Monday, April 25, 2011

Battle Tech

Battle Tech Getting a Campaign going and What to Do Once We Get There

So we are apparently going to be doing a battletech league game this summer. I like the game enough to do this for sure. After this, when traffic has calmed down, I’ll be spending money at Kinko’s and printing out some maps and tokens for use with Btech. From somewhere I will be ordering another map set. I already have the 25th anniversary boxed set, and a copy of total warfare on the way which has all sorts of additional rules for our fine fun little game. I think we are all going to be playing unusually well armed periphery powers in the year 3039 just before the clan invations. What this means is that we will be limited in, mech design options and weaponry. This is something I am okay with. The other thing is that most of my players don’t have access to the game background like I do. If they did everyone would want to play a clan, and I am seriously down with running a clan leauge sometime in the future. But all the houses, the star league, and other stuff well I am having a hard time keeping it all straight and just telling my players to pick a house and off we go just isn’t going to work. So we are going to be periphery powers fighting over the resources in this certain very useful solar system. What I think will happen is that we will all either pick or design a flagship mech which is what our personal charecters will drive (mine is the king crab!) and then we will determine the rest of the forces randomly as per the rules in total warefare.

That is the thing about this game. It doesn’t do balance. It tries, it may pretend. But it really doesn’t. Like if you were to put up a Banshee against an Atlas the Banshee is going to pretty much gaurnteed loose. And yet they are in the same wieght class and they are near each other in build point values. In the random force organization rules these could be pitted against each other and that means you are just going to have to hope for some miricles. In this way the game is pretty much a direct throwback to an earlier time when games weren’t all clinical and about “fairness”. When someone was explaining Battletech to me over a forum it was explained that it simulateds a war. This is as in an actual for real war. This means that a single lucky shot can eliminate one of your mechs, or that you will be pitted against overwhelming forces, or that things will shake out in such a way that isn’t entirely fair. These things all happen in the game and it is more about playing the game rather than putting two equal forces across from each other and moving them around until one side or the other is dead. I gotta say that I approve of this message. I’ve played a lot of minature games, including the MechWarrior clix varient put out by wiz kids games and none of them have managed to capture the actual feel of battletech. Your mechs are able to take incredible amounts of damage before being finally put down and while sometimes cover is vital, other times you can just freely stalk out into the open and let they try and take you down. Even the mighty assaultmechs require a turn or two of concentrated fire before they are able to bring down a lowly medium mech. Sure it may be demoralizing coloring in 20 circles because an atlas just slugged you with an auto cannon hit but then when you realize that your mech is still standing and ready to fight? It is a pretty awesome feeling. The clix game failed at trying to capture this feeling. It tried very hard both as it tried to replicate the invincibility of superman and in its MechWarrior clix line and it didn’t suceed. Watching an Atlas just wade through medium mechs, or an Awesome still kicking even after both of its arms have been blown off is an impressive sight.

The lack of blanance is part of the game’s charm. Although getting a campaign set up becomes a bit of a chore. In a normal game like Gorkamorka or Bloodbowl we just agree on a team size get some figures and start fighting, keeping track of our wins and losses as we go. Knowing where and how to start in Battletech is a little bit different though. Fortunatly, the incoming total warfare book will help out with this as I will be able to ascertain what our force totals will be, what sort of mechs we have, and what sort of support we can expect.

The lack of balance leads to another interesting part of the game. Some mechs just suck. Like the Banshee which I actually want to use in a game now just to see what I can make it do. Some of the mechs are terrible. Not only are these mechs terrible but the game fluff will straight up tell you that the mechs are terrible. When you roll on the random force generation chart you will get certain results and you will know that you are being saddled with a piece of crap. Every game has these units. Little abortions in the play testing process or what have you. I don’t know how it happens. We could all make compacts to not use the crap mechs or something like that but I don’t want to and I don’t wanna play with people who would want to do that. I mean winning the game is easy. Jam as many rapid fire weapons as you can on some mechs and go for critcal hits. The more dice you roll the more chance you have of a head shot or a critical chest shot. Things like this are easy but boring. Playing with a group of disorganized miscreants is both fun and exciting and something I am HIGHLY looking forwards to.

We will have the secondary problem of getting moar minatures. I am okay with some proxying and substiutions but eventually someone else is going to have to pony up the cash for another boxed set or a butt ton of metal minatures. I’m betting it will be a boxed set though. For 50 bucks you get a lot of value, just out of the figures and map segments alone. Assuming the other person comes regularly we shouldn’t need more than 2 boxed sets. I am kinda hoping that catylist will let people buy just a bag full of the plastic figures but I think if that happens Iron Wind Metals will not be to happy. So hopefully someone will go for it and buy another one. Otherwise I am not sure how this is going to work. But I am sure as hell not making concession in my force just because we need two atlus’ and I only have one. I know where that Atlus is going. Still I don’t really see it being to much of a problem.

I am excited for all this but for now I am going to be moving on.

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