I’ve been playing the new turn-based Battletech–the one I trash talked earlier this year–because it’s actually pretty good. It has all of the things I wanted out of a Battletech game. I do not say that lightly. It has the financial mechanics, pilot management, ‘mech repair and customization, and meat ‘n unseasoned potatoes story I want. All the depth is available, but optional. Also, points for this being posted on the sixth of June.
Mission: The Impossible Base Defense
So apparently, some pirates were going to destroy a friendly base. Sounded alright. I landed on the base with my back to the southern map border. We were on a mountaintop and the east and west approaches seemed clear. The north had a road coming up it, so I deployed around that, reasonably assuming that’s where most enemies would come up.
The Vindicator and Shadow Hawk held back. The Shadow Hawk had long since been configured to carry twin LRM 5’s, so it was a fire support ‘mech and rarely ever called up to bring its medium lasers and SRM to bear. By keeping those two back, they could respond quickly to threats that somehow got past my front line. Glitch in her Centurion and VanVelding in their Blackjack held the top of the road, ready to mix it up with anyone who came up and spot for friendly LRM fire.
I had expected some friendly military support from the mission description and I was irked that the buildings seemed to be at half-health. I conceded to myself that it did take me forever to tear down buildings on my base destruction missions so maybe the mission was just trying to make things fair on the AI.
That wasn’t true at all. One of my, admittedly optional, mission objectives was “lose no buildings to the enemy,” and on the first turn, a pirate Jenner blasted in from–fucking hell, I guess–bypassed my two forward guys and unleashed a volley of SRMs at a base building, instantly destroying it.
It died the next turn. In subsequent turns, LRM fire rained down to destroy more buildings, the Southern border of the map opened up to allow an enemy lance of Locusts and vehicles to land, and I learned I had missed an eastern road up the ramp (mea culpa).
My ‘mechs scrambled to play whack a mole and I wasted at least one turn shooting at Locusts instead of the similarly-armed, but more fragile vehicles they’d landed with. My Vindicator took the eastern ramp and my Centurion provided fire support everywhere with multi-targeting while my Blackjack charged down the northern ramp to clear out seemingly radar-invisible LRM carriers.
In the last round before the base was destroyed, I took down the last vehicle of the vanguard (by accident; I sure as hell can’t tell ‘vanguard’ from ‘reinforcements’ in this game) and that gave me a “good faith failure” after I was done embarrassing myself.
The team did well and we destroyed a lot of pirate vehicle crews who were fanatically, suicidally devoted to destroying a random periphery government base. I wasn’t sharp-eyed enough to see an eastern approach, but I think that pushing back the map and cutting the buildings to half-health were bullshit pulls on a mission that was challenging enough.
I’d be hard-pressed to think of a better lance composition to have dealt with three directions of multiple vehicles striking at soft targets, but I’m taking it on faith and mulling over a better way to approach those missions. I’ll also keep my ear to the ground on signs that a given mission might have vehicles instead of ‘mechs because that makes a huge difference.
Mission: The Artist and The Mountain
This mission required that I save an artist who’d pissed off some local religious idiots who wanted to kill them for the 31st Century equivalent of Piss Christ.
It was the inversion of the Quick Extraction from last week. A wedge of a mountain tapering towards the center of the map and ending in a confluence in three roads. Across those roads was the base holding the artist. My DZ was on the west side of the mountain. An optional objective base was on the east side of the mountain.
Vehicles were immediately visible on my radar. In the Battletech board game, vehicles don’t cover terrain well. Three of my ‘mechs carried jump jets so I opted to pull the vehicles in, pound them with LRMs a bit, then shift my ‘mechs over the mountain to the east. The vees would be abandoned on the west side, I’d have high ground against whatever was on the east and I’d mop up the first set of vees when they came around the mountain’s taper.
That’s what happened.
Sorry to cheat you out of a story. There was a Spider defending the optional objective, but I murdered it. Then the vehicles. But really, things are boring when they go according to the plan. The excellent, excellent plan.