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Author Topic: Down does not always mean out  (Read 1642 times)

Simon Landmine

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Down does not always mean out
« on: 01 March 2020, 21:53:01 »
Time to write up another of my AARs. These should definitely be considered more 'salutary lessons' than 'good advice'. Maybe I should spend more of my time playing this game, and less doodling up maps for it? Anyway, here's another tale of panic and disorder.

'The Premise'
Two mercenary lances cutting through the same valley for their own reasons come face to face in 3067. And you know what that means.

The Forces
The forces were one of my default 'mercenary' lances, and the OpFor, run by the role-amended Princess bots, was a Mercenary Strike Lance inspired by a force posted by Goatboy elsewhere on this board. And everyone was a 4/5 pilot, which might explain some of the outcomes.

Mercenary Lance
MAD-5M   Marauder
ARC-5R   Archer
HCT-3F   Hatchetman
LCT-1E2   Locust
(The LCT-1E2 is a homebrew variant of the LCT-1E, where the arms only contain the small lasers, and both medium lasers are in the centre torso, inspired by the tendency of my Locusts to lose arms.)

Strike Lance
PXH-3S   Phoenix Hawk
CDA-3F   Cicada
JR7-K   Jenner
JVN-11A   'Fire Javelin'

The Battlefield
The battlefield was another of my 32x34 boards, this time the "32x34 FrozenValley2" map.

(Click to embiggen)
(Map image uses hq_saxarba tileset)

Princess' forces began in the north, while the mercenary force began at the south edge, clustered towards the eastern side.

The Battle

In round one, the strike lance moved at speed (mostly using their jump advantage, except for the Jenner, that just opted to run) down the eastern side of the valley towards the mercenary lance, who were themselves advancing a lot more slowly up that side of the valley, attempting to use the cover of the woods. This was followed by a second closing round, during which initial attacks were made, all of which missed.

In round three, damage started being done. To an extent. The Cicada had closed in to point-blank range with the Marauder, which missed it with all of the large and medium pulse lasers, somewhat irkingly. The Hatchetman and Locust joined in with this fun, and also proceeded to miss the Cicada, just to rub it in. The Archer, hanging back as befits fire support, achieved a glancing blow on the Cicada's arm, to limited effect. In contrast, the Cicada scored a direct blow on the Marauder's left leg. And then proceeded to kick the same leg, adding injury to injury. This should have been a clue to how things would go for the Marauder.

And then in round four, it all went as usual for my chicken-walkers, as the Marauder fell over while walking backwards up a slight slope, and the Locust performed its usual duckling-on-ice routine on pavement with a fall and a skid. The 'Pixie' only managed to hit the Hatchetman's left leg a glancing blow with a medium laser, but then things got convoluted. The Marauder, despite being prone, managed to catch the Jenner's left leg a direct blow with the large pulse laser, destroying all of the armour and scoring criticals on hip, upper leg, and foot. The Archer stripped the armour from the Cicada's right arm (and reducing it to a single point of internal structure), and caused some damage to the right leg. The Hatchetman joined in, catching the Cicada in the rear with the AC/10, removing all of the armour, and scoring two engine criticals. Unfortunately, it didn't all go the mercenaries' way.
The Cicada hit the Marauder in the left torso with the ERPPC, almost removing the armour, but it was a medium laser hit which was most notable, burning through the remaining armour on the left leg to score a critical on the left hip. The Jenner piled in on the Marauder, a glancing medium laser blow scratching the left arm, and the the SRM 4 removing that last piece of armour from the left torso, before the Jenner fell over as a result of the extensive leg damage. The 'Fire Javelin', fortunately, missed the Marauder with every medium laser.
The Hatchetman, having closed on the Cicada, waved the hatchet in its general direction, to no effect.

Round five, and the Cicada decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and began to abandon the battlefield. The Marauder managed to rise to "hull down" position, but failed to actually stand. In contrast, the Jenner, despite the three leg criticals and lack of arms, successfully stood, albeit, as it turned out, briefly.
The Pixie went for an alpha at the Marauder (even firing the AMS), and hit with two mediums and a machine gun. The Locust put a slight scorch mark on the 'Pixie', a glancing blow with a small laser, which in all likelihood removed some paint from the centre torso and did little more of import, and the Hatchetman put a slight burn on the right leg. The Archer's large laser scored a glancing hit on the Javelin's arm. The Jenner and the Javelin both piled in on the Marauder, stripping the armour from the right leg, then scoring a critical on the right hip. The 'Fire Javelin' lived up to its name, as a miss with one of the lasers set light to the woods that the Marauder was in.
In return, the Marauder let rip at point-blank range on the Jenner, stripping the armour from the centre torso with the LB 10-X, and following up with a large pulse laser hit that gutted it completely. To completely reduce the salvage value, the second large pulse laser removed an arm, and one of the mediums took a leg off. End of the Jenner.
As almost everyone had closed into melee range around the downed Marauder, it all got a bit physical - the Phoenix Hawk missed a kick on the Marauder, taking a hatchet hit to the torso in exchange, and then falling over. The Javelin kicked the Marauder, and was in turn kicked by the Archer, causing a critical to the foot and another fall.

So, at the start of round six, the Javelin and the Phoenix Hawk were both prone, and the Marauder and the Locust were both crouching 'hull down', the former in a fire. Both of the strike lance 'mechs managed to stand, while the Locust fluffed it, fortunately returning to the crouch rather than hitting the ground. Everyone was also still in a close-range dogpile.
The Archer peeled the armour from the Javelin's left torso with another ERLL hit. The crouching Marauder caught the 'Pixie' with another alpha strike (because, given how things are going for it, why not?), and everything hit, with both large pulse lasers and one medium hitting the left leg, causing critical damage to the hip, lower leg, and foot. The Locust joined the fun, again scorching the chest with a small laser, but this time also scoring a glancing blow to the head with a medium. The Hatchetman also joined the pile-on on the Phoenix Hawk, with the AC/10 carving through the right leg's armour to destroy that hip.
Unfortunately, the immobile Marauder was a sitting (or crouching) target, and the 'Pixie' acheived hits to the head, a critical to the engine, and, embarrassingly, a critical to a jump jet with a machine gun. The 'Fire Javelin' really put on the hurt, though, hitting with all lasers. The MAD-5M managed to soak most of them, but unfortunately lost the LB 10-X and the right leg, causing the 'mech to topple sideways from its crouch, which resulted in an unconscious pilot. The Phoenix Hawk, having taken extensive damage, including to both hips and most of the left leg, also fell.
The Archer and Javelin both played 'kicky-shins', although one of them did have a certain advantage at that game, while the Hatchetman hit the downed 'Pixie' on the torso with the hatchet.

Round seven began with the pilot of the Phoenix Hawk deciding that enough was enough, and he ejected from his prone 'mech. The Javelin, however, took advantage of an initiative win to jump to behind the crouched Locust, landing successfully despite a damaged foot, leaving the rest of my lance out of position. The Archer had a faint chance with the ERLLs but missed, although, as a result of the jump, the Javelin also missed the Locust with six medium lasers (and a subsequent punch).
At the end of the round, the Marauder pilot woke up, in a toppled 'mech, in a woods on fire. Lucky them.

In round eight, the damaged Cicada finally made it off the battlefield (having been making for it since the beginning of round five after the double engine hit in the previous round). The Locust did finally manage to stand, but that was probably a mistake given the limited arcs - a better move would have been to remain crouched and just turn on the spot.
The Javelin again fired point-blank at the Locust from behind with six medium lasers, resulting in a fairly comprehensive catalogue of critical hits - two heat sinks, the loss of the right leg, the right torso, the left torso, both medium lasers, two hits on the engine, and one to the gyro. And, with the sole laser that missed, it started a fire in the woods the Locust was in.
In return, the rest of the mercenary lance opened up on the Javelin - the Marauder missed, the Archer managed to strip the right arm armour, and, more usefully, the Hatchetman destroyed the right arm.
Predictably, the one-legged Locust with the damaged gyro toppled over. At which point the Javelin punched it in the remaining leg.

Round nine, and the Javelin moved to behind the Locust, which had twisted as it fell, for another rear attack, which finally cored the crippled 'mech. However, the move to do so put it in line of fire of the Locust's lancemates, which would cost it dearly.
The one-legged Marauder in the burning woodland again propped itself up on one arm, and let loose with the other arm's weapons. The large pulse laser destroyed the Javelin's right torso, while the medium removed the armour from the centre, scoring critical damage on the engine and gyro.
The Hatchetman's AC/10 took the armour from the Javelin's left arm, and the medium laser nearly destroyed the left torso.
The combined damage caused the Javelin to topple, and the Hatchetman took advantage of this to step forward and attack the prone 'mech with the hatchet, destroying both the left leg and the left torso, and coming to rest in the previously-damaged gyro.

And, in round ten, the Javelin pilot decided that it was probably time to leave, and ejected from what was left of his now gyro-less 'mech.

Technically, this was a victory for the mercenaries, but with the loss of the Locust and the Marauder downed and missing a leg (and the other hip) and the autocannon, it's unlikely that they would be able to complete whatever mission they had been on, even though the Hatchetman and Archer had each only taken slight damage to the armour of their left legs.

The Lessons
1 I'm likely going to give up on my 'pet' LCT-1E2 Locust now I'm using quirks - while mounting the medium lasers in the centre torso improves the chance of the weapons surviving longer (my Locusts tend to lose their arms), the Locust's lack of a twistable torso means that it is substantially penalised when it comes to useful arcs of fire. I might replace it with Sharpnel's design for an LCT-1W, which mounts three MLs - one in each arm, and one in the torso - it doesn't run as cold as the standard Locust, but it's not especially warm.
2 Walking backwards up slopes looks easy, but isn't advised when the enemy are at close range, as falling makes you a very easy target.
3 Remember to check the ammo loads in the lobby before the game starts - the Marauder was only carrying standard ammo for the LB 10-X, while cluster could have helped against the fast moving strikers.
4 I have learnt that, with average pilots and armless 'mechs (especially with cramped cockpits), the 'hull down' then 'careful stand' combination is the best to avoid multiple faceplants, and this battle proved it.
5 'Fire Javelins' can cause fires. Who knew?

The Awards
The Better Late Than Never Award - The Hatchetman, for finally doing something useful with the hatchet at the end after a number of minor dings.
The Hitting Them When They're Down Award - Also goes to the Hatchetman, for exactly the same reason.
The What Are You Actually Doing Here Award - The Archer, which didn't cause a critical on anyone, although it did peel the armour from a few opponent locations.
The Cinematic Shot Award - The Marauder, propping itself on one arm while crippled in a burning wood to avenge the destruction of its lancemate.
The Bold Sir Robin Award (also The Hit And Run Award) - The Cicada, the only opposition 'mech to survive, for scoring a critical, then leaving.
The Going It Alone Award (also The Far Too Focused Award) - The Javelin, for pressing on with the total obliteration of the Locust, despite the destruction of the remainder of the lance.

TL:DR version
Hips, you need them.

The final outcome looked like this ...

« Last Edit: 01 March 2020, 22:30:53 by Simon Landmine »
"That's Lieutenant Faceplant to you, Corporal!"

Things that I have learnt through clicking too fast on 'Move Done' on MegaMek: Double-check the CF of the building before jumping onto it, check artillery arrival times before standing in the neighbouring hex, and don't run across your own minefield.

"Hmm, I wonder if I can turn this into a MM map."


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Re: Down does not always mean out
« Reply #1 on: 02 March 2020, 18:45:49 »
Excellent AAR!  :thumbsup: