Author Topic: AoE templates and hex maps: inconsistency between different AS editions and TW?  (Read 1595 times)

gwaedin

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As some of you may know, I play AS on hex maps.
In general AS is a very logical translation of CBT rules; things are simplified, but aside from that things remain the same, with only a few minor exceptions. To the point that I tend to play things as in CBT whenever a situation not strictly covered by the rules arises.
However, I just found out what to me looks like an inconsistency. I'm referring to bomb attacks in particular:
- in TW, a HE bomb affects 1 hex and a cluster bomb a hex plus the 6 surrounding ones
These should translate in 2" and 6" AoE templates, respectively, but:
- in the original AS (I own the 2013 edition), the 2" AoE template covers 1 hex but the 6" AoE template includes all hexes within 2 hexes of the PoI
- in the new AS Commander's edition, the 2" AoE template now covers 1 hex and the surrounding hexes, while the 6" AoE template remains unchanged

It looks like in AS:CE the AoE of 2" was doubled on hex maps, with HE bombs affecting the same area that Cluster bombs do in TW. In both AS editions, Cluster bombs (or large artillery attacks) have an area of effect which is considerably larger than in TW (19 hexes instead of 7 hexes).
Two questions:
1. Is the change in AS:CE (with respect to previous editions) intentional?
2. Is there a reason why large area attacks are so large, compared to CBT?

nckestrel

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Long Tom artillery, that has a 6" AOE in AS, has R2 (radius 2) in classic.  So the target hex, plus all hexes with 2.  This is where the 6" AOE comes from.
For the 2" AOE, Alpha Strike doesn't allow stacking, so it was impossible to hit more than one unit* in Alpha Strike hex play with a 2" AOE = one hex. So it was extended so it actually covered an area.

Cluster bombs are just a factor of not having a separate 4" AOE.  They got bumped up to 6" rather than create a template just for them.

*ignoring transports
Alpha Strike Introduction resources
Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets

gwaedin

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Hi! Thank you for the clarifications.
Still not clear to me why you would let 1-hex area attacks from TW (like HE bombs) hit more than one unit in AS.
I mean, on 3D maps anything can happen but when going back to AS hexmap rules why doubling the radius of the AoE?
Or is it because of other area attacks that i TW have a 1 hex - radius, and HE bombs had to fall along?
For cluster bombs I understand the point of the 6" AoE, although I think that we will houserule cluster bombs to have a 2-hex radius.

Zematus737

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If you play AS in hex, have you considered Battleforce?  It is very similar in appearance to AS, but all the conversions are done for you for things such as this.

gwaedin

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I know Battleforce (I have the original 1986 edition, plus the last edition rules in Strat Ops), but I sort of feel that AS is the new Battleforce.
Mine was just a curiosity, but I think that AS rules run very smoothly also on the hex maps we use.
I played more than 50 games with my son, all on hex maps but the very first one, and I think it strikes a very good balance between complexity and the flavour of BattleTech.
Plus, with AS you have access to all the resources like the MUL, and Mordel to make your own 'Mech designs and immediately convert it to AS rules. The only thing which requires a bit more effort is doing custom vehicles, but I made a spreadsheet to speed up that, too (also, we don't use that many vehicles and the canon ones already provide a nice variety).

Zematus737

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Nice!  Yeah, I've read the BattleForce 2 book and noticed how much was different in the new BF design.  The lack of BF support in the MUL is a bummer and requires conversion of AS units as the fastest way to access the same resource, as most of all the conversion calculations done from TW to AS are nearly identical to BF, with the exception of the minimum damage rule on pg. 18 in the AS:Companion book.  The asterisk after the 0 is pretty much granted in BF as far as I could see, as anything 0.1-0.4 is still rounded up during the weapons damage conversion calculation.  The only thing you really need to convert is the speed/thrust, which you must do anyway for hex play.  Even the ammunition conversion rules are the same.  About the only difference, as far as I could tell, is the calculation for Point Value.  In BattleForce BV is just divided by 100 with a minimum of 1, while with AS it is a little more complicated.

Me and my son mostly just do mechs for the time being, but nowhere near that many games.  They take a long time under Core TW, and that's one of the reasons for my also looking at all the BattleForce stuff.

« Last Edit: 01 October 2023, 00:28:07 by Zematus737 »

gwaedin

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Me and my son mostly just do mechs for the time being, but nowhere near that many games.  They take a long time under Core TW, and that's one of the reasons for my also looking at all the BattleForce stuff.
My son would also like to move to TW (or at least the slightly simplified rules in the BattleTech Manual), but since he's only 10 I'd like to stick with AS a little bit more. He manages the rules fluently, but he still needs to hone his strategic skills somewhat before increasing the complexity of the rules. Movement to me is the most difficult step, since now you get an automatic TMM no matter where you go, while in TW you need to think carefully about your movement to maximize your cover/TMM/firing options. The increased complexity of hit locations would be no big deal since it's pretty much automatic, and in fact managing individual weapon systems and hits is why he would like to have it in our games. Sometimes we do it even with AS, like when you score a couple of damage points (we play with the Variable damage optional rules) with your Shadow Cat B at 12 hexes and you say "oh, I got you with my twin LRMs".  :cool:
He likes vehicles so we introduce them once in a while, although we also did mostly 'Mechs; in a few scenarios, we've also included aerospace units which has been fun - but I really appreciate the new abstract, battlefield support way of handling it provided in the new AS: Commander's edition which avoids the need for having actual fighters around (and no need for the radar map, which is a bit cumbersome if you only have a couple of support aircrafts around). Also it makes balancing easier, since sometimes it's quite easy to take down those fighters and score many points.

nckestrel

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The lack of BF support in the MUL is a bummer and requires conversion of AS units as the fastest way to access the same resource, as most of all the conversion calculations done from TW to AS are nearly identical to BF, with the exception of the minimum damage rule on pg. 18 in the AS:Companion book.  The asterisk after the 0 is pretty much granted in BF as far as I could see, as anything 0.1-0.4 is still rounded up during the weapons damage conversion calculation.  The only thing you really need to convert is the speed/thrust, which you must do anyway for hex play.  Even the ammunition conversion rules are the same.  About the only difference, as far as I could tell, is the calculation for Point Value.  In BattleForce BV is just divided by 100 with a minimum of 1, while with AS it is a little more complicated.

AS/BF conversions are the same*.  The BattleForce conversion rules didn't get printed in the new BattleForce rulebook, but all of the above would have been updated for it.  Minimal damage (0*) is in IO BattleForce p39.   IO BattleForce p23 says to use Alpha Strike PV.

*Other than converting to hex for MV.
Alpha Strike Introduction resources
Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets

Zematus737

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Thank you, NCKestrel.  I'm still learning the greater differences between all the systems.  The conversion for BV in AS are much more sophisticated, if time consuming, and translate more of the units qualities better.  And the Minimal Damage paragraph is indeed there in the new edition!  I must have missed it when I was comparing to see if I needed to make a new paper print copy to replace the SO copy I've been reading.  This one shows a roll of 3 or higher, rather than 4.

As for giving TW rules a try, I'd recommend the new Essentials box and printing out the Pseudotech: Arcade Operations rules for the arena maps (A huge missed opportunity for CGL, imo) that come in the box and give the 36:1 challenge achievement a shot on the open map first.  It's less intense and gives you plenty of experience.  There is even a Boss Fight Co-op mode with some scrolling maps that you can implement the power-up drops on.  My 12 year old gets a bit intimidated by how competitive the tactical side can be and this eliminates that completely, since an Atlas is just so over-whelming against a battalion of Stingers (four at a time).  Well... at least initially.  This booklet also saw an expansion for the Urban mech.  Maybe you can check those out.  The BattleForce map is only 5 bucks and works perfectly as a scrolling map if you print out several copies.
« Last Edit: 01 October 2023, 11:12:09 by Zematus737 »

gwaedin

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One thing I would be really interested in is Battletech Aces, to play co-op.
I considered backing up Mercenaries only to get that, but then decided to wait a little bit.
And then... I really would like to move on to TW.
It is the game I used to play against my playing buddy, the one with whom I resumed BattleTech after 25 years.
This is where I would like to go to with my son, to let him enjoy the same experience.
In time, I hope we get there... and maybe he'll find out some friends to continue playing with (right now, they're all about Pokemon cards and Mario Bros videogames - almost no tabletop experience  :embarrassed:).

Zematus737

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Aw, man.  My children have turned to table top and board games as a past time mostly to accommodate me because of my electro hyper-sensitivity syndrome that makes playing video games with them difficult or just plain impossible.  If I could ever recover from the nerve damage, I wouldn't mind their repeated requests to finish playing Monster Hunter 4u with them like old times.  They are bitter vets when it comes to the new mechanics in newer versions of that IP.  I try to take it slow with my 12 year old, who is the only one who showed interest in BT, but everyone else sees the stack of rule-books and laughs.  They can't help compare Twilight Imperium, for example (which has a 40 page rule book), to this.  And that's my experience even with friends I try to push into the BT universe as well.  It's a battle against the culture, brother.  The excitement over space flight that spurred previous generations will hopefully be revived in their day.

And after reviewing the conversions for PV for AS I will have to admit it's the most laborious conversion for a number that represents nothing but balance that is most - or only - useful for the scale particular to AlphaStrike.  I think I'll stick with the old conversion because I want to avoid things that punish changes in scale between scenarios that reduce or raise the level of play.  Sorry for derailing the thread.  I am genuinely curious for why BF is so undermined... but I also understand there's not much money in that system for CGL.

gwaedin

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We do play a lot of boardgames in the family, as well as even RPG. My son also likes videogames, and since he likes Star Wars I put him playing Knights of the Old Republic... as old as it is (in terms of graphics, mostly), it is very enjoyable and one of the best stories I played in a videogame. I'm helping him out at some points but generally when we play at home it's tabletop boardgames.
Some co-op titles you might want to check are Zombicide and Mice & Mystics... my son loves them.

Zematus737

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My goodness, I haven't heard about Kotor since high school.  We have Mice and Mystics!  It's like a baby Gloomhaven with dice.  I'll take a look at Zombicide.