Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Missing ‘Mechs Revised: Warhammer and Marauder

After working out an improved design for the Rifleman, I thought it’d be a cinch to take on the task of improving rest of the original Battlemech designs by using Level II equipment to make the designs match more closely the spirit of Loose’s classic Technical Readout illustrations.  It turns out to be a thing easier said than done!  One thing I want to do with these designs is to take pairs of ‘Mechs that were essentially identical in the old game and then heighten the variance between them with two plausible but contrasting design philosophies.  The Stinger and Wasp, the Ostroc and Ostsol, and the Warhammer and Marauder all come to mind here.  Let’s see what we can do with the last two:

First, let’s keep the spirit of the original designs as intact as possible.  (This is more of a touch up than a re-envisioning.)  The Marauder looks much faster, so we will make him a 5/8 ‘mech instead of 4/6.  The Warhammer’s PPC’s are much larger, so lets make them into fancy Level II ER PPC’s.  The Marauder’s Autocannon is positively huge, so let’s make it an AC-10 Ultra.

The Warhammer presents quite a few problems, though.  In the original drawings it appears to have 4 small weapons in each torso section: a bigger laser, a smaller laser, a machine gun, and a flamer.  It’s no big deal to add the flamer, but it also appears that the each hump on the Warhammer’s shoulders contains an LRM-10.  This is painful to add in– the ER PPC’s create tons of heat and are even longer ranged than the LRM’s.  It doesn’t make sense to add those on unless we sacrifice our premise that the Warhammer has the biggest meanest PPC’s on the planet.  I’m not ready for that yet.

The six missiles on the external mount also present a problem.  There’s no rules in Battletech for external mounts.  Also… the missiles appear to be a very large and heavy hitting “fire and forget” affair.  Downgrading the Warhammer’s SRM-6 to a single shot SRM-6 saves you a measly half ton on a mech that already has heat and armor problems.  (The rules are very disappointing here.)  Why would anyone ever purchase a single shot rocket?  They were a mainstay in classic Car Wars designs, but here they are useless.  I want cheap, lightweight single shot heavy rockets in Battletech.  I want to buy a bunch… hit a big read button… and then see my enemies go boom! 

(My brainstorm for single shot rockets: a single shot shot ranged “heavy” rocket does 12 points of damage, 2 heat, weighs 2 tons, and uses one critical space.  A single shot long ranged “heavy” rocket does 5 points of damage, 1 heat, weighs 1 ton, and uses 1/4th of a critical space.  So the Warhammer’s super-SRMs would weigh 12 tons and the super-LRM 10-packs would each weigh 10 tons.  These weapons would completely change the tactics of the game: you might not be alive if you wait to close to a shorter range to fire!  We’re not going to use these variant rules in our current draft of the designs, but I wonder if they’ve made something like this for Maximum Tech or whatever it is that has the fancy design rules….)

Here are links to the designs if you’d like a closer look at the details: Rifleman, Marauder, and Warhammer.  And here are links to their record sheets if you’d like to play test them out in a game: Rifleman, Maruader, and Warhammer

I’m not so sure I like the results of sticking with with the ER PPC’s.  I may put those back to regular PPC’s and add in the LRM-10’s while changing the Marauder’s arm weaponry to a pair of large pulse lasers and a pair of medium pulse lasers.  That sounds promising, but let’s see how the other revisions turn out before we try that.  (It may be more appropriate to save this laser variation trick when we retool the Ostroc and Ostsol a little more….) 

Another thing to consider would be to remove the XL Engine from the Marauder and replace it with a regular engine and lighter Ferro-fibrous armor.  The Marauder just looks like it’s built a bit sturdier than the Warhammer.  I’d probably have to drop it back to 4/6 to do that, though…. 

Also, I’d like the Warhammer and Marauder to be more-or-less equal in a straight duel.  The above version of the Warhammer has a battle value of 1,201 to the Marauder’s 1,419.  A lot of that is due, I expect, to the AC-10 Ultra being an awesome weapon while the ER PPC is just a heat-spewing zap gun.  If I could have things exactly the way I want them I’d make the AC-10 Ultra to an AC-8 Ultra and the Warhammer’s PPC be 12 points of damage to the Marauder’s 9 point PPC’s.  This degree of granularity just isn’t in the design rules, however.

As you can see there’s a lot of difficult decisions to be made.  Choosing to do things a given way forces us to cut back on other desired design requirements.  Hopefully the reworking of the Stinger and the Wasp will go better….

 (Once again, these designs were built using Heavy Metal.  Be sure to look out for the revised Total Warfare edition of this software that’s coming soon.)

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2 responses to “Missing ‘Mechs Revised: Warhammer and Marauder

  1. Pingback: Mechwarrior Dies in Tragic Cockpit Explosion « Jeffro’s Car Wars Blog

  2. ted October 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    A thought about one-shot missiles…they’re clearly big. I refuse to subscribe to the notion that we have guidance systems here in the year 2000 that can follow a laser or radar beam to a target and hit it from 100 miles away but a thousand years later tech has somehow degenerated to the point that people done forgot how. Missiles would have guidance. Against that are a couple of possible counters, especially EMP’s. Somebody shoots at you with a rocket, you’d reflexively trigger an EMP to confound whatever tracking system it was using and hopefully scramble the thing in its tracks.

    Since one of the defining attributes of mech warfare is heat burden, a possible limitation on the strength or effectiveness of your EMP “blanket” could be adding heat to crank up your EMP…in other words, as you divert power to the EMP when somebody shoots big rockets at you, you’re also adding to your heat burden. So choosing the moment when to fire off those rockets is a tactical decision, since the cooler an opponent’s mech is, the more easily he could overwhelm your rockets’ homing system. Assume for instance it’s a simple two-die roll..if you divert 2 points of heat to your EMP, you beat the rocket only by rolling snake-eyes, with 3 points you have to roll less than three…obviously to be comfortable you’d have to dedicate 9 or 10 points of heat and 12 to be absolutely certain….

    Add an interesting wrinkle to the game.

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