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Author Topic: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games  (Read 637 times)

butchbird

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About two months ago our gaming group Got back on the saddle after a few years hiatus due to the birth of my child (once you've got a little one, 24 hour days and seven day weeks suddenly feel far too short) and the breakup of a couple whom gamed with us ( By the great debate, why did you have to do such a thing! She was the only other member who could manage to read the english rules! Oh woe is us.). Having lost one of our steady players and, due to various other reasons, lost our occasionals too, I had to recruit some new blood (Alas, logistical problem have, as yet, kept me from implementing a second one, but inevitably this will be taken care of). Our newest gamer having, for all experience in strategy game, but a bit of "heroes of might and magic 3" many years ago, I opted for a shift to Alpha Strike, the conduct of which appeared to me much easier for the guy...the fact that we all use recreational substances during games was also a factor, as the day wears on, so does our capacity of keeping track of all the factors influencing rolls in a CBT game.

Did a test with the other member of our group with a fair deal in strategy games, conducting it like a CBT game, and prompting us to theorize that a real game was going to be much too short and brutal, but pressed on none the less. Still thinking in terms of CBT, we did a set-up for a deathmatch on all the maps I had (yes, we actually play "Hex Strike")...that meant the clan invasion maps with all those bloody hills. The game itself was very enjoyable, mostly centering on the maneuvering to flush the ennemy team out of the hills for a very short point-blank brutal final, very enjoyable...but quite clearly half-arsed.

We've got a new game scheduled next week and the way I see it, using objectives (that hill's worth a 100 points, that other one that much, etc.) and a number of turns limit would seem to be a good recipe (and NOT using the hilly maps from clan invasion...I got the desert pack so I'm set on that front)...but I fear I'm looking at this with the wrong viewpoint, Alpha strike being quite different from what I'm used to in terms of games (big fan of talonsoft's old campaing series, you know, east front/west front).

So here I am, after all this contextualisation, to ask for some input from more experienced gaming groups. How do you set-up? What's the goal? Is a turn limit logical or a ridiculous idea whitout a certain reason inside a campaign? Help me out here, my wife is pressuring to go back to CBT, something I have a hard time resisting, but I'm sure my newest payer couldn't take that level of complexity, I have far too many new cool mini's to have mere lance on lance battles and the prospect of properly using combined arms is very appealing (and will be very appreciated by all around the table once we get to that point...back when we CBT'ed regularly, every one had been at their happyest once we'd started using vehicles and infantry)...Grant me your wisdom O my fellow big stompy robot lovers from the alpha strike side of the hobby, this humble gamer pleads to you.

butchbird

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #1 on: 30 November 2021, 20:50:46 »
In case anyone faces a relatively similar situation...

So we had the game, actually managed to find a new occasional player (never thought she'd be interested, long time friend, didn't have much in the way of experience with strategy games and is mostly a poker player, but still liked it enough to come back to the table if it fits in her schedule).

Got a rocky start, first part was voting to keep on using AS rules, passed barely which I was thankfull for, not feeling like our 2 new players would be confortable with CBT. 4 maps, about 7 vs 10 mechs (300 PV's per team), this set-up was pretty good.

I set the turn limit at 14 which had a very positive psychological effet, instead of maneuvering endlessly (very fun, but makes the game far too long especially when combined with all the chatter) and firing the first snap shot at turn 5, by turn 3 we were actively trading long range volleys.

The use of objectives wasn't very well implemented though, using 3, 1 near the defender home edge and 2 in the middle, the attackers advanced on the 2 nearest objectives and set up a defensive position there which we tried to storm, my newest player feeling audacious...still was clearly a better solution then a deathmatch.

So basically this looks like a winning recipe...unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the view point) this was our last AS game, my wife managed to champion the cause of CBT pretty well and we'll be going back that road for next game...kind of sad considering all my fancy new maps and minis, more of which can be used at once in AS.

One last point which I find interesting...In another discussion it had been argued that CBT was "for rpg gamers" and AS "for wargamers"...well my wife is a "grand scale strategy" women with absolutely no interest in rpg's and very little love for sci-fi, yet she made a very good case of CBT feeling more like it belonged in a univers of its own and managed to create a relation between the player and his playing pieces then AS. Just felt that this tidbit was a pretty good look into one of the reasons which keeps AS from growing on players having already experienced CBT.

Personnally I've loved my 2 games of AS, just wish I could've gotten to the point of using vehicles and infantry, combined arms being where, I do believe, AS really shines, would've been curious to try that out...still, it's ever so true that CBT gives so much more of a feeling of "character" to each unit.

Atlas3060

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #2 on: 01 December 2021, 09:15:48 »
How do you set-up? What's the goal? Is a turn limit logical or a ridiculous idea whitout a certain reason inside a campaign?
My group has been playing the Total War scale (Classic since you used that term) since forever, but when we play Alpha Strike it was mostly just for the sake "Now we can play a company battle in a day!" So pretty much the same deathmatches we had before, but with more Mechs was all really.

There were some attempts to have a goal or objective, but when you have 4+ players around a table, that gets tough. Fair warning it's been a few years since I been at the table with them, having a kid killed a lot of free time and this pandemic.

I will say that Alpha Strike scaled games allowed us easier access to special piloting abilities as well; or at least remembering we have and can use them.
« Last Edit: 01 December 2021, 09:20:10 by Atlas3060 »
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MyndkryM

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #3 on: 01 December 2021, 12:29:22 »
It's looking promising that I'll get to play some games over the next few weeks (yeah for vacation days).

One thing that I've noticed in some of the AS games I've seen played, having a scenario with limited numbers of turns is a really good idea. It's something I'm going to suggest during play. It definitely promotes the players to quickly get into engagements.
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butchbird

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #4 on: 02 December 2021, 18:10:42 »
As far as objectives go, designating a few strategic positions and giving them a point value (Hold them at the end of the turn limit), probably with 2 objectives near middle of map worth less then a third near defender home edge looks like a promising way to go...after all that's a rather standard practice (or something similar anyway) in wargames that I've tried. It was my originial intension but the imperatives of the moment forced me to opt for a simpler "here's 3 pennys, hold 2 out of 3 and win", it just didn't create the hoped for involvement.

Valkerie

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #5 on: 03 December 2021, 00:01:14 »
Objectives, whether they are capture points, or destruction points, can add flavor.  They key I've found is to make them the focus.  Take away destroying the enemy force as a direct path to victory, and the focus turns to the actual objectives.  That's worked for the group I run.  Even if I do run with kill points, they are very low compared to completing scenario objectives.
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Atlas3060

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #6 on: 03 December 2021, 00:58:41 »
Sometimes a spoiler force with their own different objectives might spice up a game.
Side A and B fight over a Radar Station. Side C is head hunting commanders.
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Weirdo

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #7 on: 03 December 2021, 11:57:41 »
You want fun? Side C is looking for salvage. After any mech from A or B suffers a weapon or motive crit (regardless of who inflicts it), a mech from Side C must enter the hex that crit happened in, spend at least one weapons phase not performing any attacks, and then make it off the board with the blown-off limb they just grabbed by retreating off their home edge without suffering any weapon crits of their own or performing any melee attacks.
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koraq

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Re: Looking for some input on the conduct of Alpha strike games
« Reply #8 on: 03 December 2021, 15:03:15 »
I'd say take a look at the WolfNet people's campaign rules, and also the rules developed by Death From Above Wargames. They have made some quite interesting set of scenarios for Alpha Strike.

When I play I try to think of formations as the units I used to command in CBT. It gives less flavour for each mech, but I find the formations and pilot abilities add some of that back, and the fact that it's so much faster is worth every day of the week, and I still like CBT.

In my games I usually set up an objective, and seldom play pure slug fests.

 

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