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Author Topic: After advice on starting Alpha Strike (Inner Sphere Succession list and Clan)  (Read 1181 times)

Thundercloud

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I've not played Battletech in a while (they were introducing clans when I last played to give you an idea) and while BT isn't for me, I'm interested in playing Alpha Strike.

I'll get the Alpha Strike box when it comes out, but I was looking at a Succession Wars period list. However it's been so long since I've played I was wondering about putting together a couple of forces (Inner Sphere Succession era and then expanding the clan in the box).

How big is a standard alpha strike game?

Is the starter box a good idea to get a couple of lances of 3025 mechs?

Are there any particularly good boxes to get for succession war mechs?

Is there a particularly good clan box to expand the clan side in the Alpha Strike box?

Is tech-1 ok when playing against later eras (ie is the points system robust enough to balance the differences in tech level?)?

Alpha Strike box is

Clan:
Timberwolf Prime (repeat)
Nova Prime (repeat)
Warhawk C
Pouncer Prime
Fire Moth D

Inner Sphere:
Warhammer (repeat)
Phoenix Hawk (repeat)
Atlas (repose)
Archer (-2K or -5R)
Wraith
Blackjack (-3)
Wasp (-1D)
Locust (-3M)

Are the inner sphere mechs all good for succession wars era?

Starter box is:

Awesome
BattleMaster
Catapult
Commando
Locust
Shadow Hawk
Thunderbolt
Wolverine

Would the two boxes (with 4 lances) be enough for a decent Alpha Strike list? Is there anything people would recommend getting?

Is the Succession War card pack valid for the next box and a good idea to buy?

Richard S.

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I'm gonna put the standard "minis aren't required to play" disclaimer, but A Game of Armored Combat and the Clan Invasion box set combined give you a pretty nice starting selection. Everything in AGoAC can be used for 3025.

The standard Alpha Strike game seems to be around company size, so somewhere in the realm of 10-14 units per side.

Alpha Strike doesn't really care about tech level at all, you can run 3025 and 3151 units against each other with no problem as long as the points are roughly even.

Richard S.

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Oh, and all the cards are available free to print from the Master Unit List. The ones Catalyst sells are just nicely colored and somewhat more durable.

Kerfuffin(925)

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The standard PV is whatever you want it to be. I’ve played 200/250/300/500/550/600.
200-300 finishes up around 2 hours with minimal experience. Last weeks 550 game we finished up in around 3.75 hours not including set up. And that included rules we had to learn (how to actually apply) on the fly. A group is trying to make 350 a standard competitive size, and it does allow for a good variety of units.

The new AS box everything IS can be used with SW tech, aside from the Wraith, that isn’t invented until the Late Invasion era, but you can use him as a proxy if you are dead set on keeping SW era.

I have seen the AGoAC box and Clan Invasion box balance well against eachother, and it looks like the AS box would balance pretty well right out of the box. All the AGoAC mechs are SW era mechs.

Like Richard said the era balance is pretty good, stuff that spikes BV for limited return isn’t as prevalent. That and the standardizing of ranges make it fairly balanced. I did a dark age vs CI era and it wasn’t an issue. Also the way PV and specials work it’s relatively easy to to move between eras, there is much less to learn going from SW to Dark Age in AS.

Almost all the other KS boxes are SW mechs, aside from a few like the bushwacker. Any of them would be a good pick up. A second Clan box (if you go with the Both big  box) would allow a 4 lance vs  two star balance as well should you want to move forward in time.

I’m not sure what the AS Card Packs have, but each box comes with a AS card that has a SW/CI variant on each side. Same with the lance packs. I have a ton of the AS cards from all my Kickstarter stuff, but I never use them. I don’t have sleeves or dry erase markers so I just print the cards off as I need them. What era of cards might change, I know the Wolfs Dragoons pack was CI and Dark Age on each AS card, so it might be indicative of change
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Thundercloud

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Cheers.

I've gone with picking up the Starter and Clan Wars boxes to fill out my armies, and give me some variety. I'm also looking at some metal infantry and vehicles to fill out forces.

Now I just need to pick factions.

For the clan stuff I'm not super fussed and just want to go with a nice colour scheme.

For the inner sphere do you still have the freedom to create a minor house or mercenary company, or has the map been completely filled in during the last 25+ years?

Sartris

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Force building rules are only as required as you want them to be. Stop when they impinge on your fun or make you think you *have* to buy something rather than want to.

Mercs have been and continue to be extremely flexible. Weird or rare choices are simply an opportunity for good storytelling

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Sartris speaks the truth. Factions are 100% optional, and have no impact on gameplay unless both you and your opponent agree to use some EXTREMELY optional rules.

That being said, if you do want your own little home within the lore, there is more than enough room for a small/medium mercenary force of your own, or a minor noble or corporate house. Nobody's gonna bat an eye if you throw a bunch of units on the table and call them the security forces for Thundercloud Heavy Industries, especially if you've got a cool story to go with them. :thumbsup:
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Pat Payne

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I've not played Battletech in a while (they were introducing clans when I last played to give you an idea) and while BT isn't for me, I'm interested in playing Alpha Strike.

Welcome back!  :) And great choice on picking Alpha Strike -- that how I get my metal mayhem fix these days also!

Quote
I'll get the Alpha Strike box when it comes out, but I was looking at a Succession Wars period list. However it's been so long since I've played I was wondering about putting together a couple of forces (Inner Sphere Succession era and then expanding the clan in the box).

How big is a standard alpha strike game?

I can't speak to a "standard" game (not even sure if such an animal exists yet for Alpha Strike), but usually I play company-on-company games that range to roughly 300-500PV to a side.

Quote
Is the starter box a good idea to get a couple of lances of 3025 mechs?

Yes, in fact it is intended to be a Succession Wars starter set, with all the cards and sheets inside giving SW variants. 

Quote
Are there any particularly good boxes to get for succession war mechs?

Most of the Inner Sphere Force Packs currently in print are great sources for Succession Wars 'Mechs. The only one off the top of my head that is Clan Invasion or later is the Heavy Battle Lance (as it has the Axeman, Bushwhacker, NightStar and one other I can't remember, but all of them CI or FedCom Civil War designs). Sadly, the ones with the Unseens are temporarily out of print (we dood too good a job, fellas, and now there won't be more till after Christmas...), but other packs are still circulating.

Quote
Is there a particularly good clan box to expand the clan side in the Alpha Strike box?


The Clan Invasion starter box is a great place to go first, as it gives you over a star of the most common Clan 'mechs and two points of Elementals.

Quote
Is tech-1 ok when playing against later eras (ie is the points system robust enough to balance the differences in tech level?)?

As a SW player myself (who is going to dip my toes into the IlClan era in the near future) I can't speak as well to that, but the rules make it easier to have matches against disparate tech levels, as the rules are more compressed. However, it is still probably a tough self-inflicted challenge to take a SW-era medium lance up against an equivalent lance from a later era.

Quote
Inner Sphere:
Warhammer (repeat) Yes, this is SW-era
Phoenix Hawk (repeat)So is this
Atlas (repose)This one too
Archer (-2K or -5R)The Archer in general was around in the SW, though a -5R may not be an exact SW variant. The mini would still be valid for a SW force though.
Wraith This one came about during the last years of the Clan Invasion or the early FedCom war, so it would not be appropriate for a SW force.
Blackjack (-3) The Blackjack was around in the SW, though the BJ-3 may not have been. Like the Archer, it should be fine for building an SW force though.
Wasp (-1D) The -1D has been around since the First Succession War, so it's golden.
Locust (-3M)This particular variant may not have been around, but the Locust in general was.

Are the inner sphere mechs all good for succession wars era?

Quote
Starter box is:

Awesome
BattleMaster
Catapult
Commando
Locust
Shadow Hawk
Thunderbolt
Wolverine

Would the two boxes (with 4 lances) be enough for a decent Alpha Strike list? Is there anything people would recommend getting?

Maybe the Beginner's Box, as that'll give you a Griffin, completing the 55-ton Trinity of Shadow Hawk, Wolverine and Griffin.

Quote
Is the Succession War card pack valid for the next box and a good idea to buy?

The card pack's 100% optional. I just print the cards off the MUL and put them in sleeves.

Cheers.

I've gone with picking up the Starter and Clan Wars boxes to fill out my armies, and give me some variety. I'm also looking at some metal infantry and vehicles to fill out forces.

Now I just need to pick factions.

For the clan stuff I'm not super fussed and just want to go with a nice colour scheme.

For the inner sphere do you still have the freedom to create a minor house or mercenary company, or has the map been completely filled in during the last 25+ years?

You always have the freedom to do that -- it's your game, to do with as you like. And there's always room for other mercenary companies or troops of some obscure planetary duke or other ways to carve out space in the universe. In fact, back in 2018, House Arano and the Aurigan Coalition were ported into the canon BTU from the computer game, so there's certainly room for expansion there... :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: 22 July 2022, 15:20:20 by Pat Payne »

worktroll

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Some great advice here. Just wanted to drop something one of my friends said after his first game of Alpha Strike. He'd been big in BattleTech back in the 80s and 90s, then away from the game. His comment:

"I love this game! It lets you play the sort of game we wanted to, back then, and finish it!"
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nckestrel

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Highly suggest some elementals with a Clan force, especially for a front-line omnimech force.  They can use the numbers and something to distract the enemy from destroying your priceless works of mayhem and destruction.

IS forces (especially Succession Wars) tend to be more durable and forgiving.  Less likely to have a particular weakness.
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Scotty

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As a SW player myself (who is going to dip my toes into the IlClan era in the near future) I can't speak as well to that, but the rules make it easier to have matches against disparate tech levels, as the rules are more compressed. However, it is still probably a tough self-inflicted challenge to take a SW-era medium lance up against an equivalent lance from a later era

The tech level of a force is irrelevant, it doesn't matter in the slightest whether 2/2/0 damage comes from two Clan ER Mediums or four IS Mediums, the only thing that matters is the 2/2/0 damage, and it is priced accordingly.  A Succession Wars medium lance is going to be (likely) significantly cheaper than a medium lance later on and that's working as intended.
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glitterboy2098

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Pretty much. Later eras see designs with higher armor, mobility, and/or firepower, plus sometimes more specials. Resulting in higher point value cost. A succession wars tech unit is just going to have more mechs for the same total PV, heavier mechs, or higher skills.

Pat Payne

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The tech level of a force is irrelevant, it doesn't matter in the slightest whether 2/2/0 damage comes from two Clan ER Mediums or four IS Mediums, the only thing that matters is the 2/2/0 damage, and it is priced accordingly.  A Succession Wars medium lance is going to be (likely) significantly cheaper than a medium lance later on and that's working as intended.

That's more or less what I was trying to say, just that you put it much more coherently.  :thumbsup:
The point about the challenge is that an equivalent Clan Invasion or later medium lance, all things being equal, has a better chance of hitting harder and doing more damage per hit than a SW medium lance, at least IMO. Now, with the predominance of XL engines in those designs, they're likely to be glass cannons once the armor has been blown through by the same token...

Charistoph

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That's more or less what I was trying to say, just that you put it much more coherently.  :thumbsup:
The point about the challenge is that an equivalent Clan Invasion or later medium lance, all things being equal, has a better chance of hitting harder and doing more damage per hit than a SW medium lance, at least IMO. Now, with the predominance of XL engines in those designs, they're likely to be glass cannons once the armor has been blown through by the same token...

Pretty much.  XL Engines pretty much halve the Structure, even for Clan machines.  Which is why they can actually be pretty close to each other in price point more than with Total Warfare/BV.
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glitterboy2098

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and to be honest.. if your other force is going to be clan, using the AS box and a star pack (or the clan invasion BT box set) i'd say your best bet would be to build your Inner Sphere force as a Clan Invasion era one. so 3050 to 3059-ish. lets you use the Wraith and the helmcore tech units from the AS set, but most of the mechs aren't much better than their succession wars versions, and you can easily use many succession wars mechs straight up lore wise. but a pure succession wars tech unit is generally going to have to run with pure numbers. clan mechs in AS can often kill an equal mass succession wars mech in one or two attacks, so you pretty much have to run attrition swarms to even things out.. and those are a pain to play and often make for fairly unfun games. allowing some more advanced stuff lets you be a little closer in power, and makes it more fun as a result.

Thundercloud

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Fair points, was worried BT had gone all 'space historicals' in the 25 years since I last played.

I've got the starter and Clan starter on the way, and that comes with two bases of elementals. I take it that a few more bases would be a good idea? And should I look to get some Inner Sphere infantry?

There's a couple of Clan boxed sets I could get, the Strike Star and Support Star? Which would be better?

And having played BT in the previous century, I don't think I could handle trying to play BT at any size now, it'd be too much like playing SFB (plus a lack of opponents). I think AS will be a lot easier to teach.

Kerfuffin(925)

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Fair points, was worried BT had gone all 'space historicals' in the 25 years since I last played.

I've got the starter and Clan starter on the way, and that comes with two bases of elementals. I take it that a few more bases would be a good idea? And should I look to get some Inner Sphere infantry?

There's a couple of Clan boxed sets I could get, the Strike Star and Support Star? Which would be better?

And having played BT in the previous century, I don't think I could handle trying to play BT at any size now, it'd be too much like playing SFB (plus a lack of opponents). I think AS will be a lot easier to teach.

Unless you are dying for some IS infantry/BA options right now I would hold off and wait for the next Kickstarter to deliver, that way they are all in scale. If you don’t want to wait IWM and the old clicky stuff works admirably although their scales can be kind of off.

The ‘problem’ with elementals is you’ll have a hard time getting just 3 more to round out a star. Buying a elemental box of 5 is fine, and it’ll leave you with 7. For most games 2 would suit a force just fine, until you get to larger point values. You can also always, as above, go for IWM or slightly repurposed clicky battle armors.

Both serve different roles, the Striker star is lighter and faster than a good portion of your Clan Invasion box mechs. They are also not Omni mechs so they can’t mechanize the elementals and ferry them around. They are also (per lore which needn’t have a bearing on what you select) not used in front line forces for a good portion of the clan invasion and civil war eras.
 The support star is heavier and they are all omnis. None of the mechs there are slow, and they would all show up in front line forces.

Both would make solid additions complementing the CI box mechs. I’d lean towards the Support star, but the Night Gyr is one of my favorite mechs ever.
« Last Edit: 24 July 2022, 18:46:47 by Kerfuffin(925) »
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thedancingjoker

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If you are looking for infantry or power armor I highly recommend finding a place that will sell Mechwarrior: Dark Age singles, my local store sells them for $1.50 a pop.  Then just cut off the base, glue them to a hex base and you are good to go.  Sure the scale is off but honestly I prefer that for my infantry, it lets them actually have some detail that you can't get in true 6mm scale.

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