Author Topic: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?  (Read 1359 times)

Vehrec

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So in HBS's beta, they unveiled revamped autocannons which were hotters and had less ammo per ton...but everything except the AC20 had it's damage adjusted upwards from tabletop, 150% in the case of the AC2.

So would you play in a game with the AC5/8/12/20?  (I'm aware the AC5 becomes more an AC-9, but I've chose to shift it to match the Large Laser.)  Would you play with Ultra or LB versions of those?  Would the RACs hold up when they're throwing potentially 30 or 48 points of damage downrange when all the stars align?  And how would this change your favorite mechs, when the Urbie now has a headcapper, the Blackjack has six weapons each dealing 5 damage, and so on?
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Empyrus

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Standard ACs, sure, why not. Extra heat might not be good idea on tabletop BTB though.
If the adjustment is carried over to other ACs... The Ultra AC/10 may become a problem. A head-capper at 18 hexes is not special given that we got the Gauss rifle, Clan ER PPC, and Heavy PPC. But a head-capper with 18 hex range and 40% chance of hitting twice? Ouch. Dual Ultra/10s, make that Ultra/12s become incredible (not exactly Hellstar-level yet but close). And triple UAC/12s would be murder. Extra heat may keep these in line but it depends. Too much and they won't be worth it, especially since extra heat and ammo don't play nice.
Lower class Ultras become interesting.
Light AC/2, now LAC/5 becomes an actual option.
RACs might be problematic. Extra heat might keep them reasonable though, especially since people don't really use them at full rate anyway, or so it seems.
LB-Xs aren't a problem really, given that they do about 60% of their rate damage on average, in practice this will correspond to average increase of about two points.
HVACs might actually become usable, though they'd still be shit, but at least they'd be usable shit. Extra heat would hurt them though.

Class-20 ACs will suffer a bit here though. The extra range for ACs that deal head-cap level damage is just so good i'm not sure the extra damage for shorter range is worth it.

This assuming everything gets proper BV adjustment. Many 'Mechs will see their value jump noticeably. Anything with Ultras or RACs will have considerable value increase. The JagerMech will suffer from getting a damage boost, higher BV cost but still having shit armor... But perhaps it works.
Without BV adjustments... well, it will be a mess very likely. At intro-level balancing by tonnage probably works still, but anything else is gonna be a mess. 'Mechs like the Sirocco become hilarious menaces, bargains for their cost.

On paper, with BV adjustments adjusting AC damage values (and heat case-by-case) would be a solid "patch" to making ballistics more of a real alternative to energy weapon dominance.


[But if you start tweaking stuff, you probably should tweak other stuff too... namely small weapons like MGs and small lasers. HBS Battletech gives them a good niche, something they don't have in 'Mechs only games in tabletop Battletech given that designs that actually use them in great numbers are rare.]

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The AC/10 is no longer a headcapper in the HBS game.  Or, at least, it won't ship as a headcapper.
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No longer a headcapper at 10, or 11?  There's an alarming number of 'mechs with 8 points of armor on their heads...

klarg1

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I have considered 5/7/12/20 before, so maybe. The only thing that really gives me any real concern is turning the AC/10 into a head-capper, but it's probably OK.
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Empyrus

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The AC/10 is no longer a headcapper in the HBS game.  Or, at least, it won't ship as a headcapper.
Did the game have doubled armor values like MWO or did it use standard values?
I did play the beta for 16 hours total but i found the UI to be unclear. Lack of numerical info was one of my major gripes.

In any case, in a hypothetical situation for tabletop BT where ACs damage gets buffed but if class-10 ACs wouldn't get damage boost, then i will wonder why i would bother with class-10 types at all. If AC/5 is actually AC/8, then i will gladly trade two points of damage for lighter gun, extra ammo, and longer range.

Scotty

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You guys are thinking waaaaaaay too narrowly about how an AC/10 is no longer a headcapper but an AC/20 still is.  I don't know the numbers under the hood, but it could just as easily be that AC/10s still do the equivalent of 12 or 15 damage, but Heads now have 15 points of armor.  I kind of doubt that's actually the case, but it's within the realm of reason.

I just know from designer commentary on another forum that AC/10s are not headcappers on release, as planned.
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Tymers Realm

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That might be the case for the HBS game, but the point here is house ruling those changes towards the tabletop.
Adding a slight bump for damage across the AC family is a plausible thing. And making a AC/10 a 12-pointer is risky. But that's no different than a Blazer really. While a Ultra version gets a tic more ugly, I don't see it as a overly bad thing.

Fear Factory

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Psh, it's long overdue.  Autocannons need the bump in damage but the extra heat won't help.

Personally, I would go 3/7/11/20 without modifying heat.  This slight boost in damage works too well for the board game; giving a nice boost to all the under-performers.  All of a sudden those AC/5 designs have some appeal.

Why stop there though?

Have SRM's get a +1 mod on the missile hit table for short range and -1 mod at long.  Swap the bonus for LRM's.  Have flamers cause heat and damage.  Give machine guns a +1 bonus on critical hit rolls.

I can't help but smirk though...  if you brought this stuff up in the past there would be a tidal wave of hissy fits against change.  Now that this game is coming out it seems like change is plausible.

But yeah...  I actually would not play using HBS AC stats.  I think they're too drastic.
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Empyrus

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The AC/3 still sucks, me thinks. And the AC/7 is still not terribly appealing compared to the PPC, though it is definitively an improvement.

As for other than AC changes, i'd start by throwing everything away and doing ground-up rebuild for the whole game rather than bother with small tweaks. (Note that i'm assuming proper BV recalculations here along with changed weapon data, and thus recalculated 'Mech values.) Might as well rework everything while at it.

Vehrec

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #10 on: 07 March 2018, 00:13:33 »
Psh, it's long overdue.  Autocannons need the bump in damage but the extra heat won't help.

Personally, I would go 3/7/11/20 without modifying heat.  This slight boost in damage works too well for the board game; giving a nice boost to all the under-performers.  All of a sudden those AC/5 designs have some appeal.

Why stop there though?

Have SRM's get a +1 mod on the missile hit table for short range and -1 mod at long.  Swap the bonus for LRM's.  Have flamers cause heat and damage.  Give machine guns a +1 bonus on critical hit rolls.

I can't help but smirk though...  if you brought this stuff up in the past there would be a tidal wave of hissy fits against change.  Now that this game is coming out it seems like change is plausible.

But yeah...  I actually would not play using HBS AC stats.  I think they're too drastic.

  Interesting that you go +1,+2,+1, rather than +3+3+2.  Like, why not let the 3 be a 4, at the very least?  Just one extra point of damage seems hardly worth the effort at all.  You'll still be plinking away in the hope that persistence pays off or you get lucky.

I have to agree about this being a much more open reception than I thought I would get-I figured that this would be a topic that would be pretty controversial, to say the least.
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Crimson Dawn

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #11 on: 07 March 2018, 00:48:33 »
I always wondered whether it was better to just decrease the weight in general on ACs (except for maybe the AC20 since it is popular).  Looking at a 3025 mindset in most cases I want to trade AC2s, 5s, and in many cases AC10s for a PPC.  In many cases I feel like it is a much better trade and usually I can fit it in with decent heat with the weight saved on heat sinks and then no worries about ammo.

If lower value ACs weighed less I would probably consider using them instead of wanting to trade it in for a PPC.

Fear Factory

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #12 on: 07 March 2018, 08:34:59 »
  Interesting that you go +1,+2,+1, rather than +3+3+2.  Like, why not let the 3 be a 4, at the very least?  Just one extra point of damage seems hardly worth the effort at all.  You'll still be plinking away in the hope that persistence pays off or you get lucky.

I have to agree about this being a much more open reception than I thought I would get-I figured that this would be a topic that would be pretty controversial, to say the least.

I just feel it is enough of an increase where they can compete with other weapons as they stand.  They're still not supposed to be the best weapons in the game.  3, 7, and 11, damage all have a better penetration value when you look at how most armor layouts are for the early designs.  They do become appealing.

...and we're moved.  So this topic is going to be dead in the water now, since most people look around General Discussion.
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Alsadius

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #13 on: 07 March 2018, 11:20:11 »
IMO, the increased heat just pushes all weapon types closer together. Not a fan of that. Instead of making autocannons into just another missile or laser, give them their own flavour. Here's an idea I've kicked around before on Reddit to do exactly that:

* AC/2 does 3 damage, AC/5 does 6 damage.

* Abolish the LB/X autocannons, and replace them with standard AC's. Give standard ACs the increased ranges of the LB/X autocannons. (For units with standard AC/10s, the LB-10X is one ton lighter and one slot smaller. Add one ton of extra ammo on all standard AC/10 designs to make up for this. The others all match, except that LB-X are slightly bulkier, so no changes are needed there)

* Ammunition can be loaded in shell-by-shell, instead of needing to be in full-ton lots. For example, a single ton of AC/2 ammo might contain 10 precision, 5 flechette, 10 standard, and 10 cluster rounds. Caseless and cluster rounds are valid choices as specialty rounds for all autocannons.

* Ultra and rotary ACs can use specialty ammunition if desired, and may mix and match in a single round. In all cases, the shell order is declared, and if only some rounds hit, the first ones in order are the ones that do.  They also both get to use un-jamming rules. Otherwise, they stay as-is. (Jam rolls are increased by +1 if using any caseless ammunition, instead of their usual effects.)

This doesn't give them any hugely impressive damage stats, but it gives them more flexibility than any other weapon type. Being able to choose, round-by-round, whether you want to fire standard, cluster, AP, precision, flak, flechette, incendiary, caseless, or tracer rounds is a huge, huge boon to most designs. And it especially benefits the smaller-bore guns that have really deep ammunition supplies, which are exactly the ones most in need of a buff. I might voluntarily mount an AC/3 under this system if I'm expecting a lot of VTOLs or hovers on the enemy team, and an AC/6 is almost good. And it's perfectly compatible with canonical designs, no changes needed.

Frabby

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #14 on: 07 March 2018, 13:26:13 »
I've long toyed with the idea to up AC damage to 5/10/15, or to alternatively decrease energy weapon damage to 1/3/5/8, in order to re-balance ACs and energy weapons. A "retcon" introducing SL-era or otherwise superior lostech standard AC ammunition could work wonders for game balance.
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Charistoph

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #15 on: 07 March 2018, 13:49:11 »
Honestly, I think it's a good idea if made with another adjustment.

Allow for the weapon to be fired as is, and all damage goes to the aligned spot.  If fired in its "burst mode", the damage gets parsed out in to 2-3 clusters.  This vastly reduces the chance of the AC-10 family suddenly becoming a "light" headcapper.  If you can get 12-15 damage out of the gun, but the damage spreads out like an LRM-15, it becomes a tactical choice instead of a go-to.  It would also work for autocannons to be work as hole punchers or crit-seekers on demand.

Honestly, I have thought pulse lasers should undergo a similar concept as well, but that's just how I see things.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2018, 01:37:46 by Charistoph »
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Dakkon

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #16 on: 07 March 2018, 23:52:12 »
Funny that this topic should come up, I've been thinking about reworking several aspects of Classic Battletech (Late Succession Wars) , autocannons included, and eventually publishing the end result here and a few other places.

What do you guys think about these changes for standard autocannons? I've mostly been tweaking damage and range; but I haven't touched heat, tonnage, critical slots or ammo yet.

AC/3:   Heat-1   Damage-3     Min-0 Sht-8 Med-16 Lng-24

AC/6:   Heat-1   Damage-6     Min-0 Sht-8 Med-16 Lng-24

AC/9:   Heat-3   Damage-9     Min-0 Sht-6 Med-12 Lng-18

AC/12: Heat-7   Damage-12   Min-0 Sht-6 Med-12 Lng-18

In summary; AC/2 and 5 have one more damage, no minimum range and both have the AC/2s range profile. The AC/10 and 20 have had their damage reduced, but their range profile increased to that of an AC/5 without a minimum range.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2018, 00:12:00 by Dakkon »

Alsadius

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #17 on: 07 March 2018, 23:58:39 »
Funny that this topic should come up, I've been thinking about reworking several aspects of Classic Battletech (Late Succession Wars) , autocannons included, and eventually publishing the end result here and a few other places.

What do you guys think about these changes for standard autocannons?

AC/3: Heat-0 Damage-3 Min-0 Sht-8 Med-16 Lng-24

AC/6: Heat-1 Damage-6 Min-0 Sht-8 Med-16 Lng-24

AC/9: Heat-3 Damage-9 Min-0 Sht-6 Med-12 Lng-18

AC/12: Heat-7 Damage-12 Min-0 Sht-6 Med-12 Lng-18

I don't see any reason to change the AC/20 - it's the one that people use with no regrets. It's only the small-bore ACs that suck. Also, I'll need ton and slot counts for those before I can say if they're good or bad.

Dakkon

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #18 on: 08 March 2018, 00:32:19 »
I don't see any reason to change the AC/20 - it's the one that people use with no regrets. It's only the small-bore ACs that suck. Also, I'll need ton and slot counts for those before I can say if they're good or bad.

They're still a work in progress and incomplete, as you can see by me still editing my original post.

My thinking with increasing the ranges was that I wanted to try to have all the autocannons feel more comparable to their real world counterparts (not necessarily autocannons, but cannons in general), and to compensate for the increased range I was thinking about reducing the damage for some of them. I'm bit hesitant about changing tonnage and critical slots though, as that means messing with a lot of preexisting mech and vehicle designs (although I suppose heat would as well for some vehicles).

I also had the thought of reworking the Binary Laser Cannon into a replacement for the AC/20, damage and range wise.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2018, 00:39:59 by Dakkon »

Gardan

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #19 on: 08 March 2018, 03:55:57 »
In my last AtoW/TW campaign I used quite heavy boost to ACs.

Damage was normal damage + MoS
Reasoning was that players were so ammo explosion phobics that I needed to bend they will to use all weapon types. Now that is fixed, I'm looking more balanced improvements.

Ideas to improvement are:
1. Ammo explosion damage is reduced greatly. Even caseless explosion just destroys ammobin and feed to weapon, critical roll to location and damage to back armor.
2a. For damage 4/7/11/20
2b. MoS 3+: Extra hit roll with normal damage of smaller caliber AC

What I like mentioned ideas in this thread
1. Min range removal (simplifies)
2. Damage increases

Fear Factory

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #20 on: 08 March 2018, 11:26:07 »
You know, they could even give autocannons and pulse lasers a boost by giving them snub nose PPC style ranges.  Give them an increased short range value.

I'm sure there is a better way to do this, but just presented as an idea....

AC/2  16/21/24
AC/5  12/16/18
AC/10  10/13/15
AC/20  6/8/9

SPL  3/-/-
MPL  4/5/6
LPL  7/9/10

CSPL  4/5/6
CMPL  8/10/12
CLPL   14/18/20

This would actually make them unique and give them a different tactical edge, and pulse lasers wouldn't actually need the -2 to hit.
« Last Edit: 08 March 2018, 15:19:16 by Fear Factory »
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Crimson Dawn

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #21 on: 09 March 2018, 01:09:45 »
Personally I always thought it was weird that ACs have a minimum range considering in everything I have ever seen describing them and in media showing them they are direct fire kinetic weapons so minimum range seems odd to me.

Daryk

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #22 on: 09 March 2018, 05:32:21 »
Back before the last board crash, I had posted a set of house rules based on bore size and rate of fire.  Basically, an autocannon had a "base" weight, plus a certain tonnage per extra shot it could fire.  Range and damage per shell were tied to bore size, while rate of fire set up the entry into the cluster table.  Unfortunately, I lost the thumb drive where I saved that spreadsheet, or I'd repost it here.

Empyrus

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #23 on: 09 March 2018, 10:41:54 »
Personally I always thought it was weird that ACs have a minimum range considering in everything I have ever seen describing them and in media showing them they are direct fire kinetic weapons so minimum range seems odd to me.

Minimun ranges for non-missile weapons in BT make no sense whatsoever.
If it is about aiming a weapon being difficult, then it should be related mass quite a bit. It is harder to move arm-mounted AC/20 than it is to move arm-mounted AC/2. Yes, the AC/2 barrel might be longer, but masses so much less any moment of inertia problems likely vanish or are minimal enough they should not be a concern.
Second, the minimum range effectively assumes weapons are mounted in ways that allow them to be aimed individually a bit. Consider: A side torso has both large laser and an AC/5... yet only the AC/5 has minimum range? When the 'Mech turns its torso, both weapons point at the same direction and turn at the same rate. Projectile velocity doesn't really explain this, especially since AC/5 has longer range anyway.
In any case, if we assume a 'Mech sits in a center of a hex always, it means there is 30 meters distance (15 for its hex, another 15 in the target's hex) at least to the target. Even if the AC barrels are long, there is likely sufficient distance to negate any minimum range concerns.

And then there are the PPCs. Supposedly ERPPC focusing mechanism prevents "dangerous feedback" which is used as a handwave for normal PPCs having minimum range. For one thing, what is this "dangerous feedback"? Theoretically, there could be a charged cloud if particles around the 'Mech, meaning there is a danger of spark... and that's not really a big thing. Then again, for some reason Snub-nose PPCs don't have that... This also causes a question, why isn't the ERPPC focusing mechanism retrofitted to standard PPCs but without all the extra power etc. that causes extra heat, negating the minimum range without affecting maximum range and heat production?

Even from game balance point of view, minimum ranges make little sense. They hurt ACs, the weapon that are already some of the weakest weapons in the game overall. And ERPPCs and Snubbies can be fired up close no problem whatsoever, hurting standard PPC in those eras needlessly. The Clan ERPPC can deal 15 points of damage at point blank range, if there's a weapon that needs minimum range for balance reason, it is that weapon!

The sole weapons where minimum range makes sense are missiles. Whether it is the arc, arming distance or lock-on guidance requiring time. And it nicely promotes the idea that LRMs especially are really intended to be long-range weapons. Amusingly Clan LRMs are rather good for close combat, thanks to their lack of minimum range (along with light weight).

Alsadius

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #24 on: 09 March 2018, 12:04:08 »
TBH, if I was re-making the game from scratch, the AC/2 would be the machine gun, and ranges would go up with barrel size. Obviously, weights would skew far more heavily than they do right now as well - an AC/20 with 24 hex long range should be 20 tons, minimum - but that's easy enough to do.

Instead, the "hits harder when it's closer" weapons would be the lasers, because of the thermal bloom of a giant laser beam causing beam scatter at longer ranges. It's more realistic(though still kind of handwavey), and probably makes energy spam a lot less appealing.

Obviously, we're stuck with the Battletech we have. But it's nice to dream.

Empyrus

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #25 on: 09 March 2018, 15:11:51 »
Lasers would be short-to-mid-range weapons IMO. Particle beams (ie PPC) would be the short range weapon, since particle beams tend to spread out, and that's even in vacuum.

Dakkon

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #26 on: 09 March 2018, 19:57:07 »
Lasers would be short-to-mid-range weapons
That's kinda the same direction I want to take my reworking of Classic Battletech, although I'd keep PPCs the same as they are now. The range/damage/heat/etc. profile of the weapon and the widespread use of the design makes me hesitant to modify it; it's too much of a staple.

Empyrus

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #27 on: 09 March 2018, 21:52:33 »
That's kinda the same direction I want to take my reworking of Classic Battletech, although I'd keep PPCs the same as they are now. The range/damage/heat/etc. profile of the weapon and the widespread use of the design makes me hesitant to modify it; it's too much of a staple.
My ideas add a category of long range energy weapons. Well, sorta, more like a hybrid (if it has separate ammo): A plasma railgun. A real thing actually, though not a weapon really. But i figure it works reasonably in Battletech context, as it already has plasma weapons. (It would be long ranged only because it has "railgun" in the name, i figure a real plasma railgun would have rather poor range in atmosphere, scientific ones are used in vacuum after all.)
And, my ideas would radically alter all weapons anyway, there wouldn't be any "iconic" things left afterwards names aside.

Papabees

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #28 on: 18 March 2018, 19:06:28 »
Honestly the more I think this through the more I'd just add +2 to the AC2-10 and leave everything else alone. I think they would balance well.

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Re: Would you play with the Hairbrained Schemes Autocannon Homerules?
« Reply #29 on: 18 March 2018, 21:14:26 »
I'm with you on that but in my case I'd add 3 damage to all the autocannons 2-10.  So the AC went 5/8/13/20 in damage but were otherwise unchanged.  That would do a lot to make them more competitive with energy weapons.
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