Missed it by that much

on 05.11.2017
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I played a teaching game with my friend Robert.

My friend Robert, whom I have played 40K with some years ago, expressed an interest in relearning Battletech. So, I did the only thing I could in such a case, which was to invite him to come up from Tupelo to Memphis and I would be all too glad to help him reacquire his knowledge in the game. I wasn't with him when he created his list, so he didn't realize that getting away from 4/5 pilots can drastically affect the final BV of a unit. I also found out by double-checking his list after the battle that I was using an old BV Skill Multiplyer Table. So, my points were off as well.

In the immortal words of Agent 86,

missed it

You'll see why in a moment.

We agreed to a build total of 15,000 points. Robert was reusing a list he used against a friend of his earlier in the week as they fumbled through the rules on their own, to some big mistakes. I had just acquired a couple of new pieces (War Dog and Heavy LRM carriers) and was on a mission to see how well they fit my play style. Because of the slow speed of the Heavy LRM carriers (2/3) I knew I was going to have to use them with the Indirect LRM Fire rules until they could get a clear field of fire.

For all pictures, click on them for full-sized in a new window.

Mark Robert (His list, my 'Mechs for this picture)
 mark sm  mibtm robert sm

Archer -2K (3/5)

Awesome -9Q (3/5)

Heavy LRM Carrier (3/5) x2

Hollander -F3 (3/4)

Locust -5M3 (4/5) x2

Marauder -5T (3/5)

War Dog -02FC (4/5)

Warhammer -4L (4/5)

Total, 15,830 points

Assassin -101 (4/4)

Battlemaster C (1/6)

Catapult -K4 (2/2)

Enforcer III -6T (4/6)

Hunchback -7S (2/5)

Jagermech -F (3/6)

Mad Cat IV Prime (2/2)

Spider -7KC (3/6)

Total, 24,506 points

You did not read that wrong, I was almost 6% over budget and he had 55% more points than I did. I consider Robert to be a brother and a man of great integrity. I am sure this happened through a simple lack of knowledge and experience. I know him well enough to know there is no other explaination.

Turn 1: As in all Battletech games, forces are moving off the edge of the board and vying for good position and firing arcs. Robert set his Battlemaster C (with a HAG-30 and a 1/6 pilot) in the best position of the board. He was in light woods, with heavy woods in front of him and a pretty much unobstructed field of fire. To close with him would be like charging a machinegun nest.

mibth eot 1 smMy battle plans were to send the Locusts up to spot for the LRM Carriers and Archer on their flanks. The War Dog was going to my left flank, to keep raiders off the Archer and the Hollander, Awesome, Warhammer and Marauder were the central force, able to go in any direction as needed.

Turn 2, The Hunchback (with a Supercharger) decides to fire that puppy up and boost his speed (the importance of this is for next turn). The only shot for the turn was Robert's Enforcer III at my Locust. Initially Robert wasn't going to take the shot, needing a 12 to hit and only having 16 shots, but I said, "You can shoot every turn in this game and not run out of ammo."

mibtm 2 dl 1 sm
Robert rolled a 12.

mibtm 2 dl 2 sm
My CT armor and structure
just equalled the damage
dealt by his gauss rifle.

mibtm 2 dl 3 sm
Result: Locust, dead by one shot.

I imagined the Locust looking down at the large hole that suddenly appeared in his torso and right before he collapsed, looking back up at the Enforcer and saying, "Dude. You, like, shot me!"

mibth eot 2 sm

Turn 3. Robert ran his Assassin up against a level 1 hill, in short range of the Awesome. The Awesome convinced the Assassin of the inadviseability of such kind of actions by hitting him with 4 PPC's to the torsos. Robert's Battlemaster paid the Awesome back with his HAG30, knocking him down. My core split, Marauder moving right, the Warhammer and Hollander left. The remaining Locust tried to get behind the Mad Cat, but did an Agent 86 and "missed it by that much." I was hoping he could remain upright for a kick, but Locusts don't stand up too well to a Mad Cat's at point blank range. While one of the PPC's hit, it was the multiple Streak SRM-6 hits that tore him up and knocked him over. The Hunchback decided to run that Supercharger again. sssssssSSSSSSSS[CLUNK]BBBBBRRRRRrrrrrrr...... He put himself into Forced Withdrawal by giving himself two engine hits. However the Hunchback got into a position to give one of the LRM Carriers a semi-bad day. The Jagermech advanced and gave what-for to the Hollander with his RAC-5's.

Never mind the Mobile HQ that appeared, he's there for show as I painted him at the same time as the Heavy LRM Carriers.

mibtm eot 3 smTurn 4. Right off the bat, the last Locust gets shot to death by the Mad Cat. The Assassin tries to back up and is likewise cored by the Awesome. And, like last turn, the Awesome gets a face full of HAG30. The hits knock him down (again) and puts him into Forced Withdrawal. The Hunchback is backing up, firing all the way. The Spider runs up on the LRM carriers and with the help of the Enforcer III kills one of them. The Jagermech continues to use his RAC5's to turn the Hollander into a Collander, blowing the left torso off and reducing the left leg down to a single structure point.

mibtm eot 4 smIt was at that point the game was called for time and inevitability. My dead consisted of both Locusts and an LRM Carrier, with my Awesome and Hollander in forced withdrawal. Robert's losses consisted of the dead Assassin and the Hunchback in FW.

Robert's tactics and play was almost flawless. This would have been a lot worse (for me) if Robert had rolled slightly better because he missed a bunch of easy shots. He had a solid firebase (Battlemaster) with light harassing flankers making excellent use of terrain and cover to kill the LRM carriers and his heavy hitters on his right flank.

On the other side, I played well under my ability. I was so focused on making sure Robert had a solid grasp of the flow and rules of the game and how to quickly figure to-hit numbers, I wasn't paying that much attention to my tactics. I didn't position my units very well, so I got off about half the shots I should have. Also, games like this are not the time to try new units and/or tactics.

Lessons learned. From here on out, only use Heavy LRM carriers where they can be infiltrated, or make sure the terrain has a clear killing field for them. Indirect LRM file sucks, big time. I am ambivalent on the War Dog. He is a brawler with a Gauss Rifle. The Hollander might see play again, however it seems to be a one-trick pony which doesn't fit well into my play style.

In a month or two, I am planning on a rematch with Robert when our schedules and logistics mesh again. I have promised him for our next meeting, "You will be seeing an optimized list set to Maximum Mayhem and I won't be in Tutorial mode."

Let's see what happens.

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