Author Topic: All Big Gun Battlemech  (Read 5711 times)

Lagrange

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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. 

Daryk

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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.

DevianID

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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.

Lagrange

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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.

OatsAndHall

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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.

DevianID

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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).

OatsAndHall

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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.

CarcosanDawn

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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.