Top 10 TTRPGs for Mecha Anime Fans

Mechs are a surprisingly popular topic among indie RPG designers. Heavily inspired by shows like Mobile Suit Gundam and evangelizationas well as video game franchises like armored core and titan fall, these games approach the mecha genre from all angles.

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Some present players as heroic or brave pilots pushing their mechs to victory. Others interrogate gender themes around war, exploitation and bodily autonomy. Fans of the mecha genre have a slew of RPGs to choose from and should be able to find something to suit their taste no matter what they’re looking for.

ten Loren Peterson’s MekTeks Focus on Support Teams

MekTek RPG Cover

Drivers give way to mechanics and repair crews in MekTeks. He uses a deck of playing cards to guide a squadron of mech mechanics as they assess the damage done to their machines during combat, refit mechs to be battle-ready, and desperately try to sleep somewhere in between. It’s a great way to divert attention from the front lines and invites challenging choices about whether to save on resources at the cost of risking a pilot’s life.

9 Armor Astir: Advent By Briar Sovereign is Action Mecha High Fantasy

Fans of the more mystical side of the mecha genre like Visions of Escaflowne will find themselves at home in Armor Astir: Advent. This Powered by the Apocalypse game mixes fantasy and sci-fi as rebel pilots battle against a hegemonic authority with their steel-clad giant Astirs. It features an interesting division, with some playbooks providing access to robots and others serving as support personnel, like mechanics, scouts, and officers.

8 Terrain ARMOR By Orion D. Black is a single player experience

plot armor rpg cover

Single-player journaling games are growing in popularity, and for good reason. Planning is one of the hardest things about getting an RPG party together, so playing alone is a great solution. Orion D. Black’s ARMOR plot guides the player through a 32 episode season of a mecha anime.

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Along the way, the game gives the player prompts to help flesh out each episode, all the way to the finale when the protagonist dies. Solo games are a great way to really connect with a character, and ARMOR plot offers plenty of juicy opportunities for storytelling.

seven Beyond Reach by Annie Johnston-Glick is a love story between estranged partners

rpg cover out of reach

Not all role-playing games require players to actively talk to each other. Out of reach is “a game in the mail about falling in love with someone who is unreachable to you”. Two players take turns writing blog posts, letters, or chat messages to explore the relationship between a war machine and its pilot. However, to reflect the distance between the two parties, players are not showing their messages to each other. Instead, they interact in short sentences describing their emotional reaction to whatever they just wrote. The game can end with either of them dying, causing the letters to remain secret forever.

6 Riley Rethal’s Dusk to Midnight Puts Pilots on the Losing End of Things

from dusk till midnight by riley rethal title image

This storytelling game without GM quickly dispenses with any illusion of victory. From dusk to midnight opens with “you are a squad of mecha pilots, the only ones left on your side of a long-running war that you are about to lose.” Rather than following pilots on their journey to victory, the game follows these losing pilots as they either become disillusioned with the war effort or double down in loyalty to their faction, crew, and/or robot. It’s a dark game and can be played with two to five people.

5 Makapatag’s Maharlika is a tactical fight among the stars

maharlika spirit and characters

Billing itself as “a technomythic tactical mecha RPG inspired by Filipino mythology”. It follows spirit warrior pilots of Mechanized Weapons, or Meka, as they swear allegiance to a megacorporation to protect the galaxy.

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maharlika features crisp tactical combat and quotes combat technology and Lancer among his design influences. It also draws heavily from the “neo-feudal and neo-colonial trappings of the modern Philippines”. maharlika is just one of many games from the thriving Southeast Asian RPG design community, and it’s perfect for any mecha fan.

4 Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands By Meguey and D. Vincent Baker pits player against player

Mf0 brand cover

the zero moving frame The universe, created by Joshua AC Newman, began as a tactical war game using homemade LEGO mecha models to simulate mecha battles. Corn Mobile Frame Zero: Brandons of Fire takes this world and adds narrative and compelling storytelling gameplay without GM. Players take turns launching mini-games with their comrades to tell the story of rival pilots who fight, make alliances and fall in love. The slogan says it all: “Fight with your friends. Ally with your rivals. Fall in love with your enemies.”

3 My Name Is Grant’s final shoot zooms in on one last moment

last shot mech rpg cover

Some games follow the arc of an entire war from battle to battle. Other games like Last shoot, follow a single decisive confrontation. This is a two-player game that pits two rival mech pilots against each other in their climactic battle.

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Three scenes accumulate information about the pilots and define the stakes of the battle. Then, an Ante system allows players to put their resources into play. Eventually the drivers compete and someone loses. Last shot offers a great opportunity to zoom in on a set of characters that live up to their story.

2 Iron Edda accelerated by TheOtherTracy replaces mechs with giant skeletons

iron edda accelerated giant skeleton with someone inside

Most mecha shows are set in the far future, but Accelerated Iron Edda swap this setting for an ancient Norse, complete with Vikings, Frost Giants, and Gods. Players pilot giant bone robots made from the skeletons of long-dead giants to save their world from Ragnarok and build a new reality. A new episode in the iron edda series, Edda of reforged iron, is currently under development, focusing on a cyberpunk environment.

1 ECH0 By Role Over Play Dead is like the epilogue of a war story

cover echo rpg

Rather than focusing on the actions of daring mecha pilots, Ech0 instead features a long-dead pilot interacting with a group of children. The premise of the game is that a group of young children stumble upon the digital ghost of a long-dead mecha pilot centuries after their war was won or lost. These children take turns showing the pilot their world as the pilot reflects on how the war has changed this place since the last time they saw it. The game ends when the kids finally find the crumbling remains of the pilot’s robot, at which point the ghost’s power fails and they are finally laid down to rest.

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