A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, April 2, 2012

8 Player Battletech Demo Game Report

Text and stuff after the comic!

But why was there 8 players, 9 if I had another mini and mech sheet on me?
Clearly its because my mechshake brings all the gamers to the yard.






I ran an amazing demo game of Battletech Tuesday. 8 players. It could have been 9 but I only had 8 minis and sheets on me.  I did NOT expect this kind of turn out.

Its the third time I have run the game for mostly newbies and taught all of them how to play. Most of the folks seemed to really enjoy it too.  

I taught it like a videogame tutorial. Show them how to walk and turn with the unit commander. Then they try it. Then I explain how running works. Then I show jumping. Then show the basics of terrains for hills and forests. (I mention water but keep it out of the training mission.)

I have the players follow my commander around my map. (Which was Heroscape terrain. Its really THE way to play Battletech. It might have been part of the reason I had most of the people in the store playing.)

I put a little Gundam blind box figure on the field and explain the basics of shooting and heat. Give a couple examples about movement affecting accuracy, and range. Also get into the basics of critical hits and ammo explosions.

I answer a buttload of questions. Lots of them were about things they were kind of joking being able to do like burn down forests and beat people with their own arms. I say there ARE rules for such things but we are keeping it simple for this session. Battletech is fun but its VERY in depth and has stupid amounts of rules for any bloody thing you might really want to do in game.

I then explain initiative and give the players X turns to go hide somewhere. First 2 turns I have them just worry about movement and placing my Litko movement counters I had made from their Custom option, then the next 2 also placing down their to be hit counters so they get used to actually keeping track of how far their actual movement is in effecting modifiers.

I helpfully say my commander is joining in at a random time and is a 3/4 to their 4/5s and tell them to let the virtual combat begin. No close combat allowed as well.

As everyone goes all Battle Royale/Hunger Games on each other I help answer additional questions, and the 2 players who had any experience help out a bit as well. (One being nice enough to take the Jagermech.) People were mastering the rules FAST this way. By the second weapons free round I was barely needed outside of checking up on various things or refreshing myself on certain rules.

In my style I give the players callsigns based on their actions.

The Rifleman was Nancy, due to his running off and hiding behind a large wall.

The Phoenix Hawk was Backstabber due to his jumping behind a mech and going alpha on it. (He could have also been Weeble Wobble as he took more damage than anyone else and still survived the session. With an Engine AND Gyro hit.)

The Blackjack was Camper as he jumped on a large ruined building and sat there. Till my commander came online and got him out of his perch.

The Wolverine was Wooverine as he tried shooting at 2 targets, one with each arm going all dual wield. Till he realized he didn't have guns in both arms.

The Jagermech was Fry Daddy as he was shot in the back and had a virtual AC5 ammo explosion. Like 100 points of ammo explosion.

The Vindicator was Glory Hole which caused everyone to laugh at it, and was being run by 2 players. A lady and another guy who came in late so they worked together on strategy. Their strategy being to pretty much hug a wall and shoot at things. My commander character said they clearly knew a thing or two about humping walls.

The Shadow Hawk was Me Too! as he seemed to basically just gang up on any target any other mech was shooting at.

(My commander was as always Lepus in his trusty Enforcer. Known for hopping around and not sitting still. Was part of the original 4 members of the "Red Rockets" (Yes its a South Park reference.) unit commanded by Dirty Bob, a man who smelled like a brewery and had the STDs of a frathouse. Generally I say most of the newbie players are his horde of illegitimate kids and his child support payment is a giant combat robot. He died in his Hunchback, having fallen over an ammo dump when drunker than usual.)

Using 3025 tech medium/heavies in the 1000 BVish range with the Solaris Skunkworks sheets that have the nice side charts helped it be enough to play with to be fun but not a ridiculous assault fest or boring scout war.

I once played at a Connecticon BT demo where they gave each player an entire medium/heavy lance of 3060 era tech. Thats not a good demo.

It might be a month or more before we can get to play again, but I am thinking lance on lance with water, close combat, pavement, and possibly fire/smoke rules since outside of buildings that really does cover most of the important BT rules.

Figure each lance with a heavy, 2 mediums, and a scout, and the winning lance has to face the Commander who will have the Refit Enforcer (or a Refit Victor.. I haven't quite decided yet...) and be at his full skill as a 2/3 and see if they can't take him out.

If there is still interest, game 3 would involve tanks and possibly some infantry as the final graduation exercise.

Its funny though. I've taught more people over the years how to play Battletech than the regional Commando has. He sadly seems to follow the normal BT player SOP of "If you don't play exactly when I play in the style I play in the game group I play in you simply don't even exist".

Course for a while I even knew the rules better than he did.  I just haven't gotten as many games in the last few years so some knowledge has gone wherever it goes into one's brainmeats when they don't make use of it.

8 comments:

Steven Satak said...

Good for you, Commander! Agree wholeheartedly on the whole Commando thing - we have a local fellow running a game and while he has been doing it for ten years, he still is no better now than he was then - and I have no idea how many players he has 'lost' through poor GMing.

I like the demo pics and storyline-style. Folks like you do more to keep the hobby alive than a whole passel of official 'Commando' types.

ian jdson said...

hey where do you get your hexagonal boards from? is it a website store convention or what?

Captain Rufus said...

The boards are from this now sadly out of print game called "Heroscape".

ian jdson said...

awww... do you know any place i could get a board similar to this?
and where do you get the battletech player/robot cards?

Captain Rufus said...

Well the mech sheets are used from a freeware program called Solaris Skunk Werks which has a number of options for inputting faction and mech picture graphics. If you can't find Heroscape terrain on ebay there are always normal 1 inch or so hex mapsheets.

ian jdson said...

cool thanks for the help

Giskard said...

What were the dimensions of the map you made? I am going to try to run a 4 player vs 4 player game in a few weeks and I am planning on using Heroscape hexes to build a map.

Did you feel like your map was a good size?

Captain Rufus said...

^^ It was a good size, albeit a bit flat. Im not sure what the actual dimensions are. Each hex is like 1 1/4th inches or so if that helps any.

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