Author Topic: Alpha Strike at GenCon  (Read 2447 times)

William J. Pennington

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Alpha Strike at GenCon
« on: 15 May 2017, 00:13:36 »
Very excited to see the listing of Alpha Strike events for GenCon.

Can't wait to see many of you there!


Scotty

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2017, 12:23:17 »
Likewise!  I'll be running the Alpha Strike Turning Points game, if anybody is curious about that. :)
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sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #2 on: 15 May 2017, 13:09:27 »
I'll be at GenCon, but I'm not 100% sure how much BattleTech time I'll have. I go with my wife and some friends, so we spend a whloe lot of time doing 'we' stuff, and none of them are as big of BT nerds as I am. I do want to see what you have put together though Scotty, so once the even schedule comes out, let us know which ones you are planning to run. I know that can all change by the time the event actually rolls around, but I like to at least pretend I have planned ahead!

That said I should be able to make it to Origins in some fashion this year and dedicate as much time as I want to BT. Not sure I will be able to do Friday-Saturday-Sunday again, but I should at least be able to spend most of Saturday there.

atlask

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #3 on: 15 May 2017, 15:16:52 »
Likewise!  I'll be running the Alpha Strike Turning Points game, if anybody is curious about that. :)

No money to go this year. Love to hear how it goes.
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Papabees

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #4 on: 27 May 2017, 09:18:02 »
Likewise!  I'll be running the Alpha Strike Turning Points game, if anybody is curious about that. :)
I looked in the event list and didn't see this. Any Link or the specific name?

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #5 on: 27 May 2017, 10:29:11 »
They are there. If you just pick the host, Catalyst Game Labs, there are a bunch in the 'A' section. You may have to hit the 'show me more A results' button to get past the academy stuff though.

From what I saw, the big AS events are a 6-hour, 3-round tournament, and a multi-part event on, Saturday I think it was, that is going to sort of duplicate the TW Capellan Crusades event. There are also plenty of 2-hour skirmishes as well.

Edit: looks like there is a throwback Thursday event and a big 6-hour skirmish as well. Oh, and they all have Alpha Strike in the name, so you should be able to search for that as well. Just don't forget about the not-terribly-obvious show-more link at the bottom of the section.
« Last Edit: 27 May 2017, 10:33:37 by sadlerbw »

Scotty

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #6 on: 27 May 2017, 15:32:13 »
The Turning Points event is going to be a series of linked 2-hour scenarios.  So, probably not duplicating the TW event, unless they've massively changed it up while I wasn't looking. :D
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truetanker

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #7 on: 28 May 2017, 09:53:02 »
Would there be AlphaStrike and AlphaStrike Companion at the event for purchase?

Cause having both on hand might be a big seller to help promote AlphaStrike. I'm sure gonna pick up them! ( And then have Scotty sign...)

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sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #8 on: 28 May 2017, 11:18:31 »
They will be there for sale at the CGL booth, but I don't recall anything being for sale directly at the gaming tables. It's a quick walk to the vendor booth though, so not a huge imposition.

On a different note, I am planning to sign up for the tournament on Friday night. Are the tournament rules up yet, or are those still being worked on?

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #9 on: 28 May 2017, 14:53:55 »
Congratulations Scotty. So far, four of the six turning points events are sold out, and the finale only has one ticket left! I was going to buy it, but I've never had a chance to try Masters and Minions, so I snagged the last ticket for that instead. I will be there for the first turning point session and the Friday tournament though.

EDIT: ok, saturday is in flux for me. I'll be in at least one turning point, but not sure what time now!
« Last Edit: 28 May 2017, 16:14:30 by sadlerbw »

RaiderRed

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #10 on: 31 May 2017, 19:18:46 »
I will be running the 250 PV bring your own Force Tournament. 3 rounds scored. Using standard rules set with any current errata.

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #11 on: 01 June 2017, 13:47:07 »
I will be running the 250 PV bring your own Force Tournament. 3 rounds scored. Using standard rules set with any current errata.

I believe I'm currently signed up for that event. Couple questions, just to make extra-sure:

- Standard rules I take to mean, only rules from p.22-p51. in the Alpha Strike rulebook, plus any errata to those rules.
- NO Abstract Aerospace rules, or is the Aerospace section (p.52-p.61) included?
- NO Advanced Options (p.62-p.113 in the rulebook) and nothing from the AS Companion.
- NO SPA's or SCA's.
- Artillery rules from the Errata (p.5 of the v2.2 Errata is what I'm looking at.)
- ONLY the special abilities form the section starting p.45 of the rulebook.
- PV's as published on the MUL

I'm not the type to be a rules-lawyer at the table, but Aero, Arty, and SPA/SCA's can make pretty big differences so I want to make sure I don't plan to use them (or not use them) incorrectly.

RaiderRed

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #12 on: 01 June 2017, 21:10:35 »
As far as building forces goes. these are my standard rules.
 Force Composition
- 10 units, maximum.
rule of 5 which means no more than 5 of any
base unit: example you can have 3 Dasher A and 2 Dasher H no more, or 5
points of headhunter elemental battle armor and no other variations in a
force list.
- Pilots: no Pilots may have a Skill lower than 2.
- Despite the standardization rules for Artillery, both Artillery and Aerospace should be disallowed for this level of play.  (Because LAMs also possess some rules for Aerospace, at this time, these should be disallowed)
- Proxy-rule: Players should limit proxy models to no more than 3 on the battlefield for tournament play.  Proxies must be clearly marked and approved by the agent running the game. Proxy models must follow the following rules same size class and movement mode. If a player brings a unit that violates any rule, they must replace the piece with any unit that is allowed, or request a replacement piece of equal or lesser PV (to be returned at the conclusion of the event).
- Era Restriction: None.  Players may bring whichever units they own barring prohibited units

Papabees

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #13 on: 01 June 2017, 21:10:40 »
I signed up for the 6hr Jade Falcon vs Lyran big battle. Just the type of scenario I was hoping for.

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #14 on: 02 June 2017, 11:07:15 »
Thanks, the clears things up pretty well. I'm still not 100% sure if I'm going to bring my own force or just run with one of the pre-mades there. Probably depends on whether I've already got minis put together for what I'd want to play. If I do bring my own, I'll make an effort to at least give them some sort of paint job, but no promises it'll be any good!

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #15 on: 04 June 2017, 22:14:50 »
I've been having fun coming up with some different possible unit lists to bring to the 250PV tournament, and as I've been messing around it has raised a couple more questions. I'm probably going a little overboard with the planning, but I don't want to show up with something that is against the rules.

First, do you know if there are going to be some sort of published rules out ahead of time? The unit selection stuff you posted was helpful, but I assume there will need to be something similar about what gameplay rules are in or out as well.

Is C3 going to be allowed? I'm not planning to bring any myself, but if it's allowed I'll probably make sure I've got some ECM.

Are drones in or out? The DRO special is advanced, so I'm assuming they are out.

How about super-heavy units? Assuming they are also out since they use advanced rules.

With the rule to not use more than 3 proxy units: for units that have a mini, but not one for the specific variant being used, is that considered using a proxy? Also, I'm assuming that the 3-unit limit means I shouldn't plan to use more than three units that don't have minis at all, as they will have to be proxied.

NO advanced movement like sprinting and evading, correct?

NO alternate munitions like smoke or infernos, correct?

Lastly, are the rules going to be the same for the tournament at Origins?

RaiderRed

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #16 on: 06 June 2017, 18:52:34 »
There should be a published rules list somewhere. I can't seem to locate it for either event posting for Origins or GenCon.
Anything that is listed as advanced play per the rules or most current errata are to be considered invalid for this event.
With C3 being in the standard rules set it is a valid ability. The companion added a few abilities to the standard game as well.
For the proxy rule. A Dasher mini is proper for any variant your opponent could easily identify it as a Dasher for targeting purposes.
The rest of your questions are correct no advanced movement, munitions and it is the same game for Origins as GenCon

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #17 on: 07 June 2017, 13:30:24 »
Thanks for the info about the force building rules. If you find where the rest of the official rules are hiding, let me know, I'd still be interested in reading them over. For now I'm just going over the Errata that were just released to see if any of it affects my nefarious plans!

I've put together four lists so far for different factions that I'm thinking about bringing: Ghost Bear, Sea Fox, FedSuns, and Republic. I know we don't HAVE to follow factions, but I think it is more fun that way, so I'm trying to make forces that fit with a faction and even an era if I can manage it. Not sure what I will actually bring, but I just ordered some extra minis last night so I can build at least two of those lists. I think I might even do a couple customs for variants that don't have minis! I signed up for the Origins tournament as well, so maybe I'll try one out there.

Also, out of curiosity, I did try to figure out what a high-TMM, min-max list would look like. I will NOT be bringing that list, but I will admit it is pretty darn frightening. I THINK I can deal with that sort of list, but it will be tough.

RaiderRed

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #18 on: 07 June 2017, 19:24:37 »
I have the rules document on my computer not sure why it hasn't been posted in the event descriptions. There is nothing out of the ordinary in it. Just standard rules set used. Any advanced rules will be listed on the player score sheet as well as the rest of the mission for that round.

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #19 on: 19 June 2017, 12:36:35 »
Now that I'm back from Origins and I've had a REAL night's rest, its time to start talking about the Alpha Strike experience I had there and maybe help set some expectations for the folks who are planning to play AS at GenCon. I attended both the AS Tournament and the full run of the multi-part Capellan Crusades AS event. The most important thing I can say is that I had a TON of fun playing both events, and look forward to participating again at GenCon. If you are on the fence about signing up for either of those events, and you enjoy playing AS at all, I'd say do it. Out of the eight or nine battles I fought, only one was a blowout, and that was mostly because my opponent was having some serious stomach cramps and couldn't think straight. The rest were fast-moving, brutal, and ended up being close fights.

So first, the AS tournament: There weren't a ton of people for this event, but we still managed to face a different opponent for each of the three rounds. I brought a custom force, and the other folks played forces provided by the GM, but other than in one scenario, the custom force wasn't at a big advantage. The pre-made forces were put together by experienced AS players that know what they are doing, and you can absolutely win with one. In fact, the tournament winner was using one of the GM-provided forces. I believe GoldBishiop did a lot of the force designs, and in my opinion he did a good job making effective forces that didn't really require the players to know any particular edge-cases or quirky rules interactions to make them work. In addition, here are my takeaways from the Tournament:

- The three rounds of the tournament are NOT the same. Each round had different scenario rules that favored different types of units. A force of nothing but dashers and fireballs, or one of nothing but atlases would be at a disadvantage in at least one of the three fights. Having a mix of units is useful.
- These will not be long-range sniping fights. The size of the play area is small enough that hiding a bunch of fragile missile boats at long range would be really tough to accomplish. There just isn't enough space to keep the range open and pick at people. They aren't so small that C3 is useless though, in case you were thinking about using it.
- Skill 2 units are a reasonably effective counter to stuff like Dasher H's! Winning initiative also really helps.
- Most of the forces, including mine, totaled five or six units. There was one available with eight, but it wasn't played.
- Only one fight required you to wipe out your opponent. The others had different game-ending conditions.
- There is no substitute for dice luck.

 I have a couple suggestions/comments about the force building requirements and the tournament rules, most of which I discussed with RaiderRed at the con, but I'll put those in a different thread.

Now for the Capellan Crusades multi-part event: We had other folks show up for the beginning and the end of the event, but the middle part was pretty much me vs. Scotty. While the end result made it seem like the Red Lancers were steam-rolling the Rebublic, most of the fights were actually very close. I played as the Capellans for most of the day and then switched to Republic for the last battle because I really, really wanted to kill Sun Tzu in his stupid golden Emperor! To my eternal shame, I rolled snake-eyes on the crucial roll that would have put six points into his mech and enabled us to down him on the last turn. We won that scenario (the only one the Republic took that day), but I really wanted to see sunny-boy get blowed up! Anyway, this was absolutely a game that went beyond the standard-level stuff you would see in the stand-alone 2-hour AS events. It wasn't just a linked scenario, it was a more advanced game in general. We had vehicles, aero, battle armor, C3, NARC, Special Ammo, stealth and Mimetic units. We didn't use SPA's because balance is already hard enough, but it was still a somewhat technical combined-arms fight. There was even one 2-hour block that was a pure Aerospace fight. No mechs, just a big furball on a super-sized version of the Radar map. Like the tournament, it was well-run and surprisingly close on most of the fights. These are some of my takeaways from THIS event:

- Pure Aerospace fights in AS are every bit as brutal as ground fights, but I think Aerospace needs some more work. For various reasons it never felt like we had as many tactical choices and it just wasn't quite as fun as the ground combat. For example, we literally never used any range brackets except short and extreme. Also, we needed Scotty as a 3rd party just to run the book-keeping for engagements.
- The conversion rules for Aerospace fighters are crazy. Small, fast fighters end up with buckets of structure because of how SI is converted. For example a Cheeta F-11, a 20-ton fighter has 6 structure, while a Riever F100, a 100-ton fighter, only has 5. Fast fighters are just way too tanky.
- Partial cover is ONLY for mechs, not any other types of unit. I never realized that before now.
- Dark Age battle armor are EVIL! Heck, battle armor in general are EVIL! Anti-mech attacks can be brutal thanks to that through-armor crit check they get to make. There were several turns where it was a good thing the game ended because the republic BA had turned several mechs into useless metal hulks with crits from BA.
- If you just want to play mechs, play the Capellans. If you want to play with BA and Vehicles as well, pick the Republic.
- The Mad Cat MK II is a beast, and the Men Shen is every bit as awesome in AS as it is in TW.
- DFA's are still a little too risky, but Charging is lots of fun! We had a decent number of light and medium mechs that got wrecked by some fast medium or heavy charging through them like the Kool-Aid man busting through a wall.
- I repeat, there is no substitute for dice luck!

Thanks again to everyone who came out to play, and who ran these events. I had a fantastic time, and I'm looking forward to giving these events another go at GenCon!

Lord Cameron

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #20 on: 24 July 2017, 02:28:25 »
I signed up for the 6hr Jade Falcon vs Lyran big battle. Just the type of scenario I was hoping for.

Should be Steel Viper vs Fedcom (Lyran )
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sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #21 on: 19 August 2017, 02:25:24 »
GenCon update: I played in the Alpha Strike tournament at GenCon this evening and had a great time. I even won myself a golden BattleMaster and the title of tournament champion! Pretty much everything from Origins had been improved on. The fights were a bit closer, the scoring made the objectives super important so we didn't feel the need to just brawl every round, the maps were larger and more challenging. It was just better in general. I had an absolute blast playing, and even with my custom, I-think-I-know-how-to-optimize army lists, the GM provided lists I played against were very solid, but didn't require you to know special corner cases or rules interactions to make them viable.

It was three rounds: the first was a recon mission where the attacker was trying to scan buildings and get off the board with the data, and the attacker had to stop them. The second round was a capture the flag scenario. I had a pretty significant speed advantage over my opponent, but the way the rules were stated, it still gave my opponent a solid chance at murdering my fast movers before they could grab the flag and get off the map. It was mostly some truly hideous dice luck for my opponent that saved me in that one. The last round was a stand-up fight, but it was in a nice big city map with lots of buildings. There was indirect fire, lots of hide and see around and on top of the buildings, a bone-shattering DFA, and a Kodiak II who refused to hit anything for six or sexen turns in a row. And we are talking needing between fives and sevens here. For the number of points I sunk in that jerk, he did nothing but absorb damage. My theory is that some uppity rasalhagian tech stole it and took it out for a joy ride.

The only negative was the lack of other players that showed up. It was pretty much just me and one other guy fighting each other the whole time. I KNOW that some of you AS fans are at GenCon, so why the heck didn't you come to the tournament??? You didn't need to build a list or paint an army. Just show up and throw dice! Seriously, why didn't more of you give this event a try? I loved it and I want to be able to do it again next year, but I want to have more folks to fight against as well. So, for those of you who were here but didn't play: Why not? What kept you from coming to the tournament? Was it the time involved? The price? The timeslot? Something else?

Honestly, I was amazed more people didn't come. As much interest as there was at the into tables and in the campaign events on Saturday, I expected more people to show up. What is it going to take to get your lazy butts out to the tournament next year? A look at the lovely trophy I won perhaps? Well, take a look (sorry, no embedded link right now):

https://1drv.ms/i/s!ApDHaN8p702HgguWBaXrcitDQXvj

Ben

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #22 on: 21 August 2017, 12:39:38 »
I tried to sign-up for the tournament on Friday afternoon via the Gencon website, and even though it said there were plenty of tickets available, the website kept throwing up some error along the lines of that the event was "closed". I thought about just showing up with generics and seeing if I could get in, but ended up doing something else that evening.

I did get to play Saturday night though. I want to give a huge shout-out to Scotty for running it all. I had a ton of fun, despite my failure to keep Sun Tzu from getting killed off.  ;D

Scotty

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #23 on: 22 August 2017, 00:26:59 »
It was my pleasure, Ben. :)  Thanks for dropping by!  If you've got any other feedback, how to improve, specific things you liked and want to see continue, new things you want to see, now's the time!  If the format could use some improving I definitely want to know.
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Andy_in_Indy

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #24 on: 22 August 2017, 09:09:52 »
I had an event conflict, otherwise I would have been there.
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sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #25 on: 22 August 2017, 16:15:58 »
I just want to make sure both the tournament and the campaign events come back for next year. I thought they were both a ton of fun, and would love to do them again. I would even have been fine without the golden Beamer as a trophy, I just enjoyed the challenge of playing against another player with a customized force. Scotty's event was fun because it was very thematic and pretty finely balanced. It felt like playing part of a story rather than just a pick-up battle. The Tournament was fun because you had the option of picking your own force, if you wanted, and seeing if you are really as clever at force building and tactics as you think. Same base game, but a very different challenge. Then again, having a tournament where you didn't NEED to buy and paint up a bunch of minis if you didn't want to was a huge draw for the guy I was playing against. It helps that none of the pre-made forces available were junk. They were all a very solid 250PV forces. Dat C3 lance though...that was a killer if you didn't have some ECM to help counter it.

I think my favorite moment was still landing a 20" DFA with a Kuma 3. It was a thing of beauty. The looks you get for bringing a 0/0/0 heavy, and then the looks when it dive-bombs some poor assault mech...so very, very worth it. Sure it disintegrated from the return damage when it hit, but it was worth it.

RaiderRed

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #26 on: 22 August 2017, 19:47:46 »
Thank you for the review of the Tournament. Its was great having those who came out as players. Any input on what to change would be great larger table size will need to be considered and might have to still be small due to available space.

Papabees

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #27 on: 23 August 2017, 08:29:35 »
I did not play in the tourney for a few reasons:

1. I typically like thematic games rather than kill the other guy. It sounds like the tourney may have had some of that so possibly better advertise. As I say that, I'm not sure of a good way to do it.

2. I try and play a variety of events at Gencon.

3. This is probably the biggest reason. I feel like Alpha Strike is almost there as a rule set. There are three house rules that I employ when we play that are slight deviations form the rules as written but have tangible impact that really change the experience for me. I played in the Friday morning game of Jade Falcons vs Lyrans and did not enjoy the game as much without those changes. As a result, I just found more pleasure pursuing other games.
« Last Edit: 23 August 2017, 12:46:39 by Papabees »

wolfspider

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #28 on: 23 August 2017, 11:57:52 »
What changes are you guys doing? Our gaming group has a few that have improved the way game plays too.
I may have a low amount of posts but I have a PHD in Battletech and mechs older then most people on this board!

sadlerbw

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Re: Alpha Strike at GenCon
« Reply #29 on: 23 August 2017, 14:14:13 »
A couple improvements that I think could be made for next year's tournament:

- Get CGL to put the tournament rules (including force building) up on their site somewhere. The Forums would be OK, but I think that sort of stuff should be accessible on the main site. Honestly, I think they should do the same for stuff like Trial of Bloodright and Masters and Minions as well. I never did end up finding a PDF or anything published with the tournament rules!

- Either make the time slot shorter, or the PV limit larger. We didn't need all the time allocated. I could live with going either way, but making it shorter also means you don't have to paint quite so many minis to be prepared!

- Maybe try Friday instead of Saturday? Friday is still a pretty well attended day, and EVERYONE tries to schedule their big events for Saturday, so there is more competition for time that day. Especially for a 4-hour slot.

- Try not to worry too much about games ending with the destruction of one side. Fundamentally, this is a game about blowing units up. While recon and capture the flag were fun, and blowing up the other guy wasn't the best way to get points, it was still a valid way to stop him from meeting other objectives. I mean, you can't recon a building if you have no units left! Obliterating the other team is always going to be a valid way to meet your objectives, so don't worry too much if it happens even in games where it isn't the direct goal.

- Consider allowing players to 'buy' one or two artillery strikes with some of their PV limit. Allowing full-on arty could be a mess, but since they are such an important counter to fast units (which I love by the way!) you might want to find a way to get a couple into the game. I know the possibility of even one or two artillery strikes would have made me way more hesitant to bring roadrunners, gunsmiths, and dashers. Skill 2 pilots are a good counter to high TMM, but I think it was still a wee bit biased towards the fast units. All that said, if the PV revision is live for next year, then forget everything I just said! If the PV costs go up, that will be fine for balancing fast units without having to allow arty.

Also, here are some of the things that I think you did absolutely RIGHT with the tournament:

- You had playable armies available for folks to use. Being able to show up and have a reasonable list of mechs provided to play with was a great idea, and I know my opponent said that was a major reason he showed up!

- The three scenario format, each with different goals. Yea, I know I ended up trying to just murder the other side on the recon scenario, but it was still a challenge because now it mattered that I kill specific units, and not just whatever was easiest to see of gang up on. Capture the flag was fun, and would have been a lot closer if that other guy hadn't rolled terribly on the crucial turn where my speed demons were sitting mid-board with two of the flags. The City fight was fun as well. Definitely keep one of the fights on that city map, as that alone provided new challenges that the 'woods and fields' maps didn't.

- Keeping the forces to reasonably basic tech. Much as I wanted to bring a Viking IIC, you were right to try to limit the number of advanced rules and specials in play. It kept things fast and still allowed for enough specials that did something useful. I still vote that we allow units that HAVE invalid specials, we just don't allow the specials themselves to be used. Just cross them out on the sheet or something. As long as it is clear which specials are valid

- NOT using SPAs/Quirks. Much as I like them and they can be fun, SPA's and quirks could really screw with balance. I think you were probably right to keep them out so there weren't as many potential OP combos that could be put together. The are fun, but probably not ready for tournament play yet

I'm not sure what could be done to boost attendance. Obviously there are people who want to play Alpha Strike out there, as the intro tables and campaign events were pretty well attended. I'm guessing a few tweaks would make it more appealing...and maybe if you show the 'trophy' off ahead of time, that would entice people as well!

 

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