Register Register

Author Topic: Factory Battle. Alpha Strike Demo at Gamer's Armory in Cary, NC 12/6/2015  (Read 2322 times)


  • Scientia Bellator
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7856
  • Painted by Mastergunz
Factory Battle
Gamer’s Armory. Cary, NC. December 6, 2015

Detachments from the Eridani Light Horse and 21st Centauri Lancers are each ordered to take control of a munitions factory. If they fail to secure the facility, they are to destroy it to insure it doesn’t fall to the enemy.

This was mostly replicating the Elite scenario from the Alpha Strike Quick-Start PDF.  The forces were adjusted to match the miniatures I had available, and the terrain available at Gamer’s Armory for our use (awesome game store by the way).  The 21st Centauri Lancers were from my A Call to War project, at 400 PV limit, so I started with them as one side.  For the other side I used my available standard urban camo miniatures to represent the Eridani Light Horse. The Eridani Light Horse, having lighter ‘Mechs, got two extra units which were used to reinforce the two non-Command Lances, giving them a total of 14 ‘Mechs in their company, versus the 12 of the 21st Centauri Lancers.  All units were given a Veteran skill level.

In addition to using Formations from the Alpha Strike Companion, and the resulting bonus Special Pilot Abilities, each force was given a selection of Command Abilities from Combat Manual Mercenaries.  In particular, I wanted to see how the 21st Centauri Lancers’ Environmental Specialization (Clear) worked out.  Clear was banned as an Environmental Specialization option in the Companion, but several regiments in canon are described as “open ground” specialists or something similar, so I wanted to find something to represent that.   The first Clear specialization, Improved Movement, gave any 21CL unit that started in clear terrain, and ended in Clear terrain, an extra 2” to move.  This did not actually change their Move value, so it doesn’t change their Target Movement Modifier.  The second ability, Improved Combat, gave their attacks a -1 to-hit modifier if the unit was not occupying anything but clear terrain, and there was no terrain modifier on the attack. 

The Formations were adjusted to try and select simpler bonus abilities, in case any new players came along.  This meant the 21st Centauri Lancers did not use my A Call to War formations, which were based on trying to utilize Demoralizer from Assault Lance and a Support Lance.  The 21st Centauri got an Assault, Fire and Battle Lance.  The Eridani Light Horse got a Command, Battle and Cavalry (Striker) Lance.

PDF of the Force Lists, including Formations and Command Abilities Battle Force Lists.pdf

Set Up
Both forces set themselves up within 6” of their home edge.  For terrain, a single building was put in the center to be the factory.  We then placed more terrain based on “hey, this looks good.”  Other than the factory itself, two pieces of terrain ended up affecting the battle noticeably.  The hill on the Eridani Light Horse played a small part in the early turns.  But the long building to the eastern/right side (from the 21CL viewpoint and declaring north to be the 21CL looking across to the other side) of the factory played an important role. We had four players, so we split two to a side.  I was on the 21st Centauri Lancers side by virtue of that being the spot left, so most of the AAR is from their perspective.

Turn 1

The 21CL won initiative. Both forces advanced.  The Lancers’ Fire Lance proceeded along the eastern side, with the intention of shooting diagonally across the field to cover behind the factory. The Battle and Assault Lances went up the middle. The Eridani Light Horse kept their Command and Battle Lances to the west of center, and their Cavalry Lance took cover in the eastern woods.

The lead Lancer Fire Lance units got a couple shots off, but otherwise the turn was pretty quiet.

Turn 2

The 21CL only rolled a 4 for initiative, but managed to beat the ELH’s 3.  But the ELH used their Command Lance’s Tactical Genius to reroll Initiative and got a 10.
The Eridani Light Horse sent their Command and Battle Lances to take the eastern hill.  The Cavalry Lance moved in closer to the factory, using the eastern building for some cover.  The Lancers kept the Fire Lance back a bit, half of them standing still.  The Assault Lance and Battle Lance advanced up the center left and center right.

At this point we remembered the Force the Initiative Command Ability for the ELH, and allowed three of their units to fire (and resolve damage) before the other units fired.  They hit the Guillotine somewhat, but not enough to matter. The ELH Ostroc was severely damage with two Fire Control critical hits.  There was a scattering of other fire, but those merely reduced some armor.

Turn 3

The ELH won initiative, but only good enough for one unit to move and fire first.  The Marauder took a shot and damaged some armor.

Afraid our Fire Lance would not get good targets because of that eastern building (and the factory itself), the Fire Lance and Battle Lance moved conservatively, mostly sticking together on the eastern side.  The ELH moved up fairly aggressively, the Command and Battle Lances coming over the hill and the Cavalry Lance charging straight into the gap between the factory and eastern building. Moving last, the Lancer’s Assault Lance also advanced, to where they could see only a few ELH advance ‘Mechs.

The ELH took some heavy fire this turn, with the Ostsol (lead ELH Cavalry ‘Mech) being destroyed.  The ELH’s return fire was scattered by poor line of sight (and more difficult to-hit targets).

Turn 4

The ELH won initiative, but only by 1, so no unit’s got to move and fire early.
The 21CL Fire Lance advanced along the eastern edge, and the ELH’s Command Lance charged to the western side of the factory. The 21CL’s Battle Lance then moved in to position beside the Fire Lance with the intention that the enemy would then either give the Fire Lance some targets or not be able to fire on us at all.  The ELH responding by moving its Battle Lance to take shots at the 21CL Fire Lance. The 21CL Assault Lance then charged the building, figuring if they wanted to win this, they needed to get into position to protect the factory soon. The Hunchback and Grasshopper filled the eastern gap between the factory and building in order to limit the number of ELH ‘Mechs that could run behind, and then the Banshee and Guillotine charged through to the other side for physical attacks.

The 21CL resolved its attacks first.  The Assault Lance finished off the Ostroc and destroyed the Panther.  The Fire Lance destroyed the Centurion and the Battle Lance took some shots at the Phoenix Hawk.  The ELH had lost four units at this point.
The ELH took a couple shots at the 21CL, destroying the Guillotine at last. But with only one Lancer ‘Mech destroyed, versus the four Light Horse, the Light Horse’s Command Lance made the decision to salvage a draw and destroy the factory.  With no Lancer ‘Mechs on that side of the factory, it quickly went up in flames.

Review, aka Critiquing Myself
I think everybody had a good time.  I got to see a couple players (and friends) I hadn’t played BattleTech with in a while, and a new player that had started coming to the group’s games after I wasn’t able to make them any longer.  Pretty good for sending out invites so late.

The game went pretty quickly, even without us rushing.  Start time was listed as 6pm, but we sat talking a bit before actually getting going, and were still finished at 8:30pm.  Some of us spent as much time talking afterward as we did playing.

Factory Battle: I went in to the scenario thinking the factory would need to be harder to take out, and the play through backed that up.  I had severely underestimated how soon players would make the decision to take out the factory.  And therefore underestimated how much firepower they would have available once they made that decision.  Several ideas came to mind how to fix that, but it definitely needs fixing.  I do like how it pushed the game along.  Both sides know they need to get in close to protect the factory to have any hope of winning, and they don’t have to wait till all the units are destroyed to achieve the outcome.
Since we weren’t playing even numbers (just even PV), this play though pointed out another issue. With 14 units, the ELH did need 7 units destroyed to lose, versus 6 for the 21CL, but they had a wide variety of “easier” units to destroy.  Panther and Centurion in particular were easy to take out.  They were perhaps feeling more desperate than they were, but they were still looking at the Vulcan, Phoenix Hawk and Falcon on their side and the real possibility that we could destroy three units next turn and end the game with a victory.  So I can’t say they were wrong to go ahead and claim the draw then.

Environmental Specialization (Clear): Everyone was of the opinion that while the Improved Mobility was nice but fine power wise, the Improved Combat bonus was too powerful. Part of this is due to the nature of miniatures game, there is far more clear terrain than in mapboard play.  There was never a time where the Lancers’ did not get the -1 to-hit.  Combined with the Fire Lance’s two Snipers, and the overall Veteran skill level, the Lancers’ were hitting an awful lot.  There was lots of conversation about this, and one possibility is making the Improved Combat for clear a defensive ability rather than offensive.  If the unit, from a force with Clear Specialization, is occupying clear terrain and has no terrain, cover or environmental to-hit modifiers on an attack against it, the attack gets a +1 to-hit modifier.  Far less dangerous as it doesn’t stack with anything, and takes a generally “bad” position and makes it slightly better, rather than taking something good (good to-hit rolls) and making them awesome.  But yeah, definitely needs something there as well.
« Last Edit: 06 December 2015, 17:54:19 by nckestrel »
Master Unit List website - where to find units, what factions use them, what's their BV?
3025-3050 Random Assignment Tables -
Also contains faction deployment & rarity info and Quirk lists.

Von Ether

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 906
Good Report.
"New players, regardless of age, need to know two things about a wargame. How to blow stuff up and what faction is painted in his favorite color. All the rest can come later when they are hooked." -- A.G.
"But the problem is that it seems to have been made by someone who equates complication with complexity, and that just ain't so." -- iamfanboy


  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1402
  • "The Button's Stuck!"

The game went pretty quickly, even without us rushing.  Start time was listed as 6pm, but we sat talking a bit before actually getting going, and were still finished at 8:30pm.  Some of us spent as much time talking afterward as we did playing.

That's one of the best things about a good gaming night.
Looks like a fun game.
Shame about the Scorched earth! But sometimes that's how it rolls.