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Author Topic: Light mech movement question  (Read 4040 times)

Ozprey

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Light mech movement question
« on: 21 March 2022, 09:39:29 »
I'm a very new player, and I seem to have upset someone in a recent game by doing something, so I want to check it's okay.

I'm playing by the quick start rules in the starter box, for clarification.

I had a light mech that needed to close on another mech to attack, but it was just far away that i needed to go into Running movement rather than walking. Since you get a static bonus to your hit rolls no matter how far you run, and the enemy gets a graduated bonus depending on how far you run, (p.19 quickstart rules for the GATOR table) it seems as soon as you start running you should run as far as possible. So, instead of running straight at the mech with my light, which would have been about five hexes, I zigzagged so I ended up moving about eight.

My opponent got upset about that, but, to me it made sense. There wasn't much terrain, so zigzagging to avoid fire seemed sensible, and I didn't see any rules that said you had to take the shortest possible route to attack someone. It seemed like a tactical choice, but is it an illegal one?
« Last Edit: 21 March 2022, 10:21:01 by Hammer »

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #1 on: 21 March 2022, 10:22:18 »
MOD Note: Moved to Ground Combat from Rules as it's not specifically a rules questions but a mechanics questions.
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Lanceman

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #2 on: 21 March 2022, 10:37:12 »
There's no rules, barring a few very specific situations, that say a unit has to take the most direct route to a hex, just that it has to be able to expend the MP to get there and pass any required pilot skill rolls if using rules that would generate them. I routinely do something similar with VTOLs once they get in close, using their large amounts of MPs to zip them around to increase traversed hexes. That usually ends up requiring a PSR or two for side slips and such using the advanced rules, so it's a calculated risk.

Especially with light mechs, the rule of the day is "Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge".
« Last Edit: 21 March 2022, 10:39:31 by Lanceman »
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Empyrus

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #3 on: 21 March 2022, 11:02:09 »
My opponent got upset about that, but, to me it made sense. There wasn't much terrain, so zigzagging to avoid fire seemed sensible, and I didn't see any rules that said you had to take the shortest possible route to attack someone. It seemed like a tactical choice, but is it an illegal one?
Very much correct usage for a light 'Mech, i think. Not illegal at all. There is no rule to take shortest route possible, jumping movement being the sole exception (and that has an additional exception of playing with Design Quirks and a 'Mech has Nimble Jumper).

While BT round (10 seconds real time) is split into phases, the way Target Movement Modifiers work is that they essentially simulate attacks and movement happening both at once. Trying to hit a 'Mech zigzagging everywhere is difficult.
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #4 on: 21 March 2022, 11:10:10 »
I'll just drop a reminder that you pay an extra movement point for every hexside facing your 'Mech turns turning its movement.

The general rule of thumb, though, is that you want to walk at least three hexes and run or jump at least five hexes. This will make your attacker and target movement modifiers even. Of course, there might be positional, terrain and/or range reasons why this doesn't always apply, but it's a good starting place for a newcomer to the game.
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dgorsman

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #5 on: 21 March 2022, 11:43:41 »
It's the hexes moved, not where you end up.  There's a number of movement tricks you can play, like running in a circle, or circling around a hex with trees and then ducking into them at the end, or running behind the target and facing away from them so you can torso-twist or flip arms to still shoot them in the back.

The good news is the other player knows this now, too.
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Charistoph

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #6 on: 21 March 2022, 11:54:48 »
I'll just drop a reminder that you pay an extra movement point for every hexside facing your 'Mech turns turning its movement.

Indeed.  Quads can get away with it for cheaper, but it's still costly. 

The only time I've found zigzagging beneficial is on a city map and the alternative was moving through Rubble (campaign mission in which we were trying to extract from a city that just been hit with FAE rounds).  The only good thing was the Campaign Manager didn't require a Skid Check for Running down what would have otherwise been a straight street, but the hexed nature of the map didn't agree with that option.  In other words, a straight line is impossible, so zigzagging is the only option.

In all other cases, you're better off doing a hook maneuver, basically over-running your target location then turning back.
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Ozprey

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #7 on: 21 March 2022, 11:59:48 »
I'll just drop a reminder that you pay an extra movement point for every hexside facing your 'Mech turns turning its movement.

The general rule of thumb, though, is that you want to walk at least three hexes and run or jump at least five hexes. This will make your attacker and target movement modifiers even. Of course, there might be positional, terrain and/or range reasons why this doesn't always apply, but it's a good starting place for a newcomer to the game.

Yeah, i was taking account of the point cost of rotating facing, don't worry! Thank you for that rule, though.

Thanks for the help everyone, I'll try not to worry about running about with my mechs anymore, and just worry about the most efficient path to run around.

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #8 on: 21 March 2022, 12:35:02 »
A lot of stuff to consider. TMM thresholds are good to remember: 3, 5, 7, 10 (18, but this is not exactly common) hexes moved. If you can, getting highest possible is usually good but attacks should be considered as well. Does moving 7 push you to range where your weapons are no longer at short range? In such case, it might not be worth getting higher TMM, because at medium range your weapons are at +2, probably not a good trade for +1 TMM. Also consider where does your movement end. Heavy Woods are pretty much always good, losing higher TMM threshold because you moved to one nets you +1 additional defense.
And you may wish to consider your next round. Where can you get from your planned ending hex? This is especially important if you lose initiative and end up in defensive, having a fallback position is useful.
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OatsAndHall

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #9 on: 21 March 2022, 15:18:25 »
Yes, this is how I play small mechs and VTOLs whenever possible. Move as many hexes as possible and screw with their TH modifier. Zig-zag, expend all of the movement points and make your unit harder to hit. When moving in an area where they have LOS, I do my best to make sure their TH modifier is +1 above my own. That gives me the advantage in terms of straight probability. I win more often than not when I have this advantage. There's a large skill aspect to this game but chance is a big part of it as well. Get the numbers on your side.
« Last Edit: 21 March 2022, 15:50:28 by OatsAndHall »

Sabelkatten

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #10 on: 21 March 2022, 16:13:20 »
Your way of moving doesn't sound odd at all. Try one of the following:

Run forward past him, turn 180, run back. All moved hexes count even if you end back where you started.

Back up a few hexes then walk forward (or vice versa). Only forward OR reverse hexes count, but e.g. a Locust can go back 3 forward 5 for a +2 TMM.

House Davie Merc

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #11 on: 21 March 2022, 16:37:58 »
You played that light the right way . Any time you only want to travel a short distance
in a light but you want to build up that target mod you zig-zag .

The only time that I'm aware of that you HAVE to move in the straightest line
is if you are using jump jets .  ( I've been hoping that they get rid of that rule )

Empyrus

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #12 on: 21 March 2022, 17:07:27 »
The only time that I'm aware of that you HAVE to move in the straightest line
is if you are using jump jets .  ( I've been hoping that they get rid of that rule )
Technically that rule was actually added in one errata revision few years ago, or at least was made explicit. I remember because it seems to have appeared after there was argument about this in one thread (i was arguing for shortest route). At least older texts, RAW, didn't demand shortest possible route, potentially causing some shenanigans. But they did add the Nimble Jumper quirk that enables slight deviation in jumping movement.

(Amusingly, in very oldest rules, jumping ignores every between starting and ending hex. There could be a thousand level high wall between them and jumping would still happen without problems.)
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #13 on: 21 March 2022, 17:42:52 »
(Amusingly, in very oldest rules, jumping ignores every between starting and ending hex. There could be a thousand level high wall between them and jumping would still happen without problems.)
Wouldn't that be just internally consistent as long as weapon ranges are infinite regarding elevations?  What else is a jumping 'mech but a very large self-guided missile? :)
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Empyrus

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #14 on: 21 March 2022, 17:48:55 »
Wouldn't that be just internally consistent as long as weapon ranges are infinite regarding elevations?  What else is a jumping 'mech but a very large self-guided missile? :)
Ah, right, this reminds me, ECM and Active Probes don't actually generate bubbles but cylinders of infinite height...
Seriously though, there probably should be optional rule for unusual heights were weapon ranges start to matter. 5+ level differences (5x6m=30m) are uncommon in official BT maps so it is no wonder rules ignore this.
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #15 on: 21 March 2022, 18:23:16 »
Wait until your opponent has to deal with you starting 1 hex away from him, and run in a circle around him to end right back where you started just so you can have a huge TMM bonus ;)
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #16 on: 21 March 2022, 18:24:19 »
Wait until your opponent has to deal with you starting 1 hex away from him, and run in a circle around him to end right back where you started just so you can have a huge TMM bonus ;)
For some reason this makes me think of the Ice Hellions...
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #17 on: 21 March 2022, 19:12:36 »
Ah, right, this reminds me, ECM and Active Probes don't actually generate bubbles but cylinders of infinite height...
So ground units can influence orbital and deep space battles  ;)
Quote
Seriously though, there probably should be optional rule for unusual heights were weapon ranges start to matter. 5+ level differences (5x6m=30m) are uncommon in official BT maps so it is no wonder rules ignore this.
Seriously II., I was thinking more about VTOLs and MGs. BTW, here is one of those maddening half measures in the rules, remote sensor monitor ranges result in a cone instead of a cylinder, (but lose one hex (30m) of horizontal range for every elevation level (6m) for whatever reason, so that a sensor can be monitored from 2km away but only 400m up), but sensor detection and weapon ranges get those infinite cylinders...
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #18 on: 21 March 2022, 20:59:35 »
So ground units can influence orbital and deep space battles  ;)Seriously II., I was thinking more about VTOLs and MGs. BTW, here is one of those maddening half measures in the rules, remote sensor monitor ranges result in a cone instead of a cylinder, (but lose one hex (30m) of horizontal range for every elevation level (6m) for whatever reason, so that a sensor can be monitored from 2km away but only 400m up), but sensor detection and weapon ranges get those infinite cylinders...

Well, there is a rule in TW (pg 107, I believe) that says that you add 2 hexes to the range for each Altitude the fighter is at, and you track it as if it was at Hex 0909 on the map.  So if it is at Altitude 3 or lower, and the ECM is on HEX 0909, it should affect it...  :shrug:
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #19 on: 22 March 2022, 01:31:44 »
Well, there is a rule in TW (pg 107, I believe) that says that you add 2 hexes to the range for each Altitude the fighter is at, and you track it as if it was at Hex 0909 on the map.  So if it is at Altitude 3 or lower, and the ECM is on HEX 0909, it should affect it...  :shrug:

That rule governs ground-to-air weapons fire and nothing else. It does not govern electronics. Also if you're seeing any rules that reference hex 0909, you're looking at very old rules, everything doing that was eliminated long ago.
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Charistoph

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #20 on: 22 March 2022, 09:04:33 »
That rule governs ground-to-air weapons fire and nothing else. It does not govern electronics. Also if you're seeing any rules that reference hex 0909, you're looking at very old rules, everything doing that was eliminated long ago.

Yeah, I have an old TW, but considering that the essence of the rule hasn't changed, i.e. only where the aerospace unit is attacking from changed from a set hex to the hex of its flight path, and the Altitude rule stays the same, I still say :shrug:.  Now, it is still an interesting amount as a range of 3 Altitude is between 101-150 Meters, or roughly 17-25 Levels or roughly the equivalent of 3-5 horizontal hexes.
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #21 on: 22 March 2022, 09:23:56 »
To the OP, you played it right . . . I also find when using light mechs or zippy hovers, you want to plan not just THAT turn's move, but the next one as well.  Figure out the angles you will be running so you spend the least amount of MPs turning.

By the flipside, I ALSO plan to move heavies & meds in ways that block off run lanes- FREX, a 5/8 med?  I will run up and jog sideways to occupy the hex exactly 3 behind the target.  This prevents them from walking backwards for a +2 TH while they only deal with a +1, forcing them to turn which means they can only generate a +1 TH walking backwards no matter what.  It also prevents someone from keeping as much range from my advancing 4/6 heavies or BA.
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #22 on: 22 March 2022, 10:10:47 »
Another good trick is to run past your opponent on a side where they have no arm-mounted weapons.  They can torso twist and use one arm to cover directly behind them on the one side, but the other side is blind.  To-hit numbers are irrelevant if the enemy has no guns that they can bring to bear.  In some cases, you can line up a back shot from one hex to the side of their rear facing and 2 or 3 away, so you've got a freebie shot at their thinnest armor with no return fire.  In other cases, it may pay to go for the point-blank back shot from directly behind them anyway, then follow up with a physical attack.  I've killed a couple of assault 'Mechs with a Locust that way (fire weapons, then kick and hope they fail their piloting roll). Granted, I've also lost a number of Locusts.

Leaving yourself with a way out for the next turn is always an important consideration.  Rather than a 180 degree turn, making a 60 or 120 degree turn (to bring your weapons to bear, and no more) leaves you with the option to open the distance on the next turn if you lose initiative, while the opponent has to expend movement points to turn around first.

Terrain can work either for or against you.  With 6 movement points, going into a lightly wooded hex on your 5th move costs both your 5th and 6th movement points, but you've got that 5th hex of movement for the +2 and the woods for an additional +1.  Entering the same woods on your 4th (and 5th) movement point means you either have to stop and forfeit one of the +2 for movement or else continue on and exit the woods, losing the +1 terrain modifier.  Set up you your move for the next turn so you can maximize the difference in to-hit modifiers in your favor.  Thinking a turn ahead takes some thought and practice, but wins games.

garhkal

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #23 on: 22 March 2022, 14:54:19 »
Very much correct usage for a light 'Mech, i think. Not illegal at all. There is no rule to take shortest route possible, jumping movement being the sole exception (and that has an additional exception of playing with Design Quirks and a 'Mech has Nimble Jumper).

While BT round (10 seconds real time) is split into phases, the way Target Movement Modifiers work is that they essentially simulate attacks and movement happening both at once. Trying to hit a 'Mech zigzagging everywhere is difficult.

WE had one player try to make it seem one could go back, forwards, back, forwards, back fowards and so on, JUST IN their Walk MP limit, and have THAT count as moving multiple hexes for his TMM...
BUT in general, i've seen it as Contiguous hexes.. So you go say 3 straight, turn once, two more hexes, turn once more, 1 more hex, turn once more, then 2 more hex, using up 11mp...

A lot of stuff to consider. TMM thresholds are good to remember: 3, 5, 7, 10 (18, but this is not exactly common) hexes moved. If you can, getting highest possible is usually good but attacks should be considered as well. Does moving 7 push you to range where your weapons are no longer at short range? In such case, it might not be worth getting higher TMM, because at medium range your weapons are at +2, probably not a good trade for +1 TMM. Also consider where does your movement end. Heavy Woods are pretty much always good, losing higher TMM threshold because you moved to one nets you +1 additional defense.
And you may wish to consider your next round. Where can you get from your planned ending hex? This is especially important if you lose initiative and end up in defensive, having a fallback position is useful.

Also, if you are using "You move one, i move one", THINK OF who's moving AFTER you..  SO you don't leave your back open!

Another good trick is to run past your opponent on a side where they have no arm-mounted weapons.  They can torso twist and use one arm to cover directly behind them on the one side, but the other side is blind.  To-hit numbers are irrelevant if the enemy has no guns that they can bring to bear.  In some cases, you can line up a back shot from one hex to the side of their rear facing and 2 or 3 away, so you've got a freebie shot at their thinnest armor with no return fire.  In other cases, it may pay to go for the point-blank back shot from directly behind them anyway, then follow up with a physical attack.  I've killed a couple of assault 'Mechs with a Locust that way (fire weapons, then kick and hope they fail their piloting roll). Granted, I've also lost a number of Locusts.[/quote]

Done that before..  Ran up beside someone, turned around then came back on his OTHER side (which was his non-weapon arm), so couldn't get shot back..
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #24 on: 22 March 2022, 15:02:33 »
WE had one player try to make it seem one could go back, forwards, back, forwards, back fowards and so on, JUST IN their Walk MP limit, and have THAT count as moving multiple hexes for his TMM...

Too bad going in reverse tends to work badly for that method.  You can literally run around in a circle and get a TMM, but backing up 1 Hex, going forward 2, backing up 2, then going forward one would only leave with the 1 hex of Movement.
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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #25 on: 22 March 2022, 17:10:33 »
Everyone covered your question pretty well, but I do want to add one thing:

I'm a very new player, and I seem to have upset someone in a recent game by doing something, so I want to check it's okay.

It may be worthwhile to talk to the person some more. What about the move upset him (or her)? Why did it seem like a cheat or an exploit to them?

Reason being: it's one thing to have the rules on your side, and being able to point at a thread where there's some broad consensus. But it's even more important that it doesn't become a negative experience every time you do a similar maneuver.

My expectation is that this won't be difficult, after all, the more moving you do within the same amount of time, the harder you are to hit. It's a realistic concept, and many games have something similar. But talking about it rather than only mandating it will give them a chance to vent, and you a chance to maybe address their point of view in a way that makes it a better experience for them moving forward.

The solution is just ignore Paul.

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #26 on: 22 March 2022, 18:02:56 »
Too bad going in reverse tends to work badly for that method.  You can literally run around in a circle and get a TMM, but backing up 1 Hex, going forward 2, backing up 2, then going forward one would only leave with the 1 hex of Movement.
I'm fairly sure it’s the longest move you make during the turn that counts. I.e. 2 in this case.

E.g. my hovertank wanted in between two buildings. Back 1, turn, forward 4, turn, forward 3, turn, back 2. Longest move 7 hexes.

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #27 on: 22 March 2022, 18:13:58 »
I'm fairly sure it’s the longest move you make during the turn that counts. I.e. 2 in this case.

E.g. my hovertank wanted in between two buildings. Back 1, turn, forward 4, turn, forward 3, turn, back 2. Longest move 7 hexes.

No, it is not.

From the Rules (TW Page 108) and BMM Page 25 (under TARGET MOVEMENT MODIFIER):

Quote
If the target moved both backward and forward in the turn,
base the TMM on the number of hexes moved from the hex in which
the ’Mech last reversed its movement. For example, if the target
moved backward three hexes and then forward two hexes, the
target movement modifier would be based only on the final two
hexes of movement, resulting in a TMM of 0.

So, for your Tank:

1 - Backed up 1 hex
2 - Turned
3 - Foward 4 Hexes
4 - Turned
5 - Forward 3 hexes
6 - Turned
7 - Backed up 2 hexs

Step 7 you changed direction (going from FORWARDS to BACKWARDS), and those are the only two hexes of movement counted - doing turns do not count for movement TMM/direction changes.
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garhkal

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #28 on: 22 March 2022, 23:42:51 »
Reason being: it's one thing to have the rules on your side, and being able to point at a thread where there's some broad consensus. But it's even more important that it doesn't become a negative experience every time you do a similar maneuver.

Good point. The Pulse +TC combo for clan mechs is FULLY In with the rules, but is it an "exploit', or pure cheese?  To some, its both.

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Re: Light mech movement question
« Reply #29 on: 23 March 2022, 08:08:37 »
No, it is not.

From the Rules (TW Page 108) and BMM Page 25 (under TARGET MOVEMENT MODIFIER):

So, for your Tank:

1 - Backed up 1 hex
2 - Turned
3 - Foward 4 Hexes
4 - Turned
5 - Forward 3 hexes
6 - Turned
7 - Backed up 2 hexs

Step 7 you changed direction (going from FORWARDS to BACKWARDS), and those are the only two hexes of movement counted - doing turns do not count for movement TMM/direction changes.
Huh. Good to know. I'll have to check what it says in the older rulebooks.