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Author Topic: Menkalinan Blues - a Campaign Blog - Game 3 added 2/9/22  (Read 1852 times)

Calimehter

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Menkalinan Blues

For much of the 3rd Succession War, the world of Menkalinan on the Marik/Liao border was one of the few worlds garrisoned by forces from more than one Successor State.  Of course, it achieved this “distinction” by being a backwater border world with few resources worth deploying heavy forces to secure, so it was a bit dubious and unremarkable as honors go.  There were skirmishes between conventional units over the years, but for the most part an uneasy peace prevailed between the two sides.

In the year 3025, however, both the Free Worlds League and the Capellan Confederation began secretly smuggling lances of Battlemechs and extra supplies to the world, in the hopes of turning the balance to their favor.  Given that the League was saddled with S.A.F.E. and the Confederation was saddled with Maximillian Liao, it is not overly surprising that both sides were convinced that they would catch their foes off-guard and finally gain the upper hand.  Instead of a swift victory over an unprepared foe, each side was going to face a tough fight!

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Last year (how did the year go by so fast?) we ran a campaign featuring Clan Omnimechs and Lyran heavy units clashing for control of the world of Hood IV.  After taking a bit of a Battletech break, we are back at it again, this time with some lower tech and lower point values to go with a more combined-arms approach.

This campaign is being run on a rules set we started working on many years ago (i.e. the late FASA days), set aside for a long time, and have recently revisited and refined. It is (mostly) based on the “Supply Point” system from Battleforce2 and the FedCom Civil War books. Given its age, it should come as no surprise that our rules set is heavily “hybridized” between the old BMR/BF2 rules and the current TW/Stratops rules, picking and choosing what we liked of the old and the new. I’m not going to infodump right off the bat, but there is some basic campaign structure to know about before we begin:

- We are using a modified version of the Linked Scenario rules from Strategic Operations.  We simplified the orders phase down to just 2 options: Combat (ready for action with penalties to repairs) and Non-Combat (behind the lines, with bonuses to repairs and Fatigue recovery).  We are fighting one Battletech-scale and one Battleforce-scale fight each campaign turn.  We also strung out the scenario list(s) from the StratOps charts into a single column for each type of battle, rolling a 2d3 with bonuses or penalties depending on how each side is doing.

- Each player starts with a maximum of 40 elements and a fixed BV budget to buy starting forces, with roughly 1/2 of them generated via random rolls vs. the appropriate RAT.

- Repairs, replacements, skill upgrades, and a few other things are done at the end of each campaign turn, with rolls for success determined after all of the Supply Points (representing abstracted logistics) are allocated to each task. The pool starts out reasonably sized and does get incremental ‘resupply’ boosts, but repeated heavy losses could drain it before the end of the campaign. 

- Each Battletech scenario is worth 1 point to the winner, and each Battleforce scenario is worth 2 points.  If the attacker wins the Base Attack scenario, they get 4 points instead of 2.  First one to 9 points claims victory in the campaign . . . though with limited supply and Fatigue rules (from StratOps) in play, one side may feel compelled to surrender or even be unable to field enough forces to fight if they get too beat up or are unable to rest their troops

The Combatants

The 948th Marik Militia - unit symbol is a penguin standing tall in the middle of a colony of other penguins singing “I just gotta be me!” - units in italics are from the RAT tables:

PHX-1 Phoenix Hawk, WSP-1A Wasp, VL-2T Vulcan, PHX-1 Phoenix Hawk
DV-6M Dervish, QKD-5A Quickdraw, WVR-6M Wolverine, OSR-2M Ostroc
BLR-1G Battlemaster, HBK-4P Hunchback, WHM-6R Warhammer, ON1-K Orion
AWS-8Q Awesome, STK-3F Stalker, CN9-A Centurion, WTH-1 Whitworth

Manticore, Scorpion, Hetzer, Manticore
Condor, Harasser, 2x Heavy Hover APCs
Striker, Hunter, 2x Heavy Wheeled APCs

Motorized Rifle Plt, Motorized SRM Plt, 2x Motorized Field Gun (3x AC-5) Plt
Foot Rifle Plt, Foot MG Plt, 2x Foot SRM Plt
3x Foot MG Plt, 1x ‘Heavy (Divisor 2) armor’ Foot SRM Plt

#TheRealMenkalinanMilitia (or ”1st Capellan RMM”) - unit symbol a gauntlet being thrown down - units in italics are from the RAT tables

LCT-1V Locust, LCT-1E Locust, JR7-D Jenner, ASN-21 Assassin
WSP-1L Wasp, CLNT-2-3T Clint, JVN-10F Javelin, PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk
2x GHR-5H Grasshopper(s), VND-1AA Vindicator, CPLT-C1 Catapult
DV-6M Dervish, VND-1R Vindicator, MAD-3R Marauder, ARC-2R Archer

2x Hetzers, Vedette (ML version), Manticore
Sturmfeur, Hunter, 2x LRM Carriers
Peregrine VTOL, Ferret (Cargo) VTOL, 2x Karnov VTOL
4x Maxim

Foot Rifle Plt, 2x Foot MG Plt, Foot SRM Plt
2x Foot Rifle Plt, Foot Laser Plt, Foot SRM Plt

Pre-Battle Thoughts from the GM

I am amused by the force names and logos.  :)

With the Battleforce system in use, both players (unsurprisingly) arranged their lances to keep similar movement and range profiles grouped together.

The Marik player did a bit better on his RAT rolls in my mind - better weight results and some nice models like the 4P medium laser “Swayback” Hunchback - and chose to invest more in Mech and infantry firepower, and not so much in vehicles.  Only two lances with movement faster than 5 (with one being half APCs) might hurt, but the two medium jumping Mech lances seem well equipped to ‘scout hunt’ should the need arise.

The Liao player got some odd ducks on the RAT table (The 1AA Vindicator and the VTOLs, for example, and that odd Sturmfeur that must have been pilfered from somewhere) and ended up placing a bit more emphasis on speed and on vehicles.
« Last Edit: 09 February 2022, 18:24:12 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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Re: Menkalinan Blues - a Campaign Blog
« Reply #1 on: 12 April 2021, 21:34:15 »
Mooks and Missles . . .  Battletech-scale Game 1

As the 948th Marik Milita was assembling to begin operations, a series of remote sensors was placed along their projected path of advance.  Most of these sensors did not detect anything of note, but one of them reported a number of Liao units approaching before it switched over to ‘record-only’ mode to avoid detection.  One of the fastest scout Mech lances of the 948th was tasked with checking the area out and retrieving the sensor data.  They expected to perhaps find a Liao patrol in the area at most . . . little did they know that the Capellans were in the preliminary stages of setting up a full scale fire base!

Each of our campaign turns features one Battletech scale fight followed by one Battleforce fight.  For the leadoff clash, we rolled up the Extraction scenario with the Marik team as the attacker.  We once again rolled the Desert Mountains set of maps (we saw them a lot in the last campaign . . . I do own more, honest) for the field of battle.  The Marik team secretly set hex 1305 on the Liao map as their extraction objective.

It is worth noting - our campaign rules (this year) allow players to mix and match from different lances/units from their main roster for Battletech-scale scenarios . . . however, each whole *unit* gets 1 point of Fatigue if even one of their *elements* participates in a battle of any scale, so the use of whole lances is encouraged, but the option is there if a player wants to ‘cherry pick’ from multiple units for a Battletech fight, as long as they are willing to risk the extra Fatigue buildup.

It is also worth noting at this point that we use some house rules for vehicles and infantry.  In brief:

- Vehicles use the BMR to-hit table, including the old school motives and crits.  This makes vehicles a bit easier to kill, but also makes them a bit harder to immobilize

- Infantry use a “d6 damage per hit” system (there is a bit more to it than that, but that’s a good enough description).  We’ve tweaked it to be roughly halfway in-between the old BMR rules (in which infantry took too much damage) and the TW rules (in which infantry take too little damage, in our opinion anyway).  Their cost is about halfway between the old rules and new rules because of this.

The Combatants

House Marik:

2x PXH-1 Phoenix Hawks, 1x WSP-1A Wasp, 1x VL-2T Vulcan

The fastest Mech lance in the 948th, and the best equipped to get in, get the objective, and get out again.  There were a few points to spare to add something like a Harasser Hovertank or an APC+infantry platoon, but the Marik player decided it wasn’t worth the extra Fatigue cost for such a small add-on, and decided to risk going with just the Mech lance.

House Liao:

Infantry Company 1:  Rifle platoon, Laser platoon, SRM platoon - all deployed as squads
Infantry Company 2:  Rifle Platoon, 2x MG platooons, SRM platoon - all deployed as platooons
Firebase Prime:  2x LRM Carriers, 1x Sturmfeur
1x Ferret (Cargo) VTOL

Sooooo . . . yeeahhh.  A bit of history is needed here - during one of the urban scenarios for last year’s campaign, we spent a lot of time debating the viability of making indirect LRM fire a primary strategy, even posting a bit about it on the forums.  We did not really get a chance to try it out, as bad repair rolls from the prior scenario left one of the players short their best LRM units.

It’s going to get tried out here.  Knowing that the enemy has to close to their side to get the extraction objective, they have the numbers to flood their zone with foot infantry and get at least some infantry shots off regardless of where the objective is.  The infantry will also spot for (and guard) the 8(!) LRM-20 launchers that will be tucked behind a hill somewhere, bombarding the enemy as they approach.  The Ferret will aid in spotting and in getting a couple of infantry squads to higher ground to help spot too.  The Capellans are putting Fatigue on a whopping 4 units to get the combo of elements they want for this, but they want to make sure to give this novel strategy its very best chance of succeeding!

Turns 1 and 2 - Cautious approach:

The Liao infantry marches forward from their map enterance edge, looking to spread out around their DZ/firebase.  The LRM vehicles move to camp out behind a Level 2 ridge, while the Ferret moves further forward and drops a pair of rifle squads on a Level 6 viewing perch to help out with future spotting.

The Marik Mechs move forward and gather in the shelter of the Level 5 slope to get as close as they can before breaking cover (see TURN 2 picture) and running the gauntlet.

After spending a bit of time goggling at the Capellan hordes and making noises about cheese, the Marik team debated the best course of action.  Taking the “south” approach (away from the Ferret, the ‘right’ side of Pic 1) would give the most cover and give them good shots at the LRM carriers after they turned the corner . . . but with the objective on the other side of the map, they would spend precious turns moving away from the extraction target (the sensor probe) and would have to move through pretty much the entire infantry horde to get to it.  Instead, they elected to move more or less straight toward the objective, trusting to speed and possibly diverting one or more Mechs to attack the LRM vehicles to help cover the eventual escape once the sensor probe was retrieved.

Calimehter

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Re: Menkalinan Blues - a Campaign Blog
« Reply #2 on: 12 April 2021, 21:35:39 »
Turns 3and 4 - Fighting in the Shade:

The Mechs break cover (see TURN 3 picture) at maximum jump, with each PHX-1 (to be known as Pixie 13 and Pixie 19 moving forward, to match their counter numbers)  firing its large laser at the rifle squads spotting from the Level 6 rise (both miss).  In return, the Capellans launch their first 160-missle LRM salvo(!) all aiming at Pixie 13.  Despite needing 10’s to hit, they score with 3 launchers, and even with low rolls on the missle tables they manage to strip 27 points of armor off of Pixie 13.

Being beat up and thus being a bad candidate for objective retrieval (and the subsequent focus fire it would suffer for doing so), Pixie 13 elects to jump towards the carriers, hoping to take one out and/or divert Liao fire from its teammates, while the other 3 Mechs jump toward the objective.  See TURN 4 picture. 

On the Capellan side, the Ferret shoots past the League Mechs and out of the fray to act as a long range spotter from the safety of the Marik mapsheet.  The Sturnfeur crew belatedly realizes their beefy armor slabs are just as good a shelter as the hill, and thus they don’t need to be tying up a spotter or taking the +1 indirect penalty . . . they trundle up to the top of the ridge and direct fire at the Vulcan, as it is in the 7- hex range ‘sweet spot’, but miss with both launchers.  The LRM carriers tag Pixie 13 with a pair of launcher hits and 24 missiles total despite needing 10’s to hit again.  One of the clusters hits the head (now down to 1 armor), and the remainder force a piloting check, which Pixie 13 fails and falls forwad . . . also failing the check to avoid the 2nd pip of pilot damage . . . and then failing the consciousness check after that.  Pixie 13 is out for at least a turn, and out of most of its armor to boot.

Calimehter

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Re: Menkalinan Blues - a Campaign Blog
« Reply #3 on: 12 April 2021, 21:37:09 »
Turns 5 and 6 - Extraction Without Anesthetic:

The FWL Mechs surge toward the objective again at max jump (see TURN 5 picture), and begin the work of clearing out some of the infantry from the area around the objective.  Pixie 19 murders 19 MG infantry, while the Vulcan puts paid to a pair of infantry squads.  Liao return fire is OK, but not great.  Pixie19 suffers some infantry damage, and the Sturmfeur adds a further 9 missles to force a piloting check, but it passes.  The Vulcan is tagged at long range by the SRM infantry platoon (#17)  on the ridge next to the Sturmfeur, which stings, but all 6 LRM 20 shots from the carriers miss the Vulcan!

Pixie 13 recovers consciousness and is happy to have not suffered any further damage while down!  That pilot gets up and starts running toward the LRM carriers - and is joined by the Vulcan, who jumps 6 hexes to land right next to one of them.  The Vulcan’s jump keeps infantry fire damage to a minumum (just a pair of 2-point hits) but also means that it misses with both the medium laser and the kick, only hitting with the MG and Flamer, which even LRM Carrier armor can handle.  Pixie 13 isn’t quite so lucky . . . it engages with the SRM platoon (#17 again) and kills 7 troopers, but the SRM team in return lands their hits, and with 2 more 2-point hits to the head manages to finish off the unlucky Pixie 13 pilot!  Pixie 13 crashes to the ground once more, and for good this time.

Meanwhile, Pixie 19 jumps only 3 hexes, to land in the objective hex to retrieve the sensor probe in the end phase, with the Wasp playing escort. See TURN 6 pic. Only 1 of the 8 LRM-20s aimed at Pixie 19 manages to hit despite good target numbers, and that bit of good fortune and the earlier work thinning out the infantry in that part of the board pays off in the form of very little damage this turn., while Pixie 19 (down to 1pt of right torso armor but otherwise in OK shape) and the Wasp thin out even more infantry.

Calimehter

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Re: Menkalinan Blues - a Campaign Blog
« Reply #4 on: 12 April 2021, 21:38:32 »
Turns 7 and 8 and beyond - Run Forrest, Run!:

The Vulcan bravely elected to stand still after seeing the LRM carrier in front of it *also* stand still to try to shoot Pixie 19.  Bravery was rewarded, as the Vulcan’s fire managed to dig exactly 1 point into the internal structure - and one roll of “12” on the critical table later meant the carrier crew’s bootleg vodka still touched off the ammo and created a column of smoke and fire where a vehicle once stood.  Bravery also paid it dues, as the multiple infantry units nearby poured damage into the Vulcan, stripping the armor off of it, stunning the pilot, and sending it crashing down.  We didn’t bother rolling the dice for the subsequent swarming of the downed Mech the following turn, instead pausing to watch a Youtube short of the “Compy” scene from Jurassic Park.

Meanwhile, the surviving Marik Mechs looked to jump away with the sensor probe in hand, hugging the board edge as they go.  Pixie 19 makes a jump . . . and suffers 21 LRM hits and *falls*.  Now the Marik player had another hard decision to make.  Keep the objective with Pixie 19, or hand off to the lowly Wasp hovering in the next hex over?  With its torso armor stripped way down and being prone, the Pixie 19 pilot “laterals the football” over to the Wasp (who had only suffered a single 2-point torso hit from some rifle infantry up till now) and tells him to burn his jets for home.  See TURN 7 pic.

Wasp pilot:  “Yay, I’m important! . . . OH CRAP, I’m important!!!”  :ugly_stupid:

The Wasp jumps away at full burn, while the Pixie pilot (possibly attempting to make sure the post-battle reviews made his call look like the right one) fails *2* checks to get up before finally stumbling to his feet.  See TURN 8 pic.

On turn 8, one LRM (needing 10’s) of 5 manages to hit the Wasp - but for only 6 missles, which even the Wasp can handle.  Feeling his oats, the Wasp pilot keeps on jumping, only to suffer one more LRM-20 hit (1 of 5 needing 12’s this time)the next turn for 12 missles, which spread all around and don’t take it down.  Also a bit foolishly, since he had won initiative, the Marik player moved the Wasp first, which gave the forgotten Ferret pilot a chance for a long distance Charge attempt at the Wasp!  Drama and tensions were high, as the Wasp failed to hit with its desperate shots at the speeding VTOL, and the VTOL failed to connect with its charge.

The Marik player won the subsequent intiative check, and this time saved the Wasp for last and jumped out of LRM range and away from the crazy VTOL pilot, and was able to get off the board next turn with the football.

Victory to House Marik!  It cost them 2 Mechs and virtually all of the armor off of the other 2, but they had the valuable sensor probe data in hand, and had managed to knock off a LRM carrier and about 50-some infantry to boot.

Postbattle Thoughts:

Well, that was different, but in a good way in the end.  That was a surprisingly tense fight that had a lot of nail biting and a few (at least for the Marik Mech lance) interesting decisions to be made, and turned out to be rollicking good fun instead of the slog or beatdown it threatened to be.

We are still kind of undecided on whether the Indirect-LRM strategy can work.  On one hand, it came very close to succeeding, with only a few rolls separating success from failure.  On the other hand, its hard to imagine a better setup for it, with an enemy that has to move in and move back out again under fire, and with more LRM tubes than the enemy had in total tonnage - if you can’t make it work here, can you make it work anywhere?  The Liao player said that if he had to do it all over again, he would have traded the Sturmfeur and some of the infantry for one or two “hole punchers” with PPCs or AC/10s or such, as the LRM/infantry combo had a tendancy to have to work through *all* of the armor before getting to any juicy vitals, barring nice head hits like they had against Pixie 13. 

I could see that working, though part of me says that if your post-battle thought is “if only I had brought a pair of UrbanMechs”, you might not be on the best path to victory. :D

In any event, the Free Worlds League has drawn first blood in the campaign for Menkalinan!  One campaign point is in the books for them, with bigger battles waiting.
« Last Edit: 12 April 2021, 21:42:19 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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A Day at the Lake - Game 2 (Battleforce Scale)

Intel from recent recon raids suggested that a surprisingly large Liao force was going to try a very indirect attack on Marik holdings.  This attack was going to go through the Ergun wetlands, an area of lakes and deltas that was only lightly patrolled due to the difficulty regular combat forces had moving through it.  Elements of the 948th Marik Militia were dispatched to head off the Capellans!

The second fight of each campaign turn is fought at Battleforce scale.  For this battle, a Stand Up fight was rolled up, with the Capellans as the attacking force.  The more interesting roll was for the terrain though . . . wetlands were rolled up, specifically River Delta #1 for the Capellan side and Large Lakes #1, some of the “wettest” maps available!  Each player had some tough choices to make during force selection to take the difficult terrain into account.

A note on “Rental Units”:  One of the features we added to this year’s rules-set to add some variety to things was the option to “Rent” up to 6 elements in a campaign turn.  Such rentals were paid for in the same fashion as buying replacement elements, but went away again after they participated in a scenario.  Surviving rentals gave back half their BV at the end of that campaign turn, to discourage their use as sacrifices (unless they were cheap enough, of course) and to make up for the fact that they were less efficient over the long run than normal replacements (that could fight throughout the campagn if not destroyed).  Rental units could also pull from categories that weren’t allowed when rolling up the “core” campaign forces, so this option would enable players to field aero, artillery, engineers, etc. on a temporary basis (vs. last year’s rules where they were just made available by scenario) IF they were willing to pay the cost for doing so.

1st Capellan RMM forces:

The 1st RMM did not elect to go with any rental units, feeling like they had a good set of vehicles and Mechs capable of handling the terrain on their own.  They also went fairly generic with unit names.

Heavy Mech Lance:  2x GHR-5H Grasshoppers, CPLT-1 Catapult, VND-1AA Vindicator
Light Mech Lance:  WSP-1L Wasp, CLNT-2-3T Clint, JVN-10F Javelin, PXH-1 Phoenix Hawk
Medium Mech ‘Demi’-Lance:  DV-6M Dervish, VND-1R Vindicator

VTOL Lance:  Peregrine, Ferret(Cargo), 2x Karnov
Hover Lance:  4x Maxim (standard model)

1st Infantry company:  2x Foot Rifle Platoons, 1x Foot Laser Platoon, 1x Foot SRM Platoon (deployed with VTOLs)
2nd Infantry company:  1x Foot Rifle, 1x Foot MG, 1x Foot SRM (deployed with Maxims)

948th Marik Militia forces:

Without as many jump capable Mechs to choose from (especially with the losses from the earlier Battletech recon raid scenario) and with the large lake right in the middle of their map, the Marik player was in a tougher spot.  He elected to rent some units to help hold the lake, going for the heavier pure naval elements rather than more flexible (but lighter) hovertanks . . . not only did the Marik player figure that he would be on the defensive in this one, but it was the first time we can remember that our group had fielded actual boats!  Kudos for trying something new.  A few rolls on the RAT table netted him a Monitor and a Sea Skimmer, which he then filled out with further rentals and units from the 948th.

Slammer Lance:  BLR-1G Battlemaster, HBK-4P Hunchback, WHM-6R Warhammer, ON1-K Orion
Cavalry Lance:  DV-6M Dervish, QKD-5A Quickdraw, WVR-6M Wolverine, OSR-2M Ostsol (the jumping variant)

Skimmer Lance:  Condor, Harasser, 2x Heavy Hover APCs
Foot Infantry Company:  1x Rifle platoon, 1x MG Platoon, 2x SRM platoon (deployed with hovers)
Motorized Infantry Company: 1x Rifle platoon, 1x SRM platoon, 2x Field Gun (3x AC/5) platoons

Riverboats:  2x Monitors, 1x Sea Skimmer
River Rats:  2x Laser Frogmen platoons (rounding up to use the last of the BV from the supply points spent to rent the boats)

Calimehter

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Early Turns:

The 1st Capellan RMM advanced up the center of their delta map, easily able to traverse the broken terrain, and keeping their options open as they advanced toward the large lake. 

The 948th Marik Militia had a tougher choice to make around the lake itself as they deployed and moved in.  The Slammer lance, in particular, would have to pick a side early on . . . they elected to take the north approach with the heavy Mechs (i.e. the side opposite the map labels), while the motorized infantry+field guns took the south approach.  The Riverboats and hover units all headed toward the center of the lake, while the Cavalry lance held back to see which way the Capellans were going to go.  See TURN 3 pic, with north on the “left” of the picture.

On turn 4, the Capellans (having won initiative, so being able to react to Marik movement via the StratOps BF turn sequence we are using this year) jumped hard for the right side of the map, seeming to intend to concentrate on the weaker Marik south shoreline, while the VTOLs saw a cheeky opportunity to get an uncontested rear shot on the heavy Marik Mechs . . . but only the Peregrine could shoot, and it missed outright.  See TURN 4 pic.

Calimehter

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The Old Statue of Liberty Play:

Liao won initiative again on Turn 5, which turned out to be surprisingly critical.  Marik reacted to the Liao push to the right, moving the Slammer lance as quickly as it could to the south to help, while finally committing the naval elements and the Cavalry lance to the south shore as well . . . in response to these moves, the Capellans (despite a Hello HQ command freezing up the hovertanks) completely reversed their axis of attack, and pushed hard toward the Slammer lance to the north!  See TURN 5 pic.  The VTOLs made a push toward the objective to the north as well, and scored some occupation points by dropping their infantry on it. 

Not much came of the Turn 5 shooting phase (one 2-point hit on the Marik Warhammer), but the Marik player lost initiative again at the top of Turn 6 and knew he was in a bit of trouble.  The powerful but isolated Slammer lance backed up a hex to the security of some woods, while the other Marik forces pushed to try to relieve them in the future turns.  The Slammer lance risked building up some heat and managed to go internal on one of the Grasshoppers and roll a “12” to take it out, but suffered significant damage to the HBK and the WHM from focused Capellan fire from the Maxims and Mechs.  See TURN 6 pic.

Further northeast, the hover lance of the 948th raced up to the objective to limit the damage . . . the Liao troops unleased an Ambush! command counter and wiped out two platoons as they debarked, but the Condor and Harasser hovertanks aided the surviving infantry and managed to take down 3 Liao platoons when they returned fire.

Calimehter

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Keeping the Pressure On:

Marik won initiative on Turn 7, but the Capellans were still able to keep the pressure up on the slow Slammer Lance.  The HBK went down this turn, and the WHM suffered a -1MP critical when Liao fire went internal on it, while bad rolls limited the FWL to a single 2 point hit on the Catapult (and a nice 3 point hit on the Vindicator 1R by the incoming Monitors).  To the northeast, the Capellan VTOLs shot toward the other objective to the south, with the Marik hovers in close pursuit, and the Liao infantry was finished off by the surviving 2 Marik platoons.

On Turn 8, the Liao VTOLs made it to the second objective, but didn’t even get a turn to claim any points, as they had miscalculated and the FWL hover lance could just get there in the same turn - see TURN 8 pic.  The Peregrine and Harasser each fell, but that meant that the VTOL lance no longer had any ability to do damage, while the Marik team still had the Condor (and the plucky field gun infantry) in the vicinity.

Further north, the Slammer Lance WHM miraculously survived another turn (down to 1 structure point and also 1MP due to 2x movement crits and the persistent point of heat), but the BLR suffered enough focus fire to go internal . . . in return, the Liao Catapult was focus-fired to death by the Slammer team and a fair amount (6 damage total) from the upcoming Riverboat lance.

On Turn 9, the Liao forces threatening the Slammer lance all move to the other side of the hill to threaten the crippled Slammers while minimizing any fire from the Monitors and the incoming Cavalry Lance (though the short Capellan infantry company is unable to get out of the way, and gets wiped out for it).  See TURN 9 pic.  Capellan fire manages to finish off the WHM and the BLR, and strip a fair bit of the armor off of the Orion to boot, while the Slammers final shots all manage to miss the second Grasshopper.  The Liao VTOL transports evade the fire of the field gun teams and streak back toward home.

Calimehter

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Taking What is Given:

The Capellans won intiative on Turn 10, and after the Marik forces hunkered up for their movement (including having the hover lance ‘stuck’ on the objective to keep the VTOLs from dashing back and getting uncontested occupation points) the Liao player had a significant choice to make.  He knew he was (slightly) ahead on points, and rushing the main Marik position was risky - the Cavalry lance had finally arrived, and the Monitors were still untouched and dangerous, and the Capellans had lost 2 of their heaviest Mechs.

Liao elected to jump back to their own zone - see TURN 10 - and possibly hoping to lure the Cavalry Mechs away from their Riverboat support.

The Marik player was not about to leave the protection of his gunboats (being slightly outgunned even with their support), so he held postion by the lakeshore on Turn 11, while the Liao team backed further into the delta on their map.

At this point a stalemate of sorts ensued, as each player spent a couple of turns not doing much.  With our IRL time running out, and neither player willing to budge, the GM stepped in and said that if nothing happened, Liao would have the win . . . but the Marik forces would have the salvage (as their troops were within an easy 1 turn of moving to claim it).  The Liao player was a bit unhappy with this at first, but realized he had moved his forces too far back into the Delta to contest the move, and had forgotten about the option to grab salvage altogether until it was too late, so accepted the decision in the end. Liao was still unwilling to engage the concentrated Marik leftovers and risk losing the scenario victory, and so we ended the game.

Victory to the Capellan Confederation!

Post Battle Thoughts:

The Capellans won a battle of maneuver in this one. 

The Marik player had a tough problem to solve with the large lake - though the Monitors helped and did a fair bit of damage during the fight -  but admitted that he overcommitted to the Liao push to the south early on and was also too cautious with the Cavalry Lance initially, and left himself exposed to the early isolation of the Slammer Lance as a result.  The Liao player in fact admitted after the battle that the Turn 6 “reversal” was actually not part of the initial plan, but was a last second decision based on the Marik moves that turn when they saw how close and alone the Slammer Lance had become.

Oddly, the losers of each of the first two games ended up with the field salvage at the end.  The Capellan player could have perhaps changed that, as he still had a bit of an edge on the FWL forces after Turn 10, but he decided to book the victory rather than risk bad dice and/or a lot more damage

Calimehter

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So we took a loooong break, but are back in the saddle and ready to go again!

Campaign Operations:

With the first Battletech and Battleforce games in, it was time for campaign operations for both sides.  We use a heavily modified version of the BF2 rules from the old FedCom Civil War to generate a (reasonably generous) pool of supply points that can be used for repairs of damaged units, replacements of destroyed units, and pay for “rental” units for use in the next campaign turn.   Dice still need to be rolled for success for repairs and replacements,  though investing large amounts of supply points can improve the odds.

1st Capellan RMM:

The Cappies were down all of their infantry from the earlier battles and had less salvage (2 Mechs and 1 vehicle from the early battle) than the Marik team did, but also did not have quite as much to patch up or replace, at least in terms of cost.  They attempted to replace the destroyed Grasshopper and Catapult Mechs, but failed both rolls for those pricey machines!  Offsetting that somewhat, they succeeded on repairing the Vindicator and on all of the vehicle replacement rolls, and managed to swap out their Ferret for a second Warrior (H-7C model).

The Liao payer elected *not* to attempt to replace his infantry just yet . . . rather, he is choosing to deploy them as “noncombatants” for the next turn, which will wipe some Fatigue off of them (they participated in both the previous scenarios, and as such have more fatigue than the rest of the troops) as well as give bonuses to the large number of replacement rolls they will be making.  Instead, the Capellans “rented” 4 platoons of infantry to fill their PBI needs . . . the rolls were successful, and 2x MG platoons and 2x ‘Divisor 2 armor’ SRM platoons will be available to them for the next campaign turn.

948th Marik Militia:

Like the Liao player, the Marik player elected to postpone some of his replacement rolls until the next turn so as to benefit from the bonuses offered by non-combat deployment . . . in the Marik case, the destroyed Slammer lance of heavy Mechs is getting the R&R treatment, in the hopes that the lavish amount of points needed to rebuild the unit won’t go to waste with failed rolls.  They only thing that was attempted for the Slammers was a repair roll on the Orion, which succeeded.

The savings went into a very heavy investment in “rental” Aerospace support . . . no less than a Leapord class Dropship and 5 light Aerospace fighters were requisitioned!  There was some nail biting on the dice rolls, but fortune favored the bold, and only one light Aerofighter failed the roll.  One Leapord, 2x Centurions, 1x Cheetah F-10, and 1x Sabre would be available for the Marik team during the next turn.

Other results were more mixed.  The Pixie lance got one of the PXH-1’s repaired, but failed to replace the other one and also failed to repair the armor damage to the Wasp (we figured there were some wedged-in unexploded munitions from the really low “# of missles” results that the Liao LRM carriers rolled up when shooting at it that were mucking up the repair attempt).  The Harasser was replaced, but both infantry platoons failed their replacement rolls.

Deployment for Campaign Turn 2:

As planned, the Liao player put both of his campaign infantry units into 'non-combat' deployment.  With the failure of the Grasshopper and Catapult repairs, the Grasshopper's lance was also put into non-combat deployment, with the hope of having better rolls next turn (and taking some fatigue off of the unit while the big Mechs were still down).

The Marik player only put the Slammer lance into non-combat status, leaving everything else available for combat deployment.  With more combat units, this meant that the 948th would be the attacker in both of the coming Turn 2 scenarios.




« Last Edit: 05 February 2022, 17:37:28 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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Game 3 - Beware Capellans Bearing Gifts

Life for the smaller frontier settlements on Menkalinan was always about being caught up in the endless tug of war between the Liao and Marik forces garrisoning the planet.  One popular solution to the problem was to simply try to buy off one side by offering up rescources in exchange for protection.  If your chosen side ended up having to fall back, you could just switch sides by offering the opposing force more of the same.  Pragmatism trumped patriotism when survival was on the line and the borders were uncertain.  The practice was officially frowned upon, but field commanders usually turned a blind eye, knowing that such arrangements were an easy source of resupply on a world that was not very high priority for the Great Houses or their military quartermasters.

The practice was not without risk, though, as was about to be amply demonstrated just outside of the small mining town of Kanlo.  The local leaders there were aware that the 948th Marik Militia was encamped nearby after active operations, and was likely to begin “foraging” opaerations near them soon.  Rather than wait for armed parties to appear at their door, the townsfolk made it known to the 948th that “bandits” were menacing their town and stealing vital ores, and that a simple show of force by the 948th would drive them off without a fuss, with the grateful townsfolk giving up the recovered ores as payment.  This would be pretty standard stuff for the Marik team, and the commander had executed such “supply” runs before . . . except that this time a large force of Liao troops had gotten wind of the 948th’s movements, and  were moving in to investigate.  The“bandits” that everyone was presuming were imaginary were instead to become very real!


We again rolled up the Extraction scenario, and again Marik was the attacker.  This time, though, there was a smaller force limit and a new set of boards (Citytech and Desert Hills, with the latter being the mapsheet with the objective on it), and just as importantly we rolled up the Dusk rules, so each side would suffer from a +1 to hit penalty.

It is also worth remembering that we use some house rules for vehicles in Battletech scenarios. In brief, vehicles use the BMR to-hit table, including the old school motives and crits. This makes vehicles a bit easier to kill outright, but also makes them a bit harder to immobilize than the TW rules.

Force Selection:

With the Dusk rules in mind, the FWL forces decided to emphasize speed, counting on high TMMs pairing up with the Dusk penalties to get in and grab the objective and get out again.  A brief thought was given to the notion of using some of the rented light Aerofighter support, but the low force size limit in the scenario precluded doing that and still have a realistic amount of ground power.  Instead, the undamaged Pixie Lance Mechs would see service again, supported this time with hovercraft for even more speed.

Mech demilance:  1x PHX-1 Phoenix Hawk, 1x VL-2T Vulcan
Hover demilance:  1x Condor, 1x Harasser

The Liao team again went with an infantry/vehicle mix, hoping as before to use numbers to cover multiple possible locations where the secret extraction target might be.  With the Dusk penalty in play, they eschewed trying the indirect LRM fire approach, though, and went with a more conventional approach this time.  With 2 AC-20s in the mix, they were hoping for a quick crippling hit or two on the forces attempting an extraction.

Tank lance:  1x Manticore, 2x Hetzer (AC-20), 1x Vedette (2x med. laser variant)
Rental Infantry company:  2x MG foot platoons, 2x ‘heavy armor’ foot SRM platoons.

[Temporary disclaimer: ran out of time tonight to finish the report, will have it up in a few days.  Sorry about that!]
« Last Edit: 05 February 2022, 19:15:45 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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[Apologies that the pic quality is a bit low, still experimenting with new phone and software]

Sniffing the Bait:

The FWL forces wasted no time moving through the town and making their way to the hills just beyond (see PIC 1, which is the end of Turn 2), while the Liao forces spread out to cover the most likely locations of the extraction objective, as well as seizing some high ground for the Manticore.  Early shooting was fairly light and desultory, which was not surprising given the small number of good long range weapons and the Dusk penalties in play.  The only notable hit was a PPC shot from the Manticore connecting with the right leg of the PXH on a roll of boxcars.

Things heated up on Turn 4 (see PIC 2) when the Marik forces committed to the flank attack and the shooting began in earnest.  This round did not go well for the 948th . . . the Manticore continued to roll very high dice to overcome some high target numbers.  Hits from the PPC and LRM-10 shredded the right arm armor (and more of the right leg) on the Phoenix Hawk, while also managing to completely immobilie the Condor with a secondary-target SRM-6 shot.  It is worth noting again that our house rules make this more difficult to do with just a few hits on the old “BMR” style table. That tank gunner was dialed in!  :o

Marik return fire was OK, with 18 point of armor stripped off of the front of the Manticore (no motive losses or crits though, the tank’s luck continued to hold) and a few points taken off of the closest Hetzer.

Calimehter

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Actually Making it to the Bait:

On Turn 5, the Marik player decided to trust to speed and boldness after having lost the initial exchanges of fire.  The Vulcan jumped into the objective hex, and was accompanied by the Harasser moving in there as well.  Having won initiative, the PHX was able to wait till last to move and jumped in behind the Hetzer that had swung around to take a shot at the targets in the now-obvious objective hex (see PIC 3).  The hope was that one of either the Vulcan or the Harasser would survive to claim the objective, with the PXH and the (immobile) Condor providing covering fire for next turn’s bugout. 

Liao moves were fairly predictable, reacting to the Marik moves by swinging around to get the best shots they could as the play for the objective became clear.  The far Hetzer crew belatedly realized (i.e. the Liao player forgot) that the could not enter the rough terrain in front of the hills, and began to take a long route around it and possibly get shots on anyone fleeing out next turn.

Marik fire was again decent but not spectactular, as the Hetzer lost a lot of armor off of the front (Harasser) and back (Phoenix Hawk), while the immobilized Condor stripped 10 points more from the Manticore . . . again, though, not one of those shots managed to land any motive hits or crits, and the Vulcan failed to hit any of the infantry it was shooting at.

Liao return fire was again devestating.  The to-hit numbers were not terrible now at close range (even with the Dusk and high TMM boosts), but the Liao player continued to roll a bit above average, and the hits that landed were brutal.  The Hetzer’s AC-20 shot at the Vulcan hit the right torso and destroyed it, with the resulting AC-2 ammo explosion finishing off the rest of the Mech.  The Phoenix Hawk took more hits from the Vedette medium lasers and LRM shots from the Manticore, which went internal on the denuded right leg and hit some actuators, forcing a fall .  To add insult to injury, the fall sheared off the rest of the Pixie’s right leg!  :wheelchair:

The lone saving grace was the infantry missing all their shots on the Harasser, which was able to pick up the objective.  Would it be too late to matter?

Calimehter

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Taking the Bait but Leaving the Arm in the Trap:

Marik won initiative again, and with only one unit that could realistically move, they were able to risk a sideslip check (passed) and streak away with the Harasser and the unit objective.  Liao attempted to move the Vedette and the far Hetzer (the one that drove around the rough field from the other side) to cut it off, but did not have the speed to cover the small valley between the Level 1 hills that the Harasser ended up in (see PIC 4).  On the next turn, the Harasser was able to use its high movement to escape the battle zone, surviving one slight scare from a long range LRM-10 shot that needed 12’s (and for once the Manticore gunners could not make the hard shot  :D ) and have a clear run off the map on Turn 7 (see PIC 5).

That only left the denoument of fighting it out with the immobilized Marik units left in the hills.  Over the course of the next couple of turns, the PXH and the Condor managed to (finally) take out the Manticore and strip a bit more armor off the closer Hetzer, but succumbed to hail of infantry SRMs and AC-20 and PPC fire in the end, especially with the target numbers being now very low.

The 948th had again managed to secure an Extraction objective and bring it back to their lines . . . but this time, they had paid far too high a price to do it.  With more than 80% of their force destroyed (the Harasser was very cheap in terms of points) and only the Manticore dead on the enemy side, the objective points were not enough to overcome the losses like they were in the first battle.

Victory to House Liao!

The Manticore was the obvious MVP here, overcoming some high target numbers and managing to immobilize the Condor and doing most of the damage (with a nice assist from the medium-laser Vedette) that immobilized the Phoenix Hawk.  Those early shots really decided the game, as even though the objective got away there was no way the bulk of the Marik team was going to be able to make it back out of there.  Their tank may have been lost in the end, but the surviving crew (the tank did not burn or blow up) were treated to a hero’s welcome when the made it back to base with the rest of the 1st RMM forces.

 

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