Register Register

Author Topic: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?  (Read 7330 times)

pheonixstorm

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4760
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #90 on: 15 June 2015, 06:28:28 »
Yeah, in the end no matter how stupid the commander is about the lives of his/her men it is ultimately the decision of the trooper on if they want to suicide themselves off a cliff (or ramming a mech at full speed).

But.. if your opponent is dumb enough to have a solo mech in the open they might deserve a swarm. Best to stay close to your buddies for covering fire. That or just use mechs with JJ all the time. Can't get stuck if you can just jump over those pests. Swarm missiles are also handy for this type game if in the right era for em (and a buddy in short/medium range).

CapellanBlast

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #91 on: 15 June 2015, 13:58:13 »


In recent games, I am seeing more and more people putting out Mobile Command Centers.... for the initiative bonus. Not as an objective, etc...., but strictly to control the initiative roll.

That actually sounds pretty cool. Some supplementary object (fluff: which improves your ability to co-ordinate on the field), thus granting initiative bonus. Would be interesting to see it provide a strict initiative bonus, which is then lost if it gets blown up.

Nahuris

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2066
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #92 on: 15 June 2015, 14:53:34 »
That actually sounds pretty cool. Some supplementary object (fluff: which improves your ability to co-ordinate on the field), thus granting initiative bonus. Would be interesting to see it provide a strict initiative bonus, which is then lost if it gets blown up.

That's how it works, it provides the bonus, until it dies --- as a Capellan player, judging by your name, you should check out the article on the Swift Wind Scout Car --- it can also provide a +1 initiative, for it's side.
Now, this is a TacOps rule, but one that can be considered.

Here is the link for the Swift Wind article.
http://bg.battletech.com/forums/fan-articles/vehicle-of-the-early-week-swift-wind-scout-car/

Nahuris
"A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a BEST friend will skip along beside you with a baseball bat singing "someone's gonna get it."

"If we are ever in a situation, where I am the voice of reason, we are in a very bad situation."

Colt Ward

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 14965
  • Gott Mit Uns
    • Merc Periphery Guide- Bakunin
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #93 on: 15 June 2015, 15:53:36 »
I still want a FDC option for artillery . . . letting you mass the fires in a pattern set up, sort of like the bracketing rules in Aerospace.
Colt Ward

Beware the vengeance of a patient man.

YingJanshi

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4234
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #94 on: 15 June 2015, 18:01:08 »
I'm having starcraft 2 flashbacks..

Anything you can do in the system that's fair and has counters is perfectly fine. Its their response that's the problem.

Treating military units like they're actually people is a cardinal sin of strategy. They're pawns and nothing more. People don't worry about pawns in chess. People also don't cry about seemingly unfair results in chess. The issue is that you don't see every possibility with battletech, whereas with chess, all the pieces are there so its plain that anything you fail to see as a strategic or tactical possibility is your own fault. Its much easier to blame someone else in games that are more complex and have hidden information, like battletech. Hidden information would be a certain type of mech or vehicle which would absolutely wrecks savannah swarm tactics.

If they're isolating their mechs and getting swarmed, they're at fault. It sucks, but you'll have to sandbag to "be sportsman-like". No one does this kind of mental gymnastics over chess. Anything you can do there is fair. They should be wanting to figure out what they can do to counter it, and craving to figure out the proper response. That they aren't suggests they really don't want to learn the game and don't have much interest in it.

I should just like to point out that BattleTech isn't chess. Chess is abstracted to such a degree that the two really have nothing in common.

Also...being "sportsman-like" is the cornerstone of any game or sport...at least, when you play against other people it is...

Initiate of the Order of Valhalla

...oh gods, I just tried to imagine herding mimetic cats.
The Lyrans aren't losers.  They're...winning impaired.

Nahuris

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2066
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #95 on: 18 June 2015, 00:59:48 »
Also, there are a LOT of misconceptions in the post about military being pawns .... I am a veteran, and yes, a soldier is allowed to refuse suicidal orders. While a commander can order troops into imminent danger, he cannot order suicide. There has to be a reasonable expectation of success, or that commander is guilty of murder, same as if he decided to just start shooting his own men. That is why morale is so important ---- and along with that, also understanding of the mission at hand ---- the worst soldier is the stupid soldier ---- you want soldiers that think and look for ways to fulfill their orders in the most efficient way, with the least losses and resource usage.

Now, you mention the beaches at Normandy, and those are great examples ---- most of those soldiers had trained for months, at least the first wave, because we knew that it was going to be rough --- anywhere we tried to invade Europe was going to be a hard fight. We figured that out fighting "Smiling" Albert Kesselring in Italy ----
Even Churchill noted that any time the allies met the Germans with anything resembling parity, that the Germans won --- they were experienced, and hardened.

However, that is bringing real world into it --- so I am going to try and keep it somewhat abstract, but answer as a soldier. I will charge a machine gun nest, over ground with some cover, and a means by which I see that it can be done. I was also an NCO, and responsible for men under my care --- and that is how it is worded and understood by the military. Those men were under my care, and I and my men were under the Platoon Leaders care, in the usual case, a Lieutenant, but not always ---- however, that individual, and the men under him are in the Company Commander's Care, and so on. Those officers are where you start seeing decisions made --- now crappy officers will order their men to rush across parking lots, because they want the awards and prestige for completing the objective. Good officers will look at the objective, and try and find a way to do it, without the heavy losses of men, and all the training dollars involved. And officers do have to account for losses. Officers that continue to lose men are held accountable, and we have cashiered officers for using too many men to take objectives ..... however, that line is difficult to define. There are many variables -- taking a hill where the enemy has artillery that is raining down destruction on your side is far more important, than say, taking a phone center. Yes, taking that phone center can disrupt enemy coms, but you can do that with jamming, or just hitting it with enough bombs ----- where as taking a hardened position, where the enemy is able to rain down destruction on your side, is far more critical.

Now, soldiers know this ---- we know what's necessary, and what's not, and we act accordingly. When you get called up for a critical mission, you do that mission --- because it needs to be done. It has nothing to do with who you are fighting, but instead, who you are protecting, whether it's your buddies, or your family back home. At the same time, you also don't use scouts for attacking fortifications, unless you have nothing else, and you don't use supply staff to engage enemy tanks, again, unless you have absolutely nothing else. That's why we have different units, trained to perform different tasks. Now, if my commander is ordering us to rush across the earlier mentioned parking lot, with no cover, and try and swarm a machine gun at the far side, as a responsible NCO, I am going to question that order. I am going to see if I can get artillery, or maybe a mortar team up to hit it from cover --- at the bare minimum, I want continuous support fire from as many sources as I can get, before I order my men into that ...... those men matter. And it would be the absolute height of negligence, as well as outright murder to do otherwise, than try and find another way to deal with that target.

And just to be clear, I am a combat veteran, I have seen enough of it, that I hope to whatever anyone holds sacred, that I never have to see it again. I enjoy games like Battletech, as well as Flames of War, and others, because I was trained to utilize my tactical thinking, and I enjoy the exercise of those skills ---- and I have found that whether I consider my "units" to be expendable, or not, whether I win or lose is based more on my tactics and how I utilize the board, not how I bargain my trades. Besides, no battle is a vacuum, and a smart commander preserves as many troops as possible for the next one --- experienced veterans are a valuable resource that no commander can be without ..... and if you just churn your troops through a meat grinder, then all you are doing is ensuring that your side is being fought for with only green troops, and costing them constant equipment ----- and no faction or side can long withstand that kind of cost.

Nahuris

« Last Edit: 18 June 2015, 01:02:09 by Nahuris »
"A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a BEST friend will skip along beside you with a baseball bat singing "someone's gonna get it."

"If we are ever in a situation, where I am the voice of reason, we are in a very bad situation."

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 15709
  • Wipe your mouth!
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #96 on: 18 June 2015, 01:28:51 »
There was a faction in Battletech whose hat involved constantly feeding their troops into the meat grinder.

They were called Clan Smoke Jaguar.

Our Officer's Club is better than your Officer's Club.

Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

"I think I've just had another near-Rincewind experience," Death, The Color of Magic

Nahuris

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2066
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #97 on: 18 June 2015, 01:32:51 »
There was a faction in Battletech whose hat involved constantly feeding their troops into the meat grinder.

They were called Clan Smoke Jaguar.

Yeah, they had to develop Protomechs, because they were running out of materials to make full size mechs..... and they are where, now?
You can't just keep throwing units into the grinder like that without repercussions.... eventually, you have nothing left to fight with. They missed the first axiom of a soldier --- you job is NOT to die for your beliefs, it's to make the other guy die for his.

Nahuris
"A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a BEST friend will skip along beside you with a baseball bat singing "someone's gonna get it."

"If we are ever in a situation, where I am the voice of reason, we are in a very bad situation."

mbear

  • Stood Far Back When The Gravitas Was Handed Out
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3678
    • Tower of Jade
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #98 on: 18 June 2015, 08:03:34 »
The first time I ever dealt with swarms was about 1995, or so,.... I was asked to play some Clan mechs against an IS opponent. So, I put together 2 Stars of Clan Omnis, as I was told the guy liked to field a company of mechs, with 180 tons of vehicle support. We were sort of balanced by tonnage, and fair play, as BV was in it's infancy, and that was what we had --- so, per the accepted wisdom, I gave my opponent a 35% tonnage bonus... building a Clan force at 65% of the tonnage or my Inner Sphere opponent. One Star was commanded by a Daishi, and the other, by a Mad Cat ---- the rest were a mix with a Loki, a Vulture, a Ryoken, a Dragonfly, a Nova, a Puma, an Uller, and a Koshi.

I showed up at the table, and found that the 180 tons of vehicles was 36 Savannah Masters ---
Now, I had agreed to the game, so I made the best of it, and for the first couple of turns, we closed using hills and trees as cover, and then on turn 3, we were close enough that he was able to rush 6 of his Savannah Masters out and surround my Daishi --- which hadn't moved yet, because I had won initiative that round --- and during the fire phase I killed 4 of them, but took the combined fire of the 8 mechs he got in range, on that Daishi ---- breaking Zell, but also having to deal with that level of combined fire

Next round, I lost initiative, and insisted on moving the Daishi first, to get to a low hill, where I could fire ---- at which point, because he had to move more than one unit to keep initiative fair, 6 Savannah Masters raced out, and surrounded the Mad Cat... which died during the fire phase, due to combined fire from 9 mechs, while the Daishi was crippled by the 3 remaining mechs due to having been so heavily punished the first turn of fire.... it was to die the next round to a third and fourth engine crit when I took an ammo crit in a side torso... already having one in the center, and one in the other torso.  Meanwhile, my surrounded Vulture died that round. At this point, I was combining fire, and had taken down an Awesome, and a Trebuchet..... but realized that I was now having to choose whether to try and kill the Savannah Masters, or target mechs, and that regardless of what I did, it was now a battle of attrition, that no Clan unit can win.......

The thing is, losing initiative makes this tactic even more effective ---- my opponent even crowed when he would lose initiative, because he got to "stick one of my mechs, before I could even move" ----

That is the swarm tactic that people are against, and that many people here are talking about, and why initiative is a part of the issue. This tactic, if the terrain is good, and supports it, allows someone to use LOSING initiative as an advantage, while winning initiative only lets an opponent have one move, before it gets used, anyways.  The thing is, this isn't a tactic --- it's using the initiative system, and a technicality of the rules, to metagame a victory over an opponent.
And while I joined the extensive list of players that refused to play him ever again..... that doesn't solve the issue, as it only pushes people like him to get their fix by beating new players, and making them turn against the game.... or, if he can't find opponents, he would show and either keep interrupting other players, or going on and on about how he OWNED you, and how afraid you were of his troops, shown by the fact that you wouldn't play him again. This lasted almost a year, before we got enough complaints together to get him banned from the store.... which I rather actually prefer, as I have seen too many stores willing to ban someone off of just a few complaints..... which may or may not be true.

The thing is, though, that this is a LEGAL play style in the game, that voids the whole game in favor of exploitation of some of the rules to create a means by which someone can get a victory, regardless of hard feelings. It's like playing a computer game, and fighting all the way to the end, only find that the code was written so that you get a message "Welcome to the end, we didn't expect anyone to make it, and you lose because we never planned on anyone winning, the goal was for you to keep pumping quarters, instead"

That is what I would like to find a way to fix.

Nahuris
Would you have been as annoyed if the guy had shown up with 36 platoons of foot infantry instead of Savannah Masters? By your definitions, that's a swarm but it's a slower one and you might have been able to last longer.

Caedis Animus

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1715
  • Birds with guns.
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #99 on: 18 June 2015, 10:33:10 »
I'd say that's a world of difference. Infantry can still ruin your day, but they are slow; Anyone willing to field that much infantry in a vacuum game deserves the 25 hex-away Dire Wolf shooting at them (At least, that's how I'd handle it). Now, in an Urban or Jungle environment, Infantry can have a foothold as a swarm unit; They are hard to dislodge with Btech's more standard weaponry in close combat, and in a city, they can and will be a major thorn in your side.

However, with units such as Savannah Master, you have units that can cross a map in two turns-or less-with a cheap BV and Cbill cost, meaning you can spam the everloving crap out of them-both to get to your enemies, and spam that laser. One's not a terrible issue, but twenty six? That leaves a mark. Anyways, it's basically something I call the "Swarm enemy Syndrome" in First Person shooters. Basically, you get swarmed by fast, REALLY FAST enemies with pinprick weapons. You tend to have two ways of dealing with it; A fast-shooting low damage weapon to spread your fire, and explosives. In Btech, there is NO rapid fire weapon that you can spread your fire with that I know of. It's all on one target. And as for explosives? Those are not Tournament legal, while most Swarmable units are.

In response to people who complain that others find their strategy "Unfair" and "Cheap", maybe that should tell you something. In Nahuris' case, that's an extreme example of how bad a swarm player can be. I haven't played for long-a year or so-but swarm players are the only people I've seen who have that bad of a sportsmanship mindset, who belittle you for losing against their spam-happy tactic. And honestly, I can't think of a decent way to beat the Swarm tactic at a tournament level. Range only helps you for a few precious turns, heavy weapons'll only stop one or two (And heaven help you if you miss), pulse lasers are good but you encounter the same problems as heavy weapons-coupled with the thought of "I might not be able to kill them all".

 (Speaking of which, I do find it entertaining that I am commenting on a match that I was born two years after, in 1997. I'm apparently one of the younger BTech players, it seems)
« Last Edit: 18 June 2015, 10:34:43 by Caedis_Animus »
I prefer the term "Aggressive remodeling".

TigerShark

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4734
    • MekWars: Dominion
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #100 on: 18 June 2015, 10:45:15 »
I don't think it's "bad sportsmanship." If there's that big of a loophole in the game, it should be addressed from a rules perspective. That's actually why we have rules in the first place, isn't it? To create an atmosphere of fair and competitive play. It shouldn't be the job of the player to create special rules to circumvent a bad initiative turn sequence in Total Warfare or horribly under-BV'ed weapons like Clan Large Pulse. These are well-known problems with the game which just aren't addressed in a timely manner.

If you want to bring 12 units to my 5, that should be fairly balanced with the current system. And some campaigns have already found ways to properly balance this without pointing to a lack of  sportsmanship or making it a personal issue.
  W W W . M E K W A R S - D O M I N I O N . C O M

  "You will fight to the last soldier, and when you die, I will call upon your damned soul to speak horrible curses at the enemy."
     - Orders of Emperor Stefan Amaris to his troops

Caedis Animus

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1715
  • Birds with guns.
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #101 on: 18 June 2015, 10:51:56 »
Yes, but Nahuris was refering to 26 Savannah Masters, and a company of 'mechs, versus two stars of Clan 'mechs. BV's not a good enough balancer for that, and... I'd be hard pressed to make it work without morale rules.
I prefer the term "Aggressive remodeling".

TigerShark

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4734
    • MekWars: Dominion
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #102 on: 18 June 2015, 11:20:52 »
Yes, but Nahuris was refering to 26 Savannah Masters, and a company of 'mechs, versus two stars of Clan 'mechs. BV's not a good enough balancer for that, and... I'd be hard pressed to make it work without morale rules.

If a unit (any unit) is so valuable as to be capable of doing what a Savannah Master does in a large enough formation, then its value in combat ("Battle Value") needs to be reassessed. This particular tank is 215 BV. If it were, say, 375 BV, would it have the same effect? How about 400? How about 800? Yes, I know the latter is incredibly silly, but there is a Battle Value at which the unit starts to lose its appeal for abuse.

It could even be as simple as adding an additional modifier to PSRs for vehicles to ram a 'Mech. This could simulate the abstraction of a morale check, making every ramming attack an 11 or so for a 4/5 pilot. I'm spitballing and just making these up right now, but they're far better solutions than "you can't take X unit" or labeling someone a 'munchkin' for bringing more than Y number or something.
  W W W . M E K W A R S - D O M I N I O N . C O M

  "You will fight to the last soldier, and when you die, I will call upon your damned soul to speak horrible curses at the enemy."
     - Orders of Emperor Stefan Amaris to his troops

Nahuris

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2066
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #103 on: 18 June 2015, 14:00:07 »
Would you have been as annoyed if the guy had shown up with 36 platoons of foot infantry instead of Savannah Masters? By your definitions, that's a swarm but it's a slower one and you might have been able to last longer.

It would have been different --- and I could have danced around and at least fielded a better game ---- although sooner or later, you do get swarmed, especially if the player is convinced that his troops are little more than zombies that just keep rushing at the nearest movement.

Tigershark has some good ideas as well --- with modern games, at least, and BV is going a long way towards fixing it. At that time, all we really had was tonnage --- going by BV2, I gave up more than 35% --- at which point, he would have either had less than a company, much lighter or poorer mechs, or had to cut his swarm force. And yes, it was also an extreme case ..... I have faced other swarms, and not had as much of an issue, using more modern rules. I have also found that Plasma Rifles and Mech mortars really ruin the day of units like the Savannah Master.....

In the end, swarms are something you are going to face ---- and it is never easy ---- but it comes down to how the opponent plays that swarm. If it is a defensive unit doing it's best with inferior equipment, but putting up a valiant fight, then it is great .... it creates a story within the battle, and makes it memorable and fun --- but when the goal is to exploit a rule, over play, then it gets less fun. I have faced opponents, and had them using just as many Savannah Masters, plus Gabriels and other tiny units. They operated in groups of 2 to 4, and honestly, that battle was great ---- although it did feel a LOT like the Battle of Hoth, and yeah, having 10 or 12 Savannah Masters hitting you from all directions is uncomfortable.... to say the least..... but he didn't try and exploit the movement rules to win a battle.  He used a number of small units and a very fluid battlefield..... in the 1995 game, it was all about PPC and LRM equipped mechs, with the Savannah Masters sole job being to take away movement mods for combined fire. At that point, the player wasn't playing the game, he was playing the rules against the other players of the game. And I think that is where the difference is.

Nahuris
« Last Edit: 18 June 2015, 14:21:24 by Nahuris »
"A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a BEST friend will skip along beside you with a baseball bat singing "someone's gonna get it."

"If we are ever in a situation, where I am the voice of reason, we are in a very bad situation."

grimlock1

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1193
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #104 on: 18 June 2015, 23:17:41 »
This is mostly applicable to the savanah Master Swarm, but what about deploying in waves?  Now its on the swarming player to keep enough of the swarm alive while reinforcements move in every 2-3 turns.  Once you reach a critical mass, the horde can do its job.

What about fighting on long, narrow maps?
I'm rarely right... Except when I am.  ---  Idle question.  What is the BV2 of dread?
Apollo's Law- if it needs Clan tech to make it useable, It doesn't deserve those resources in the first place.
Sure it isn't the most practical 'mech ever designed, but it's a hundred ton axe-murderer. If loving that is wrong I don't wanna be right.

Nahuris

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2066
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #105 on: 19 June 2015, 00:01:30 »
The waves could be interesting, depending on the time between them --- too short, and it doesn't matter, and too long, and again, it doesn't matter. Realistically, no vehicle should ever willingly get into physical range on a mech, outside of very dire circumstances ---- For that matter, I assume that, as part of standard training, all vehicle crews get to watch a Banshee or equivalent kicking a Scorpion Light Tank around for a while. They should be VERY aware of what a mech's feet can do to them.
Mechs are the kings of the battlefield in Battletech. Tanks do not kick buildings down, and few if any other units carry the kind of firepower that an assault mech can potentially have, or deliver --- yes, some of those assault tanks can carry a LOT of firepower, but, they can't cross a small creek to deliver it, and they can't fall back on playing "Hulk Smash" when the ammo runs out........ and due to the limitations they have in the rules, they can't pack on the beam weapons, unless they have the heat sinks for them -- so are most likely to be ammo only weapons, and those are heavier, and run out of said ammo.

That said, in universe, convincing a crew to sidle up to an enemy mech should be something that only happens in the absolutely most desperate situations --- last stands, etc.  So, with that in mind, playing swarms is not so much of a bad or poor tactic ---- as long as you are playing your forces against your opponents, and not, instead,  playing the interpretation of the rules against them --- that's no different than the refs deciding a certain team wins ahead of time, and makes all calls based on that end --- it sucks, it's childish, and it's not fun.

Nahuris


"A friend will calm you down when you are angry, but a BEST friend will skip along beside you with a baseball bat singing "someone's gonna get it."

"If we are ever in a situation, where I am the voice of reason, we are in a very bad situation."

CapellanBlast

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #106 on: 19 June 2015, 00:13:05 »
A morale check makes sense if, and only if, the state is one in which propaganda isn't rigorously enforced and people have a more individualistic life value rather than collectivist life value.

There's tons of historical precedent for using groups of people as 'suicidal' pawns.

Most countries have, in the past, had a form of indoctrinating the young. It still happens in more subtle ways in every country.

When life meant less, such as feudalistic eras, the dumb/destitute who became part of infantry would have no choice but to try to live through even a suicidal attack, because the army was their life, in a very real sense via food and shelter. It allowed a lot more leeway to throw pawns away for a gain. Alexander the Great threw a far inferior force against a superior one to get through the main line after it'd split. That was clearly suicide for the inferior force.

A little miffed at the people who got to keep their political posts (Nahuris, etc). I made the effort for an all-encompassing post about historical basis for suicide squads, how indoctrination works (because we're born into cultures which indoctrinate us with values from the womb), all of which is important if we're discussing how "no grunts would throw their lives away in swarms to take out a mech", and also touching on the 'scrub' mentality  in gaming which can find anything unfair or cheap, but facts don't seem to suit some people.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2015, 03:07:58 by CapellanBlast »

CapellanBlast

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #107 on: 19 June 2015, 00:18:50 »
As far as facing swarms, I'd be interested in playing out on the non-swarm side to find the right counter to it.  Maybe it was the system that was broken, or maybe there's already some way to beat it that can be discovered.

YingJanshi

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4234
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #108 on: 19 June 2015, 01:17:44 »
Okay, how is this: if I was going to take a Savannah Master swarm this is how I'd use it: two lances of SM supporting a 'Mech company. Say mostly Mediums and a few Heavies. The 'Mechs are the main combatants, keep the SMs on the flanks. Use them to control the battle: harass the enemy, try to keep them from going where you don't want them to go. Keep the SMs moving at high speed at all times, it doesn't matter if they don't hit anything or not, their job is to annoy the enemy enough that they ignore the 'Mechs to focus on the tiny little ants.

Imagine using the above tactics to keep an enemy 'Mech company from crossing the River Delta maps. How would that work out? Or would that not count as an actual swarm?

Initiate of the Order of Valhalla

...oh gods, I just tried to imagine herding mimetic cats.
The Lyrans aren't losers.  They're...winning impaired.

A. Lurker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4641
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #109 on: 19 June 2015, 03:54:35 »
I suppose a more comprehensive system of morale rules than just Forced Withdrawal (which is basically "by the time this kicks in it's too late to withdraw anyway" most of the time) and the optional TacOps morale rules (which likewise are far more about potentially running away after getting hurt than about whether unit X actually has the guts to go through with a move it's still only planning and apply mainly to infantry in any event) couldn't hurt. I don't care which side of the mindless suicidal bravery vs. self-preservation divide any posters are on, there's just no way to tell with certainty which way any given individual or group will jump in advance -- especially not in a game where all we have to go by are a couple of skill numbers and maybe a name if somebody remembered to give them one.

As for dealing with swarms, seems to me that one way to avoid being prevented from moving would be to field more units equipped with jump jets, same as against players who love their Thunder minefields a little too much. Plus, if these guys are going to cluster up to deliver massed firepower, they might make for good targets for things like area attacks or swarm munitions...that's just off the top of my head, mind.

mbear

  • Stood Far Back When The Gravitas Was Handed Out
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3678
    • Tower of Jade
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #110 on: 19 June 2015, 07:25:24 »
In the end, swarms are something you are going to face ---- and it is never easy ---- but it comes down to how the opponent plays that swarm. If it is a defensive unit doing it's best with inferior equipment, but putting up a valiant fight, then it is great .... it creates a story within the battle, and makes it memorable and fun --- but when the goal is to exploit a rule, over play, then it gets less fun.

Yeah. I can see that being about twelve kinds of suck. I might pull that munchkin aside after the game and say something about not being a jerk.

I have faced opponents, and had them using just as many Savannah Masters, plus Gabriels and other tiny units. They operated in groups of 2 to 4, and honestly, that battle was great ---- although it did feel a LOT like the Battle of Hoth, and yeah, having 10 or 12 Savannah Masters hitting you from all directions is uncomfortable.... to say the least..... but he didn't try and exploit the movement rules to win a battle.  He used a number of small units and a very fluid battlefield..... in the 1995 game, it was all about PPC and LRM equipped mechs, with the Savannah Masters sole job being to take away movement mods for combined fire. At that point, the player wasn't playing the game, he was playing the rules against the other players of the game. And I think that is where the difference is.
Nahuris

If your opponent does this in the future, I'd suggest you start using Swarm or Swarm-I missiles from TacOps just to mess with them. They seem to be tailor-made for this situation. (And are named appropriately! ;) )

Weirdo

  • Painter of Borth the Magic Puma
  • Global Moderator
  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 32094
  • Divided States of SMASH
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #111 on: 19 June 2015, 10:01:39 »
A little miffed at the people who got to keep their political posts

Use the Report to Moderator button. Political posts of any kind are prohibited, but when a thread degenerates into wall-of-text posts, offending material can blend into the background, leading mods to miss it. We rely on the rest of the posting population to help us find them.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"The BT universe is startlingly deficient in both wisdom and hindsight." - Cray
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
There's no shame in designing customs, so long as you keep them private and wash your hands afterwards.

Col.Hengist

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 9189
  • Konrad ' Hengist " Littman Highlander 732b
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #112 on: 19 June 2015, 12:32:52 »
Concerning the Savannah master swarm... Mechs can only kick one/turn. 4 vs 40 is only 4 possible kicks/turn.
Lyran Commonwealth,6th Donegal Guards-Nightstar
Marian Hegemony, II Legio-Cataphract
Clan Hell's Horses, Gamma Galaxy-Summoner
Clan Grinch goat- gamma goat.

grimlock1

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1193
Re: Swarm Tactics...Without Being a Jerk?
« Reply #113 on: 19 June 2015, 15:34:46 »
Okay, how is this: if I was going to take a Savannah Master swarm this is how I'd use it: two lances of SM supporting a 'Mech company. Say mostly Mediums and a few Heavies. The 'Mechs are the main combatants, keep the SMs on the flanks. Use them to control the battle: harass the enemy, try to keep them from going where you don't want them to go. Keep the SMs moving at high speed at all times, it doesn't matter if they don't hit anything or not, their job is to annoy the enemy enough that they ignore the 'Mechs to focus on the tiny little ants.

Imagine using the above tactics to keep an enemy 'Mech company from crossing the River Delta maps. How would that work out? Or would that not count as an actual swarm?

Assuming that the other player has something on the order of 3-4 lances of mechs, that sounds like a very fair game.

Other thoughts might be to impose skill penalties should the force ratio get beyond some empirically determined value. Not sure what that would be though. 

Assuming open terrain, what seems like a ratio for an even matchup?  4 SMs to a medium?  Just guessing.

What about a house rule  allowing flechette, and flak AC ammo as well as mine clearance and frag missiles to behave more like LB ACs?  Treat as LB's, one size smaller? 

And I just remembered something I discovered accidentally. Tear gas.  >:D  No damage to the vehicles. Gas will persist in a hex for 15 turns. Unless a vehicle has environmental sealing, an 8+ will give you a Crew Stunned result, and a mobility kill for 15 turns.  They can still shoot after the first turn, but without that TMM.... >:/! Fish, barrel.   Any questions?   Its almost like a mine field that only effects vehicles and infantry. Unlike Thunders, launcher size is not a factor. So SRM-2's are just as good as SRM-6's... Actually SRM-2's are better.  50 rounds per ton.

That 8+ is hardly a sure thing, but keep rolling those dice, sooner or later you'll have vehicle crews coughing and puking in their compartments.

Depending on the level of rules lawyering you have at your game, the same missile that disperses tear gas could also disperse something a little more permanent. [whipit]
I'm rarely right... Except when I am.  ---  Idle question.  What is the BV2 of dread?
Apollo's Law- if it needs Clan tech to make it useable, It doesn't deserve those resources in the first place.
Sure it isn't the most practical 'mech ever designed, but it's a hundred ton axe-murderer. If loving that is wrong I don't wanna be right.