Author Topic: All Big Gun Battlemech  (Read 5449 times)

Challenger

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All Big Gun Battlemech
« on: 26 December 2023, 19:15:54 »
Question: Is the 'typical' secondary battery of medium lasers and SRMs etc carried by 'most' battlemechs actually useful, or should that weight be thrown into more long range, big hitting weaponry?


The all big gun battlemech is far from a new concept, there are more than a few in service (Awesome, Devastator, Enforcer, Hollander, Novacat Prime/Alpha...) mechs that rely primarily on a 'few' large guns to get the job done. But, I've always found them to underperform in lance on lance games. Inevitable the range shrinks and the fight is decided at close range where these mechs do not excel. 

IMHO, the majority of mechs belong to a different school of thought with a number of 'main weapons' backed up by a 'secondary battery' of short range weaponry. These are usually my go to mechs as they can fight effectively at most ranges and 'look after themselves' if deployed as singletons or pairs. For a long time I have held that this is the 'correct' way to design a mech and particularly in 3025, limited by single heat sinks, I'd stand by that statement.

However, reflecting on larger games I've played, Company or Battalion level, particularly those played with advanced weaponry, I'm wondering if that is still a safe assumption. I've noticed more games being decided by the medium range firefight, with the bigger guns playing a major role by demolishing enemy mechs before the short range weapons really come into play. In these battles it is questionable if the short range batteries were useful, or if they were dead weight that would have been better invested into more medium range firepower.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the matter.

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Daryk

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #1 on: 26 December 2023, 19:55:38 »
All it takes is to see one Enforcer literally disarmed to see the value of a real secondary battery.  Secondaries definitely matter more in 3025 play, as you're more likely to get in close before being erased.

theagent

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #2 on: 27 December 2023, 00:11:16 »
It's a difficult question, as there really isn't one correct answer.

Technically, you could get away with a single "big weapon" (or even multiple "big weapons"), but it would depend on the weapon you selected.  The preference would be something with no Minimum Range, or at least not a very large minimum range.  If, for example, you selected PPC or Gauss, then you could probably live within the 2-3 hex Min Range issue they face.  OTOH, if you picked LRM, then that 6-hex Min range is looking very limited, unless you're staying pretty far back.

To be fair, though, it's only been since Alpha Strike came out that CGL really focused more on the idea of actual "lance formations".  I don't mean the "3 Mediums and 1 Heavy = Medium Lance" type, I mean the "lance role is determined by the role of the 'Mechs in the lance" type.  Despite so many fluff descriptions indicating that most 'Mechs were designed with something specific in mind, most of the time the scenarios or even the various RATs just gave you random 'Mechs to fill out your lance.  A Rifleman or Longbow is not really meant for the "line of battle", but all too often a bad RAT role might end up with your long-range-specific 'Mechs paired up with a couple of short-rangers...or you end up with a lance where you only have a bunch of short range units. 

I would suggest that if you're going to design a custom-build around the idea, consider the old standards when it comes to real-world tank & ship designs (or at least through WWII for the latter).  All of those designs had to balance speed, armor, and weaponry...especially the ships that were designed & built under the pre-WWII Washington Treaty.  If you're going to use 1 or 2 long-range weapons as your only weapons, you're either planning for it to be strictly a long-range fire support platform...or you make sure it goes as fast as possible & has max armor protection for its tonnage.  And I mean "as fast as possible".  Don't stick to 5/8 or 5/8/5 for a 55-ton design; if you're going "1 big gun" on it, shoot for 6/9/6 (or faster if you can swing an XL engine & Endo Steel).  If you've got a 100-ton design, pay the cost to make sure it goes 4/6 instead of 3/5, & consider putting all 4 jump jets on it.  You can even consider some "secondary" weapons, but I would limit it to maybe 2 MLs (or SLs/ESLs) at most.

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #3 on: 27 December 2023, 02:10:28 »
Ill answer from the POV of battle value.

So one of the sins is carrying more weapons then you can shoot.  Secondary batteries often make this mistake.  Like on the Marauder, the big gun approach means you only fire the 2nd PPC every other turn.  The medium lasers and half a PPC are wasted.  The warhammer D cuts lots of secondary weapons to get more armor and heat sinks for the main big guns, the twin PPCs, and its a better mech for it.

Now, units like the battlemaster have 1 sniping gun to keep people honest at range, and then a 'main gun' of medium lasers and SRMs.  If you are using the PPC, you are losing value on all those mediums.  So a better option would be to drop the PPC for more heat sinks and short range guns.  Another SRM6 plus 4 heat sinks for example, would give 20 heat with 22 disapation, and would be a stronger unit.  You lose the poke damage of the PPC, but the PPC isnt the point.

Like, imagine the hunchback 4p with it's 8 medium lasers.  Now imagine dropping 2 lasers and some heat sinks for an LRM10.  Its just a worse unit now.  Sure, it can poke with that LRM10, but splitting its focus to make it less specialized and more general in application means if you need to throw a disco party at close range, its not as good.  If you want LRMs, take LRMs, and when you need short range damage, take short range damage.

The caveat to the big gun approach is not fighting in formation.  When you find yourself isolated, having a specialized weapon type makes you vulnerable to type mismatches.  So if you play a lot of RPG or campaign battletech, things like an AC2 backup get a lot better, so you can do things like track tanks and nosedive planes on your hero unit.  But in a straight up skirmish on 2 mapsheets, you dont need redundancy you need to win this 1 battle versus an evenly matched opponent, so you cant afford to waste points on guns you arnt gonna shoot.

Sabelkatten

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #4 on: 27 December 2023, 04:21:25 »
All-big-long-range-guns are quite workable as long as you have a realistic plan for dealing with people who get in your face.

All-short-range-guns needs a fast platform, very restricted terrain, or a very cooperative opponent. The Hunchback looks great until you have to fight an opponent that refuses to close and is fast enough to do so.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #5 on: 27 December 2023, 09:02:04 »
If your opponent refuses to close your Hunchback, they're giving you a high degree of battlefield control.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #6 on: 27 December 2023, 09:36:16 »
All it takes is to see one Enforcer literally disarmed to see the value of a real secondary battery.  Secondaries definitely matter more in 3025 play, as you're more likely to get in close before being erased.

Perhaps an argument for torso mounted weaponry, but I see your point. That said, given the rest of the damage that mech is likely to have taken before it lost both arms, would we really still consider it battle worthy? Would the secondaries still be adding value if the mech is probably already looking to withdraw anyway?

Despite so many fluff descriptions indicating that most 'Mechs were designed with something specific in mind, most of the time the scenarios or even the various RATs just gave you random 'Mechs to fill out your lance.  A Rifleman or Longbow is not really meant for the "line of battle", but all too often a bad RAT role might end up with your long-range-specific 'Mechs paired up with a couple of short-rangers...or you end up with a lance where you only have a bunch of short range units. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that the RAT made a lot more sense in 3025 than in 3067. In the old scavengertech days of make-do and mend if the only heavy mech you had was a Rifleman then it was better than no heavy mech at all.

I would suggest that if you're going to design a custom-build around the idea, consider the old standards when it comes to real-world tank & ship designs (or at least through WWII for the latter).  All of those designs had to balance speed, armor, and weaponry...especially the ships that were designed & built under the pre-WWII Washington Treaty.  If you're going to use 1 or 2 long-range weapons as your only weapons, you're either planning for it to be strictly a long-range fire support platform...or you make sure it goes as fast as possible & has max armor protection for its tonnage.  And I mean "as fast as possible".  Don't stick to 5/8 or 5/8/5 for a 55-ton design; if you're going "1 big gun" on it, shoot for 6/9/6 (or faster if you can swing an XL engine & Endo Steel).  If you've got a 100-ton design, pay the cost to make sure it goes 4/6 instead of 3/5, & consider putting all 4 jump jets on it.  You can even consider some "secondary" weapons, but I would limit it to maybe 2 MLs (or SLs/ESLs) at most.

That's an interesting way to look at it, almost a modification of the old battlecruiser idea that superior speed would allowed you to pick the range that best suited you to fight.

I was wondering if there was an alternative in borrowing the old Lyran 'crushing weight of fire' approach to combat. Don't worry to much about being able to decide the range, but focus on developing enough firepower to win the fight in the medium range bracket before the enemy can close and force a short range melee.

I'm not necessarily suggesting abandoning manoeuvrability (Being an avowed medium mech specialist) rather focusing a mechs design on features that improve its medium range firepower (i.e. large guns, armour and heat sinks) at the expense of any short range 'secondary' weapons.

So one of the sins is carrying more weapons then you can shoot.  Secondary batteries often make this mistake.  Like on the Marauder, the big gun approach means you only fire the 2nd PPC every other turn.  The medium lasers and half a PPC are wasted.  The warhammer D cuts lots of secondary weapons to get more armour and heat sinks for the main big guns, the twin PPCs, and its a better mech for it.

This is very much the sort of thing I'm thinking of.

Normally I much prefer the 6K for its flexibility, but as the size of the battle increases the more I find the extra 4 tons of armour on the 6D more valuable. The medium/small lasers and SRM 6 don't add value in a medium range fight, but the extra armour does.

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theagent

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #7 on: 27 December 2023, 20:36:45 »
All-big-long-range-guns are quite workable as long as you have a realistic plan for dealing with people who get in your face.

All-short-range-guns needs a fast platform, very restricted terrain, or a very cooperative opponent. The Hunchback looks great until you have to fight an opponent that refuses to close and is fast enough to do so.

And especially if it runs into one of the other 3025-era "I can only punch out to 9 hexes" designs...the Victor.  AC/20 & twin MLs doesn't seem so scary when your opponent has more armor, the same AC/20, adds an SRM-4, & can jump...

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #8 on: 28 December 2023, 19:42:23 »
Just pick big guns that don’t lose effectiveness at short range.  As in so many things, the Hellstar is your gold standard.  Long range? 3-4 15 point hits.  Medium range? 3-4 15 point hits.  Short range? [/size]3-4 15 point hits.  That’s also why the AWS-9Ma is the best Awesome (well, also the Command Console). The Supernova is another example.  Darn those clanners and their excellent long ranged entry weapons.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #9 on: 28 December 2023, 23:35:59 »
It also depends on your tech base. Clan ER Medium Lasers and Streak SRMs along with their pulse and regular SRM cousins are incredibly efficient, especially when mounted en masse. For example, look at the Blood Kite. It's essentially a Stalker IIC with 3 LRM-15s, 3 SRM 4s, and three ER Large Lasers. Or the Grendel Prime.

 For older designs the medium laser/low heat autocannon spam is quite powerful, especially when combined with one or two big guns.  This lessens as newer technologies come along, but as the Komodo shows, the humble medium laser is still painful in large quantities.

Dapper Apples

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #10 on: 29 December 2023, 20:18:07 »
Call me unlucky, but I'd rather roll more to-hit dice with multiple small guns over one or two big guns.  Too many times I've seen a Pack Hunter or Hollander roll its one whole 2d6 and just not do anything for half or even all of the turns.  Hunchback 4P with 8 lasers?  I'll roll two dozen dice hunting for 12s even, even with poor odds I might get two lasers to connect.

The only issue is, it's easier to survive barrages of 6 lasers than one AC/20, turn over turn.

Big gun wise, an Awesome is probably my standard.  Three guns means at least one will land each turn, and an Awesome totally has the heat capacity to fire them liberally on poor odds, esp. if it can park in the backline unimpeded.

Missiles also benefit from larger racks, generally the higher-count cluster tables are more generous even on poor rolling.  LRM 5s, even in high counts, feel like a waste of rolls just to pluck for 3.

Starfury

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #11 on: 30 December 2023, 18:49:09 »
Also more hits means more chance for crits....

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #12 on: 01 January 2024, 21:27:14 »
I'm fine with all-big gun designs.  The Awesome and Thunderhawk are classics but might be a little inflexible.  But that's what supporting units are for.  I think the ideal all-big gun design would use at least two LBX-AC/10s with both slug and shot ammo.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #13 on: 01 January 2024, 21:28:07 »
Sorry, hit wrong button.
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Challenger

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #14 on: 02 January 2024, 12:01:35 »
Call me unlucky, but I'd rather roll more to-hit dice with multiple small guns over one or two big guns.  Too many times I've seen a Pack Hunter or Hollander roll its one whole 2d6 and just not do anything for half or even all of the turns.  Hunchback 4P with 8 lasers?  I'll roll two dozen dice hunting for 12s even, even with poor odds I might get two lasers to connect.

Yep, seen this myself and is one of the reasons I've usually leaned towards medium laser spam for my short range firepower. However....

Quote
The only issue is, it's easier to survive barrages of 6 lasers than one AC/20, turn over turn.

I've also seen this. Whilst still a matter of luck to get the same spot twice, two AC20 hits can easily cripple/mission kill an Assault Mech that otherwise has alot of armour remaining. 12 medium laser hits may be 150% of the damage, but will almost certainly scatter themselves around a mech without inflicted critical damage to anything heavier than a Vindicator.

An interesting observation, if your going to go down the big gun route, you need to ensure your hitting. Number of weaponry is one approach, the other is to seriously invest in 'fire control', Targeting Computers, C3, better gunners etc.

There is a reason I still fear the Clan Large Pulse Laser over any other weapon.

Also more hits means more chance for crits....

A fair point, and one I've certainly agreed with in the past. Most of my custom designs have a SRM6 on the shoulder for a reason. I do wonder in the era of the Clan/Heavy PPC, Gauss Rifle and Ultra/LB-X 20 if that requirement to crit seek is still so necessary. Do you need to crit seek if your plan is to just blow through the whole section in 2-3 hit?

Starfury makes an interesting point regarding the tech base, not least because the 1ton Clan ER Medium Laser is functionally all but an IS Large Laser!. That said, when I've been playing Clan players, it isn't the short range guns that have been giving me kittens, it the big 10/15 point damage punches they can routinely laydown at range....how much that is BV altering the playing field I wouldn't like to say.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #15 on: 02 January 2024, 12:24:05 »
I think this is an interesting question.

The analogy that springs to mind are the "all big gun" battleship designs that proliferated after the construction of HMS Dreadnought.  Overnight, or at least in terms of naval construction overnight, everyone switched to a unified, homogeneous armament.

I can think of several reasons this doesn't exactly work well for battlemechs.

The fluff text on weapons brands and suppliers suggests that relatively few battlemech producers are vertically integrated, and interplanetary supplies can be disrupted or tenuous at times.  IIRC there are explicit references to new models of mech being made with a slightly different weapons load as a substitute standard as well.  Getting consistent supplies of all one type of weapon might be hard, at least for some factories.

The next reason is that in a battleship vs battleship fight, a gun that's too small will do actual nothing and just bounce off of the turret or citadel armor.  Battlemech armor apparently doesn't work like that, so the secondary guns aren't relegated to swatting at smaller threats like battle armor and infantry; they are a useful additive component of volleys directed at other battlemechs.

The third reason is that mechs move fairly quickly relative to their weapons ranges.  A hypothetical early 20th century battleship that deleted the guns in favor of giant, devastating amounts of torpedoes would have to spend a lot of time trying to close with enemy battleships and would eat a lot of gun volleys to the face before it got within torpedo range.  There aren't that many viable construction combinations that leave a mech with a big enough gun to decisively put down enemies in a similar weight class, but also keep the range open.  Think of a Hollander; its gun reaches to 22 hexes and it moves 5/8.  Most things in its weight class move much faster than that and have two layers of tin cans for armor to the Hollander's one.  Anything that gets close to the Hollander can crumple it fairly easily, and if it's a light mech that's closing at 6/9 or heaven forfend that it's a medium-weight light mech hunter like a Black Lanner coming in at 7/11, then the Hollander is going to have, what, maybe four turns to get lucky and hit the enemy in something vital?  Plus the enemy doesn't have to be stupid; depending on the terrain they might be able to break line of sight (which is a thing that doesn't happen hardly at all in battleship combat) and avoid getting bonked for several of the turns when they're closing distance.

The fourth reason is related to the third.  Not only are secondary weapons additive in the damage they apply, the rules have been fairly consistent in making lighter weight weapons more efficient in terms of damage inflicted per ton.  Except for autocannons of course, because autocannons suck.  If you're comfortable sacrificing the big chunks of damage for a bunch of small little bites, which is admittedly a significant tradeoff since the big bites tend to inflict crits and rend limbs off, you usually get more damage output with a bunch of medium-sized weapons than a concentrated handful of big ones.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #16 on: 02 January 2024, 18:27:45 »
A fair analysis and I don't disagree with your points. There is one I think you might have overlooked however.

The abandonment of the 6'' Secondary Battery by HMS Dreadnought was not because they could not hurt a battleship, (Hits to the bridge and other exposed structures etc could certainly hurt a ship's ability to fight and was a key feature of pre-dreadnought doctrine) it was because their fire was not felt to be effective at the ranges the battleships were now expected to engage at. (A small different, but important to my argument.)

Translated to Battletech, consider the Warhammer 6K.

Its PPCs are effective out to 12 hexes, its secondary weaponry out to 6 hexes. (assuming most long range fire is pot luck at best)

If the fight can be decided before the units close to 6 hexes, then I would argue that the secondary weapons are wasted tonnage that would have been better spent improving the units ability to fight at 12-7 hexes.

I don't think that is achievable in a lance-lance fight.....but I've certainly seen companies or binaries capable of generating enough firepower to force a decision at medium range or at least make the short range bracket so suicidal that both sides avoid closing until one side has a decided advantage.

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Demiurge

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #17 on: 02 January 2024, 19:17:23 »
A fair analysis and I don't disagree with your points. There is one I think you might have overlooked however.

The abandonment of the 6'' Secondary Battery by HMS Dreadnought was not because they could not hurt a battleship, (Hits to the bridge and other exposed structures etc could certainly hurt a ship's ability to fight and was a key feature of pre-dreadnought doctrine) it was because their fire was not felt to be effective at the ranges the battleships were now expected to engage at. (A small different, but important to my argument.)

Translated to Battletech, consider the Warhammer 6K.

Its PPCs are effective out to 12 hexes, its secondary weaponry out to 6 hexes. (assuming most long range fire is pot luck at best)

If the fight can be decided before the units close to 6 hexes, then I would argue that the secondary weapons are wasted tonnage that would have been better spent improving the units ability to fight at 12-7 hexes.

I don't think that is achievable in a lance-lance fight.....but I've certainly seen companies or binaries capable of generating enough firepower to force a decision at medium range or at least make the short range bracket so suicidal that both sides avoid closing until one side has a decided advantage.

Challenger


Interesting point about companies and binaries and concentration of firepower, I hadn't thought of that.  This situation would get even nastier with C3 equipment thrown in.

Maybe most mechs are doctrinally required to be able to fight in small numbers, and thus are required to carry lots of secondary/tertiary weaponry that isn't all that useful in large scale fights with other mechs?

Oddly, the more short-range optimized clan mechs start to show up after the abandonment of zell.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #18 on: 03 January 2024, 03:43:52 »
The periphery campaign in 3048-49 showed the clans that the IS would withdraw into a city to hold versus the clans, so all the close in/city fighter configs (c or d usually, plus S) start appearing 3050+.  They are often the best short range brawlers the clan has.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #19 on: 03 January 2024, 16:18:01 »
Interesting point about companies and binaries and concentration of firepower, I hadn't thought of that.  This situation would get even nastier with C3 equipment thrown in.

Way back in the BV1 days, I experimented with two lances of C3 fitted Alacorns supported by appropriate spotters etc. Turns out the combined the fire of 24 C3 guided Gauss Rifles was more than adequate to delete an assault mech a turn at 22 hexes. Not without its obvious weaknesses, but we decided it was 'unfun' for pick up games as an unprepared player tended to have parts of their force simply deleted before they realised what was happening.

An extreme example maybe. But, 12 modern heavy mechs or 10 omnimechs could achieving similar levels of firepower.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #20 on: 11 January 2024, 05:22:07 »
Way back in the BV1 days, I experimented with two lances of C3 fitted Alacorns supported by appropriate spotters etc. Turns out the combined the fire of 24 C3 guided Gauss Rifles was more than adequate to delete an assault mech a turn at 22 hexes. Not without its obvious weaknesses, but we decided it was 'unfun' for pick up games as an unprepared player tended to have parts of their force simply deleted before they realised what was happening.

An extreme example maybe. But, 12 modern heavy mechs or 10 omnimechs could achieving similar levels of firepower.

Challenger

It's probably meaningful then that there aren't any big guns which outshoot the gauss rifle and clan ER-PPC without caveats.  The heavy large laser is shorter ranged and less accurate or explodey, and only hits slightly harder.  The ER-PPC with capacitor has half the effective rate of fire.  Heavy gauss rifles make you fall down.  Class-20 autocannons are myopically short ranged.  RACs and HAGs are LRMs in disguise that spread their damage out into 5 point clusters.

Concentrated long range firepower is at a premium.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #21 on: 11 January 2024, 18:10:43 »
Don't forget LTACs... :)

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #22 on: 12 January 2024, 06:47:20 »
Maybe the firepower and the numbers of combatant would be the factor. As our real history, both factors changed the meta of the war. Especially for the recent century, for our race have an unusual meta of eschew melee combat, something that never had before... or maybe after the dawn of stones, thrown spears and bows. After all, the body of human race is generally inferior to the other animals, but they are good at long march and throwing stuffs than the other animals in combat and hunting.
« Last Edit: 12 January 2024, 06:50:50 by PuppyLikesLaserPointers »

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #23 on: 12 January 2024, 14:56:10 »
Also more hits means more chance for crits....

That's why i Prefer massed LRM-5s, over one or two LRM-20s..

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #24 on: 13 January 2024, 00:26:45 »
Although the sum of expected damage would be all the same but massed LRM-5 have far better chance to deal at least some damage while a single LRM-20 is all or nothing, and the nature of LRM ensures that it does not punch through one parts armor anyways. Also 4 LRM-5s are lighter than a LRM-20, and for battlemechs it's more stable while a LRM-20 could be disabled as soon as it have one critical.

Still, the damage per each part could be up to 5 for LRM-20, but for LRM-5s it's hard to have a full 5 damage on a part and is usually around 3. But 5 points is not so high enough to punch through the armor either.
« Last Edit: 13 January 2024, 00:29:57 by PuppyLikesLaserPointers »

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #25 on: 13 January 2024, 06:01:54 »
The LRM20 has a vastly greater chance to cause 20 damage then 4 (or 5) LRM5s.  Also the LRM20 is more heat efficient, but that's whatever.  So while the average damage of 5 LRM5s is greater then 1 LRM20, because of knockdowns small numbers of big guns are very far ahead in causing PSRs, with the large advantages that come with that.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #26 on: 13 January 2024, 15:29:35 »
Plus 4 LRM-20s, sharing 2 tons of ammo, gives each 12 rounds of fire, for 10 tons, compared to you needing 12 tons for the LRM-20.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #27 on: 15 January 2024, 10:32:17 »
LRM-5s are also good for penetrating AMS compared to an LRM-20.

I particularly like the Streak-5.  Comparing with a clan ERSL and assuming you hit half the time, it does the same damage and uses similar crits (1 + 1 from expected heat  + 0.5 from expected ammo vs 1+2 from expected heat).  The primary tradeoff is 3.5x the range (21 to 6) vs twice weight (2 tons + 0.5 tons from 1 expected heat + 0.5 tons from expected ammo to 0.5 tons + 1 ton from expected heat). 


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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #28 on: 15 January 2024, 13:05:14 »
LRM-5s are also good for penetrating AMS compared to an LRM-20.

Especially in multiples!  I've never thought about using them that way, honestly.  Probably because I don't run in to enough AMS on the field.  Which is surprising considering that I usually have at least one missile boat on the table (and ATMs or MMLs if possible, which REALLY don't like AMS).
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #29 on: 15 January 2024, 14:55:50 »
I think the MOST I've ever seen of ams on the field, 5 player match, 400tons a side battle, where one player had 3 units with AMS, and two others each had 2 mechs with AMS.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #30 on: 16 January 2024, 06:16:58 »
The implementation of AMS is wonky to begin with ever since they changed it from deleting missiles to providing a -cluster roll.  The multiple AMS advanced rules point to the -cluster roll being a bad rule balance wise, as one optional rule lets them keep shooting, another lets you actually stop a flight of missiles on a low roll, and a final one just turns the wet noodle AMS into a gun.

So while multiple LRMs are maybe better versus AMS, thats not a great selling point when ams is usually a non factor.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #31 on: 16 January 2024, 12:00:50 »
So while multiple LRMs are maybe better versus AMS, thats not a great selling point when ams is usually a non factor.
That make sense.

Clan LRMs (streak or not) mostly stand out as a pretty good way to do damage with a single weapon at both short and long range.  The Bane 3 is an example of this---8 LRM-15s give an expected ~96 damage out to range 21.   That's pretty good damage even for a short range optimized mech.  (Streak) LRM-5s perhaps manage this marginally better.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #32 on: 17 January 2024, 01:27:21 »
Streak launchers are for sure better, but aren't available for a long time.  Still, Streak LRMs are definitely underutilized, but that's true with a streak LRM20 and 5s.  A knock down weapon with 1 roll is fantastic, as you will score 20 damage with each hit.  With 4 or 5 streak LRM5s, you need to hit 4/4 or 4/5 hits to deal 20 damage... so like maybe 1 time each game will the LRM5 cluster get a knockdown.

And im not terrible at rolling quick, but a theoretical LRM5 spam Bane with 24 LRM5s would be a pain.  The LRM15*8 is bad, with 8 hit rolls, 8 cluster rolls, and up to 24 (if you are very lucky) location rolls.  But the small LRM5 spam would be 3x more hit rolls, 3x more cluster rolls, and always 24 location rolls for 3ish damage.

Edit: My go to 'big gun' example would be a custom rifleman.  At 60 tons in 3025, you can mount 2 PPCs, 20 sinks, and 12.5 tons of armor for 1276.  How much better is the Warhammer D at 1471, with 2 medium lasers 2 small lasers and 70 tons, with 217 instead of 200 armor?  Both have more or less max armor, is the extra 195 cost on the Warhammer D for 4 backup lasers really worth it, versus just shooting the PPCs at close range and spending those points elsewhere, like on pilot skills?
« Last Edit: 17 January 2024, 01:58:52 by DevianID »

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #33 on: 17 January 2024, 04:13:14 »
The Warhammer has the huge advantage of being canon.

Lagrange

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #34 on: 17 January 2024, 07:02:20 »
And im not terrible at rolling quick, but a theoretical LRM5 spam Bane with 24 LRM5s would be a pain.  The LRM15*8 is bad, with 8 hit rolls, 8 cluster rolls, and up to 24 (if you are very lucky) location rolls.  But the small LRM5 spam would be 3x more hit rolls, 3x more cluster rolls, and always 24 location rolls for 3ish damage.
Yeah the number of rolls does get obnoxious.

LRM5 spam on an alt Bane 3 is heat imbalanced, but you could get away with 20 Streak-5s instead.  I don't believe there's another good way to generate 100 damage/round at long range and even at short range 100/round (120 with a kick) is pretty good.

Looking at attack rolls, 20 Streak-5s would generate 20 attack rolls and (half-hitting) 10 location rolls vs. the LRM-15 version generating 8 attack rolls, 4 cluster rolls (half hitting), and 8 location rolls (using expectation rather than max).  Altogether, 30 vs 20 rolls generating 50 vs 36 damage so a slightly worse 1.67 damage/roll vs 1.8 damage/roll.  It is quite a few rolls so you better have a system like this with 2 dice/bin.

Edit: the design is here.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #35 on: 17 January 2024, 21:49:49 »
Another thing to consider is what your Mech is shooting at. A Gauss Rifle is extremely effective against armored targets, but it's very poor at killing unarnored infantry and less effective against massed battle armor.  That's one area where the oft derided machine gun or small pulse laser exceeds at.  Though I still think 200 shots for an MG is insane.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #36 on: 17 January 2024, 23:04:24 »
Gauss rifles are much more useful against BA than MGs are.  At least you don't have to get within knife-fighting range to fight 'em...

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #37 on: 18 January 2024, 19:59:13 »
Gauss rifles are much more useful against BA than MGs are.  At least you don't have to get within knife-fighting range to fight 'em...
Considering the description of Gauss ammo as giant balls of iron, I call it bowling for battlesuits.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #38 on: 20 January 2024, 07:59:02 »
Considering the description of Gauss ammo as giant balls of iron, I call it bowling for battlesuits.

Amusingly thats how I’ve been known to describe it as well!

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #39 on: 20 January 2024, 12:52:04 »
Yup, but against masses of BA losing one or two doesn't inhibit them to much

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #40 on: 20 January 2024, 13:05:25 »
Against Elementals or other 10+ armor BA gauss rifles aren't a bad idea. Sure, 4 points of overkill - but you're not leaving them alive at 1 point either!

OTOH this really depends on the BA letting you fire away at them for several rounds while closing. If they jump out of a wood next to you those twin GRs will be a LOT less useful than a dozen MLs!

And that's basically the reason why the Dreadnought BattleMech doesn't dominate - it's great as long as the enemy plays by your book, but if you're in the wrong situation they really need support. The Awesome is great until you walk across a few hidden platoons of jump infantry and find out just why the PPC isn't listed as an anti-infantry weapon!

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #41 on: 20 January 2024, 14:03:37 »
Yup, but against masses of BA losing one or two doesn't inhibit them to much

Maybe the mass, but it can inhibit the Squad from being as effective when doing Anti-Mech Attacks, as well as doing fire on a target.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #42 on: 20 January 2024, 14:30:50 »
That's where artillery cannons have an advantage.  Oh, you jumped?  Your hex didn't... >:D

Plus, they hit every suit at the same time.  Sure, you'll have to hit the point more than once (unless you're using an LTAC), but you're still making more headway than any non-AOE weapon.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #43 on: 20 January 2024, 14:56:01 »
Sure, you'll have to hit the point more than once (unless you're using an LTAC), but you're still making more headway than any non-AOE weapon.

And that's where Artillery Pieces become superior.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #44 on: 21 January 2024, 17:30:08 »
Yeah, but then you need someone else to spot for you.  The direct fire pieces can much more easily deal with BA that that jump out of the woods a few hexes away.
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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #45 on: 21 January 2024, 17:56:51 »
That's the true beauty of Artillery Cannons... they're direct fire and AOE too! :)

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #46 on: 21 January 2024, 18:47:17 »
That's the true beauty of Artillery Cannons... they're direct fire and AOE too! :)
Artillery can also direct fire within a 17 hex range.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #47 on: 21 January 2024, 19:02:03 »
They take a penalty, though.

Lagrange

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #48 on: 21 January 2024, 21:06:19 »
They take a penalty, though.
LTACs suffer an equivalent range penalty though, so not a decisive concern.

The full comparison seems to be:
Range 21+ artillery can fire indirect and hits a round later, LTAC can't fire at all.
Range 18-20: artillery can fire indirect and hits a round later, LTAC fires with a +4 range penalty.
Range 14-17: artillery and LTAC can both fire direct with a +4 penalty.  Artillery can also indirect fire with no flight time if there is no LOS.
Range 7-13: artillery direct fires with a +4 penalty and LTAC fires with a +2 range penalty.  Artillery can also indirect fire with no flight time if there is no LOS.
Range 5-6: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +0 penalty.
Range 4: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +1 penalty.
Range 3: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +2 penalty.
Range 2: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +3 penalty.
Range 1: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +4 penalty.
Range 0: artillery can't fire, LTAC has a +5 penalty.

Overall, I'd say the above favors the LTAC in tactical combat, except that artillery allows for firing cluster munitions which are kind of like a free (no +3 penalty) called shot[high].  With that it's more of a wash---the LTAC does more damage (particularly with fuel-air munitions) while the artillery is more precise, finicky (no L6-), and adaptable (multiboard fire).

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #49 on: 21 January 2024, 23:06:05 »
artillery allows for firing cluster munitions which are kind of like a free (no +3 penalty) called shot[high].

That was removed in the fifth printing of TO.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #50 on: 22 January 2024, 00:37:42 »
Yeah, but then you need someone else to spot for you.  The direct fire pieces can much more easily deal with BA that that jump out of the woods a few hexes away.

You don't need a spotter for indirect artillery piece fire.  It's just less accurate that way.

Meanwhile, Artillery Cannons DO need spotters.
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Lagrange

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #51 on: 22 January 2024, 08:10:05 »
That was removed in the fifth printing of TO.
Ah, found it.  "remove the second bullet point" in the errata.  That makes cluster rounds much less interesting---fuel-air rounds are good at clearing infantry and just do more damage.   

As for LTAC vs. Artillery, this change makes them both seem like good choices.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #52 on: 22 January 2024, 19:10:43 »
The first game where our GM allowed us to deploy our LTAC, an opposing hover tank hid behind a hill.  Instead of indirectly firing on its hex, the player direct fired at the hex he could see next to it.  The splash damage killed the tank... >:D

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #53 on: 22 January 2024, 20:56:13 »
The first game where our GM allowed us to deploy our LTAC, an opposing hover tank hid behind a hill.  Instead of indirectly firing on its hex, the player direct fired at the hex he could see next to it.  The splash damage killed the tank... >:D
AE splash damage does bring up interesting questions like "is it better to do 20 damage to the rear or 30 damage to the front?" and "is it better to do 30 damage or 20 damage with a 2 better target number?"

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #54 on: 22 January 2024, 21:17:15 »
Always the latter... :D

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #55 on: 24 January 2024, 12:31:32 »
My big bugbear with AE damage is that it is all priced totally wrong.  The FAE ammo on artillery cannons is especially egregious, as for no cost you raise your damage and AOE a huge amount.  Ignoring TMM likewise has no cost, and yet you can shoot AFTER the target has moved.  For all such weapons that ignore TMM, the hex should be plotted before movement, so that while TMM is ignored, MOVEMENT isnt.  We pay for movement, so any weapon that ignore movement modifiers (including, especially, aerotech bombs) either needs to cost more (to equal the points wasted on fast movers), or needs to be plotted before movement so you cant perfectly land a shot on a hovertank you cant see that can turn on a dime.

It should be harder to hit that fast hover behind the hill, but like you said you just aimed at the hex after it moved and killed it with no counterplay from the tank.

We can price these things correctly, but they arnt priced correctly right now, and after a few games where my custom hunchback with a thumper artillery piece instead of an AC20 did more damage then the rest of the lance COMBINED I was greatly soured on just how OP AE damage was.  Like... it is so OP its not fun for me, the person using it, if the other player hasnt seen it before and brought their own countermeasures.  I end up apologizing more then having a fun game.  My FAE arrow urbanmech was BS of the highest order, and the dual Arrow demolisher just makes obsolete pretty much every other tank in the game.

Lagrange

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #56 on: 24 January 2024, 14:38:35 »
...

I believe AE has a useful role gamewise as an optimization-killer.  "You can't touch my jump 7 Null Sig CLPS assault mech with clan LPLs!"  If your opponent has artillery, investments in all kinds of high end "don't get hit" strategies become much more questionable.  If on the other hand you have more basic mechs the amount of damage isn't to crazy since the sources of AE damage are somewhat underpowered in terms of damage vs. tons or vs. crits as long as units don't bunch up.  I could easily imagine the Null Sig CLPS assault mech with clan LPLs getting a rude surprise though.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #57 on: 24 January 2024, 15:08:31 »
I believe AE has a useful role gamewise as an optimization-killer.  "You can't touch my jump 7 Null Sig CLPS assault mech with clan LPLs!"  If your opponent has artillery, investments in all kinds of high end "don't get hit" strategies become much more questionable.  If on the other hand you have more basic mechs the amount of damage isn't to crazy since the sources of AE damage are somewhat underpowered in terms of damage vs. tons or vs. crits as long as units don't bunch up.  I could easily imagine the Null Sig CLPS assault mech with clan LPLs getting a rude surprise though.

I tend to agree with this point. Both of my gaming groups started spamming 6+ jumpers with CLPLs pretty early on. Our GM brought in a Catapult C3 one game and put a hurt on us with Arrow IV barrages.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #58 on: 24 January 2024, 15:30:07 »
We have another, more reliable counter for that.  Simple Hoversleds that are as cheap as chips (about 28-32 BV) and only Armed and Armored with a Booby Trap.  Cruising Speed runs from about 33-42, depending on Engine Type.

But it's a very nasty counter abuse unit that can put 125-170 AOE Damage that can be put anywhere there aren't Woods.  Even a Great Turtle has to respect that.  Even more when you're running 20+ of the b******s and those things go off when you Shoot, so you can only take them down before you get to them.  Looking at that Cruising Speed, that's doubtful.
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OatsAndHall

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #59 on: 24 January 2024, 16:25:26 »
We have another, more reliable counter for that.  Simple Hoversleds that are as cheap as chips (about 28-32 BV) and only Armed and Armored with a Booby Trap.  Cruising Speed runs from about 33-42, depending on Engine Type.

But it's a very nasty counter abuse unit that can put 125-170 AOE Damage that can be put anywhere there aren't Woods.  Even a Great Turtle has to respect that.  Even more when you're running 20+ of the b******s and those things go off when you Shoot, so you can only take them down before you get to them.  Looking at that Cruising Speed, that's doubtful.

Yeah... We've strayed away from spamming vehicles... The group got a little testy when I brought a lance of LRM carriers and five squads of Kage BA with TAG. I still had the BV to protect the LRM carriers with a Kingfisher and Phoenix Hawk C2.  :cheesy:

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #60 on: 24 January 2024, 19:07:12 »
We have another, more reliable counter for that.  Simple Hoversleds that are as cheap as chips (about 28-32 BV) and only Armed and Armored with a Booby Trap.  Cruising Speed runs from about 33-42, depending on Engine Type.
This cure seems worse than the disease.  Your post on the subject put it well "How to lose friends and destroy relationships".  It's also somewhat less comprehensive than the artillery approach since the jumpy LPL CLPS Null sig mechs are often quite capable of sticking to woods.

With that said, it's certainly a super-scary tactic. 

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #61 on: 24 January 2024, 19:12:04 »
Again, the fatal error of BV is revealed... the only true game balance is two opposing teams negotiating an encounter they both think they can win.  BV has absolutely ZERO to do with that.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #62 on: 25 January 2024, 03:17:54 »
I mean, Daryk the concept of a 'fair fight' not being realistic doesn't mean we shouldn't have fair fights in our game.  BV is the tool to make fair fights, regardless of fair fights not being a thing that anyone wants when they attack in the real world.  But AE damage is, mathematically, not priced correctly.  So things like the booby trap, the bomb aerotruck, FAE or regular artillery, ect, all deal more damage for the cost then they should, with massive scaling issues if you hit certain targets or more then 1 unit at once. 

The pulse laser is also too cheap, as is TMM, both the things mentioned in the 7+ jump stealth mech with CLPL spam.  For example, going from 5 jump to 7 jump is a 1.3 multiplier to a 1.4 multiplier in defensive BV, so the actual cost to increase for +1 TMM was a 7.7% increase in defensive BV, which is only half the mechs BV equation.  A gunnery increase is +20% of the whole mech, so with the right speed and stealth bonuses you can outpace accuracy at a basic cost level 5 to 1 and more at the high end of TMM, making yourself effectively unhittable.  Chase the spider is a common problem in 3025 play, as there isnt cheap enough accuracy to hit the spider.

This is an easy fix, just a tweak to the BV formula does away with that.  The resulting--still exceptionally deadly--jump 7 stealth clan pulse monster will have the correct enormously expensive price to match in such a case, and wont be the issue to gaming groups it is now as currently 'the only solution' requires carpet bombing a map to deal with--the cure worse then the disease mentioned.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #63 on: 25 January 2024, 08:34:33 »
I believe BV as-is is not very good for balancing forces.  It's a good concept/goal that is done in a structurally wrong manner for the concept.  There's an enormous amount of details associated with getting it right, so I both respect the attempt and believe it can be done better.

However, I'm not sure any plausible fix to BV would reflect the dynamics of combat if you discard AE damage.  Presumably 3025 forces would have some nonzero BV and hence some quantity of them matches the BV of the clan monster.  But, if the clan monster is unhittable (i.e. +4 stealth+CLPS+4 (or +6 if using extreme) range +4 TMM +1 or 2 from cover), that doesn't really matter even if the 3025 pilots have gunnery 0.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #64 on: 25 January 2024, 09:59:52 »
IMO, the current BV system could be a lot worse. My gaming groups have identified what we feel are "holes" in the BV and adjust accordingly. We solve a lot of problems by limiting a force's size in most games: it has to fit inside a Leopard dropship.  But, the gloves are typically off if that's not in play. Someone wants to sneak in a boosted C3 unit without telling people so they can snag ECM, so be it. But, you're gonna deal with me spamming semi-guided indirect fire.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #65 on: 25 January 2024, 11:29:58 »
Matching force size is a big deal for sure, as a force having 3 units plus 5 cheap nonsense things has a big advantage over 4 units in initiative.  The book does recommend equal unit count for balanced games after all, and reasonable gameplay expectations further mean if you want a game to play to completion in 2 hours, then 4 units is the reasonable limit.

As to dealing with the super clan stealth jumper, if you use the recommended 4 mechs per mapsheet, thats only 1 to 2 mapsheets.  You cant kite forever, like how a Grendel with 7 jump cant kite a marauder forever as you are guaranteed to run out of map.  If the game was played with rolling, infinite mapsheets then I agree the balance point would be off, but the game isnt balanced around infinite maps--just look at the gameplay weapon ranges after all.  3025 mechs SHOULD be able to get into medium range at the very least.  At medium, the enemy has +4 TMM, +2 from stacking stealth systems, +2 for medium range, putting the hit at 8+ base... a monstrous base, requiring super elite gunners and forest clearing efforts, but if the cost is correct (and it can be) and the maps are correct (there is no value discussing maps that favor one side versus the other, like an all underwater map that takes away the clan jump jets), the superclan jumper can and will be tackled by a correct number of 3025 elite units.  But if the cost is wrong like it is now, the super high TMM costs very little, and requires similarly broken things to hit those numbers as the standard stuff isnt able to do it at cost.

At MRC, the common 'cheese' score for things is no AE attacks, 1 7+ jumper, and a hard cap on pulse damage, with 6 units max.  This 'soft ban' approach is a good stopgap until the formula for BV is updated, which presumably would make all the banned things more expensive meaning they wont need to be 'soft banned'.  This cheese score exists because the BV formula is a known thing, so its possible to identify what is outside of the norm for pricing (which is why BV can also fix these problematic things if updated).

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #66 on: 25 January 2024, 11:46:49 »
TBH, we don't really define jumpers with CPL as cheesy. Games just started dragging out as literally everyone brought those units and very few shots were being landed. My personal counter to that is parking a Clan heavy or assault in elevated cover and picking those jumpers off. I'll usually taking something with a TC and/or CLPL and cut that equations way down.

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #67 on: 12 February 2024, 17:48:39 »
I think of battlemechs more akin to tanks, which would mean that in Mech on Mech combat:

1 AC/40 is better than two AC/20s, and 1 Super Laser is better than 10 Medium Lasers. This is because part of the reason Mechs are durable is the "multiple areas to hit, multiple hits to kill an area" rule. If a single shot could blow off a leg, torso side, etc. just for hitting, that would be an "optimized" anti-mech weapon. This is why tanks and antitank weapons tend to favor One Big Shot rather than just peppering the armor plate with lots of rounds until it is literally abraded away the way things seem to in Battletech.

Now, this requires in-universe designers to be able to *build* weapons this large, which is a big assumption I suppose.

That said, it also would reduce the advantage 'mechs have over tanks. Tanks (both in-game and IRL) can have more armor thickness per ton of armor because they have less space (hit locations) to cover per point of armor. When being shot at by a platoon of tanks with AC/80, having more armor when you are hit (as well as being smaller and harder to hit overall) is more important than being able to survive having your unit's side torsos ripped off.. like yes, you lived, but at that point the mech is trashed.

Of course, this is assuming people are shooting each other with accurate fire, not Kentucky windage with artillery shell flight speeds that can be outrun by light mechs and hover tanks.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #68 on: 12 February 2024, 18:01:47 »
I play a lot of battles with 12+ units to a side.  They do tend to stay at long range for longer, although often I'm playing against the MM bot which isn't super adept at long-range duels.

One thing I have definitely noticed in battles at company scale or larger is that ammo for long-ranged weapons runs out very often.  I think the common point of view that ~12 rounds of ammunition is sufficient for something like an LRM launcher (or that 16 rounds is sufficient for a Gauss) is an artifact of lance-scale games rather than something that would hold at all true in-universe.

House Davie Merc

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #69 on: 12 February 2024, 22:36:52 »
I play a lot of battles with 12+ units to a side.  They do tend to stay at long range for longer, although often I'm playing against the MM bot which isn't super adept at long-range duels.

One thing I have definitely noticed in battles at company scale or larger is that ammo for long-ranged weapons runs out very often.  I think the common point of view that ~12 rounds of ammunition is sufficient for something like an LRM launcher (or that 16 rounds is sufficient for a Gauss) is an artifact of lance-scale games rather than something that would hold at all true in-universe.
I've found this to be true at least to a degree.
Players more experienced with larger engagements tend to hold their fire at higher numbers
when if it were a lance vs lance game they would roll as often as possible.

Larger scale early era games also tend to show how valuable PPC armed units can really be.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #70 on: 13 February 2024, 10:23:13 »

Larger scale early era games also tend to show how valuable PPC armed units can really be.

Agreed... and in 3050 the ER PPC is super useful in a big game as well.  Not having to hold back your shots makes a huge difference.

The effect I'm talking about is especially stark for the Gauss... you want to give yourself as many chances to headcap as possible, and the ammo isn't even explosive.  To me a magazine of 24 is a no-brainer for that weapon.

Lagrange

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #71 on: 13 February 2024, 12:20:05 »
I'd note that Streak LRMs are mostly like energy weapons in this regard.

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #72 on: 17 February 2024, 00:30:10 »
As noted, at larger engagements ammo based weapons start to drop off, but to be fair this too is an artifact of gameplay.  Like, an armored company IRL is out in the field for hours minimum, and while tanks have pretty high hit chances, other vees spray hundreds of rounds just suppressing things, which isnt something you can do in btech.

There are advanced rules for reloading in the field, so in a 12v12 6 mapsheet game you can pull back and rearm something like a trebuchet or enforcer.  I think the fluff even supports that in the OG writeups.  For the most part, when mechs clash its supposed to be either isolated affairs, or short high intensity clashes where after a minute both sides should be falling back.

Battalion and larger fights likewise even further break down with all the missing stuff.  Just getting 2 battalions to the same battlefield would be the work of hours of maneuver, scouting, and politics.  Honestly if you detect an enemy battalion massed up, it doesn't make sense to me to just smash your battalion into it.  Wouldnt you see the massed battalion, set up a defensive formation and improve your position, and begin long range bombardment from a fortified position against the troops in the open?  Or send a company to pin the battalion in place while the other 2 companies split and attack elsewhere?

Longwinded point is, 12-16 shots is plenty because of the nature of the game.  If the game was meant to be played on a bigger scale, it all breaks down anyway with formations blundering into each other instantly with no pre or post battle maneuver.  Digging trenches/fieldwork isn't even a rule for mechs right, despite being super important as I understand.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #73 on: 17 February 2024, 12:26:08 »
I agree with you, but of course you can portray a lot of what you're talking about in the game. Like you can make a map with mech trenches and so on, it's just not part of what's portrayed by the rules.

But yeah when I'm fighting with large forces usually there will be artillery and aerospace on the attacking side and the defending side will be holding defensive works or at least advantageous terrain. I have one homebrew scenario where you defend mech trenches on a moon against a whole clan cluster with a couple IS companies on your side, it's amazing what massed LRM fire does to a charging enemy in vacuum.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #74 on: 17 February 2024, 12:29:36 »
But as to whether it's realistic to have such small magazines, that depends on whether an enemy with more ammo can catch your Enforcer off guard and take the advantage while he goes to reload, and I think a lot of the time they could.

Daryk

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #75 on: 17 February 2024, 13:15:57 »
Defenders should have artillery too...

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #76 on: 18 February 2024, 04:32:24 »
Right, so like if what is engaging the enforcer falling back to rearm is something in the current battle, and the enforcer has already spent 10+ turns shooting and is still ready to fight and rejoin its allies after it rearms, that means the battle must be pretty big... Bigger then the scope of battletech is taking a snapshot of with its 10 second slices.  Like, we dont know what is over the board edge when the enforcer retreats off the map edge, but for scenario play its treated as destroyed for the purpose of the game currently being played.

My issue with 'big gun battletech' is you too often run into the limit of the gamespace.  If engagements were meant to last for 6 minutes, then the 10 second slice with 12 shoots as 'decent' ammo count would be far too low... You'd need 30 shots for the 36 turns expected to be played.  And if a firefight is supposed to last longer then this, well now only energy weapons would exist... In a 10 minute skirmish ammo would be depleted with 80% of the battle still left to fight.  However, even in real life, we see things like Himars and ground attack fighters and javelin teams with very low endurance being used non-stop.  And when they run out of their 6 shots they return to base for more, it isn't impossible for them to disengage.

So thats why i feel something like an enforcer/trebuchet being unable to return to a forward supply point after firing off the ac10/lrm ammo is a gameplay artifact, not a real lore concern.  In 4v4 its not a big deal to get off the home edge to go resupply, with the recommended 2 paper maps.  But a 12v12 6 map game, well now it takes, what 3x the time to return to base, whatever construct that is, because of the greatly enlarged maps and concentration of enemy forces requiring more then 10 shots to defeat.  Which leads to my point about how such a large force concentration built up, and why the enforcer blundered into it, ECT.  Its gameplay scale artifacts showing up.

My favorite example, which i didnt play but read about, was a story about an elite trinary of clan forces dismantling a grossly larger IS force, with the question of how.  And the person who played it responded by saying that on the massively large map, the big long range energy guns of the clan forces were able to kill the edge of the IS force, which couldnt hit well back at that range with less skill.  The general speed of the omnimechs meant that on the large map the slower, stronger units couldn't really gather to trade blows, it was just death by 1000 PPCs from the clan trinary across the field.  The fulda gap of battletech, as the clans methodically destroyed whatever the closest thing was, with plenty of room to back up.  And while I absolutely believe that happened, a 1/15th slice of 1 clan mech versus 4 is units on 1-2 sheets is a totally different result against big gun battletech.

Daryk

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #77 on: 18 February 2024, 06:26:42 »
Yeah, fighting in a phonebooth changes the fundamentals a LOT.

Sabelkatten

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #78 on: 18 February 2024, 10:38:39 »
On a large enogh map a Fire Moth with a cERLL could kill a regiment without taking a shot in return. The question is; where's the artillery? Air support? Forward infiltrating hovertanks with carried infantry?

One of the points of the "postage stamp size battlefield" is that in many - arguably most - circumstances neither side have total freedom to maneuver. It’s all good and well to say "I'll just back away while shooting you" until you're flattened by a dozen Thumper rounds or find that your field base doesn't move 10/15...

Daryk

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #79 on: 18 February 2024, 10:44:32 »
Chasing a fast 'mech back to its FOB may sound like a good time, but it's a LOT of rolling map boards...

Sabelkatten

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #80 on: 18 February 2024, 13:23:05 »
It’s a lot of map sheets if you mix up CBT and reality...

If you don’t try to force reality into CBT a forward base can reasonably be 3-4 maps behind the front line. The thing to remember is that ranges are "artificially shortened" - when you think of 21 hexes as more like 2-3 miles (a much more reasonable range) you see why rolling maps isn't always the sensible option.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #81 on: 18 February 2024, 22:47:41 »

My issue with 'big gun battletech' is you too often run into the limit of the gamespace.  If engagements were meant to last for 6 minutes, then the 10 second slice with 12 shoots as 'decent' ammo count would be far too low... You'd need 30 shots for the 36 turns expected to be played.  And if a firefight is supposed to last longer then this, well now only energy weapons would exist... In a 10 minute skirmish ammo would be depleted with 80% of the battle still left to fight.  However, even in real life, we see things like Himars and ground attack fighters and javelin teams with very low endurance being used non-stop.  And when they run out of their 6 shots they return to base for more, it isn't impossible for them to disengage.

Well as Sabelkatten says the scales are really best thought of as abstracted, I don't take the 10 second time scale any more seriously than I take the machine guns with 90 meter maximum range.

But there are a number of differences between BattleTech weapons and armor and the real-life systems you're talking about.  BT vehicles mostly can't be destroyed by a single hit and need massed fire to be taken down quickly.  The resulting dynamics do not favor spreading out your forces beyond what's necessary to avoid taking too much damage from AOE weapons.  This changes a bit if you model concealment using double blind rules, but even then "let's split up" is a much worse tactic in BT than in real life.  For the same reason there is less incentive to keep forces in reserve.

This is really what makes the difference in what you're talking about; in 20th century warfare a squad that ran out of Javelin missiles could fall back and be replaced by troops moved up from the reserve.  And you're talking about air and infantry units that have a relatively easy time disengaging and hiding, and that have pretty hard limitations on how much weight they can carry.  If you could carry 20+ air to air missiles on an F22 (at a manageable cost) that would be very advantageous.

Ultimately BattleMechs are walking tanks.  Turning a tank around and leaving the front to reload could be a huge hassle, you don't want to be forced to do that if you've still got plenty of fuel to keep advancing (and we're talking about fusion-fueled walking tanks with no fuel-imposed maximum range).  An M1A2 carries 42 rounds of ammunition (4+ minutes of sustained fire) for the main gun.  If enemy tanks were as hard to kill as enemy 'Mechs are in BT, one would want to carry even more.  BT is in some ways more like WW2 combat, and a Sherman carried 100 rounds.

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #82 on: 19 February 2024, 00:06:26 »
Quote
On a large enough map a Fire Moth with a cERLL could kill a regiment without taking a shot in return. The question is; where's the artillery? Air support? Forward infiltrating hovertanks with carried infantry?

Thats the problem with big gun battletech in a nutshell.  If there is a mech regiment and a single dasher on a sufficiently large map, the artillery, air support, forward ops bases arnt on the board and dont exist.  Also, there was hours upon hours spent gathering the regiment wherever it is.  And, there is no falling back from the harrowing dasher--leaving the board counts as destroyed.  Also the regiment doesnt have any objective, the base game is 'play until one side is totally destroyed.'

You CAN put all those things in, but the base game doesnt support all that... Battleforce starts to include that stuff, and people say battleforce is a great game (I have barely dabbled with it).

Rolling maps is a bad mechanic for the game of battletech we have.  The range/rules abstraction doesnt support large, especially infinite maps.  The weapons and ranges are balanced on the idea that you can box in a faster unit, otherwise something like a grendel prime with its 7 jump jets and ER large laser just couldn't die versus something slower with 24 range or less.

As for why mechs dont carry 100 shots, despite the apt description of ww2 comparable combat?  Well, again its scale.  Its notable that as soon as you pull out battletech to the next level up, alpha strike, well 10 shots = infinite shots with no ammo at the alpha strike, 12ish v 12ish scale level.  At the battletech scale though, for the 4v4ish gameplay 10 rounds for an AC10 is enough ammo that you can run out, and the decision between 10 or 20 shots is meaningful.  If running out of ammo is something wanted in the game, it needs to be a number you can reasonably fire in the game provided.  Like, the joke with mgun ammo is the hilarious shot count, but like you mention in ww2 style combat, a machine gun that can fire small bursts 200 times is about right with how much suppression fire those tank mounted mguns do.  If battletech was played 12v12 or larger with 50 turn games, like mentioned everyone is forced to take only energy weapons because the game just doesnt support that scale by design.

Now, the IRL thing to do would be to just, carry ammo backpack cargo with the mechs, or with a truck or something just off-screen.  Like foot soldiers carry extra equipment, its silly to think that a mech that marches for 600 km does so with 0 extra support or ammo.  In a strategic sense, the enforcer or trebuchet would have sling loaded or truck toted ammo, and it could replenish itself when it had time, by just dipping back for a little bit behind cover as long as the flank was secure.  Bradley IFVs have extra missiles, and someone has to get out and manually reload them, and it takes time/not something to do while fighting, but its doable, so the same would be true for a Trebuchet, which is probably why the scaled out alpha strike/battleforce games dont care about your ammo as long as you have 10 shots, and they penalize damage only with less then 10 shots.

The entire point, is that small weapons and close maps with hard borders are required for the game as presented to function, and the game isnt really designed to be played much longer then after 15 turns of shooting as a regular occurrence.  There are other games that are designed to handle larger scales of battletech for that, and one of the first things they do is remove ammo considerations.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #83 on: 19 February 2024, 16:54:31 »
As for why mechs dont carry 100 shots, despite the apt description of ww2 comparable combat?  Well, again its scale.  Its notable that as soon as you pull out battletech to the next level up, alpha strike, well 10 shots = infinite shots with no ammo at the alpha strike, 12ish v 12ish scale level.  At the battletech scale though, for the 4v4ish gameplay 10 rounds for an AC10 is enough ammo that you can run out, and the decision between 10 or 20 shots is meaningful.  If running out of ammo is something wanted in the game, it needs to be a number you can reasonably fire in the game provided.  Like, the joke with mgun ammo is the hilarious shot count, but like you mention in ww2 style combat, a machine gun that can fire small bursts 200 times is about right with how much suppression fire those tank mounted mguns do.  If battletech was played 12v12 or larger with 50 turn games, like mentioned everyone is forced to take only energy weapons because the game just doesnt support that scale by design.

Now, the IRL thing to do would be to just, carry ammo backpack cargo with the mechs, or with a truck or something just off-screen.  Like foot soldiers carry extra equipment, its silly to think that a mech that marches for 600 km does so with 0 extra support or ammo.  In a strategic sense, the enforcer or trebuchet would have sling loaded or truck toted ammo, and it could replenish itself when it had time, by just dipping back for a little bit behind cover as long as the flank was secure. 

I agree with the point about scale--I don't think of a Demolisher's AC/20 magazine as carrying "twenty rounds," it's supposed to be an autocannon after all and a turn's worth of firing shouldn't be a single shell.  Also a good point about the backpacks, although those would be dangerous to carry into a potential combat zone!

Applying the point about scale to the M1A2, though, the contemporary tank carries enough ammo to destroy 20-40 enemy tanks (depending on how many of the rounds carried are anti-tank).  There's no way you could kill half that many 'Mechs with the ammo load on something like an Orion.

My bottom line here is that the game is clearly intended to be taken seriously at the company scale at least.  (Look at any book of scenarios.)  If an Enforcer or Archer carried 20 rounds of ammo I would have no complaint, that's enough to fight a company-scale battle pretty well and then reload after.
« Last Edit: 19 February 2024, 18:29:21 by Trailblazer »

DevianID

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #84 on: 20 February 2024, 06:19:09 »
I think we mostly agree, I'll nitpick that they have been reducing the ammo something like an abrams carries. It lost shots with the bigger gun, lost shots from the extra ammo not behind the ammo doors in the little side storage, and stopped carrying the hard to get to ammo that requires digging around with the ammo blowout door open.  Also, like you point out some of the ammo is flex ammo not used versus tanks, and not all of those rounds are expected to ohk.  So I don't think they plan on the abrams carrying an ammo load rated for 20 tank kills--it just carries as much as it can safely, and has been steadily stripping extra shots out.

Other tanks also have been reducing ammo recently too, but im not as familiar with those.

As for scenarios, I will say most of the larger scenarios ive seen are not on 6 mapsheets for a 12v12.  We played through the grey death book, and are now in falcon and wolf, and they are mostly 2-4 mapsheets with pretty large forces.

Trailblazer

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Re: All Big Gun Battlemech
« Reply #85 on: 20 February 2024, 11:33:28 »
Yes fair point, the scenarios are usually small in terms of board size.