úterý 28. listopadu 2017

[BattleTech] My First Tournament!

or, Not bad, after five games...

I got lucky. There's a wargaming club beyond the borders that is still relatively close, and some of its members are fond enough of BattleTech to organize a tournament. I got even more lucky and could schedule a whole day for the event, so there was no hesitation as to whether to go or not. The journey there was not too adventurous, but still gave me enough time for sight seeing.

Trencin Castle. Definitely  L4-5 fortified terrain.

It was nice to meet other players from all at least three distinct regions. The atmosphere was friendly, as was the tournament itself - it was a fair competition without any waac attitudes. Unfortunately, the games started little later than expected, so only two of three rounds were played, but at least it allowed me to get home before midnight.

Having unpacked my mercenary lance "Ronin's Tonnes" I felt satisfaction for all the evenings spent painting and those nerve wracking decisions on paint scheme. Even composing the lance was a tremendous fun in itself: I could field any 3-5 mechs totalling 5000 BV2, and although proxying and borrowing were options, I used mostly what minis I had available:
  • Archer ARC-5W (70t, 1337 bv2): heavy missile boat with reasonable speed and armour
  • Charger CGR-3K (80t, 1656 bv2): typed as skirmisher, this was my all-purpose heavy mech.
  • Wolverine WVR-7K (55t, 1331 bv2): medium brawler, fast, well armoured and deadly at close range
  • Owens OW-1D (35t, 655 bv2): scout, whose purpose was to tag enemy targets for indirect fire and grab distant objectives. I had to proxy it by a plastic Jenner.
Archer, Charger, Wolverine, Jenner

Game 1

I knew this game was going to be tough. My opponent was more experienced and well equipped, having a nice mix of mechs from a slow 100t beast of Fafnir to a small and nimble Snow Fox. Fafnir was extremely intimidating, fielding weapons that could rip a heavy mech apart in just one round. Avoiding it would be a good strategy, however, the scenario awarded points for controlling objectives on each starting line and most importantly in the middle.

Round 1-2: Glorious synchronized advance

Round 2-3: Deploying to position, Owens running from the beast.
In the first few turns, everything went according to the plan: Archer was in cover, raining death on those tagged/spotted by Owens, Charger and Wolverine intercepted enemy light mechs on the flank. The same mechs then dashed past them and threatened to occupy or neutralize my home objective.

Round 3-4: Enemy lights attempt abreak through, Owens tagging Rifleman.

I did not want that to happen, so both Charger and Wolverine chased them, managing to down a Raptor. The Snow Fox was too cunning and quick to suffer any serious damage, and I had to reinforce the center, so I sent Wolverine to chase it away, and Charger back to front. I belive this was the first serious mistake I made - I should have done it vice versa, as the Fox easily escaped the cc oriented Wolverine.

Round 4-5: Raptor's a toast, WVR securing the rear, CGR returning to the fray.
In the middle all went from ok to horror as Fafnir came to range. I managed to rough opponent's Rifleman, but my Owens had an arm shot off and scurried beyond the hills. My Archer got between Fafnir and Rifleman, falling under the weight of fire. It managed to stand up and advance, only to get shot in the back by the Fox. With reactor shielding breached, Archer was out of action.

Round 5 ends: Archer shot to pieces by Fafnir and SnowFox.
As a last ditch I ran my Charger to the top of the hill, hoping to kick the head off the Fafnir - never got the chance as it was shot to pieces.

Round 5-6: WVR and Owens securing objectives, Charger goes banzai (and boom).
Having lost two mechs and both center objectives I could only console myself with my and enemy rear objectives and a single light mech destroyed. Even then, it was a great, exhausting game.

Game 2

This game's scenario was nearly identical, only differing by a single middle objective. My opponent for this game (son of my previous opponent :) brought two heavy missile boats supported by two light mechs acting as spotters. This time, I believed I had a stood a reasonable chance.

Round 1-2: Both sides advance in good order.

I did not expect my opponent to go for the objective with his heavier mechs, so I rushed in as fast as possible. Fortunately, my JennOwens got to the objective first, and I didn't mean to abandon it. Enemy Raven hid in the forest, while Gambit rushed to meet Owens. Both spotted, tagged and shot each other, and following semi-guided indirect fire obliterated them both. Fine, no more lapses in calling Owens a Jenner! And also, hooray for an exchange of 600pts for 700+ pts and limiting enemy options!

Round 2-3: Owens and Gambit playing a game of TAG. They both lose in the end.

The only active mech my opponent had after the first blood was the Raven. Though it was not as sneaky and fast as the Snow Fox, I held back my Wolverine in case of a breakthrough attempt and sent Charger to flank. This time, the decision was right, because Wolverine had more armour that Charger, and I was sure it would be needed to hold the central objective, which was now secured by Archer.

Round 3-4: Charger flanks, Archer holds, WVR deters Raven.

Raven wasted its time running around the hill tagging my mechs, while the Charger got his sights on opponents Yeoman. Wolverine and Archer stood on the hill like Old Guard, getting shot by 60+ missiles each turn.

Round 4-5: Archer quite beaten up, WVR joins the hill party.

Much better picture of the hill party.

Meanwhile, the flanking succeeds.

Fortunately, my opponent was enjoying himself too much with Raven acting as spotter, and suddenly he found out that the game is coming to an end and his Raven can't reach my home objective. Too bad. Furthermore, he kept pouring everything into those poor bastards on the hill, almost completely ignoring 80 tons of hurt coming for his Yeoman.

Round 5-6: RVN too slow to capture my base objective, ARC fails to stand up.

You're one dead missile boat.

In the end, the Yeoman was destroyed, but so was the Archer, and Wolverine had very little armor left. I guess that this time I won due to luck (few crits to the Wolverine and I might loose the objective in the last round) and the all-rounded composition of my lance and general utility of its mechs (as opposed to rather specialised list the opponent had).

End: RVN puts ARC out of misery, WVR stands fast, CGR kills Yeoman.

Summary: It was GREAT! Although I ended up on the fourth place, I had lot of fun, with fine people. It is rather fascinating how deep the game experience can be with only eight mechs on board. True, my inexperience meant lot of table searching and few rules questions, but even then I love the game just the way it is. Streamlining it and scaling down the complexity makes it into a completely different game, one that has problems to stand out among today's multitude. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Alpha Strike.

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