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Author Topic: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal  (Read 1673 times)

Challenger

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Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« on: 17 November 2018, 09:02:42 »
Discarded title: 'Why artillery makes Battlemechs the King of the Battlefield'

I don't think there is any argument that battlemechs are not the be all and end all that 'in universe' sources often paint them as. But, I got to thinking the other day that they do have one massive advantage over all other ground arms in game. They alone are not terrified of artillery.

Tankers hate artillery. All those 5pt damage groups are bound to start inflicting mobility damage and given the need of many tanks to operate on mass, their formations make big targets for the inaccurate, but powerful, artillery.

BA and Infantry HATE artillery. There is no quicker way to clear out a big blob of area denying infantry/BA than to start lobbing artillery rounds at them. Even reactive armour is only so much help, once the artillery is ranged in, death is soon to follow.

Battlemechs are annoyed by artillery. It limits their ability to play turret tech (a good thing IMHO) by forcing them to relocate, but the odds of artillery alone inflicting critical damage to anything bigger than a Stinger is minimal.

Artillery forces units to move around the table, and this can only be a good thing for Battlemechs as they are usually the most manoeuvrable/flexible units on the field. I would contend that adding a handful of tubes per lance to the game does not add significantly to the time a turn takes to play, but markedly improves gameplay by encouraging manoeuvre and discouraging turret tech and mech phalanxes, which is why I feel it should be tournament legal.

Any thoughts?

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AlphaMirage

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #1 on: 17 November 2018, 09:14:18 »
I agree, artillery should be added.  However I contend that the rules by which it is used should be the ones in Battlmech Manual.  That of far more accurate one time fire missions to speed up play

Kharim

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #2 on: 17 November 2018, 09:26:26 »
My battletech group makes regular use of onboard artillery. However homing munitions are what makes us bring those units to the battlefield- nothing feels better than TAGing enemy mech and hitting it with few 20 point hits, to see it fall down just before weapon attack phase.
Pulling such stunt with offboard artillery is harder but doable. So artillery is fine tool for mech killing when loaded with homing rounds.
The idea presented in this thread works but only when limited to HE rounds. Not to mention the usage of other specialty munitions which could change the battlefield even further.

Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #3 on: 17 November 2018, 10:37:56 »
I agree, artillery should be added.  However I contend that the rules by which it is used should be the ones in Battlmech Manual.  That of far more accurate one time fire missions to speed up play

This. The BMM battlefield support rules are great

Colt Ward

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #4 on: 17 November 2018, 11:11:05 »
I love on-board artillery . . . and if you are not bringing 3-4 tubes your doing it wrong.  Get a good mix of HE, Cluster and Smoke . . .

Homing Ammo is so cliche.
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Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #5 on: 17 November 2018, 11:45:11 »
I really love the concept of homing ammo but I don’t love having to hit something with TAG first. If NARC has a TAG pod i could see better integration

I’m late to the party on artillery but I also really like artillery cannons. There is something so intrinsically satisfying in telling someone that you only need 7s to hit their speed machine for 20

The_Caveman

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #6 on: 17 November 2018, 15:59:28 »
Main strike against arty is it slows down the game. It's all cluster damage, it has its own phase, and there is scatter to contend with. Not to mention some unfamiliar modifiers.

Secondarily, it can be frustrating if another player is relying on units that can't be counterattacked, and counter-battery fire is yet more rolls that need to be resolved. Eventually everyone is bringing tubes just to counter their opponent's tubes and the whole thing becomes moot.

Home-on-Narc Arrow IVs would be amazing though.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #7 on: 17 November 2018, 16:16:29 »
That’s why the BMM support is good because both players get a predetermined number of points to allocate toward strikes. They resolve cleanly and you don’t have to track shells.

Challenger

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #8 on: 18 November 2018, 10:45:03 »
That’s why the BMM support is good because both players get a predetermined number of points to allocate toward strikes. They resolve cleanly and you don’t have to track shells.

I am going to have to buy that book and have a look at those rules, they look very interesting.

I’d contend that adding artillery only slows the game down while both players are unfamiliar with the rules or an excessive number of tubes is in use. Oddly enough, I rarely find bringing 8+ tubes to be worth the bother. 2 manages my main goal of forcing my opponent to react. (i.e. move)

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Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #9 on: 18 November 2018, 11:44:27 »
I am going to have to buy that book and have a look at those rules, they look very interesting.

I’d contend that adding artillery only slows the game down while both players are unfamiliar with the rules

Pretty much true of any tech in the game honestly

Firesprocket

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #10 on: 18 November 2018, 17:01:04 »
Artillery is a drag on the flow of the game.  While it is an excellent foil to all of the units it listed, how often are you likely going run across a slew of BA, tanks, or other units that you can maximize it's use?  What is more likely to happen with the inclusion of artillery is a largely non interactive game where a player with arty just throws shots down range while his opponent doesn't have the opportunity to shoot back.  In order to make arty remotely viable and fairly priced you'd have to redo the BV system.

Challenger

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #11 on: 19 November 2018, 14:09:02 »
While it is an excellent foil to all of the units it listed, how often are you likely going run across a slew of BA, tanks, or other units that you can maximize it's use?

Often enough to have thought up this thread. I’ve played against forces of massed heavy armour and forces with a big contingent of stealthed BA and run into serious problems against both. Mostly because I couldn’t do enough damage to them quickly enough with tournament legal units and had no effective way to make them shift out of their chosen cover.

Stealthed BA in particular is something I find very strong in tournament legal games, yet has serious weaknesses once advanced tech is in use. I find it a odd disconnect between the levels.

Quote
What is more likely to happen with the inclusion of artillery is a largely non interactive game where a player with arty just throws shots down range while his opponent doesn't have the opportunity to shoot back.

I’ve seen this comment a few times and I’m not sure I entirely follow. Is the concern the possibility of one player bringing predominately/purely artillery to the game and giving their opponent nothing to shoot back at?

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The_Caveman

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #12 on: 19 November 2018, 17:12:04 »
I’ve seen this comment a few times and I’m not sure I entirely follow. Is the concern the possibility of one player bringing predominately/purely artillery to the game and giving their opponent nothing to shoot back at?

Yes, because the nature of off-board units allows them to ignore the real-world weaknesses of artillery, namely its vulnerability to being overrun. If a game mechanic can be exploited, it will.

It's a good recipe for a slow, frustrating battle where one side only has to focus on giving the other side 13s to hit and relying on artillery scatter and splash damage to eventually wear the opponent down. Meanwhile the other side is playing Wile E Coyote to the opponent's Road Runner, hoping to land a shot while slowly choking on the fuzzy end of the attrition lollypop.

Arty is cheap in terms of BV as well so the scenario has to artificially cap it lest things get out of hand. One decent Clan 'Mech is worth, what, a dozen Thumper field gun platoons?

It's not the sort of thing you want to allow in a tourney because there will inevitably be that one guy who cares more about winning than anyone having fun.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

Boomer8

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #13 on: 19 November 2018, 18:05:36 »
So just make it a rule that if you don't have units on the map, you lose. Solves that problem.
Victor W. Milan (1954-2018) Taken before he finished.

Challenger

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #14 on: 19 November 2018, 19:59:29 »
TBH The_Caveman makes a fair point about possible abuse, though I’d agree with Boomer8 that it wouldn’t be hard to fix with fairly straightforward scenario rules. I tend to forget that setting objectives to take and hold is not part of the standrd rule set.

I’ll admit my original idea was for both sides to have only a couple of tubes each for support.

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pheonixstorm

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #15 on: 19 November 2018, 20:44:16 »
Rolling maps - Now you can overrun that pesky artillery position.

Off-Board Arty takes awhile to hit depending on distance - Easy enough to avoid something that won't hit for 1+ rounds.


The_Caveman

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #16 on: 20 November 2018, 02:09:07 »
I tend to forget that setting objectives to take and hold is not part of the standrd rule set.

This is a problem with Battletech, generally speaking. The core rules presume a straight-up shootout between two approximately well-matched 'Mech lances, devoid of any outside context. Any actual mission objectives are strictly optional.

Which works brilliantly in the late 3rd SW, knights-jousting-in-robots aesthetic that the universe started with. But it creates all kinds of problems when you expand the scope to a larger battlefield.

The game needs a scoring system that takes more into account than "all your guys are dead, I win".
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

truetanker

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #17 on: 22 November 2018, 00:54:45 »
I really love the concept of homing ammo but I don’t love having to hit something with TAG first. If NARC has a TAG pod i could see better integration

I’m late to the party on artillery but I also really like artillery cannons. There is something so intrinsically satisfying in telling someone that you only need 7s to hit their speed machine for 20


Why TAG a target, why not the ground?

Weird idea I know, but AE rounds do better damage than a single hit or miss... Simple enough to just TAG a hex with 3 tubes... enough is going downrange to inflict 50% or higher damage to said unit(s) in that hex or surrounding...

Sure it's not all in one roll... but better statistics.
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Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #18 on: 22 November 2018, 02:29:16 »
TO pg 376 specifies units as TAG targets. If you designate a hex as a target it acts like a unguided round and only deals 5 damage to anything in the hex.

Firesprocket

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #19 on: 22 November 2018, 03:08:10 »
TO pg 376 specifies units as TAG targets.
p 376 appears to have nothing to do with TAG or artillery in general.

Quote
If you designate a hex as a target it acts like a unguided round and only deals 5 damage to anything in the hex.

Which is 100% accurate.  While it could be considered wasteful in many cases, if you happened to load up only laser guided rounds and don't really feel like shooting at BA with improved stealth armor, you could shoot at the hex and deal 5 points of damage per round.  Probably not the best application, but if you are going take reduced damage at 7+ per round vs. attacking them directly at 11+ and missing the majority of the time that has value.

Sartris

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #20 on: 22 November 2018, 09:48:49 »
The correct page is 354 (arrow iv homing rounds). No idea how that transposed to 376 in my brain

Col Toda

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #21 on: 25 November 2018, 01:22:37 »
Any target hex more than 17 hexes is off board . I use a lot of onboard Arrow IV . During closing or retreating off board happens . The units firing is still among what is fielded but still seen firing . So yes off board should be tournement legal even if it is to cover those situations where ideally you are trying to use it on board but the target is not cooperating.

Colt Ward

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #22 on: 26 November 2018, 14:35:30 »
Yes, because the nature of off-board units allows them to ignore the real-world weaknesses of artillery, namely its vulnerability to being overrun. If a game mechanic can be exploited, it will.

Arty is cheap in terms of BV as well so the scenario has to artificially cap it lest things get out of hand. One decent Clan 'Mech is worth, what, a dozen Thumper field gun platoons?

It's not the sort of thing you want to allow in a tourney because there will inevitably be that one guy who cares more about winning than anyone having fun.

Lol, on all three of those statements . . . IRL artillery does not worry about being overrun.

Comparing field gun platoons to a mech is rather bogus- apples & oranges.  You want to compare, use the TAV, Marksmen, Ballista or the Pollux ADA and compare them to a IS mech- if you want Clan its the Hui you use to compare.  Or go straight system vs system, and compare a IS mech to the Heliopolis or whatever mounts a Sniper on the side.  The Thumper FG platoon is combat ineffective after taking roughly 10 points of damage- after that it no longer has the men to fire the weapon.  It can also only more or shoot.  It only has a single ton of ammo.

Complaining about someone playing to win in a tournament setting is a bit odd.
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The_Caveman

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #23 on: 26 November 2018, 19:52:39 »
Comparing field gun platoons to a mech is rather bogus- apples & oranges.  You want to compare, use the TAV, Marksmen, Ballista or the Pollux ADA and compare them to a IS mech- if you want Clan its the Hui you use to compare.  Or go straight system vs system, and compare a IS mech to the Heliopolis or whatever mounts a Sniper on the side.  The Thumper FG platoon is combat ineffective after taking roughly 10 points of damage- after that it no longer has the men to fire the weapon.  It can also only more or shoot.  It only has a single ton of ammo.

*headscratch*

Did you miss where the thread is about offboard artillery units? Hit points are meaningless when a unit isn't present on the board to be attacked.
Half the fun of BattleTech is the mental gymnastics required to scientifically rationalize design choices made decades ago entirely based on the Rule of Cool.

The other half is a first-turn AC/2 shot TAC to your gyro that causes your Atlas to fall and smash its own cockpit... wait, I said fun didn't I?

AdmiralObvious

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #24 on: 07 January 2019, 21:05:53 »
*headscratch*

Did you miss where the thread is about offboard artillery units? Hit points are meaningless when a unit isn't present on the board to be attacked.

Isn't counter battery a thing that can be done though? Assuming both sides have artillery.

massey

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #25 on: 12 January 2019, 20:20:51 »
The problem is that a large universe with lots of options is really hard to balance with the focus of a tournament.  The more options your opponent has, the more thinly you have to spread your forces.  "What if he takes artillery?  What if he takes aerospace fighters?  What if he takes hordes of infantry?"  The winner of those tourneys ends up being the guy who won the rock/paper/scissors contest, and loaded up on something no one expected.

I'd suggest something a lot more simple, and easier to implement.  Each side could have a certain number of support points that you spend before the game, sort of like some versions of 40K had strategems.  Like maybe you get a support point for each 750 BV in your force (or whatever).  And maybe one point gives you 3 artillery shells a turn for 4 turns.  Or it could give you an aerospace bombing run.  And perhaps each 1500 BV gives you a "response point" as well, something you select during play.

So if Bob is playing a 3000 BV game, he could really load up on artillery, taking 4 barrages.  So he can get 12 shells a turn for 4 turns, or 3 shells a turn for 16 turns, or however he wants to divide it up.  But then Rick decides to spend one of his two response points on "VTOL Counterattack", which hammers the artillery.

The trick would be to balance things so the support point/response point thing doesn't become the focus of the game.  If done correctly it could counter tabletop spam with things that should be available in universe.  It doesn't really make a lot of sense that my mech lance would somehow wander into a giant horde of infantry out in a field somewhere, completely unaware.  Why wouldn't I have seen this coming and brought some artillery support?  Or at least loaded my ACs with flechette ammo?  The reason in real life is because I didn't get to see your army list until it was too late to change mine.  Some spam-counters might be a good idea.

BloodRose

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #26 on: 14 January 2019, 23:48:09 »
*Ahem*
I have, somewhere, a custom "Air superiority" ASF that often gets laughed at until people see that it arries two Arrow IV launchers and a heck of a lot of ammo - Good look out dogfighting a 'fighter' that is hitting you before you cross the horizon!
A good refit of it is to be used as an anti-ground striker, with the anti-air missiles replaced with other munition types, and essentially becoming a near-unhittable artillery blob that can relocate with ease and is immune to counter battery fire!

Artillery is really fun, and as the OP pointed out is great for adding depth to the game and solving those awkward problems, like Mechs playing turret or dug in infantry. Flak and AA munitions/missiles also provide powerful protection against enemy airospace fighters, and those nutters like myself whom refit aerodine dropships as super heavy fighters/attackers, whilst guided rounds smash particularly annoying armoured units and minefield rounds alter the strategic nature of the board.
And of course if all else fails you can be the madman to fire off a Davy Crockett.
The Marauder MAD-3r. A mech of perfection and beauty, a walking duellist and a monster on the offensive.
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truetanker

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #27 on: 15 January 2019, 00:34:35 »
Which is why I roll with a Pair of them, a Brace of three if I can.... but if I could only take one... depends on the era... TAV-1 is the current model for any era, unless your allowing me a Thor or even a Marksman instead...

IF I can't then massive LRM boats to offset... like the Goblin LRM, 4/6 with turret for 656 BV2 twin LRM-10's and 3 ammo... vs. LRM Carrier, 3/5 no turret for 833 BV2 triple LRM-20's and it's palsy ammo linkage.

TT
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Colt Ward

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #28 on: 15 January 2019, 01:13:25 »
TAV?  Ballista
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truetanker

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Re: Why 'Off Board Artillery' should be tournament legal
« Reply #29 on: 15 January 2019, 01:19:03 »
I see a 3/5 slowboat getting pummeled...

4/6 faster, sure it's chassis is wheeled, but I can now hide better in a city. Hammer's Slammers made a point to look for ground markings to show where the enemy is at... Tracks make pleating versions but a heavy truck?

Besides, I can get parts from any vehicle... but tracks? ( Yeah I know, semantics of Logistics.. )

TT
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That is, if true tanker doesn't beat me to it. He makes truly evil units.Col.Hengist on 31 May 2013
TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
If I'm attacking you, conventional wisom says to bring 3x your force.  I want extra insurance, so I'll bring 4 for every 1 of what you have :D ~ Tai Dai Cultist on 21 April 2016
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