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Author Topic: Ammo Dumping and light loading  (Read 4771 times)

Nastyogre

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Ammo Dumping and light loading
« on: 25 October 2018, 16:03:15 »
Since we have been asked to continue the discussion elsewhere, I wanted to start one. I think it's interesting.

https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=63206.0

My assertion is that going unloaded or lightly loaded for an ammo based weapon or dumping ammunition at the onset of a game (prior to taking damage that puts the unit at risk) is an manipulation of the rules. Is it an advantage to do so? Yes. Is it good gaming? No. I do make the assumption that Good gaming =/= doing the utmost to win.

Of course in campaigns where you can have a story that might lead to a situation of starting games low on ammo, damaged, inoperative weapons or even a situation where a unit might only be expected to survive 5 turns (suicidal rear guard) would be entirely appropriate.

Doing it simply to avoid the weakness that 400 damage points worth of MG ammo is really not good at all. To the point as a GM, I wouldn't allow it (or discourage it). A player I would refuse to play with a player that did it (more than once) and don't do it myself when I do play. If in a campaign situation I played with a group that wanted to manipulate things so, I'd ambush them using infantry (if they were dumping their MG ammo) or Vtols if they constantly light loaded their AC's.

It's unrealistic to do so. Though the last posters in the thread do mention some historical examples of going light loaded. These are pretty specific cases and not a consistent deployment of the units without the ability to use (or a limited ability) to use some weapons.

So, what does the greater brain trust think?

monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #1 on: 25 October 2018, 16:26:28 »
I disagree.

One example has already been provided of units purposefully going into battle in realty with less than maximum ammunition loads for reasons other than short supply or insufficient repair/resupply time between combats.

Also real world ammunition doesn't tend to blow up with the frequency that Battletech ammunition does and when it does modern systems that make CASE look like a joke do keep the unit in fighting condition.  Even back before wet ammunition storage was made a thing.  Yeah it could cook off and be pretty destructive but it often took a fair bit of effort or lucky shots to happen.

For a more in game/universe explanation all a Mechwarrior should have to point out is that if there is a problem that requires more than a dozen bursts of machine gun ammo to solve it is a problem they are not likely to solve.

Even Assault mechs aren't going to do too well in terms of condition getting within 90 meters of even just regular old rifle infantry thirty plus times in a match.

There are a lot of mechs that should not mount a full ton of ammunition for their machine gun(s) but they do because it wasn't always a legal rule to mount half tons instead.

Also as a player I shouldn't be punished or forced to take something that is in excess of what is likely to come up in a pick up match and whenever I run a game I sure as hell wouldn't get upset if my players wanted to take partial loads as the game is about having fun and it isn't fun to have your mech destroyed in a fireball because it was forced to carry more ammo than the scenario called for.

Sartris

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #2 on: 25 October 2018, 16:33:09 »
is blackballing players who don't play the game how i want them to in a game system that has a very limited pool of players considered bad gaming?

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #3 on: 25 October 2018, 16:36:49 »
Also real world ammunition doesn't tend to blow up with the frequency that Battletech ammunition does

Real world troops have the option of withdrawal, something I've seen very little of in the game of BattleTech.
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Atarlost

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #4 on: 25 October 2018, 16:48:01 »
Real world troops have the option of withdrawal, something I've seen very little of in the game of BattleTech.
That's because it's a game, not because mechs are less able to withdraw than tanks. 

monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #5 on: 25 October 2018, 16:59:45 »
It is also fair to say the line between when you should withdraw and losing units can actually be very thin in Battletech doesn't help.

At least I've lost too many units on the very first exchange of fire to consider it otherwise.

nckestrel

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #6 on: 25 October 2018, 17:04:14 »
Do you allow the players to take 'mechs that don't have MGs?  If you do, how is that less cheating that not loading your MGs? Same result, no MG explosion.  The light loading/ammo dumping 'mech even wastes tonnage on  MGs that can't fire, so they are actually less cheating that taking 'mechs that don't have MGs.
Honestly, it sounds like you are enjoying punishing players far too much.  If they don't have MG explosions, I will munchkin forces against them?  Is the game supposed to be about what you want at the expense of the other players?
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monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #7 on: 25 October 2018, 17:26:14 »
To be fair to the OP the machine gun as implemented in Battletech does have a nasty habit of being more dangerous to the unit mounting it than the opponent far too often and is getting the bulk of the attention in this discussion so far and isn't the only thing he has talked about for ammo dumping or partial loading.  So I can see a certain amount of ground for his stance but only in very specific cases and even then in very specific circumstances.

That said I do stand by that it is not cheating or unsporting to do this for any ammunition based weapon for the exact reason nckestrel cited.  There is an alternative unit that does not mount excessive ammo and could be selected instead and unless that is considered cheating or unsporting too then dumping or partial loads cannot be considered cheating or unsporting either.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #8 on: 25 October 2018, 18:49:13 »
Aammo dumping is in total war, so i can't understand why it's pegged as something to refuse a game over. If you don't like doing it that's one thing, but losing a ton of infernos because you've realized there's no real chance they'll be useful due to the composition of the enemies and you don't want to make your own burden worse is rational sense given how explodey ammo is, especially before CASE.

expecting a gentlman's agreement to let you try to blow them up for bringing anti-infantry to a 'mechfight seems a bit rude, honestly.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #9 on: 25 October 2018, 18:55:02 »
I always light load machine guns in my games, also some autocannons (The Sentinel and Clint have more ammo then armor). Although I do house rule rapid fire MGs, having twenty rounds is typically plenty even outside of play.  How many 2d6s of infantry do you typically run into right?

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #10 on: 25 October 2018, 19:31:18 »
Unless I start getting low, I don't reload MG or SRM-2 ammo between campaign missions. No reason to spend the SP on it if I'm not almost empty, and it takes more than one game to get the bins to that point.

Brakiel

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #11 on: 25 October 2018, 20:55:55 »
Aammo dumping is in total war, so i can't understand why it's pegged as something to refuse a game over. If you don't like doing it that's one thing, but losing a ton of infernos because you've realized there's no real chance they'll be useful due to the composition of the enemies and you don't want to make your own burden worse is rational sense given how explodey ammo is, especially before CASE.

expecting a gentlman's agreement to let you try to blow them up for bringing anti-infantry to a 'mechfight seems a bit rude, honestly.

For a one-off game, sure, I guess I'd be fine if they want to dump ammo on turn 1.

In a campaign though, I'm expecting people to act rationally here. No, I'm not going to let you dump ammo turn 1 without a darn pressing reason. No commander - or quartermaster - worth their salt is just going to let someone throw ammunition out the window. Even leaving a weapon unloaded or partially loaded (barring external plot reasons) will be under heavy scrutiny. I might consider something like "Bob Atlaskiller had a near death experience with machine gun ammo cooking off, and thus has developed an intense phobia regarding them." In which case, I may let you do that, but you can darn well bet that I will be enforcing that consistently, so no crying about suddenly wanting them later.

marcussmythe

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #12 on: 25 October 2018, 21:13:31 »
If ammunition is so dangerous and the rules about it so terrible that people are willing to carry weapons into a fight, without adequate ammunition, effectively throwing away the tonnage alotted in design to the ammunition (and maybe weapon), then it seems the problem lies with the weapons, their ammunition, or the designs - not the players, or pilots.

monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #13 on: 25 October 2018, 21:37:03 »
If ammunition is so dangerous and the rules about it so terrible that people are willing to carry weapons into a fight, without adequate ammunition, effectively throwing away the tonnage alotted in design to the ammunition (and maybe weapon), then it seems the problem lies with the weapons, their ammunition, or the designs - not the players, or pilots.

That is part of it.

Rules have undergone some changes.  It wasn't always possible to mount heatsinks in the engine like can be done now and actually only mounting a half ton of machine gun ammunition wasn't always a thing either.

Some designs suffer for these rules changes and because no one ever went back and changed things to reflect the rules changes.

Then there is how ammunition explosions are caused and handled.  It has never really been a particularly satisfying mechanic.  CASE helps but CASE II really does a lot better.

marcussmythe

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #14 on: 25 October 2018, 21:39:37 »
Yes, before Heat Sinks hid in Engines, and also were not assigned at design - you could use them to cover some of the more (now) egregious bombs (looks at the Marauder)

Sartris

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #15 on: 25 October 2018, 22:01:49 »
I'm constantly bewildered by insisting L O G I C in a dumb game about giant robots. If I have a player that would rather not load machine guns, cool. I design scenarios before the players select  forces so if they get burned by not having something to kill the infantry i put in the opfor, that's a calculated risk.

I run campaigns for my player's enjoyment and if they have more fun with no mg ammunition, great. If they want to spend resources to repurchace a ton of dumped ammo, it's their decision. If I'm in a pickup game and my opponent dumps ammo, good. The game will probably play out more evenly thanks to a lower chance that something pops unexpectedly.

monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #16 on: 25 October 2018, 22:15:07 »
Yes, before Heat Sinks hid in Engines, and also were not assigned at design - you could use them to cover some of the more (now) egregious bombs (looks at the Marauder)

*nod*

It also gets compounded by if floating critical hits are in play or not too.

I have run into a number of players who didn't communicate like they realized floating critical hit are an optional rule, but did come across in a way that made me think they thought floating critical hits was the standard.

I'm constantly bewildered by insisting L O G I C in a dumb game about giant robots. If I have a player that would rather not load machine guns, cool. I design scenarios before the players select  forces so if they get burned by not having something to kill the infantry i put in the opfor, that's a calculated risk.

I run campaigns for my player's enjoyment and if they have more fun with no mg ammunition, great. If they want to spend resources to repurchace a ton of dumped ammo, it's their decision. If I'm in a pickup game and my opponent dumps ammo, good. The game will probably play out more evenly thanks to a lower chance that something pops unexpectedly.

Making things more logical is not always a bad thing, the problem is what is logical in this case?

If the safety measures available at the time for carrying a full load of ammunition create more of a risk than a reward quartermasters and techs are not going to balk at the idea of only loading partial loads IMO.

Atarlost

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #17 on: 25 October 2018, 23:35:01 »
In a campaign though, I'm expecting people to act rationally here. No, I'm not going to let you dump ammo turn 1 without a darn pressing reason. No commander - or quartermaster - worth their salt is just going to let someone throw ammunition out the window. Even leaving a weapon unloaded or partially loaded (barring external plot reasons) will be under heavy scrutiny. I might consider something like "Bob Atlaskiller had a near death experience with machine gun ammo cooking off, and thus has developed an intense phobia regarding them." In which case, I may let you do that, but you can darn well bet that I will be enforcing that consistently, so no crying about suddenly wanting them later.

If the ammo is never loaded the quartermaster won't care.  If you don't use the machinegun he's not going to load ammo either because the bin is full or because you told your techs to pretend that the bin is full.  He probably won't know and if he does he won't care.  He might even be happy for you to not load ammo because you not using the ammo lets him write off a few rounds of ammo every mission to feed the gun you're not using, sell it on the black market, and pocket the proceeds. 

Sartris

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #18 on: 26 October 2018, 00:45:22 »
Making things more logical is not always a bad thing, the problem is what is logical in this case?

If the safety measures available at the time for carrying a full load of ammunition create more of a risk than a reward quartermasters and techs are not going to balk at the idea of only loading partial loads IMO.

Yeah I wasn't arguing against dumping and partial loading (I encourage both as a gm). But i do so because it preserves prized equipment that players like to use rather than doing mental gymnastics to justify headcannons about quartermasters from the fake year 3000. It doesn't have to be that complicated

monbvol

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #19 on: 26 October 2018, 01:26:57 »
*nod*

Yeah mostly just pointing out myself that it is just as logical to assume that quartermasters, commanding officers, technicians, or anyone else really would care less about 'wasted' ammo than they would getting the machine back.

I'd even go so far to to say it is the more logical and likely assumption that they wouldn't care unless there was some intel to indicate taking a full load was the better bet and even then when it comes to machine gun ammunition in particular I don't think it'd be out of the question for them to not even say anything down to about 30-50 bursts as that is enough to see a mech through enough battles without even being able to take 15 minutes to reload that it raises good questions about if the mech will even come back at all due to battle damage.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #20 on: 26 October 2018, 03:18:54 »
I allow ammo dumping, because the amount of MG Ammo makes no sense in that amount.  In fact, i never saw infantry in a BT game till the Toads were introduced.  And Battle Armor troopers get a wicked grin when they see a mech with a ton of MG ammo on it.  And even in most campaign I have been apart of, Regular infantry was seen as just as bad.  Look at what they did to almost all the mechs between 3025 and 3050 that had MGs.  They usually made them AMS and used Flamers for the BPI work.  It wasn't till Invading Clans and the Piranha that you say anyone take notice of MGs.  We never used light loading in those campaigns, but only the MG ammo was really that dangerous.  The only way in those campaigns you lost a mech was when the CT IS went up in one round, and in 3025 mechs had a bad habit of MG ammo there.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #21 on: 26 October 2018, 07:51:55 »
I don't see a problem in a pick up game with a player asking to reduce/eliminate ammo [edit: and agreed to!].  Especially if there is a no replacement or substitution policy.   Of course, I'm sure once a battle starts not having your full 20 shots of AC ammo will come into play as you somehow get super lucky and last that long ... then have only our ML or SL to work with.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #22 on: 26 October 2018, 08:15:26 »
AC/20 Ammo is unlikely to be dumped... though with 20 rounds I might be tempted to drop 5.  Id be more likely to just load a mix of standard and precision.

By far its MG ammo that goes most often.  Ive see AC2 ammo go on mechs with more than one ton of it - LRM on occasion as well.

Even dumping aside, Ill note that the light ammo bins on some LRM mechs (Catapult leaps to mind) are touted as being as much feature as failing.

Brakiel

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #23 on: 26 October 2018, 09:26:24 »
If the ammo is never loaded the quartermaster won't care.  If you don't use the machinegun he's not going to load ammo either because the bin is full or because you told your techs to pretend that the bin is full.  He probably won't know and if he does he won't care.  He might even be happy for you to not load ammo because you not using the ammo lets him write off a few rounds of ammo every mission to feed the gun you're not using, sell it on the black market, and pocket the proceeds.

I think you misunderstood me. My point is that either:

1) you deploy with a full load of ammo, in which case dumping it on turn 1 when the scenario starts makes no sense; or

2) you ask the quartermaster to not load ammo, in which case I'm going to need to approve the reason why, and I'm going to enforce that reason for the rest of the campaign.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #24 on: 26 October 2018, 09:56:46 »
You've also got 'Mechs like the Trebuchet, with LRM ammo behind thin side torso armor.  It's a race to see which depletes first, the ammo or the armor, and if the 'Mech can't use the ammo up fast enough, it tends to get exploded.  I rarely see a Trebuchet on either side survive a battle.  The Catapult is a less severe example, where it has slightly more armor and similar ammo bins.

In most cases, I'd much rather go into a fight with 10-20 rounds of MG ammo per gun than 200.  If you've got to take more than 20 MG shots in a battle or two, you're using the wrong tools for the job anyway, and the 'Mech is better off leaving that task to some other unit: an artillery battery or a Firestarter (a Vulcan or Hermes II will also work).  If your techs can't spare 15 minutes to do a partial reload after a couple of fights, chances are you're out of armor and everything else by that point, and don't belong back out in the field anyway.  If a GM asks me why I'd risk running out of ammo in a running series of battles, I'd ask why I should have to carry more than a lifetime supply (with that lifetime very likely to be a lot shorter with the ammo present).

If the quartermaster is likely to get upset about you dumping good ammo on the battlefield, just don't load most of it in the first place.  The rest of your unit suddenly has 180-190 rounds of extra ammo that the quartermaster doesn't have to scrounge for.  I personally would NOT want to go in with the guns EMPTY, and would tend to question the reasoning of any player who did so, but might seriously consider taking as low as 5 rounds per gun, depending on the 'Mech.  That's still more than sufficient to dampen the enthusiasm of some infantry platoon with more nerve than sense, and still enough to do serious internal damage to my own 'Mech if I don't use it and it explodes.  Dumping ammo on turn 1 is an indication that you've already done something wrong.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #25 on: 26 October 2018, 09:57:40 »
I think you misunderstood me. My point is that either:

1) you deploy with a full load of ammo, in which case dumping it on turn 1 when the scenario starts makes no sense; or

2) you ask the quartermaster to not load ammo, in which case I'm going to need to approve the reason why, and I'm going to enforce that reason for the rest of the campaign.

2. The machine gun ammo represents a dangerously destructive threat to my/our fine military's expensive piece of military hardware and my ass.  At this time, military intel is not showing us any threat from conventional infantry. Risking expensive military equipment for a non-existent threat is a poor use of resources.  If such a conventional threat materializes, I'd like to request the machine guns be replaced with flamers and artillery support. There are better answers to infantry than planting an IED to my 'Mech.


 
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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #26 on: 26 October 2018, 10:00:23 »
And just a note, I have no problem with you providing a challenge to MG adverse players by throwing some conventional infantry at them.  My fear is that if their reaction to conventional infantry is still to avoid MG ammo, you'd escalate till they "felt the burn".  IE. You are out to punish them, not challenge them. Don't be a bully.
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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #27 on: 26 October 2018, 11:50:24 »
2. The machine gun ammo represents a dangerously destructive threat to my/our fine military's expensive piece of military hardware and my ass.  At this time, military intel is not showing us any threat from conventional infantry. Risking expensive military equipment for a non-existent threat is a poor use of resources.  If such a conventional threat materializes, I'd like to request the machine guns be replaced with flamers and artillery support. There are better answers to infantry than planting an IED to my 'Mech.

Further more war is not about fighting fair.  Machine guns require me to get within range of enemy infantry.  This will ensure my unit takes damage.  Damage that will take longer to repair than loading ammunition.

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #28 on: 26 October 2018, 11:56:07 »
And just a note, I have no problem with you providing a challenge to MG adverse players by throwing some conventional infantry at them.  My fear is that if their reaction to conventional infantry is still to avoid MG ammo, you'd escalate till they "felt the burn".  IE. You are out to punish them, not challenge them. Don't be a bully.

I wouldn't have a problem with half ton of MG ammo loaded. I don't disagree that MG ammo is ridiculous.  Others made the good point that commanders and quartermasters would wonder about pilots that didn't take ammo for weapons or dumped perfectly good ammo on the ground.

I don't have a problem with taking units that don't have ammo  in the first place. The problem is the manipulation of the game.

Player: "Battlemasters are great! (Except for the MG's!" "I dump my MG ammo every game or never load it."

Me: Really? Why not just take a different unit? Battlemasters are designed to be capable of fighting at all ranges vs all sorts of opponents."

Player: "Yeah, but we usually face mechs and I don't want it to blow up." 

So what the player has done is used info outside the game, the fact that most games are mech and maybe tank centric, to their advantage. It doesn't have anything to do with the story (if there is one), Campaign (if there is one) or anything. It's an act that is "I want to maximize my chances to win." Which in most senses is fine. There are some things that push the envelope of good sportsmanship. Lobbying for a big board say 3 x 3 mapsheets (or bigger) and then plopping down A force of entirely snipers.
"Oh I get it, you have a specialized force and on a small map, you wouldn't have the room to snipe with 4 Griffins (a bit of an exaggeration, but it makes the point)"

The player took info outside the game "We are using a big map" and used it to their advantage. Same goes for pushing for a small map and showing up with a lance of Hunchbacks.

Now I like playing with rapid fire MG's. It is actually what I think the MG's rules should be. In a campaign or storyline setting, makes perfect sense to not reload.

OK, Battletech ammo isn't very realistic. I never thought it was. Play anyway you like. I just don't think it's very sporting to just dump the ammo or ask to not load it. If you want a Battlemaster you get the good and the bad that comes with it.

As far as punishing the players. It's not an instant reaction. I'd certainly say something but if it was some sort of standard practice? Sure, time to see why you keep your MG ammo. (or whatever you want to do) 

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Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
« Reply #29 on: 26 October 2018, 12:38:46 »
I wouldn't have a problem with half ton of MG ammo loaded. I don't disagree that MG ammo is ridiculous.  Others made the good point that commanders and quartermasters would wonder about pilots that didn't take ammo for weapons or dumped perfectly good ammo on the ground.

I don't have a problem with taking units that don't have ammo  in the first place. The problem is the manipulation of the game.

Player: "Battlemasters are great! (Except for the MG's!" "I dump my MG ammo every game or never load it."

Me: Really? Why not just take a different unit? Battlemasters are designed to be capable of fighting at all ranges vs all sorts of opponents."

Player: "Yeah, but we usually face mechs and I don't want it to blow up." 

So what the player has done is used info outside the game, the fact that most games are mech and maybe tank centric, to their advantage. It doesn't have anything to do with the story (if there is one), Campaign (if there is one) or anything. It's an act that is "I want to maximize my chances to win." Which in most senses is fine. There are some things that push the envelope of good sportsmanship. Lobbying for a big board say 3 x 3 mapsheets (or bigger) and then plopping down A force of entirely snipers.
"Oh I get it, you have a specialized force and on a small map, you wouldn't have the room to snipe with 4 Griffins (a bit of an exaggeration, but it makes the point)"

The player took info outside the game "We are using a big map" and used it to their advantage. Same goes for pushing for a small map and showing up with a lance of Hunchbacks.

Now I like playing with rapid fire MG's. It is actually what I think the MG's rules should be. In a campaign or storyline setting, makes perfect sense to not reload.

OK, Battletech ammo isn't very realistic. I never thought it was. Play anyway you like. I just don't think it's very sporting to just dump the ammo or ask to not load it. If you want a Battlemaster you get the good and the bad that comes with it.

As far as punishing the players. It's not an instant reaction. I'd certainly say something but if it was some sort of standard practice? Sure, time to see why you keep your MG ammo. (or whatever you want to do) 

The trouble is it comes across as you are manipulating the game to your advantage just as much if not more so to disallow ammo dumping or partial loading.

It is not outside the game knowledge to know ammunition explodes at a frightening frequency/reliability and taking too much of something that isn't needed creates more of a risk than a benefit.

It is also not outside the game knowledge that units designed to fight at long range or have high mobility work best when there are a lot of maps on the table.  It also isn't using out of game knowledge to put units that specialize in short range combat in positions where their opponent has to fight them on their terms.

This is all basic information that would be known to anyone actually trained to use these machines.

 

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