BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => Ground Combat => Topic started by: Nastyogre on 25 October 2018, 16:03:15

Title: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Nastyogre 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?
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris 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?
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Kit deSummersville 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Atarlost 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. 
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: nckestrel 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?
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Orin J. 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: AlphaMirage 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?
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Azakael 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Brakiel 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: marcussmythe 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: marcussmythe 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)
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Atarlost 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. 
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris 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
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Icerose20 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Wolf72 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: marcussmythe 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Brakiel 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Kovax 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: nckestrel 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.


 
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: nckestrel 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Nastyogre 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) 
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol 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.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris on 26 October 2018, 14:36:02
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.

3) take the mg out and replace it with something that doesn't explode with the ferocity greater than any known weapon besides nukes and capital scale damage.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Boomer8 on 26 October 2018, 15:11:30
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.

And this is why I prefer the AP Gauss to any type of MG. Ammo don't explode.... (Yes the guns do, but for nowhere near the damage. The only prob there is the pilot hits...)
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: skibble on 27 October 2018, 01:33:43
If you want a real world example of 'partial loading' the Tiger II had ammo bins in the turret.

After they lost several to ammo explosions from the turret ready rounds in the early engagements the Heer prohibited the loading of those bins.

The gunners probably kept a ready round or two there but officially the practice was to leave them empty due to the risk of explosion.

As mentioned the MG bomb problem is more a hold over from the Battledroids era, i know of no one who has successfully depleted a MG bin with the exception of custom mechs.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Liam's Ghost on 27 October 2018, 02:21:57
Here's my justification for shorting ammunition bins:

"We can demonstrate that cutting all machine gun bins to no more than quarter loads has a marked increase in both survivability and logistical efficiency, with no discernible loss of combat capability. While the amounts saved by cutting back on machine gun ammunition stockpiles may seem minor, it adds up considerably over time. Why, for a typical company the cost savings, purely for a hypothetical example, would be sufficient to maintain a full stock of Glengary Black Label Scotch in the officers club, as I have demonstrated here with these visual aids. By all means, feel free to examine them as closely as you like."
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: VensersRevenge on 27 October 2018, 12:07:06
Or if this is a mercenary unit quartermaster making a fuss about loading ammo the Mechwarriors don't want, just fire the quartermaster. Mercenary companies are run by mechwarriors, so a noncombat member attempting to force them to take ammo they feels endangers them would not go over well. You have to think about how the universe works before attempting to punish your players for not doing what you want.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Shin Ji on 27 October 2018, 14:45:31
Also, you don't *need* MGs to kill PBI. An AC 5 will do the job quite well, as will a medium laser. Does your mech walk faster than the PBI? Absolutely. Do you outrange them? Yep. So the argument that dumping the ammo makes you useless against them doesn't hold blood, I mean water.

It would be crushingly boring on the tabletop, but not a problem in actual warfare.

"Oh, but the Infantry will hide!" Alright. Set wherever they're hiding on fire then. People don't hire a lance of Mechs to go kill a specific group of Infantry anyway. That's silly. The Inf are just also there.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol on 27 October 2018, 15:19:04
*nod*

To be honest that is why I do tend to take my chances with the second ton of SRM ammo on the BLR-1G Battlemaster, so I can load it with specialty ammunition.  Infernos solve a lot of infantry problems while giving me enough breathing space that return damage is not as certain as if I have to use machine guns.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Shin Ji on 27 October 2018, 16:10:25
I have a heavily modified Wolverine with a Long Tom Cannon around just in case I need to do any serious war crimes...

For real, though, short of actual artillery, there's no better infantry killing weapon. Any kind of infantry! Battlearmor just evaporates.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Euphonium on 27 October 2018, 16:34:49
For me the real issue is how devastating machine gun ammo explosions compared to any other type of ammo. They're so ridiculously excessive compared to any other type of ammo explosion that we just house-ruled that MG ammo does 1/10th the damage compared to autocannon or missile ammo. A 40-pt explosion for a full ton is sill nasty, but not as terrifying.

Even with this, for pick-up games we prefer to say all 'mechs start with a full ammo load and may dump as you wish once the game starts, because there are no consequences off the mapsheet. I know one player who is so paranoid about ammo explosions that when he randomly rolled a Hunchback off the RAT he dumped all his AC/20 ammo and fought the 'mech with just the lasers rather than take the risk.

For a campaign, the players can load ammo or not as they wish because at that point there's some role-playing coming into it and IMO it's wrong to penalise someone for having a different style of play.

In a 3rd Succession War campaign I would expect most owner-mechwarriors to mod their mechs towards flashbulb designs or pad ammo bays because on the table-top ammo explosion was the[/i] most common way to lose a 'mech beyond salvage. The only way to avoid it was to run away as soon as you were down to 10-15pts armour remaining on a location with ammo, which lead to either uninteresting inconclusive skirmishes or most of your unit dispossessed after a relatively small number of battles. Inconclusive skirmishes may be accurate to the in-game history but they weren't fun to play (IMO of course)
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: General308 on 27 October 2018, 18:03:55
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.

This
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Caedis Animus on 28 October 2018, 02:51:57
To be honest that is why I do tend to take my chances with the second ton of SRM ammo on the BLR-1G Battlemaster, so I can load it with specialty ammunition.  Infernos solve a lot of infantry problems while giving me enough breathing space that return damage is not as certain as if I have to use machine guns.
Infernos, Acids, Frags, and Harpoons; Spamming of these is why I vastly prefer using SRMs over machine guns.

It's also why I prefer using mixed munitions on SRM Carriers, because of the hilarity in firing a barrage mixing those four at sheltered infantry.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sabelkatten on 28 October 2018, 03:17:55
Arguably MGs aren't about actively hunting PBI, but rather about making PBI not want to hunt you... Problem is that the rules make MGs a rather poor deterrent; I think you'd have trouble finding enough suicidal maniacs IRL to use common CBT infantry tactics, thought since MGs can't hit infantry at range 0 you can only really deter foot infantry anyway.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Wolf72 on 28 October 2018, 09:55:26
We need alternative tech for MG ammo ... drop the amount to 100 and the other 1/2 ton is some sort of c.a.s.e system that the MG ammo is in; would even go as far as to say no dmg and it's all self contained in the ammo bin.  spinning off into off topic though.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sharkapult on 28 October 2018, 11:30:55
"Dropping worthless MG ammo before a match does not totally not confirm with my ideals of what realistic warfare is. In order to show you a lesson I'm going to send unrealistic waves of completely suicidal infantry at a monstrous war machine I have no hope of actually destroying."
Sounds about right
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: garhkal on 28 October 2018, 15:43:23
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.

This is why i feel, it behooves a player to LOOK at his mechs.  if it sports MG ammo, shoot for a mech with Multiple MG's, so as to better make use of that half a ton of ammo.

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.

I agree.  After a lot of rules changed due to tech levels increasing, the designers should have gone back and post-edited some of the older mechs, to make USE of some of those new rules..

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.

I'd probably say, out of around 200 or so games of B/tech i;ve played (Not including official grinder events at conventions), vehicles were the most used item besides mechs, in around 55 of those games.  BUT for infantry, maybe 15 times??  So if they are going to show up barely 1/10th the time, it makes little sense to bother with taking mechs with MG's..

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.

I've done that.  Played some pick up games, and both (or all 3) players agreed "XYZ mechs could come in without ABC ammo"..  Or even allowed 'substitutions".  So strip out a MG and half a ton of ammo, put in 2 small lasers.

Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Apocal on 30 October 2018, 14:34:27
3) take the mg out and replace it with something that doesn't explode with the ferocity greater than any known weapon besides nukes and capital scale damage.

Yeah, I don't understand why MG ammo explodes so ferociously or why this hasn't been changed at some point.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: monbvol on 30 October 2018, 16:59:52
Well it is a bit of a catch 22.

Ammo explosions in general are pretty horrific in terms of both frequency and destructive potential.

But it is intended as part of the game to give it more of a cinematic aspect.

So fixing it to be more reasonable is likely to lead to slippery slopes and an ever cascading chain of revisions.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: truetanker on 30 October 2018, 20:02:03
You guys are crazy!

I used a bog standard Warhammer-6R every single game...

Fired my MGs every single round, even when I had no target!

0 heat, and always at the hex in front, so I would lose 2 salvo shots per turn.

Still do...

TT
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris on 30 October 2018, 20:11:20
Just think after 20 turns of that you only take 320 damage
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: truetanker on 30 October 2018, 20:16:20
And don't forget the original Solaris 7 boxset rules!

Every phase of the turn, one could fire as a simple action!

TT
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: MoneyLovinOgre4Hire on 30 October 2018, 20:16:59
After thinking about it, I think that what should have (but never will) happen with machine guns is to just say that MGs get 10 shots free with the gun and they're not subject to ammo explosions.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sartris on 30 October 2018, 20:24:30
Or cut the ammo to 50/25 or something like that
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Liam's Ghost on 30 October 2018, 20:29:19
You guys are crazy!

I used a bog standard Warhammer-6R every single game...

Fired my MGs every single round, even when I had no target!

0 heat, and always at the hex in front, so I would lose 2 salvo shots per turn.

Still do...

Reminds me of a story someone I used to work with told us about his time in the army.

They were nearing the end of their budget cycle and they hadn't used up all of their ammunition. So, in order to avoid getting their budget cut next cycle, the guy's CO gave him and some friends a case of grenades and a launcher and told them not to come back from the firing range until they were out of grenades.

There were apparently a lot of grenades to go through...
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Apocal on 30 October 2018, 21:46:13
Well it is a bit of a catch 22.

Ammo explosions in general are pretty horrific in terms of both frequency and destructive potential.

But it is intended as part of the game to give it more of a cinematic aspect.

So fixing it to be more reasonable is likely to lead to slippery slopes and an ever cascading chain of revisions.

Even reducing the damage to 1 per five rounds, rounded down, would mean a ton of MG ammo coring most mechs without CASE.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: garhkal on 31 October 2018, 01:43:06
Or cut the ammo to 50/25 or something like that

That would have made much more sense.  At 50 shots, a ton, its about as good as you'd get with an SRM2.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Sabelkatten on 31 October 2018, 10:19:37
Reminds me of a story someone I used to work with told us about his time in the army.

They were nearing the end of their budget cycle and they hadn't used up all of their ammunition. So, in order to avoid getting their budget cut next cycle, the guy's CO gave him and some friends a case of grenades and a launcher and told them not to come back from the firing range until they were out of grenades.

There were apparently a lot of grenades to go through...
I've heard similar stories from several places. My brother, a 7.62mm MG, and "all the ammo you can carry" was pretty funny (and terrifying, since they didn't stop shooting when the barrel overheated...).

It's pretty much the same as company divisions throwing large parties at the end of a budget cycle if they have any money left. Must spend everything!
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Kovax on 31 October 2018, 10:49:35
It's pretty much the same as company divisions throwing large parties at the end of a budget cycle if they have any money left. Must spend everything!

Political parties as well.  Many of those campaign organizations take whatever is left after all of the ads and promotions have been placed, and throw one ginormous party for the campaign workers, then disband the organization.  They create a new organization for the next election.  In too many cases, any debts incurred before that are left unpaid.  I recall one University in the area which got burned for several thousand dollars when their promised expense reimbursement for a political speaker was erased by the dissolving of the campaign organization.

Unless your Quartermaster has some odd budgetary reason to get rid of as much MG ammo as possible, I see excessive ammo loading followed by the inevitable dumping as insane.  Either don't take more than you feel is reasonable in the first place, or else live with the consequences.  Dumping after deployment is the wrong answer, unless you're in imminent danger of an armor breach.  Once you plop down the record sheet, after marking how much ammo you THINK you'll need or want, what you have for ammo is what you should need to deal with.  If the opposition turns out to include a lot of infantry, maybe you'd have done better to take more; if composed of hole punchers and crit seekers, maybe you took too much.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Terrace on 31 October 2018, 15:31:27
My own thoughts about light loading run more along the lines of "RPing that the unit is running low on ammo", useful for a siege scenario or one where they can't resupply. If I wanted them to have just wandered out of a fight, I'd also scrape off a bunch of armor on their record sheet (the exact amount dependent on how much attention I think the unit in question received/the weapons they had pointed at them).

Ammo dumping, on the other hand, I'd save for when the armor over the ammo bin is either distressingly thin, or completely gone.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: MyndkryM on 31 October 2018, 22:09:14
Reminds me of a story someone I used to work with told us about his time in the army.

They were nearing the end of their budget cycle and they hadn't used up all of their ammunition. So, in order to avoid getting their budget cut next cycle, the guy's CO gave him and some friends a case of grenades and a launcher and told them not to come back from the firing range until they were out of grenades.

There were apparently a lot of grenades to go through...

LOL!

When I was stationed at Ft. Knox, we set up a training day at one of the ranges. Req'd six M-60s and four full pallets of 7.62mm (apx. 100,000 rounds)...then some yahoo in Iraq decides to invade Kuwait and our training is canceled.

Myself and three other guys are at the range, and we call up Holder complex and inform them what's up and we want to bring the ammo and MGs back. Civilian DoD worker on the phone informs us that they do not want the ammo back and will only accept the spent brass and links.

 >:D >:D >:D

Yeah...the M-60s got so hot that you'd take your finger off the trigger and the MG would keep firing because the ammo was cooking off in the chamber.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Apocal on 01 November 2018, 15:44:28
I know one player who is so paranoid about ammo explosions that when he randomly rolled a Hunchback off the RAT he dumped all his AC/20 ammo and fought the 'mech with just the lasers rather than take the risk.

Now that's just silly.

In a 3rd Succession War campaign I would expect most owner-mechwarriors to mod their mechs towards flashbulb designs or pad ammo bays because on the table-top ammo explosion was the[/i] most common way to lose a 'mech beyond salvage. The only way to avoid it was to run away as soon as you were down to 10-15pts armour remaining on a location with ammo, which lead to either uninteresting inconclusive skirmishes or most of your unit dispossessed after a relatively small number of battles. Inconclusive skirmishes may be accurate to the in-game history but they weren't fun to play (IMO of course)

Yeah, you just have to accept that the idea of heirloom mechs hundreds of years old and long, long careers in the cockpit are incompatible with the TT rules. Because BTech is lethal as all get-out.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Kovax on 02 November 2018, 12:20:34
Yeah, you just have to accept that the idea of heirloom mechs hundreds of years old and long, long careers in the cockpit are incompatible with the TT rules. Because BTech is lethal as all get-out.

If you treat each battle as part of a RPG campaign, where you or your opponent can simply agree to a temporary truce, or accept a surrender with a small settlement, without destroying the other 'Mech, you probably wouldn't risk losing your 'Mech once the armor took a few hits, and withdraw to fight another day.  Fights to the destruction of one side or the other don't match the earlier fluff text regarding the 3SW and raiding in its aftermath, but the recovery of manufacturing techniques and plans made that the preferable answer in the 4SW.  In a pick-up battle with no "tomorrow" to worry about, it's the obvious choice.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Greatclub on 06 November 2018, 15:37:35
SW3/4, 70% of the TO&E should be lights and mediums. I've seldom played a game where that is true, heavies are most peoples tool of choice.
Title: Re: Ammo Dumping and light loading
Post by: Iceweb on 07 November 2018, 22:12:12
LOL!

When I was stationed at Ft. Knox, we set up a training day at one of the ranges. Req'd six M-60s and four full pallets of 7.62mm (apx. 100,000 rounds)...then some yahoo in Iraq decides to invade Kuwait and our training is canceled.

Myself and three other guys are at the range, and we call up Holder complex and inform them what's up and we want to bring the ammo and MGs back. Civilian DoD worker on the phone informs us that they do not want the ammo back and will only accept the spent brass and links.

 

Training ammo and fighting ammo come out of different budgets.  I can only imagine the paperwork that would be required to reclaim a pallet and the associated costs that would be involved with trying to move it around.  The DoD guy made the right choice refusing to take it back unspent.