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Author Topic: Motley's Marauders Back in Action  (Read 591 times)

Kibutsu

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Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« on: 13 November 2020, 17:11:50 »
It was long past time to get the campaign back on track, so we decided to get together on Veteran's Day to roll some dice in anger. This was actually the second Motley's Marauders game we have played since the pandemic brought a halt to the campaign, but I didn't get many pics of the first scenario.

When we last left, the Marauders had executed a combat drop, securing the spaceport outside Gray Valley City on Zebebelgenubi. Last week they sent an ad hoc force to clear some enemy artillery off a ridge line from which they were shelling the runways. The Marauders were able to clear the ridge but failed to destroy or capture any of the guns, leaving them free to play a role in this week's scenario.

This week's mission actually did not directly involve the Marauders at all, but the results of this mission will determine what happens to them in the next scenario. This week, the Atrean Dragoons were massing for a counterattack after the Skye Guard drove them from Gray Valley City just hours earlier. They attacked into the industrial sector where a Skye medium company was executing a recon sweep. The two sides clashed and fed reinforcements into the battle, which got very deadly very quickly.

The table at the start of hostilities. The water represents the canal that bisects the city. The brown area represents a muddy water that overflowed from the canal when Marik forces opened the locks. The canal was impassible except by jumping or using one of the bridges. The flooded area followed a slightly stripped down version of the mud rules, where units could bog if they missed a skill check. Only a few were brave enough to move in the flooded area, and nobody bogged.


One of the bridges had been damaged in the earlier fighting. Police and fire on the scene.


Skye recon lance across the canal. This game was about sector control. Reinforcements from both sides had to enter on one of the roads. If an opposing player controlled the road, the reinforcements would have to come on at another point of entry. This gave the players incentive to attack across the bridges rather than just sit back and snipe at each other from opposite sides of the table. Prior to movement, the FWL got a pre-planned artillery mission from the guns that escaped the last mission. These fired for the first 2 turns and were fairly effective, damaging several Skye Mechs as they bunched up near the bridges.


Skye forces make a concerted push across the canal...


...and it hurts. First blood goes to the FWL.


Marik fire lance defends the crossing point and extracts a terrible toll on the light Skye forces. This became the Bridge of Death.



Even so, some got through and began to cause problems for the Dragoons, eventually pushing them back from the vital entry point. Reinforcements could now only come on in the center of the FWL table side. The Skye commanders also pushed a medium Battle lance across the bridge in the center, seeking to cut off the last reinforcement point that was held only by a lance of Ravens.


The next group of reinforcements followed up this effort and marched across into the melee.


On the FWL right, a Skye recon lance held up a massive Dragoon assault force until quite late in the game. Using their superior speed and jumping capability, they continued to contest the reinforcement point despite being demoralized by several Dragoon assault Mechs. Eventually the recon force was wiped out but they sold themselves admirably, preventing the bulk of the Dragoons from making a push across the canal.


Another problem for the Skye forces was the presence of rogue Word of Blake units that had fled the earlier fighting. These guys could pop up anywhere, and one small group of 3 Mechs entered to bolster the strong Marik presence on the right. These guys were a thorn in the Skye Guards' side, and the Guard eventually formed a firing line to finish off a particularly troublesome King Crab.


Eventually the weight of the Skye forces was too much for the Atrean Dragoons to bear, and they retreated, leaving several destroyed Mechs on the field. Of those that escaped the carnage, several are a point or two away from death, but others have very little damage, and there is still at least one WoB unit unaccounted for. We may see them in a future scenario (insert gamemaster's evil laugh here).

At some point, emergency power was turned on in the city and all the lighted terrain came to life. The big Mech bay made it's tabletop debut this game and it was the perfect place to hide a tiny Bluetooth speaker, so we had ambient battle sounds playing throughout the evening.


This was a brutal game, and everyone had a blast. Next time, we'll see if the Marauders can finish off the last of the Atrean Dragoons, or if they're just lost in the flood.

BlCharger

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #1 on: 13 November 2020, 19:10:26 »
This was a heck of a fun game to take part in.

I was the Skye Guards CO for this one. It didn't start out so hot as the pre-plotted artillery landed near some of my Mechs, damaging a few. My plan was to have the Recon Lance act as a harasser unit and delay the Marik forces as long as possible on the left flank. Meanwhile, the right and center would be my main efforts. I did send a Fire Lance to support the Recon lance once it arrived on the battlefield.

It turns out my Marik opponent had the same exact battle plan. Only, my Recon Lance ruined his plans as I got to deploy my forces first. He wanted to deploy forces where my Mechs were but couldn't because I controlled the junction.

My left flank held up a lot longer than I expected. 2 Firestarters and 2 Vulcans delayed a Thunderbolt, Awesome, Grand Titan, Stalker, Griffin, Shadow Hawk, Anvil, and a Crusader for several turns. Then the WoB force arrived and they didn't last much longer after that. My Fire Lance over there took withering fire as well and had to withdraw eventually. Only a battered Dervish remained on the battlefield. The Zeus and Salamander had to get out of Dodge unfortunately while a Blackjack was destroyed,

The center and right flank was bloody as you can see in the pictures. Though, the Flea caused a lot of trouble. We now call it the Flea of Death. The assault lances that arrived and the survivors of the first wave over the bridges wound up crushing the Marik forces, though most of the Ravens escaped. In my defense, I was more worried about the Orions, the Tempest, Trebuchets, and Archer.

My Marik opponent was forced to make a tough decision. Yes, he was able to take the left flank, but the other 2 crossings and road junctions were now held by me. He had sent the one assault lance in my direction along with the surviving WoB Mechs (King Crab and Light Ray) to help. However, the WoB King Crab was wrecked through air power and combined fire and the Light Ray soon followed. With the amount of forces his Mechs were facing over there, the decision was made to withdraw. His assault lance sustained only light damage, but were going to get hammered considering the amount of firepower I had left.

Overall, lots of fun and lots of carnage happened.
« Last Edit: 13 November 2020, 19:22:00 by BlCharger »
"The Ghost Bears are one big, happy family. I am the crazy, fun loving aunt." - Star Captain Peri Rand.
"You can't write history without including mankind's incessant need to kill one another." - Dr. Jessica Kimball (Hopefully soon to be my canon character)

glitterboy2098

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #2 on: 13 November 2020, 21:25:56 »
that bridge crossing was doomed from the start. were the mechs used WYSIWYG? if so i'd have sent the Uziel, blackjacks, and the hatchetman across the river using JJ's to provide cover and distraction for the non-jumpers. bunching up single file like that, with no cover, is a good way to get killed when you are doing a contested crossing. especially when artillery is in play.

BlCharger

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #3 on: 13 November 2020, 21:52:37 »
that bridge crossing was doomed from the start. were the mechs used WYSIWYG? if so i'd have sent the Uziel, blackjacks, and the hatchetman across the river using JJ's to provide cover and distraction for the non-jumpers. bunching up single file like that, with no cover, is a good way to get killed when you are doing a contested crossing. especially when artillery is in play.

Funny you should ask that. I had a partner for the battle. He was running those 2 lances. I have no idea why he didn't use JJs. In hindsight, I should have prodded him more about it, but c'est la vie. As for the artillery, it only lasted the first couple of turns before the artillery was no longer able to provide support.

We did take the bridge and road junction but the losses were heavier than they should have been. I agree there. Then again, I did say 'Get across that bridge' and he followed my orders lol.
"The Ghost Bears are one big, happy family. I am the crazy, fun loving aunt." - Star Captain Peri Rand.
"You can't write history without including mankind's incessant need to kill one another." - Dr. Jessica Kimball (Hopefully soon to be my canon character)

Kibutsu

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #4 on: 13 November 2020, 22:04:20 »
To be fair, when he started across the bridge the Marik Fire lance had yet to come onto the board. At the time, it looked like the best route across, otherwise he would have risked bogging down in the muddy, flooded area. With jump jets he could have easily gotten out but his TMM would have been reduced. As it was, he chose to sprint across the bridge and got caught half way. One Blackjack from that lance did survive but it was severely damaged with engine and MP criticals. The light Mechs survived the crossing and caused all kinds of havoc.

Elmoth

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #5 on: 14 November 2020, 09:55:35 »
Nice report! Liked it. My group tends to play tactically instead of fluff-centric, with most people shooting at a single mech until it goes down. Nice to see damage spread and duels playing out. I like it.

Dissolv

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #6 on: 15 November 2020, 10:13:26 »
I missed this one with serious regrets.  It would have been my first chance to game in months :-(

Quote
My group tends to play tactically instead of fluff-centric, with most people shooting at a single mech until it goes down. Nice to see damage spread and duels playing out. I like it.

This is a comment that made me think.  We use plenty of tactics.  Heck, I even wrote a whole series of Alpha Strike tactics for the Marauders players, as we sought to stay "one step ahead" of the ever improving Opfor players.  That is available on this forum here:  https://bg.battletech.com/forums/alpha-strike-101/alpha-strike-strategy-guide-marauder-edition/  (It isn't the greatest read in the world.  It was originally a set of emails sent out as we learned the Alpha Strike system).

What the campaign actually is, is a lore-dominant set of conditions.  Kibutsu will set up an interesting condition for a game, 99% of the time with limited information to both sides, surprises about the precise condition of the board, the enemy opfor, that kind of thing.   You are typically under some type of orders, as are the Op For.  It isn't just "kill the enemy" the majority of the time.  Sometimes things go off script and you are penalized "we didn't mean to hit to Hospital, honest!".   The penalties can be loss of scenario objectives to more long term and profound issues like losing trust of your employer and/or allied force commander(s).  It makes for a very tense and interesting game that winds up being lore friendly due to the conditions on the table, an the meta-concerns of the campaign itself, rather than lack of tactics.

Heck, these days just lining up and playing lance on lance at high noon over well known and clearly defined terrain seems very tame.

Example: We were on Aldebaran fighting to overthrow Capellan rule, and were doing pretty well. After pulling our employer out of the usual traitor/backstap shenanigans that Capellans thrive on, we went to work on the main continent until things settled down thanks to Typhoon season.  We rotated a second Company on world due to the lead Company needing time to recover and refit.  At this point we calculated that the Capellans should be getting really low on mechs, based on our allies reports about what was on planet. 

But when one of our allies heavy tank units was ambushed, despite the horrid weather of Typhoon season, we knew something was up.  Kibutsu said only to "pick two lances" and meet up with allied hover scouts at the site of the ambush.  At the time the available company had a heavy, medium, and light lance. Kibutsu didn't offer any further information except the weather was bad and getting worse, there were allied hovers on the way, and you had to find out what happened.  So right here, there is 1) Limited information, 2) A requirement to coordinate with a unit outside the chain of command, 3) A possibility of survivors to rescue from the tank unit, and 4) A choice of what to bring, which wound up shaping the entire engagement. 

Long story short, I went with the Light and Medium lances as this wasn't a straight combat mission, the hovers turned out to be reinforcements from the other side of the table, and the Op For turned out to be a recently shipped in, ultra high end (for the 3060's) Company.  The heavy tanks were long gone and burning; they were just being used as bait for the second ambush of the night.  Fortunately my EWAR elements were able to scout out the enemy before we were fully engaged, because they showed up only as blips on the map initially. 

We could easily withdraw before they got their Emperor and Thunder types into range, but then we realized, if we did that, we would leave the allied hovers at the mercy of these killers.  So to keep our Battalion in good graces with the rebel militia (our employers), we had to fight until we could at least get a radio message to the allied hovers to warn them off.  Which, in the Typhoon conditions, meant that they were going to wind up entering the table from the wrong side, and had to get off the opposite table edge, straight through the enemy ambush positions.  We had the choice to slip away unscathed, or attack to buy time for our allies, already smarting from the loss of their tank unit.

And that was how, with a force of two lances led by such prominent mechs as: a Cicada, Hermes, and a Shadowhawk, we wound up fighting a full company with the likes of Ti Ts'ang, Men-Shen, Thunder, Emperor, and a Huron Warrior.  At night.  In a Typhoon.






Elmoth

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #7 on: 15 November 2020, 11:33:05 »
I wa snot questioning your tactics at all. Only pointing out just my group tend stoned the battle with mechs dead or at full health. Ther Eos almost no in between status for mechs. They concentrate fire on a mech until itnis down. Then they love on the next. Being a lame GM myself Itend to spread the same among them or I would murder them and ths tis no fun. Unrealistic for sure but we are here to enjoy ourselves. When we play competitive I play like they do.

Dissolv

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Re: Motley's Marauders Back in Action
« Reply #8 on: 15 November 2020, 15:19:33 »
Yep, I get it. 

I'm just saying that is because you only have the very limited tactical goals on table of killing things.  The more complex the situation, the less easy it is to make optimal choices.  We've had to let a number of good mechs go for quite a wide variety of reasons, and some of ours have limped off the table due to Op For restrictions as well. 

The more "lore-friendly" environment also makes for a funner and more challenging game, is my point.   :thumbsup:

 

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