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Author Topic: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog - 5/19 update: Game 4 in the books!  (Read 886 times)

Calimehter

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Introduction:


The year is 3061 . . . the name of the place is Hood IV. (Your favorite Bablyon5 intro theme goes here)

Welcome to the tale of of our campaign! 

This campaign is being run on a rules set we started working on many years ago (i.e. the late FASA days), set aside for a long time, and have recently revisited and refined.  It is (mostly) based on the “Supply Point” system from Battleforce2 and the FedCom Civil War books.  Given its age, it should come as no surprise that our rules set is heavily “hybridized” between the old BF2/BMR rules and the current TW/Warchest rules, picking and choosing what we liked of the old and the new.  I’m not going to infodump right off the bat, but there is some basic campaign structure to know about before we begin:

We are doing a linked-scenario style of campaign rather than a map-based campaign.

Each player starts with a maximum of 40 elements and a fixed BV budget to buy forces (with roughly 1/2 of them generated via random rolls vs. the appropriate RAT) and will fight in scenarios ranging in size from lance-sized Battletech fights all the way to everything-you-have-left Battleforce engagements.

Scenarios and terrain are randomly generated.  Stand-up Fight is in there, of course, but most scenarios will feature some twist on it by having some change to the typical scenario sizes or objectives (i.e. Extraction, Hide and Seek, etc.) or by focusing heavily on one set of optional rules (Concealed Units, urban terrain, aerospace/artillery support, and so on).

Repairs, replacements, omnimech reconfiguration and a few other things are done between each scenario, with rolls for success determined after all of the Supply Points (representing abstracted logistics) are allocated to each task.  The pool starts out on the generous side and does get incremental ‘resupply’ boosts, but repeated heavy losses could drain it, especially for Clan forces starting with a smaller starting pool than Inner Sphere forces.

First one to 3 wins claims victory in the campaign


The Combatants:


The 4th Falcon Striker Cluster has been looking for worthy foes since their arrival in the Jade Falcon Occupation Zone in 3059.  The Black Falcons are looking to take the measure of the Inner Sphere forces they have been brought in to fight, and have chosen the remote world of Hood IV as a testing ground to do just that.

Opposing them will be the 15th Lyran Regulars.  Disappointed by their limited participation in (and limited salvage and glory opportunities from) Operation Bulldog, the Bully Boys will be eager, if somewhat inexperienced, opponents for the Falcons.  Their tendancy toward heavier elements and slow advances did not help them pin down Smoke Jaguars on the run . . . but Falcons coming to them where they stand?  Bring it on!


Force selection:


Each side generated 1/2 of their vehicle and Mech forces via their faction RATs, and were encouraged to make *most* of their other choices in the spirit of their faction, and then arrange them by Star and Lance after that.  Each player was allowed to “short” one of these lances/stars at the start of play if they wished, but we were aiming to keep standard lance/star structures as intact as we could for the starting campaign forces.

Given that many of the scenarios will use Battleforce rules, most elements ended up grouped with teammates that had similar movement and weapon range profiles.

The RAT mechs are in italics.

Jade Falcons:

- Turkina Prime, Warhawk B, Hellbringer A, Cougar Prime (shorted to 4 elements)
- Ice Ferret A, Black Lanner A, Fire Moth C, Fire Falcon Prime, Myst Lynx Prime
- Stormcrow B, Kit Fox B, Kit Fox D, Linebacker Prime, Fire Falcon B
- Summoner D, Night Gyr A, Viper C, Summoner C, Nova B
- 5 Elemental BA points (MG/Flamer)
- 5 Elemental BA points (MG/Flamer)
- 5 Elemental BA points (MG/Flamer)
- 3 Elemental BA points (MG) and 2 Salamander BA points

This is the Jade Falcon 4th Striker Cluster, a proud frontline outfit, so this was going to be Omnimechs all the way!  Those machines chew up a lot of points against the BV limit, though, and a supernova-type force structure was going to be the only way to pull it off.  Rather than “shorting” one star all the way down to 0-1 elements, the Falcons elected to keep their numbers as high as they could by going a bit lighter and cheaper on many of the non-RAT Mechs.  A few selections (Viper C, Fire Moth C, Nova B) were clearly added in with very cheap configurations just to cram the chassis into the list, with the option to upgrade them later.

As a note:  The campaign rules do require some resource use to reconfigure Omnis (though at a much lower average consumption rate than typical repair and replacement actions, assuming average dice rolls) and don’t allow the force to ever exceed the total BV cap at any time, so most Omni reconfiguration will have to wait till some casualties “free up” space in the list (unless the Falcons want to “downgrade” a different Mech for every upgrade)  and it won’t be something being over-utilized without risking a drain on the small Clan resource pool.

The only reconfiguration the Black Falcons were planning on doing right out of the gate was to convert the Stormcrow over to the Prime configuration.  There’s nothing wrong with the B (and its high value made the reconfiguration easy to fit in sans casualties), but its starmates (especially the Kit Foxes) really want to keep the fight at range if they can, and the Prime is a much better fit for that style.


Lyran Alliance:

- AS7-S Atlas, HA1-O Hauptmann Prime, HA1-O Hauptmann A, ZEU-9S Zues
- CES-3R Caesar, BSW-X1 Bushwacker, BNC-5S Banshee, MAD-5S Marauder
- PPR-5S Salamander, CLPT-C1 Catapult, CLPT-C1 Catapult, ARC-5S Archer
- VTR-9K Victor, GHR-5J Grasshopper, MAD-5D Marauder, AXM-1N Axman
- CLNT-2-3U Clint, ENF-5D Enforcer, FS9-OD Firestarter D, FLC-8R Falconer
- JR7-D Jenner, COM-5S Commando, JVN-10P Javelin, BTZ-3F Blitzkrieg
- STH-1D Stealth, SDR-5V Spider, SPR-5F Spector, STH-1D Stealth
- Sturmfeur Hvy Tank, Ontos Hvy Tank, Striker Lt. Tank, Sturmfeur Hvy Tank
- Centipede Scout Car, Centipede Scout Car, Condor Hovertank x 2
- 2x SRM-4 Fenrir BA, 2x MPulse Fenrir BA

Thanks to their lower skill stats (which gives them more points to spend on forces at the beginning and in each scenario) and the lower cost of Inner Sphere technology, the 15th Lyran Regulars could afford to be quite lavish with some of their Mech selections compared to the penny pinching of  the Falcons.  Beefing up mid and light weight lances with Mechs like the Falconer and Blitzkrieg and grabbing a pair of Hauptmann Omnis to flank the Atlas are good examples of that.  Its a force that skews a bit heavy and slow, but you need some good armor when going up against Clan weaponry in the hands of better pilots than your own . . . and hey, its the Steiner way.

More to come soon!


« Last Edit: 19 May 2020, 16:37:01 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #1 on: 22 February 2020, 13:34:03 »
First Battle:  I Have the High Ground!

The Jade Falcons have landed on Hood IV!  To counter the landing, the Bully Boys move into the Bismark Badlands hoping to seize the highland terrain for both cover and good firing positions . . . but the Black Falcons beat them there, and now the 15th has an 'uphill' battle ahead of it.

Mapsheets:  Jade Falcon = Desert Mountain#2, Lyran = Desert Sinkhole#1

Scenario:  Stand Up Fight with BF2 objective counters (wanted to keep things simple for the first match to help shake the rust off)

Prebattle Actions:  Jade Falcon reconfigures Stormcrow B to a Stormcrow Prime, repair roll fails (1 Supply point spent)

Prebattle Thoughts:  If the Falcons are to overcome the weight advantage of the Lyrans, this is the terrain to do it.  No cover for the Lyrans to use as they advance, and the sinkholes will either channel their advance or force them to use precious movement points changing elevations with no cover benefit from doing so (only intervening elevations higher than both units block LOS in BF2 Battleforce).

Force Selection - Jade FalconAlpha Assault Star (Turkina Prime, Warhawk B, Hellbringer A, Cougar Prime); Bravo Battle Star (Stormcrow Prime, Kit Fox B, Kit Fox D, Linebacker Prime, Fire Falcon B) with star of 5 elementals attached; Charlie Strider Star (Ice Ferret A, Black Lanner A, Fire Falcon Prime) with star of 3 elementals attached.  Long range fire was prioritized in force selection.  Plan is to use the faster 6M and 7M mechs to go hard after the light elements right away, or sneak Charlie Strider past the main line and into the objective area if the enemy lights hide too far out of the way.   

Force Selection - Lyran Alliance:  Wall of Steel Company featuring: Atlas Shrugged (Atlas, 2x Hauptmans, Zeus), Sharpshooter (Caesar, Bushwacker, Banshee, Archer), and Rain Fire (Salamander, 2x Catapult, Archer) lances.  Support Company featuring: Light Panzers (Jenner, Commando, Javelin, Blitzkrieg), Hovers (2x Condor, 2x Centipede), and an abbreviated lance of 2x Sturmfeurs.  Ranged fire emphasized, as elements with little to no long range attack values risk being kited in the open terrain.  The (slow) Wall of Steel will push up the middle, while the lights will either try to lure them in or dash by them to objectives as the situation permits.  The Sturmfeurs will play “goalie” toward the back to protect the objectives and the rear of the advance units.
« Last Edit: 22 February 2020, 14:36:52 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #2 on: 22 February 2020, 14:39:06 »
Early turns:  Jade Falcon advances, with Alpha up the center valley and the faster Mech’s taking the south route.  Back-to-back “Doubletime March” commands helps speed Alpha along.   Lyran Wall of Steel starts threading the depressions in the center (and stockpiling some Alpha Strike command counters for future use) with the Support company doing the same in the south.  The hover lance feints north, but Charlie Strider matches the move. [see PIC 1 attached]

Falcon Strikes!:  Bravo star shoots ahead to the edge of the closest south depression to take long range shots at the Light Panzers, scoring first blood with a kill hit on the Commando by the Linebacker.  The Lyrans respond by swinging their fast elements at maximum speed into medium range and elect to focus fire at the Linebacker . . .  some hits are scored, killing the transported elementals and damaging the armor.  With the Wall of Steel still somewhat far away, the Falcons go for the kill against the two light lances, with Bravo and Charlie *both* rushing in close and unloading their elementals right into each of the enemy lances.  [see PIC2 attached]  This devestating close assault by both Omnimech and battlearmor fells 3 of the hovertanks (leaving only a damaged Condor) and the Blitzkrieg, while taking all the armor off of the Jenner.

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #3 on: 22 February 2020, 14:41:09 »
The Wall Rumbles:  The Lyrans get good initiative results and get two player phases in a row!  The lone Condor shoots past everyone to threaten the objective counters in the rear (or force an much stronger enemy unit to leave the main fight to deal with them) and cheekily pings the Cougar on the way past for some light damage.  The Wall of Steel churns south and throws a hail of fire at Bravo Battle, hoping to focus fire it down before turning to face a quickly closing Alpha Assault.  [PIC 3] Unfortunately for the Lyrans, their foe had good TMMs and roughly half the shots ended up taken at long range while closing.  Between that and a bit of bad luck - units taken to one structure point left and needing many more attack rolls to put down, with one of those misses being due to a timely Luck of the Fox command - the final results were . . . OK, but not great for 24 shots from heavy elements.  The Stormcrow and the Linebacker were both destroyed, and the Kit Fox B was knocked down to 1 structure point.

The Wall Cracks:  One of the problems with seizing back to back turns is that your odds of having it done back to you go up . . . which is what happened here.  Charlie Strider swooped all the way back 14 hexes to take out the lone Condor just before it could hit the objective.  Bravo Battle pulled  back at maximum speed and fired a few desultory shots at long range that didn’t do much . . . but that was made up for by Alpha Assault unloading on the Sharpshooters at long range while the elementals (not restricted by Zell) swarmed all over the area and lent deadly accurate PB and rear shots to the fray. [PIC 4] Two rounds of this and the ENTIRE Sharpshooter Lance was destroyed!

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #4 on: 22 February 2020, 14:42:25 »
The Wall Crumbles:  Suddenly down nearly all of the fast elements (the Jenner and Javelin had scooted back, and then got stuck there for a round via a Hello HQ command) and down 1/3 of the heavy ones in contact, the Lyran player had a choice to make.  Bull rush Alpha Assault and hope for good numbers . . . or start pulling back to keep a united line and deal with the Elementals on the way (and, honestly, most likely retreating from the board barring great early rolls against the Elementals enabling a new push forward).  Part of the problem with the former option was that Atlas Shrugged was still behind the elementals, and would not be able to get to medium range of Alpha Assault in one turn.  Having seen the results of giving Elementals easy PB and rear shots, as well as how difficult it was to reliably connect on long range shots, the Lyrans elected to pull back and focus on removing the elementals. [PIC 5].  Only one Elemenatl point was fully taken down on this round though, and the retreat was on.

Finale:  The long slog back took several turns.  The Lyrans were too slow to get out of fire range or get back to the map edge quickly, and the Salamander and Archer were lost.  The Atlas, Zeus, and both Catapults also took significant armor damage.  It could have been worse, but Zellbringen forced the Falcons to spread their fire, and their dice were quite cold toward the very end.  As a consolation to the Lyrans, all of the remaining Elementals were destroyed on the way out, but no Clan Mechs as their retreat movement kept taking the Steiner Mechs out of range during their shooting phase. The Jenner also fell on the way out to Bravo Battle, but the Javelin braved some extra fire and recovered the salvage before rejoining the final retreat. [PIC 6]

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #5 on: 22 February 2020, 14:45:50 »
Results:  Victory to the Clan Jade Falcon!

Destroyed Elements:  For the Clanners, the only Mech losses were the Stormcrow and the Linebacker.  All 8 of the deployed Elemental points were taken down though.  For the Inner Sphere, a total of 9 Mechs fell (Caesar, Bushwacker, Banshee, Marauder 5-S, Salamander, Archer, Jenner, Commando, and Blitzkrieg) along with all 4 hovercraft.

Damaged Elements:  For the Lyrans, the Atlas lost all armor and 2 structure, the Zues all armor, and the Catapults took 3 and 4 damage during the retreat.  The Hauptman A took 2 points of damage.  The Javelin and the one of the Sturmfeurs took 1 point of damage each as well over the course of the fighting.   For the Falcons, the Cougar Prime took 2 damage, as did the Fire Falcon Prime from Charlie Strider (courtesy of a long range Sturmfeur hit).  The Kit Fox B was down to 1 structure point.

Salvage (for the Jade Falcons):  9 IS Mech salvage points, useful only for maintenance costs unless desparate.  4 Vehicle Salvage, utterly worthless unless vehicles get purchased later on.   2 Clan Mech salvage points.

Salvage (for the Lyrans):  1 IS Mech salvage point.

Postbattle Thoughts: 

- Fortune favored the bold for the Falcons and their swift attack that (mostly) neutralized the Lyran fast units and, just as importantly as it turned out, got the Elementals into close range to assist with the destruction of the Sharpshooters once Alpha Assault got in range.  Bravo Battle could have (and probably *should* have with better Lyran target selection and even slightly better dice) paid a higher price for that, but escaped with only moderate losses and was still able to contribute meaningful fire. 

- It is hard to know if the Lyran decision to retreat was the “best” choice.  If they stayed, they would have almost certainly lost their remaining heavy elements to the 10 Clan Mechs and 7 Elemental points they would have been wading into (with no guarantee of generating worthwhile concentrated damage to the Falcons in return due to the tactical situation) . . . but the retreat was still a long, tough slog back and they didn’t end up putting much pressure on the limited Clan supply point pool.

- The 2-point gunnery advantage from the combination of Zellbringen and paying extra at the start for better starting pilots is very much worth the (many) restrictions *if* you can keep the ranges open with good long range weapons, as the to-hit percentages on the 2d6 curve skew very strongly toward the more skilled pilots at that range.  The Lyran advantage in weight didn't mean much.

Calimehter

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Re: Attack on Hood IV - a campaign blog
« Reply #6 on: 22 February 2020, 15:15:51 »
Campaign Operations - i.e. the 'between battles' stuff.  Resource point pool management and rolls to determine repairs/replacements/investments/foraging/etc..

Lyrans:

The Lyrans had quite a bit more work to do on their forces, but had the advantage of a deeper pool of resource points to work with due to better Inner Sphere logistics (at least when compared to the Clans).

Repairs were mostly successful, but the Zeus techs botched their job and left it largely unarmored for the next round.  The Atlas still had a couple pips of armor missing despite a large amount of repair resources invested . . . but then, it had a *lot* of damage to fix up, and would be field-able in the next scenario if needed, so was considered an acceptable result. 

Replacements were a little less successful.  The MAD-5S, Salamander, Commando, and 1x of the Condors did not arrive as requisitioned for a variety of reasons.  That could hurt if the next scenario is a "full force" sized engagement, but if any of the smaller fight sizes are rolled for, it should be something that can be worked around.

Having determined that the Sharpshooter Lance needed a bit more armor to go along with their good ranged firepower, the Lyrans risked a roll on the RAT (campaign rules require at least 1/2 of all *non-identical* replacment elements to come from their faction's RAT) to see if they could upgrade the Caesar and Bushwacker.  The RAT returned a gem of a Mech, the DGR-3F Dragon Fire, which was a very nice upgrade over the Caesar.  With points to spare against the "cap" due to MIA Mechs, the Bushwacker was replaced with a WHM-7S Warhammer.  The net upgrade to the Sharpshooters will require some decisions on what to cut back on in the future, but that decision can wait till after the next scenario.

Jade Falcons:

The Black Falcons may have started with a small resource pool, but luckily they didn't have nearly as much to do after their victory. 

On the Mech side, the Stormcrow and the Linebacker were successfully replaced.  Only one pip of armor damage remained on the Kit Fox B due to Technician Caste incompetence.  Happy with their performance and setups, no Omnimechs were reconfigured at this time.

On the Elemental side, all but one of the points lost was successfully replaced.

Gooner

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Nice write-up!  :thumbsup:

Calimehter

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Second Battle:  A Glorious Way to Die

The 15th Lyran Regulars had retreated to more defensible strongholds after their defeat on the Bismark Heights.  The Jade Falcons sent probing attacks in to test the defences and see if they could draw the Lyrans out for a field engagement.  The attack on the township of Suffolk was to be one such battle

We rolled up a Urban Warfare Battletech-scale scenario for our second campaign fight, in which the Lyrans would have the aid of the local militia and the cover of the city buildings (via City Hills Residential Maps #1 and #2) for the upcoming fight.

Force Selection - Lyran Alliance:  Heavy Hands Lance of 4 Mechs, featuring a Grasshopper 5J, Victor 9K, Marauder 5D, and Axman 1N.  All 4/6/4 heavies well suited for city fighting.  The Axman loaded precision ammo for one of its AC/20 bins, and the Victor (much to the chagrin of the local safety committees) opted for inferno rounds for its SRM.

The Lyrans also had the support of the local militia.  8 squads of motorized rifle infantry and 4 squads of motorized SRM infantry and one LRM-variant Scorpion tank joined the Heavy Hands.  With the infantry allowed to use Hidden Deployment in the city, the plan was to set up a couple of ‘ambush’ points for the Mechs to lure the enemy into, while providing some token LRM indirect fire from hidden spotters to keep them moving along.

Force Selection - Jade Falcons:  I was expecting a more cautious and Elemental-heavy approach to help deal with the militia, but the Black Falcons decided to go with a FALCON HARDER!! approach to this one.  They brought 1x Summoner C, 1x Night Gyr A, and 2x points of Salamander battlearmor.  2 Ultra AC 20s to go for quick kills against a foe that outnumbers them, and 20(!) flamers to wreak merry havoc with anyone trying to stop them.


Early Turns:

The first couple of turns were fairly uneventful, as the Falcons and Lyrans both pushed hard toward the cover of the heavy industrial section in the middle of the board.  The Clanners took a bit of damage from a couple of hidden squads (immediately wiped out) and a single LRM hit on the way in.  The first Salamander point into the middle started lighting up one of the buildings housing some milita squads once they opened fire on the battlearmor.  Picture 1 shows the battlefield and approach

Falcons Crash Hard:

Things came to a head when the Victor decided to wade into one of the buildings to get a good firing lane on that Salamander point that had moved up to engage the SRM infantry (the "jeep" infantry counters) that had come out of hiding to take shots. 

That drew in the Night Gyr, which then drew everyone in that could jump that far as the movement phase progressed.  The scrum is in the second picture attached.

That first major round of fire was just plain awful for the Falcons, and decided the entire fight.  The Ultra AC/20s only scored a single shell hit on the Marauder’s right arm . . . in return the Axman’s first precision AC/20 round went critical on the Summoner’s right arm, knocking out the Ultra AC/20.  Even worse, the very first hit the Night Gyr took was a Gauss Rifle headcapper shot from the Victor!

Wow.  xp

Denoument:

Campaign rules meant that a retreat would have the Clanners lose their Zellbringen gunnery bonuses for the campaign, so they stuck around and fought it out till the bitter end.  Good initiative rolls over the next several turns kept the Summoner and Salamander points hopping around and causing some havoc and damage to both the militia and the Heavy Hands . . . including a TAC crit against the Grasshoppers SRM 2 Streak ammo (even with one of the bins starting out empty) to take that Mech out of action altogether.  In the end though, the superior weight and firepower of the Heavy Hands (and some very non-trivial damage help from the infantry squads at close range) put an end to this one.

Damage Report:

Total loss for the Falcons.  The Lyrans lost the Grasshopper altogether, and the Marauder suffered a significant amount of armor damage and lost a PPC and arm actuator.  The Victor and the Axman (other than a TAC foot actuator) were nearly untouched, with only about a dozen armor points removed from them.

Property values took a few shots to the gut as well, with about 5 major fires going in the middle of town courtesy of the Salamanders.

There is also some Clan salvage to be divided up and potentially refitted onto the victorious Heavy Hands.  That all remains to be resolved, but I'm pretty sure the Victor pilot is going to claim that surviving Ultra AC/20 from the Night Gyr.

Post Battle Thoughts:

Well, that was quick!  I had fought a few MegaMek battles with these forces (Mechs only) before the actual fight and I thought the Clanners had very good odds in this one given how brutal their close-in strikes could be . . . but when you only have 2 machines on the board, lucky hits are even more devastating than usual.

Salamander battle armor is a lot of fun.  They forced the Axman out of the battle for a turn via heat, set a lot of fires, and even managed a Swarm attack against the Marauder (taking out its right arm PPC before being swatted off). 

PBI motorized squads are also a lot of fun when there are buildings and friendly Mechs around.  They proved surprisingly frustrating for the Falcons to deal with, as they could dash about away from fires being set in buildings, and were hardly worth being targeted individually when there were Mechs about.  They dealt about 2/3 of the damage to the Salamander points over the course of the battle.



Paul

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Good stuff!
Sorry about the lucky head shot, I generally feel like those kind of cheapen the event. But it's going to happen sometimes!

Simon Landmine

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Entertaining write-ups - interesting to see the campaign progression!
"That's Lieutenant Faceplant to you, Corporal!"

Things that I have learnt through clicking too fast on 'Move Done' on MegaMek: Double-check the CF of the building before jumping onto it, check artillery arrival times before standing in the neighbouring hex, and don't run across your own minefield.

"Hmm, I wonder if I can turn this into a MM map."

Calimehter

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Game 3 - And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place!

Our campaign rules have a chance after the smaller Battletech scenarios of rolling straight into the next fight without any post-game campaing operations.  That is what happened here! 

While the Lyrans did well against the small Clan probing attack into the town of Suffolk, the Falcons were apparently using that raid as a covering operation for a much larger simultaneous drive into the nearby Norfolk hills to trap and overwhelm the Lyrans that orbital survellience suggested were hiding out there.  With a much larger Falcon force to contend with than their teammates, the Bully Boys place their hopes on ambush tactics and hope for the best!

Scenario =  Hide and Seek, medium Battleforce scale.  No objective counters used, but defender scores an equal value to one standard objective counter every 10 turns IF they do not elect to flee the board.

Mapsheet = Rolling Hills #1 (Map Set 3)

Pre-Battle Actions:

Campaign rules give a chance to do some pre-battle repairs during the force allocation phase, though those repairs are rushed and at a penalty and also impose a the inclusion of a Jury Rigged command chit (to represent both the rushed nature of such repairs and the drawdown from the standard maintenance routines to free up the emergency resources to pull them off).  I was not sure if any player would take advantage of these rules, but the Lyrans are going to dive into their still-deep resource pool and give it a shot.

15th Lyran Guards:  Determined to get Atlas Shrugged onto the map to take full advantage of their durability and great short ranged firepower, the 15th Lyran risked rush repairs to the unit.  As one might expect, results were mixed.  The Atlas was now back up to full speed, but the Zeus techs performed very poorly again.  The Zeus only regained 2 points of armor despite the very lavish amount of resources devoted to it (enough to replace it outright 3 times over if more time had been available).  Time to get some new techs for that Mech!

4th Falcon Strikers:  Time to upgrade some poor configurations and get them set for more knife-fighting duty!  The Nova B was upgraded to a Nova Prime, and the Ice Ferret A was upgraded to a Ice Ferret B.  Thought about upgrading the Warhawk, but this was probably not going to be the fight to worry about long range upgrades, so that project was saved for another day.


Forces:

Clan: all 3 units have a probe

Alpha Assault (Turkina Prime, Warhawk B, Hellbringer A, Cougar Prime) + 4 elemental points
Delta Battle (Summoner D, Viper C, Nova Prime) + 3 elemental points
Charlie Strider (Ice Ferret B, Black Lanner A, Fire Falcon Prime) + 3 elemental points

Inner Sphere: both Mech units have ECM

Atlas Shrugged lance (Atlas 7S, Hauptmann Prime, Hauptmann A, Zeus 9S w/ 3 armor damage)
Stealthy Gits lance (Stealth 1D x 2, Spector 5C, Spider 5V)
Battle Cats (4x Fenrir points)


Pre Battle Thoughts and Deployment

15th Lyrans:  See SETUP PIC - the stars are minefields with the Falcons coming in from the north side.  The plan here is to take advantage of the ‘soft’ scenario time limit and also to take advantage of Clan Honor tactics by getting units to duel one-on-one with Atlas Shrugged at close quarters and try to outlast them (at least last long enough to score points for a win) via the sheer durability of those Mechs.  Battleforce 2 has very different rules (vs. Battletech scale) for Hidden/Concealed units and how probes and ECM work with it.  Given that, and assuming the enemy has modified their Omnis to have at least 1 active probe per star, there won’t be much of a chance of point blank shooting . . . the plan instead is to use the Sneaky Gits to lure the enemy through the minefield and into the arms of Atlas Shrugged before they have a chance to ‘burn through’ the ECM jamming to properly ID Mechs and see what they are getting into.

4th Falcons:  With all 3 Mech stars having active probes, investigating the forest pockets should be quick.  The Elementals will ride attached to them at the beginning for extra speed (and protection for the Mechs against ambush attacks - not so much actual ‘point blank shots’ as having all 3 IS units “jump out of hiding” and try to focus fire one of the Mech stars) before being deployed into the enemy once revealed.

Calimehter

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Turn1 - Cautious advance by clans.

Turn2 - Clans win initiative, elect to go 2nd.  IS player activates ECM on the Sneaky Gits (the were going to be in probe range right away when the clan’s moved) and jumped back .  Clans scanners got rid of the ECM counter, but still can’t ID the Mechs as they move forward.  See PIC 1.

Turn3 - Clanners win initiative again, elect to go first this time to try to get some shots in on the revealed Mechs via Charlie Strider moving forward and dumping Elementals into their hex.  Charlie Strider’s Alpha Strike “only” yielded one 4-point hit on one of the Stealths, which was finished off by the Elementals.  Other movement (Delta Battle just missed the minefield by hopping over it) and scanning reveal the Atlas Shrugged lance and burn through its ECM, but do not ID the individual Mechs.  See PIC 2.  On the IS turn, the remaining Gits hop into the woods with Atlas Shrugged.

Turn4 - IS wins initiative and elects to go second (not wanting to rush out of the cover of the trees) to see what the Falcons will do.  Alpha Assault trips one of the minefields, but only the Cougar takes a point of damage.  Charlie Strider and Delta Battle elect to wait for the heavies to show up and take some time to get the last few edge bits of woods into probe range, revealing the Battle Cats, but the IS jammers keep the clan probes from removing concealment from anyone.  See PIC 3.

Turn5 - IS wins initiative and defers again.  The Falcons debate hanging out and start trying to clear the woods terrain out with weapons fire, but elect instead to go aggressive to get a better feel for what is going on.  The lowly Viper C is the only member of Delta Battle to hit any of the Sneaky Gits, going internal on the Spider.  The Elementals do better, knocking out 3 of the 4 Fenrir points and doing 3 points of armor damage to the Atlas.  See PIC 4 . . .

Calimehter

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 . . . The Lyran counterattack focuses on Alpha Assault, taking out the Warhawk and going internal on the Hellbringer (no crits).  The lone Fenrir point even manages to knock 2 points off of the Summoner.  See PIC 5.

Turn6 - The Falcons win initiative at a critical time.  Alpha Assault and a couple of Elemental points throw fire into Atlas Shrugged, bringing the Atlas down to 1x structure point and damaging the Hauptmanns.  Charlie Strider alpha-strikes the Sneaky Gits with good results, taking out the Spider and Spector both, while the final Fenrir point is destroyed.  On the Lyran turn, Hello HQ! strikes the Lyrans at the worst time, keeping Atlas Shrugged in place.  Shooting went well though, with the Stealth finishing off the Hellbringer with a rear shot, and the rest of Atlas Shrugged taking the Turkina down to 1 structure point.  See PIC 6.

Turn7 - The Lyrans win initiative, but it doesn’t help them as much as they would like, with the Turkina going down but both Hauptmann’s missing against the wily Cougar.  The Stealth is likewise unable to hit the Elementals.  See PIC 7.  The Cougar bolts and gives Charlie Strider a go at the Lyrans (after it got done tripping the second minefield for a point of damage to the Ice Ferret) along with all 3 Elemental stars, which results in the Atlas and Zeus both going down and some more armor damage to both Hauptmanns.  The Stealth manages to evade the Nova’s point blank shot while its Star-mates chuckle with amusement.

Turn8 - The Clans go first, and the Elementals and Charlie Strider finish off the Hauptmanns, and the Nova lands a shot on the Stealth, reducing it to a single structure point.  At this point, with little left to lose, the Lyrans elect to delay and jump in the hopes of finishing off the Cougar and possibly even still eking out a win (with 3 big Clan Mechs having gone down and possible bonus points to be had).  The Stealth jumps over and hits the Cougar, bringing it down to 1 structure point.  See PIC 8.

Turn9 - The Stealth wins initiative and finishes off the Cougar!  Staying to do that job, though, meant exposure to a point of Elementals and Delta Battle . . .  the target numbers were high, but one of the Elemental points managed to finish the Stealth off and end the battle.

Adding up the points at the end showed a win for the 4th Striker Cluster (117 to 88).

Post Battle Thoughts:

Hide and Seek is tough on the defenders, even with the bonus points available.  Still, it was reasonably close and I think there were places the Lyrans could have turned it around.  Winning initiative in Turn 6 would have been huge for the Lyrans if they could have done it, as it would have allowed for finishing off Alpha Assault much sooner and possibly scoring more points off of the Elementals before going down.  That might have tipped them by a tiny margin into a win.

Calimehter

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Post Game 3 - Campaign Ops

Quite a bit more to fix up for both sides after splitting games 2 and 3, even with the smaller scale of the urban engagement.

Luckily, both players had elected to "invest" a significant minority of their supply points for future returns after Game 1 (per the Fedcom Civil War book mechanics) and those returns came in after Game 3 was done.  As one might expect the Lyrans did better with a game mechanic that had the word "investment" in it, and their hot dice returned an extra 28% on what they had put in.  The Jade Falcon quartermasters actually managed a loss on theirs of 31%(!), but even so the returns, meager as they were, were now available for repairs and replacements.

4th Striker Cluster:

The 4th Strikers were down all of Alpha Assault and a pair of heavies (Night Gyr and Summoner C) from Delta Battle, as well as some elementals (including one point still out of action from the first battle).  They elected to attempt to exchange the Hellbringer and the Cougar for different models, requiring one roll on the RAT, which returned a very nice Timber Wolf A to beef up Alpha Assault.  With that pricey Mech now in the fold, the Falcons actually elected to keep the Cougar Prime after all, to save on points.  Despite being a low end medium with low speed, it works quite well when paired up with heavier Clan Mechs.

The repair and replacement rolls themselves went reasonably well.  The Summoner C and one of the Salamander points failed their replacement rolls, but all the remaining missing (or new, in the case of the Timber Wolf) elements were now back up and running.  Of the repair rolls, only the Ice Ferret retained its single point of mine damage [must remember to apply that to the legs if we have to convert to Battletech for the next game], all the remaining bits of armor damage were fixed up by the efficient Clan Techs.

It is interesting to note at this point that, with the various upgrades over the course of the campaign, that if the Summoner C replacement roll had *not* failed, the Falcons would have been over the "cap" we established in the campaign, and would have had to choose to either forego one of their successful replacements or downgrade some of the Omnis.  As a GM, I made sure to keep that rule in place mostly due to Omnimechs . . . I didn't want either player to load up on "cheap" Omnis and then reconfigure them right away to inflate their force value.  Looking at it now, I think that the overall force cap might have been a mistake and it feels like a very artificial constraint.  As long as the *scenario* limits are enforced for each game, it shouldn't matter if the overall force pool went up in value a bit as each unit evolves over the course of a campaign.    Something to keep in mind for the future now that we have seen some of these long-simmering rules in action!

15th Lyran Regulars:

A bit more work to do here, with Atlas Shrugged, Sneaky Gits, and Fenrir lances all needing full replacements along with several other individual Mechs and vehicles from earlier battles.

The Zeus and the Grasshopper (and its 100 ROUNDS of SRM-2 Streak ammo . . . Lyran player can't let that one go! :D ) were exchanged for a venerable 3025-era Awesome 8Q from the RAT tables for Atlas Shrugged and a Black Hawk KU Prime (splurge purchase since the Awesome is somewhat cheap for an assault) for the Heavy Hands.

The Victor was also put on the operating table to incorporate some of that wonderful Clan salvage from the urban battle.  There was a great deal of musing and mind-changing about just how extensive to go with this . . . the more Clantech they put into it, the better it would get, but going with large scale changes would cost more points and - more importantly from the Lyran perspective being down 2 games to 1 - would risk the Mech still being on the 'operating table' by the time Game 4 began.  The final decision was to swap out the Gauss Rifle for the Clan Ultra AC/20, the IS MPulses for the Clan versions, and to incorporate the Clan DHS to account for the extra heat.  The Lyrans devoted lavish amounts of Supply Points to this project . . . and (unlike similar overspending to fast-repair the Zeus) were successful!  The new Victor 9-Cmod model no longer had a good ranged attack, but was now *much* deadlier in close quarters.

As for the rest - All of the heavy elements did *extremely* well with their replacement rolls, with Atlas Shrugged, Rain Fire, Heavy Hands, and Sharpshooter lances at 100% full strength!

The lighter elements did not do quite so well.  The Light Panzers were back at full strength, but the Javelin still had its 1 pip of armor damage.  The Stealthy Gits fared very poorly, with only one Stealth succeeding at its replacement roll.  The Condor hovertank lost in Game 1 also failed its replacement check, as did one of the four Fenrir squads.

Hopefully that stereotypically Lyran set of campaign ops rolls (good quartermasters disproportionately rewarding the heavier units) will work out for them in the next battle.

[/ominous foreshadowing]

Calimehter

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Game 4 - The Rat Race

Finally reorganized after the initial battles and ready for a concerted push back against the invaders, the assembled 15th Lyran Regulars are thrown out of whack by a bold Jade Falcon end-run around their lines that threatens the critical command and logistics posts behind the lines.  The Bully Boys desperately throw everything they have into the pursuit to try and save the day!

Scenario = Chase Scenario set at large-scale Battleforce (i.e. everything you have left).  The “Attacking” force of the Falcons is only 1/2 of the size of the defending force, and gets a head start onto the board, with the defenders coming in on the same starting point on Turn 2 to try and run down the attackers before they exit the far side of the battlefield.

Terrain = More badlands, with 3 mapsheets strung out the long way.  Starting sheet is Desert Mountain#2, followed up by the River Valley from Map Set 2

Jade Falcon Forces:  Bravo Battle Star (Stormcrow Prime, Kit Fox B, Kit Fox D, Linebacker Prime, and Fire Falcon B) and Charlie Strider Star (Ice Ferret B, Black Lanner A, Fire Moth C, Fire Falcon Prime, and Mist Lynx Prime) will form the core of the attacking force.  Each Star will have a full star of Elementals riding along with them, unlikely to dismount at all during the fight unless something goes wrong or a choke point needs blocking.  There were just enough points left to bring along the Viper, upgraded from a C to a B at no measurable supply point cost via a successful reconfiguration roll.

Lyran Forces:  Everything they have left in their order of battle!  A full combined arms battalion, minus the unreplaced light Mechs and the Condor hovertank.  The Heavy Tank lance  (2x Sturmfeurs, 1x Ontos, and 1x Striker) swapped out their regular LRM ammo for Thunder rounds, one of the few types of specialty ammo to have Battleforce 2 rules. Nice choice!

Pre-Battle Thoughts:  This seems like a bad type of scenario to roll up for the the Steiner side with their current force configuration.  Their order of battle was already on the slow and heavy side, and the terrible replacement rolls their lighter lances have had so far have exacerbated the situation.  In fact, the Steiner player is fairly sure that the whole battle will really come down to the first initiative roll . . . the IGO/UGO turn setup of Battleforce 2 (vs. the alternating movement and simultaneous fire of regular Battletech) means that a bad roll right away could get the Clanners so far ahead (i.e. 2 full movement turns before the IS enters the board) that the IS heavies would be lucky to get a few long-range shots off, if even any at all.  We shall see!

Calimehter

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Opening Turns - Boxed In!

As per the Chase rules, the Clanners went first and ended up where PIC 1 shows, moving up the middle to take advantage of the low level pass between the two higher up features.  In case anyone is wondering why they didn’t move up the more open hexes on the very edges of the map . . . one of our house rules is “around 1/2 of your force must deploy in the middle 1/2 of the map” just to prevent edge overloading, otherwise those paths would have made more sense.

Note here that the Clanners left a gap between the back of Charlie Strider and the lone Viper Mech (using the Mad Cat counter just to make it easier to tell apart from Bravo Battle).  This ended up being a devastating error because . . . Edit:  Realized after the fact that the Stealth could have landed in that hex even if the Viper was in it, as one friendly and one enemy unit can occupy the hex.  Not sure why we forgot this since we were doing it all game, but at least the Clan player can quit kicking himself :)

The Lyrans won that all-important first initiative roll for the start of Turn 2 and got their phase first!

See PIC 2.  Not only were they able to bring the heavy elements up for some medium range shooting, but the biggest move of all was when the lone Stealth Mech was able to jump a full 7 hexes and bottleneck the pass right up behind the bulk of the Clan forces, which couldn’t have happened if the Viper had occupied that hex.  The “Star” counter behind everyone represents the Thunder minefields that the Heavy Tank lance dropped into the pass as well.

Regular weapons fire was predictably rough for the exposed Falcon Mechs.  Bravo Battle was targeted by the Bird Dogs lance (Falconer, Black Hawk KU, Enforcer, Clint) at point blank range, but was protected by a revealed Evasion command chit (gives a +2 bonus to TMM in exchange for not firing next turn) . . . but the unit-by-unit fire resolution of Battleforce 2 meant that the remaining lances focused on Charlie Strider instead.  Even with mounted elementals protecting them, that Star got savaged.  The Mist Lynx, Fire Falcon, and Kit Fox all went down, and the Black Lanner and the Ice Ferret each had only a single structure point remaining!  The attached elementals were forced to dismount, with only one point fully destroyed but all of the remaining ones in very bad shape.

With the alley blocked up by the Stealth, they had to waste a lot of valuable movement points scaling the slope to get around and they did not open up the range very much.  To make matters worse, counter-fire was nearly non-existent, due to Bravo Battle not being able to fire in its phase (due to the Evasion counter used) and cold dice from the few shooters who could fire.  The Stealth took some damage from the dismounted Elementals and the Viper, but was still on its feet.
« Last Edit: 19 May 2020, 19:00:10 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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The Hits Keep Coming

The Lyrans won initiative again, and were able to bring a load of firepower to bear since the Clanners had not gotten far enough away last time - See PIC 3 (which also shows this phase’s new Thunder minefields too).  Charlie Strider and their dislodged elementals were finished off completely.  Bravo Battle *again* drew and used the Evasion command chit, and it helped a lot more this time since more fire was directed at that Star . . . they weathered a hail of fire and only lost the Kit Fox B and its elemental point (and took 3 damage to the Linebacker).

The clan phase saw them finally move out of the choke point into open ground, but again with little in the way of shooting due to the Evasion command, with the Dragonfly even missing the pesky Stealth.

It looked like the Falcons might still do OK here when they won the Turn 4 initiative roll and were able to open up the distance (see PIC 4), though Bravo Battle’s only hit at long range was against the Enforcer.  The Lyrans moved up as best they could  . . . even having the Sharpshooter Lance (Dragon Fire, Warhammer, Marauder, Banshee 5S) move into the heavy Thunder minefield (each Mech took 1-3 damage from that, but had the armor to withstand it) to get a shot . . . but only managed to tag a bit of damage to the Kit Fox D and its elementals.

That bit of Falcon optimism was dashed when the Lyrans won initiative again in Turn 5 and were able to yet again bring a heavy volume of fire to bear (though the Move 3 assault lances were still out of range now).  See PIC 5 (**attached to the NEXT post due to size file size restrictions per post)  With whole lances bringing fire to bear on individual Mechs, Bravo Battle was finished off.  The icing on the cake for the Lyrans was using a Charge! command chit on the hovertanks and watching a Centipede Scout Car driver easily finish off the Linebacker all by itself in kamikaze fashion.  While the drivers enthusiasm for keeping the Linebacker from “turning the corner” around that hill was commendable, his desperation showed he may have lost track of the tactical situation around him. :D

The lone Viper Mech left to the Clanners quickly jumped away, and thanks to winning initiative on Turn 6 was so far out of range that it easily escaped.
« Last Edit: 19 May 2020, 16:37:43 by Calimehter »

Calimehter

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Results:

Victory to the 15th Lyran Regulars!

Bravo Battle, Charlie Strider, and their elementals were all completely destroyed, with loads of Clan salvage now available to the Inner Sphere forces.  Only the Viper survived, and it even had 3 points of armor damage for the repair teams to deal with.

The Lyrans ended up nearly unscathed.  The only destroyed element was the kamikaze Centipede Scout Car.  The Enforcer (3 points) and Stealth (4 points) were damaged from enemy fire, and the Sharpshooter Lance all had damage from their trip through the Thunder mines, but none of these had gone internal and only the Stealth was out of armor altogether.  Between the mines and the charge, the Lyrans took more damage from their own movement and command choices than they did from direct enemy fire.

Postbattle Thoughts:

Well, the first initiative roll DID turn out to be incredibly critical, as we thought it might.  I’m not sure this scenario translates well to Battleforce 2, because that first roll will almost always be a huge factor in the battle that follows.  :-\

There were a couple of other factors in play in this one, though, that makes it tougher to judge.  One was the big tactical mistake the Jade Falcon player made right at the beginning with that gap left between Charlie Strider and the Viper Mech.  If they hadn’t had to go up the slope to get around the Stealth with 10 of their 11 Mechs, they could have opened up a lot more ground between them and the Steiner heavy and assault lances. Edit: Again per earlier post, not a mistake as the Stealth could have jumped there anyway. 

The Clanners would probably have been better served as well by bringing a lot more of Delta Battle along (2x Summoners, Nova, Viper, Night Gyr - all capable of Jump 5 or better if the Night Gyr gets left out to avoid slowing down the whole star) in place of some or all of Bravo Battle.  Bravo Battle’s better ground speed  got the nod in this one, and was possibly the better choice *if* the bottleneck had been avoided since there was a lot of open ground after those first hills . . . but the bottleneck wasn’t avoided, and ended up being even worse than expected.

The Thunder mines were a neat trick, even though they were upstaged by the Stealth which ended up forcing the Clanners away from the mines.  If the Stealth had *not* been able to make its first turn jump like it did, they may have played a larger role.

The Evasion command (+2 penalty to hit the evading unit, but at the cost of a turn of shooting) is probably not best to use when there is another good target right next to you that enemy fire can switch to with subsequent units.  I doubt that Bravo Battle’s fire would have done enough to stem the tide of this one (they just really had to get away faster, killing a couple of heavies would not have changed this one due to the force size asymmetry) but it is something to keep in mind for the future.

Mech of the Match goes to the Stealth, for taking advantage of a presented opportunity and blocking up the whole clan advance by positioning alone . . . and surviving the fight while doing it!  Came within one dice roll of killing off the Viper at the end of the game too.  Honorable mention (or at least a nice posthumous citation) to the Centipede driver.

The campaign is now all tied up with just one more game to go!
« Last Edit: 19 May 2020, 19:02:59 by Calimehter »

 

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