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Author Topic: running a campaign. Reports.  (Read 3436 times)

Greatclub

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running a campaign. Reports.
« on: 02 April 2019, 00:17:59 »
I think I might have screwed up.

So, I’m trying to start up a Chaos Campaign. I’ve got two players. One is my regular sparring partner with a fascination with field guns and tanks. The other is a newbie. I’ll be running them through sword and dagger, but with a modified lineup.

I gave them this to start:


1 light lance, introtech mechs
1 medium lance, introtech mechs
1 heavy lance, introtech mechs

6 vehicles; 2 light, 2 med, 2 hvy
6 infantry

and just to make things interesting, I gave them 6 ‘force improvement’ points they could spend on options:

1 point – increase a lance by one size catagory
1 point – choose units non-randomly for one lance/six
1 point – access to 3050 tech for one sub-unit
   1 additional point – access to full standard rules tech for one sub-unit
1 point – allowed TacOps items – artillery, field guns, etc. for one sub-unit
1 point – change one lance into a formation, inc. SPAs
2 points – extra lance or vehicle/infantry hex.
1 point – upgrade infantry to BA infantry
2 points – force is part of a unit from CM Mercenaries, including SCA.
2 points - 3/4 pilots



Player Two took the medium lance, infantry and vehicles, then dumped all his points into advanced field guns – access to full standard rules and access to TacOps items.

Player One, with the light and heavy lances, first buffed the heavies to assaults and bought 3050 gear for both.

I rolled on the random tables in TW to determane lance makeup, rolled random to generate mechs, then threw out most of the results and cherry-picked what they got. I think I was generous.

Player one: light lance. Enhancements: 3050 tech.
Valkyrie vlk-qd1 (Oops, forgot about the ER laser)
Javelin jvn-11b
Locust LCT-1Vb
Stealth STH-1d

Player one: Assault lance. Enhancements: 3050 tech, heavy to assaults
Archer 4m
Awesome aws-9q
Battlemaster blr1g-d
Thunderhawk TDK-7X

Player Two: Medium Lance. Enhancements: None.
Clint CLNT-2-3T (Was supposed to be a light. Close enough.)
Pheonix Hawk pxh-1
Hunchback HBK-4h
Ostsol ost-4l

Player Two: Vehicle Section. Enhancements: None
Lamprey Chopper (Standard)
Lamprey Chopper (Standard)
Bandit hovercraft (prime)
Bandit hovercraft (A)
Devastator heavy Tank
Heavy LRM carrier

Player Two: Infantry Section. Enhancements: 3050 tech, full standard rules tech, TacOps items. Gave him BA upgrade for free considering just how much he spent on his PBI
light gauss field gun platoon
UAC 5 field gun platoon
UAC 10  field gun platoon
RAC 5 field gun platoon
Inner sphere power armor squad
Amzon power armor squad

Now we enter the first fight, a recon scenario from Sword and Dragon. P1 had crap luck with the Light gauss, but the mission, so scan 3/4 of the enemy, was a success.

P1:
IS battle armor
Light Gauss Field Guns
Bandit A hovercraft

P2:
Archer
Stealth
Javelin

VS

Me:
Panther -9R
Panther -9R
Jenner 7-D
Stalker Jagawen.

I didn’t kill anyone before the store closed.  The Panthers both got mauled into forced withdrawal. The Archer was FAR to close to the Stalker and the Bandit had enough motive hits it wasn’t getting off the board fast with the BA, but closing time is wrap-up time.

After repairs and increasing gunnery and anti-mech attack across the board, they actually wound up down 153 WP; training infantry is expensive.

And here’s where I think I screwed up; they’ve got far firepower and variety than S&D is written to cope with. Ah well, at least I suspect they’ll enjoy winning a lot.

Colt Ward

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #1 on: 03 April 2019, 12:42:25 »
One thing I would mention is the Amazon BA is a post 3100 design so should not really be available . . . IS Std, Raiden, Cavalier or GDL Std is what you would have around that time that is not the suck.  Same with the Lamprey . . . The Stealth is also whole new design but from . . . 3055?  Now the TDK could be a Star League relic or lostech so that is easier to explain.

How did you arrange the Init?  I would suggest in such a set up in the future the PC's movement be 1-2-2-1 which keeps it balanced.  What was the BV disparity?  One thing that is done in the campaign I am playing in is that the Oppo will get random SPAs that we do not know which mech it is on, which balances out the PC's SPAs.  Once the firing starts, of course its sort of easy to figure out what it is and where, but still . . .
Colt Ward

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Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #2 on: 03 April 2019, 20:04:51 »
One thing I would mention is the Amazon BA is a post 3100 design so should not really be available . . . IS Std, Raiden, Cavalier or GDL Std is what you would have around that time that is not the suck.  Same with the Lamprey . . . The Stealth is also whole new design but from . . . 3055?  Now the TDK could be a Star League relic or lostech so that is easier to explain.

I consider myself lucky they're not wanting to run customs full of dark age tech. I know the designs are anachronisms, but they're canon and don't have anything too implausible.

Good enough. I'm bending S&D bad enough anyway.

Quote
How did you arrange the Init?  I would suggest in such a set up in the future the PC's movement be 1-2-2-1 which keeps it balanced. 
Me and player two butt heads about what should move when enough that I'm trying to stick strictly to RAW. Which we're careless enough at.
Quote
What was the BV disparity?
ballpark of par. He had more and more expensive stuff, I had 3/4 pilots to his 4/5.
Quote
  One thing that is done in the campaign I am playing in is that the Oppo will get random SPAs that we do not know which mech it is on, which balances out the PC's SPAs.  Once the firing starts, of course its sort of easy to figure out what it is and where, but still . . .

I'm trying to figure out how megamek calculates SPAs into BPV; I'd rather go that route.

Colt Ward

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #3 on: 03 April 2019, 20:34:49 »
SPAs do not count for BV
Colt Ward

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Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #4 on: 12 April 2019, 01:24:35 »
And the Second fight that happened last friday. It was a recon-in-force scenario from Sword and Dragon. Player one decided to screw subtlety and brought the ThunderHawk and Awesome. Player two continued his fascination with infantry, bringing the girls (amazon BA) and a lamprey, for the mission’s max of four.

Given the weight of metal coming my way, I felt somewhat justified in cherry-picking my forces, specified as three mediums and a heavy. -6k Warhammer, Hunchback -4h, another Hunchback, this one a -4SP, and a Cicada 3C. Still only 80 percent what was coming in BPV, but better than it would have been if I rolled on RATs.

His goal was to scan some buildings, and kill a percentage of the defending force. Since I’m a NPC, I don’t have objectives beyond to prevent him scoring.

Screw it, I just don’t have the weight of metal to prevent him murderizing my force, in which case he can scan the buildings at his leisure. I’m going to go thunder-chicken hunting.

We begin on the terrain one of the players has put together with foam hexes. My side has some buildings. There’s a hill in the middle of the map, the largest terrain feature (He still hasn’t figured out how to do trees) He sets his forces centerline. I set up with the hunchbacks pn the right flank, the cicada and Warhammer on the left.

We start and the assaults head towards the hunchbacks side of the hill. They advance while staying out of sight. The chopper just hovers there, but the cicada gets into position to show why that was a bad choice, hitting the side with it’s PPC.

The hunchbacks get into a duel with two assaults, causing the ThunderHawk to shut down as it was way too free with it’s lasers in the face of inferno SRMs, and get shot in the back twice by the cicada. The Warhammer shows up to support the mediums just about the time they’re shredded, but the Thunderhawk shuts down after a gauss explosion takes out two engine slots.

My Warhammer falls back in the face of the Awesome, meaning I can’t finish off the T-Hawk. However, all four mechs have been engaging the two assaults, leaving the Chopper to drop off the BA squad (Now named The Girls) and start scanning buildings.

(Rules question – when scanning, do you scan everything in range with one action, or have to spend an action per target? He seemed to think that one scan per weapon and/or trooper was reasonable, but he loves his house rules)
The game ended with a battered warhammer falling back, a slightly shot up chopper full of BA being chased off the board by a cicada, and the Awesome roaring in triumph from atop the hill.

Again, blowout for my opponents. They get all objectives, but we kept forgetting to use the weather, so they don’t score that.

00000

Next fight is a defend mission. He first rolled a 5 (Heavies and assaults) followed by a 6 (5 gunnery)

Their Forces:
Amazon BA (4/4)
IS standard BA (4/4)
Phoenix Hawk

Awesome (3/5)
Archer (3/5)
Battlemaster

We’re fighting in a storm at twilight, so lots of to-hit mods. I think the BA is being brought to try out the swarm rules, as that's unaffected.

On my side, I have
Quickdraw (5/5)
Jagermech (5/5)
Catapult (5/5)
Grasshopper (5/5)
Cyclops (5/5)
Awesome (5/5)

I probably will have trouble hitting barn-sides, but might be able to win with physical attacks, mitigated by my desire to stay away from the BA. Hopefully it’ll be bloody. We’ll be playing next Friday.
« Last Edit: 12 April 2019, 01:52:34 by Greatclub »

Colt Ward

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #5 on: 12 April 2019, 09:25:51 »
You guys using sprinting rules?

Except for the Jager, everything should be able to rush into range for a mudstomping melee.  Catapult, Quickdraw and Grasshopper should be able to close it up first with your Awesome & Cyclops coming into to do some clean up.  Jager should be going short range on those ACs to dink whoever is getting hit.

He wants to swarm?  Good, its a waste- 2 turn set up, easier to dislodge, and if there is water around a way for them to be killed.
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Sartris

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #6 on: 12 April 2019, 18:37:16 »
(Rules question – when scanning, do you scan everything in range with one action, or have to spend an action per target? He seemed to think that one scan per weapon and/or trooper was reasonable, but he loves his house rules)

the wording opens the door for saying you can do multiple but i feel like it's cheezing the rules - it uses the phrasing "an enemy unit" vs something like "all enemy units" so I'd go with one at a time.

Total Chaos, a later variation of the chaos campaign, is clear in its own scanning rules that it's meant to be one unit or building scanned at a time


Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #7 on: 13 April 2019, 12:06:25 »
Correction, he's bringing the Ostsol, not the pixie. I Actually think pixie might be the better choice. And fighting in this weather is one of the few situations that I wouldn't be sad rolling a Charger. +1 to all fire (dusk), +1 to ballistics, +2 to missiles and -2 on the cluster chart, with +1 to pilot checks(Wind).

Daryk

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #8 on: 13 April 2019, 12:10:20 »
Well, the Ostsol is all lasers, so no weapons fire penalties (the PXH has MGs, which technically count).

Sartris

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #9 on: 13 April 2019, 12:42:31 »
Correction, he's bringing the Ostsol, not the pixie. I Actually think pixie might be the better choice. And fighting in this weather is one of the few situations that I wouldn't be sad rolling a Charger. +1 to all fire (dusk), +1 to ballistics, +2 to missiles and -2 on the cluster chart, with +1 to pilot checks(Wind).

also a banshee 3E's dream day at work

Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #10 on: 06 May 2019, 03:17:10 »
Took a couple weeks to get around to this. Did a modified grinder on the long weekend, then we were missing a player so I introduced our local grognard to the fun that is the plasma rifle by letting him stomp me with a Fafnir WB. Just ran the campaign fight this weekend.

What a blind-sided charlie-foxtrot. I can’t adequately summarize it. Some bullet-pointed highlights:

*battle was fought on a deep canyon map. Because of a quirk in the setup, the other map basically didn’t matter
*Jagermech did more damage than I expected – a whole 9 points. OTOH, nobody shot at it.
*The grasshopper was designated the commander, and managed to mission-kill the Archer before a lucky crit hit the ammo.
*The quickdraw didn’t hit a single ranged shot, nor miss a kick or punch.
*Cyclops – the best way to kill an officer the SLDF ever came up with. Leg de-armored by the ostsol, then tapped repeatedly by the BA; pilot punched out turn two. Crap luck
*Giant kick-scrum forms on one side of them map, separates into a line, then reforms in two smaller furballs.
*Everyone disparages the Medium Pulse Laser. I have never understood why. It’s less efficient than the standard medium, but that hardly makes them ineffective. As the Battlemaster proved by ripping the hell out of my Awesome.

Lots of points made, which I expect will be largely spent on upgrades. However, I’ve made the rule that if they want a third upgrade? They have to name the pilot/crew.

Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #11 on: 11 May 2019, 22:58:04 »
I'm going to have to do something unfortunate to that damn awesome. I just don't know what.

Colt Ward

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #12 on: 13 May 2019, 16:52:17 »
Next maintenance cycle they have to roll for each engine crit . . . 1&2 its a failure in the coolant feeds due to constantly being in the fighting, maybe a TAC fault that cropped up later on . . . so, roll that 1 or 2 and the Awesome goes into the fight with that many engine crits.  Do they want to take a Awesome into a fight with 2 engine crits?

Drop a headhunter lance or pair to go after the Awesome in the midst of the fight.  While the headhunters are on the field, the Awesome's team suffers a -1 INIT penalty.  They will mostly ignore the other enemy mechs on the field, just there to kill the Awesome.  If they achieve that objective, they retreat off their 'friendly' side firing at targets of opportunity as they go.

Or you can use the fun ones from the MM servers-  'Pirating the latest songs from Limewire introduced a virus into your mech's OS!'  'The local lord requisitioned your mech for his/her personal guard.'  'The quartermaster requisitioned your Awesome's fusion engine to power a city.  It was replaced with a Rifleman 3N so you can still hit targets at the same distance.'
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Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #13 on: 18 May 2019, 15:29:25 »
I finally won one. Last week was a supply scenario. Curbstomp, mostly at the hands of the Awesome, prompting my previous post in this thread.

Yesterday was forced withdrawal. For those of you who don't know, the opposition in the scenario can be anything from eight lights to 4heavy/2med/2asslt. In addition, both forces start REALLY close.

I don't think they could have made worse choices. The two heavy tanks, the hunchback, the clint, the stealth and the locust faced the heaviest option. In trying to protect the tanks the lighter mechs were chewed up, and the tanks bought it anyway.

Jagermech lost when the locust back-shot it. Cyclops lost when the Devastator AC/20ed it to death. Catapult and another Jagermench chewed up, grasshopper sandblasted.

Locust royal toast, kicked by the catapult. Hunchback toast between the Vindy, jaegermechs and whitworth. Heavy LRM carrier toast to the grasshopper. Devastator tank toast to the Cyclops. Stealth and Clint got away untouched.

As stated previously, they did a supply mission last week. I think I'll give them a Griffin sparky (Per player request) and a Von Luckner or Manticore.

Picked up two new players, lost one to real life (He races bikes, and doesn't want to stay up late.) If you want to join it's at Garage in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada. I could use some help running the bad guys.


« Last Edit: 18 May 2019, 15:34:21 by Greatclub »

Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #14 on: 02 June 2019, 17:57:00 »
I believe the campaign is dead

Lessons learned -

keep backups of the campaign spreadsheets, hardcopy or otherwise - I didn't lose much else to the hard drive crash (Being paranoid with backups pays off) but those are gone. I winged it a couple scenarios, but by mutual decision it's over.

Limit choice. I tried to give one of the players access to combined arms, and the PC unit was two companies. They took forever before deploying picking stuff out. Given we have a four hour play window, that's unacceptable.

Make sure they understand what the scenario is. The desire to field said combined arms led to some remarkably stupid force decisions. Slow tanks and fast mechs when the scenario is to run away leads to dead tanks, and dead mechs if they try to defend them.

Now we're into the clan invasion, with the GM being mr. combined arms. He's borrowing my Era report 3052. Any advice from people who have played through it?


Colt Ward

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #15 on: 02 June 2019, 18:03:46 »
Mech (or veh/BA) selection should be made before arriving.  When we do 5k challenges, I will sometime bring two 5k forces to see what I feel like, but the picking has been done in advance.
Colt Ward

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Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #16 on: 02 June 2019, 18:15:23 »
I don't use facebook. That limited communication channels.

Maybe we should have stopped at the coffee shop after games to plot the next scenario.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #17 on: 03 June 2019, 03:32:23 »
I believe the campaign is dead

Lessons learned -

keep backups of the campaign spreadsheets, hardcopy or otherwise - I didn't lose much else to the hard drive crash (Being paranoid with backups pays off) but those are gone. I winged it a couple scenarios, but by mutual decision it's over.

Limit choice. I tried to give one of the players access to combined arms, and the PC unit was two companies. They took forever before deploying picking stuff out. Given we have a four hour play window, that's unacceptable.

Make sure they understand what the scenario is. The desire to field said combined arms led to some remarkably stupid force decisions. Slow tanks and fast mechs when the scenario is to run away leads to dead tanks, and dead mechs if they try to defend them.

Now we're into the clan invasion, with the GM being mr. combined arms. He's borrowing my Era report 3052. Any advice from people who have played through it?
  I use Dropbox and One Drive for my campaigns and have even loaded rulebook .pdfs so I can access the material via netbook or laptop. I also suggest MekHQ as a unit organizer.
  Have a large library of pre-printed unit sheets, with plenty of duplicates to pull out when needed. One of my players always had a folder of hundreds of unit sheets in plastic document protectors, so we could use acetate markers and reuse them.

  With new players, I NEVER allow them to command their own units; I let them join an established unit and MAYBE command a lance, although we've had a couple of players who could barely handle their own mechs, let alone a lance. That saves a lot of time and allows the players to learn more important things before making their own units, such as the basic rules.
  Once the players sufficiently know the game, they can run a unit and it's on them to keep a binder of all their unit sheets, ready to play. The GM need only supply the OPFOR units.

   When teaching the players how to play, teach them how to GM. Each player should be able to recite their firing modifiers and announce their target numbers for each roll they make. Players reffing each other makes the firing

  I try to write up briefing notes for players prior to playing scenarios, but I am usually inclined to feed my players enough rope as part of their training. You can only hold their hands for do long and since my club is made up of wargamers, they knew the basics.
  As a unit commander, my lances were not combined by weight but by speed. So, you'd see Panthers and Victors together because they have identical movement. It also takes a while for players to get the feel of the game and pick up the tips and tricks that increase the chances of a successful mission. That takes time and practice, which means playing as often as possible.


 

 

Greatclub

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #18 on: 03 June 2019, 19:16:21 »
Everyone involved is a refuge3e from the '90s, and know the basics. It's just the tactics that tend to be deficient. I tend to be too aggressive, one guy tries to make BA act like hunchbacks, and so on.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

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Re: running a campaign. Reports.
« Reply #19 on: 13 June 2019, 16:07:09 »
Everyone involved is a refuge3e from the '90s, and know the basics. It's just the tactics that tend to be deficient. I tend to be too aggressive, one guy tries to make BA act like hunchbacks, and so on.
  I advise "Combat Simulator" scenarios, followed by after action sessions. My group is made up of war gamers, so most have a grasp of tactics that they apply in BT.
  A Combat Sim scenario uses the players' unit against random foes. Players are given a briefing on what to expect and their mission goals and the scenario starts. Campaign-wise, it is playing out simulator sessions, where nobody gets hurt and no losses incurred. The idea is to train your players in the tactics of the game to make them better players.

  When I run a Combat Sim scenario, I keep an eye on the players' actions and as GM, I will freeze the action is a player makes an obvious blunder in order to ask them, "Why did you choose that maneuver?" If they don't want the opponent to know, I take them aside. Normally, a bonehead move results in a bonehead answer, so I "save" the game at that point (take a photo of the map and fig positions) and allow the play to continue. If the blunder fails, we "reset" the game at the "save" point and allow the players to try something different, or, the GM will suggest an alternative plan.

  A basic scenario is to allow each player to know the capabilities and weaknesses of their personal mechs; Each mech has 3 to 4 properties: Speed, weapons, armor and other (Other is special equipment/abilities, such as targeting systems, ECM or Active Probes)
Light mechs tend to prioritize Speed, Weapons then Armor, while Assault mechs prioritize Armor, Weapons then Speed.
 
Players should know when to maneuver to prevent being hit and when to stand and slug it out.
 
Every player should know the "sweet spot" of their weapons, the optimal range to get the best odds of hitting...and how to avoid the "sweet spot" of their opponents' weapons.

Each training scenario should be tailored with the players' deficiencies in mind. If players have trouble coordinating, make a scenario that requires team work; If players don't know how to use indirect fire, have them concentrate on that. The idea is training and learning to apply that training in real battles.

One deficiency a couple of my players had was mine fields. The first encountered mine fields and neglected to inform the players moving up behind him, so they hit the mine fields too. Communication and coordination are key on any battlefield. Each mech and vehicle has a map on their tactical display and the payer could have sent the data to everyone on the comm net. A mine marker would be placed on the map and problem solved.
  The second player drove his vehicles through a mine field and crippled a couple of them. His response was to reverse gears and back over the same mine field, taking further losses. After I peeled my palm from my face, I froze the scenario and asked all the players what the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for mine fields was.
Mine field SOP:
1) Report (Mark on the Map)
2) Mission options: a) detour around it. b) clear it.
3) Be aware of more mine fields

A mine field serves these purposes:
1) Slow advance
2) Channel movement (detour)
3) Cause damage/losses

Minefield rules are detailed in Tactical Operations. If intend to use them, get to know them well.

The above are only examples and suggestions, of course, so use them as you wish. The purpose of training scenarios is to eliminate "trial and error" gaming, where the players expend time and energy reinventing the wheel, instead of enjoying the game.

  What I consider of vital importance is the post-game after-action session. Usually, we would go to a favorite diner and discuss the scenario in detail, with the goal of everyone gaining useful experience. 

 

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