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Author Topic: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game  (Read 1841 times)

Atlas3060

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AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« on: 27 July 2015, 00:39:07 »
The following is made in humorous light, I have absolutely zero knowledge of the IlClan publication.
Any and all phrasings here do not contribute to any canonicity of Battletech, save for the personal headcanon I may construct.
Believe me, it is a very empty head. I could create a whole universe there.


Priority Message Incoming...
Date: 2300 Hours June 26, 3250
Source: Plains of Heroes, Solaris VII, Clan Supremacy Territory
Sender: Prime Trainer Thomas

Star Colonel Joanna Roshak,

Hail to you and the Clans. You requested that I present my findings for the latest batch of Uplifts.
This After Action Report will detail such events from the past couple of training sessions.
Before I continue, please allow me this indulgence to state my feeling about Project Enkidu.
This idea of uplifting lower caste barbarians is inviting danger.
Most of the people you selected have genetic legacies linking back to the very soldiers we fought against during the Great Unification.
With Houseman barbarians at our gates, we now invite their cousins into our ranks?
I hope that the sainted Banacek is not rolling in his grave.

Still with that out of the way I shall report my current findings.
Even though some knew they were facing possible defeat, they fought viciously.

The set up was simple enough, one Dropship with a Mech and vehicle company holding off two Mech companies set on destroying the Dropship.
We purposely chose older models from the 3025 - 3039 era because, though they be Uplifts, I believe that Supreme technology is still too much for them at the moment.

We styled the designs after two old units that are long dead: Sorenson's Sabres and the Fox's Teeth.
The Fox's Teeth met the enemy just outside the hills. Hoping to push them back enough, giving the Dropship time to start up.

Yes even the Dropship crew had an objective. They had 10 turns to get the engines warmed up and if they survived to 10 turns, they won the match. Sadly this was a Union, one of the more obsolete models. Compared to what we have now, they are no more powerful than a small shuttle.

Excuse my digression, I shall continue. Things were looking decent enough for the Fox's Teeth team. However the Sabres used their lighter elements to flank the enemy and try to harass the Dropship. Those pilot names will be attached in my weekly report, they deserve to have extra eyes on them.
Meanwhile the rest of the Sabres offered themselves as big, meaty, targets of distraction. The plan worked rather well, because the vehicles provided did not have the ability to maneuver and deal with the lighter elements.

Yes this may sound like the plan was tilted in favor of one force, but combat is never fair. True Clan warriors fight and make the odds theirs.
To molly coddle them, offer a "fair" fight would accuse me and my team of being Guardians. Worse than that we could be accused of being those long dead Wardens. I shudder at such a thought.

By the fourth turn things started to look chaotic.
It was rather beautiful really the clash of metal, the screams of autocannons, and the heat of lasers. I almost wanted to strap into a Mech and take someone on, but I had to be content with watching these play warriors beat each other down.

Around this turn and Turn Five, we had elements dropping like flies. It seemed that Fox's Teeth were losing Mechs like Hornets, but were taking out bigger targets like Longbows and Hatamoto-Chis.

However, despite their tenacity it was over by Turn Six Sabre elements started closing in on the Dropship. Firing upon the now neutered egg shell, they pounded it into scrap, inadvertently injuring the Dropship crews that were being tested.

Assessments:
1. A Union has poor weaponry for the sides. With a 2/3/2 damage bracket, it did not offer much, especially with a damage threshold of 2.
Literally nearly every shot followed with the crit check, thus causing extra internal damage.

2. Vehicle companies did not offer much punch compared to a Mech.
I have no idea if a Stone Horses commander put you up to this, but here in Clan Phoenix we use lighting fast Mechs to approach the enemy.
Had the defending Fox's Teeth had Mechs, or even supplementary infantry, the fight could have lasted longer.

3. Oh dear Kerensky Unions are eggshells! Use a stronger Dropship if this is going to be used in the future.
Damage thresholds should not be anywhere near 2! Even the lowest stravag Spheroid designs can match that damage profile.

With Houseman barbarians nibbling on our borders, I know we are stretched for time. In fact there's a great Convention of Warriors coming soon. That's why I was tasked with such an..."honor" but if such a training regimen is used in the future we need to adjust some things.

Always of service, Long Live the Clans
Prime Trainer Thomas


Okay even though my side was pasted during certain turns, I did enjoy this and writing this up.
I think we'll tweak it a bit for our group, but it won't serve well as is. If anyone is interested in the units I used, I'll post them later.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

sevengates

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #1 on: 28 July 2015, 03:29:23 »
Yeah, that was a fun game; but what do we do with the kittens?
Don't let the vengence of heaven be you---Gary Numan

Atlas3060

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #2 on: 28 July 2015, 08:32:29 »
If you are the Dracs, I don't care.
Eat them, keep them as pets, splice them with human DNA to replenish the catgirl population.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

nckestrel

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #3 on: 28 July 2015, 09:43:46 »
I think you have old damage threshold values.  They were errated to armor/3 instead of armor/10.  A Union with 21 armor would have a threshold of 7, not 2.  (See AS p80, Armor Thresholds). 
But yeah, it's weaponry is just a typical 3025 'mechs worth.  But at least it has two arcs, if the opponent is silly enough to let you have targets on both sides.
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Atlas3060

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #4 on: 28 July 2015, 10:48:52 »
I think you have old damage threshold values.  They were errated to armor/3 instead of armor/10.  A Union with 21 armor would have a threshold of 7, not 2.  (See AS p80, Armor Thresholds). 
The advice presented to me said otherwise on the threshold.
Oh wow that just changes everything, the little egg could have stood a chance.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

nckestrel

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #5 on: 28 July 2015, 11:48:48 »
The advice presented to me said otherwise on the threshold.
Oh wow that just changes everything, the little egg could have stood a chance.

It's hard to keep up with errata.  Especially when somebody has been sitting on something to "publish" for literally years like Alexander Knight has.
Master Unit List - List of all canon units, faction availabilities, Alpha Strike unit cards, Battle Values
Combat Manual Lite series - Steiner, Liao, Marik, Calderon, Invading Clans, Comstar. Also Record Sheets for the CM: Kurita and CM: Mercs unique pilots.

Lord Cameron

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #6 on: 28 July 2015, 11:56:03 »
I think you have old damage threshold values.  They were errated to armor/3 instead of armor/10.  A Union with 21 armor would have a threshold of 7, not 2.  (See AS p80, Armor Thresholds). 
But yeah, it's weaponry is just a typical 3025 'mechs worth.  But at least it has two arcs, if the opponent is silly enough to let you have targets on both sides.
THIS is why we playtest stuff out!  :o
Thanks for the update, this will make a big difference to the scenario...  8)

The advice presented to me said otherwise on the threshold.
Oh wow that just changes everything, the little egg could have stood a chance.

Atlas, thanks very, very much for the AAR and the info!  O0
So hopefully a DS can last more than a couple of turns...  :-\
Agent #395, Vancouver, Canada

Atlas3060

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #7 on: 28 July 2015, 12:07:21 »
So hopefully a DS can last more than a couple of turns...  :-\
Glad I could help, and yeah what saved us a turn was one guy coming in late.
He didn't know we were supposed to defend the ship.
So his attacking force was dancing around juuuuuustt outside the long range.
By Turn 4, we had Mechs with 2 damage causing threshold crits.
Had that been beefed up, it might have lasted to 7 turns.

Given the compositions, my group estimated we should have either halved the Turn value, last until 5, or give the defenders more Mechs.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

whistler

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #8 on: 29 July 2015, 05:34:09 »
Shit, the threshold change would made a HUGE difference.  In fact it would have changed my whole gameplan.  I had decided to go with a more offensive-minded defense, as i assumed that the ship would be grounded by engine crits long before its armor gave out.  Had we been able to rely on the ship's armor more i would have played a much more defensive game.  I would not have abandoned the left flank so easily, thats for damn sure.  At the time i was thinking that we would buy more time by crashing the line to tie up the long-range guns, simply because the Drac lights had to get within close / medium range while everything else the Combine had could threshold the Union at 21 hexes.

Oh well.  I still maintain that the idea of holding the line for ten turns was a pipedream.  Too few defenders and too little map space to work with.  Now, if we had had some artillery, a couple extra sheets, and some infantry in the buildings at the zero line we might have been able to pull it off.  But not when the enemy is able to auto hit the dropship after two turns of movement (and almost all of those auto hits were auto crits).  The orphans and kittens never stood a chance.

Now from what i hear you want to use a dropper in the scenario because you have one to use on the table right?  I understand that its GenCon and you want to both keep things simple for new players, and have a big eye catching set piece.  But this scenario was just not very well designed.  Atlas touched on most of the points i made at the game (enjoyed the writeup btw  O0) but here are my thoughts.

- the forces need to be properly balanced.  I understand that what we played with probably doesnt match what you are planning on using but it can still work as an example.  Not only were the defenders outnumbered but they were also seriously outgunned.  Sure, war is never fair and usually a last stand defense is far from ideal, but with new players especially things need to be a bit more level. 

Our heaviest mech was a Black Knight, and it was only one of three heavy mechs that we had to work with.  And since one of those heavies was a SW-era Jagermech it really shouldn't even count.  We simply needed more throw weight.  A second lance of Shriek / LRM carriers would have made a real difference; i could have devoted my light lance to intercepting the Drac lights instead of sending them against mediums and heavies to act as mobile barricades.  Still a lance of heavies / assaults would have been most useful since they would have had much better firing lines the entire battle.

- give them more space to work with.  Particularly vertical space.  Instead of starting with all our units clustered around the dropship and theirs a few sheets away, we should have started in a tiered defensiveness setup.  We should have had a defensive gauntlet ready for the Combine mechs to plow through, maintaining a fighting retreat to the dropship.  Had we had the space could have made proper use of our light elements to bog down the enemy advance.  We'd have started falling back towards our main defensive line, where i would loved to have stuck infantry in the buildings to slow down the crimson tide even further.  When your valient boys are finally forced back, hopefully on turn 9 or ten, you have your climactic last stand at the foot of the dropship.  And speaking of which...

- give them a reason to fight.  The first thing i thought when i heard that we werent fighting to board the dropship ourselves was 'who the hell is on that ship that we're throwing our lives away?  This had better be good'.  But Atlas said it was just civies.  Isnt the classic Battletch addage that life is cheap but mechs aren't?   Im not saying that its got to be a novel-grade character or anything but for a scenario it just didnt feel like what we were doing was very important or heroic.  That doesnt bother me too much but such a bland setup might fall flat with newbies who are not invested in the Battletech universe.  Make it clear that there are some manner of VIPs that /must/ get off the planet / shot down.  Or better yet...

- dont include the dropship in the battle at all.  Instead of a last stand scenario make it a running battle, with the dropship acting as the becon of salvation... the light at the end of the autocannon barrel.  Units that manage to make it to line x are considered to bave escaped to the dropship and made it off planet.  Changing the nature of the battle would make the forces we had reasonably balanced.  Plus the map size probably would have been adequate.  And of course we wouldnt be resigned to death by default.  Thats always nice.

- lastly, if you use Hetzers, for gods sake make sure they pack an AC/20  ;D

All in all a decent game could have been made far more interesting witha more complete setup and a bit of fluff.   But hey, either way i really hope things go well.  Playing at GenCon was an amazing experience i still talk about, and i hope that your players get an equally memorable game.  Good luck  O0
« Last Edit: 29 July 2015, 05:45:07 by whistler »
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sevengates

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #9 on: 29 July 2015, 12:47:58 »
OH WAAH..I still kill you >:D
« Last Edit: 29 July 2015, 12:50:18 by sevengates »
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whistler

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #10 on: 29 July 2015, 13:42:00 »
:laughs:

Im sorry if i sound bitchy, really!  We lost fair and square, and you guys very effectively took us out.  But, looking at the scenario from an objective standpoint... for something thats going to be played at GenCon i really do think there is plenty of room for improvement.  Thats it, really  :P
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Whistler is not only a noted winner, he's a man's man, a generous philanthropist, a noted big game hunter, and a lover and a dancer. If he had a mustache it would be impeccably waxed. When he marches off to war, everyone else stays home.

Weirdo

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #11 on: 29 July 2015, 13:47:00 »
What's the plan for this weekend? I might actually be able to attend.
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Atlas3060

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #12 on: 29 July 2015, 13:59:52 »
:laughs:

Im sorry if i sound bitchy, really!  We lost fair and square, and you guys very effectively took us out.  But, looking at the scenario from an objective standpoint... for something thats going to be played at GenCon i really do think there is plenty of room for improvement.  Thats it, really  :P
You brought up good points, also I'm glad you enjoyed the write up.
We needed the defenders to be beefed up, even I thought of that when printing the sheets.
Problem was I didn't have a decent amount of time (RL stuff, nothing on Lord Cameron) to assess how many minis I had and what I should bring to balance it out.

Also that little errata on the Dropship would have been nice, but we all learned something new for whatever future scenarios we play.

And yes next time I'll bring the AC/20 versions, apparently the first on the list of Hetzers was AC/10, so blah  :P.

Though even the objective was sketchy and half formed, literally I pulled it out right as someone asked me, it works with the AAR write up.
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What do they like? Food, puppies, little kids, yeah sure! That's why you're defending this. Get out of my way I have trueborn stuff to do.  ;D
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

whistler

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #13 on: 29 July 2015, 18:02:56 »
rereading it now (it was hella late when i wrote it after all, which does kind of account for how sloppy it gets in places) i didn't mean to sound so down on your setup, Atlas.  i realize that it wasn't your scenario, and that you didn't have very much info or time to work with.  frankly i am amazed it looked as good as it did, with pretty much everything on the table painted to it's side's colors.  its exactly the kind of thing i am hoping to pull off with my plastic minis.

What's the plan for this weekend? I might actually be able to attend.

dunno.  more AS?  or does anyone have something else in mind?
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Whistler is not only a noted winner, he's a man's man, a generous philanthropist, a noted big game hunter, and a lover and a dancer. If he had a mustache it would be impeccably waxed. When he marches off to war, everyone else stays home.

Atlas3060

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Re: AAR Alpha Strike DFW Arlington game
« Reply #14 on: 29 July 2015, 20:15:18 »
rereading it now (it was hella late when i wrote it after all, which does kind of account for how sloppy it gets in places) i didn't mean to sound so down on your setup, Atlas.
I didn't feel like you were talking down about my set up.
Besides you've all played against me long enough to know that some things are painted and some aren't.
I've never been that picky.

I'm just agreeing with your assessment because, quite frankly, I was having said reservations as well.
When you guys brought up similar stuff I felt better about my estimates.

As for this weekend I'll try to attend, the Mrs. is going to do some family thing for a week so I might get a weekend without the kid.
Then again work has been quite the pain lately, so it is up in the air.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

 

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