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Rulah, *throwing a modest gout of flame from her hands*: “Fire!”

Rulah, *patting herself out*: “Ah! Damn! Fire-reflective doors!”

Rulah: “What about…the hinges!”

*She shoots fire at the edge of the doors.*

Rulah, with a self-satisfied smirk: “A few seconds of heat and you’re reduced to a useless creaking hea–”

*The heavy, metal doors fall forward on her*

Rulah, in clear Piscean from under the doors:“Fuck.”

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.

Mission: The Capellan Kiddie Pool of Sacrifice

This was a base destruction mission. Not that I’m still bitter about my base defense mission, but this base had turrets.

I was on an elevated position with a slope headed up from the right. Again, I’m not bitter about anything, but I checked extra-hard and there was only one broad slope up to my position. The base was in a circular depression below me.

I set Behemoth and her Shadow Hawk back and let her sensor lock turrets while I hit the them with indirect LRM fire from my Centurion and Vindicator. My Blackjack guarded the slope.

After a while, some enemy reinforcements arrived. A pair of Commandos charged, one by one, from the valley. I tagged and LRMed them into oblivion. An enemy Centurion followed into the valley while a Griffin ran up the slope. I shifted back from the edge of the valley and all four of my ‘mechs obliterated the Griffin while cutting the Centurion out of line of sight.

After the Griffin was down, I shifted back to the edge and found the Centurion had its back to me. A few direct-fire shots later and the enemy ‘mechs were down.

The dropship then came down into the LZ and there was one turret left. I didn’t know if the turret could fuck things up for me by shooting my dropship, so I scrambled to finish it off. It was a complete inversion of the Capellan Amphitheater of Death from earlier; I had the high ground and utterly destroyed the opposition and took almost no damage in return.

It was a good day, ‘Tater.

Mission: The First Convoy Strike

I’d never had a convoy destruction mission, but it guaranteed a few vehicle kills. Soft–albeit moving–targets and maybe some escorts. Worst case scenario, I could blow up some civilian vehicles and then run.

The environment was a desert with whirling sandstorms. I wasn’t sure if the storms were actually soaking up my laser shots or if they were just rendering glitches, but my mostly-energy loadouts and the fast, small enemy ‘mechs made the first few rounds of combat embarrassing.

A Locust, Spider, Panther, and Jenner were small enough that I thought I could put them down with three of my guys and send my Shadow Hawk to take down the vehicles. That strategy fell apart after my Centurion received its second devastating backshot and my Shadow Hawk was almost knocked down by the weapons of a convoy comprised entirely of combat vehicles.

Still, I retreated up to a hill and pinwheeled my ‘mechs, a different one pounding the convoy each turn while the other three took down the escorts. It wasn’t harrowing, but it had some surprises. With the surprises of convoy strikes known, I felt confident taking my second convoy strike mission.

That Andorian looks like The Great friggin’ Gazoo. Data is a great dad. Beverly in grade school was whatever Mean Girls look like in the 24th Century.

Where are we on Worf needing a permission slip to give birth to Klingon Jesus?

Also, I swear we recorded this over a month before any actual famous people blamed prescription drugs on saying racist things.

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

*Outside the doors Ularon, Gahncai, and Bria entered.*

Rulah *pulling on the doors*: “Are you guys okay?”

Rulah *in Picean so deeply accented as to be unintelligible*: “???!”

*Muted sounds of scuffling can be heard through the door.*

Rulah, *to herself*: “It’s okay. It’s fine. You’re the only one out here. Use a spell. Open the door. Stay calm. Just pick a spell.”

Rulah: “…no one’s here.”

Rulah, grinning broadly: “I can use fire.”

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.

Mission: The Hunchback and a Clown Car Full of Panthers

This mission wasn’t boring. I was supposed to sweep through a Capellan base and bust up their noses a little bit. I don’t hate Capellans, but I try to stay on the Magistracy’s good side and the Capellans weren’t hiring, so I tend to take a slightly higher-than-random number of missions against the Capellans.

Now the Taurians, I love fighting Taurians. Fuck those guys. I think those two Commandos were Taurians.

But this one is about Capellans. Base. Bloody nose. Lance-on-Lance. I deployed on a southern road with the base just north of me. The defenders were on patrol, as they often are in this game. There was a rocky peak just west of me and I parked my Shadow Hawk and Vindicator on that while my Blackjack and Centurion pushed forward.

If you’ve noticed the pattern, then we’ll just call those specific ‘mech pairs Shadycator and Centurjack.

Centurjack started getting sensor contacts and pulled back toward the forest on the west of the peak. Two Spiders and a Panther sprinted in, followed quickly by a Hunchback. The Hunchback’s AC/20 is a huge motherfucking weapon that, while short-ranged would fuck up any of my ‘mechs if it hit them. Even my (relatively) beefy Centurion.

I pulled back harder.

My Vindicator was at the front of the peak, which was really peak-y. That meant I had to move Behemoth down and closer to the front for her to get a shot in. I finished off the Panther and began pouring everything onto that Hunchback, taking every precision shot I could at its right torso to take out that gun. In return, the Spiders swarmed my Shadow Hawk and Centurion.

The Hunchback was disarmed, but at the cost of my Centurion’s main gun (its much smaller AC/10) and almost all of my Shadow Hawk’s armor. I pulled Behemoth back so she could continue providing fire support while staying safe.

Then the two other Panthers swept in. Panthers are light and based around a PPC. The PPC is a relatively big gun and I’d focused on the first Panther until a larger gun trundled into the picture. I’d finished it off quickly because it wasn’t heavily armored.

But now I was pushing the heat curve on my Blackjack, my Shadow Hawk was being harried by a pair of Spiders, my Centurion was minus its boom stick, and my Vindicator…well, my Vindicator was untouched but the situation was still tenuous.

My Centurion traded physical blows with the Hunchback until the Hunchback fell. It spent the rest of the combat chasing down smaller ‘mechs and taking wild, drunken swings at them. It occasionally offered up LRM shots when they were too far away to punch.

My precision shots recharged enough to eviscerate another Panther’s PPC, but I had to leave the back armor of my Blackjack open to a beating while it maneuvered to the other Panther’s right side (to increase the odds of a hit on its PPC-carrying right arm).

The Centurion eventually caught a Spider and took it down. The Vindicator took down the unarmed Panther. The Blackjack took down the armed Panther with a withering laser light show. The Blackjack then took down the last Spider, which had finally left the Shadow Hawk alone while it backshot everything in range.

The repairs costs were moderate. I had to replace my Shadow Hawk’s left side, the Centurion’s right arm, and patch up a lot of torso structure on my Blackjack. I don’t think I earned anything after repair costs. Worse, I had one of those upgraded AC/10’s on my Centurion. One with a “+” or two on it. That was lost with the left arm and I had to buy a new, regular, AC/10. I resolved to only buy special equipment that went on torsos and the head from that point forward.

It was the first of some slightly tougher missions that were coming up.

I tend to take notes while I watch movies. Then, I transcribe those notes here when I’m done. I recently watched Deadpool 2, so here it is. Text is what what written, information in [[double brackets]] are after-the-fact notes.

[[Like Keanu, I realized my notes on this are really short. It says something about me that “short notes” is some of the highest praise I can give a movie.]]

Previews

I’m sorry, the cast of Bridesmaids is WHAT? [[I watched at the Alamo Drafthouse, which plays old movies as part of events and just because, really, so they routinely show old trailers before the new trailers. It’s pretty cool I live near a theater that’s playing the original True Grit just whenever. Also, that Bridesmaids cast is bonkers-good.]]

Hey, actual previews already.

More Jurrasic Park. We’ve done this already. [[I’ll do this in my Avengers: Infinity War transcript, which I haven’t transcribed yet.]]

Johnny Knocksville movie again. Action Point. This is a good fit for Johnny Knoxville. It’s comfortable.

Please subvert this Spider-Man Movie under the…? Trippy. India. Has potential.

Upgrade-I like the high concept action movie. I am opposed to revenge movies, but, like, that’s the point of this one; revenge is a bad idea but this is the idea.

Deadpool 2

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Bria: I *ack* can’t do anything to these tentacles! It’s *cough* undead!

Gahncai: Isn’t your dark magic good again–*ugrgh* undead?

Bria: Dark magic can’t be good against undead AND good *urk* against the living to MAKE them dead! That makes *winces in pain* no sense!

Ularon: Then it would just be good at everything.

Brian: Ex–*argh*–actly. Can’t one of YOU do something?

Ularon: I can read its mind…

Ularon: …it wants to crush us with its tentacles.

Gahncai: I can emit an off–*urgh* offensive musk in a 10 meter range.

Ularon: Radius or diameter?

Bria: You did *ungh* that on Celdon. Do NOT do it–

Ularon: Great Knowledge of the Deep! What is wrong with you air dwellers!? It’s like an incontinent whale beached itself!

Brian: If you make me vomit while being choked, I will kill you, Gahncai!

Gahncai: Oh, so dark magic is harmless against evil, but still works against your friends?

Brian: That’s *hrrgh* EXACTLY how dark magic works!

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.