Author Topic: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?  (Read 6684 times)

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13993
  • Wipe your mouth!
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #30 on: 27 January 2011, 16:14:46 »
I've played in games with tired initiative before, and honestly I think it's a terribly idea.  Because winning initiative can have gamechanging effects, going with a tiered system is basically saying "you're screwed" to whoever's on the bottom tier.

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

Warning: this post may contain sarcasm.

You can kill people with kindness, but PPCs are more reliable.

Sockmonkey

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 599
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #31 on: 27 January 2011, 17:17:53 »
I'd change the JJ rules a bit. Since a heavy needs twice as much JJ tonnage per jump point as a medium so a light should need half as much JJ tonnage as a medium.
That's it! Challenge the Clans to rock-paper-scissors in 3050! A good portion of the 'Mechs didn't have hands so the Inner Sphere would win!
If I had a nickel for every time I've legged a Warhammer, I could put them in a sock, spin it around and leg another Warhammer.

Kamov

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 425
  • It's time to end this ones and for all
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #32 on: 27 January 2011, 18:44:49 »
Playing with individually rolled initiative is a lot less book-keeping if you have the results stand for a couple turns.  Roll to determine order, and then that order stands for say 5 turns.  Then roll again.  To make it less structured, give each side some tactical rerolls they can call for, to represent pilot skill or commander skill.  Unless you gave them in equal amounts to each side, that would need some balancing, which I am not sure how to do off the top of my head.
(The above writing is entirely my opinion based upon my own incomplete knowledge of life, the universe, and everything beyond it and should be taken as such although I don't want to tell you what to do, because that's your right and your freedom to choose your own opinions and ablah blah blah legalese etc etc)

Fear Factory

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3249
  • Designing the Enemy
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #33 on: 27 January 2011, 21:37:30 »
Move your lights and mediums better.  I prefer them backed by good heavies, and let me tell you, I've never had that much of a problem.  It really depends on what you choose...  but considering trends like the Fire Moth H, move them last.

[rant] IMO, the only reason lights are so "bad" is because people tend to make top-heavy forces all the friggin' time.  Then, these same people use maybe one or two outside of the assault and heavy class, fail, and then find them frail and/or worthless.  Mediums, not as much, but the same situation can apply. [/rant]
The conflict is pure - The truth devised - The future secured - The enemy designed
Field Manual Crusader Clans Supplement:  Clan Burrock
Scenario Book:  The Former 66th - Litany Against Fear

Col. Chiang

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 190
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #34 on: 27 January 2011, 22:32:05 »
I'd be a big fan of an aggregate individual or team initiative bonus/penalty rather than a tiered system.  Integrating it with BV would be the biggest problem, I should think.  Otherwise, it should be really simple.

Take the gunnery skill, piloting skill, and a modifier based upon walking/cruising MP and the unit's type.  Add them together and divide by three.  Battle armor and infantry divide by two.  Subtract that number from two to get the initiative modifier.  Once you have all of the modifiers for your force, add them together and divide by the number of units to find the unit's initiative modifier (if using standard initiative).  Round all fractions normally.

'Mechs and ASF get a -1 bonus; conventional fighters, VTOLs, and battle armor get no bonus or penalty; conventional vees (other than fighters and VTOLs) get a +1 penalty;  and infantry get a +2 penalty.  For the MP bonus/penaltiy, find the Walking or Cruising MP and use the inverse of the target penalty of a unit moving that speed as a bonus (e.g.: a unit with a Walking MP of 5 would have a -2 bonus).

Whaddya think?

Edit:  altered the number to be subtracted from to make "average" 4/5 pilots in "average" 5/8 'Mechs have no bonuses or penalties.
« Last Edit: 28 January 2011, 02:02:42 by Col. Chiang »

worktroll

  • Oldest and fatherless
  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 19401
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #35 on: 28 January 2011, 00:15:52 »
Well, I like tiered initiative ;)

And I think it's a good way to address the problems the FSM was designed to handle (and did not particularly well IMHO) - people padding their forces with cheap initiative sinks. Certainly, the "big battle" playtesting with Leviathans has shown that it does make people think about proper tactics.

One simple solution to the anti-mech swarm problems raised by making Infantry move first - allow any infantry or BA who didn't move in their phase make a "reaction move" following all 'Mech movement given that this move enables them to make said anti-'Mech (or even anti-vehicle) attack. Again, slightly more details to be kept track of, but it's a mechanism familiar to us old board/wargame grognards.

If you wanted to go even more detailed, some options might be:

1) separate by movement rate in, say, bands of 3. Rather than move infantry, then all vees, then all 'Mechs etc, do "units with max 3MP", then "units with max 6MP", then "units with max 9MP", etc.

2) Or go really Star Fleet Battles impulse phase crazy, and add the max MP to your initiative roll - lower move before higher. So Fred, with initiative roll 5, has to move his Phoenix Hawk (5+9=14) before Joe who rolled 10 moves his Vindicator (10+6=16).

Or come and have a nice game of Leviathans  ;D
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

iamfanboy

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1931
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #36 on: 29 January 2011, 18:41:39 »
So you're talking about a "holding initiative" style thing for the infantry, much like in Shadowrun? Hmmm, interesting... the only problem is that allowing held initiative for everything would essentially destroy the system.

What about making infantry move last, even after light 'Mechs?

Or... Hey, what about making Anti-Mech attacks part of the MOVEMENT phase? ie, infantry move, resolve an anti-mech attack, then the 'Mech can move away or not? Since AM attacks replace a shooting attack anyway, I don't think it'd be any big loss to resolve it right then and there.

But  hey, if Worktroll likes it, it just needs tweaking to be fairer. The idea of movement bands controlling initiative rather than weight is a bit complicated, but not bad... something like,

1) 1-5 max MP move
2) 6-8 max MP move
3) 9-12 max MP move
4) 13-15 max MP move
5) 16+ max MP move

I must admit, I'm NOT a fan of individual initiatives; I want the game to play more smoothly and intuitively, NOT less. The max MP tiered initiative actually seems intuitive and easy to play. May have to test it out next time I get some folks together.


For the folks who say "It would destroy the assault 'mech!" that's because you're not thinking tactically. It means you'd have to play them more cautiously instead of just recklessly charging forward and leaving your back armor exposed, as well as having escorting lighter mechs instead of just a lance of Fafnirs. However, the tiered initiative by max MP would allow things like the Berserker to still retain an advantage. Hrm... anyone ever done a MASC'd up Charger variant?

serene void

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #37 on: 31 January 2011, 19:44:35 »
One POSSIBILITY I'm thinking of is using the same system but reversed in order for shooting, with an additional caveat: any damage done takes effect AFTER all units of that type have fired.

For example, you've got an Awesome and a Locust. They have two Javelins. The shooting goes Javelin, Locust, Javelin - and all damage takes effect, so if they critted the Awesome and removed a PPC, it wouldn't be able to fire that PPC once its own turn rolled around.

I dunno. I'm still ponderating this, especially the second part - giving lights the movement advantage would probably be more than enough. It would be a HUGE shakeup in the rules.

I don't like this second aspect at all. It feels like taking the mistake some people make about resolving declared fire right away, having the target declare and resolve their own fire with all the damage already applied, and compounding it. The Fire Phase of the game is simply too abstract for things like that, in my opinion. If you want to go for things like that I feel that you'd need to make everything far more detailed to keep things fair.

Using that as is, a pack of Lights could be perfectly capable of stomping a heavier 'Mech into the ground without it being able to do anything at all about it, all simply because they are classed as Lights. (And basing that on weight class alone then brings in the silliness of 'Mechs like the Panther and the Hollander having this fire first perk, even against say a Medium that moves at 8/12 or 9/14.)

So you're talking about a "holding initiative" style thing for the infantry, much like in Shadowrun? Hmmm, interesting... the only problem is that allowing held initiative for everything would essentially destroy the system.

If everyone held their initiate then nobody moves. Also simply limit a unit to being able to hold initiative for one tier higher up. If they haven't moved by then, then they are treated as not having moved.

Or perhaps an alternative, make it cost MP to hold initiative. Say 2 or 3 MP? You also have to declare your movement options (walk, run, jump, MASC) the first time you hold initiative.

Quote
What about making infantry move last, even after light 'Mechs?

I like this. Much the same reason why infantry don't have a facing to begin with, the one thing that really is in their favor is the ability to quickly come to a full stop and go in a different direction. When added to their limited MP they still can't really use that to threaten a unit that is paying even a modicum of attention to them.

I'd add an option for a heavier unit to move through a hex occupied by just infantry though. Something akin to a charge, where they just try to power through the hex. Infantry being able to pick the choice of either scattering or holding and performing a weapon attack on the unit doing the charging at range 0.

If I've again forgotten some existing rules for that, just use those of course.

Quote
But  hey, if Worktroll likes it, it just needs tweaking to be fairer. The idea of movement bands controlling initiative rather than weight is a bit complicated, but not bad... something like,

1) 1-5 max MP move
2) 6-8 max MP move
3) 9-12 max MP move
4) 13-15 max MP move
5) 16+ max MP move

Better than just using weight class. Needs more definition though, like where you're taking the MP from. After all, max MP for a turn is only known after a unit declares if it's walking, running, using MASC, and so on, which only happens when they actually get to their turn.

Use something like, base walking MP (after heat effects from the previous turn are taken into account), make the table in increments of 2 or 3, and have extra movement mods (JJ, MASC, active TSM) add a +1 to the rating for the table, perhaps?

ItsTehPope

  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1542
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #38 on: 31 January 2011, 20:57:10 »
We've been using card initiative at large games in Cincinnati (ie, any game in Cincinnati outside of pickups) and I've generally driven lighter stuff because I know how to actually use them.

IE: play defensively, know your JOB on the table and what you need to do to support your team.  If you have SG-LRMs or A4 geting ready, your primary concern is getting yourself into a defensible position with the best movement mod possible and start putting a TAG downwind.  If you are carrying BA, get them to their dropoff point and GTFODodge.  If you are a C3 spotter, again, maximize your movement, be defensible and spot for your teammates.

An Owens can be the most dangerous thing on the table when used *correctly*
If you actually care to listen to my thoughts outside of Battletech, find me at www.uselessblot.com

(4:37:55 PM) moonsword134: You're a bastard.
(4:38:11 PM) moonsword134: And so's the talking whiskey monkey who lives in bottles of tequila to give you ideas.

(4:52:52 PM) ShinjoJinturi: simply by having tag on the field, even in a game that appears to not have any lrms or arrows on the board, you can inspire fear

topcat

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 69
  • Blake save us from combined yawns... err, arms!
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #39 on: 01 February 2011, 13:37:17 »
If I had to go with an initiative system inclusive of mech agility, I'd probably look at MP before mass.  Smaller mechs use smaller engines, so don't necessarily move faster than a larger mech with a larger engine and equal MP.  Heavier parts require heavier myomers require more power, but if you have equal MP, there is no reason for one mech to be slower than the other.

Thinking on this, is there any reason why an Urbanmech should be faster than a Timber Wolf when it comes to initiative?  IMO, it should be significantly slower if we're taking the ability of the mech to move into consideration as part of initiative.  This makes the XL-engined mechs a little more valuable (not necessarily a bad thing).

Hellraiser

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7165
  • Cry Havoc and Unleash the Gods of Fiat.
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #40 on: 03 February 2011, 14:27:31 »
If you want to make Light mechs useful (not that they are not) then I suggest you try out Quickstrike rules and watch them crush all before them.

3041: General Lance Hawkins: The Equalizers
3053: Star Colonel Rexor Kerensky: The Silver Wolves

"I don't shoot Urbanmechs, I walk up, stomp on their foot, wait for the head to pop open & drop in a hand grenade (or Elemental)" - Joel47
Against mechs, infantry have two options: Run screaming from Godzilla, or giggle under your breath as the arrogant fools blunder into your trap. - Weirdo

ruleslawyer

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #41 on: 04 February 2011, 17:14:42 »
Speed is speed, reactions are reactions - it's an apples to oranges kind of thing.  Initiative is more about reaction than speed.  If I go from my Camry to a Corvette, it doesn't improve my ability to react, it just means I can drive faster.

Not really. You could stuff a camry engine in a corvette and the corvette would still react quicker. Better steering rack, suspension, etc. I agree that they can be independent though. Nimble and faster are two different things. However mass is really the antithesis of agility.

If you really wanted to make it some what equal, you'd do some sort of staged movement where you'd go movement in a several rounds. Lights move half their MP, then mediums half, them heavies half, then assaults do all of it, then heavies, then mediums, then assaults. It'd end up with lights more nimble and able to react, but give the assaults some hope of tracking them as they move. It'd be a huge time suck though.

GunFodder

  • Guest
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #42 on: 05 February 2011, 19:02:02 »
If you're really set on having the type of mech affect their initiative, and using individual initiative rolls for each unit, might I suggest a much simpler solution?

Just have the movement to-hit modifier from the previous turn become the initiative modifier for the current turn. Afterall, as someone has already mentioned, if you do it by weight class why would a 2/3 Urbanmech have better initiative than a 5/8 Mad Cat?

So, if you moved 6 hexes and had a to-hit modifier of +2, then that becomes the bonus to your initiative. That's it. This way, your mech/speed doesn't automatically rewrite the current initiative system. It just makes it a little easier for more maneuverable mechs to gain the initiative, but that's it.

It's been awhile since I've played, but I'm trying to get back into it. Under standard rules, you roll for initiative by teams, correct?

Col. Chiang

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 190
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #43 on: 05 February 2011, 22:35:32 »
That's right.  The person who won initiative goes second, aternating units, from player to player.

worktroll

  • Oldest and fatherless
  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 19401
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #44 on: 06 February 2011, 05:40:56 »
If you really wanted to make it some what equal, you'd do some sort of staged movement where you'd go movement in a several rounds. Lights move half their MP, then mediums half, them heavies half, then assaults do all of it, then heavies, then mediums, then assaults. It'd end up with lights more nimble and able to react, but give the assaults some hope of tracking them as they move. It'd be a huge time suck though.

It's called "impulse movement", and (amongst others) the game Star Fleet Battles used (uses?) it. Works best with games where people pre-plot their moves, and can produce both good and occasionally hilarious results. But it's a lot of additional work.

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

iamfanboy

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1931
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #45 on: 06 February 2011, 06:15:46 »
Yeah, way too much work - my main goal when I play is to streamline play (not simplify, mind you! streamline!), and a tiered init system seems fairly likely to

1) Add tactical value to lighter units that are legendarily frail on a pitched battlefield, while simultaneously reducing the over-reliance on much heavier units.

2) Reduce the effectiveness of non-Battlemech units in favor of Battlemech units, reinforcing their roles as 'Kings of the Battlefield' (and going some way as to explain why someone would shell out for a lance of 'Mechs versus a company of tanks).

3) Clarify the order in which units should be moved, reducing the chance of a 'forgotten' or 'double-moved' unit.

4) Make the game more tactically varied.


Now I will admit my solution is to a problem that doesn't fully exist on most tabletops, but in a straight BV, no FSM modifier, just pound each other til one side withdraws game how many people would pick lights except to fill out points unspent on heavies or assaults? Or would pick mediums at all?

Judging it by walking MP sounds promising... move the lowest MP units first because they're the slowest and most cumbersome, while the fasty-fasty units get to go last. Makes filling up those last few points with say the ERML Dart or Fire Moth seem more attractive to counter those backstabbers, eh?


But yeah, that whole firing thing in my initial post is an ill-conceived idea that I would delete, but I find too hilariously overstated to deprive future generations of.  :P

Istal_Devalis

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 3702
  • Samurai Nova Cat-Deliveries in 30 minutes or less
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #46 on: 07 February 2011, 13:43:26 »
I think if you played more strategic and scenarior based games, the problem with lights would go away.  They're recon/strike units, and should be able to chose when, where, and who they're actually engaging.  Actual game scenarios should be built around that idea, unless you're completely wedded to the idea of 'two equal BV balanced' slugging matches.

iamfanboy

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1931
Re: A tiered initiative system by weight to make lights useful again?
« Reply #47 on: 07 February 2011, 18:02:27 »
I make scenarios all the time for my group of friends who (rarely) play, but it'd be nice to reach a point in Battletech gameplay similar to Warmachine or 40k where you could say, "OK, 5,000 point games" and have everyone bring stuff to the table. TBH the dependence on scenarios for balance is more of a bad factor than a good one...

One thing that I'd REALLY like to see is the abilities out of AtoW as BV-balanced percentages added on to the 'Mech's value (like adding more gunnery/piloting skill) to bring more variety to the tabletop, but that's another topic altogether.


One thing that people seem to forget about my current plan is the Reaction phase, where one can torso-twist or turret-twist to respond to sudden vulnerabilities. Makes arm-mounted weapons a lot handier...