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Author Topic: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?  (Read 1160 times)

bobthecoward

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Hello,


I have a quick survey question. When playing in a long form mercenary campaign where the players run the company....do you prefer


amassing the largest mercenary force you can even though scenarios would play out with a subset of that force or

Keeping the force small such almost the whole force is present in each scenario?

Atlas3060

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #1 on: 12 August 2022, 16:21:08 »
If playing with Chaos Campaign system honestly either.
If I was playing something more detailed, with quirks, item quality, SPAs and the such then smaller units because of that closeness with it.
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Syzyx

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #2 on: 12 August 2022, 16:24:09 »
I'm typically a small unit player, but I approach BattleTech mostly from the RPG angle. A reinforced company is generally my preferred size. Enough to get decent games in with options of what to field, but not so much that a game takes a month to play out with everyone's schedules.
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VensersRevenge

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #3 on: 12 August 2022, 16:32:48 »
Even with minimal logistics, and I prefer at least some if I'm in a campaign, units become incredibly unwieldy above a company. So I prefer to stick to roughly company sized forces. My attempt to run my own LCT in Megamek did not go well.
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Failure16

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #4 on: 12 August 2022, 19:23:19 »
I started small--MW1E era before I even had access to such a tome; think a single J. Edgar in hireling status--but started to get into regimental or even multi-regimental commands once the original Mercenary's Handbook and especially once the original BattleForce came out. Even though it came out a few years after my initial involvement in the game, Crescent's Hawk's Inception was a seminal influence on me, all that being said.

I still have that regiment to this day, but once I got to know all those troopers and their stories, I wanted to get to know them further. So now I find myself back where I started. As others have stated already, company-teams to battalion-level is starting to become my sweet-spot. I am toying with the notion of getting my eldest child into it by recreating the general theme of CHI on the tabletop. What better way to kickstart a mercenary campaign than with a solo gun-for-hire on the run, picking up some new brothers- and sisters-in-arms along the way?

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pokefan548

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #5 on: 12 August 2022, 23:38:22 »
I mean, the goal in a merc campaign is to get enough money to get big so you can make more money, is it not? Starting out with a detailed force at more than, say, company-size from the start is a pain since you're frontloading a lot of your character creation and taking more of the backstory out of the hands of the players, but ideally players should be looking to expand to the point that they can divide their force to take multiple contracts at once like the biggest merc groups in canon can.

But starting force? Yeah, start small. Company-size at most.
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Sartris

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #6 on: 13 August 2022, 00:00:00 »
the only time i create merc units is for actual play so small since i'll never get more than 10-15 units on the table

bobthecoward

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #7 on: 13 August 2022, 06:01:22 »
I mean, the goal in a merc campaign is to get enough money to get big so you can make more money, is it not?

It is not. The goal is to have fun and that is putatively achieved by playing total warfare/alpha strike. And the thinking is campaign play improves the total warfare experience.

The problems with a large company could be that after investing to get company A how they want it, then playing a game of total warfare with the B team of mechs they like less. Further, if instead you opt to grow the company and not play the other units, then you are investing time playing the Merc campaign that doesn't have as many implications for total warfare/alpha strike matches.

 While I like playing a broad range of units, even if they don't involve "my pilot", probably most do not feel that way.

Iron Grenadier

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #8 on: 13 August 2022, 07:42:46 »
Currently, friends and I are running a small merc team. Two lances of 'mechs and a company's worth of supporting stuff. Still trying to figure out the mix on this one, but the plan is for it to stay small.

Previously, we ran a lengthy campaign where they started as a combined arms battalion, and grew to nearly LCT size - two battlemech battalions (well it was a single square battalion of 64, plus command lance), two full aerospace wing's and a regiment each of armor and infantry.

guardiandashi

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #9 on: 13 August 2022, 08:10:40 »
I always went more for the quality over quantity in my units.
with that said anything that is much over battalion size rapidly becomes unwieldy

one of my "bigger" units was "friends" / allies with a friends unit
in the 3050-3055 ish timeline he had a unit with a ton of 3025 "bug mechs" (cannon fodder) stingers wasps, locusts, grasshoppers etc.
I was the advanced tech/clantech hammer unit:
I was running a clan organized formation and had ~30 clan or advanced mechs deploying from an overlord (C)
I had a LOT of omnis in my unit (mostly clan ones)
1 assault star:
1 atlas, 1 Direwolf 2 masakari's and I can't remember what the last mech was
1 star 5 80 ton omnis
a total of 15 Timberwolves
1 bushwacker
2 raptor primes

was it a munchy unit sure but there was a backstory that kind of made sense IE my unit had helped the WiE evacuate to Arc royal, and traded them some stuff that got them a major jumpstart to their industry capabilities, and some things that would give them a lot more capacity once it got refitted

SteelRaven

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #10 on: 13 August 2022, 08:34:47 »
Smaller tends to be more fun for myself.
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Daryk

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #11 on: 13 August 2022, 10:37:27 »
"Small" is a term with a lot of meanings depending on how you look at things.  Even a lance of 'mechs is really a company sized unit when you add all the (necessary) support pieces, much less the nice to haves.  In a campaign context, I prefer having options as Syzyx outlined.  That doesn't necessarily require anything above a nominal company of combat units.

Lanceman

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #12 on: 15 August 2022, 07:24:04 »
Even with minimal logistics, and I prefer at least some if I'm in a campaign, units become incredibly unwieldy above a company. So I prefer to stick to roughly company sized forces. My attempt to run my own LCT in Megamek did not go well.

I keep running into this. I'm trying to find the sweet spot for a decent `Mech force with some supporting elements. At the moment, I'm leaning towards a reinforced company of `Mechs with a couple companies each of armor, infantry, VTOLs, and then like an attached aerospace squadron. Like a Mini Combat Team or something. Enough to give me some options for use, but not overwhelming in terms of setup and record-keeping.
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Daryk

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #13 on: 15 August 2022, 07:42:36 »
Support units for that run one tech team (at one Tech and six AsTechs each) per 'mech, vehicle, VTOL and ASF.  Conventional infantry only needs one tech team per company (at less than a company, you can get away with zero).  You'll also want a Medical Team (1 Doctor and four assistants/medics).  The Admin overhead (which should include a lawyer) is 10% the number of people you have (including the techs).  The good news is the Medical Team counts as Admin.

jasonf

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #14 on: 15 August 2022, 09:26:02 »
I've gotten my ideal size up to a battalion or so, but without the following caveats, it'd probably be a reinforced company like everyone else...

1. I've gotten very good with spreadsheets and AccountingTech
2. I've built up a decent set of house rules to streamline the Campaign Ops logistics
3. I've learned to love Chaos Campaigns, where I may only commit 1/3 to 1/2 of my force anyway (so essentially back down to a reinforced co., or less, for actual play)
4. I've learned to love MegaMek for playing scenarios, but avoid MekHQ until I can learn how to make it repair my 'Mechs itself and just send me the bill...


Stormlion1

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #15 on: 15 August 2022, 09:35:42 »
Small merc units do keeping track of consumables is easier. Do a game based off C-Bills. Then track food, ammo, transport, pay, etc.
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Geg

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #16 on: 15 August 2022, 09:46:50 »
amassing the largest mercenary force you can even though scenarios would play out with a subset of that force or

Keeping the force small such almost the whole force is present in each scenario?

Between the way I have run the games and the players at the table.  Nobody seams to have a strong sense of self preservation.

I like having a larger force available to provide for replacement equipment when something inevitably gets cored, and spare pilots on hand for when headshots land like rain.

I also rarely use anything more complicated than the Chaos Campaign system with Repair and Rearm rules. If I had player who really wanted to managed the companies finances that would be different.   But as a GM, I find the extra crunch doesn't add a whole lot to the players enjoyment.

Col Toda

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #17 on: 16 August 2022, 03:43:25 »
The Largest unit I ever had was a bit larger than a regiment and a loaned actual warship for a mission . Normally had 3 contracts for 3 over sized brigades one of which was low risk with the training units involved ie regular vs veteran. 

Elite pilot mostly left for more prestigious outfits public or private sector.  I use some C3 and Command Console which is a net 20 % BV adder and TAG which is an ammo BV multiplier.  Keeping elite troops was wasteful and unneeded. It erodes your edge in a BV balanced combat . Regular pilots is wasteful in a different way . They miss more costing more in ammo and take alot more damage  . Even if they win the material losses are unequal to profit . So I try for 2 normal to high risk with veterans and a low risk contract with regulars so they live to become  veterans and replace combat loses in the other 2 Brigades.  Having 1/3 your troops being your own minor league is very effective in keeping unit standards with tactical doctrines.

My normal preference is 2 company's attacking and one remaining at the LZ for defense. 
« Last Edit: 16 August 2022, 03:45:11 by Col Toda »

Daryk

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #18 on: 16 August 2022, 06:23:20 »
*snip*
I also rarely use anything more complicated than the Chaos Campaign system with Repair and Rearm rules. If I had player who really wanted to managed the companies finances that would be different.   But as a GM, I find the extra crunch doesn't add a whole lot to the players enjoyment.
For me, the extra crunch helps me present decisions to the PCs, decisions they have more agency to shape.

bobthecoward

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #19 on: 16 August 2022, 06:59:31 »
For me, the extra crunch helps me present decisions to the PCs, decisions they have more agency to shape.

Who does the crunch?

Daryk

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #20 on: 16 August 2022, 07:01:44 »
If no player volunteers, me (which means it's usually me).

guardiandashi

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #21 on: 16 August 2022, 08:09:22 »
I know its older but I liked the rules/guidelines for running a unit from mercs handbook 3055.
it was IMO a fair balance between "crunch" and simplicity and mostly "in universe" real stuff.

to be honest I can see how people who don't want to play "account tech" prefer simpler rules but I (and I am guessing) some others might like a more robust system.

with that said I would love a hybrid system that has different levels/scales:

simple: something like the warchest system, but with an added option to purchase and maintain omni sets and strip pods off captured units.

intermediate: tracking at a higher level where you track equipment as to type but not specific manufacturer IE ppc, but not donnal or magna hellstar or lords light.

advanced, you track to manufacturer and even qualities if desired.

I also would like an option to have different "pools" of resources to track. ie physical equipment, technician labor, and supplies/money

bobthecoward

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #22 on: 16 August 2022, 13:41:11 »
I know its older but I liked the rules/guidelines for running a unit from mercs handbook 3055.
it was IMO a fair balance between "crunch" and simplicity and mostly "in universe" real stuff.

to be honest I can see how people who don't want to play "account tech" prefer simpler rules but I (and I am guessing) some others might like a more robust system.

with that said I would love a hybrid system that has different levels/scales:

simple: something like the warchest system, but with an added option to purchase and maintain omni sets and strip pods off captured units.

intermediate: tracking at a higher level where you track equipment as to type but not specific manufacturer IE ppc, but not donnal or magna hellstar or lords light.

advanced, you track to manufacturer and even qualities if desired.

I also would like an option to have different "pools" of resources to track. ie physical equipment, technician labor, and supplies/money

I came up with something between Simple and intermediate. Expenses and revenues are paid in BV. Then you buy repair/reload ponts by converting BV to SP (supply points).There is only so many SP per ton you can fit on a dropship.

A lot of the complications that a Merc outfit experiences, lack supplies being more expensive or getting paid in house bills, create additional expense in time or resources. So, I'm in favor of just reducing revenue and saying expenses account for it.

As for BV instead of Cbills, I don't have a concern over similar BV for balance. If a locust IIC is for sale, it doesn't matter to me if they have a locust IIC or a wolverine 6R for BV. If a player wants a locust IIC that is available, I don't want them to bankrupt themselves to get equal BV. If I don't want them to have the locust, it just won't be available.

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #23 on: 16 August 2022, 14:03:39 »
For me, the extra crunch helps me present decisions to the PCs, decisions they have more agency to shape.

What type of decisions?   

I find that resupply via support points, and the tech time (you have 100 hour of repair work to complete with 2 techs, is more than enough crunch to give the players choices.   Getting into the CB Economy, support staff, part quality, and part/unit/ availability, is where asking questions that the the players don't understand begins to bog things down. 

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #24 on: 16 August 2022, 14:04:26 »
As for BV instead of Cbills, I don't have a concern over similar BV for balance. If a locust IIC is for sale, it doesn't matter to me if they have a locust IIC or a wolverine 6R for BV. If a player wants a locust IIC that is available, I don't want them to bankrupt themselves to get equal BV. If I don't want them to have the locust, it just won't be available.

It's not just that.  C-bill don't account for production scale.  For example, I think the 375 XXL is supposed to be a common power plant because of the Savage Wolf, yet it still costs as if it's still experimental. I favor BV as a currency for this reason and have calculated BV to C-bill conversions.
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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #25 on: 16 August 2022, 15:13:33 »
What type of decisions?   

I find that resupply via support points, and the tech time (you have 100 hour of repair work to complete with 2 techs, is more than enough crunch to give the players choices.   Getting into the CB Economy, support staff, part quality, and part/unit/ availability, is where asking questions that the the players don't understand begins to bog things down.
Salvage and repair prioritization, risk balancing attacks and units left on defense (based on unit condition), unit reorganization based on salvage, etc.

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #26 on: 16 August 2022, 15:16:22 »
My merc unit started out as a 'Mech company with an aero lance and ended up a combined-arms regiment, so...big, apparently.


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bobthecoward

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #27 on: 16 August 2022, 15:30:16 »
My merc unit started out as a 'Mech company with an aero lance and ended up a combined-arms regiment, so...big, apparently.

Unless you were playing strategic battleforce, how many of the units did you get to play with?

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #28 on: 16 August 2022, 15:36:51 »
Reminder to everyone that you don't have to always deploy your entire force all at once to a single battle. The real money is being able to divvy up your force between multiple contracts, and ideally to also have small rotating reserve so that you can stay on the market even while repairing after a hit.
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bobthecoward

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Re: Do you prefer running a big Merc company or a small one?
« Reply #29 on: 16 August 2022, 16:30:29 »
Reminder to everyone that you don't have to always deploy your entire force all at once to a single battle. The real money is being able to divvy up your force between multiple contracts, and ideally to also have small rotating reserve so that you can stay on the market even while repairing after a hit.

Does a player want to play those battles with all those different mechs?