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Author Topic: Not-quite-so-strategic-BattleForce battle of Hesperus II  (Read 185 times)

Kibutsu

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Not-quite-so-strategic-BattleForce battle of Hesperus II
« on: 07 September 2021, 11:40:01 »
For a long time I have been wanting to explore larger scale games, like at the battalion to regimental level. We have started playtesting a mash-up of Alpha Strike and Strategic Battleforce, adapted for play on terrain rather than hex maps. The minis each represent a lance/star/Level II of Mechs, a flight of 2 fighters, a platoon of tanks or battlearmor or a company of infantry. We added some range by dividing the Alpha Strike ranges by 3. In our first playtest we concentrated on movement, combat and morale. For this one we added air support and a logistics system that revolves around a stat called Combat Power, which represents ammo and consumables, wear and tear, and pilot/soldier/crew fatigue, as no unit can stay in combat indefinitely without running into some problems. I also borrowed the concept of the Orders phase from Battleforce II, but modified it to better suit this game, and reworked the critical hit table based on observations and feedback from our first test.

The second test scenario was set during the opening stages of the 16th battle for Hesperus II in January, 3070. Word of Blake attacked directly at Maria's Elegy with a full Level III from the 38th Division, and a partial Level III from the 40th Shadow. The defending forces were a full 'Mech battalion from the 15th Lyran Guards, with some independent conventional platoons and a battalion of infantry manning trenchlines outside the city.

Lyran front line


Right flank


Lyran left


WoB 38th Division deployment


3 Level IIs from 40th Shadow

I should note that we're using the Battleforce scale minis here, so they don't necessarily represent the actual Mechs involved, but the weight classes are accurate. We used ID tags taped to the bases to keep everything straight.

Things went awry for the WoBs right from the start. They had a powerful force, with enough firepower and armor to push the Lyrans out of the city and back to the main factories in the mountains, but the two formations deployed too far apart to support each other. Joe's 40th Shadow troops did what fanatics do and charged (literally, Joe gave his Level II Striker consecutive Charge! orders) and they took the brunt of the Lyran fire while Les' 38th Division struggled to close to effective range. In short order, the 40th was torn apart, and the "unbreakable" fanatics managed to break just the same. Only a flight of 2 aerospace fighters was able to make it off the board. The unit exacted a heavy toll on the Lyrans, destroying their battalion command lance as they died.

Lyrans to the left of me...


Lyrans in front of me...


Lyrans behind me... Into the valley of the shadow of death, rode the 40th!

Critical hits on the 40th's Battle Level II result in a Charlie Foxtrot and a Regroup. Charlie Foxtrot basically means everything that can go wrong, has, resulting in a loss of morale, unit cohesion and firepower, and it forces a morale check, which Joe fumbled by rolling a 3. Regroup means the unit must spend the entire following turn reorganizing, and cannot fight. Thanks to some abysmal die rolling by the Lyrans, they would last one more turn, and this was critical.

Thinking the WoBs were out of the fight, the Lyran battalion command lance closed to Point Blank range to finish them off. The Wobs still had a little fight left in them, however, and were able to take the Lyran commander down with them as they died. This limited the command capability of the Lyrans, and eliminated their 2 Emergency Resupply orders, which can only be issued by the overall force commander.

Lyran force commander decides to win glory by taking out the last of the cyberzombies, and dies gloriously doing it.

It was a really bad time to lose those supply tokens. Most of the Lyran front line was running critically low on supply, and began pulling back toward their supply depot in the city. Echo Company took over the fighting, dispatching the 38th Division Level II Battle and forcing their Commander to start withdrawing. The WoBs still had 2 very beefy armored units and their battlearmor infantry, but their supply was beginning to run low as well. It didn't help that the Lyran VTOLs zipped in and wiped out the WoB supply truck before they could even get their FoB established. The Wobs pressed the attack, and could possibly have pushed into the city, but it was doubtful they would have had enough oomph to carry the day before they, too, were out of supply.

Lyran front line is spent and needs to pull back to rest and resupply, but they have placed their FoB too far back within the city and can't get there in time. Their last Mech company is charged with holding off the final Blakist push.


The 38th Division's 2 heavy tank units push forward, but ultimately have to concede. The rest of their support is either in forced withdrawal or out of place dealing with the Lyran fast movers on their flank.

In the end the Lyrans pulled a pretty solid victory, though they were severely weakened in the process. If the WoBs had been able to press forward on a more unified front, things may have been different. Losing the Shadow Division early really hurt their chances, but it also cost the Lyrans much of their Combat Power.

The game was a great success, in my opinion and judging by the feedback I got from the players. They were forced to think strategically, while still minding the tactical situation, which was what I wanted to see. In hindsight, there were things both sides will certainly do differently next time we play. Setting up and protecting supply lines is key. Keeping friendly commanders alive and identifying and targeting enemy commanders will also be very important, as losing those special commands that only the formation commanders can issue limits their tactical flexibility. The players are already discussing strategies for using Striker units to hit and fade in order to force the enemy to use up their supply, which is what Striker units are supposed to do. I'm also working on some spotting and recon rules to add in for next time.




FenderSaxbey

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Re: Not-quite-so-strategic-BattleForce battle of Hesperus II
« Reply #1 on: 07 September 2021, 12:19:57 »
This looks fantastic. I also have an interest in larger scale play and would love to see a write up of your house rules once you get them sorted (and if you want to, that is).

Kibutsu

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Re: Not-quite-so-strategic-BattleForce battle of Hesperus II
« Reply #2 on: 07 September 2021, 12:24:41 »
Thanks! I have been working on some rules definitions and quick reference sheets. I'll be happy to share them once they're refined. Most everything comes straight from the Strategic Battleforce rules as written, with some tweaks, and we used the aerospace rules straight from Total Warfare.

Daryk

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Re: Not-quite-so-strategic-BattleForce battle of Hesperus II
« Reply #3 on: 07 September 2021, 17:58:42 »
I also look forward to your finished product!  :thumbsup: