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Author Topic: Go to lances/formations?  (Read 804 times)

StoneRhino

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Go to lances/formations?
« on: 12 February 2020, 01:40:34 »

For those that play competitive games of Battletech, do you have certain forces that you make it a practice of using? For example, I have used a lance of 2 Spiders 7M (normally) and 2 Jenner C2s as a light lance. It does not have to be a full lance, or stuck in some arbitrarily determined structure created by the devs.

What I would like to know is how do you feel about using such pre-determined, plug and play groupings of units. What are these units and why do you use them often enough that they have become an element that is used in your forces.

I am asking because part of me wants to develop several of these groupings. One reason is to simplify creating forces. Another is to gain experience with those units and get the most out of them. Part of what is influencing this is a want to get use out of the minis that I already own, but also to help determine which ones I will purchase in the future. What is working against this, the reason I have dragged my feet on it for so long, is that I do not want to get stuck using only x,y, and z units all of the time and become dependent upon them.

What I liked about the lance that I mentioned above was that I knew what to expect from it. I knew how far they could get in x turns. I knew their weapons and the heat. I knew that I could harrass opposing lights with the Spiders, and that I could mess with the heat scales of heavier units with the Jenners' SRMs. The lance ended up becoming a staple as a means of teaching others, or at least an attempt to do so. They didn't defend against them several times and the lance caused far more damage and control then expected. When the player did make adjustments, the changes were easily ignored and even used to manipulate their other units. Simply put, the players never seemed to get ahead against the lance that was present every single game.

How good is the lance on it's own? How much of it was the quality of the other players' adjustments? How many adjustments were simply negated by past experience versus experience with this light lance? I have started to track info from games in the hopes of analyzing it in the future. :P

religon

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #1 on: 12 February 2020, 10:28:29 »
I don't see a lot of value to predefined lances. While there are some go-to designs that I will use to build lances... GRF, PHX, SHD, and WVR for medium lances as an example... they are just preference and many little tactically.

If I have control over choosing a lance, I am most interested in similar movement profiles than the specific 'mechs. I like random assignment best of all.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #2 on: 12 February 2020, 13:30:45 »
I also like organizing my lances by speed.  My go to at 4/6 is some combination of Hunchback/Warhammer/Archer/Rifleman/Centurion/Enforcer those six mechs cover many of each other's weak points and can really project power in 3025

At 5/8 I prefer the classic 55 tonners (Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Griffin) and the Dervish (maybe a Trebuchet) or Grand Dragon (or better yet Gladiator)

Daryk

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #3 on: 12 February 2020, 18:10:36 »
Organization by speed makes the most sense operationally.  You don't want formations getting strung out when you move them to contact.

AlphaMirage

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #4 on: 13 February 2020, 09:49:42 »
Organization by speed makes the most sense operationally.  You don't want formations getting strung out when you move them to contact.

I do it mostly for meta reasons as it makes my plotting easier.  I think that a slightly faster mech in the formation would also be valid if not more so. 

Having something like a 6/9 or the 7/11 Jenner in a 4-5 Lance could be to their benefit for flanking attacks.

Hellraiser

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #5 on: 14 February 2020, 17:08:49 »
Agreed. 

I have no issues have a "Point Man" who is faster than the rest of the lance.

Its the opposite ratio, where you have that 1 Urban Mech slowing down the 4/6 Hunchback lance that I have serious issues.

I can handle a DireWolf slowing down some KingFishers/Warhawks, but that is about the extent of my patience with the "slow poke", LOL.


Something like the original Ral Partha "Regimental Command Lance" or "Pursuit Lance"  (Atlas, Cyclops, Zeus, Ostscout)   (Vulcan, Jenner, Commando, Commando)  don't bother me.

But if you stick a Hatchetman in an all Phoenix Hawk lance, well that's gonna give me fits.
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Nikas_Zekeval

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #6 on: 14 February 2020, 17:18:13 »
Pointmen make the most sense with C3 networks, where you want at least one fast mover to get out ahead.  There you can have a someone with a speed way above the rest and still work.

For speed?  I'd say a difference of one between the walk/cruise movement rates is workable.  So 4/6 and 5/8, 5/8 and 6/9, particularly if the slower one has jump jets.

Getting a two or more base movement difference and either the lance gets strung out, or the faster units are having to not use their full movement, leaving them under armed or armored for the fight.

Jump capacity is another consideration.  Where it isn't making up for a speed shortfall?  I'd either want all the lance to jump, allowing them to cross terrain barriers more easily, or just one or two to serve as rear guards when falling back.  This lets them back up and use the jets to change elevation without turning around.

Cannonshop

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #7 on: 17 February 2020, 00:26:07 »
I tend not to care much for mismatched speeds with my units, but then, I also tend to run a lot of formation type movement with mutually supporting fire.  In 3025 play I'll mix Griffins with Wolverines, or 55 ton trios with something else that's also a 5/8 mover.

in 3050's-3060s I'll run the same speeds with units of all sides, or within one MP, but then, I tend to prefer generalist 'trooper' designs over specialists.  I am kind of allergic to formations that have a 'key player' that if taken out, screws the rest, I'll make up a shortfall in long-range hitting power or fire support roles by trying to out-manuever an opponent with ALL my units rather than letting him know my maneuver element by having a single design that is substantially quicker than the rest.  I"d rather he worry about what ALL my units are doing-it tends to distract the other guy if you don't have a single obvious advantage or obvious disadvantage.

That said, I don't do well with very slow units.  (Very slow is 3/5 or less with 'mechs) and I'll take 'poorly armed' heavies with a 5/8 move over 'well armed' Mediums at 4/6, because I tend to be a 'movement' player.  (I have very little tolerance for games that degenerate into two assaults standing at medium range in woods hexes, rolling dice.)

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truetanker

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #8 on: 20 February 2020, 22:34:07 »
My "go to" lance is either a Whitworth, paired Panthers and a Wasp or a Thug supporting a pair of Swaybacks and either a Thud ( if I'm running a heavy unit ) or a Hoplite, if I'm in the mood for a medium weight unit.

Twin Stingers, a Fireball and a slow Thud makes an interesting unit I've used before.

TT
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Greatclub

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #9 on: 20 February 2020, 22:42:04 »
I think that 80+50+50+50 still counts as heavy

Tyler Jorgensson

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #10 on: 20 February 2020, 23:41:42 »
I haven’t played enough Lance on Lance or Star v Star to warrant general plug and play units. I have organized my units into a Regiment and Cluster. Most are based on speed, some are based on type (my Kurita Company with its Jenners, Panthers, Dragons, and Quickdraws: all different speeds and what not), and very rarely do I group them otherwise.

Plug and Play units IMO is a good idea for multiple player games or larger games where you can be like ‘I need a Company: here’s my three Lances I use the most and that I’m most familiar with.’ With multiple players you can each hand them a pre-built Lance and describe its purpose and function with some easy tactics.

All of my games tend to be one unit of each weight type so I tend to go Panther, Trebuchet, Grasshopper (Guillotine, or recently Falconer) and Awesome if I’m playing IS. I like their mix of abilities personally.

Col Toda

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #11 on: 21 February 2020, 07:26:54 »
Like a pre-determined  lance when doing C3 . Artillery  Lance as well.  The rest tend to be Fast TAG and scout . Must have 1 APC in any formation  so immediate salvage operations can start . Like to field 16 mechs and 8 combat vehicles  for attack and 8 mechs and 16 combat vehicles  for LZ defense  .

A wide variety  of trailers and support vehicles  for planetary defense . But nothing set in stone save the 1 APC

Kovax

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #12 on: 27 February 2020, 13:08:43 »
As said, mixing one faster unit into a lance allows for spotting and reacting to flankers or TAG carriers, etc.  Mixing one slower unit into the lance just hinders everyone else.

I wouldn't say that I have any "standard" lances, but I do tend to use a lot of the same designs from one game to the next in lances for a particular purpose.  Basically, I have favorites, but often like to put one or two less-frequently used designs into the lance in order to explore better ways to use them in future engagements.  If you're just using the same setup every time, after a few games you're learning practically nothing.  If you run different stuff every game, you don't really get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the individual units, and tend to run them the same as you would a similar but subtly different model.

truetanker

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #13 on: 27 February 2020, 15:35:56 »
Define slow...

Cause a 3/5 can still jog with a 4/6 and 5/8 units.

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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Ursus Maior

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #14 on: 04 March 2020, 10:28:53 »
I like to field medium lances of 4/6(/4) and 5/8(/5), medium to heavy lances of 4/6 and light lances of 6/9(/6). Depending on tonnage or BV limits, that's usually something like Hatchetman, Blackjack, Enforcer, Vindicator, Whitworth or Warhammer, Marauder, Orion, Crusader, Bombardier, Hunchback, Centurion, Cataphract, Catapult, Thunderbolt, Grasshopper, Battlemaster, Zeus, Rifleman, Black Knight or something like Wolfhound, Phoenix Hawk, Stinger, Wasp, Raven, Firestarter, Clint, Valkyrie, Griffin, Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Crab, Ostsol, Trebuchet, Grand Dragon and Dervish.

From this pool of 'Mechs I usually form lances for a campaign game and I have certain go-to combinations. The absolute bonus of these combinations is that I can predict how they will handle and perform. A medium lance of Griffin, Wolverine, Shadow Hawk and Dervish or Valkyrie can fulfill about any role on the battlefield and work together with any other lance, be it a light scout lance, a heavy or assault battle lance or another cavalry lance. Combined with a battle lance of e. g. Warhammer, Marauder, Crusader and Battlemaster, it will be able to harass a heavier enemy on the flanks or protect the heavies on their flanks. Combined with a light lance of Phoenix Hawk, Firestarter, Commando and Wolfhound, you get a mighty raiding party and combined with four out of six from the list of Hatchetman, Blackjack, Enforcer, Vindicator, Whitworth and Catapult, you have a fearsome cavalry strike package.

Training after combining 'Mechs you like and have available is the important part though. You need to learn the range brackets and effects of synergy for your formation.
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truetanker

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #15 on: 04 March 2020, 13:21:21 »
I use a FedCom unit when ever, 'Hammer and Archer with a close support and a spotter unit. Even when it's 3025...

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
Me: Would you rather fight my Epithymía Thanátou from the Whispers of Blake?
Nav_Alpha: That THING... that is horrid
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Col Toda

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #16 on: 04 March 2020, 15:39:42 »
Basically I like a Naganata , 2 Dragonfire4F w C3 slaves , and Cicada 3F w C3  , as my go to lance . 
All of the mechs modified  to work better as a unit.
For instance the Cicada ER PPC gets replaced with a Snub Nosed PPC and a Slave in the Head as replacing on med laser with  TAG .

I like to use tweaked stock models into  unit variants and models .  As certain tech becomes  a
vailable I further alter them . The mechs remain  very recognizable but CASE becomes CASE II : Guardian  becomes Angel ,  for Assault Mechs Standard Internal Structure  becomes Endo Composite or just Composite ,  Inner Sphere Medium  pulse lasers become normal or ER  medium lasers with the saved tonnage  use it for the above upgrades or gets C3 slave and or TAG . By the Dark age the out of the factory one Clan Spec Ballistic Weapon  gets exchanged  for an Inner Sphere  one for tonnage  for upgrades and or a large laser replaced with a light PPC for both reduced tonnage and better heat balance  . This way I use the same 3058-62 mech minis but they are not hopelessly out of date and as you keep  the same core systems combat doctrine.

Cannonshop

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #17 on: 07 March 2020, 19:13:47 »
Define slow...

Cause a 3/5 can still jog with a 4/6 and 5/8 units.

TT

depends on the situation, I guess, but in general, if moving with your lance-mates means you're taking a penalty to your to-hit higher than the penalty to your opponent for shooting at you?

then that's a slow unit.
The core rules for interacting with me:

1.) I am not a moderator, game developer, member of Cryptic staff, relative of any members of cryptic staff, not close friends with anyone involved with the game, not a distributor of product, not an employee, employer, professional reviewer, or member of any powerful conspiracies.  What I think is my own and has no impact on the Battletech franchise in any way, shape, or form.

2) If you don't like something I've said, refer to rule 1.  If you do, god help you poor soul, you're screwed up.

Simon Landmine

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #18 on: 08 March 2020, 08:46:26 »
I use a FedCom unit when ever, 'Hammer and Archer with a close support and a spotter unit. Even when it's 3025...

Nice.
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truetanker

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Re: Go to lances/formations?
« Reply #19 on: 10 March 2020, 14:58:01 »
Prefer a Thug over the 'Hammer...

But thems are hard enough to find!  :P

TT
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Azeroth Pocketverse
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
Me: Would you rather fight my Epithymía Thanátou from the Whispers of Blake?
Nav_Alpha: That THING... that is horrid
~ Nav_Alpha on 10 October 2016