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Author Topic: Need help fighting tanks!!!  (Read 11622 times)

BasicRH

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Need help fighting tanks!!!
« on: 17 October 2019, 16:11:37 »
So I recently started college and have taught a few guys here the total warfare rules for BT. Thankfully, two of the three guys I play with decided to mainly play Mechs, which is obviously really fun. We only have one problem. There's one guy who has taken it upon himself to only play custom tanks. (Lots of MMLs and armor, and most of them move at 4/6... that's what I get for teaching him to to use MegaMek lab.) Now, our games have become struggles of running one or two medium mechs against at least two or three medium tanks that are just showering us with missiles or the occasional PPC. And we loose. Not all the time, but enough. I'm new to this game and certainly not a stranger to strategy, but sometimes superior numbers and armor points just win in a war of attrition. Not to mention, greater effects of critical hits on our mechs make them seem fragile... I know better than to get mad at a few plastic tanks, and loosing a game here and there is nothing new for me, but my new recruits are starting to get tired of it and may move to tanks as well! I NEED HELP ENDING THIS REIN OF TERROR!
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #1 on: 17 October 2019, 16:15:41 »
Approach from the side, and use cluster weapons - LB-X autocannons, LRMs and so on.  Go hunting for motive crits to immobilise them, and critical hit chances to disable them quickly (every hit location roll of a 2, 8 or 12 generates a crit chance on the side)
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Syzyx

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #2 on: 17 October 2019, 16:17:11 »
Tanks have a lot of drawbacks, and a lot of advantages. Terrain restrictions are the one saving grace 'mechs have over armour anymore so try taking advantage of blocking woods/rivers/hills to limit his movement.

Also, try playing objective based games. Need to steal the widget in a raid? A 'mech can pick up the one ton doohickey with hands. A tank needs an infantry squad and will need to be still in that hex for about six turns to get it loaded. Not a great job for tanks.

If those aren't working, look at loading inferno ammo in your SRM launchers. Tanks pop under enough inferno hits.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #3 on: 17 October 2019, 16:43:29 »
Approach from the side, and use cluster weapons - LB-X autocannons, LRMs and so on.  Go hunting for motive crits to immobilise them, and critical hit chances to disable them quickly (every hit location roll of a 2, 8 or 12 generates a crit chance on the side)

To expand on this, once a vehicle is immobilized, you can aim at a location and quickly wear down its armor and/or get the good crits, making its general toughness largely irrelevant.

Quote
Tanks pop under enough inferno hits.

And to expand on this, you can also use Inferno Arrow IV missiles as a quick and easy way to immobilize and ruin whole formations of tanks as they're an area-of-effect weapon.

Also, consider using Plasma Rifles (absolute murder, especially once the target is immobilized) and indirect LRM fire along with spotters (which the tanks should have trouble engaging, considering their difficulty at crossing difficult terrain compared to 'Mechs).

Quote
Not to mention, greater effects of critical hits on our mechs make them seem fragile
This I have trouble understanding. Tanks are SUPER vulnerable to crits, much more so than 'Mechs.
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dgorsman

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #4 on: 17 October 2019, 17:06:35 »
Tighten up rules for play at your table e.g. make it a custom Mech only night with limits on weight/number/BV/etc.  Next time, make it a combined arms night with everyone fielding the same numbers of each type of unit.  Night after that, make it a random grinder (print out a stack of random stock Mech designs pilot balanced for a BV of ~ 2500 or so; every time a Mech drops the player random draws a replacement).  Next time, have a game of TAG.

In general, let players have fun with a challenge other than min/max better than the others.
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BasicRH

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #5 on: 17 October 2019, 17:26:35 »
Not to mention, greater effects of critical hits on our mechs make them seem fragile...
This I have trouble understanding. Tanks are SUPER vulnerable to crits, much more so than 'Mechs.

Put simply, we've just been having very lucky crit hits that blow a leg off or hit a gyro or something early game, which can be frustrating to my newbies. But I always reiterate to the new guys: It really is just a lucky hit, not something that happens really often. Tank guy is just good at rollin 8's when he needs to lol. Also, since there's usually more tanks then mechs, flanking becomes an issue as well if my new guys aren't careful. But I think they are learning there's a little more strategy to battletech than standing still and shooting. ;)
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BasicRH

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #6 on: 17 October 2019, 17:34:26 »
Tighten up rules for play at your table e.g. make it a custom Mech only night with limits on weight/number/BV/etc.  Next time, make it a combined arms night with everyone fielding the same numbers of each type of unit.  Night after that, make it a random grinder (print out a stack of random stock Mech designs pilot balanced for a BV of ~ 2500 or so; every time a Mech drops the player random draws a replacement).  Next time, have a game of TAG.

Love these ideas by the way, I think a night where we limit the customs could really help... getting out of the old "free for all" missions is really something I should do more often now that people are getting more comfortable with the ruleset.  :facepalm:
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Sabelkatten

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #7 on: 17 October 2019, 17:36:47 »
Sounds like you should talk to your tank guy about playing all mechs until everyone has some experience with the rules. But then lucky hits happen all to often in mech-on-mech fights as well... ::)

Part of your problem might be pure accident, thought. I figure you're balancing by BV, and your friend is using lots of MMLs (I guess lots of MML3s, at that). MML3s are way undervalued in BV, arguably the most broken weapon in the system until you get into some experimental tech. It's about half the BV it "should" be, so tanks loaded down with MML3s will be a lot more powerful than their BV says.

I suggest simply limiting things to 3060 tech (i.e. no MMLs) for a starter, that should make things saner.

BasicRH

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #8 on: 17 October 2019, 17:53:45 »
MML3s are way undervalued in BV, arguably the most broken weapon in the system until you get into some experimental tech. It's about half the BV it "should" be, so tanks loaded down with MML3s will be a lot more powerful than their BV says.
I suggest simply limiting things to 3060 tech (i.e. no MMLs) for a starter, that should make things saner.

This I did not know... not only the undervalued BV stuff, but also the info about MMLs being from the Jihad era, apparently. We've been playing with 3060 tech mainly to avoid Jihad stuff because it certainly does make things saner. Looks like I'm still not 100% out of the newbie zone myself... :P Well, time to break the news to tank guy! 
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #9 on: 17 October 2019, 18:40:53 »
  Tanks have far more drawbacks than advantages and your players (probably you too) haven't enough experience to know how to exploit the many weaknesses of vehicles.
 The main advantage of a vehicle is less locations, which means plenty of armor divided over fewer locations.
 
  The Disadvantages are many. Terrain limitations, especially water; Can't jump over obstacles and can be stopped by obstacles that mechs could step over. Prone to flame weapons, such as Inferno SRMs, Incendiary LRMs and Flamers; May receive critical damage without removing armor, while side hits increase the chance of crippling damage.

  Terrain can be a huge factor. Cities can be death traps for vehicles when they have to face jumpers capable of fighting on rooftops. Forests can also kill vehicles, especially when you set fires and force them to move.

  4/6 is slow for a tank, which means he maxes the armor and optimizes weapons. I'd forget about Med vs Med and go for fast lights, capable of keeping up speed and avoiding getting hit, while using infernos or even Thunder munitions to cripple them.
  Fighting fire with fire is not a bad tactic, either: Play double blind games, where the mech players also have dug-in artillery or infantry.

  Do your mech players use custom, optimized mechs? Have them play around with designs using the TC/LPL combination on fast, jumping mechs and see how well they do.   

  Tanks are moving bunkers but under the right conditions, they can be reduced to bunkers and bunkers are just targets. Try swamps or rubble -They may slow mechs but can trap vehicles.
« Last Edit: 17 October 2019, 18:43:33 by Mohammed As`Zaman Bey »

Daryk

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #10 on: 17 October 2019, 18:59:29 »
Another solution for MML abuse is rolling map boards and AC/2s (preferably LB-2Xs).  As long as the 'mechs are faster, the tanks will eventually die.

AdmiralObvious

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #11 on: 17 October 2019, 23:04:18 »
If you're gonna balance by BV, using just the Total Warfare ruleset, you can pretty much total a vehicle, especially a slow one with Mechanized Infantry. You can pretty significantly ruin the day of pretty much every tank with even a few rifle shots.

Dave Talley

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #12 on: 18 October 2019, 00:08:52 »
or simply fight fire with fire
mostly open board, lots of water

go with all hovers, canon models, nothing slower than 8/12

anything with lrms mines the land with thunder mines,
or if feeling evil, use inferno mines
fast hovers can zip around and shoot him from behind
if needed, keep a company of savanah masters offboard

once you have driven circles around him and generally annoyed him
explain this is what playing your all custon crap is like, and you did it stock
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #13 on: 18 October 2019, 01:44:09 »
First of all, I'd suggest not allowing custom units in the game for the time being.  Second of all, check what he's running- sounds suspiciously like he might also have some experimental tech and or era-inappropriate equipment (beyond the MMLs) on those tanks if they're overpowering same-tonnage mechs.

Second of all, LB-X ACs and SRMs (Infernos are good but not actually required) eat tanks.

Third of all, Battle Armor.  Tanks are horribly vulnerable to swarm attacks.  And they have no defenses against enemies who are in the same hex as they are.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #14 on: 18 October 2019, 05:19:17 »
Ferro-lamellor or ballistic reinforced armor.  Or Reactive armor too I guess.

If he's so heavy into missile weapons, these armors will drop his damage potential significantly.  Won't help with Lucky hits so much however.


Would like more info.  What exactly are on these tanks?  What BV limits are in place?  How skilled are the pilots? 

A 3060 tech limit is in place?  And Megameklab is being used to create custom units?  Its possible to limit the tech fairly easily then. Just have to change it from its 3145 initial setting.

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #15 on: 18 October 2019, 06:46:45 »
If those aren't working, look at loading inferno ammo in your SRM launchers. Tanks pop under enough inferno hits.

Infernoes are... variable against tanks.  Each one does generate a critical hit, but with a -2 penalty.  so you need an 8+ to generate a crit, and the best you can roll is effectively a 10
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Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #16 on: 18 October 2019, 07:17:05 »
  A heavy reliance on missiles is a form of predictability. Faced with a similar missile-boat enemy, I have installed multiple AMS systems to negate clouds of missiles.

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #17 on: 18 October 2019, 07:31:00 »
Try carrying Thunder LRMs for instant minefields. Your tanker will love driving through those.

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #18 on: 18 October 2019, 08:38:07 »
Actually combat vehicles are quite weaker than battlemechs when both of them are fully optimized, because of some reasons:

-Fusion Engines on the vehicles requires 50% more weights, the flaw that already makes battlemechs far superior over the vehicles alone. Even if you are ignore the other flaws on the vehicles, they are inferior to battlemechs just because of this.
-They can't use Endo Steel internal structure, which makes the weight gap even worse.
-Cannot use Double Heat Sinks at all, although they ignore almost all non-energy heat source.
--ACs, which should be one of the their favorate, is good on the close range, but they can't go melee.
-Turrets are good but requires more weights, and without those turrets they are no more than a joke.
-Crit roll against Combat Vehicles are more likely to destroy the components on the vehicle than mechs.
--Vehicles are destroyed as soon as ONE section of internal is destroyed, rather than mechs that keep lives until either head or center torso is destroyed.
-They are suffered by motive hits, that makes them easier to be immobilized.
-If an ammo rack is explodes, the vehicle lose all the ammunition rather than only a ton worth of ammo.
-Apart Hover/VTOL/WiGE, they are not so faster than mechs, and/or they are more weak. Most vehicles are also restricted by the terrain as well.
-Can't make melee attack.
-Can't use Jump Jets properly.


There are some pros on CVs, though it is not enough to beat mechs.
-Easy to use FF armors, although the benefit is superficial compared by mechs with Endo Steel - even Heavy FF doesn't make much weight saving.
-Ignore most non-energy heat source, although they can't use DHS as I said above.
-Can take Hover/VTOL.
-fewer parts means they are less likely to be penetrated by non-crit lucky shot on the weak spot. If it keep face to face with you, then you are end up with hit its front in the most times.
-Turrets are handy, although it requires more weight.



In the plain ground, perhaps some CVs claim victory over mechs sometimes. If it is succession war era it would be more likely to do, because Double Heat Sink is lostech in the era and both mechs and tanks are have similar firepower. Tanks are still worse because they requires 50% more weights for the fusion engine, although they saves the weights for the heat sinks depend on the weapon of choice.

But, with DHS, and same optimization, it is a tough mission to beat the mechs if what you have is the combat vehicles because combat vehicles are designed to be inferior to battlemechs. If you are lose with mechs most times, then the problem seems optimization and tactics, rather than the unit class' sheer power.

If both forces have similar level of commander, similar techs and similar size of force(and tonnage), then usually battlemechs have the upper hand unless the terrain is optimized for the vehicle force. Unfortunately, usually mechs are better at using the terrains too.


And... Infernos are bane of CVs, for each hits forces them to make a crit roll(although with decreased chance). If you are able to get close, kicking it will helps to destroy them too.


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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #19 on: 18 October 2019, 10:38:32 »
One thing to remember about Infernos: on the vehicle crit table, if you roll a critical hit for something that's already happened, you go up to the next highest number on the table that hasn't already suffered a crit.  So yeah, they're not going to get a 12 straight off, but continually poking a tank with Infernos will kill them.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #20 on: 18 October 2019, 10:45:07 »
  A heavy reliance on missiles is a form of predictability. Faced with a similar missile-boat enemy, I have installed multiple AMS systems to negate clouds of missiles.
Depends on the MMLs he's packing.  If they're the MML-9s, AMS will do all right.  If they're MML-3s, which also happen to be the most effective MMLs for vehicles, you're SOL.  Because of how BT handles AMS, you're then shooting down, at most, 1 missile from 1 MML rack per AMS, while each tank is firing up to dozens of racks.

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #21 on: 18 October 2019, 11:28:59 »
Taking on a single tank with a Battlemech is heavily skewed in the 'Mech's favor.  If you win initiative, move the 'Mech into the same hex as the tank.  Neither can shoot, but the 'Mech can make physical attacks.  Facing two tanks isn't much worse: you park on top of one, shoot at the other, and then melee the first.  The problem comes in when you have a tank company all targeting one or two 'Mechs, and standing on top of one doesn't protect you from the rest.

SRMs and LBX autocannons are ideal for parking vehicles permanently (each missile or cluster pellet gets an independent location roll and a fairly high chance for a non-penetrating motive crit, and then you can make called shots at a specific location on the immobile vehicle at better odds than their randomly placed shots in return.

Inferno rounds that MISS and set the hex on fire can work wonders against an immobile vehicle that has to sit there and fry until the fire goes out, if you're using rules for starting fires.  Smoke can limit lines of sight to allow you to more easily engage one vehicle at a time, or with the others at least suffering penalties to their fire.

Overall, vehicles can be competitive against 'Mechs in the right conditions, but are seriously disadvantaged when out of their element.  You want to engage them where they're out of their element.

BasicRH

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #22 on: 18 October 2019, 11:38:49 »
Would like more info.  What exactly are on these tanks?  What BV limits are in place?  How skilled are the pilots?

Most of the tanks actually run PPCs and autocannon 5's (He has a tank he particularly likes that has 6 AC5s.) these are obviously the more expensive ones (think 1,000+ BV.) On the cheaper end, (500-800 BV) Tank guy prefers multiple MML 5's, the usual is about two per tank, turret mounted of course. Pretty much every custom he has has a fusion engine so he can move faster. The only stock tank he actually enjoys running is the Schrek, but we don't see it much due to the smaller nature of our games. In term of BV limits, we have mostly been playing in the 1,500 range (We don't exactly have entire Saturdays to blow yet because college is college lol.) In this range we obviously get out numbered by at least one for example if there's two mechs on the table he's usually got three tanks. Last but not least, the pilot skills are usually 5, with a gunnery of 4 for everyone.

  A heavy reliance on missiles is a form of predictability. Faced with a similar missile-boat enemy, I have installed multiple AMS systems to negate clouds of missiles.

I have recently done this, as has another one of the mech guys in my group, but we have yet to try them... Going off what another comment here said about AMS's against MML5s, I would say that may turn the tables rather quickly!

Third of all, Battle Armor.  Tanks are horribly vulnerable to swarm attacks.  And they have no defenses against enemies who are in the same hex as they are.


I actually do have some squads of battle armor, but just started using them, so I definitely do not have much of a strategy down yet... (For reference, I've got two 4-man squads of Longinus BA with small lasers and SRMs.) They just move so slow! I have yet to look around for an effective way of transporting them, which is probably the obvious solution to their slow movement.
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BasicRH

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #23 on: 18 October 2019, 11:44:18 »
If you win initiative, move the 'Mech into the same hex as the tank.  Neither can shoot, but the 'Mech can make physical attacks.

Wait I can do what now? This I did not know... it's about to be clobbering time.  :D
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #24 on: 18 October 2019, 12:12:11 »
You said earlier that this was medium mechs vs medium tanks. A tank that has 6 ac 5s is not a medium vehicle. Even if he's using light autocannons, which are period inappropriate for the 60s, that's assault tank level firepower.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #25 on: 18 October 2019, 12:13:20 »
I actually do have some squads of battle armor, but just started using them, so I definitely do not have much of a strategy down yet... (For reference, I've got two 4-man squads of Longinus BA with small lasers and SRMs.) They just move so slow! I have yet to look around for an effective way of transporting them, which is probably the obvious solution to their slow movement.

If you don't want to use units you don't have models for, remember OmniMechs can carry a squad of BattleArmour with no penalty to movement.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #26 on: 18 October 2019, 12:20:27 »
Consider deploying the Longinus squads without the SRMs if you want more initial mobility.  Sometimes the loss in firepower is worth the tradeoff.   Or take a design without a torso missile mount, such as the Infiltrator MK II.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #27 on: 18 October 2019, 12:38:36 »
Another thing to remember about battle armor and conventional infantry is that they can attack units in the same hex as themselves, unlike every other unit type.
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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #28 on: 18 October 2019, 12:47:37 »
Most of the tanks actually run PPCs and autocannon 5's (He has a tank he particularly likes that has 6 AC5s.) these are obviously the more expensive ones (think 1,000+ BV.) On the cheaper end, (500-800 BV) Tank guy prefers multiple MML 5's, the usual is about two per tank, turret mounted of course.....In term of BV limits, we have mostly been playing in the 1,500 range

With that sort of BV range and those kinds of tanks, you could field something like a Locust -3M and a Snake -1V and stand a very solid chance of winning. As long as you field basically anything that can land a decent number of clusters, you should be OK. Charge the AC/5 or PPC boat, flank their side at high speed to make yourself largely unhittable, and once they're immobilized you can easily focus down the weakest point in their armor. You should be taking out a tank every two turns at that rate, since at that BV range, they can't have that much armor (especially for things like Schreks).

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Re: Need help fighting tanks!!!
« Reply #29 on: 18 October 2019, 16:54:30 »
Couple of things . . .

Single unit fights are not really faster because of damage accumulation, typical quick play is 4-5k in BV2 which lets you bring 2-6 units depending on what- I tend to get 1 or 2 mechs, a tank and some BA.  Also, do any pilot improvements count in the BV total?  They should otherwise its a apples vs oranges.

Second, you are talking about crits . . . on the leg?  Unless you are playing with floating crits they should all happen in the torso- unless you are not limiting special ammo, like Armor-Piercing AC or Tandem-Charge SRM ammos.

Honestly, in the 'still learning phase' each person should have at least 2 units under whatever BV limits you select.  Tech should be limited up to the FCCW, and no customs- its easier to number crunch and make something 'superior' than it is to work with what exists and learn the fundamentals of the game.  My group keeps this pretty simple . . . X Era of play (use http://masterunitlist.info/), 5000 BV including pilots & ammo, 3-8 units total (Protos count as 1), and tech level (Std or advanced which is post 3090).  If your table DOES want to do a bit of customization more often, I suggest using IS Omnis (something like 15 or so) which lets them play with the weapons package they may like without tricking out the chassis to exploit some things.

Want to cheese back against his armor without putting on the tech/ammo restrictions?  Get a Omni like the Stooping Hawk and load it with Plasma Cannons with more DHS & JJs.  You will not be able to do much to the other mechs but those Plasma Cannons are the best thing to ruin his tanks.  Oh yeah, and use the delta maps- his tanks are not likely to be able to get through the water.  Stooping Hawk Tankbuster- 4 Plasma Cannons (place 1 in CT w/1 ammo bin in head), 3t ammo, 4 JJ, and rest DHS = dead tanks.

Why?  Because the Plasma Cannon does 3D6 damage to a tank with each hit, so you have a max of 18 damage to 4 locations.
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