Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Madicon 22: BattleTech– Trial by Fire!

A Jenner mugs a Zeus!

I blew into the early morning time slot a few minutes late. The two players were brand new to the game, though, so I didn’t feel too bad about grabbing a soda from the drink machines while they set up and went over the rules.

The guy that blogs at The Rhetorical Gamer was running the game. As much as possible I tried to bite my tongue and let him do all the teaching. But… it is a totally classic game. There are so many cool things about it, so many rules, tactics, things that have happened…. You can very easily overwhelm the new guys. I probably did. But hey, it was Trial By Fire, so we might as well have just jumped in.

The Panther is forced to come out from his cover….

We divided up the mechs for our side. I offered to take the wimpiest one and they went with that. I didn’t want to be too pushy and make them do everything I thought was best. But at the same time… I wanted them to have enough information that they could make informed decisions throughout the game. At the early stages of the game, they ended up holding their position in cover while I charged in. I was hoping to draw enemy fire and maybe even make an opening for them. (I remembered the Jenner to be a fairly serious threat back in the day….)

This turned out to be a major tactical error, though. We missed an awful lot. One guy never hit at all the entire game. When we did hit, the only place we landed a decent concentration of damage was in the center torso. As we started  crunching through the internal structure, we never got any criticals, either. This ended up being the proverbial tough row to hoe.

Getting in our last licks before the opposing mech could leave the board…!

Meanwhile, one of the first hits I’d taken had caused an engine hit. Did that ever make me wished I’d overheated my mech already! I just lurched along after that contributing only a shot or two each turn… until I got into a decent enough position that I could unload everything. This hit next to nothing and promptly shut my mech down.

Did I mention that we were playing novice mechwarriors? I tell you, that extra penalty on the to-hit rolls that we had made it really tough on us. To make matters worse, though, we lost initiative far more often than we expected to as well. That pretty well sums up our game, though: we did really good except when it came to making to-hit rolls, rolling criticals, and winning initiative. Doh!

But you should have seen that enemy mech when he finally made it back to base. His center torso was blown wide open with maybe one or two strands of myomer fibers still holding it together. (I’d really like to have a better strategy if I was going to try this again. Maybe if we had ignored taking cover altogether and  got into short range a little quicker…. But then, maybe that mech would have just clobbered us! So who knows….)

At any rate, a couple of new players got walked through the basics of BattleTech. And they got to do it with a really nice set of models, too. It was a good game. It was just enough to whet my appetite, though. I don’t think I’ve seen the last of this game system…!

5 responses to “Madicon 22: BattleTech– Trial by Fire!

  1. Pingback: A Little Bit of Battletech | The Rhetorical Gamer

  2. earlburt May 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I haven’t played nearly enough BT in my life. My friends played a bit around age 15 or 16. These write-ups (especially Rhetorical Gamer’s (no offense)) make me want to give it a shot as an adult.

  3. Tom May 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    I haven’t played Battletech since the early box sets, with the cardboard pieces and the Robotech artwork. I still have all my sets and have thought about pulling them out again. Pacific Rim has more than a little influence in me considering it.

    Somewhere I still have Centurion too, which I thought was a better game but never caught on as much. Because while Centurion may be a better game, it’s hard to beat out giant mecha for cool.

    • RogerBW May 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Centurion is fun but too slow. Battletech is also too slow really, but it’s fun enough to be playable even so.

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