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Made in us
Cabin Zombie






I was running a Clan Puma in my first learning game here the other day. Pair of PPCs generating 30 heat a turn, but the sinks only dissipate 22. I rather liked the deciding when I needed to give em both barrels and when to conserve.

 
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

Yeah... the Puma is a weird little thing. Lots of fun other configs as well.

But good to learn about heat now rather than later. Don't be afraid of heat. Ending your turn with heat isn't the end of the world (as long as it's not "I may explode!" levels of heat, that is).

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Solahma






RVA

Someone more knowledgable than I ought to write an article for miniatures gamers called “Battletech: What Am I Doing Wrong?”

I was really perplexed by CBT at first. Something seemed to be wrong with the game — or me? How could this game, with all of its cool aspects, feel so boring to play? I did some research and, although (as I just said) it would take someone more knowledgable than me to really address the issue, here is my impoverished attempt.

To begin with, we have to consider the Atlantic divide. On the US side of the pond, gamers tended to focus on wargaming in the tradition of Kriegspiel; that is to say, simulating military reality. By contrast, the British tended to focus on what we might nowadays call generating narrative. Materially, this divide manifested in designs built around the “hex and counter” format by Americans and in designs built around miniatures by the British.

Even D&D, in its American origins, was strongly flavored early on by simulationist/hex and counter assumptions. But that is a whole other topic and we’ll skip the decade between the “woodgrain box” days of D&D and Battledroids. Suffice it to say, by 1984, roleplaying had become just as impactful on the American design scene as “formal“ hex and counter wargames. Battledroids was the embodiment of these two elements re-colliding.

So, first, the superficial hex and counter elements of Battletech are still obvious on the commercial face of the game today. There are, of course, hex maps included with the game, just like with Battledroids thirty seven years ago. And the hexes have “stacking” limits, etc, etc. For some reason, miniatures gamers who come to CBT tend to overlook this. The (only somewhat) less obvious element is the heavy emphasis on simulationism. One of the most fundamental drivers of fun with CBT is “seeing what happens” when one aims such-and-such weapons systems at such-and-such chassis at such-and-such range.

Second, there’s the roleplaying element. Listen to CBT vets talk about their experiences over the decades and you will start to notice they are not talking about a player-versus-player concept, like in WHFB or 40k. Instead, they talk about running campaigns for their players as game masters. This is really puzzling to the uninitiated because, unlike reading through D&D starter set materials, this isn’t exactly spelled out by the CBT rules. In fact, if you didn’t know to look for it, you could be forgiven for never discovering it. One reason for this is, when we think about RPGs, we tend to look for characters. Again, here’s where you have to listen to CBT vets to figure things out. The mechs themselves, or rather the mech designs, end up being the CBT equivalent of RPG PCs.

And now you can understand why so much ink has been spilled on mech construction rules over the years! Not only is it the way CBT as a roleplaying game, rather than a miniatures game, handles “making characters” but it’s also the way that CBT, as wargame rather than a miniatures game, handles simulation. The overarching point that you, dear reader, should have noticed by now is that Battletech is NOT a miniatures game.What it actually is, is a hybrid wargame/RPG. It’s much more in line with early TSR (= Tactical Studies Rules) than GW.

I think this is the most important factor in many miniatures gamers finding themselves frustrated and disappointed with CBT. It’s not just that we are “doing it wrong” — more fundamentally, we’re looking at it the wrong way.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/18 04:51:07


   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

Maybe we're not looking at it the wrong way, and we're simply not into agonizingly slow Roll-and-Writes? I think Easy E's first impression is accurate.

I also think Sudokus, Crosswords, and Yahtzee are popular for a reason, and that Battletech is the giant robot game for people that like math and puzzles. That's not me. May not be Easy E. But certainly H.B.M.C and others.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/18 14:22:10


   
Made in us
[MOD]
Solahma






RVA

No doubt some people just won’t enjoy CBT no matter how they approach it.

But people will have the best chance of enjoying CBT if they accurately understand what kind of game it is.

   
Made in ca
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax


Not mine, but not bad...

   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps






I mean, I've played Starfleet Battles and ASL... Battletech is positively basic
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

I'm hoping to play my first games of BT this summer with a local gaming group, and maybe even get some people around me to play Mech Attack- it's an indie mech game favorite of mine that plays like a super-casual Battletech. More akin to the quick-feel of Alpha Strike, but it has some quick and basic mech construction that makes mechs "feel" different, and weapons all have different sorts of damage profiles that punch different shapes of damage into the grid of boxes that represent a mechs armor, kind of like an abstract Crimson Skies (or I've heard Renegade Legion) damage system.

Battletech has a sweet way of representing small-scale mech combat in a very in-depth way, but sometimes I just want to see two sides of 4-6 mechs each smash each other in a game lasting 45 minutes, maybe even with vehicles involved. Battletech seems more like a full afternoon commitment, especially at a Lance or more per side, which is hard if my only games are going to be on the way home from work, meeting up at a local store.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/19 01:30:30




"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in us
Abel





Washington State

 AegisGrimm wrote:
I'm hoping to play my first games of BT this summer with a local gaming group, and maybe even get some people around me to play Mech Attack- it's an indie mech game favorite of mine that plays like a super-casual Battletech. More akin to the quick-feel of Alpha Strike, but it has some quick and basic mech construction that makes mechs "feel" different, and weapons all have different sorts of damage profiles that punch different shapes of damage into the grid of boxes that represent a mechs armor, kind of like an abstract Crimson Skies (or I've heard Renegade Legion) damage system.

Battletech has a sweet way of representing small-scale mech combat in a very in-depth way, but sometimes I just want to see two sides of 4-6 mechs each smash each other in a game lasting 45 minutes, maybe even with vehicles involved. Battletech seems more like a full afternoon commitment, especially at a Lance or more per side, which is hard if my only games are going to be on the way home from work, meeting up at a local store.



Look into Alphastrike- it's a more "simplified" combat system designed for multiple mechs on the table. It's not as granular as Battletech, but still gives you some of the flavor. You can easily do multiple lances in a couple hours. I really like it. Much more fluid and dynamic.

Kara Sloan shoots through Time and Design Space for a Negative Play Experience  
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

I like the concept of Alpha Strike, but some of it seems overly bland to me. Like how an entire mech's ranged attacks on a target ends up just being translated into some marked off armor/structural dots.

In Mech Attack, every weapon does a different amount of damage, allowing holes to be blasted in the abstract representation of the target's overall armor that can be exploited by other later hits if they land in the "holes", getting nearer to being Critical Hits. and rather than just "pushing" for a level of heat like in Alpha Strike, each weapon adds a slightly different amount of heat.

And rather than just being able to "push" to gain heat for extra damage in Alpha Strike, Mech Attack has everything a mech does adding heat, from move/run, to weapons adding slightly differing levels of heat that a mech has to get rid of at the end of the turn or suffer various heat effects. So you have to keep track of firing too many individual weapons for your mech's ability to vent.

It kind of feels like a nice medium between Classic and Alpha Strike in granularity.



"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in ca
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

Do you happen to have a link to the Mech Attack rules?

   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

It's on Wargame Vault. https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/3148/Armor-Grid-Games-and-Miniatures

It was originally meant for the included 2.5D papercraft mechs and vehicles, which are cool for what they are, but I prefer real minis instead. It's never going to beat the granularity of Battletech, or be "the most amazing game ever", but does the job really nicely of simulating Battletech in a very speedy beer and pretzels form. I know one of the Dakka forum members that runs the Chicago Skirmish Wargames blog plays it at conventions scaled up to use 28mm-scaled infantry and vehicle models and mech toys.



"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

Thank you! It's always interesting to see what people are into.

Edit: Also, this looks very much like a set of rules someone made to port the Centurion armour blocks into Battletech, but simplified.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/21 13:23:30


   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

One more vote for Mech Attack. I positively love the rules and have used them for years in N Scale with Rebased Mechwarrior clix figs and in 25/28mm for massive convention mech battles.

Lots of Mech Attack battles chronicles here:
https://www.chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/?s=mech+attack

I think that Alpha Strike and Mech Attack are actually quite complimentary. When you want a larger scope battle Alpha strike works quite well. When you want a lance vs a lance in an hour or so that is fast-moving but just granular enough Mech Attack is the way to go.

It is similar to the Centurian damage grid. It's really quite ingenious the way it streamlines mech damage while still feeling "right" in the way it differentiates the damage between different types of mechs.

For those -like myself- who adore the Battletech setting and tech but can't stomach the actual CBT rules, Mech Attack really steps in nicely.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/22 22:14:17


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
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Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

I do kinda wonder what would happen if I went into 40k threads and starting telling everyone to go and play alternate rules...

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

 H.B.M.C. wrote:
I do kinda wonder what would happen if I went into 40k threads and starting telling everyone to go and play alternate rules...

Sorry about that.

Just trying to give folks an option that can keep them planted firmly in the Battletech universe/art/lore/miniatures...

... if they've lost their taste for 1980's rules.

Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad!
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Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

I also apologise. My post was dramatically passive aggressive.

It is weird to have a BTech thread that talks about playing other games though.

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

And I as well. It meandered a bit off topic, but don't know if it's all that different than when people mention Alpha Strike in a Battletech thread. Both AS and Mech Attack are about equally removed from Classic, when comparing the hyper-detailing of Classic to something more streamlined for the sake of speed/amount of models. I was just mentioning that not only was I also enthusiastic to get in a few games of Classic with a new group this summer, but also making a side note of a quicker, beer-and-pretzels way of getting my mechs on the table in the same universe, and then it kind of snowballed.

No different than someone mentioning in a 40K thread that they also REALLY like playing the same fluffy forces people are talking about, but in Epic. But sometimes better held in Private Messages, rather than clogging up a thread.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/06/25 03:09:13




"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

I guess the divide between BattleTech and Alpha Strike is a bit like the divide between grognard #3025foreva types and the rest of people just playing BattleTech (only less silly).

I get that it's a (far) simpler game, and it therefore allows for faster play with large units. I don't like talking about Alpha Strike because I feel it takes the 'BattleTech' out of BattleTech, abstracting things to such a degree that it no longer feels like my Kodiak is beating your Atlas' head in, and vice versa. But I wouldn't want to stop anyone from talking about it. It's just not my thing.

I don't want to become the #3025foreva grognard who screams about anything other than Introtech BTech isn't proper and should be erased from the timeline, only for Alpha Strike.

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

 H.B.M.C. wrote:
I also apologise. My post was dramatically passive aggressive.

It is weird to have a BTech thread that talks about playing other games though.

No worries. I was snarky too. All among friends.

I'm not concerned generally about thread drift unless the OP raises objections. I'm biased though as I tend to see the lines between miniature wargames rules, minis and settings as quite fluid. I'm all about mixing to taste. For example, something I've done a few times is a scenario pulled from a CBT supplement (I have an unreasonably large CBT Library) played with rebased Mechwarrior clix, using Mech Attack rules.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/25 12:22:06


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad!
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Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

It's kind of cool to have different options to play with your miniatures though, and to have a community that's generally more open to that.

   
Made in us
[MOD]
Solahma






RVA

This is a site about miniatures gaming so there are bound to be some suggestions about how to use BT minis to play, ya know, an actual miniatures game (rather than CBT). I think the main thing to avoid is sweeping statements about how CBT is “clunky” or “outdated” etc, etc when it seems that way, to the people saying so, because they aren’t getting what they are looking for from the game. This is a problem with their expectations; not a problem with CBT.

   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

CBT cannot fail, it can only be failed.

I'm kidding: there's a game for everyone.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/25 18:02:04


   
Made in us
[MOD]
Solahma






RVA

Sure, and let’s not confuse limitations or, to use a better concept, perspective with failure.

What I mean by “perspective” is the aesthetic sensibility that a rule set is built around. For CBT, it’s detail-driven simulation. This perspective has some pretty clear limitations. For example, I think we can all agree that CBT is probably not the best rule set if what you really want is a game with dozens of units fighting.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/25 18:33:21


   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

I think historical context is a much better measure for understanding CBT's origin while it's setting explains it's longevity.

It came out in 1984. Detailed hex-based wargames were the norm. People were playing Star Fleet Battles, Advanced Squad Leader was about to drop and board wargames were more popular than miniature wargames.

Its no surprise that the boxed versions were the same size as the "bookcase" wargames released by Avalon Hill and others.

In view of its contemporaries everything about Battletech makes sense and it's not an overly complicated game by comparison. What makes it extraordinary is that with minor tweaks nearly the exact same game is being played today, 37 years later and nearly every game supplement is still usable.

One can assume that there will always be a small cohort interested in this type of granular simulation game. Some people still play ASQL after all. My opinion is that it is the strength and depth of the setting (as transmitted in rulebooks, novels, models and other media) that has kept it CBT at the forefront of that category and retained many folks involved at least tangentially who might otherwise have drifted off towards more modern rulesets.

I'm certainly one. I've known for a couple decades that the CBT rules are not me but somehow I keep acquiring the books.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/06/25 22:47:53


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad!
https://chicagovalleyrailroad.blogspot.com 
   
Made in au
Owns Whole Set of Skullz Techpriests






Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

Going back a few posts to pick this line out...
 Manchu wrote:
One of the most fundamental drivers of fun with CBT is “seeing what happens” when one aims such-and-such weapons systems at such-and-such chassis at such-and-such range.
This is one of the things I love the most about BTech. The moment where you and everyone else involved in the game have worked out all their shots, and we get to the "Well, here goes nothing!" part of the game.

It's tons of fun.

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
Made in us
Second Story Man





Astonished of Heck

AegisGrimm wrote:And I as well. It meandered a bit off topic, but don't know if it's all that different than when people mention Alpha Strike in a Battletech thread. Both AS and Mech Attack are about equally removed from Classic, when comparing the hyper-detailing of Classic to something more streamlined for the sake of speed/amount of models...

I'm going to disagree slightly here. Alpha Strike is designed by the owners of the Battletech license and part of the Battletech brand, while Mech Attack is not. It would be like comparing Epic 40K and Dropzone Commander. Sure they are removed from a certain level of detail from the original game, but Epic is still Warhammer, while Dropzone is not. Mech Attack is not Battletech, while Alpha Strike is part of the Battletech brand. It may be subtle, but it can be significant.

H.B.M.C. wrote:Going back a few posts to pick this line out...
 Manchu wrote:
One of the most fundamental drivers of fun with CBT is “seeing what happens” when one aims such-and-such weapons systems at such-and-such chassis at such-and-such range.
This is one of the things I love the most about BTech. The moment where you and everyone else involved in the game have worked out all their shots, and we get to the "Well, here goes nothing!" part of the game.

It's tons of fun.

Like it's closing time and you have that one turn left, so you go for the Death From Above (haven't succeeded in one yet), or to see if you can just squeeze out that one last burst of speed to make it to the objective.

Tonight (or last night considering the hour I'm posting this), we were running a scenario in which one was to run in, scan a building for data, and then get the data out, while the other prevented it. We ended on the turn limit provided, and none of my mechs were dead, but I had managed to slowly pound the head of one of his in after 3 different hits. I managed to secure data from two buildings, but I had held my fastest mech back too much, and required more than one turn allowed to get off the board. The other mech that had data was my heaviest mech, so it was only a third of the way out when time ran out. This is one of the reasons I like playing Battletech (another is unit design, to see what would be built to handle the scenario).

Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Megavolt wrote:They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.
 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

Yeah, but Alpha Strike has abstracted BT to death. Nothing about say, a Warhammer's card makes me, a beginning player, instantly think of a Warhammer and it's loadout compared to the miniature/fiction. It's just a bunch of stat lines and bubbles. I need a ruleset where it at least matters that the PPC's are in the arms, and the missile launcher is in the right torso, with appropriate criticals taking out the appropriate weapons systems, rather than just dice amounts degrading.

And I need to feel the gamble represented by firing that second PPC after the first, and whether I am willing to risk the heat effects. I actually think that Mech Attack better represents Classic BT than Alpha Strike, in the above ways, other than heat is not tracked between turns, and weapons are still somewhat generalized (two med lasers, or a med pulse laser, in an arm in MA would just better be represented with a "Twin Linked Med Laser, which grants an accuracy bonus").

But if anything is to be said, BT is still a great way to have hyper-focused skirmish level combat between just a couple models per side (something that is not very widespread in minis gaming), and to me Mech Attack is a third great way to wipe out a bunch of damn Dracs, so there's that!

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/06/26 14:32:18




"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

 Charistoph wrote:

I'm going to disagree slightly here. Alpha Strike is designed by the owners of the Battletech license and part of the Battletech brand, while Mech Attack is not....

...Mech Attack is not Battletech, while Alpha Strike is part of the Battletech brand. It may be subtle, but it can be significant.


Its only significant relative to how much value you place on a ruleset having to come from the brand owner.

Matters not a whit to me. Couldn't care less whether a ruleset comes from someone paid by TOPPS or a guy working out of his basement.

My focus is always on how well a ruleset balances the type of game I'm looking for with fidelity to the setting. Mech Attack is by no means a perfect ruleset nor is it more faithful to the setting than CBT.

However, for the size of game I want to play, in the amount of time I want to spend, Mech Attack is often -IMO- the best intersection of setting fidelity and desired game experience.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/26 16:32:09


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page

Visit the Chicago Valley Railroad!
https://chicagovalleyrailroad.blogspot.com 
   
Made in ca
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Halifax

@Charistoph
I haven't played Battletech in nearly 30 years, so I'm not clear on something: Which CBT-branded book did you get that scenario from? It sounds like fun.

   
 
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