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Author Topic: Puzzled Grognard  (Read 4130 times)

Renard

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Puzzled Grognard
« on: 31 March 2021, 08:23:24 »
I am a decades old Battletech player who has focused on mechs my entire career. When I was a kid, I flipped through 3057 and loved it. I flipped through the battlespace rulebook once or twice. I impulsively snapped up some aerotech minis on ebay, and it got me interested about the space game. I have a black lion painted up, and am about to crank out a small fleet.

But, uh, like, where are the basic rules for this game? Strategic ops? I honestly can't piece the game together from that pdf (it might be different if I had the book). There's stuff in total warfare too, sure, but... where are damage tables? All I see are heat and range?

I just think I have so many assumptions of how the system will work based on my experience with ground combat that I am missing something. Like, I understand thrust and space movement, etc., but it feels like the rules are carved up and hidden in two or three different places?

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #1 on: 31 March 2021, 08:40:43 »
Total Warfare.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #2 on: 31 March 2021, 08:42:27 »
Check my sig for the Second Star League Guide to Warships article in Fan Fiction. Its really a fan article but I have to add some content from my own AU since CGL is unlikely to ever give us Star League level of Warship combat in the ilClan era and honestly that's probably fine, I'd rather they focus on the core.

I am slowly working in some of the actual rules for the game which are divided into many different rulebooks in a sort of a tutorial with pics and logs. CGL is putting out a more Aero focused StratOps (hopefully excising Battleforce and moving repair and maintenance to Campaign Ops where it best fits) sometime soon that will collect the rules but until then;
The basics for Aerospace fighters, dropships (armed with standard weapons), bombs, and capital missiles are in Total Warfare
Advanced (vector movement, alternate weapon modes, high speed closing engagement, etc...) Warship focused content and Fighter Squadrons are in StratOps,
Capital and Sub-capital weapons along with many other useful Aerospace components are in TacOps, and Nukes/Drones/Etc... are in Interstellar Operations.

Unfortunately most of these systems are rather clunky and require far to much cross referencing which is taking me a bit of time to interpret and explain.

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #3 on: 31 March 2021, 08:56:27 »
Rules for fighters, DropShips, and Small Craft are in Total War. If all you care about are those units, TW is all you need.

StratOps (especially the most recent printing) expands on that, adding rules for JumpShips and WarShips and Stations and so forth, as well as advanced movement and combat rules.

Between those two books, you'll have everything you need.
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Renard

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #4 on: 31 March 2021, 08:58:09 »
OK, thanks very much, that helps a lot

It's so strange to me that battletech doesn't have a slick and elegant aerospace game attached? Like, anyone who wants to smash robots together also wants to smash fleets of star destroyers and battlestars and xwings and vipers together.

Yeah, I want capital ship combat. Fighters are cool, but I want like, a McKenna firing broadsides at an approaching combat group or something.

Weirdo

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #5 on: 31 March 2021, 09:17:07 »
That's StratOps exactly.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
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Colt Ward

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #6 on: 31 March 2021, 10:11:02 »
OK, thanks very much, that helps a lot

It's so strange to me that battletech doesn't have a slick and elegant aerospace game attached? Like, anyone who wants to smash robots together also wants to smash fleets of star destroyers and battlestars and xwings and vipers together.

Yeah, I want capital ship combat. Fighters are cool, but I want like, a McKenna firing broadsides at an approaching combat group or something.

Might want to check out MegaMek then, as you can do just warships and get an idea for the rules without having to worry about the details of the rules.  FREX, I use the advanced movement, heat by bay instead of arc, and . . . well, not sure it is advanced vs basic but bracket fire options.

For fleet action you will have to compare true warships of the late Star League & 1SW eras vs Jihad & later fleets of Assault DS and Pocket Warship DS.
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Kovax

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #7 on: 31 March 2021, 11:20:49 »
Sadly, BT never really had a "decent" set of rules for either warships or aerospace fighters.  While I love the basic 'Mech rules, I have never enjoyed running ASFs or warships in the BT universe.

dgorsman

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #8 on: 31 March 2021, 18:30:58 »
Aerospace in BattleTech is kind of like Doctor Strange in Marvel comics: most popular of the various niche parts, but never quite popular enough to justify front and center attention.
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Renard

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #9 on: 31 March 2021, 22:06:17 »
Have you seen these minis though? I want them to blow one another up in cool ways, haha.

dgorsman

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #10 on: 31 March 2021, 22:27:52 »
Have you seen these minis though? I want them to blow one another up in cool ways, haha.

Oh, indeed.  I have most of them, including several 2750 WarShips.
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Elmoth

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #11 on: 01 April 2021, 01:57:53 »
I am considering xwing to run ASF conflicts

Weirdo

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #12 on: 01 April 2021, 08:17:54 »
The rules are currently orphaned, but once they find a new book to put them in, the BattleForce rules for space combat are actually very good. Much like Alpha Strike, it keeps the feel of Battletech space combat while also greatly speeding it up. If you have an older copy of StratOps I highly recommend them. If you don't, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for their return.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
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glitterboy2098

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #13 on: 01 April 2021, 19:43:06 »
The rules are currently orphaned, but once they find a new book to put them in, the BattleForce rules for space combat are actually very good. Much like Alpha Strike, it keeps the feel of Battletech space combat while also greatly speeding it up. If you have an older copy of StratOps I highly recommend them. If you don't, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for their return.
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Kibutsu

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #14 on: 02 April 2021, 08:19:18 »
Our group has played several space combat scenarios involving fighters and DropShips using the Total Warfare rules, with the thrust vectoring rules from Strat Ops, and Alpha Strike record sheets, and this worked rather nicely. The simplification to ranges, armor and structure values from Alpha Strike means you can realistically run large fleets and still get through the game very quickly, and fun times are had by all. I would love to see something like this adopted into official rules. I assume it would scale up to warships just fine, and we plan to try it at some point.

monbvol

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #15 on: 02 April 2021, 09:48:59 »
One other thing to note that is a bit odd is if you need to engage an enemy with a humble LRM Total Warfare doesn't actually tell you in the tables how much damage it does.  For some reason Tech Manual does though.

Renard

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #16 on: 02 April 2021, 12:17:05 »
Ahh techmanual, genius, I forgot there might even be relevant content in there.

After flipping through StratOps, Total Warfare, the Star Wars Armada rules and some other cheap rulesets I found on DriveThruRPG, I have a diagnosis of the problem.

People have some movie or intellectual property in mind. They try to write rulesets that create the story beats from the IP. These rulesets might be incredible complex and reduce the actual fun of playing the game, but the hope is that the payoff of recreating moments from the IP is worth it to the players.

I just want big warships to blow up other warships in a timely and engaging fashion, haha.

Also, the thing that really drew me into battletech was record sheets and TROs. Minimizing that part of the hobby like alpha strike does kind of reduces the excitement I would have as a young person about it. I would love to design spaceships the same way we design mechs, with allocating systems and making interesting choices about the role of the mech or ship in a larger unit, all that kind of stuff. I don't get much of that vibe at all from the aerotech/battlespace side of things.

Colt Ward

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #17 on: 02 April 2021, 13:59:06 »
For warships it is about assigning them in bays and how you do it . . . do you got with 4 of the weapons?  or 2?  mixing 'calibers' in a bay?
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #18 on: 02 April 2021, 15:10:43 »
I prefer the quad/triple mounts of the same weapons to maximize hit probability. Pretty sure you have to use the most restrictive range bracket which is a downer.

Daryk

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #19 on: 02 April 2021, 17:33:22 »
AAA mode does change the calculus a bit...  ^-^

Weirdo

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #20 on: 02 April 2021, 17:52:26 »
I prefer the quad/triple mounts of the same weapons to maximize hit probability. Pretty sure you have to use the most restrictive range bracket which is a downer.

It's not about restrictive range brackets, since aero uses standardized range brackets. You simply only factor the damage of the guns that reach the relevant range, though for bracketing purposes you still count the total number of guns in the bay.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
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Daryk

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #21 on: 02 April 2021, 17:59:35 »
My point exactly!  :)

idea weenie

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #22 on: 03 April 2021, 04:03:45 »
It's not about restrictive range brackets, since aero uses standardized range brackets. You simply only factor the damage of the guns that reach the relevant range, though for bracketing purposes you still count the total number of guns in the bay.

This sounds like you could toss in several short-ranged lightweight weapons with a single longer-range weapon to exploit the to-hit bonus.  If the rule only allowed weapons that could reach the range to qualify, that would close this loophole.

Of course by using an extensive number of lighter weapons you get into the Fire Control tonnage issues due to having more weapons per arc

Weirdo

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #23 on: 03 April 2021, 12:25:39 »
You can do that, yes. The trade-off is that if you've only got one gun that reaches the desired range bracket, your damage while actually bracketing is going to be pathetic.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
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truetanker

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #24 on: 03 April 2021, 15:10:22 »
I've always wanted to do a Picard Maneuver and a Janeway Protocol during battle...

( You'll note that means, using a LF-Battery to jump in and then jump to a closer pirate point, in system jump, and " punch " ones way through opposition... )

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #25 on: 05 April 2021, 20:05:29 »
If you wanted to do any building or customizing TacOps has a lot of Warship equipment in it.

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #26 on: 21 April 2021, 11:11:42 »
Rules for fighters, DropShips, and Small Craft are in Total War. If all you care about are those units, TW is all you need.

StratOps (especially the most recent printing) expands on that, adding rules for JumpShips and WarShips and Stations and so forth, as well as advanced movement and combat rules.

Between those two books, you'll have everything you need.

Don't you need Field Manual Federated Suns for the ramming rules?

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Weirdo

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #27 on: 21 April 2021, 12:05:06 »
No. You need whatever level of medical training is necessary to perform a lobotomy.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

bytedruid

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #28 on: 01 July 2021, 00:47:19 »
Our group has played several space combat scenarios involving fighters and DropShips using the Total Warfare rules, with the thrust vectoring rules from Strat Ops, and Alpha Strike record sheets, and this worked rather nicely. The simplification to ranges, armor and structure values from Alpha Strike means you can realistically run large fleets and still get through the game very quickly, and fun times are had by all. I would love to see something like this adopted into official rules. I assume it would scale up to warships just fine, and we plan to try it at some point.
This sounds intriguing.  I thought alpha strike records sheets were only for ground units.  My old copy of StatOps has blank battleforce sheets for warships.  What does an example Alpha Strike record sheet even look like for an Overload?  Is that something I can get out of the online MUL?
I haven't played battletech since my local campaign ended about six years ago, so any pointers are appreciated.  :)

Side note: I wish someone would produce a battleforce record sheets companion to 3057.  I'd certainly buy it and run games for my local conventions.  I've always found areotech more intriguing than big-stompy-maximum-frontal-cross-section-for-easy-targeting robots.

ShroudedSciuridae

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #29 on: 03 July 2021, 10:33:54 »
I've always wanted to do a Picard Maneuver and a Janeway Protocol during battle...

( You'll note that means, using a LF-Battery to jump in and then jump to a closer pirate point, in system jump, and " punch " ones way through opposition... )

TT

Or, do a full burn towards a planet without going end over. You'll fly right past the planet leaving the defenders scrambled and confused. Then the moment you hit the L1 point, jump "back" towards the L2. You'll arrive hours or minutes away from the target, at 0 velocity, and the defenders will be caught with their jumpsuits down.

Daryk

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #30 on: 03 July 2021, 10:48:27 »
LaGrange points include the effects of centripetal acceleration, and so aren't all valid jump points.

idea weenie

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #31 on: 13 July 2021, 14:33:07 »
Or, do a full burn towards a planet without going end over. You'll fly right past the planet leaving the defenders scrambled and confused. Then the moment you hit the L1 point, jump "back" towards the L2. You'll arrive hours or minutes away from the target, at 0 velocity, and the defenders will be caught with their jumpsuits down.

The Pirate point near the L1 Jump point is between the planet and the star.  The L2 through L5 LaGrange points are not a jump point, as they do not gravitationally cancel.  So your first maneuver to go past the planet to the Pirate point would not work as you would have to come from out-system to go past the planet to the planet-star pirate point.

But I can think of a similar stunt that would need a fairly common specific condition to work.  Come in towards the planet to cause a panic, then divert towards the planet-star pirate point.  At the planet-star pirate point, trigger your jump to the planet-moon pirate point, and then start your real attack.  Defenders might still keep that tactic in mind, so don't expect all the local defenders to be pursuing towards the planet-star pirate point

Daryk

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #32 on: 13 July 2021, 14:40:03 »
It would actually be the planet-moon-star pirate point.

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Re: Puzzled Grognard
« Reply #33 on: 13 July 2021, 14:51:11 »
It would actually be the planet-moon-star pirate point.

True, I was mainly going with which two bodies it is between.  Saying Planet-Moon vs Planet-Star allows faster understanding of which location is being referred to, otherwise I might hear planet-moon-star, only pay attention to the first and last words, and get the wrong location.

The other idea might be phrasing them as (largest body in the pair) - (smaller body in the pair), to put them in a logical order and have even less chance of making a mistake.  I.e. if you hear Star-Planet but the first part is garbled, you would know that you heard the word planet followed by silence and not think that planet-moon pirate point is being referred to.

This could be a fun for developing a spacer terminology (unless Jovian Chronicles has already done the work)