BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => Ground Combat => Topic started by: Goose on 08 October 2021, 12:31:52

Title: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Goose on 08 October 2021, 12:31:52
 :-\

Helos' draw more fire, don't they? Free LoS?

Then, Pilots draw more pay the Drivers, don't they?

I can more easily get my head around a recon helo then a troop transport: Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Simon Landmine on 08 October 2021, 12:46:37
Recon helos can work well because you can use elevation to see over terrain. And, depending on if there's lots of trees and woods, helos may be able to move a lot faster across the map, as they can avoid the few terrain types that slow hovers. On a larger map, helos can carry out flanking operations without necessarily getting into opponents' range.
That said, they are very fragile, and if you want to get the infantry to a destination that might actually be under fire, then a hover might be a better idea.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: worktroll on 08 October 2021, 14:03:52
Troop transport helos should never be on the field of battle, for exactly the reasons you mention. They're for moving troops behind the line of battle, or they're how hidden units end up on the map before the enemy show up.

(The historical big use of troop-carrying helos was the Vietnam War, of course, before effective man-portable missiles existed, and the main AA was hand-aimed machine guns. By the time the 80s rolled around, Stingers & their Soviet equivalents made this far more dangerous, plus pretty much every IFV and APC mounted a capable AA gun of some form. In BT, it's doesn't matter if it's a medium laser, gauss rifle, or SRM pack, range is the main measure of utility against aerial targets, and no concerns about traverse rates or elevation of the weapon.)

And yes, recon helos make great sense on two fronts:
1) A real fast mover with Eyeball Mk I, or better still BAP, can cover a lot of territory quickly, relying on TMM and terrain; but if that fails
2) You can spot the fire & smoke from the crash site and know roughly where the enemy is.

I'm not quite full Cannonshop on VTOLs, but IMHO speed & weapon range are life for VTOLs. The Light PPC and LGR are my VTOL spirit animals :)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Natasha Kerensky on 08 October 2021, 14:12:47
That said, they are very fragile, and if you want to get the infantry to a destination that might actually be under fire, then a hover might be a better idea.

Unless terrain elevations or terrain types prevent or greatly slow down hover movement, in which case VTOLs or aerospace drops/landings are the only or best options.  Otherwise, other fast combat vehicles are better suited to troop transport/APC/IFV duty.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: PuppyLikesLaserPointers on 08 October 2021, 14:21:31
Well... what is 'helo?' It it means helicopter(as known as VTOL in TW rules, sure)?

If it is correct, then the answer should be the speed. Flying things are always faster, even with same speed on the catalog. The air usually don't have much obstacles(say, forests against hover), and even if they have one it's only worse for the ground crafts.

Well, if you don't use zip line optional rules in TO then they need some time to leave the vehicle, though.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Daryk on 08 October 2021, 18:48:06
*snip*
I'm not quite full Cannonshop on VTOLs, but IMHO speed & weapon range are life for VTOLs. The Light PPC and LGR are my VTOL spirit animals :)
Don't forget the OG AC/2 for us grognards...  ^-^
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Dapper Apples on 08 October 2021, 21:59:05
VTOLs basically ignore terrain considering they just fly over it.  In the air, going flat out could be safer as there's potentially less to sideslip into.

If there's any trees at all, you can't really use hovers, and like all vees spend three MP just to get over a hill.  With rough terrain you might not get the full movement mod to targeting.

Either way if the vee gets shot up at all you probably lost the vee, just with vtols the infantry is unquestionably dead, with a hover they're just stuck there (unless you ended the movement on water).

That all being said, yeah a heavy hover APC is less than half the c-bill cost of a Karnov, which carries the same troop tonnage. Although the Karnov is slightly faster.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Jellico on 08 October 2021, 23:51:11
I have had some MM double-blind success parking a VTOL at 30+ hexes and just gaining altitude. Hovering at high altitude you are considered standing still which gets all sorts of useful with indirect fire.

No idea if the concept still applies.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Sir Chaos on 09 October 2021, 01:10:58
I have had some MM double-blind success parking a VTOL at 30+ hexes and just gaining altitude. Hovering at high altitude you are considered standing still which gets all sorts of useful with indirect fire.

No idea if the concept still applies.

There´s no maximum range for spotters, is there? Other than maximum visibility if using double blind.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Daryk on 09 October 2021, 05:40:03
Not the last I checked, though as I recall, the Recon Camera has a maximum range of 18 km...
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Goose on 09 October 2021, 11:39:41
… the Vietnam War, of course, before effective man-portable missiles existed …
And since evverythiing circa 23rd Century has effective tracking systems, recon copters, like many light 'Mechs, are this de-facto "Skilled/Disposable" depth-chart position … (https://i.ibb.co/Y2yrCf7/hmm.gif) (https://imgbb.com/)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: House Davie Merc on 09 October 2021, 15:05:00
I have had some MM double-blind success parking a VTOL at 30+ hexes and just gaining altitude. Hovering at high altitude you are considered standing still which gets all sorts of useful with indirect fire.

No idea if the concept still applies.
This is what I do with armored Ferret VTOLs .

It's cheap , can get where you want it fast , and once in a position that the
opposition can't get to there's no need to move .  In a pinch you can send
one in to MG any infantry the other team is using as spotters or take a back
shot at V's that don't have turrets .
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Sir Chaos on 10 October 2021, 01:16:48
Not the last I checked, though as I recall, the Recon Camera has a maximum range of 18 km...

That´s still 600 hexes - and far longer than even tube artillery can reach.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Failure16 on 10 October 2021, 06:44:29
Which is embarrassing in itself. But yes, putting a helo up high like that is a good use, though it shows a glaring deficiency in game-design to some extent (and depending on a host of factors).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Challenger on 10 October 2021, 07:09:50
Troop transport helos should never be on the field of battle, for exactly the reasons you mention. They're for moving troops behind the line of battle, or they're how hidden units end up on the map before the enemy show up.

I’d suggest there is still a role for moving BA into an assault position, particularly if there is the possibility of deploying them from an unexpected direction. I like to use them to support jump capable battlemechs working in rough terrain.

That said, they can’t afford to hang around. Get in, drop the troops off, get out. They are definitely not IFVs.

To answer the original question, there is ground that a mech can cover but a hovercraft can’t, VTOLs can be used to support mechs pretty much regardless where they are. (At the cost of having to be quite clever about how that support is achieved)

Challenger
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Sabelkatten on 10 October 2021, 07:59:34
VTOL vs hover is heavily dependent on rules and tech allowed. Introtech only and a SFE VTOL will beat pretty much anything of equal weight. Clantech standard rules turns VTOLs into LB-X fodder. Arty, minefields, and FL armor makes VTOLs rule over hovers again.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Simon Landmine on 10 October 2021, 08:36:44
It can also depend on the size of the battlefield - if there's nowhere out of range, then VTOLs are going to have a bad day. If it's a large map, then VTOLs ability to ignore terrain can allow them to carry out effective flanking manoeuvres, whatever the terrain.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: pheonixstorm on 10 October 2021, 15:25:37
Troop transport via VTOL can be be useful if the map is large enough.

I played a game in MM using a company of hover and vtol against a lance of mechs in open plains. Harass with the hovers and swing the vtols to the rear and drop off the troops. It's best if you don't have to land to do so, just come in fast from behind so next turn you can go full speed and attack from the rear. If the hovers are keeping the mechs occupied well enough the vtols tend to get ignored for the most part.

Then again, a lance of pegasus hovers with inferno rounds can't easily be ignored  >:D
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Charistoph on 10 October 2021, 15:26:32
It can also depend on the size of the battlefield - if there's nowhere out of range, then VTOLs are going to have a bad day. If it's a large map, then VTOLs ability to ignore terrain can allow them to carry out effective flanking manoeuvres, whatever the terrain.

It also depends on the environment.  Most VTOLs have a challenging time in vacuum, I believe.  But then, so does most any non-aerospace that isn't on foot, wheel, or track.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: PuppyLikesLaserPointers on 10 October 2021, 15:57:34
It also depends on the environment.  Most VTOLs have a challenging time in vacuum, I believe.  But then, so does most any non-aerospace that isn't on foot, wheel, or track.

Note that... you can't hover either when you are on a vacumn.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: CVB on 10 October 2021, 16:46:04
But you can vacuum when you are on a Hoover! :D
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: PuppyLikesLaserPointers on 10 October 2021, 16:51:10
Wait... was it possible?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Daryk on 10 October 2021, 16:56:52
No, that was just a (very) bad pun...  ::)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Charistoph on 10 October 2021, 17:28:33
Note that... you can't hover either when you are on a vacumn.

Note that I implied that.  Hover isn't on foot, wheel, or track, I believe, nor considered aerospace.

Though not covered here, WiGEs would also find vacuum environments equally as challenging, I believe.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 11 November 2021, 20:03:14
VTOLs have to change altitude to go over terrain features, but otherwise pay no additional cost since they aren't passing "through" the terrain features.  Because of that, they tend to get a higher TMM than a hover vehicle, or have a better chance to get "behind" a hill or Woods hexes & make it difficult to be shot at.  Plus, like Jumping 'Mechs, they add a +1 to their calculated TMM.

They're also less vulnerable now.  IIRC, hits on the Rotor now do (Dmg/10, rounded up) to VTOL rotors, so most weapons will only do 1 point (maybe 2 points max, I think the only weapons that might do 3 points of damage to the rotors are the Heavy Gauss/Improved Heavy Gauss Rifles, & the former only at Short range).  Even with the limit of 2 points of armor on the Rotor, given that you can have up to 3 structure points in the rotors it's entirely possible for a Rotor to take 3 hits from an AC/10 or IS PPC before being destroyed (as long as they don't get the "Rotors Destroyed" on the Critical Hits table, but that only has a 1-in-12 chance of happening).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Col Toda on 12 November 2021, 08:19:31
My recon VTOL has a Mast with an active probe . So no :  it can plant itself behind a hill and see everthing .

It also has a remote sensor dispenser and dump one at the cardinal compass points around the landed dropzone  1. 7 - 2 KM out to be monitored by a commnd mech with a C3 Master and a Command console or a few tons of comm equipment in the dropship itself . This can be done with a VTOL w jet boosters in about 2 minutes flat .
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 November 2021, 11:31:52
If you have jumping BA or jump infantry, the VTOL transport is usually better.  If it is walk/run only, then it basically comes down terrain and availability.  FREX, my mercs have both Blizzard APCs and a Karnov for the infantry/BA component.

With jump BA you are not losing any MPs to change height to get over terrain or to land (and landing better be out of LOS or you lose your VTOL buff) which allows you to plan your drop run . . . When carrying jumping BA move to the edge of the enemy's range where you will have a straight run, or at least a minimal turn (and it is a safe turn), then the next turn you use every MP and kick the jumping BA out of the VTOL.  So the 8/12 Karnov gets it's +4 while the exiting BA get their +2 (+1 for jumping, +1 for being BA) which is the most common, we have faster single BA squad transports too and their BV is so low upgrading the pilot is not expensive.  Took a 4/2 Sprint?  Cavalry? something like 12/18 or 13/20 and the BV was still very low also with a very low chance of merging.

And while a ground APC has a chance for the BA to survive the vehicle being destroyed, I think the same would apply to at least jumping BA w/o damage.  Would walk/run BA survive but take fall damage?- not sure on that rule.  Additionally, VTOLs that lose their rotor are not automatically destroyed any longer, so they could ride it to the ground and if the armor is sufficient to the levels up the vehicle could survive.  So both crew and cargo could walk away.

Finally, the troops you are delivering have different survivability depending on their ride.  BA disembarking from a hover APC in sight of a enemy unit only offer a +1 TH while jumping BA leaving a VTOl get a +2 TH.  Since I am typically dropping off medium BA to get in and use their SRMs & RR/SL/MG/Flamer while angling for leg attacks, the drop off is the point the BA are the most vulnerable (+1/2 vs normal +3).  With most of my games being on MM using DB, it easier for them to survive being dropped behind a hill or woods, but that is not what is commonly used on tabletop so generally you want to drop the BA at the end of the turn to keep as many things as possible from being able to fire on my BA.  If someone wants to drop off BA, that is when I am going to throw as much fire at them as I can arrange- they will be the easiest to kill at that point.

Considering such, it DOES make the Purifier more interesting . . . with their Mimetic armor, they are the best BA to drop off and get the max advantage from dropping off a VTOL- +1 (for BA), +1 (for jumping), +3 (for 0 hexes moved).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: DevianID on 12 November 2021, 14:33:08
As a transport I can see hovers being better than vtols on some maps, as hovers get lvl1 hill crests to zoom behind that often go right up to the enemy.  But... Many maps also have terrain that hovers can't leave the deployment zone in.  Vtols are always useful on any map with air on it, so while more exposed due to their +1 level Los due to flying, you never have to worry about a vtol not being able to move on some maps.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 14 November 2021, 11:50:17
That´s still 600 hexes - and far longer than even tube artillery can reach.

nope.  if you're at elevation 1000, and range 2, a machinegun still hits based on his gunnery, your horizontal TMM (*NOT MP expended!!!) and medium range (2).

Same for  whatever absurd number you come up with.  The only range that matters in Battletech is horizontal range.  If you're standing on a cliff 600 levels above Joe's Commando, he may not be able to punch you, but his SRMs are at short range.

Likewise with TMM, you don't get any for sitting in a hex and raising altitude, even at max rate.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 16 November 2021, 21:43:04
nope.  if you're at elevation 1000, and range 2, a machinegun still hits based on his gunnery, your horizontal TMM (*NOT MP expended!!!) and medium range (2).

Same for  whatever absurd number you come up with.  The only range that matters in Battletech is horizontal range.  If you're standing on a cliff 600 levels above Joe's Commando, he may not be able to punch you, but his SRMs are at short range.

Likewise with TMM, you don't get any for sitting in a hex and raising altitude, even at max rate.

Which is really strange, given that elevation 1000 (6000m) corresponds to Altitude 10 on the low-altitude map...& per p.107, ground-to-air attacks add +2 hexes to the straight-line range for every altitude the aerospace unit is at.  But somehow, just as that doesn't count against firing at the VTOL, an ASF attacking the VTOL treats it as if it's on the ground as well.

It's probably because there's an issue of scale.  Each hex on the low-altitude map is 500m/17 TT hexes, but the altitudes aren't equal (50m/8 levels each for 1-3, 100m/17 levels for 4, 250m/41 levels for 5-7, etc.)...
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: DevianID on 17 November 2021, 01:30:02
height in general is wonky.  It takes 10 seconds to drop a bomb from 500m (elevation 5), so altitude bombing (unlike dive bombing which adds falling velocity) should resolve like artillery (IE next turn).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 17 November 2021, 10:27:36
Which is really strange, given that elevation 1000 (6000m) corresponds to Altitude 10 on the low-altitude map

Absolutely not. You need to ignore all references to real-world measurements, they will only confuse you. In terms of rules, all Elevation levels(and I do mean ALL of them) fit under Altitude level 1.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 17 November 2021, 12:16:43
Which is really strange, given that elevation 1000 (6000m) corresponds to Altitude 10 on the low-altitude map...& per p.107, ground-to-air attacks add +2 hexes to the straight-line range for every altitude the aerospace unit is at.  But somehow, just as that doesn't count against firing at the VTOL, an ASF attacking the VTOL treats it as if it's on the ground as well.

It's probably because there's an issue of scale.  Each hex on the low-altitude map is 500m/17 TT hexes, but the altitudes aren't equal (50m/8 levels each for 1-3, 100m/17 levels for 4, 250m/41 levels for 5-7, etc.)...

In I think it was Tac Handbook or Munchtek (Maximum Tech) they had rules for 'slant ranges', but it was a LOT of calculations added to every firing phase-imagine a one-on-one duel that takes eight hours to finish four turns for players of average 9th grade math ability.

Hence why it didn't make the cut for Total Warfare or Tac Ops.

Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 17 November 2021, 19:24:30
Absolutely not. You need to ignore all references to real-world measurements, they will only confuse you. In terms of rules, all Elevation levels(and I do mean ALL of them) fit under Altitude level 1.

Which is weird, because it 100% contradicts the table on p. 81 in 6th Edition TW...
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 17 November 2021, 20:01:27
That table has no connection to and is not referenced by any rules at all. It literally does nothing in terms of gameplay. To this day I am mystified as to why it's even in there.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 17 November 2021, 21:24:27
That table has no connection to and is not referenced by any rules at all. It literally does nothing in terms of gameplay. To this day I am mystified as to why it's even in there.

Well, it does add additional hexes to the range at which ground-based units resolve against CF & ASF units on the low-altitude map.

It gets doubly weird when you consider there are maps used at the official Grinder events where buildings & hills have high enough elevations that technically the tops of some buildings are firmly equivalent to Altitude 2 (approaching altitude 3) on the low-altitude map..
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 17 November 2021, 22:10:48
Well, it does add additional hexes to the range at which ground-based units resolve against CF & ASF units on the low-altitude map.

Um...no? How on earth would it do that?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 18 November 2021, 13:21:03
Um...no? How on earth would it do that?

Total Warfare, 6th Edition, p. 107:

Quote
Non-Aerospace Units Attacking Airborne Aerospace Units: The range from any attacking non-aerospace unit, or grounded aerospace unit, to an airborne aerospace unit is based on the distance from the attacker’s hex to the hex of the airborne unit’s designated flight path (see p. 242) that is closest to the attacker, regardless of whether the airborne aerospace unit is operating on a low altitude map (see p. 80) or is using the Aerospace Units on Ground Mapsheets rules (see p. 91).

Add two hexes to this range for each altitude the target is operating at. (For example, a fighter flying at Altitude 3 on the low-altitude map, whose flight path lies 4 hexes away at its closest point to the attacker, would add 6 hexes to the 4-hex attack range for altitude, for a final attack range of 10 hexes.) Weapon minimum ranges are not taken into account when attacking airborne aerospace units.

If the attacking unit lies within the airborne aerospace unit’s flightpath, the base range to the target is considered to be 1 hex, plus 2 hexes for each altitude level the aerospace unit is operating at.

Given the example listed from the book, it's the difference between an AC/20 from a Victor-9B shooting at the ASF at Medium range and the AC/20 not even being able to target the ASF.  Book says the Victor-9B can't hit the ASF, as the effective range is 10 hexes, & all of its weapons max out at 9 hexes (unless you want to use the "Extreme Range bracket" rule from TacOps, in which case it's a +6 mod).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 18 November 2021, 14:56:51
There is nothing at all in there that would boost the Mech's range.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 18 November 2021, 15:59:52
There is nothing at all in there that would boost the Mech's range.

correct...to a point.  Battletech does not include slant ranges/elevation calculations (trigonometry) for firing solutions.  Instead, elevation is irrelevant to weapons rage.

The alternative to this situation, would be requiring accounting of every elevation, in addition to hex spacing, difference between two 'mechs, or a 'mech and a stand of infantry, or a 'mech and a VTOL.

going both ways, at least until someone points out that shooting 'downward' with a projectile weapon should grant MORE range than firing up-hill in a gravity well, which would require adding yet more math for every firing phase.

Thus, if it can fit on the ground map, and it's not an Aerospace-scale, (aka it's what is covered under 'ground units and conventional vehicles that aren't fighters')  elevation does not apply, because nobody wants to compile that shit on a constant basis.

Ergo, you're hovering at elevation 600, and Joe's infantry squad of rifles is at elevation 0, and you're two hexes away, you're Joe's infantry's medium range bracket, just like you'd be if it was Sam's all-machineguns-all-the-time Behemoth refit, or Claire's urbanmech.  The time you spent spending MP to get to 600 doesn't give you any TMM, because you were going straight up in the same hex and TMM doesn't care about MP spent, it only cares about ground covered...horizontally.

though you are safe from punch attacks at that altitude, and kicks.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: theagent on 19 November 2021, 12:54:02
There is nothing at all in there that would boost the Mech's range.

I think you misunderstood what I said.  It's not boosting the range of the 'Mech's weapons, it's increasing it's range to the target...which is why I pointed out that a Victor-9B trying to fire at the target from the book example would be SOL, despite only being 4 hexes away "per the mapsheet", because the extra 6 hexes added to the range-to-target by the ASF's altitude puts it at 10 hexes (solidly out of range of every weapon the Victor carries).
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 19 November 2021, 14:52:17
At this point, I'm lost. Are we talking about that superfluous altitude table, or the basics of AA fire?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 19 November 2021, 15:04:54
At this point, I'm lost. Are we talking about that superfluous altitude table, or the basics of AA fire?

somebody brought up the idea that you can hover your VTOL 'too high to be shot at', and that's what triggered this part of the discussion.  (that you can't seemingly needed illustration.)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: mbear on 08 December 2021, 09:18:41
VTOLs are generally useful in a role that BT doesn't really cover: Strategic recon. For example in the MechCommander games, it's really easy to clear up the "fog of war" by sending a few cheap VTOLs around the board to find Stuff To Shoot.

On the tabletop, using them as spotters for indirect fire is a good idea if they can hide behind terrain features. (I love Mast Mounts for this reason: Hide behind woods hexes and buildings.) High speed to GTFO of the area is also good.

Delivering infantry has already been discussed so I won't rehash that here.

Another possibility is using heavily-armed VTOLs to backstab enemy troops that are engaged with your forces. For example once an enemy lance is engaging your 'Mechs, you use a Yellow Jacket/Hawk Moth/Kamakiri to hit them from the other side. Those VTOLs are all going to inflict notable damage, but they're fragile.

A similar tactic is the use of Warrior/Balac/Gossamer VTOLs to inflict light damage to enemy forces. I don't do this as a full on "hey I'm going to inflict heavy damage" way though; It's a way to further distract the opponent and overwhelm them (if I can).

Note that VTOLs are better than hovers in areas that have a lot of woods hexes. I often use Cavalry/Marten/Warriors with Infernos to clear new landing zones or destroy the "campgrounds" that exist on some maps.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Daryk on 08 December 2021, 19:45:52
6/9 is really too slow to effectively backstab.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 09 December 2021, 18:08:38
6/9 is really too slow to effectively backstab.

Hey now, let him have his illusions. 
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: mbear on 10 December 2021, 07:26:38
Hey now, let him have his illusions.

I have them stand off and shoot from longer range.

And they're not illusions, they're hopes. ;)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 10 December 2021, 13:31:17
I have them stand off and shoot from longer range.

And they're not illusions, they're hopes. ;)

It doesn't work the way you hope it does, mbear, at least, not without a very cooperative opponent.  See, 6/9 is low-average for a hovertank, on a VTOL, it's the equivalent of hanging your strategy on an Urbanmech in open-field combat.

Especially for the long-range sniper role, but also for any hopes you have to get that 'sneaky backstab'.  To be sneaky like a snek, you need enough MP, and 6/9 isn't.  Why? because unlike a light battlemech, VTOLs have to deal with a side-effect to flanking known as 'sideslip' and if you're hoping to be sneaky (terrain screening) you can't afford to lose control of your airframe lest it experience what is colloquially known as 'crashing into a hillside and burning up.' *or tree, or rocks, or buildings...

so for 'sneaky' speed is crucial.

for 'sniper' speed isn't a dump stat either-to get those sweet-sweet shots you need to be able to position quickly, the Gauss Rifle is a mid-range weapon when you don't have the blessings of being able to fire from cover or a hull-down position, and plenty of weapons can and will hit you if they see you-because a gauss rifle is a 'headcapper' and there's a pavlovian response to headcappers- "Kill it now!!!!" and in the case of your 6/9 vtol, with a gauss rifle, you don't have the durability to play that game, nor the manuevering to get out of trouble once you've gotten into it.

the lowest practical speed for a VTOL is 8/12, and that's only because of a single example that is successful because it carries a Light gauss rifle-if you delete the Hawkmoth, your next lowest speed is 9/14, the realm of the Donar, Warrior H7 and similar light sniper designs-designs fast enough to play sneaky games and reposition quickly to deliver their shots, with just enough durability that in campaign play, the pilot might survive an unfortunate interaction with the terrain on a bad roll.

It's an unfortunate side-effect of the "Big Helo with Big Gun Go Boom" school of thought-it looks great until you're up against a canny opponent, at which point it becomes a liability because it only works under very narrow, friendly, cooperative conditions-conditions most opponents will not be obliging in giving you.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Wolf72 on 10 December 2021, 16:35:49
That's why you need some other units to go head first into the brawl and have any 6/9s move in after others are occupied.  Hmm ... indeed you would need a "cooperative" opponent.  Airborne Urbie ... yeah, it could work!
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: RifleMech on 12 December 2021, 00:13:58
I think VTOLs are good for speed, recon, spotting, deploying infantry, special ops - deploying sensors, mines, special infantry, SAR, medical transport, etc. Other vehicles work, sometimes better depending on the situation, but the VTOL's ability to avoid terrain obstacles lets it do things faster than other vehicle types.



How does the VTOL drop rules in SO pg 20 effect the table in TW pg 81? It says that units with VTOL MP can't move until they reach Altitude 10 of the Low-Altitude Map.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 12 December 2021, 00:39:25
Which rules and what table, for those whose books aren't immediately handy?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Cannonshop on 12 December 2021, 00:44:43
I think VTOLs are good for speed, recon, spotting, deploying infantry, special ops - deploying sensors, mines, special infantry, SAR, medical transport, etc. Other vehicles work, sometimes better depending on the situation, but the VTOL's ability to avoid terrain obstacles lets it do things faster than other vehicle types.



How does the VTOL drop rules in SO pg 20 effect the table in TW pg 81? It says that units with VTOL MP can't move until they reach Altitude 10 of the Low-Altitude Map.

I suppose it means that there's no air to grab (or not enough) above Altitude 10 for a VTOL's rotors or similar unit types, though I'd be fascinated to see how throwing a chopper out of a dropship to try and auto-rotate down to where you can start it without tearing the rotors off would work.

Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Charistoph on 12 December 2021, 01:29:45
I suppose it means that there's no air to grab (or not enough) above Altitude 10 for a VTOL's rotors or similar unit types, though I'd be fascinated to see how throwing a chopper out of a dropship to try and auto-rotate down to where you can start it without tearing the rotors off would work.

There's precedent for that happening, too, when Victor returned to New Avalon in Lost Destiny right before finding his dad dead.  He didn't want to wait until reaching the spaceport, so they dropped out in a VTOL and flew to the palace.  Scared the crap out of Galen Cox when they did it.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: RifleMech on 12 December 2021, 22:03:07
Which rules and what table, for those whose books aren't immediately handy?

The VTOL drop rules in SO pg 20 and the Low Altitude Table in TW pg 81? SO says that units with VTOL MP can't move until they reach Altitude 10 of the Low-Altitude Map. TW  has Altitude 10 starting at 5,001 meters and continuing to 18,000 meters. TW pg 54 says VTOLs can acheive a maximum of 500 levels. 1 level is 6 meters high, so 3,000 meters is the max a VTOL can climb.

If I understand things, and I may not, VTOLs operate on the Low Altitude Map while conducting drops. Also, VTOLs, can only get that high during a drop. Presumably it's a nice controlled decent. (I'd be okay with level flight too.) The max VTOLs can climb though is 500 Elevations, which would put them in the middle of Altitude 9. Only because VTOLs are considered a ground vehicle instead of an aircraft, VTOLs can't climb into the Low Altitude Map. They can only descend from it. At least that's how I understand it. I don't agree with it but that's what house rules are for.




I suppose it means that there's no air to grab (or not enough) above Altitude 10 for a VTOL's rotors or similar unit types, though I'd be fascinated to see how throwing a chopper out of a dropship to try and auto-rotate down to where you can start it without tearing the rotors off would work.




That's kind of what I figured. They can descend from that level but not ascend to it. Still, it looks like VTOLs can be on the Low Altitude Map for at least Combat Drops, if nothing else.



There's precedent for that happening, too, when Victor returned to New Avalon in Lost Destiny right before finding his dad dead.  He didn't want to wait until reaching the spaceport, so they dropped out in a VTOL and flew to the palace.  Scared the crap out of Galen Cox when they did it.

Cool! I need to reread that.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 12 December 2021, 23:38:29
Low Altitude Table in TW pg 81?

Ah, the table that isn't referenced by any rule and doesn't interact with any rule written in any of the entire  core rulebook series. As with every other situation in BattleTech, this is one of those situations where you ignore it because it is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 December 2021, 10:30:27
Which has made it through how many re-printings without being removed?
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 13 December 2021, 12:07:29
Don't ask me why. I've been assuming eldritch layout requirements.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: RifleMech on 13 December 2021, 22:08:59
Ah, the table that isn't referenced by any rule and doesn't interact with any rule written in any of the entire  core rulebook series. As with every other situation in BattleTech, this is one of those situations where you ignore it because it is irrelevant.


I don't know if it counts as a "rule" but the table is referenced under Level, Elevation, Altitude in TW page 43.


Also SO pg 20 not only has rules for dropping units that puts VTOLs (and all other dropped units) on the low altitude map, it also has rules Attacks Against Dropping Units and Attacks by Dropping Units. (I should look into Aerospace more.)  Thing is, while the rules for the units being dropped makes sense, VTOLs still pose an issue. They don't just descend, they can ascend too. Only the rules don't allow for that. So they can come down Low Altitudes but they can't climb them. It just seems contrary to how much realism is put into the Aerospace part of the game.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: Weirdo on 13 December 2021, 22:50:55
The big thing to remember is that except when performing a combat drop, Altitudes are exclusively the purview of aeros, not airborne ground units like VTOLs. That same page of TW that you reference says that.

This is one of those parts where you have to remember that BattleTech is a game, not a simulation. There are parts such as this where realism takes a distant second place to game rules.
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: RifleMech on 13 December 2021, 23:55:46
The big thing to remember is that except when performing a combat drop, Altitudes are exclusively the purview of aeros, not airborne ground units like VTOLs. That same page of TW that you reference says that.

This is one of those parts where you have to remember that BattleTech is a game, not a simulation. There are parts such as this where realism takes a distant second place to game rules.


I understand that. It just seems contrary to how much realism is put into the aerospace side of BattleTech. Fortunately, there's always house rules.  :)
Title: Re: Why Helo when You can Hover?
Post by: ActionButler on 14 December 2021, 12:36:35
*MOD NOTICE*

We’re just going to push the pause button in this thread for a minute…