Friday, July 26, 2013

I finally played a game.

Last Saturday I played a game of battletech with Kushial. The game was setup a month ago with Kushial and the wait paid off.

For simplicity to help learn the game mechanics and rules better I suggested using the first scenario from the introductory rulebook from the introductory boxed set. This was a simple training scenario putting two equal forces against one another. One special rule was in place considering a mech destroyed by having a leg destroyed, suffering one gyro hit or two engine hits. This scenario actually is more useful in the long run if you play by the same rules somewhat.

I originally planned to use two copies of the normal battletech mapsheet, but we used one copy of the battletech mapsheet and one copy of the open terrain mapsheet. I don't think it mattered much as Kushial actually wanted to advance more than stand still which made for a better game.

The two opposing forces each consisted of a mech lance of the following mechs all piloted by regular mechwarrriors at the 4/5 skill level.

Catapult CPLT-C1
Trebuchet TBT-5N
Spider SDR-5V
Commando COM-2D

Using pre-defined mechs and pilots started us both at the same level at game start and somewhat out of any personal comfort zones. I have experience with the Catapult and the Trebuchet, but not with the other mechs and much less with light mechs in general. MKushial may have been at the same level or worse, but he fielded them quite well.

To prove my point further here is a small breakdown on how Kushial and I fielded or given mechs. I recall initially keeping my Catapult paired with my Commando while my Trebuchet took the middle ground opportunity. My Spider would be used to flank Kushial's forces from a Southwest approach. Kushial appeared to have rushed his light mechs towards my Catapult leaving his Trebuchet advancing along the South and his Catapult advancing along the North.


My Catapult never got to a good stable firing position. Kushial's early light mech rush proved effective enough to push the Catapult back forcing it to deal with light mechs and allow his Catapult to close the distance.
My Trebuchet got to a good stable firing position and maintained the firing position for some time. This gave me a good advantage for a few turns while Kushial was forced to close the distance.
My Spider I originally tried to use as a flanker, but the demise of the Commando called it back to shoo off Kushial's Spider which was harassing my Catapult. I did keep with the ideal of making sure the Spider moved as much as possible by either running or jumping everywhere. This did pay off as only the left leg was damaged the entire game.
My Commando I kind of took a gamble early on in order to intercept Kushial's early light mech rush against my Catapult. The gamble paid off somewhat as it did some serious damage to Kushial's Commando, however the next turn it was somewhat boxed in. To my best efforts to keep the mech from serious harm Kushial was able to detonate one of the SRM ammunition bins after damaging a heat sink.
My Commando was my first mech and the first mech in the game to be destroyed.


Kushial's Catapult was the slow one to the party and it took a good deal of damage throughout the game. I remember the Catapult's movement was advance, back peddle, and advance again. I think Kushial may have been more concerned with advancing the Catapult against my Catapult instead of gaining a good firing position. His Catapult suffered an engine hit and then later a double engine hit.
Kushial's Catapult was his second mech to be destroyed.
Kushial's Trebuchet was constantly bombarded by LRMs from my Trebuchet. Plus it was forced to advanced towards my Trebuchet to force it out of its firing position. Throughout the constant LRM punishment it suffered the removal of one of its LRMs and dumped ammo from a damaged location.
Kushial's Spider mostly harassed my Catapult past his light mech rush. He did a good job of keeping the mech alive, but a few times he let his guard down and the spider got bit itself.
Kushial's Commando, like his Spider, continued to harassed my Catapult after my Commando was destroyed after intercepting his light mech rush. His Commando had both SRM launchers damaged before suffering a destroyed leg when fighting the Catapult thus taking it out of action according to the scenario's special rules.
Kushial's Commando was his first mech destroyed.


* Kushial did great at understanding to keep the game moving along. If one stops to talk you lose valuable play time and even at starting late at around 7:00 pm we got to play a good four hour game I believe to a point where one could discern a winning and loosing side.

* I can't recall how many turns we took, but Kushial called it once his Catapult fell. I think he had more fight in his remaining mechs despite being outnumbered 3 to 2. Despite my Catapult being in critical condition, Kushial's remaining mechs were also not in good shape at all.

* One head hit was suffered during the game to one of my mechs and I barely held the mechwarrior from taking an in game snooze. A few mechs fell on both sides as well as various mech internal parts being damaged as well. My Commando's ammo explosion was probably the destruction highlight of the game.

* Personally I think both Trebuchet pilots had it out for each other as they tended to focus most of their firepower against each other's mechs. Kushial's Trebuchet's center torso armor was apparently impervious to any damage for the longest time. Both Trebuchet's ammo bins were below 50% meaning we were outright tossing LRMs at each other. Kushial's Trebuchet pilot early on couldn't shoot for shit and after dumping some LRM ammo I recommended he just toss the useless LRM launcher at my Trebuchet for good measure.

* Often I noticed between the heavier mechs it would be a 2 vs 1 LRM firefight. For example My Catapult and Trebuchet against Kushial's Trebuchet and vice versa.

* A few lucky critical rolls were made so it makes me wonder if introducing some advanced rules to help mitigate these lucky shots early on. It helps to stop light mechs from just rushing to a side point and outright hoping for a lucky "2" torso location and a lucky ">7" critical roll resulting in an ammo explosion. I don't believe this was Kushial strategy, at least I hope not, but I believe he had more get to you first frame of mind.

* On the same thought I feel introducing some of the advanced rules for hull down and standing up might be a good idea. The rules actually improve mech survival and longevity, however it is up to an opponent's ability to grasp the initial rules and then keep balance between the two. These extra rules would help stop falls slightly and help mechs get back up in a firefight.

Kushial was a good player throughout the entire game and he seemed to enjoy himself. I wouldn't mind playing the scenario variant a lot more often along with mixing up a few things as long as the intended balance mechanics are kept in mind.

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