Monday, August 30, 2010

Breakthrough Pt 1 After Action Report - August 29, 2010

Ok, so the last post I had was a quick one, just to update everyone on our next multi-stage mission.  Our primary objective is to hit an underwater base.  In order to get there, we have 2 separate breakthrough scenarios, that occurring on the same time in game.  All forces that make it though are able to make it to the underwater base and participate in that mission.  Those that do not make it cannot be salvaged if they are incapaciated, but other 'Mechs can fall back and retreat to our base if possible. 

For this particular mission, we are bringing in a special guest to play the OpFor, Peter Smith.  For this mission, each of Mercenary Coalition forces will be sending through at least one lance.  The player for Shengli Armed Asset Protection is bringing two lances this mission, since he will be OpFor'ing the next breakthough mission.

Kestrel Grenadiers supported by Conventional Divisonal Forces:
-Conventional Forces: 2 SRM Carriers, 2 Scorpion Light Tanks, 4 Bulldogs, 2 Von Luckners, 2 Challenger XII,
-Kestrel Grenadiers: JagerMech JM-DG, Penetrator PTR-6M, Nightstar NSR-9FC, Hammerhands HMH-3D, Emperor EMP-6D, Caeser CES-4R, Blackjacks BJ2-0, Rifleman RFL-8D, Warhammer WHM-8D, Marauder MAD-5R, Longbow LGB-13NAIS, Marauder II MAD-5A.

Mercenary Coalition Forces:
-Piotrowski's Predators (PP): 3 Defiance ASFs w/ LB-10X, LPL, and 3 MPLs
-Shengli Armed Asset Protection (SLAAP): Crab Custom, Lancelot, Ti Ts'ang 9J,Ostsol 8M, Thunder 2L, Daikyu, Braghest Custom, Templar Custom, 1 Platoon of Grenadiers BA on a Badger, 1 Platoon of Trinity BA w/ Plasma Rifles, and 2 Danais (deployed off board)
-Jerry's Force (JF): Penetrator PTR-4D, Shadow Hawk SHD-5D, Archer ARC-8M, Marauder II MAD-5A
-Warlock Fusiliers (WF): Tempest TMP-3M, Cudgel CDG-2A, No-Dachi NDA-2KO, Koschei KSC-4H, 2 Platoons of Fa Shih w/ Gyrojet Rifles and Light Recoiless Rifles
-Bethel Irregulars (BI): Cerberus Custom, Griffin 6S, Marauder MAD-5R, Caeser 4R, 2 Warrior VTOLs ('Mechs upgraded with C3)
-Lords of the Night (NL)t: 4 Ti Ts'angs and 2 Demolisher Arrow IV Variants (deployed off board)

Set up We deploy 4 hexes in.  OpFor deploys within 11 hexes on the opposite side.  The side we start on is 2 plains with sparse forest.  The OpFor defended terrain has 2 larger hills with a nice valley right now the middle.  OpFor places 'Mechs primarily on the two hills off the flanks.  The vehicles are focused on holding the middle.

We bring a little artillery support to help us punch through in the form of Danais and Arrow IV Demolishers.  Reliable intelligences says we are going to encounter heavy resistance. 

The Action:
Turn 1 - We run forward as fast as possible. SLAAP runs down the left side using evasive movement rules making him harder to hit.  BI and WF head down the center.  NL and JF hit the right flank, but shift down the right and down the center as well.  The firing phase sees little fire connecting, but the oft ridiculed JagerMech headcaps the Bethel Irregulars' Marauder.  JagerMech takes damage, and a gauss rifle explodes, but doesn't cripple it.

Turn 2 - We move forward again, SLAAP puts pressure down the right side forcing the Davions to respond to cut off his avenue down the sideline with jumping 'Mechs.  The tanks move out to block the center passage.  I elect for a strafing run on the 2 VonLucks, 2 Challengers, and 2 Scorpions down the middle to help soften the center up. 

The JagerMech and both Challengers get TAG'ed.  The JagerMech loses a leg to Arrow IV and the Challengers eat the remaining missiles.  I rack up a ton of damage but don't knock out any of the tanks (probably about 300 damage total),  but immobilze a VonLuck and Challenger.  My 1st fighter takes 50 damage, fails PSR and lawndarts.  The 2nd eats 3 UAC 20 shells, taking over 100 damage but doesn't crash.  The remaining fighter takes minimal damage.  The remaining Merc Coalition 'Mechs fire on the Caeser (on the right flank) and Nightstar (on the left flank) both of which fall.  Additional damage on the tanks, but we don't take any of them out.

Turn 3 - SLAAP gets a 'Mech off the board and the Davions respond by completely blocking the path down the left side forcing him to have to turn.  We punch through the center to engage the vehicles.  Two Ti Ts'angs, the Caeser move to take the right flank, and look to have a clear path out. 

We TAG the Caesar, miss all the other TAGs.  It eats 7 Arrow IV missiles...we don't even roll it.  The Thumpers on the Danais do a little friendly fire to the No-Dachi.  SLAAP attacks Hammerhands and Penetrator that are in his way.  JF focused on the Rifleman as well as 2 Ti Ts'angs and the Caesar out on the right flank.  Everything else is in a scrum in the middle.  The Thunder eats fire from the Emperor, Hammerhands, Penetrator and Nightstar, take damage to various place, but do not penetrator armor anywhere. 

The NLTi Ts'ang in the middle gets focus fired by most of the tanks, suffering multiple crits, 3 of which were on the engine, knocking it out.  The Davion Rifleman eats our concentrated right flank fire and uncerimonusly falls to a medium laser which destroys the head.  No'Dachi takes heavy damage from the Challengers and Longbow, takes two floaters to the center torso resulting in a a gyro and engine hit.  A Ti Ts'ang hatchet the Longbow in the back, hitting the left torso, critting ammo.  Some kicks are exchanged, but nothing of note.

It's a gory turn, with us losing a Ti Ts'ang and a crippled No-Dachi. We took out a Rifleman, Caesar and Scorpion.

Turn 4 - Movement sees SLAAPcontinue manuvering down the left side, dodging the jumping Davion 'Mechs that are trying to slow him down.  Two NL Ti Ts'angs and 2 BL Warriors get off the board.  We continue to advance and they hold cover or drift back to block.  I bring one Defiance on the board to strike the damaged Longbow.  I am now the only TAG on the board, and TAG the Longbow and land all 6 Arrow IV Missiles on the the Longbow.  The first missile takes out the head, reducing it to scrap.  The Danai scatters a shot to the Marauder II, rolls a through armor crit, but fails to successfully crit the center torso.

Tempest lands a Gauss and LPL on the heavily damaged Challenger, knocking out the turret killing it.  We immobilize a Bulldog.  SLAAPcontinues to focus on the Penetrator, knocking out the left arm and floating crits the left leg, hitting hip and lower leg actuator, causing it to fall self critting the leg popping it off with a 12 on the crit roll.  The Kochei takes damage and suffers a 12 crit roll on the arm, popping it off.  It eats SRM Carrier missiles, critting the engine twice and gyro.  Falls on its head, knocks out pilot.  Cludgel falls down due to damage and Tempest takes heavy damage, but remains standing. 

We got to call it after turn 4 as it was already past 10 and we all have to work tomorrow.  The following units make it though:
Shengli Armed Asset Protection (SLAAP): Everything makes it through, but the Crab, Thunder and Ti Ts'ang are heavily damaged.

-Jerry's Force (JF): Penetrator, Shadow Hawk, Archer , Marauder II
-Warlock Fusiliers (WF): Cudgel (No-Dachi and Kochei are destroyed, Tempest retreats, the Fa Shih save the pilots and fall back)
-Bethel Irregulars (BI): Cerberus, Griffin, Caeser, and 2 Warrior VTOLs (Marauder was head-capped)
-Lords of the Night (NL): 3 Ti Ts'angs (one was crippled due to 3 engine crits)
-Piotrowski's Predators (PP): None, one crashed the other 2 returned for repair, refit, and refuel.

We knocked out a JagerMech, Rifleman, Caesar, Longbow, a Challenger, a Scorpion.  We crippled the Von Lucks, the remaining Challenger, and a Penetrator.  We also dealt damage to the Nightstar, Hammerhands and some Bulldogs.

My analysis is going to start with our failure to coordinate our attack vectors.  Based on our set up, it would have seemed obviously...2 lances down each the right, center and left.  But we ended up headed down the paths of least resistance, which were both flanks.  Our slowest lance was committed to the middle and our other units abandoned it to run down the flank.

We should have either decided to ignore the center or committed ample troops to bust it wide open.  We initially had the forces deployed to take it, but we didn't hold to our convictions to break through.  Our lack of discipline cost us a Defiance, a Ti Ts'ang, Kochei, Marauder, and a No-Dachi.  We suffered heavy damage to the Tempest, Thunder, a Ti Ts'ang and a Crab. 

We did not strategically place our TAG units.  There were two turns when we completely overkilled targets because we couldn't spread our TAGS out.  They all ended up on the right side, which had minimal targets (Caesar, Rifleman, and JagerMech).  We should have had the Ti Ts'ang support the advance down the center since there were a ton of targets there.  Plus TSM kicks on tanks is fun.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Campaign Update - August 29, 2010

So I'm at our Campaign game and I wanted to post up a general update as to what's going on.  We're about to enter a 3 phase mission culminating in an attack on an underwater Davion base.  So how it's going to work is this week and then again in 2 weeks our forces are going to be running simultantous (in game time) break-through scenarios where we have split our forces (the two break-through scenarios).  The forces that make it through will meet up to siege an undersea base.  With that said, we're about to start and I'll have the after action report up hopefully tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Solaris 7 Website Community

Unfortunately we had a lull in our campaign as we had a member work, another one moving, and MadCap was working on Battletech stuff for Catalyst.  Needless to say, I was sad, but hopefully we'll be playing a make up game next weekend.  So in lue of my semi-monthly after action report, I'm going to talk about one of my favorite online communities over at (which I will call S7 from here on out).

S7 is a website that allows members to post up their 'Mech, vehicle, battle armor, and aerospace designs for review and analysis.  By using software such as Heavymetal Pro or Solaris Skunkwerks, you can import your custom designs for evaluation.  Another great thing is that nearly all of the canon designs have been posted up so if you need a more detailed TRO than what can provide, they're just a few clicks away.

The active membership base is very knowledgeable about 'Mech design and they nearly always provide great advice for things to consider and tips to improve your design.  They also emphasize fluff, and will always give prop's for funny or well constructed fluff behind your design.  Once you post up a design, below  is room for S7 members to post comments on your design and grade it on a 1-5 scale (with an abstain option as well).  This allows the poster/designer to easily identify the analysis of their design right along side the TRO you've posted. 

I have become pretty attached to S7 because I believe it was very instrumental in my development as a player through the analysis of my 'Mech designs.  When I was first getting back into the game and was in the process of joining the campaign group I am in, I started hanging around S7.  By having the S7 community members review and analyze my designs, I was able to very quickly learn the strengths and weaknesses of various equipment, speeds, engines, etc.  I would argue that though the feedback obtain here, I learned more about unit selection and how to counter opposing units on S7 than playing Megamek (which I highly recommend).

So if you're like 99% of Battletech player and have a crap load of home brew designs, probably should check out our little community and post your stuff up, have it immortalized forever on the internet.  Hope to see you posting up some of your designs up soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Campaign Salvage & Future Unit Expansion Plans - Current Status - Aug. 9, 2010

So our main contract with the Capellans is weighted significantly more on salvage than on base currency (Tonnage Value).  As such, we have started to accumulate a decent amount of salvage.  Most of the time, we end up with a 'Mech who's side torso has been destroyed, critting out the XL engine.  The down side to salvage is that it ends of taking a while to repair these 'Mechs and get them in good working order.  The plus side is that it is much easier to customize a 'Mech who's missing most of their weaponry due to the side torso and arm loss.  As such, salvaged 'Mechs in our campaign seem to be a bit more heavily customized. 

Since Gei-Fu, I've acquired quite a few projects in the form of salvage.  All of the other Merc Units have their own salvage situations too, but I'm not going to delve into that.  I'm just going to talk through what I have and what I think about doing with it. 

Salvage List:
Orion ON1-M
Stealth STH-1D
Flashman FLS-8K
Trebuchet 7M

Stealth - Although I'm not a fan of the Stealth, especially the 1D, I think this 'Mech compliments my Recon lance. It moves 7/14/7 which allows it to fit in nicely.  I'm thinking of a refit such as this - Stealth 2D3.  It would serve primarily as a reserve 'Mech option for the Recon lance, deployed in hilly, mountainous, or other restrictive terrain over the Sha Yu. 

Adder - The Adder is a neat machine, but ultimately limited by is relatively small 35 tons.  It has 16 tons of pod space, but really no great options.  I'm planning on keeping this 'Mech in reserve for my Recon lance as well.  I can then customize it for specific missions such as anti-infantry or anti-vehicular combat. 

Trebuchet - I'm a fan of the Trebuchet, but not the 7M.  NARC is horrible and a huge waste of tonnage.  This particular 'Mech is really just 2 legs, a CT, a RT, and a head right now.  The plus side is I could customize it anyway I see fit.  The downside is that it's going to take a lot of work.  I'm going to have to take a hard look, but I'll probably just sell it off.  The other option is to C3 slave it. 

Orion - I like the Orion, but I don't like the NARC.  I'm considering this 'Mech as a "crit-seeker" to add to my C3 reserves - Orion Custom.  The only weapon it really keeps is the LB 10X.   But the mass MML's gives it some substance over long range, but becomes super crit-seeky once it gets up close.  Some of the other Merc Units are thinking of getting a C3 Company, and this 'Mech might be useful as a bodyguard 'Mech to a Company Command C3 Master.  Worst case, I keep it in my reserves for C3 lance.

Flashman - This is an interesting laser zombie 'Mech.  The un-CASE'ed AMS ammo really bugs me.  One shot can evaporate this guy.  I like the space the Flashman has available, but I really don't have a use for it.   Odds are I'm going to just sell it.  The only other thing I can think of would be to replace the large lasers with Snub-nosed PPCs or Plasma Rifles, just to add a little variety. 

So it looks like I'll be selling the Flashman and Trebuchet to the salvage yards for cash to refit and repair the Stealth, Adder, and Orion.  Since we just began our invasion of Brighton, I doubt any of these repairs will be finished before we finish, but there is a slight possibility if I make some good rolls to get the repairs finalized. 

Expansion Plans

Based on my last update of my Organizational Chart, it really hasn't changed a whole lot.  I have C3 Lance and a reinforced Recon lance, with some supplementary units to be used as "plug and play" units depending on the scenario.  The only additions would be the Adder, Stealth and Orion, but only once they have been repaired completely.

My main goal right now is to get my unit up to Company strength.  Additionally, I want to get a little more versatility and mobility in my unit.  So I'm thinking of a trio of Aerospace Fighters, Defiances to be exact.  I'm not an expert on ASF's at all, but the Defiance are only 55 tons, but pack 26 tons of omni-pod space for mission specific customization.  On top of that , they pack 15 tons of armor, which is pretty decent for a typical ASF.  Most likely, I would pack some combination of pulse weaponry and an LB-10X.  That gives them above average Air to Air and Air to Ground weaponry.  Additionally, depending on the mission, I could pack some ADAs or Homing Arrow IV missiles on hardpoints. 

My next step would be to add one more ASF, like a Riever or another "bomber type" ASF, that would get escorted by 2 Defiances.  Probably the 700B with the UAC 20 and massive amounts of SRMs.  This would leave the 3rd Defiance as an alternate incase one got damaged or shot down. 
At this point, I would have 3 lances to make up my Company, plus some support units.  I would have a highly mobile C3 lance that focuses on ER PPC, LRM and Gauss sniping.  A very fast and mobile recon lance supported by Arrow IV, and a ASF trio that would be mission specific customized as needed.  The flexibility and mobility of my forces is going to play a huge roll later on, when we get to planet's where we might be fighting on multiple fronts simultanously.  Meaning, each week will be a different battle, but all battles will be taking place from a game prospective at that same, or similar times.  The more mobile, the better odds you can re-adjust as needed.