News from the Front #5 – Lance-level Battletech action

Ahh, finally a game of Battletech. So this post is probably going to be laden with hyperlinks as to explain everything will likely detract from the story of the fight – it would also make this post stupidly epic!  Because of this and me using solo-gaming mechanics, I’ll be writing an “After Thoughts” post at some point. If you want an idea on some of the key basics of Battletech then see my post in Left of Arc. Other things to note was that I used a form of HBS’s Battletechgame initiative order, whereby the lighter mechs go first. I didn’t, however, use the Reserving system as I had enough to manage already. I also didn’t have the right models for the mechs I’d chosen, so there was a prolific use of proxies. And apologies for the poor picture quality.

The scenario – 2 roughly weight-balanced lances of 4 mechs have at each other in a fight for 2 outposts (red dots on the images). The Blue team (denoted by the green mechs) has a balanced mindset and opted for a general attack, throwing heavier mechs at the first outpost and flanking the lighter ones. The Yellow team (denoted by the desert brown mechs) are more aggressive but opted for a counter-attack approach – heavier mechs trundling slowly to the closest outpost and rapidly flanking the lighter ones. The objective for each team was to capture the outposts and to withdraw when they lost a certain number of mechs.

Blue Team (Withdraw at 50% loss) (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4)
– 40t Chimera CMA-1S
– 55t Bushwacker BSW-X12 (Inner Sphere custom which replaces the ER Large Laser and Machine Guns for 2 Med Lasers, a TAG and a Variable Range System)
– 60t Dragon DRG-5NA (Inner Sphere custom with a UAC/5, 2 Med Lasers, 2 ER Med Lasers and a LRM10)
– 80t Victor VTR-C

Yellow Team (Withdraw at 75% loss) (Gunnery 3, Piloting 4)
– 45t Vindicator VND-4L
– 50t Enfield END-6Q
– 60t Argus AGS-4D2 (Inner Sphere custom that replaces the Machine Gun and 2 ER Med Laser with an AC/2, 2 Med Lasers and a TAG)
– 95t Hauptmann HA1-O

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
Starting positions, with the Penguin Overlord keeping a vigilant watch.

Turn 1 – The opening salvos really set the tone for the battle, and mainly because I had initially forgotten about heat dissipation! I started with alpha-striking the Vindicator, one of the hottest mechs on the table and nearly shutting it down on the process, against the Chimera. At the time I felt like a doofus but in retrospect this is probably what an aggressive pilot would have done. It didn’t kill it out-right but opened up the armour so that the Argus could hammer home and explode the machine gun magazine, annihilating the poor Chimera and its pilot before it even got to do anything. From the off the Blues were on the back foot, especially when the Victor pilot slipped on seaweed and fell on his arse.

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
It’s not a pretty sight from the Blue’s perspective, especially when part of that perspective is submerged under water!

Turn 2 – With the Chimera down and Blues taking a battering so early, I decided that they would probably rethink their strategy. So I rolled for a change in tactics and the result was that Blue would advance to close quarters. This saw the Bushwacker look to gun down the Enfield and the Dragon go ape-shit on the Argus. What could have really helped the Blues was a clean kill but cocked dice saved the Enfield from a double head-shot. Instead, the re-roll had the Medium Laser melt into the Enfield’s right leg.

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
The Vindicator backed off to cool down after his Alpha Strike, leaving the Enfield to soak up the Bushwacker’s onslaught.

Turn 3 – With the Vindicator cooled off, Yellow team moved to block Blues advance. The Hauptmann made an impression on the Victor after scoring a number of solid hits. The Argus pilot was starting to feel a little deaf as he hadn’t released the Rotary AC/5 trigger and was spraying rounds every which way. The most excitement of the Turn came when the Bushwacker gave the Enfield a left hook. It didn’t amount to a whole lot but it was fun!

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
Getting close and personal – the Bushwacker uses its LRM laden arm for a hook and fires away with its AC/10. The Dragon lines up for something beautiful!

Turn 4 – This was a brutal turn. The Dragon pilot, still reeling from the loss of his colleague to the Argus’ torrent of AC fire, hiduken’d him and messed up the right torso. The Dragon enjoyed its success for all of 3 seconds until both the Hauptmann and the Argus poured all manner of death into him. The Hauptmann scored a killing headshot with an LB 20-X AC solid shot. Ain’t nobody walking away from that. The were headshots for everyone though as the Victor planted a Gauss Rifle round into the Vindicator. If the LB 20-X AC is a 200mm shotgun, the Gauss Rifle is a super size magnetic sniper rifle. The Bushwacker managed to get into a decent position but balls-up every shot, whereas a torso-twisted Enfield did a number on his right torso.

The “beautiful” charge turns out to be suicidal and very much unsuccessful. If only Blue team was Japanese…

Turn 5 – Blue team, having lost 2 mechs, had reached their withdraw criteria but I felt that a simple surrender would be too easy. Time for a fighting withdrawal, especially considering the Yellow had just decided to press their attack. The Bushwacker was making like Usain Bolt down the right flank whilst the more resilient Victor bunny hopped and provided cover fire. However, seeing the Bushwacker making a run for it, the Enfield and Argus did what they could to slow it down. Finally, the Argus’ trigger happy spree came to end when he jammed the gun! Considering the Bushwacker was showing his arse to them it was surprising they didn’t do more damage.

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
Blue team running like buggery with Yellow team doing their best to keep up. Seemingly the pre-battle banter from the Blues was just too much for the Yellows to forgive.

Turn 6 – A short turn here. The Bushwacker had managed to put some cover between it and everyone else making the Victor the best target going. To which the Hauptmann and Argus were more than happy to shoot at. This was the end of the Victor, despite his best efforts to make it off the battlefield, as the Hauptmann laid the fatal blow on the exposed center torso.

News from the Front #5 - Lance-level Battletech Action
And the Bushwacker runs off to mommy. Hopefully Blue team (whoever they are) will fair better next time!

Results –
Blues lost 3 mechs and 2 pilots, Yellows lost 1 mech and pilot but secured both objectives.

Awards –
“Disproportionate Carnage” goes to – the Argus pilot – for the sheer amount of RAC/5 rounds fired.
“AWOL” goes to – the Chimera pilot – for not even making it to the end of Turn 1
“No Wasted Effort” goes to – the Victor pilot – for a one-shot-one-kill

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