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Author Topic: Alpha Strike: Bringen' the Zellbrigen! 400 pts  (Read 1960 times)

Tai Dai Cultist

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Alpha Strike: Bringen' the Zellbrigen! 400 pts
« on: 27 September 2015, 01:03:28 »
I have refused to play with or against Clan stuff for.. longer than most of you have been alive.  However Alpha Strike came out and it fixed most everything wrong with CBT, and now Clan tech is acceptable again!  As such my local Demo agent was able to talk me into an IS company vs Clan binary game with Civil War era availability.

IS company:
Fire Lance: Naginata (C3M), Mauler, Catapult, Akuma
Battle Lance: Daikyu, Grand Dragon (C3S), Grand Dragon (C3S),  Wolverine
Pursuit Lance: Jenner, Jenner, Owens (C3S), Venom

Clan binary:
Battle Star: Masakari, Mad Cat Mk II, Nova Cat, Cauldron Born, Mad Cat
Pursuit Star: Shadow Cat, Cougar, Hankyu, Dasher, Clint IIC

We set up on a nice urban downtown quad:

We used variable damage, Battlefield Intelligence, Duelling, and the probable upcoming erratum for Pursuit Lances in this game.  We each picked each other's Pursuit unit as our own Pursuit prey.  We also noticed that the Zell rules are very loosely defined, and came up with a couple ground rules from the get go:
1) If a unit deals enough damage that it will destroy its duelling partner in the end phase, it's not dezgra for someone else to then shoot it and begin a new duel during that same combat phase.
2) IS units are allowed to initiate duels.
3) Units are allowed to engage in as many simultaneous duels as they want, and are able to find unengaged targets to challenge.

In the first couple turns, we jockeyed for position.. but not to form wedges or flanks but to play pussyfoot with finding challenges that we liked.  I tried to tempt my Clan opponent into dezgra behavior by engaging some of his pursuit mechs with my battle mechs... he's got to either break duel or suffer fighting with a +2 penalty! 

Such shenanigans actually didn't help me out much.  With his pursuit mechs tending to be engaged, I didn't have much to do with my own pursuit mechs.  I can send them against his battle star.. or sit and wait.  Or break zell.  I opted to sit and wait.  12 on 10 means some of my mechs are going to be unengaged anyway, so I tried to game Zell a bit with his Nova Cat on a flank: I denied him any targets.  If I'm gonna have little light mechs standing by, you're gonna have at least one big guy standing by too!

After the first two rounds, the duels were as follows:
Daikyu vs Clint IIC
Grand Dragon vs Mad Cat
Grand Dragon vs Cougar
Mauler vs Mad Cat Mk II
Akuma vs Masakari
Jenner vs Shadow Cat
Wolverine vs Hankyu

I had my 3 of my 4 Pursuit lance playing "deny the Clanners a duelling partner" and successfully kept his Cauldon Born, Nova Cat, and Dasher out of the fight thus far.  Unfortunately I also found my Naginata and Catapult stuck without partners in the process.

None of the duelling mechs had taken serious damage yet, except the Akuma and Masakari who went directly towards each other and blazed away, full overheat!  Both assaults ended up shutdown and with only 1 or 2 pips of internal structure, with duels raging all around them.

As of the moment of that picture, I was toying with breaking zell all at once... I had 4 solid hitters available and his unengaged targets were off on a snipe hunt on the other side of the board!

I decided to give it one more round in hopes of making the timing become more perfect.

Unfortunately, variable damage betrayed me on the moment of backstab.  The Mad Cat Mk II just kept taking "1 damage" from combined fire.  I dropped the Cougar and the Masakari and forced the Shadow Cat to flee for its life, but in failing to kill the 2nd assault mech the backstab wasn't worth freeing his other mechs from zell.  My own mechs started to crumple in  turn.

Unfortunately for my opponent, he had to call time and we tallied PV to find a victor.  I had lots of damaged mechs but not much actually dead yet... victory via PV went to the Inner Sphere!

As I was explaining to some observers who were highly entertained by my thinking out loud about whether and when to "cheat" and break zell:

"It's dishonorable to break the sanctity of the duels, but there's no better way to wash away shame than bathing in victory!"

A couple of observations about Zell in AS:
Indirect fire:  I planned on doing some IF shenanigans with the Naginata.  Only, I didn't realize until I was about to declare spotting for IF:  it's going to have a chance to shoot and declare a duel before my Naginata can bombard it.  So, that's one little dishonorable trick that the initiative rules solved organically for Zell :)  I did manage to get one bombardment on the Nova Cat from across the board, but had to agree with my opponent that an IF attack from behind LOS shouldn't count as initiating a duel.

Speaking of Initiative: I'm actually pleasantly surprised to see that you certainly can "game" the system and keep losing initiative from becoming a disaster in a battlefield full of one on one duels.  Sure, you can move a duellist to each of my duellists I have to move first, but is it worth giving up board position?  Are you really going to let me set up a bunch of backshots?  How honorable do you think I'll keep being once I have a juicy whammy tempting me?

More initiative observations: Losing initiative is important in the early game when playing with Zell.  Shooting first = first dibs on picking who gets to duel whom!
« Last Edit: 27 September 2015, 01:06:13 by Tai Dai Cultist »


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Re: Alpha Strike: Bringen' the Zellbrigen! 400 pts
« Reply #1 on: 27 September 2015, 11:39:02 »
Looks great, sounds like a fun battle.  We started a 3050 company vs binary using the Tabletop Simulator city maps I made, and it's been hectic, to say the least.  We only got about 4 turns in before we saved it, everyone had to go run errands for the wives.

Louie N

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Re: Alpha Strike: Bringen' the Zellbrigen! 400 pts
« Reply #2 on: 27 September 2015, 16:52:26 »
Nice qoute