Battletech – The DIY Destruct-o-rama – Preview

 

Patron saint of mecha

London suddenly got the itch to play Battletech. I blame the Gundam here, which we just built this past week — more about that another time.

I was game (despite my recent whingeing about combat-as-sport), so we’re going to light it up tomorrow. We were going to play this evening, but we spent all of our time designing new ‘Mechs. It was London’s first time rolling his own. We decided to each make our own 75-ton, 45-ton, and 25-ton designs, using 3025 Inner Sphere tech, and we’ll pit them against each other and see whose machines (and tactics [and luck]) are superior.

Some interesting thematic differences and similarities between our two sets of ‘Mechs. All of London’s ‘Mechs have PPCs (Particle Projection Cannons for you non-mechwarriors out there) for their primary weapons, they’re all jump-capable, and two of the three have slightly less armor than their counterparts on my team. My ‘Mechs all have Large Lasers, the poor man’s PPC, and trade the extra weight for armor and heat sinks, and my light ‘Mech is a runner, not a jumper. Both of us like smaller lasers — every one of the six designs has at least two Medium Lasers, and thee of the six have Small Lasers. Both of us sprung for missile launchers on our heavy ‘Mechs — London went for an LRM-20, and my heavy has an LRM-10 and SRM-6. Oh, and we were both stingy with heat sinks, although I tacked one or two more onto each of my heavier designs, which combined with the lower heat output of my Large Lasers might give me a slight edge over London’s hotter PPC-heavy force.

Below are the vital stats on both forces. I’ll scan the actual record sheets and post them next week. I assume that at least some of these names have already been used for official Battletech ‘Mechs, but given that every vaguely aggressive-sounding noun will eventually be an official ‘Mech name, we just went with whatever sounded cool.

DIY Destruct-o-rama London force

London’s Metal Storm, Lightning Storm, and Black Widow, played by the BT Intro Box Set Banshee, Grasshopper, and Spider

LONDON

Name: Metal Storm
Weight: 75 tons
Walking MP: 4
Running MP: 6
Jumping MP: 4
Armor Points: 192
Weapons: 1 PPC, 1 LRM-20, 2 Medium Lasers, 1 Small Laser
Heat Sinks: 12

Name: Lightning Storm
Weight: 45 tons
Walking MP: 5
Running MP: 8
Jumping MP: 5
Armor Points: 128
Weapons: 1 PPC, 3 Medium Lasers, 2 Small Lasers
Heat Sinks: 13

Name: Black Widow
Weight: 25 tons
Walking MP: 6
Running MP: 9
Jumping MP: 6
Armor Points: 56
Weapons: PPC, 2 Medium Lasers
Heat Sinks: 12

DIY Destruct-o-rama Matt force

My Warhound, Flenser, and Calot, played by the BT Intro Box Set Cyclops, Dervish, and Hermes

MATT

Name: Warhound
Weight: 75 tons
Walking MP: 4
Running MP: 6
Jumping MP: 3
Armor Points: 208
Weapons: 1 LRM-10, 2 Large Lasers, 1 SRM-6, 2 Medium Lasers
Heat Sinks: 14

Name: Flenser
Weight: 45 tons
Walking MP: 5
Running MP: 8
Jumping MP: 5
Armor Points: 128
Weapons: 1 Large Laser, 3 Medium Lasers, 3 Machine Guns
Heat Sinks: 14

Name: Calot
Weight: 25 tons
Walking MP: 7
Running MP: 11
Jumping MP: 0
Armor Points: 80
Weapons: 1 Large Laser, 2 Medium Lasers, 1 Small Laser
Heat Sinks: 12

What I really need to do now is think about my strategy. London has won most of the Battletech games we’ve played, including the last one. So I wouldn’t feel bad about cleaning his clock tomorrow.

In truth, I think our forces are too evenly matched for either side to have a clear advantage in terms of ‘Mechs. The only really pronounced difference is between our 25-tonners; my 80 points of armor are a lot more than his 56, but his ability to jump six hexes at a time might level the field and then some. And his PPCs mean that any hits on my Calot are going to hurt. But on the flip side, one or two good salvoes from any of my ‘Mechs should have his Black Widow on the ropes.

I think the reason I lose at Battletech is the same reason that Vicki’s brother used to wipe the floor with me in Mario Kart 64 battles: at some point, I grow weary of maneuvering for an advantage, and just charge in heedlessly — at which point my opponent blasts the crap out of me. You’d think that when it came to Battletech, the 9-year-old might be more prone to reckless charges and the 39-year-old to patient, almost paranoid maneuvering, but we go the opposite ways. So, lesson one, more Sun Tzu, less Light Brigade.

Another trend I’ve noticed in my play: I have a bad habit of “playing at tanks” with my small and medium ‘Mechs, moving them into positions where they can wail on the enemy but only by exposing themselves to heavy fire. That sometimes gets me into situations where my smaller ‘Mechs are taking more damage each turn than they are dishing out, which obviously isn’t sustainable. So I need to keep my little ones moving — and not just moving, but moving between patches of cover.

Will I be able to overcome my kamikaze tendencies? Will my armor-for-gunz tradeoff pay off? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out. Stay tuned.

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This entry was posted in actual play reports, BattleTech, homebrew, wargames. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Battletech – The DIY Destruct-o-rama – Preview

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    “… moving them into positions where they can wail on the enemy …”

    I always thought that was whaling on.

  2. Mike Taylor says:

    Disappointingly, Google results turn up 242,000 hits for “wailing on” and only a paltry 77,700 for the flagrantly more picturesque “whaling on”. It’s a sick world.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Mech-tacular | Echo Station 5-7

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