Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally Figured Out What To Do With That Puma/Adder

A couple missions back, I ended up salvaging a Clan Adder (Puma).  It was missing a leg, so I didn't really think of what I was going to do with it.  It's still missing its leg, but I hope I'll be able to fix it soon.  And sense it's in the repair bay, I was thinking of adding a few special modifications to it.  For those of you who don't run clan tech often, and don't know, the Adder/Puma is a 6/9 35 tonner, with 16 tons of Omni pod space, plus a clan flamer. 

The clanners use the 'Mech as fire support light 'Mech...which is possible when you have clan weapons.  The problem I was running into was Inner Sphere weapons are significantly heavier.  I really wanted to use this 'Mech in my recon lance:

Recon Lance - Pouncer Lance
2 Regulator Arrow IV Variant
2 Bandits (Custom)
Sha Yu 2B
Hellspawn 7L Custom
2 Fa Shih Platoons w/ Light TAGs
However, at 6/9, the Puma just isn't fast enough to hang with this lance.  Additionally, in order to pack decent firepower into this 'Mech, I will be forced to take a majority of short ranged weaponry, which is complementary, since I'll definitely want to include TAG on this 'Mech.  So I got to thinking about how I could make this 'Mech "better" or at least more suited for the purpose of this lance. 
First, I needed to fix the speed.  To do that, I could replace the engine, which would be stupid, since its a Clanner XL, which is lighter and has less crits.  My other two options are MASC or a Supercharger.  Rewiring for MASC is a little excessive, so it looks like the Supercharger is the answer.  My thoughts are to move with the main forces at normal speeds.  If I need to close the distance, I can sprint 12.  Once I've closed the gap, I can use the Supercharger to get into rear arcs, with a suprise burst.  I'll probably only use the Supercharger once, maybe twice a game.  It also gives the 'Mech some decent breakaway speed.  And the nice thing about the Supercharger, it only weights a half ton, which is a bargin.
One weapon I really wanted on the Puma was a Snub-nosed PPC.  It's a great weapon at 6 tons, and has a nice short range.  Its also helpful for punching holes in lighter 'Mechs and can ding heavier 'Mechs.  However, the pilot is most likely going to be a 5/5 pilot.  Since the accuracy is a little weak, I wanted to fine a way to improve the accuracy.  A TarComp wouldn't be weight effective, and they are very rare on the market, so that's out.  However, A.E.S. is available.  So I'll drop A.E.S. into the right arm.  It's not pod mountable, but that's not too bad.  In the future, I'll just have to mount weapons on the right arm.  So I'll plug the SN PPC and a TAG on the A.E.S.'ed right arm. 
To round out the weaponry, I want some more Streak SRM.  I have a hard on for Streak SRMs, I'm not sure why, but they just strike me as so efficient.  So I added two SSRM 4s with one ton of ammo.  Since there is clan CASE, I feel ok putting ammo in this expensive 'Mech. 
At this point, I have .5 tons left.  There's nothing I want to put on the Puma, so I'm going to dump it into more armor.  Since I have the crits to play with, so I added the half ton to the 6 tons of armor the 'Mech already had.  With 6.5 tons of standard armor gets you 104 of 119 armor points and 87.39% coverage.  However, if I upgrade it to Ferro-Fibrous, I can get 116 of 119 armor points and 97.5% coverage.  I'm not a fan of the FF armor, but the additional coverage is too much to pass up, especially for a 'Mech that's going to be in the mix of the close quarters combat. 
I finally got the Puma fitted up in what I'll consider my Prime configuration and in the end, this is what I came up with PUMA OF DOOM!

Based on the structural changes I made to the Puma, the A.E.S. and Supercharager, I wanted to create a second variant that could jump and still take advantage of those internal changes.  For a jumping TAG 'Mech, I wanted to max my jumping capabilities.  So I stripped off the two Streak SRM 4s and the corresponding ammo giving me 7 tons to play with to start.  I added 6 jump jets for 3 tons total, leaving me with 4 tons. 

I debate the merit of the SN PPC and decide to keep it, as well as the TAG in the A.E.S.'ed right arm.  So with 4 tons to play with, I consider medium lasers of all types, regular, pulse, and ER.  Since I'll be up close, jumping, and running a little hot, two medium pulse lasers look really appealing.  Pulses aren't great for 2/3 pilots, but they sure help 5/5 or 4/4 pilots, especially while jumping and running around.  This means that all of my weaponry will have a -2 or -1 to hit, which is pretty nice.  Additionally, this 'Mech is now ammo independent, which is good for many missions while on a campaign. 

So the end result is the PUMA Mark II.

Note: Due to available crit locations in the Arms, I've added lower and hand actuators. This adds to tactical flexibility. It makes available options like careful stand and other things.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Battletech Theory - Fusion Engine Discussion - Compact Fusions

Based on some of the comments I received in relation to my discussion of the various common types of fusion engines: Standard, XL, and Light.  I omitted talking about Compact Fusion Engines because I really have no experience with them.  There are not many Canon 'Mech designs that actually use the Compact Fusion Engine.  Therefore, which a small sample size of Canon 'Mechs did not feel qualified to talk about Compact Fusions.  However, since it was brought up, I decided to design some 'Mechs using SSW to see what I could come up with. 

Logically, the Compact Engine's value is that it reduces crit slots of the Engine, which means it's harder to take out via crits.  Additionally, it allows one to add a lot of weaponry to the center torso, meaning that you can retain combat effectiveness even after loss of side torsos.  In theory, this increases durability of the 'Mech because it will most likely die to center torso destruction before the engine is critted out.  However, this durability is only effective if the center torso is packed with weapons, equipment, or heat sinks to provide some crit padding.

So for the benefits of increased durability, the cost is fairly significant.  The cost comes in the form of lost tonnage, by which the engine's weight is increased by 50% of Standard Fusion Engine's weight.  So an 8 ton engine goes to 12 tons.  The problem is that due to the signficant increase in engine weight, you are losing out on either speed, armor, or weaponry, all of which make you an easy target. 

So here's the analysis.  The difference between a Standard Fusion and a Compact Fusion is negligable.  The difference in durability is not much.  At the point when your center torso has gone internal, you're one or two shots away from being finished anyway.  The cost associated with the increased durability, which is a debatable increase, is just really not worth it.  Additionally, there is a substantial increase in the cost of C-bills.  In my opinion, the cons definitely outweight the pros, and a Standard Fusion Engine is the way to go for optimization of durability when considering other factors such as tonnage, cost, etc.

Monday, September 27, 2010

After Action Report & Analysis - Victoria War 3105 - Sept 25, 2010

*Link to Picture Here - Disclaimer, I didn't take these picture, someone on my team did.  In the picture with the people, that's my campaign group...I'm on the right*

I prefaced the battle a couple days ago HERE!  We meet at the gaming store at 10 to organize and divy out 'Mechs.  It worked out that there where about 10 players per team, so everyone got a lance.  I'm going to apologize now because the game was very hectic and there were a lot of people moving around, so it was hard to document the battle very accurately.

The Setup:
The battlefield was set up and was about 8 feet long by 3 feet.  The map was heavily populated by level 2 terrain, with only some sparse woods scattered around.  The deployment was along the small sides of the board, making the board very long. 

The Capellan's held a quick strategy meeting and assigned 'Mechs and players to each of the following groups: fire support, cavalry, and skirmishers.  I was called on to lead the fire support contingent, with one of our campaign players and then a serious liability player (who grabbed the King of Hearts assault lance) before we had a chance to break out the 'Mechs properly.  Jerry (one of the guys in our campaign) took the 10 of Hearts assault lance.  I took a hodgepodge of the remaining 'Mechs assigned to the fire support group, including: Marauder 5L,. Catapult C6, Osprey 26, and Blackjack 3.

The Action:
Jerry's troops held down a hill on the left side of our deployment zone.  While mine and the other guy's troops held the right side, which was to be our anchor.  Our cavalry and skirmishers deployed scattered all over.  Turn 1 through 3 were uneventful, except a headcap from Jerry's Gauss Pillager against a Davion Argus. The Davions approached primarily down the right and left flanks, hiding behind level 2 cover to block LOS through most of the first 7 turns. 

Our cavalry and skirmishes ran back and forth to continue to generate move mods.  Of course, the liability on our gun line broke formation and ran forward to shoot at long range just because they couldn't shoot back.  He needed 11's to hit and misses everything.  Then in later turns, he gets chewed up, losing his Battlemaster and Sunder by turn 9.  The only good thing he did was push an Enforcer off the board. 

Turn 7 was the turn that won us the game.  It was this turn that the Davions had to decide to hide one more turn and creep forward or break cover and rush our entrenched positions.  As per our battleplan, half of the Davions posted up and stalled and the others got impatient and rushed forward.  We divided our fire severely damaging a T-bolt, Falconer, and Rakshasa and killing a Valiant (that had a 1 move mod).  This damage came at the expense of a Wraith and Duan Gung which prematerally jumped into the mix to help draw the opponents out of cover by providing tempting targets.  It was this turn that we were effectively shooting 100% of our firepower, mostly on decent to hit rolls, while they were limited to about 50% at bad rolls.

The next turn (number 8), the Davions broke their cover to advance on us.  Our skirmisher and cavalry elements rushed forward to overhelm and to over-saturate them with targets, knowing that they would be picking targets independently and not concentrating fire.  We finished off the T-bolt, Falconer, and Rakshasa, as well as pushed an Enforcer off the board and crippled a Hammerhands and Valkyrie.  This turn we had no casualties, and we can see our strategy has now worked wonders. 

Turn 9 is more of the same, with the Davions losing a Dart, Victor, the damaged Hammerhands, the damaged Valkyrie, and another Valkyrie.  In exchange, we lost the Thunder and Battlemaster.  I charged my Marauder 5L out to help the other fire support lance that was getting overwhelmed by elements of the Queen of Spades and 8 of Spades forces, by TSM kicking the leg off of a Dervish. 

It was at this point that victory was in our hands and it was getting fairly late (around 6 PM) and I decided to hand my 'Mechs over to one of our campaign players to finish off the game.  I had been there for 8 hours and was heading out to meet some friends to watch UFC 119.

The Conclusion & Analysis:
That night I got an email from my teammate Sheng, saying they had called it quits once we had killed 15 to their 7 'Mechs.  We had downed nearly 4 lances worth of 'Mechs to their two and it had gotten late so they called it.  It was a significant victory for the Capellans. 

This was the first large scale game that I'd participated it, and it was great fun; abet, it was very slow and time consuming.  I'm not a psychology guy, I took Psych 100 in college, but I've always been a good study of how people act.  And this was no different and it was very interesting to observe the behaviors of everyone at the table. 

Everyone was impatient!  And impatient is putting it mildly.  Everyone wants to be the "allstar" and do their own thing.  Forget that you are playing a TABLETOP STRATEGY GAME and just run around trying to kill things on your own.  It was very evident in the Davion players because they had no overarching leadership or universal strategy. 

Now what was even more interesting was the frustration of the some of the Capellan players who wanted to do the same thing.  So bear in mind, only about 50% of the Capellans were from my campaign group.  We were the ones who formulated the strategy.  The fill-ins wanted to rush in as well.  We held them back fairly well except the dude on my command team, who ran his assaults around and end up getting most of them killed and shot up.  Would he have listened, his troops would have been fine. Instead they got caught out in the open.  And was was really funny, was every turn after he broke rank, he was frustrated with the position he found himself in and took 10 minutes to move his 4 'Mechs because he had no good options.  Another moment to prove my point is when our CO of skirmishers jumped in the Wraith and Duan Gung a turn too early and lost both.  When I questioned his move, he said he knew what he was doing, but it was clearly because he was bored and hadn't rolled any dice yet.  And what happened to his 'Mechs?  Well they both died and did absolutely no damage.  Had they not jumped, another 20% of the Davion force wouldn't have had anything to shoot at.  So by jumping in, the allowed them to shoot more of their forces that wouldn't have been able to otherwise. 

It was the impatience of one of the Davion players, who was running the 9 of Spades heavy lance that broke the game wide open.  He had a later move in turn 7 and he broke the loose Davion formation and got his T-Bolt, Falconer, and Rakashasa shot up and later killed the next turn.  It was hilarious really.  As soon as he started moving from cover, I looked at William and we both just started laughing.  We knew the game was won just because someone wanted to roll dice. 

And that discussion on player psychology brings me to my ultimate point.  The larger the game, the more strategy matters.  Due to the sizes of the forces, the laws of averages starts to reach economies of scale.  Meaning that because there are so many dice being rolled, the actual rolling of the dice no longer matters.  The only thing that matters is whether your forces are shooting higher volumn (aka 100% of your 'Mechs are shooting) than your opponent and whether you are focusing fire to bring targets down, to eliminate return fire in subsequent turns. 

In small games, the dice matter a lot more.  Because there is less rolling, a few "good" or "lucky" rolls can often win the game.  This is due to the smaller population of total rolls.  A few high roll outliers, actually makes a huge different in a lance on lance game.  However, in a 10 lance vs 10 lance game, the dice will start to pattern a normal distribution curve, and thus have a significantly less impact on the game.  So in effect, the players who are impatient because they want to roll dice are misguided in believing that that will ultimately matter in the course of the game.

Herein is why the Capellans won the game.  Althought the terrain was not ideal, we stuck to our plan.  We had 3 main avenues in which the Davions would come, and we set up with our fire support to cover those lanes.  Our cavalry and skirmishers moved about in the general areas of those attack corridors.  We had a few skirmishes run up to bait, but with stealth armor up, they were never hit, but it gave the Davion players a chance to roll some dice, and it got them hooked on it and wanted more (dice rolling).  To our suprise, they actually moved coherently and used cover to prevent a lot of our very long range sniping.  However, they did draw some of our gun line forces out of their designated areas, which hindered our overall plan.  Fortunately, the Davions lost their meddle, and finally approached in a hodgepodge formation, allowing us to open up with our fire support and move our skirmishing and cavalry forces into play to block any significant advances, which gave us a nearly always 3+ move mods to their 2+ and allowed us to bring all of our forces into play while they had some out of range or still behind cover.  I firmly believe, that had our gun line held and if our skirmishers hadn't jumped a turn too early, we could have come away with even a more staggering victory.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Battletech Theory - Fusion Engine Discussion

Hey all, I just wanted to talk about a hotly contested and debated topic in Battletech....engines.  There are three main types of fusion engines used to power 'Mechs: standards, light and extralight (XL).  Most players have very strong preferences related to each type of engine.  I fall into the "I like them all" catagory, so I feel like I have somewhat of an impartial view.

Pre 3050, the engine debate is pretty unimportant.  Pretty much everything is standard fusion, with Star League relics might have an XL.  However, at 3050, with the Clan invasion, the TRO's went pretty crazy with XLs, especially after 3055.  It seems logical that the Inner Sphere, would want to put XLs on everything so they could pack more weapons, armor, and speed on these new 'Mechs.  However, fluff and mechanics diverge, like they always do and the debate rages on.

Mechanically, the main trade-off between the various types of engines is reduced weight, which free up more tonnage, and durability. Standard engines are heavy, but take up less crit spaces, meaning it makes the 'Mech more durable, since 3 engine crits cripples a 'Mech.  XL engines are light, but take up more crit spaces (6 more, 3 per side torso), making the 'Mech much more fragile to the 3 engine hit death.

Personally, the trade-offs and advantages and disadvantages of each type of engine is dependent on the role in which the 'Mech is designed to fulfill. 

Standard Fusions - This engine type is very vital in the modern battlefield.  By only taking up crit slots in the CT, it means that the 'Mech can survive side torso destruction.  'Mechs equipped with standard fusions are best served as soldier/brawler types.  Because they are typically slower and less heavily armed, they excel at making meat shields or "tanks".  You lure your opponent into attacking these 'Mechs by making sure they are easier to hit in comparison to other 'Mechs. 

XL Fusions - This engine frees up a lot tonnage.  This tonnage can be reinvested into a 'Mech in two main categories:  Weapons and Speed (bigger engine). There are two ways that XLs can be utilized.  The first, is to increase speed, significantly, in order to increase it's survivability.  Allowing the 'Mech to have a higher move mod, it increases the durability by damage mitigation (ie. missed shots).  The second, and more popular, is to pack more weaponry into a fire support platform.  Ideally, you don't want your fire support 'Mechs engaged in close combat, so the fragile nature of the XL engine is mitigated.

Where I think the XL gets a bad name is the liberal use by the canon 'Mech designers (freelancers) employed by the various entities that license the Battletech brand.  There are too many instances of XLs being dropped into slow and heavy brawler or light 'Mechs.  Either type die too quickly to side torso lose.  Only in certain circumstances, such as the Falconer, are great uses of XL to get speed and long ranged fire support, which keeps the 'Mech durable.  I'm not going to discuss specifics Mechs which illustrate bad ways to use XL engines, but I'm sure everyone knows a handful or two. 

The Light Fusion, is sadly a night widely used engine, mostly due to it's relative newest to the Battletech universe, I believe coming into the fold around 3062.  The lovely thing about this engine is that it has only 4 extra crits, not 6 like the XL.  Meaning, that side torso lose does not immediately cripple the 'Mech.  While this matters little for one-off battles, it is extremely important for campaign play, where a crippled 'Mech might have to left for dead, while one with a light fusion can still manage itself off the board.  The downside to the light fusion is that it's typically not enough saved weight to both increase speed and firepower like the XL.  You really have to pick one aspect to enhance.  It's easy to fall into the though process that you can improve both speed and firepower, but typically that's when light fusions end up looking bad. 

To summarize, all types of fusion engines are good, when used properly.  Fusions are great for enhanced durability.  XLs are great for 'Mechs reliant on speed (scouts and flankers) or are niched in the fire support role.  The light fusion is useful to add a little more zest to a 'Mech while still keeping it survivable.  That said, I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks about the various versions of the fusion engine.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upcoming Game: Victoria War 3105 - Sept 25 2009

So this weekend we are taking a break from the semi-monthly campaign to participate in a Catalyst event at Games Plus in Mount Prospect.  The game is a reenactment of the FedSun invasion during the Victoria War around 3105.  It was designed to allow us to use some of the new TRO:3085 'Mechs (but we end up not using all that many).  This post is to just to prep the game, provide unit lists, and discuss our strategy. 

So its going to be 10 lances vs 10 lances (battalions with a command lance) with probably around 25 people participating.  For these big games, we assign a card (from a deck of cards) as its initiative card.  Every turn, the cards are shuffled and pulled to determine initiative order.  We might end up assigning cards to each player if we have to start breaking apart lances due to participation.  Also, our campaign participants will be playing on behalf of the CCAF (obviously), and are hoping our practice playing together will help coordinate our tactics.

CCAF Force List

A♥ Command Lance, 1st Battalion, 3rd CRC
JN-G9CC Jinggau "Ming the Merciless"
LHU-3C Lao Hu "Tiger Lily"
HEL-6X Helios "Celestial Chariot"
GOL-3L Goliath "Hebrew Hammerer"

1st Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd CRC
K♥ Assault Lance
BLR-4L Battlemaster "Sun Tzu You"
VTR-10L Victor "Hanse's Nightmare"
SD1-OA Sunder "Ivan Grozny"
Y-H9G Yu Huang "Huang 'Em High"

Q♥ Strike Lance
JN-G8A Jinggau "Defalconer"
WHM-5L Warhammer "Chillin' like an Anvillain"
CRD-8L Crusader "Celestial Sunbeam"
THR-2L Thunder "Thunderbus"
J♥ Pursuit Lance
PXH-5L Phoenix Hawk "Xin Sheng"
ABS-3L Anubis "Jackalope"
D9-G10 Duan Gung "Ghost Pressure"
RVN-SS Raven "Edgar VIII"

2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd CRC
10♥ Assault Lance
EMP-6L Emperor "Jiajing"
XNT-5O Xanthos "Trojan Horse"
PLG-4Z Pillager "Ghost"
STK-6M Stalker "Love Blimp"

9♥ Heavy Lance
CTF-5MOC Cataphract "Naomi"
CPLT-C6 Catapult "Emancipator"
VND-3Lr Vindicator "City of Tikograd"
OSP-26 Osprey "Republican't"

8♥ Pursuit Lance
TSG-9H Ti Ts'ang "Skull Smasha"
MS1-OD Men Shen "TWIN-01"
MS1-OF Men Shen "TWIN-02"
SYU-2B Sha Yu "Landshark!"

3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd CRC
7♥ Heavy Lance
OSR-4L Ostroc "Ostroc Your World"
MAD-5L Marauder "Stealthy Foxtrot"
GRF-5L Griffin "G-Man"
BJ-3 Blackjack "The Prodigal Son"

6♥ Medium Lance
EYL-45B Eyleuka "Canopian Jupming Bean"
EYL-45A Eyleuka "Horizontal Mambo"
SNK-2Br Snake "Foxhunter"
HUR-W0-R4N Huron Warrior "Tomahawk"

5♥ Light Lance
TR1 Wraith "I Was Never Here"
D9-G9 Duan Gung "Onward to Capella!"
D9-G9 Duan Gung "Fat Lady Killa"
RVN-4Lr Raven "Stark Raven Mad"

AFFS Force List

A♠ Command Lance, 1st Battalion, 1st Crucis Lancers
VTR-9KCC Victor "Floreat Etona"
BL-12-KNT Black Knight "Hammer of the Liaoists"
CES-4R Caesar "Sex Bob-omb"
MAD-5R Marauder "Rope-a-Dope"

1st Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Crucis Lancers
K♠ Assault Lance
DVS-X10 Devastator MUSE EARTH "TESTBED-05"
WHM-8D Warhammer "Sammy the Whammy"
PTR-6T Penetrator "Predictable Pun IV"
TLR1-O Templar "Sans Peur Et Sans Reproche"

Q♠ Medium Lance
ENF-6M Enforcer III "Dirty Harry"
DV-9D Dervish "Mad Mahdi Machine"
SHD-5D Shadow Hawk "Shatterband"
VLK-QD4 Valkyrie "Leaping Lady"

J♠ Light Lance
OSR-3D Osiris "God-King"
V4-LNT-J3 Valiant "Mutt"
SCB-9A Scarabus "Jeff"
ALM-10D Fireball "Doom Egg"

2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Crucis Lancers
10♠ Assault Lance
MAD-6D Marauder II "Big Bad Daddy"
HMH-5D Hammerhands "Archilochus"
GHR-7K Grasshopper "Sifu Slayer"
ENF-6H Enforcer III "Disco Don't Die"

9♠ Heavy Lance
FLC-8R Falconer "Tony"
MDG-2A Rakshasa "Hindu Hellion"
TDR-9NAIS Thunderbolt "Blinding You With Science"
RFL-6D Rifleman "Nothing LAC-ing"

8♠ Medium Lance
ENF-6G Enforcer III "Clint Eastwood"
CN9-D9 Centurion "Diocletian"
LGN-2D Legionnaire "Fabius Cunctator"
STH-2D2 Stealth "Contains No Stealth"

3rd Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Crucis Lancers
7♠ Assault Lance
NSR-9J Nightstar "Great Vishnu"
STK-7D Stalker "Dead Zeppelin"
GOL-5D Goliath "King David"
TDR-10M Thunderbolt "Zeus III"

6♠ Strike Lance
Rifleman IIC 8 "Clan Tin Can"
FLC-8R Falconer "Handsome Harry"
CTS-6Y Cestus "Clubber Lang"
RFL-8D Rifleman "Lead Rain"
5♠ Fire Lance
AGS-2D Argus "All-Seeing Eyes"
DV-8D Dervish "Khartoum Killa"
VLK-QD1 Valkyrie "Brunhilde"
DRT-6T Dart "Lawn Dart"

Force Analysis:
The CCAF has a nice balance force.  Mix of fire support, cavalry, and skirmishers/flankers.  The AFFS forces are much more oriented to cavalry and brawler type 'Mechs.  Because of this, we have developed, what we think is a good strategy for this upcoming battle.
Based on player composition (we already know who's on what team), we are fairly certain that the AFFS players will be individualistic and disorganized.  Given the nature of the AFFS forces, they will have to close the gap to bring their might to bear.  The basic plan is to divide our forces into 3 distinct groups, but not constrained by lances.  We'll have our fire support/snipers, cavalry, and skirmishers.
Our fire support will take cover and take up firing positions.  Those 'Mechs will focus fire on key targets as they run across the battlefield to engage us. Our cavalry will hang primarily to the center of our line.  For the most part, they'll keep moving to keep the move mod up, shoot if they can, or stay out of LOS and wait for the AFFS 'Mech to get close and then pounce.  The skirmishing forces will hang on our flanks, moving similarly to the cavalry forces.  Keeping move mods up, they should be our main sponge to absorb damage through mitigation and enemy missing high mov mods.  The skirmisher forces will primarily be used to "pack hunt" damaged 'Mechs that didn't have the good graces to die.  Also, they will protect our flanks from any of the speed that the AFFS might deploy on one of our flanks. 
In order to keep our cohesion in the scenario, we are assigning a Captain and two Lieutenants for each of the 3 distinct groups.  We will maintain the chain of command, which will help efficiently use our resources. We'll see how effective this command structure is in actual game play, but I think it should work out well.  For our generic startegy, I think it will work well.  We anticipate that the AFFS forces will be coming over piece-meal.  As they come in waves, our fire support will soften them up, and the cavalry or skirmishing forces will finish them off.  The cavalry will also be able to deploy to either side depending on if the AFFS overloads a side. 
Needless to say, I'm excited and I'll have a nice after action report ready to go, with pictures after this weekend.  Hopefully Halo: Reach doesn't cut into my blogging time too much.....