Kapteyn Withdrawal

After several hard fought engagements, the Kapteyn forces found themselves at a disadvantage and pushed into the jaws of the planet’s heaviest defensive position. The commanders conferred, and rather than grind their remaining units against the walls of a fortress, sounded a recall order to the DropShips and left Rigil Kentarus. Does this mean the end of the Kapteyn Accords?

After speaking with the players and seeing the results of the last scenario track (I believe the words “curb stomped” were used repeatedly), the Kapteyn Group has retired from the field. The final track would have pitted the two Companies against each other, with the Defenders in a fixed position. However, the Attackers had already lost 3 Mechs and lost 2 tracks in a row, they were down Warchest points, and would probably not recover.

Incidentally, I asked around to a few more veteran players and no one uses or is familiar with the Warchest or Chaos Campaign system, generally just making up their own rules for campaigns. I did find trying to adhere to the rules as written in the book were confusing, not realistic, and unclear or clearly untested. There were definitely some rules missing.

I prepared a new campaign with some interlinked points and we will probably start play in September. We will take August to build a Company list for the players.

The Super Valkyrie–did I use that joke already? Aside from the lawsuit inducing similarities to another intellectual property, the Phoenix Hawk is the fastest Introductory Medium ‘Mech available. With a movement of 6/9/6 it can compete with many of the Light scouts. It also has a Large Laser for medium range engagements and 8 tons of armor on a 45 ton ‘Mech. However, in practice, its limited amount of heat sinks come into play often as the jump jets overtax the heat system, reducing the number of weapons you can fire safely. The ‘Mech works well in close and point-blank range. Also, it is the Super Valkyrie! Nostalgia…

Until next time MechWarriors!


An early misstep by the invaders led to their rout. They doubted our resolve, and now we must make their retreat painful and bloody. It is foolish to consider them defeated, but if we succeed now, we may draw them into the sights of even fiercer defenses.

Scenario track 2 of the Kapteyn Chaos Campaign begins with the Attackers on the run after a loss in the first track. The Defender gets to choose the terrain for this 6 vs. 6 battle royal.

The Kapteyn forces came onto the field with the FedCom defense forces pursuing. Immediately the Kapteyn’s turned around to fight, ambushing their attackers. In the immediate melee, Kapetyn Hunchback was crippled by the concentrated fire, but in turn, the FedCom Victor was set upon. The next moments, the defense Grasshopper that stepped in to block was knocked to the ground and the Victor was cored due to an ammo explosion. The Hunchback began an orderly retreat, but the Kapteyn Raven was ravaged out in the open. Concentrating fire, the Kapteyn’s again set upon the Grasshopper, but the Wolverine was opened up and fell into the water. Compartments flooded and the pilot, Logan, was killed without being able to eject. The Kapteyn’s quit the field in a fighting withdrawal.

While available to most Great Houses during the Succession Wars, the Victor is an iconic Federated Suns Assault ‘Mech. It has good speed (4/6/4 movement) and jump jets to carry it when its legs fail it. The armament is all short range: AC/20, Medium Lasers, and SRM 4. The drawback for the armament and speed is armor. At only 11.5 tons, it is quite under armored for its size category. I was looking forward to using it in the scenario and was able to threaten with the AC/20 effectively, however it did get destroyed in an ammo explosion in the torso (only 20 armor pips in that location). It is a chunky looking ‘Mech, which appeals to my aesthetic!

Until next time MechWarriors!

Meeting Engagement

And now, again, a battle is joined.

Some believe that you get the true measure of your enemy when you first face them in combat. This is true enough to be said, and true enough to be repeated, but it is not a whole truth.

Surely, the first time your weapon strikes out at those who face you, you do not merely test the manufacture of their armor. The flesh and bone beneath it all might give sooner than the metal.

But you cannot know the measure of your enemy until you bring them close to death.

Let us see, then, who has come to face us.

The Kapteyn Chaos Campaign has begun! The first scenario track was Meeting Engagement, where the Attackers (the Kapteyn Group) lands and the Federation Commonwealth forces sortie out to meet them.

The Kapteyn force (Jenner F, Trebuchet 5N, Wolverine 6M, Cyclops Q) grounded on Rigil Kentarus in a hilly area, they were met by defenders from the Federated Commonwealth (Wolfhound 1A, Centurion AL, Guillotine 4L, Zeus 6T). Early engagements were indecisive until a Centurion was caught (bait?) out in the open and forced to withdraw (crippling damage), with the Jenner and Wolverine following after it. However, that left a badly damaged Cyclops and Trebuchet to face multiple forces. A critical PPC through the side torso destroyed the Cyclops‘ LRM ammo and the Trebuchet punched by the Wolfhound from behind found the same fate. (In Introductory rules, an ammo explosion is nearly always fatal.)

This was the first time I have ever used the Zeus. I have generally discounted this ‘Mech: it is lightly armored (11.5 tons) for an Assault ‘Mech and too many weapons for too few heat sinks. However, on closer inspection it held up well in the fight as a sniper platform, firing the PPC and LRM 15 from an elevated cover position (17 heat sinks were enough to dissipate those weapons alone). It punished the Cyclops Q (which has 17 tons of armor) from long distance. All the Introductory variants are around 1400 BV, which makes an affordable ‘Mech and a decent 4/6 movements means it can still get around the field as an Assault. Plus it looks cool!

Until next time MechWarriors!

Kapteyn Chaos Campaign

In response to the marriage of Melissa Steiner and Hanse Davion, and the alliance of the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns, the Draconis Combine, Free Worlds League, and Capellan Confederation signed the Kapteyn Accords. Now war has come to the great Houses once again…

You represent a ‘Mech Company of the three signatory nations of the Kapteyan Accords, thrown together to secure a foothold (i.e. planetary assault) on Rigil Kentarus between the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns. The “Kapteyn Group” is made up of the Draconis Swords of Light, Free Worlds Guard, and the Capellan Death Commandos. The planet is defended by an alliance of Lyran and FedSun forces, reinforced by their mercenary allies, the Wolf’s Dragoons.

You are the commanders of the Kapteyn Group, while I will be the Gamemaster and OpFor (Opposing Force) for this mini-campaign. We will be using the BattleTech: Chaos Campaign Succession Wars PDF for scenario tracks and rules.

That was the email I sent to our group to in preparation for our next series of linked games (i.e. campaign). People seemed to enjoy the last game with objectives, so this adds an element of continuity into the mix. Damage and injuries carry over from game to game (though they can be repaired and healed using Warchest points) and the ‘Mech destruction is permanent.

I took 25 ‘Mechs out of my Kickstarter collection and sent them off to Les to paint. Those all went into a carrying case (appropriately named MADCAT) and into a travel kit of terrain, record sheets, and rulebooks for future use with my home group. I will be looking to double up on some of these ‘Mechs for my personal units…

Until next time MechWarriors!

Dracs in the Desert

My friend got some Draconis paint on his ‘Mechs, so we had a small battle in the evening. I like thematic forces built along House lines–but how does that actually translate in game? We setup a skirmish between Otomo and Sword of Light Grand Dragon, Panther, and Jenner vs. Marik Wolverine, Lyran Wolfhound, and a stolen Sword of Light Jenner. Light and Medium ‘Mechs only!

This was a tough match for both sides. With no Heavy or Assault ‘Mechs to absorb damage, there was some hyper focus on positioning and ranges. At the end of the day, it came down to terrain. The rough terrain and obstructed sightlines favored my rag-tag group of ‘Mechs compared to the PPC heavier Draconis group. Those Otomo ‘Mechs look absolutely brilliant on the board and on camera though!

The Jenner has occupied a berth at nearly all our general skirmish or group games. An originally exclusive ‘Mech to the Draconis Combine, it is arguably the iconic ‘Mech of the DCMS. Four Medium Lasers and an SRM 4 make for a great loadout and a 7/11/5 movement gives it a lot of speed to work with. You can chase down Light ‘Mechs all day and tear them to shreds. The drawback? Only 10 heat sinks. I prefer the Jenner F model which removes the SRM (and ammo) to add on 3 tons of armor. This nearly doubles the armor coverage in some areas. My only real issue with the ‘Mech… they put the legs on backwards! That is right, it should be a chicken walker!

Until next time MechWarriors!

All Things Being Equal

Equal Battle Value (BV) does not mean equal forces.

My favorite ‘Mech, the Nightstar, does not have an Introductory rules version. However, I got to use it in a small skirmish between Nightstar and Centurion vs. Conjurer and Kit Fox. On paper, the BV are pretty close, but as you know, BV does not tell the whole story. It was a decidedly one-sided fight–for the Inner Sphere for once! I do want to thank my friend for letting be bring out the big guns. Our group is still learning the game so we do not use anything but Introductory rules ‘Mechs for the time being.

You will also notice my ‘Mechs are fully painted! Wolf’s Dragoons Gamma Regiment and Clan Nova Cat Alpha Galaxy, done by Les Mandeville.

I cannot explain why, but I do not particularly like the Centurion. On paper, it has a great combination of weapons: AC/10, LRM 10, and a couple of lasers. It has good armor for a Medium ‘Mech (8 tons for the CN9-A model). The CN9-AL model replaces the AC/10 with a Large Laser, adds more heat sinks and armor, making it quite a brawler. However, I find the ‘Mech too slow. Without jump jets, it has to plod around at 4/6 movement and in the multiple times I have used it, it just gets pummeled (crippled or destroyed every time). However, that might just be me putting it out as bait…

Until next time MechWarriors!

Pride Rock

Will any ‘Mech brave the heights (and falls) of Pride Rock?

This skirmish was just a showcase of jump jets and blocking line of sight. My opponent used my Wolf’s Dragoon Lance (Marauder II, Grasshopper, Stinger, Spider) against a scratch-build I threw together (Highlander, Thunderbolt, Mongoose, Mercury). There was quite a conga line going at one point! Speed and hills really came into play as the heavier ‘Mechs could not get into range easily.

The Spider is a favorite ‘Mech of mine. While it is designated as scout, its incredible speed of 8/12/8 means you can easily maneuver it into the back line of the OpFor and take a couple Medium Laser shots plus punch/punch/kick before escaping the way you came. The critical 10 hex run or 7 hex jump makes it very difficult to land return fire–difficult but not impossible. At only 3.5 tons of armor, it is not a ‘Mech you want to dangle as bait, but you can lose both arms and still zombie with the central torso located weapons. Plus it has gigantic thrusters on the backside!

Until next time MechWarriors!

Altair Lostech

Small Alice Springs, Altair V
23 April, 3025

An ancient lostech WarShip crashed on Altair has been discovered near the town Small Alice Springs. The desert conditions have made direct landing of a DropShip difficult, but the Capellan Confederation has sent a force of Death Commandos to the planet to secretly secure the prize underneath the Draconis Combine’s noses. As luck would have it, a contingent of the 3rd Swords of Light were on maneuvers near the Terran border and responded to the discovery. The two elite forces are set to arrive and clash over the derelict before a huge sandstorm swallows them all!

This was a “capture the objectives” scenario I designed, based on a few things I read online. We ran into some interesting situations like pushing a ‘Mech off a cliff and firing while prone–none of which we had done before. Again the Locust was the hero ‘Mech, capping two objectives early on to give the Death Commandos an early point lead. Though it was ultimately crippled and forced to withdraw, it did win them the game. It was the first time we tried playing a scenario, rather than a straight skirmish–something different to focus on. The forces were pre-made Lances that will be painted in “iconic” faction colors.

Since it has been mentioned twice, the Crusher Joe Ostall–I mean, Locust–is a basic, fast Light ‘Mech. Pictured above is the 1V model with Medium Laser and Machine Guns. Nearly all the Introductory rules models are under 500 BV, but at 8/12 movement, they are a great ‘Mech to get the backside. This is definitely not a machine you want to get anywhere near an AC/20 toting Assault ‘Mech, but it is great at harassing other Light and Medium units. Keep running and do not get hit!

Until next time MechWarriors!

Border Skirmish

My friend and I took an afternoon to continue our education in BattleTech (both of us having just recovered from bouts with COVID). We threw together a couple 4,000 BV Lances (Introductory rules only) and setup a game.

Forces were Stinger (represented by a Wasp), Spider, Centurion, Marauder II vs. Valkyrie, Sentinel, Trebuchet, Victor. The Stinger was destroyed by an AC/20 to the side, Trebuchet had a heat inflicted ammo explosion, Valkyrie destroyed by a cockpit critical, Centurion died by LRM fire, and the Victor fell over many times. Also, fear the jumping Spider that punches your Sentinel from behind. This is where I also learned that if my friend has a target number X, he will inevitably roll an X – 1 on 2d6. This could of course mean he requires a 2 and somehow rolls a 1…

I first played BattleTech in the early 90s, but that means very little in terms of understanding the lore or recognizing any of the ‘Mechs people seem to know at a bare minimum glance. The Sentinel is a ‘Mech I have little to no familiarity with. The Introductory standard STN-3K model comes with an AC/5 and SRM2 (I discount the Small Laser as inconsequential by itself), neither of which I am a particular fan of. With a movement of 6/9, this 40 ton Light ‘Mech is at a disadvantage having a weapon with a minimum range. However, there are models with a Large Laser (3KA) or even PPC (3KB) replacing that AC/5 (and add on more heat sinks) which makes them a more attractive option. It does mount 6 tons (96 pips) of armor, which gives it good staying power against other Light ‘Mechs.

Until next time MechWarriors!

‘Mech Drafting Game

After a looong hiatus (thank you COVID), we got together again to play BattleTech. Several of the players were new to the game (and I was not altogether sure of all the rules), so the process was a bit slow. The two teams drafted ‘Mechs from a pool and both Lances rushed the hills.

Team D(i)M Sum was able to down two opposing Light ‘Mechs and nearly took out the BattleMaster as well. The Locust was the hero ‘Mech with its 8/12 movement getting into the back armor. The new players also learned that it does take quite a bit of damage to down one ‘Mech–they are not flimsy. Also, AAS(h)ATT (All Alpha Strike All The Time) does not work because of little mechanic called heat.

Born from the Destroid Tomahawk Unseen, the Warhammer is a really great looking ‘Mech. It is iconic. However, with the Introductory rules, it is not a ‘Mech I would ever use at 1,299 BV. It has too many weapons, too few heat sinks (16 single) to fire said weapons, and only 10 tons of armor (160 pips) for a 70 ton Heavy ‘Mech. It can be quite deadly in point-blank range (under 3 hexes), but then that leaves two PPCs with nothing to do.

Until next time MechWarriors!