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RPG: Beam Saber Is The Mecha Game We Need – And Also Deserve

3 Minute Read
Mar 3 2020

Beam Saber is a roleplaying game that understands what giant robots are really all about–lasers, explosions, and relationships.

There’s something deeply ingrained in our consciousness about giant robots. They are utterly impractical, and yet whether the giant battlemechs of Battletech, or the Mobile Suit mechas of the Universal Century, giant robots piloted by humans with equally giant personalities are what make the best examples of the genre stand out. Whether it’s the brashness of Clan honor driving them to overcommit to a doomed attack, or the over-the-top scream that leads to a Ganmen transforming as its pilots Spiral Power drives it to go beyond the impossible, these robots are fueled by the pesonalities behind them.

But perhaps one of the finest examples of the genre is a little more grounded–and because of that its character shines through even more. I’m talking about Gundam’s 08th MS Team, and I’m mentioning that because it’s called out as one of the major inspirations for Beam Saber, the amazing new game about pilots of powerful machines in a war that is all-consuming.08th MS Team is one of the finest Gundam shows out there, and it’s so unlike the others–I don’t want to spoil it, even though it’s from 1996, because you absolutely should go out and watch it right now.

But even if you’re not inspired by the source material for this game, Beam Saber is a fresh take on the Forged in the Dark system, bringing its unique take on group action to a war in the far future where giant machines battle, and triumphs and tragedies big and small rule over the lives of the people caught up within it. But it’s not just rules for fighting–the Forged in the Dark system is incredibly versatile, and designer Austin Ramsay has pulled out all the stops to really explore this genre. Let’s take a look.

via Beam Saber

Beam Saber is a Forged In The Dark game about the pilots of powerful machines in a war that dominates every facet of life. They are trying to do their part, then get out physically and mentally intact. The organizations that perpetuate The War throughout all of known space are too incomprehensibly huge to take down. There is no “winning” The War, there is only surviving it. Hopefully you can help others get out too.

  • Players make pilots who fill archetypes such as the Ace, Bureaucrat, Empath, or Officer. These provide characters with unique gear and abilities that allow them and their vehicles to overcome dramatic threats. There are 10 to choose from.
  • Engage challenges on a titanic scale! Each pilot has a custom vehicle created from the ground up to suit their desires. The base frame can be humanoid, a more traditional vehicle, or something completely bizarre!
  • The squad that the pilots belong to provide them with specialist training and upgrades. Be a part of a Consulate, Mechanized Cavalry, Recon, or REDACTED squad! There are 8 to choose from.
  • Fiction First gaming and Forged In The Dark tools ensure that play moves quickly, not getting bogged down in over planning. Jump right to the action and have flashbacks that show you prepared for just this occasion!
  • Extensive directions for making the game your own! Create new squads, factions, regions, and more that fit the style of play you are looking for.
  • The gameplay structure provides a clear distinction between the action of missions and the personal drama of downtime. Play consists of a mission, reward, and downtime cycle.
  • Relationships are important as the pilots form connections and beliefs about their fellow pilots and their rivals. Lean on these connections to succeed in your objectives, and learn more about your rivals.
  • The battlefield matters as its features can shift the course of a mission if the pilots make use of them, or act without considering them.


There are ten different player archetypes included in the game, and each player gets to design their own custom vehicle that’s an expression and extension of the character. It’s melodramatic in the extreme, but it works so well for the kind of stories that this game wants to tell. If you’re looking for some of the finest in military science fiction, this game is absolutely for you. It’s very near funded at press time, so go check it out today.

Back Beam Saber on Kickstarter!

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