Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tanks for the Game! - BattleTech: Alpha Strike AAR

I recently got a chance to finally play BattleTech: Alpha Strike with a gaming buddy, Russ, from my old gaming group.

It was a pretty simple set up between two mercenary companies, his Commandos and my Lancers. He had seven mechs in two lances, while I had four mechs and four tanks. Russ' pilots were all in older mechs but had Skill values of 2's and 3's, while my machines were newer with less experienced mechwarriors and crew (mostly Skill 4). 

We played on a hex map, which made some of the measuring easier. Each hex counts as 2", so a mech with a 12" could move 6 hexes or sprint 9 hexes. Firing ranges were similarly halved.

The main engagement happened up on the map's plateau between our main Mech lances. Russ' lance consisted of a Thunderbolt, Catapult, Shadow Hawk, and Commando, all with veteran or elite mechwarriors. My lance was heavier, with an Awesome, Thunderbolt, Wolverine, and Phoenix Hawk, but the pilots weren't as good. 

Down near the water, Russ' second lance, with a Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, and Wasp facing off against my tank Lance, with a Manticore, two Bulldogs, and an SRM Carrier. 

One of the Bulldogs ended up as the game's first casualty, destroyed from concentrated fire. 

Russ new the SRM carrier was the most dangerous target in the tank lance (able to hit a target for 6 points of damage!), so it also had to go. First the crew were stunned from a critical hit, then the tank brewed up.

Russ had done up some fantastic wreck markers to show where mechs and tanks were after their destruction. 

With two tanks down, Russ diverted a Shadow Hawk to hopefully put the tonnage equation in his favor. Both sides were stripping armor, but concentrated fire from my forces' Awesome, Thunderbolt and Wolverine knocked out Russ' second Shadow Hawk. 

Meanwhile, my tanks were in full retreat. While most of their weapons were on their turrets, the tanks would lose valuable damage points if the mechs were able to get behind them. 

Up in the hills, the mechs jockeyed for positions, slagging armor and venting heat. The Commandos could land hits more reliably, but the new machines of the Lancers could take those hits and do more damage when they managed to land a blow.  

Fully backed into a corner of the battlefield, the tanks managed to get their first kill, knocking out the Wasp that had gambled on a close range attack.

The Lancer's Wolverine was knocked out by the combined attacks of the Commandos' Thunderbolt and Commando. In return, the damaged Phoenix Hawk landed a close-range attack that brought down the second Shadow Hawk. 

The Wolverine, Bulldog, and Manticore continued their dance along the lakeside. 

Somehow, the Lancers' Thunderbolt was able to weather the combined attack of its Commando counterpart. It likely would have been destroyed if the Commandos' Catapult hadn't pushed its heat too far and been forced to shutdown. 

The Catapult was back up, but the Commandos Thunderbolt was finally put down by the Lancers. 

Tired of the Phoenix Hawk that had been flitting around the battlefield, Russ send the Lone Commandos, erm... Commando, which ended the Phoenix Hawk's flight. 

And the dance between mechs and tanks finally ended with the Commandos Wolverine falling to the Manticore and Bulldog. 

After losing the Catapult as well, Russ and I agreed that his lone Commando wasn't likely to stand up long against the remaining Lancer forces, and we called the game there. 

As I reflected on after the game, had we played this using the Classic BattleTech rules, this would have been a day long affair, if not longer. Instead, we managed to play a tense, exciting game in just a couple hours. The Alpha Strike rules still feel like BattleTech, but allow for larger, combined arms games in a smaller timeframe. I'm looking forward to playing more, with a few alterations (like variable damage, pilot dice, and hexless battlefields). 

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a good time. :) Great to see 'mechs and tanks beating each other up. lol