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Author Topic: Posted a review of Alpha Strike to a local group  (Read 2130 times)


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Posted a review of Alpha Strike to a local group
« on: 01 November 2014, 22:02:32 »
Guys apologies in advanced if I got something wrong , I am a Noob at Alpha strike. but I thought you guys might enjoy the view of  an old battletech player coming back to the game and experiencing alpha strike, I wrote this from memory from a game and a read through the rulebook.

Here is my review on Battltech Alpha Strike but first some background . I first saw Battletech at a gaming store in south florida  in the mid 1980s (the name of the store escapes me) . I purchased the game and went to a friend's house and started playing it the same day. There were no miniatures in those early battles as we use the card board cut outs that came with the game. We were hooked and played battle tech on and off until 1993 . At that time we were starting to play large battles, by large I mean 20+ mechs all represented with glorious ral partha miniatures. As you can imagine the games were taking 12 hours + if not more. It was a game designed to have a few mechs on either side and that was the reality of the rule set at the time , so If you wanted to recreate the fantastically large battles in the novels it simply was not feasible.
Enter Alpha Strike released in 2013.
Alpha Strike uses a formula to pare down a mech’s stats from classic battletech. The formula assigns a Point value as well as a movement, attack (at different ranges) armor and structure value. It also adds special abilities and you can even purchase different levels of experience for the mech warriors. I include a picture of the mech card below.
The mech cards are cool because it already includes all the pertinent information and you can use a dry erase marker to fill in the damage etc. Note however that the cards are not needed to play alpha strike, it’s more of a game aid. The Alpha Strike book comes with generic mech cards/sheets that can be photo copied and filled out.
On the card you will see the type of unit (in the example below a battlemech) , the size class, its movement in inches and the skill level of the pilot.
You will also see the base damage that the mech will do when it fires at short (s) medium (m) long (l) distance. The distances are measured as 6” being short, 6-24” being medium and 24 above being long.
Next on the card is the heat scale. Before you fire you may elect to boost the damage that will be dealt by adding heat points. If the mech in the example below reaches 4+ it shuts down .
Next it is the amount of armor points a mech has and the amount of internal structure points it has . Once the armor is checked off and the structure starts to get damaged you would roll on the critical hit table. So a HUGE difference between Alpha Strike and the traditional battletech is that you won’t be managing individual arms and legs and other things as they get damaged. It’s a total abstract number etc. This speeds up the game tremendously.

A typical round will have an initiative roll. Whomever wins the roll wins initiative and the other player goes first. One mech moves from opponent’s side and then you move your own mech. I read online recently where a player complained that initiative really did not matter, I will tell you it absolutely does as an example if I have 2 mechs remaining and my opponent has 1 and I lose initiative I would move my two mechs first (when you have an uneven number you move 2-1 etc) and then when he moves he can simply run or jump out of my line of sight, he shoots I don’t…that’s pretty big . So there are many nuances in movement.

Units will also have a “j” designated next to their movement if they could simply jump and ignore intervening terrain and mechs etc. After initiative and movement comes combat phase. A mech warrior pilot has a base number to hit, in the example below it is a 4. Which means he has to roll a 4 on 2D6 to hit. You then add modifiers that include, range, target movement (their total on card at the time not what they actually moved) , terrain, as well as specific things that might be going on as an example a fire control computer going down on your mech due to a critical hit etc.

If a hit is scored you would take your base damage for the range (in the example below its Short =4 medium=4 long =3 ) and you would mark off the corresponding bubbles starting with armor first then structure. If a structure is hit then the player damaged would roll on the critical hits table and all sorts of bad things can happen (from ammo explosions to weapon and engine hits or even the mech just being wiped out completely right there) . Finally there is an end phase, an example of things that can occur in and end phase are units being removed, mechs shutting down or other special things etc.

That in a nutshell is the basic game of alpha strike . Within this very basic structure there are many decisions to be made that will affect the game…do I pump up the heat now that I have an easy shot at my opponents back ? do I settle down and regain some of my heat back on a cool down? Also the order in which you actually move the mechs is huge as a damaged mech may go last during your movement giving him the best chance not to be swarmed. It’s a very cool chess match. Also terrain plays a big role with cover etc.
The exciting thing about alpha strike is that it can be much more complex as you add and play with more rules. Part of the basic game is physical combat but I will review that separately on a later post. Other things that can be added to the basic game are special abilities for the mechs, these include a case for ammunition explosion control, energy that ignores ammo explosions , heat sinks , melee (indicates mech equipped for melee) over heat for longer periods etc (a very long list of abilities and weapon systems , there are dozens actually )

There are objective rules, types of jumps and mechanized armor support, infantry with transports, underwater attacks, there are network rules, aerospace rules, advanced movement modes like climbing , evading, leaping and falls from above (death form above in basic game also!) sprinting,
There are advanced terrain rules that deal with bridges, buildings, snow, gravel pits, hazardous liquids, heavy industrial, ice jungle, magma, mud etc (and more)
Artillery rules and alternate munitions, (this is very cool and is very in depth) from laser guided bombs to flechette for anti infantry and thunder weapons.
There are rules for battlefield intelligence, concealed units, ejecting mechwarriros (so they can fight another day) ECM rules..expanded ground ranges and fire tables. Targeting and tracking systems.
So my take is simple….It’s a fantastic addition to the battletech universe allowing a player to be able to fight large battles in under 2 hours.
There is also a master unit list that includes all mechsin the battle tech universe and their stats are included for Alpha Strike.

« Last Edit: 01 November 2014, 23:47:36 by mk2 »