Saturday, February 20, 2010

Playtest Results! Part Two

Back once again!

I am busy today – the game over in Redmond was cancelled due to folks being down with the crud, the hacking ague and like that. Next mercenary game won’t be until May, I think. So now I am moving about, getting models packed and shipped, cleaning house (a never-ending task) and doing some research on three fifty-year old plastic model cars (with boxes) which I gained back in 2004 while helping a friend clean out his house for a move.

More on that in my next update...

We have another test run for you to look over – Brian over at gave it a go, this time with more machines in a scrum/furball/slugfest which lasted ten turns. The result was some juicy lance-on-lance action, good enough to make the next ‘Mechs Gone Wild’ CD.

Ummm… wait….

Right. Set yourself up with a cuppa because this one is going to read a bit longish. I edited it for brevity and clarity, but really, Brian kept to the facts and there are some very interesting questions raised by Scrapyard Battle II.

Draconis Combine

2 Jenner X


Lyran Alliance



Terrain: Wooded Hills

Turn 1: DC wins Initiative
Nothing but movement, no shots at long range with the mods figured in.

Turn 2: DC wins initiative

Javelin rushes forward into heavy woods. Jenner #1 takes the bait and MASCs behind him with a 3+ mod. Wolfhound moves in for a juicy shot. The Owens runs in fast to support with a 4+. Valkyrie moves in behind Owens. Daimyo moves to center of battle to threaten either the light ‘Mech jumble or the Enforcer.

Enforcer is not fast enough to get to optimal range but moves on the Daimyo. Jenner #2 MASCs into 7 hex range of the Enforcer which keeps both at medium range for main weapons.
Time for some shootin! Jenner #1 misses with everything while Jenner #2 hits with two shots on the Enforcer. Owens takes minor damage. Enforcer and Wolfhound take scattered damage. The Wolfhound is hit by a small laser to the head and makes his pilot roll.

Turn 3: DC wins initiative

Valkyrie jumps to woods. Jenner #1 gets frisky and tries to MASC again, rolls snake eyes! He makes his piloting roll and struggles to put distance between himself and the swirling masses. Javelin can’t resist the back shot opportunity on Jenner #1. Jenner #2 moves to support and gives the Javelin something else to think about. Wolfhound looks for a kill shot on Jenner #1’s backside. Owens is able to walk for a 2+ and get behind the Valkyrie while still keeping the Javelin in sight. Enforcer takes high ground and the Daimyo pushes in to support the light ‘Mech scrum.

Jenner #1 flips its arms and shoots up Javelin, hits to the RT go in and hits ammo, Javelin goes boom. Javelin returns fire to the rear of Jenner #1 and gets 2 SRMs into the internals. Crit rolls are 11 and 12. MRM ammo goes boom and so does Jenner #1. [As this ‘Mech has CASE, the pilot survives] Two ‘‘Mechs are now down and a lot of wasted shots zing past dead targets. Daimyo and Valkyrie each take a few shots.

Kicks fly and the Valkyrie loses a jump jet but keeps his balance.

Turn 4: DC wins initiative again

Enforcer parks in woods on hill. Owens moves to cover from some Level 2 terrain. Valkyrie moves to the flank of the Enforcer away from the furball. Daimyo moves into woods for a +1 facing the Enforcer. Wolfhound moves for rear shots on Daimyo, Jenner #2 moves behind Wolfhound.

Daimyo armor is beaten up by Valkyrie and Wolfhound but the Enforcer misses with everything. Jenner #2 hits with only 1 MRM and 1 Medium laser. Owens adds to damage but no open locations just yet. Daimyo puts minor damage on Enforcer.
Kick opens up Daimyo’s left leg. Jenner #2 returns the favor. All ‘‘Mechs make pilot rolls.

Turn 5: Lyrans win initiative.

Owens moves back to avoid danger. Enforcer stays put on top of the hill in woods. Daimyo moves to woods 7 hexes away from Enforcer. Valkyrie jumps into heavy woods in front of the Daimyo. Jenner #2 MASCs to a position flanking the Daimyo and covering his back. The Wolfhound moves in behind the Daimyo but only gets a +1 mod. Hopes that the risk will be worth it.

Daimyo gets plastered by all Lyran ‘'Mechs, takes engine hit, missed crit rolls in other locations. Lots of holes present but got a little lucky with the to-hit rolls by the Wolfhound from the rear. Owens and Daimyo team up to open the Enforcer’s left arm but the rest of the ‘Mech is looking good. (Liking the Owens Prime for its dual role bracketed weapons. Second turn the LRM5s have come in very handy). Jenner #2 rolls well and hits with 2 MRMs and 2ML. Crits DHS in Wolfhound LT, opens up Left Arm and center torso armor. Wolfhound fails pilot check and falls. Needed that one badly to avoid the Wolfhound’s kick to the Daimyo.

Turn 6: DC wins initiative

Wolfhound gets up on a run and retreats to woods. Jenner #2 chases and lines up a kick to the weakened right side. Valkyrie lines up on Jenner. Daimyo moves to heavy woods. Enforcer walks into short range on Daimyo. Owens rushes behind Enforcer but stays at range to use LRMs.

Enforcer misses 7s twice. Daimyo returns fire and only hits with 1 ML, but crits the arm and takes out the Large Laser. Owens misses with LRMs but hits with ML and punches through RT armor. No crits though. Wolfhound hits with only 1 LL, heat effects forced the miss. Jenner #2 returns fire, hits with 2 MRMs and 1 ML. Crits Wolfhound’s hip in RL. Wolfhound falls and takes another pilot hit. Jenner #2 winds up full body chart kick and misses...

Turn 7: Lyrans win initiative.

Daimyo stays in heavy woods. Enforcer run to level 1 terrain beside Daimyo. Owens runs behind Enforcer. Valkyrie jumps in position next to Enforcer. Jenner #2 MASCs to rear shot of Enforcer. Wolfhound gets up on a run and barely makes it to the Daimyo. Poor Daimyo is not in a good position.

Daimyo survives weapons fire but loses left arm in the process. No more PPC. Daimyo targets Wolfhound and hits with everything! Rips off the LT. Owens and Jenner #2 team up on Enforcer, both rear shots. Jenner #2 misses with all MRMs but hits with ML. Owens lasers add to the damage but major critical damage is avoided. Daimyo fails pilot check and falls.

Wolfhound kicks and crits the Daimyo’s CT for another engine hit. Daimyo heats up unexpectedly.

Turn 8: DC wins initiative.

Valkyrie jumps across to woods, setting up a shark circle around the Daimyo. Daimyo gets up on a walk and stays put. Enforcer jumps to woods beside Valkyrie. Each defends the other’s back. Owens runs beside Valkyrie lining up kick on wounded leg. Wolfhound moves in front of Daimyo with his back to friendly units. Jenner #2 takes a risk and walks to a rear shot location behind Enforcer.

Lyrans ignore Jenner (actually in great position on left side while enemy weapons are in right arms) and pile on the Daimyo except the Valkyrie who targets the Owens. To-hit rolls are lousy and only an AC10 and a ML hit but they shred the Daimyo’s LT and 2 DHS with it. Daimyo throws everything at the Wolfhound and hits with 2 ML and SRM6. Crits across the board, Foot, Lower Leg, Gyro, ML gone. Wolfhound falls and lands on CT destroying itself. V

alkyrie hits Owens with ML to CT. Owens returns fire and lands a single small laser. Jenner #2 misses all but a ML to Enforcer.
Owens kicks off Valkyrie's right leg. Ouch!

Turn 9: Lyrans win initiative

Daimyo stays in Heavy woods. Valkyrie rotates to get the Daimyo in arc. Owens runs to woods around Enforcer flank. Jenner #2 runs beside Daimyo for support. Enforcer backs up to put distance and terrain between him and the Daimyo.
Valkyrie hits the Daimyo with 1 ML and finds fresh armor (amazingly). Enforcer pegs the Owens with the AC10 and strips all armor from the arm. Daimyo riddles the Valkyrie with lasers and SRMs but no crits. Jenner #2 fires only lasers as he only has 1 more shot left with the MRMs.

Turn 10: Lyrans Win Initiative

Daimyo moves in on Enforcer. Valkyrie rotates to get Daimyo back into arc. Jenner #2 and Owens move to box in Enforcer. Enforcer moves away to 5 hexes from Daimyo.
Enforcer misses with his last AC round. Daimyo misses as well. Jenner unleashes last MRM rounds and hits armor in the torsos of the Enforcer. Owens lasers do not penetrate either.

GAME CALLED, Moderate victory to the Draconis Combine

Two 'Mechs out of ammo and lots of degradation of offensive power will easily lead us to a stalemate. At this point I'm sure both commanders would bargain for salvage rights and walk off the battlefield with the rest of their lances intact.

Many times, I had the choice of leaving some space between the Jenner and its targets but I always found myself striving to get in close to short range to mitigate the +1 of the MRM. Turning an 8 to a 9 or taking a 7, there is no comparison. So it played just as well as I expect Jenners to play. The ammo is a difficulty but maybe I should have waited for better shots earlier in the game.



The score?

The Draconis Combine lost a Jenner X to an ammo explosion, with the other Jenner X down to a pair of medium lasers. The Daimyo was a walking dead man. The Owens was still game, but as light as it is, no telling how much longer it would last.

The Lyrans lost a Javelin to an ammo explosion, a Wolfhound to severe damage and a fall, and were left with a neutered Enforcer and a Valkyrie doing its best to function as a turret.

I might have pushed it another turn, just to see if the Lyrans could take another turn's pasting, but it would have to be done with medium and small lasers - and kicking might have done more damage!

Finally, there is no mention of the variants used in this scenario. You can piece together most of the types fielded by their name and warload, but it would have been helpful to have the actual model numbers presented at the start of the report. Otherwise, excellent work, Brian! Thank you!

I have bombarded Brian with some questions of my own based on this combat sequence.

1) Would the Jenner X be best restricted to Elite pilots (gunnery skill of 2 or less)? This would offset the +1 penalty of the MRM to a certain degree.

2) Is the Jenner X really capable of dealing with ‘Mechs its own size? I think that at the high speeds encountered with smaller machines, the Jenner X is actually at a disadvantage, unable to use its longer reach due to the high ‘to-hit’ numbers. Brian was forced to operate at short ranges in order to get a decent chance at hitting his target. The short-range game is one in which the MRM comes off decidedly second-best. It seems to me from the above report that the Jenner X is actually most useful when executing fast strikes against larger (and slower) targets whose lower movement modifiers mean a decent ‘to-hit’ roll at longer ranges.

3) Was the Jenner X deployed in such a way that it made the most of its speed? With the terrain, could it have been? I am thinking here of the ‘sabre-dance’, a practice of making high-speed passes on a slower target vice the usual melee (‘furball’) in which a standard Jenner is designed to participate. Yes, this means the Jenner X would be out of combat range every other turn, but it (and the ton of ammo) would last a lot longer, get better shots and not worry overmuch about getting nailed in physical combat.

Furthermore, a modified version of this tactic involves the Jenner sweeping through at a run, hitting Target A on turn two, Target B on turn three and Target C on turn four before swinging around for another pass. True, there is a chance of taking a backshot, but that is going to happen in close combat anyway, as was seen above. I saw a lot of ‘Conga lines’ in ten rounds.

4) Would the Jenner X be better served with an additional ton of ammo? I am thinking of a variant that drops both medium lasers, replacing them with two ER small lasers and another ton of MRM ammo. There’s more reliance on missiles though, and I wonder if the Jenner X would last long enough in combat to use that additional ton…

What do you folks think?

Thanks for stopping by. We will have more test results in a few days.


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