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Priority SitRep

4/21/24. Yes, I know everything is hosed. I'm working on it.

Updates to the website

I'm making this short, I'm way past my bed time...

Since I have been regularly posting links to various articles here on Social Media, I have decided to make some changes around here. I have rewritten and updated some articles, fixed a few grammar and spelling errors here and there and split one article into two because it had two different subjects and I thought each deserved their own article.

I will also be changing the banner between the main graphics and these blog entries in the morning. I hope you enjoy the changes.

Changes coming

Now that the first book is out of the way, I am going to take a short breather and do some other things around here.

Here's my current gaming 'To-Do' list:

  • Reconstituting my original unit from 1990, the 101st Irregulars. This will be my 4th active unit.
  • Writing backstory (a kitten is killed every time you say “fluff”) on all four of my units, as well as some photos of each Lance.
  • My second book, the current working title is “DIY Projects for Gamers.” This started out as a chapter in the See Mark Paint book, but after the 5th major project qualified to be in it, I decided they need their own book.
  • Roster Builder 7.0 development is also proceding. This version will "phone home" when you start the spreadsheet, and download if necessary a "Master Unit List." Major particulars for each unit will be added as comments in certain cells, thus freeing up screen space.
  • I have already expanded the link roll to the right with multiple BattleTech Facebook groups I visit or frequent.

Enjoy, I am going to be performing other tweaks and upgrades soon as well.

The book is here!

After a lot of hard work experimenting, writing, photographing and editing, I have reached a point where I am comfortable releasing my first e-book, See Mark Paint. It is meant for someone who is just starting out in miniature wargaming.

The project became big enough that I split it into two books. The second one will be "DIY Projects for Gamers" to enhance your gaming workspace. That one is still a couple months out.

You are free to distribute this e-book to all who need it. If you want to reference it on your website, please link to this page so I can see who's asking and to make sure if I edit/update the book, they get the latest version.

Free Time Found!

Hey everyone, I have managed to discover some small snippets of time where my task list was not overflowing with emergency priority tasks. In accordance with that, I managed to update a couple of things here.

First, for the Roster Builder I have added a "Battle Report" form so you can see your list and write down your oppoenents list, then easily figure who was the victor. You can also take notes specific to turns so if you take pictures (like I do for my Batreps below) you know what happened when.

Second, I updated the Memphis Code of Common Play. I hadn't noticed we didn't include some of our most basic house rules.

Still here!

I have been busy with a ton of personal projects and other goings on that I have sadly neglected my favorite website (that you can see). I have been updating the pinned articles and adding more but I haven't posted them yet. When I get to a place where I am mostly satisfied you'll see them.

I have done a couple things today, namely you can now "contact me" over there to the right and you can also leave comments at the bottom of posts.

I have also posted two new battle reports, Taken down by gnats and Payback in Cash.

More improvements

I came to the realization a few days ago that I have been cranking out pretty significant Roster Builder updates fairly quickly. When an idea jumps on me, it's like Hobbs pounces on Calvin when he isn't looking. That means I have to stop everything else and incorporate it. This really is a labor of love.

The latest two newly added features are error alerts and automated importing.

Error Alerts will show along the top of the List Builder header when you have a C3 network mis-configured. If you have an invalid number or type of units in a declared C3 network (mixing C3 M/S and C3i, too many units, just one unit and so on) you will now see a "C3 Network Error!" in the header. If the network is properly set up, it will say "Network Active!" Also, if you generate a printed roster and you are over points or have a C3 network in error, this information will now appear on your DTF output.

The second is the ability to import. I realize that it takes a few minutes to copy or recreate your units in an updated spreadsheet. Since I've been cranking updates out faster than I cange my socks (metaphorically), I understand if you don't partake of every update. So now, if Roster Builder realizes it's "blank" (just the demo unit by itself), Roster Builder will ask if you want to import your data from another Roster Builder 6.x file. Due to formatting changes, any attempt to import data from a Roster Builder v5 or lower, well let's just say it won't be pretty. If you point it toward a 6.x file, it will copy all of your Battalion information and units in the List Builder tab.

Enjoy!

Urgent update to the update

I have wonderful news for you!

First, I messed up. How is this wonderful? I have corrected it. Please IMMEDIATELY DELETE Roster Builder 6.0.3 if you have it, as it will give you the wrong BV value for all pilots other than 4/5.

Second, I finally figured out how to perform verification for the C3 networks. It will not let you know up top if you have an acceptable or unacceptable C3/C3i/Boosted C3 networks. Due to certain constraints, I had to cut the available Boosted C3 networks from 3 to 2, but I'm sure 99% of you won't notice.

Battletech Roster Builder Version 6.1

URGENT UPDATE!

If you are using my Battletech Roster Builder 6.0.2 or earlier, DISCONTINUE USE IMMEDIATELY! It is using an old BV Skills Multiplier Table, so if you are using anything other than a 4/5 pilot, your points are WRONG! I sincerely apologize for this. Please download 6.0.3 now!

Roster Builder 6 is here!

Okay Ladies, Gentlemen and Gamers!

After several months of hard work and the help of some friends and acquaintences, I have FINALLY decided to put BattleTech Roster Builder 6.0 on line and ready for general consumption. Here it is. This is a ZIP file that has the sheet and a new feature, DOCUMENTATION!

I have also added a bunch new features, like how the spreadsheet automatically renames the Battalion tabs, I sped up the process by cleaning up the back end and lots more.

Questions, comments and cash may be directed to my name at this domain.

Huzzah! New batreps!

Okay, I managed to finally complete the two battle reports that have been in my queue for a while. See them below, The Long Way and Get The Centurion!

Revamping

I have been working behind the scenes to rearrange and upgrade things. I have added new articles, rewrote other articles and added lots of pictures. I am also not done yet. More articles, pictures and rewrites are coming down the road, as I do them in my copius free time. If you notice, there are now four sections under the banner. I have decided to separate scenarios and campaigns we develop into their own section.

Enjoy!

An Open Letter to Harmony Gold

Dear Harmony Gold,

So you have reared your ugly, spiteful, malicious head yet again, to "protect" Intellectual Property that quite frankly, should be on the verge of becoming public domain. Because you waited until Harebrained Schemes got their Battletech game into beta testing before asserting your IP lawsuit, it is apparent that you waited for a timing that would cause the most damage to the project. Your demands at this stage puts HBS into into the difficult choice of either paying your extortion, or conducting a major rewrite of the software so as not to infringe on your IP. Either of these choices could force the abandonment of the entire project, thus leaving in the lurch thousands of Battletech fans, deepening their already bottomless hatred of your company.

I have decided to proudly display my collection of Unseen Mechs, most of which I have had since the 1980's. I have also decided to suggest that you take that lawsuit, carefully fold it until it is nothing but sharp corners, then forcefully shove it through and past your rectum and don't stop until it reaches about about halfway through your large intestine. I have a broom handle I am willing to send you as a tool to help you reach that goal.

Sincerely, go screw yourselves.

myunseens

New games

Friends,

I had a long-time friend pass away unexpectedly several days ago. I drove the 600+ miles up there to comfort his family and give my final farewells to him.

His family gave me a couple of boxes of his games, because he was (and I am) a big strategy game fan. I have not checked these for completeness yet, once you see the list you'll see why. I have links for all games to BoardGameGeek so you can see exactly what the game is and all that. Let me know if you are interested to buy a game. One marked as such is for sale, the others negotiable. All proceeds will go to his widow. If anyone else would be interested in playing them, please let me know.

Here they are, by publisher:

3M

Stocks & Bonds
Venture

Avalon Hill

Panzer Armee Afrika
Up Front
G.I. Anvil of Victory (SL gamette)
Luftwaffe
Wooden Ships and Iron Men (for sale, I have a copy already)
Submarine

Ideal

The Generals (electronic Stratego) Unknown if it works.

Parker Brothers

Masterpiece
Dogfight
Pit

Whitman

Dark Shadows

Yaquinto Publications

Battles & Leaders (ACW)

All it takes...

My roster builder spreadsheet is a complex creature, developed over several years, occasionally finding mistakes and frequently adding functionality. Sometimes the "adding functionality" actually "adds mistakes."

In developing a force the other day that had C3 and non-C3 units, I discovered that the C3 bonus was being added to units not partaking of the C3 network. That formula has now been fixed and thus version 5.0.1 now awaits your downloading pleasure.

Mark's Roster Builder

A new direction

I have become weary of the 2D6 method to determine if a weapon hit the target. In my copious free time, I am going to attempt to correct this.

THIS WILL BE A FAN-DEVELOPED SYSTEM ONLY.

I HAVE NO SUPPORT OR PERMISSION FROM FANPRO/FASA/WIZKIDS/CATALYST OR ANYBODY ELSE TO DO THIS.

If you look at the 2D6 distribution below, you can see the radically disproportionate drop in the percentage to hit in the 5-6-7-8-9 region. In a linear distribution, the 4-5-6-7 (the middle of the 1D10 curve) the percentage of drop across these four numbers is 30%. Whereas, the 5-6-7-8-9 spread (this is five numbers due to the odd number of possible rolls), the drop in percentage to hit is 55.5%.

To roll % Chance + % Change To roll % Chance + % Change
2 100% 1 100%
3 97.2% 2.8% 2 90% 10.0%
4 91.7% 5.6% 3 80% 10.0%
5 83.3% 8.3% 4 70% 10.0%
6 72.2% 11.1% 5 60% 10.0%
7 58.3% 13.9% 6 50% 10.0%
8 41.7% 16.7% 7 40% 10.0%
9 27.8% 13.9% 8 30% 10.0%
10 16.7% 11.1% 9 20% 10.0%
11 8.3% 8.3% 10 (0) 10% 10.0%
12 2.8% 5.6%

 

I am not going to change the entire system to D10 because for falls, etc. being a hex-based game, you need a D6. For hit locations, the biggest part of the unit is the center torso, so again the distribution curve of 2D6 is more realistic to this part than a linear D10.

I realize that the gunnery multiplier table to adjust BV based on gunnery may have to be changed. It may also involve the movement modifier table will have some changes to it. I will have to see. I know this will not be an easy undertaking.

Once I have successfully tackled the hit percentage/gunnery issue, I will use that knowledge and experience to take a hard look at the piloting rolls.

The New Hotness

Okay, so I got to messing around with the Battletech Roster Builder spreadsheet and decided to add some more features. The bad news is, I had to start using Macros. As long as this is the only place you get my spreadsheet, you can be reasonably sure the macros contain no malicious code.

So the new features are:

  • You can now field five Units per line item. This means you can use one line item to field up to an entire star of units.
  • Event Macros on the four Battalion tabs that will automatically rename the tab to the Battalion name. So if you put "Erandi Light Horse" into the Battalion name on one of the Battalion tabs, the tab will rename itself "Erandi Light Horse TO&E."
  • Button Macros on the List builder tab. You can sort your list by tonnage then Name, Tonnage and Battalion, Tonnage and Type of Unit (infantry, Vehicle, Battlemech, etc.), by the Type of unit only, and most importantly, Clear All Pilots. This will wipe all of the Pilot Gunnery/Piloting, If C3 is active and any external ordinance (in case of Aerospace) for all Unit groups. My contact email is in the spreadsheet if you want to suggest other sorting methods.
  • On the Print Roster, if you had multiple units from one line item, they would appear in different parts of the list. So with a lot of restructuring of cells, I got everyone together and in order.

Here is the link to the article.

Keep trying

On all of the wargaming forums and FB pages I frequent, I see one thread occur over and over again: I suck at painting my miniatures.

When I started painting, my miniatures sucked as well. My first wargaming tournament was at MidSouthCon 22. It was a 1750 point Warhammer 40K tournament and I ended up (I think) with Best General. There were four of us in the tournament, and two were teenagers. I had painted my force in 3 weeks because I spray painted them on the sprue, then clipped them out and assembled them. I used the Citadel Ultramarine Blue (as it was an Ultramarine force). What made the job REALLY bad was that I used to paint-pot (dip your brush in) Ultramarine Blue to touch up where the sprues were attached. They weren't the same color. The paint-pot was several shades darker.

In the years since, I have become a lot better. I can now paint to a "tabletop" standard, which means if you look at my models at arms length they look realistic. I am not the kind of person who wants to devote the time to paint models that look like they will walk off their bases and I am okay with that.

For those of you who think you suck at painting, and will always suck at painting, watch this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbC4gqZGPSY

 

In the works

In my "copious free time" lately, I have been working on a project. In the commission of that project, I saw a need and now have put the first project on hold until I can complete the second project. Both projects will be revealed at the appropriate time, but here is a proof of concept for the second project:

POC 15

Stand up!

Okay, I don't do posts on political, social or activist subjects. I have a whole 'nother blog for that.

But this one is about gaming, by no less than Randall Bills, the main creative driving force at Catalyst Game Labs, the current source for all things Battletech.

Here's what he has to say: I'm standing up.

I love gaming, be it board gaming or miniatures gaming. I personally don't get into RPG's or console gaming at all, and PC gaming very little. If you do, it doesn't hurt or bother me if you do. You are just as much a gamer as I am.

Gaming is a social instrument that is supposed to bring people together for an enjoyable encounter with other like-minded people. No one should have to put up with harassment of any kind, especially sexual harassment because the other gamer is female.

If you want to see my best Gunnery Sergeant Hartman impression, sexually harass a woman, belittle or just pick on someone in or near my presence. I will be on you like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat.

gs hartman

I promise you, it will take a proctologist and two surgeons to get my foot out of your ass. I have a zero tolerance for things that are not right. Saying someone is "not a real gamer" because they don't game how you game, or being disrespectful to another person, especially one of those rare lady gamers is not right and I will seriously harsh your groove if I see you doing so.

Try me. You will be found wanting.

A Mini-Redesign

No, I'm not dead yet, just very busy with life and other issues. I have had very little time for miniature gaming and zero time to paint my miniatures.

If you take a look a bit lower, you will see that I have introduced new modules to the page.

I have redesigned the module where I have my batreps, all 4 of them, and added "Ouchies Batreps" in another module underneath mine.

My good friend Anthony has been videotaping his games of Battletech, Flames of War and other tabletop miniature games he plays. He then takes the video home, speeds up the video and does voice over work. He started off like a golf announcer, very quiet and sedate because he didn't want to upset his family by being too loud or boisterous. He then started waiting until he was alone because his wife took the kid out and he turned into the Spanish Soccer Announcer From Hell! His commentary is engaging and entertaining at the same time. At this point he has published 76 batreps on YouTube, 41 of which I have below. These are all of his Battletech batreps, plus two Axis & Allies: War at Sea games we played.

Please enjoy them!

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