Last time it was the Dire Wolf Prime, this time it is the Dire Wolf C against a swarm of Light 3025 Inner Sphere ‘Mechs in a showdown to the pain.

A lucky critical roll blew off the Dire Wolf‘s leg, but I still feel the C variant was a better choice for this match-up. The Dire Wolf had less luck intercepting the Light ‘Mechs on the way in, so it was up against a heavier swarm at close range.

What was remarkable about the game however was using Flechs to run all the calculation and rolls. This made running 7 ‘Mechs so much easier. And since I could ignore making my own dice rolls and just pass the information inside the app, I sped up this game significantly. I mean, with some proficiency and practice, you can probably run a 4 vs. 4 game in less than infinity time! Just imagine!

Coming up in the next few posts are a couple commissioned illustrations, a lot of painted ‘Mechs, and a few local game announcements. Until next time MechWarriors!

The Swarm

People discuss “game balance” all the time. Lists created by tonnage or Battle Value (BV) or astrology or animal sacrifice try to create a perfectly even game between two or more teams. This, of course, is not possible, but it still makes for interesting table arguments. To test this (for no good reason other than having some time), I pitted a Dire Wolf Prime against Locust, Stinger, 2 Wasps, Raven, and Commando.

Final result was Wasp, Stinger, Locust, and Commando completely destroyed (center torso), Raven ejected (leg destroyed and gyro hit), and final Wasp disabled (two engine hits, heat overload). The Dire Wolf ejected but salvageable (leg blown off from critical, arm destroyed). The Dire Wolf Prime was probably not the right ‘Mech for this kind of swam challenge, but it was fun to run through.

Right AFTER I played this using pen and paper and dice, I found Flechs. I will go over that beautiful piece of software later.

The Dire Wolf is great. 100 tons of Clan dominance, it has loads of configurations from long range sniping to short range ridiculousness. 19 tons of armor and it still moves faster than an UrbanMech. It also looks great, could flatten your house by sneezing at it sideways, and was called “Great Death” by the DCMS who wet their pants in its presence. Using it against six Inner Sphere Light ‘Mechs was not really what it is meant for, but wow was it satisfying to core them in one shot.

Until next time MechWarriors!

Alien Worlds

It was quite an (unfinished) journey getting items from the Catalyst Game Labs store. After several weeks, I did finally receive my Alien Worlds Battlemat. So barring using it as a giant mouse pad, I got it on the table to play a bit of lostech 2 vs. 2 Heavy ‘Mechs.

This is the first time I managed to get my Kell Hounds (painted by Les) on the table… and also the first time I lost the match in the past five or six games. Warhammer and Archer vs. Lancelot and Crusader and my dice were rolling about average. Meanwhile, my opponent managed to two shot my Lancelot in the head with Medium Pulse, putting me down a ‘Mech by round 3 or 4. I am definitely not familiar enough with lostech/Helm Memory Core, which means I might as well be unprepared for the match! We ran out of time to do any real damage to the remaining three ‘Mechs, but it would be difficult for me to pull a victory without some lucky rolling.

The Lancelot is both a terrible ‘Mech (Introductory) and a great ‘Mech (Standard). The main/only difference lies in its speed. In 3025, it is a 4/6 movement, whereas the XL engine of the Star League model makes it 6/9–the same speed as many Light ‘Mechs! It is still relatively lightly armored for a 60 ton Heavy ‘Mech, but if you are willing to put up with a slightly slower speed and more minimum ranges, the Lancelot 03 is probably the one I would pick. None of those options helps with getting head shot twice though!

Until next time MechWarriors!

Wolf and Dragon

I stopped by to see Paul and Shawn of Focht’s News–yes, it facetious–hosting their weekly BattleTech event. Two Draconis Lances vs. a Star of Clan Wolf.

The battle went poorly for the Draconis Combine forces, losing 3 ‘Mechs in a single round to gyro criticals and ammo explosions! Clan vs. Inner Sphere does not equal a fair fight… do not let them use that Clan honor stuff against you! The table presence was incredible though with terrain from Steel Warrior Studios and Thunderhead Studio. It was also nice to meet a few more MechWarriors with 6 other players in attendance.

Years back, we used to run tabletop events for the CNE Gaming Garage. This year, on Friday and Saturday, August 26th and 27th, Focht’s News will be running events for the Gaming Garage in its new location, Hall B. I am really looking forward to going back to the CNE, they have always been great hosts. I will have more info about the event soon.

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!

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!