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Author Topic: From BMR to Total Warfare - Could it have been done differently? Vehicles  (Read 909 times)

Daemion

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For a moment, I thought somebody had beaten me to the notion.  But, Fear Factory was more interested in math values. 

I'm more interested in a myriad of things, including meta-gaming, personal experiences in either system, looking at the design philosophies that filled our TRos and whether those designs should have gone a different direction once people started playing mobile compared to twisting the rules to fit a firing line approach.  Would there be a way to limit certain things that were once standardized, but have been nerfed or outright excluded in the changes between BMR(r) and Total Warfare?  And, finally, I'd love to see what fixes may have been tried by others, whether they worked, and maybe come up with some sort of middle ground.

This comment was what prompted me to start this discussion:
The Hovernerf ws entirely because of the legend of the Savannahmaster Swarm and the hot-take that hovercraft were the 'only vehicles worth taking' (*they weren't, but people often made the claim on the fanboards, usually based on theorycrafting instead of actual play since nobody who made that claim were, in fact, heavy enough users of vees to know what works and what doesn't.)

The shift with the damage on all vees was from Maxtech (Maximum tech, I forget the catalog number).  The change DID fix one issue players had been noticing:

There wasn't really a role for Assault sized tanks with low speed.

Let me explain;

In BMR(r) era, your conventional vees were vulnerable to one of the least expensive mainstream options in the game, and 'stand and deliver' was a great way to kill your own units if you were leaning on them.  Effective tank play required you to keep moving them.  This becomes a problem when you can't get a TMM better than your penalty for flanking, and you have to flank to get a TMM at all because you're slow.

Not much of a problem for 'mechs, 'mechs are durable, they can keep fighting with ridiculous amounts of damage.  But it's a major issue if a hit (or near miss) from an SRM loaded with infernoes can brew you up.  Even an Alacorn becomes something of a liability if an unmodified COM-2D commando can kill it in a single strike and doesn't even have to hit it directly.

Just hitting the hex is enough, and hitting that hex can turn a good ambush position into a 'gotta get out of here' moment even if the first survival roll passes.

very inconvenient if you sank a huge chunk of your BV into that 3/5 or 2/3 assault tank.  Makes people upset when you do that. (I know this, I've had tables flipped on me in the past over it.)

TW's change allows Assault Tanks to have a working role.  The new working role, incidentally, fits very well with single-mapsheet play.  Roll up to where you want it to be the rest of the game,  Park, and stay parked.  most of the crits will go to the movement system you're not using, the rest allows you to sit there absorbing fire on more-points-per-ton armor, soaking hits and firing...which was outright suicidal under BMR(r) play because under BMR(r) assault tanks were basically the most vulnerable type on the map despite the weight in armor, but they're also among the most popular types that developers and players generate (and have always BEEN among the most popular ones to generate.)

Stationary play is very popular.  Movement/mobility players tend to actually be pretty damn rare, everyone does their movement up to the point they can reach 'medium or better' and slug it out.  the TW rules reward this by making it a viable strategy instead of a mistake, and it's all got to do with how they reallocated the hit locations and damage (and removed the threat of infernoes and fires).

It goes without saying that there are things about total Warfare which I like, and things which I don't.  A lot of it stems from a mental image of how I viewed the relationship behind high failure rates of the game applied to a universe that is supposed to be hyper-futuristic with high-powered laser and beam weapons, among other things. 

I made a brief list of what that was, and how my group tackled it in another thread:
...{O}ne of the campaigns my group has running is a '5th Succession War' idea where we have a bunch of mini campaigns on any front.  The last set of games I ran in this setting, I was using vehicles as more of a delaying defense against a Hero Mech force.  One of the things I found when piecemealing a company of Harassers to the front 5-Mech element is that I prefer the LRM variant much more than the SRM or Laser options.  And, I would keep them outside the medium range bracket if I could. 

The other ones had to get in dangerously close to be effective, and would easily get cut down by heavier weapons with better short range brackets, or pulse weapons.  Because of high TMMs, it would be about 50/50.  But, for thin-skinned Harassers, that's too close.  Whereas LRM-10s, being inside short range was a bad Idea.  Kinda wishing they had missile spam in pairs of 5s.  One thing I noticed is that the ammo bin was never really low on ammo for the LRM Harasser.  The way I ran them, coming in, getting off a shot or two, then bugging off the map, hit or miss, not only would I have many rounds to work with then next time I dashed them in, but keeping at long range with High TMMs meant I would only lose a tank from the luckiest of hits or from really skilled gunners. (We run random skills more often than not.)

Then, I discovered the Flamer Harasser.  I'd only run that one as a drone, but it hit all the right points.  Lots of one gun, and one that can have a ridiculous impact on Mechs that run hot.

I also noticed something that I had forgotten what we had used this setting for: A tweak of unit rules from TW. 
There were some things we liked from TW.  And there were some things we didn't.

Things we liked:
- Infantry with alternate motive types.
- Randomized motive damage.
- [pending]

Things we didn't like:
- Hovercraft had to not only make PSRs to avoid side slipping when using flank speed, but also had a straight +3 motive damage penalty when rolling on the motive table.  Each on its own wasn't a problem.  But, both together was too much.
- Vehicles taking damage down oblique sides which should be, by all accounts, a miss due to the magic nature of the armor and mobility.
- Tech Manual Infantry Construction System.  Let's face it, I did play with the Dark Age stuff, and was expecting to make Hover-craft Infantry in the style of the Hover-bike squad.  Lo and behold, that wasn't strictly true.  And, there were some other odd mental hurdles to get the stats by life meter.
- Terrain Factor.  The amount of damage required to take down light woods, let alone heavy was weird.  And, for a 'tournament rule-book', I found the extra record keeping mindboggling. 
- Partial Cover.  It makes some sense when you're fighting among buildings and you want to track whether a stray shot hurt a building or not.  I can't help but wonder if they were thinking woods that are acting as partial cover would take damage similarly.  But, woods don't provide partial cover, in any version. So...

Since this is about vehicles, that's the only fix I'll bring up. 

The fix for the Hover nerf was pretty simple:
- Some tanks are highly mobile with great control features and programming.  They get the +3 hover motive damage mod, but they don't have to make a DSR when using Flank MP. 
- Other Tanks are very well protected, but not as nimble.  They don't have a +3 motive damage, but they do have to make a DSR to avoid side slipping while using flank MP.

We decided to make it based on Tech Base.  I let my Hell's Horses fan make the decision, and wierdly enough, he gave the clans the requirement for making a DSR at speed.  I pointed out the general skill levels for tank warriors in Clan Toumans to confirm his choice, but he stuck with it.

When it came to damaging vees, we stuck to the old BMR vehicle hit tables, and substituted the random motive hits for all motive results on that chart. 

So, these periphery Harassers were IS base designs with the +3 mod to the random motive damage chart.  I probably should have lost a few more Harassers in those games, because motive results did happen.


You may ask why we didn't do something similar for Tracked and Wheeled vehicles regarding the mod versus mobility.  But, the Hovercraft was the only vehicle type that had the side-slip issue.  Since we've taken a large break from this setting until recently, I may propose that that application could be applied in cases where those motive types would suffer a skid. 

(Aside: We have long since enacted the house rule that dedicated combat units, like BattleMechs and Combat Vehicles, ignore the skidding rules.  Hundreds of years of programming should account for that.  Sideslips are also the simple one hex off as per the old VToL rules.)

So, that's my general contribution to 'what my group did'.  But, I'm more interested in how things work, how they used to work, and how that should have had an impact on designs.  I'll bring that up in a pending post.  I look askance at some of the choices made overall for TW from BMR(r) and MaxTech.

Plus there's this, after discussing someones tweak to fires and their effect on Vehicles:
There is one other option to consider:  Giving the crew members individual pilot damage charts.  Then, they take damage based on if they had to pass from one or more fire hexes but ended in a non-fire hex or if they had to end in a fire hex. This would be fun for 'super tanks'. 

Because, that's another thing to consider: Tech Advancement.  Between the BMR and TW, I looked at the rules changes as a sort of timeline advancement, showing both tech improvements in some places and tech regressions in others.  That was my initial approach.  But, that changed when it became apparent that BattleTech: Randall N Bills edition was going to be the new end-all-be-all of BattleTech Combat throughout all time.  The BMR couldn't be a set of rules applied to tech
from an earlier Golden Era.

A lot of things in TW feel like a heavy tech regression, especially for BattleMechs.  You could cut down a swath of woods with a PPC or two.  Now, it takes 4 to 9 PPC shots.  Said PPC could wipe out half a platoon in cover, or most of it out in the open.  Now, it can almost certainly kill one or two, with no chance for extras.  Tanks were more susceptible to the engine, fuel, or ammo overloading, or the crew succumbing to electrical discharge from a PPC shot.  Now, not as likely.

Some of the things could easily be viewed as progress in tech, like armor kit and training for infantry, and better protection for vehicle crews, and maybe better construction techniques.  But, you can't upgrade trees.

I would love to see vehicle crews track 'pilot damage' with the same values as Mech pilots, but in similar methods.  So, crew hit results would damage each person.  Then you'd roll consciousness checks for each member damaged. If your gunner(s) go out, you can't shoot whichever weapon they're attached to.  If the driver dozes off, the tank suffers random movement until it comes to a stop. If the commander takes a nap, tank coordination suffers.

Of course, you can't run vehicles in numbers with this kind of detail, though I welcome it for conventional forces, as well as something similar for infantry.

Anyway, those are some suggestions.

At some point, I want to pick apart some of the design choices for the rules that are, maybe speculate why they were made from the rules that were, and see if there couldn't be something else done to find a nicer middle ground.  Fire is one of those things.  And, I'm wondering how we can limit the use of something as devastating as infernos against conventional forces beyond 'role play' reasons.

One other thing I want to discuss is the notion of TurreTech warfare with heavy tanks, and whether we need to add the extra sides or not to make it effective.  I know Cannonshop brought up the notion of mobile tank warfare by rule necessity versus fixing the rules to allow for static firing lines.  From that I wonder if there shouldn't be a shift in in-universe designs to make either version more effective.

So, to give a rough idea about design philosophies in the age of mobile conventional warfare, where we assume you probably lose a tank or more:  knowing that, I want them to be able to be more effective, and the Flamer Harasser should be your guide.  Weapon spam. Instead of 2 SRM-6s, how about 6 SRM-2s?  Instead of a single LRM-10 or -20, how about 2 or 4 LRM-5s?  The bigger size launchers have one benefit for Mechs, and that's the lesser heat output compared to a larger number of smaller launchers.  Vehicles don't have to worry about that with ballistic and missile weapons. 

And, if armor can't be used from across locations, would a firing line style of combat really be nerfed, or is the many designs that feature a lot of short-range firepower the wrong design philosophy?  Example, give a 100 ton tank with a 2/3 movement profile a single Light Gauss Rifle with a couple tons of ammo, a machinegun with half a ton of ammo, both on a turret, and them max the armor.  Just saying. 

And, everyone knows that LRM carriers are meant for Indirect fire.  But, SRM Carriers probably should be filled with One-shot launchers.

The other thing I want to look into is whether BTU concerns, like rarity of infernos or how they're frowned on, should be part of the core rules for pick-up games, and how to implement them.

I notice a lot of people want to make vehicles both more survivable, and yet still vulnerable.  I'm looking more for consistency between game and setting, and maybe look at how that should be reflected in unit design.

I really am out of time, and I have an employee handbook I have to read for my new job tomorrow.  Don't know how soon I will be able to get back to this.  But, I'm looking forward to this discussion.

Commence.

 
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Cannonshop

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IMNSHO, a lot of it comes down to over-all playing style and what sorts of tactical thinking players develop, that influences what  rulesets they tend to prefer.

Or in the case of the comment you sampled;  Mobility versus Static.  Players who think in mobility terms usually don't have nearly as many problems running in BMR(R) style matches, than players whose mentality slides more toward 'stand and deliver' as a goal.

In BMR(r) the rules punish using tanks in a 'stationary' role with inferno rules and much deadlier, simpler, shorter, dice cycles.  Hits under BMR(r) tend to be far more decisive.  You can get a battalion-sized fight to a decision point in under 4 hours without having to abstract things, because it is deadlier, but on the same hook, that decisiveness isn't necessarily going to be toward a loss for the side using tanks.  the pressure-curve is more 'do or die' with an emphasis on 'die'.

The downside, is that below a certain speed (4/6), you might as well have put that BV into random minefields most of the time, because those deadlier rules make standing still a suicide pact, and you're taking hits to your gunnery if you actually move any appreciable amount.

this is not consistent with how running Battlemechs teaches players to think-especially assault 'mechs, where movement really exists only to get to that optimal range and stay there, stationary, while rolling dice on the vast array of heat-generating weapons you're carrying.

Running Vees in BMR(r) is really a mobility game-you can't afford to sit still, so every movement turn is part of your planned array of 'next moves', you're not going to park unless you suffer something catastrophic.  in this sense, running tanks in BMR, even heavy tanks, is more akin to how you run light 'mechs-you're not holding still unless you're forced to, and that doesn't tend to sit well with players whose habits were formed by stand-and-deliver-at-optimum range style of assault 'mech play and it doesn't tend to sit well on smaller maps (even when you're running tanks like the O.G. Patton, Rommel, or Manticore) where you can lose the match by running out of real-estate.



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DevianID

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So for me, using vehicles in the current rules goes hand in hand with using forced withdraw.  This combination means that when a vee is immobilized from motive damage, the crew bails and the tank is removed.  This brings back the BMR(r) style of vehicle play where every turn a vehicle has an 8+ to die, BUT unlike BMR, the vee player has more control.  If you let me flank your hover, now it dies on a 7+ (+3 for hover, +2 for side), thus you need to keep your hover face on, and move it appropriately.  Same with your super heavy tanks.  If I flank that 200+ armor Brutus, then it gets immobilized on a 9+ now, so you need to keep your tank moving and protect it's flanks in the current rules.

Some people dont like forced withdraw, and yeah I get it.  But, without forced withdraw, vehicles are just armor bricks, and your crews die when the vee loses all crit slots in a location.  Its super turret tech, and vehicles naturally trend towards slow armor bricks to last as long as possible while immobilized before your crew dies, or super fast designs that ignore armor as getting hit from a flank is a death sentence anyway, so just full glass cannon spam.  Both feel terrible/exploitative of game mechanics on the table, plus in a campaign having a 100% attrition rate on vehicle crews cause you dont use forced withdrawal is pretty bad play--in a chaos campaign or campaign ops crew costs points, and elite crew are a real resource.  Tossing them is wasteful in the extreme.

Cannonshop

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So for me, using vehicles in the current rules goes hand in hand with using forced withdraw.  This combination means that when a vee is immobilized from motive damage, the crew bails and the tank is removed.  This brings back the BMR(r) style of vehicle play where every turn a vehicle has an 8+ to die, BUT unlike BMR, the vee player has more control.  If you let me flank your hover, now it dies on a 7+ (+3 for hover, +2 for side), thus you need to keep your hover face on, and move it appropriately.  Same with your super heavy tanks.  If I flank that 200+ armor Brutus, then it gets immobilized on a 9+ now, so you need to keep your tank moving and protect it's flanks in the current rules.

Some people dont like forced withdraw, and yeah I get it.  But, without forced withdraw, vehicles are just armor bricks, and your crews die when the vee loses all crit slots in a location.  Its super turret tech, and vehicles naturally trend towards slow armor bricks to last as long as possible while immobilized before your crew dies, or super fast designs that ignore armor as getting hit from a flank is a death sentence anyway, so just full glass cannon spam.  Both feel terrible/exploitative of game mechanics on the table, plus in a campaign having a 100% attrition rate on vehicle crews cause you dont use forced withdrawal is pretty bad play--in a chaos campaign or campaign ops crew costs points, and elite crew are a real resource.  Tossing them is wasteful in the extreme.

Thing is, you don't have to use them as turrets, it's just that the TW rules make that the optimum choice.  Old-school tactics of continuous movement still work, they're just not as easily effective (meaning automatically effective) as parking a brick and turreting.

In a sense, the Devs wanted Assault Tanks to have a role, because in BMR(r) they were a liability instead of an asset, but they're a POPULAR thing for Devs to make and players to crave, (sort of like that no-fat sweetener that gives you cancer.)

The demonstrated impact of TW's rules changes shows where the emphasis was-in other words, small map engagements with ultra-heavy, slow units that in BMR(r) were a liability because they were mostly good at dying without doing much relative to their BV value.

To give an example of this, take a lance of Alacorns.  These are potent units, they have three gauss rifles each and they cost a lot of BV., but they top out at 3/5, and can be slaughtered outright by a pair of Commandos, or a couple of Wasps, 20 ton light 'mechs tat aren't even particularly good performers and are dirt-common.  Against a 35 ton Jenner (3025 model, with the SRM pack) it was even WORSE, because those Alacorns might not even get a firing solution before they're on fire, against old-school H-7s it's even MORE likely they'll die before they get to make good use of that triple gauss rifles, and it's all spelled out 'inferno', and if you keep them in motion with a TMM? well...then they're having a hard time hitting anything AND they're still slow enough to be pretty easy pots for an opponent using something cheaper.

and in terms of canon designs, the Alacorn under BMR(r) is a powerful unit with good range.  It just doesn't have any strategic or tactical mobility.  under Total Warfare, you roll your lance of Alacorns to a good spot, put them in park, and they're going to be a major force factor that's super-hard-to-kill while delivering LOTS of headcapper damage.

(I haven't touched on the other BMR(r) weapon of note for killing lots of slow vehicles quickly, because fast LBX platforms back in teh day were pretty rare, but...)

and if you didn't run infernoes, cluster weapons were extemely lethal to vehicles as well, thanks to having some crits on the main chart that were moved down a few steps under TW, and made your slow tanks even MORE vulnerable.

which is why so many players opted for hovertanks-they could get good TMMs.  The sideslip addition was largely included to deal with this, and it is why the TW rules are so punitive-because hovertanks were hard targets and dominant.  (though not always dominant.  I had plenty of success using tracks instead, and I wasn't the only one.)

The key issue here, was that in BMR(r) play, armor was for when your speed and movement choices didn't keep you from being hit, and being hit was BAD. Staying in one spot was suicide.

This paradigm was fundamentally what the Devs were trying to change, because most players at the time played on a single mapsheet, and wanted to play static contests (Hence the predominance at the time of icebox alpha-strike pulseboats and the popularity of standard-engine 'zombie' builds on the forums of that era, even on the Clan boards.)

Why did they want to change it? because not a whole lot of players are willing to play a mobility game, and you can run out of real-estate pretty quickly if you do play a mobility game on the most common map layout of one sheet wide by two sheets long.

The rule-changes were done to enable players to play the way they wanted to play-park and shoot.

I actually witnessed this in action more than once, including during Randall's games at that place in (was it Redmond? Bellevue?) large map play just isn't popular enough, and 'bigger must be better', because it's the popular choice.

I mean, they went so far as to change VTOL rules just to make the Yellowjacket viable, whereas in previous eras it was the best way to distribute gauss rifles as salvage for the other team to collect (Or kill your aircrew) due to lack of mobility and strong desirability to shoot down (draws fire immediately, can't avoid it, and under BMR won't survive it.)

The thrust of the TW rules was almost entirely to make Heaviest units viable with vehicles, and thus simplify things like BV balancing-your bigger BV is supposed to be more useful, and it wasn't for Tanks in BMR(r) play.

It's interesting you use Forced withdrawal just to shorten games.  That's kind of tackin on an add-on to try and accomplish what previous rulesets did by default.  I've found that using actual objectives works pretty well for shortening engagements, but it creates a problem if your optimum position is parked, because you can fail the objective by doing the sensible thing.

The major problem is risk appetite.  I was successful with Vehicle units because I'm willing to lose units to achieve objectives, but not to lose them wastefully.  (Hence, in BMR(r) I didn't like taking Assault tanks at all, and had a minimum movement profile that could play offense or defense in a mobility game of 4/6.  slower and I'll just go without.)

Most players don't have much appetite for risk, and the TW rules favor that low appetite for risk by rewarding 'park and roll dice' play with vehicles.

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May your chains set lightly upon you,
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Charistoph

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In our weekly games, we include Forced Withdrawal, but it is tied to the victory conditions of the game.  Our "Battlemaster" cut his teeth during the Dark Age, so many of the competitive rules came from there.

When not doing a specialized event, here are the Victory Conditions we use:
      1) Units Destroyed: Total BV of opposing units destroyed.
      2) Control of the Battlefield: Total BV of friendly units not in withdrawal plus half value of withdrawing opposing units not in their controller's DZ or withdrawn.
      3) Control of Deployment Zone (DZ): 1 point per friendly unit that starts and ends a turn in the opposing DZ.

Forced Withdrawal becomes an objective for both players at this point.  If you can't kill a target, getting them to withdraw is the next best thing, however, you don't want them off the table before the end of the game (and we do timed games to get more in on a night). 

Meanwhile, Forced Withdrawal doesn't require one to move quickly off the board, just a little every turn.  So do you have them run off the board, to avoid their BV being scored against you, but deprive yourself of its firepower; or do you slowly withdraw trying to time the exit to being just before the game ends?

Also with that last VC, it pretty much demands a fast unit, be it a Fireball, Spider, or a Savannah Master, to be getting to the back side and staying there (more or less) as much as possible.  So while having a bunch of slow pounders will generally do good in securing the first 2 VCs, your opponent could be in your back side zipping around while also trying to get backshots on your slow movers.


As to the original question, of course it could have been done differently.  I hate dealing with the skids with Flanking Hovercraft, VTOLs, and WiGEs.  It's left me out of position a time or two.  But if one plans well enough ahead, it's not THAT big of a problem.  Short distances between turns or having your last movement point be the turn you need solves most of those problems.

Maybe there should be a Quirk and/or SPA that could assist with countering that?
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Cannonshop

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In our weekly games, we include Forced Withdrawal, but it is tied to the victory conditions of the game.  Our "Battlemaster" cut his teeth during the Dark Age, so many of the competitive rules came from there.

When not doing a specialized event, here are the Victory Conditions we use:
      1) Units Destroyed: Total BV of opposing units destroyed.
      2) Control of the Battlefield: Total BV of friendly units not in withdrawal plus half value of withdrawing opposing units not in their controller's DZ or withdrawn.
      3) Control of Deployment Zone (DZ): 1 point per friendly unit that starts and ends a turn in the opposing DZ.

Forced Withdrawal becomes an objective for both players at this point.  If you can't kill a target, getting them to withdraw is the next best thing, however, you don't want them off the table before the end of the game (and we do timed games to get more in on a night). 

Meanwhile, Forced Withdrawal doesn't require one to move quickly off the board, just a little every turn.  So do you have them run off the board, to avoid their BV being scored against you, but deprive yourself of its firepower; or do you slowly withdraw trying to time the exit to being just before the game ends?

Also with that last VC, it pretty much demands a fast unit, be it a Fireball, Spider, or a Savannah Master, to be getting to the back side and staying there (more or less) as much as possible.  So while having a bunch of slow pounders will generally do good in securing the first 2 VCs, your opponent could be in your back side zipping around while also trying to get backshots on your slow movers.


As to the original question, of course it could have been done differently.  I hate dealing with the skids with Flanking Hovercraft, VTOLs, and WiGEs.  It's left me out of position a time or two.  But if one plans well enough ahead, it's not THAT big of a problem.  Short distances between turns or having your last movement point be the turn you need solves most of those problems.

Maybe there should be a Quirk and/or SPA that could assist with countering that?

I find with VTOL or Hover units, that starting with a decent cruising speed and planning my movements ahead of time means I only end up risking sideslip when I get impatient.  Flanking doesn't do nice things to your gunnery, and shots that connect are worth more than higher potential damage shots that don't.

thus, I really don't have the same problems with Sideslip that players who think "it's fast, so I gotta flank everywhere" do.  (Seriously, now, how hard is it to remember "Flanking causes PSR rolls on hovercraft and VTOLs, missed PSR means you sideslip.")

There are SOME units that are worthless if you don't flank, because they don't rack up even enough TMM to balance out against the Plus-3 for LBX clusters, or have other issues (Looks rather nastily at the Jellowbucket-base model), but those units are...well...poorly designed and probably worth avoiding under most circumstances anyway.

(the base model Yellowjacket being a prime example of a unit that you have to build your entire force around to use, and that force is usually better off without it, than carrying it on your TO&E.  Some units are just like that, though most of those tend to not have the glowing and wholly unearned praise in the TRO entry.)

so I would say I'm not in agreement with removing Sideslip as it sits in TW-it forces you to think through what you're doing, and thinking through things is always better than being able to run on autopilot while you're thinking about last year's world series or something.

but back to my argument for a moment:  Total Warfare's changes to vehicle tables created an opportunity for units that were...well...grossly underperforming.  This is a simple fact-Assault tanks were an embarrassment under BMR(r)-they had huge damage potential and lots of armor and died just as easily as quikscell's worst product (sometimes MORE easily-if the ohter side had good gunners, or was actually kitting to fight vehicles with Infernoes and LBX's and SRM racks and so on-crit seekers, iow).

The TW rules made them viable by giving them a useful role.  That it added extra dice rolling, and additional record keeping, and you can't print the Vee sheet and the tables on the same one-sided 8 1/2 x 11" printer paper is just what it is.  Likewise, the added time to get to a decisive engagement is an unfortunate, but unavoidable, consequence of MAKING Assault Tanks (that is, tanks with speeds below 4/6) viable.

Likewise the Rotor Nerf made slower VTOLs into Viable units.  Not GREAT units, but not the sort of thing that should've had it's BV expressed with negative numbers (which they were under BMR(r))...at the cost of extra complexity in the rules, gray areas, and additional record keeping or lookups.

Just how it is-you can have hard, fast and simple, but some of your premium premier showcase units end up being...less than average in actual tabletop performance, or you can make them viable in a specific role at the price of added complexity, rules checks, pages of tables to keep track of (or have on quick reference) and more dice rolling.

It's just how it is-the BMR(r) vehicle rules were built to allow larger games with a faster win/loss curve and more brutal combat.  As i Mentioned before, battalion-scale fights ending in four hours or less (Had a few that only made it four turns before the outcome was clear, including a couple where the vehicle player won.)

I mentioned "Risk Appetite".  Most Battletech Players are risk averse-they're not aggressive unless they've got equal numbers and superior equipment (and P/G scores), and sometimes not even then.  I prospered under BMR(r) running mostly-vehicles-and-conventionals because I'm not averse to losing units as long as I can achieve my objective.

as is often the case, most of the time I was able to push that risk aversion to pull out a win-by pressuring the player with aggressive movement.  It's amazing how well you can screw up someone by having a plan and contingencies-and sticking to it in the face of lost initiative-the psychology of 'person initiative' versus 'dice rolled initiative' played a factor then, and often plays a factor in the present.  (IOW the Mobility tactics I was using before, still work. It's just that I CAN park and shoot now, where that was suicide before.)

now to give you some context:

My favorite units are not hovercraft.  They weren't when we were under BMR(r) and they're still not. I've never seen the Savannahmaster-Swarm actually WORK instead of failing gloriously.  I use Tracked tanks.

I use them a LOT. 

My favorites from canon are:

Myrmidon
Manticore
Patton
Po

notice a trend here?  Average-big guns, average speed (4/6 to 5/8), turreted. Built to play offense, because my go-to with tanks is "move every turn" even though I don't need to do that under Total Warfare.

Key here is that tracks can go places Hovers just can't (and wheeled can't).  Open water might be kinda cool if you have a big water-feature on the map, but most playing spaces don't.  But even the base maps have trees and hills.

Tracks can go where hovers can not.  Tracks can go where wheels don't. ergo, I use them a lot, and save the 'quicker' running gear for things like carrying Infantry or for specialist roles.

Likewise on the fast end, I prefer VTOL to Hovercraft and did so even under BMR(r)-because they can get me a look in double-blind where a hover can't.  (fewer things block your recon line-of-sight), and they make good harassment at range if the map's big enough (not to mention spotting for artillery).

but my preferences were established under BMR(r) rules, which were significantly deadlier rules than Total Warfare or Maxtech options.  I developed a lot of my habits, as Daemion observed, under conditions where "Move or die" was a very real statement for Vees...and in the present, under TW rules, the only real difference is that my 'move or die' style creates psychological pressure on my opponent instead of being a reaction to pressure on myself.

I have comfortably gotten bored waiting for someone to blow through the armor on a parked Alacorn before.  it's a viable tactic, it's just boring as hell for me...but the newer ruleset makes the tactic viable.

which means I can't really criticize it, because it works the way I'm pretty sure the devs intended.  I just found it draws everything out.
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Fear Factory

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Only math I was interested in was how the tables I made up are compared with Total Warfare. Like, how crits happen, motive hits, losing weapons, etc.
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Atarlost

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I mentioned "Risk Appetite".  Most Battletech Players are risk averse-they're not aggressive unless they've got equal numbers and superior equipment (and P/G scores), and sometimes not even then.  I prospered under BMR(r) running mostly-vehicles-and-conventionals because I'm not averse to losing units as long as I can achieve my objective.

I think that's something that was always intended.  The lore told you to be risk averse with your battlemechs and fusion vehicles.  They were rare and precious gems.  Especially back when the original lore said there were no working factories left, just spare parts stockpiles. 

Alsadius

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TBH, overly "turret"-like tanks is perhaps best solved with a tweak taken from the HBS videogame - physical damage is doubled against vehicles. An assault tank that stays stationary long enough for an assault mech to get into kicking range will die very quickly. (That 95-ton Alacorn will be one-shotted by a 95-ton kick if it hits the rear, for example).

They'll still get attacks off, as the mechs close in, so they can still be used that way. But if they just sit there and don't move, then they're mincemeat once the range is down.

CVB

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Interesting idea. Fitting with the very first Mackie test combat run that ended with an old drone Merkava stomped flat by the 'mech.
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Atarlost

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TBH, overly "turret"-like tanks is perhaps best solved with a tweak taken from the HBS videogame - physical damage is doubled against vehicles. An assault tank that stays stationary long enough for an assault mech to get into kicking range will die very quickly. (That 95-ton Alacorn will be one-shotted by a 95-ton kick if it hits the rear, for example).

They'll still get attacks off, as the mechs close in, so they can still be used that way. But if they just sit there and don't move, then they're mincemeat once the range is down.

That 95 ton Alacorn doesn't have to stay still for an assault mech to get into kicking range, though.  It isn't fast enough to kite most of them in circles so it'll run into the map edge and there are more Battlemasters and Zeuses it can't kite even in ideal circumstances on rolling mapsheets than there are things like the Annihilator that it can kite in circles on a large enough flat plain.  This becomes more of an anti-slow tank rule (in which case why not go back to BMR?) than an anti-bunkering rule. 

What about instead considering ground vehicles that have not moved stationary targets and offering a chamoflage offset for tanks that have not moved since the start of the scenario (and thus started out under camo nets). 

Cannonshop

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That 95 ton Alacorn doesn't have to stay still for an assault mech to get into kicking range, though.  It isn't fast enough to kite most of them in circles so it'll run into the map edge and there are more Battlemasters and Zeuses it can't kite even in ideal circumstances on rolling mapsheets than there are things like the Annihilator that it can kite in circles on a large enough flat plain.  This becomes more of an anti-slow tank rule (in which case why not go back to BMR?) than an anti-bunkering rule. 

What about instead considering ground vehicles that have not moved stationary targets and offering a chamoflage offset for tanks that have not moved since the start of the scenario (and thus started out under camo nets).

adds too much complexity to a system that's already had complexity added just to make slow assault tanks relevant assets.  The major problem is that people WANT variety, but they also want rules they can learn quickly and remember clearly without a host of exceptions and exemptions.

Basically, the more chapters and pages you have to reference when playing with a newer player, the worse the problems get in terms of retention of playerbase and expansion of the same (and why a lot of people complain about 'clunky' rules as we currently have.)

The 'turreting' thing was, I suspect, an intent based action to make conventionals more appealing to risk-averse players or players who like to play on small maps (which is often a financial decision-mapsheets cost money.)

as I mentioned-other tactics that worked before when using Tanks still work now, but a tactic that didn't work at all and was in practical terms suicidally stupid, now works, and is the optimum tactic with a specific unit type. 

That isn't necessarily a bad thing, certainly not from the perspective of the people who championed integrating Maxtech into Total Warfare's core rules in the first place, it is simply a thing you and I, as players, should be aware of, and have it inform your choices when it comes to how to deal with it.

Certain moves no longer work and certain systems no longer work the same way-that doesn't mean there aren't options, but it does mean those options take longer and more thought to implement.
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Alsadius

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That 95 ton Alacorn doesn't have to stay still for an assault mech to get into kicking range, though.  It isn't fast enough to kite most of them in circles so it'll run into the map edge and there are more Battlemasters and Zeuses it can't kite even in ideal circumstances on rolling mapsheets than there are things like the Annihilator that it can kite in circles on a large enough flat plain.  This becomes more of an anti-slow tank rule (in which case why not go back to BMR?) than an anti-bunkering rule. 

What about instead considering ground vehicles that have not moved stationary targets and offering a chamoflage offset for tanks that have not moved since the start of the scenario (and thus started out under camo nets).

Since we're talking about unofficial rules anyway, then it's all up to the discretion of your play group. If you don't like it, take a different approach. (Yours seems reasonable too, IMO.)

It doesn't strike me as a huge problem that they're vulnerable in some cases, tbh. That's why mechs get used. But if you're using a bunch of Battlemasters and Zeuses to get kicks in on one Alicorn, then that one tank is making such a mess of your opponent's gameplay that you ought to be getting your BV's worth just from the disruption alone(well, and the guns).

DevianID

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Quote
What about instead considering ground vehicles that have not moved stationary targets
I have seen it said that all vehicles should be -2 easier to hit, as they dont maneuver as well as a mech, but +1 better at shooting as they are more stable.  This means that when they are immobilized, they are going from a -2 to a -4, not as big of a change, and they keep the +1 bonus to shoot.  Something to make non-mechs act a little different on the table, which would be simple to remember as it applies to all vehicles.

Cannonshop

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I have seen it said that all vehicles should be -2 easier to hit, as they dont maneuver as well as a mech, but +1 better at shooting as they are more stable.  This means that when they are immobilized, they are going from a -2 to a -4, not as big of a change, and they keep the +1 bonus to shoot.  Something to make non-mechs act a little different on the table, which would be simple to remember as it applies to all vehicles.

counterpoint: the vehicle is a radically smaller target than even a very light 'mech, means they'd be, if anything, much harder to hit, especially at range.  Tanks can move through L1 height tunnels, not even quad 'mechs can do that.  Why?

because they're lower to the ground, making for a smaller target return on sensors and they're easier to hide (see: Hull down rules).

So I'll counter that your proposal, while great for 'mechs, makes no sense in-universe, particularly because 'mechs are around 30 feet tall on average, with some standing even TALLER.

if anything, a 'mech should be an easier target to hit, because it presents and skylines itself out to line-of-sight ranges (which at thirty-plus feet tall, is a good deal further than a tank that's maybe 10-12 feet tall.)

for you metric folks, that's 'mechs at 10 meters versus Tanks at 3-4 meters in height.  from horizon inward, your line of sight on the taller object is a lot further even with intervening obstacles.  even using naked-eye instruments or glass telescopes, the 'mech is going to be a far, far, easier shot to make unless it's spectacularly quick.

which, weight-to-weight, an assault 'mech isn't any quicker than an assault tank at any given tech level.

and that's without advanced sensors.
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DevianID

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I agree that mechs are a larger target, as standing but being thin versus being long but short presents more contact area for a mech.  That said, you need to get down to 4-6 individual elementals to get a size bonus to hit, which are dispersed and even smaller then a tank.  The idea is that whatever makes the bigger mechs (the star of the game) so hard to hit is mobility.  A malus to the mobility portion of the tank/fighting vehicle, in exchange for a bonus to accuracy, has synergy with an immobilized tank, and how tanks suffer from motive damage.  Yeah, you are easier to hit on the outset, but when immobilized you still get that +1 bonus to shoot for having a nice stable gun platform.  A static +1 bonus to hit for all ground vehicles would be better for vehicle balance then a penalty for mech size, as the +1 bonus to hit would apply to every target, while a mech only bonus to hit for their size would only apply to mechs.

I digress.  My ideal would be if they rip existing vehicle rules to shreds, and start over with something simpler, different to mechs, never the star, but dangerous in numbers or in their own way.  The key for me is allowing a force to run a lance or company of vehicles with no charts and minimal rules/damage tracking, while fairly balanced with the battle value system.  Alpha strike level of numbers but in battletech.  I bought the Tukayyid book just for the vehicle battlefield support rules, but those vehicles didnt play very well on the table as they lacked a way to fairly balance them in a scenario of mechs versus vehicles.  I even crunched a lot of numbers to figure out a vehicle analog built using the normal btech rules to the damage and survivability of the Tukayyid vehicle, and the result is that even the assault tracked tank has only got like 80 armor, and was 80ish bv per support point.  It wasnt quite a close enough solution for when I wanted a lance of shreks to reinforce an actual mech lance on the table without fiddling through 4 extra record sheets and lots of extra dice rolls.  I keep waiting for a better version of that product, with more accurate damage to existing unit modeling, where you need a 13 or 14 on 2d6 to pen a heavy tank with only 5 damage, instead of an 11+ for an assault tank, and a well calculated battle value for each unit.

Edit: why though?  Why do I want this?  In my games when a player rolls motive damage/crit, and gets a 8 on one of the many vehicles, I just dont care, and I dont want to have to care, tracking some minor effect for almost 50% of the hit chart.  I want to see immobilized on 12, or maybe ill bother tracking half MP.  But +1 psr, or -1 MP?  Yeah it kinda matters in a 1v1 or 4v4, but really its just too much past 4v4.  Same with the ton of nonsense crit rolls--and OH my GOD is there a lot of crit rolls.  Like, oh, the 2nd stabilizer is hit.  Only 2 more of those before it matters.  Oh, weapon jammed, so glad we stopped and looked this up for a single machine gun.  Inferno and vehicles, if you havent played it (and I have, a lot, because infernos are good versus infantry and hot mechs, so they end up getting used against a random vehicle in the game too) is just the WORST.  You need 20-30 to cripple a real vehicle, and 40 crit rolls to kill the bigger vehicles, barring luck that bears no mentioning.  It is very rare that the inferno -2 crit rolls cripples a vehicle before the inferno's motive system damage roll, which you ALSO need to roll, immobilizes the vehicle anyway.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2022, 03:54:26 by DevianID »

Cannonshop

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I agree that mechs are a larger target, as standing but being thin versus being long but short presents more contact area for a mech.  That said, you need to get down to 4-6 individual elementals to get a size bonus to hit, which are dispersed and even smaller then a tank.  The idea is that whatever makes the bigger mechs (the star of the game) so hard to hit is mobility.  A malus to the mobility portion of the tank/fighting vehicle, in exchange for a bonus to accuracy, has synergy with an immobilized tank, and how tanks suffer from motive damage.  Yeah, you are easier to hit on the outset, but when immobilized you still get that +1 bonus to shoot for having a nice stable gun platform.  A static +1 bonus to hit for all ground vehicles would be better for vehicle balance then a penalty for mech size, as the +1 bonus to hit would apply to every target, while a mech only bonus to hit for their size would only apply to mechs.

I digress.  My ideal would be if they rip existing vehicle rules to shreds, and start over with something simpler, different to mechs, never the star, but dangerous in numbers or in their own way.  The key for me is allowing a force to run a lance or company of vehicles with no charts and minimal rules/damage tracking, while fairly balanced with the battle value system.  Alpha strike level of numbers but in battletech.  I bought the Tukayyid book just for the vehicle battlefield support rules, but those vehicles didnt play very well on the table as they lacked a way to fairly balance them in a scenario of mechs versus vehicles.  I even crunched a lot of numbers to figure out a vehicle analog built using the normal btech rules to the damage and survivability of the Tukayyid vehicle, and the result is that even the assault tracked tank has only got like 80 armor, and was 80ish bv per support point.  It wasnt quite a close enough solution for when I wanted a lance of shreks to reinforce an actual mech lance on the table without fiddling through 4 extra record sheets and lots of extra dice rolls.  I keep waiting for a better version of that product, with more accurate damage to existing unit modeling, where you need a 13 or 14 on 2d6 to pen a heavy tank with only 5 damage, instead of an 11+ for an assault tank, and a well calculated battle value for each unit.

Edit: why though?  Why do I want this?  In my games when a player rolls motive damage/crit, and gets a 8 on one of the many vehicles, I just dont care, and I dont want to have to care, tracking some minor effect for almost 50% of the hit chart.  I want to see immobilized on 12, or maybe ill bother tracking half MP.  But +1 psr, or -1 MP?  Yeah it kinda matters in a 1v1 or 4v4, but really its just too much past 4v4.  Same with the ton of nonsense crit rolls--and OH my GOD is there a lot of crit rolls.  Like, oh, the 2nd stabilizer is hit.  Only 2 more of those before it matters.  Oh, weapon jammed, so glad we stopped and looked this up for a single machine gun.  Inferno and vehicles, if you havent played it (and I have, a lot, because infernos are good versus infantry and hot mechs, so they end up getting used against a random vehicle in the game too) is just the WORST.  You need 20-30 to cripple a real vehicle, and 40 crit rolls to kill the bigger vehicles, barring luck that bears no mentioning.  It is very rare that the inferno -2 crit rolls cripples a vehicle before the inferno's motive system damage roll, which you ALSO need to roll, immobilizes the vehicle anyway.

Devian, what you describe as what you want, you really should go back to using BMR(r) rules.  trust me, you'll be happier with them, than with TW's adoption of Maxtech, but you'll also end up with the paradigm issues that caused the problem in the first place, that being that under BMR(r) tanks didn't play like 'mechs, what constituted 'good' was completely different, which caused problems for people doing blind theorycrafting using BV calculations designed for, and around, Battlemechs.

IOW what I pointed out earlier;  being stationary in a tank, was suicide, being too slow, was also a poor decision, and thus, all the assault-class tanks 3/5 or slower were extremely overvalued in CV, BV1, and BV1.2 (the version prior to BV 2.0).

Arguably, some of the tweaks were not wrong-the sideslip rules, while unpopular with a lot of guys who twinked Hovertanks, were probably necessary and alone are pretty balanced even if you use the location table and crit table from BMR(r). 

The same is true of sideslip with VTOLs.  Fly at the edge of your controls, and you're going to risk going out of control.  That's pretty solid stuff right there, it's pretty easy to use a VTOL within its crusing envelope and avoid sideslip unless it's REALLY SLOW for a VTOL. 

but in both cases it puts some 'headline' designs into the 'all hype' category, and BMR vees really didn't come into their own in the single duel or single lance duel on a single mapsheet style that those rules were engineered to support.   BMR(r) Vehicle hit locations were made to work for larger, mass-combat scenarios where you needed to reduce sides and get things decisive before the weekend was over, while having a large, significant-feeling battle.  (something very difficult to manage if you're throwing battalions of battlemechs at one another without needing to resort to an entirely different ruleset).

Why? because of all the dice rolling and extra charts to keep track of...which is what they added with TW, becuase the goal with "Total Warfare" can better be described as "Total Duelling", right down to the implementation of BV2.0 at launch, which included Force Size Multiplier to punish players who brought too many units to the table. (this has since been removed via Errata. the GOAL was to emphasize single combat between single units on single mapsheets.  a boxing match, not a riot.)

This is also why Artillery was moved to TacOps and initially had such ridiculous scatter rules that you could literally shell behind your artillery piece while aiming behind your opponent's position. (this has also been fixed via Errata, it took more than a year after TacOps was released to do it...)


many of the problems you cite, are a direct result of this desire to emphasize 'hero duels' in the game rules, some of it was to make whole classes of units useful when they weren't before.  The overriding 'goal' was described as 'preserving a specific feel'.

The result, is what you described, and it had a logic behind it.  It's quite difficult to credibly have a "Hero Tank" when you can't actually have that epic static duel with a Hero 'mech, and remember that MWDA put a lot of Hero Tanks on the board, and they had to play to that.

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Atarlost

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Why? because of all the dice rolling and extra charts to keep track of...which is what they added with TW, becuase the goal with "Total Warfare" can better be described as "Total Duelling", right down to the implementation of BV2.0 at launch, which included Force Size Multiplier to punish players who brought too many units to the table. (this has since been removed via Errata. the GOAL was to emphasize single combat between single units on single mapsheets.  a boxing match, not a riot.)

There's also some setting logic to this.  People are making a living selling big, expensive, slow tanks and tanks aren't like mechs where people will buy overpriced lemons just because they're battlemechs.  If a Demolisher isn't worth its price in let's say Vedettes who's buying them in large enough quantities that Aldis Industries is keeping the factory running instead of converting it to build something lighter and faster?  The in-universe currency price ratios tend to be even more unfavorable to the heavies than the BV ratios and the people buying them are spending in-universe currency. 

There's probably a more streamlined way to achieve the same game balance end (slow tanks being viable), but I don't think I'll try to reinvent the wheel today. 

Daemion

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Aside: Just now have some time and mental energy to start catching up.  Still catching up.

Right now I have just one question for you Cannonshop:  Did you abuse the rules about shooting beyond long range and auto-misses with Inferno Munitions?  Still required direct LoS.

From your comments, I'm guessing you were trying to be generally fair.  But, could I be wrong?

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Cannonshop

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Aside: Just now have some time and mental energy to start catching up.  Still catching up.

Right now I have just one question for you Cannonshop:  Did you abuse the rules about shooting beyond long range and auto-misses with Inferno Munitions?  Still required direct LoS.

From your comments, I'm guessing you were trying to be generally fair.  But, could I be wrong?

If you're not making the effort to be fair, you're going to lose players, my main goal when I was running a LOT of games (espl. gamestore games) was to keep players-so we didn't use a lot of the then-optionals because they weren't fair.
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and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Daemion

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If you're not making the effort to be fair, you're going to lose players, my main goal when I was running a LOT of games (espl. gamestore games) was to keep players-so we didn't use a lot of the then-optionals because they weren't fair.

That's what I figured.  Wanted to be sure.

I only save that for campaigns as a potential 'hero' tactic. 

I will admit that I liked the ruling, because it proved that the ranges were not 'trunkated for gameplay'.  The ranges were short for in-setting reasons that I took to be super-futuristic armor and other things.  You could accidentally set fires in woods by luck with appropriate weapons beyond long ranges as long as you had LoS. Infernos did so automatically. And! in the early rules compilation that was either the Compendium or Manual, you could accidentally clear woods, as well.

I liked that it helped reinforce the notion that 'miss' in game turns wasn't a 'whiff', and the explanation for high failure rates in a futuristic sci-fi setting wasn't failure to contact, but failure to focus damage.

 :thumbsup:

That helped shaped my mental image on how things look and work in BattleTech. 


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Daemion

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There is one park tactic that can be used momentarily in small-map games under the BMR(r) system: Indirect fire.  LRM spam from the slow LRM carriers means they should be parked.  Keep them from view, have a spotter, and lob away.  have an SRM carrier with them to smash anything that comes into LoS.  It's only good for early game, because once things get into short range and LoS, the carriers die fast.

Both feel terrible/exploitative of game mechanics on the table, plus in a campaign having a 100% attrition rate on vehicle crews cause you dont use forced withdrawal is pretty bad play--in a chaos campaign or campaign ops crew costs points, and elite crew are a real resource.  Tossing them is wasteful in the extreme.

See, this was the other thing I'm hoping to tackle with this discussion.  All of the tank designs we have in TRos all seem to fail in one version or the other, calling into question how they maintain a place in a force over time. 

Secondly, the fragility of vehicles and what happens to their crews in the rules makes me wonder if there shouldn't be some sort of in-universe reticence to use them.  Go to combat in a tank, you're most likely not coming back.  While planetary militias may have loads of them, and plenty of crewmen to man every one, are they the first line of defense?  Or are they more likely the last?  Those crews have lives and families to return to.

One of the things I wonder about is whether there should be a shift in vehicle design due to the way things work in either meta-version of the game, or if there should be some sort of middle-ground where the rules cater to the supposedly long-lasting vehicle lines?

So, going back to the LRM Carriers, in the one scenario I mentioned above, I had Mech Century outranging a couple lances of Carriers with a lance of SRM Carrier and Demolisher support for the ambush.  As soon as the LRMs lost their cover, it quickly became apparent that I couldn't maintain any advantage with the tanks, and pulled the remaining ones out. (This was under BMR(r) rules, though we had actually mixed TW random motive damage with the BMR vehicle hit table.)

I had found that in the longer tunnel engagements, I preferred the LRM Harrasser variant over the others, because they had the reach, could maintain high defensive to-hits and run away fast when things got too close.  (I also love the flamer variant, but only as a drone unit.)

The value a faction places on human life doesn't seem to come through in the game.  Forced Withdrawal is by combat unit, and does nothing for the morale of a whole vehicle platoon or company.  If you have a company of tanks, crews that generally live and work many hours out of a day and many days in a year together, how do they react when whole vehicles in the platoon or company start popping?     
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Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

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Daemion

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TBH, overly "turret"-like tanks is perhaps best solved with a tweak taken from the HBS videogame - physical damage is doubled against vehicles. An assault tank that stays stationary long enough for an assault mech to get into kicking range will die very quickly. (That 95-ton Alacorn will be one-shotted by a 95-ton kick if it hits the rear, for example).

They'll still get attacks off, as the mechs close in, so they can still be used that way. But if they just sit there and don't move, then they're mincemeat once the range is down.

This would be one reason to switch vehicles to a structural integrity value, instead of the current Internals by Location system.  A kick does SI damage instead of armor damage, or both.

It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

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The 'turreting' thing was, I suspect, an intent based action to make conventionals more appealing to risk-averse players or players who like to play on small maps (which is often a financial decision-mapsheets cost money.)

Playing space might also be at a premium for some players, too.  That is a limit with my group.  We don't have the table space for more than a 1x2 map set-up.  (But, we do make up for it by either doing rolling maps, allowing retreat and pursuit leading into a new scenario, or even setting things up on a macro-map at low-altitude aero scale and switching between that and any active combats.)



It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

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There's also some setting logic to this.  People are making a living selling big, expensive, slow tanks and tanks aren't like mechs where people will buy overpriced lemons just because they're battlemechs.  If a Demolisher isn't worth its price in let's say Vedettes who's buying them in large enough quantities that Aldis Industries is keeping the factory running instead of converting it to build something lighter and faster?  The in-universe currency price ratios tend to be even more unfavorable to the heavies than the BV ratios and the people buying them are spending in-universe currency. 

There's probably a more streamlined way to achieve the same game balance end (slow tanks being viable), but I don't think I'll try to reinvent the wheel today.

But, I would also like it to feel internally consistent with a paradigm.  As I pointed out above, the BMR(r) and prior rules iterations had elements that reinforced the notions that there's more going on with the short ranges and high failure rates in attacks with weapons like Lasers.  For the most part the rules seemed to work with that. You could even look at the infantry rules, and assume that the platoons are using front-line kit to keep ranges against them equally short.

TW tried to fix the game, and any internal logic and consistency disappeared. It got worse with the construction rules when looking at things like Mechanized infantry, which I was expecting to be motorized with a motive type. (I wanted to make DA hoverbike squads, damnit!)

For me, there is also an element of mobility that helps the armor generate the motive and range modifiers. You present an oblique angle to a shot, I see that as a 'miss', rolling less than the target value to hit. So, the older vehicle charts where the damage is being applied to one side only, between body and turret, makes sense!  The fact that the turret is only hit 1/4 of the time has as much to do with the fact it is the most mobile part of a tank, much like a Mech's arm. 

While the side shots in TW not only add more mobility checks, and more armor to give extra life to a tank, it doesn't fit the model that was presented to me in older rule-sets.

Also, I could have looked at TW rules as a change in Tech by era, assuming you could play BMR(r) rules in the Star League era, and be directed to do so.  But, TW has been retconned into past events now.  This ruleset is supposed to represent all periods of Mech Combat, now. Nothing for better tech at the height of Mech technology.  You can't apply the  original City Tech charts to vehicles in the succession wars with the misreading of side mobility hits being auto immobilizations.  It now takes 50(?) points of damage to clear light woods, where a PPC stood a good chance by simply rolling less than or equal to its damage value on a successful hit. (And, in the Tac Handbook, you could crater a hex with 40 points of damage.)

This is one of the things I wanted to explore.  What middle ground could we look at where things can also feel logically consistent. One of the things to look at would be the war-crimes that are Inferno Missiles in the older rules. They're an easy go-to in pick-up games, but would that be looked upon favorably in the actual BTU? 

I've played enough games without Infernoes as well as plenty with that assault tanks do get to live a bit longer.  After all, other cluster weapons have to hit first, and mobile units have to reach medium to short range have a decent chance of landing hits.  (Suddenly, AC/2 boats become an option.  Hello, Vulcan!)  Infernos force tanks to move by setting their hex on fire, and you don't need a successful roll to do it.  If you manage the roll, great, the vehicle, itself, is now on fire. But, all you need is expenditure of ammo and you can have them run out of decent room real fast.



It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

 

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