Public holiday in Queensland today, kids home from school, I had the day off work, so while my wife and daughter took off to do their thing, my two sons and I had a game of Battletech.
Up until now, the games we have been having have been pretty much just roughly balanced forces clashing without any real objectives. This game though, was very focused on achieving a mission goal.
The back ground for the game (and for the many games we will have in the future) is war between Clan Ghost Bear and the Draconis Combine. Clan Ghost Bear have pushed across the border into Draconis Combine space, capturing world after world. Some worlds have had strong military units on them that have been capable of putting up a strong defence, but many haven’t.
The world Gideon’s Chance has moderate defences dirtside, and Clan Ghost Bear are stretched in this front of their attack. These two facts combined are causing the Ghost Bears no small amount of trouble in crushing the defences on this planet.
This particular battle was one of many smaller simultaneous objective raids across a wide front in an attempt by the Ghost Bears to neutralise a series of planetary defences in this area of operations. With few forces to spare, two Mechs were tasked with completing this mission. The target, a Planetary Defence Missile Launch Facility, is situated in the midst of a forested valley floor. It’s location making it difficult for ground forces to assault from most directions. An access road does however transit through the forested valley and offers the easiest access to the target site, however it also provides a good opportunity for defenders to ambush any attackers.
Mission: Neutralise the launch capability of the Planetary Defence Missile Launch Facility located in AO Goliath by destroying the facilities Launch Control Building.
Clan Ghost Bear (Me)
1 x Mad Dog Prime
1 x Stormcrow B
Draconis Combine (Nicholas and Kane)
4 x Inner Sphere Standard Battle Armour Squads
Quick Reaction Force (QRF)
1 x Battlemaster BLR-4S
1 x Warhammer WHM-8K
1 x Thunderbolt TDR-9M
1 x Bushwacker BSW-X1
Clan WIN - if they destroy the Launch Control Building and at least 1 Mech makes a successful withdrawal off the short board edge that they entered.
Draconis Combine WIN - if they prevent Clan Ghost Bear from destroying the Launch Control Building.
A DRAW - if Clan Ghost Bear destroys the Launch Control Building but neither of their Mechs make a successful withdrawal off the board.
Mission Specific Special Rules
1) If an Anti-Mech Leg or Swarm attack conducted by the Draconis Combine Battle Armour against a Mech has been successful, then that Mech cannot shoot at the Launch Control Building that turn. This represents the Draconis Combine Battle Armour doggedly fulfilling its main tasking of defending the Launch Facility against Clan Ghost Bear attacks until a QRF can arrive.
2) At the start of each turn after the first, the Draconis Combine players roll a D6 to determine if the QRF arrive that turn. The turn the QRF arrive they are placed on the Draconis Combine short board edge and may also be activated that turn (turn 2 = 6+, turn 3 = 5+, turn 4 = 4+, turn 5 = 3+, turn 6 = 2+, turn 7 = automatic arrival).
3) The Launch Control Building is destroyed after it takes 60 points of damage.
4) The Launch Control Building may only be fired upon from the two hexes adjacent to it on the same terrain piece.
5) All hexes on the Launch Control Building terrain piece count as rough terrain.
Here you can see the Launch Control Building (mission objective) with the Draconis Combine Battle Armour deployed in defence. The building itself is the small ferrocrete building on the top right of the terrain piece. To damage the Launch Control Building, Mechs must stand in the two hexes indicated by the two filled red circles.
Here is the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) waiting at HQ for immediate tasking.
Here is a pic of the board at the start of the game.
The first turn saw the Ghost Bear Mechs crank their machines up to full speed and make for their target directly down the main access road. The defending Draconis Combine Battle Armour units transmitted an enemy contact alert to HQ and then moved out through the forest to meet their oncoming enemies.
The following few turns saw the Battle Armour continually harass the Mechs on their approach to their target.....firing their lasers from close range as well as attaching themselves to the Mechs legs and placing explosive charges and firing arm mounted small lasers at point blank range into the weak spots in the Mechs leg joints. Some units also attempted to climb further up to attack the Mechs upper bodies, again pouring laser fire into the weak spots in the Mechs armour there.
Unfortunately for the Ghost Bear pilots, the Draconis Combine Battle Armour Troops proved highly experienced at Anti-Mech tactics and although no major damage was done to the actual armour of the Mechs legs, over the space of several turns both the Stormcrow and the Mad Dog had suffered critical hits to their left hips!!! Even though the Clan pilots managed to keep their machines upright in both instances, this damage halved the Mechs walking movement and incurred severe penalties if the pilots tried to increase the speed of their Mechs above walking.
Even though the Mech pilots were successful in swatting away a few of the Battle Armour troopers who were trying to climb further up the Mechs body, the sheer determination of some troopers paid off. They managed to cling to the giant machines and cause some very significant damage over the course of several turns.
The Ghost Bear pilots dished out some hurt of their own as well, though. Shooting, stomping and swiping as they waded their way through the Battle Armour. Several of the Battle Armour troopers died horribly and many were wounded.
Worse still for the Ghost Bears, even as they desperately fought against the Draconis Combine Battle Armour attempting to prevent them from firing upon the Launch Control Building, the QRF had arrived sooner than expected.....not only had the Ghost Bears yet to cause any damage to the Launch Control Building, they had taken some serious damage from the determined Battle Armour defending their target.....with both machines limping with legs frozen by damaged hips, their chance of destroying the Launch Control Building and then escaping was starting to look pretty slim.
On their arrival, the Draconis Combine QRF ran forward and seeing the exposed back of a Ghost Bear Mech through the trees, two of the QRF Mechs fired upon it causing some serious damage......with Heavy PPC’s punching through the forest and burning through the Mad Dog’s thin rear armour and into the internal structure beyond, the Ghost Bears were being sorely pressed to achieve their mission!!!
With the fear of failure now eating away at them, the Ghost Bear pilots used their steely discipline and ignored the incoming heavy weapons fire from the Draconis Combine Mechs and poured all their fire into the Launch Control Building….the Battle Armour having lost many troopers, were now having a hard time successfully assaulting the Mechs to prevent them from firing upon their goal.
After focusing close range weapons fire on the static ferrocrete Launch Control Building, the Ghost Bear Mech pilots had achieved the destruction of their objective. Having suffered some serious damage and with the odds heavily against them now, it was time for the Ghost Bear Mechs to withdraw. A hard task when their Mechs speed was being severely limited by a damaged hip and frozen leg. At any rate, the pilot of the Mad Dog burst out of the targets clearing and made directly for the access road and down towards where they had come from, hoping to run and survive the gauntlet of heavy weapons fire that was sure to follow......and it did, the Mad Dog pilot got some decent weapons fire off causing some solid damage to the Bushwacker that was attempting to head him off.....the firepower that followed him though was too much, obliterating the last of his armour and destroying much of his internal components, including heavily damaging his engine and destroying his gyro....the Mad Dog was brought down and rendered useless, now in the hands of the enemy.
The Stormcrow pilot took a different route however, deciding to take off in the opposite direction and then spin around quickly in a daring and unexpected attack. He was punished severely for it, but his ploy allowed him to line up all weapons mounted in his Mechs arms with the thinly protected back of the Draconis Combine Warhammer, once the crosshairs settled on target, he touched the triggers setting off the powerful Ultra Autocannon 20 in the Mechs left arm and four of the six ER Medium Lasers in the Mechs Right arm. Grim satisfaction flooded the Stormcrow pilot's mind as he watched the spouting flame from the autocannon spit out and rip apart the armour of the Warhammers back and the brightly glowing ruby beams of the lasers disappearing into the internal structure of the enemy Mech. Within seconds the entire left torso and left arm of the Warhammer crumbled, the arm spinning off to the ground no longer being supported by the torso of the Warhammers frame. The reply from the nearby Battlemaster and the surrounding Battle Armour was horrifying though.
Hoping desperately to make a withdrawal to the Southern side of the mountainous terrain where he could then turn East to his forward operating base and safety, the Stormcrow pilot spun his Mech around and pushed it hard into a run, unfortunately, due to the Mechs damaged hip he lost control and the Stormcrow fell hard on its side, injuring the pilot and knocking him unconscious. Giving no quarter, the Draconis Combine Mechs and Battle Armour poured all the fire they could muster into the immobilised Ghost Bear Stormcrow, shredding its little remaining armour and utterly destroying the internal structure and fusion engine.