are all about getting the best frames possible with the smallest financial investment.

Work With What Ya Got

The other two elements you need to build are scenery and stations. These are much easier to build even with a small collection as they don’t need the level of detail that your frames need. Eventually, it will be fun to build scenery and stations that are unique to the setting or fit a particular army. When just starting out, however, working with the materials you have will help keep your initial investment cost down.

In particular, this is your opportunity to make good use of some of the larger pieces that are in most LEGO sets. A castle becomes the ruins of a city, a space ship becomes the remains of a previous battle (maybe a crossover from Intercept Orbit?), and dragons might act as obstacles on a far-flung planet. With the universe as your playground, your game can occur anywhere you happen to have scenery.

Simplify a Few Rules

The rules are solid, but can get overwhelming on the first run through, especially with several new players in the group. Two sets of turn-order, shifting orders and roles, and turns that have several elements, each is a lot to take in all at once.

Still not sure what to keep and what to skip? Once again, the forums will come to your rescue. The community has developed a simplified set of rules for learning the game or demoing at conventions. It shortens the game so you can focus on learning the flow of the game rather than wondering if you will finish your game before the sun comes up.

Once you get the basics, you can add in a few more frames, more objectives, and rockets. If you are feeling ambitious, start with a full compliment of frames and objectives, but leave out a few extras like rockets and destroying scenery. Just be sure everyone at the table agrees what the options are before you get started.

Hopefully this will make getting started more obtainable. Gaming should be fun, not a shopping disaster followed by arguments over rules (unless that’s your kind of thing). Once you’ve gotten the basics down, keep adding to your collection of frames and you’ll have and awesome army to field before you know it.


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Samara Duncan is generally either coding or gaming, with an occasional break for eating and sleeping. She believes that anything is better when it is covered in chibi skulls. When not rambling about Mobile Frame Zero here, she can be found rambling about code and life in general on her personal blog,