Showing posts with label battletech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label battletech. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Abandoned Project Circa 1988

Back in 1980s, Battle Tech was my favorite tabletop game. It was quick and easy to play. However, I was baffled by the plot line and story. I'd make up my own stories that covered the bases. 

What I really enjoyed was Robotech, I totally understood that plotline. At some point, I collected all of the Palladium game books. However, I was baffled by the difficulty in using the rules. It could take hours to kill one opponent. 

Then it hit me. I could use Battle Tech to play Robotech themed battles. Back then, the Unseen were common mechs between Battle Tech and Robotech. They had the Veritechs, they had the Maurader which was an Office's Battlepod. 

But what they were lacking was a standard Battlepod. If I could mash up Battle Tech and Robotech, and devise my own stories, I could certainly make a Battlepod. 

Yeah... I'd kitbashed some models together, but whipping up a figurine from scratch was beyond me. 

I dug through my models and stuff, trying to come up with something. Legs were easy, I used the Maurader model for those. The hips need to be reworked out of wood. Sculpting the engines were simply two U-shaped pieces of balsam. The feet were plastic beads. 

But what about the body? 

I found a skull ring that was about the right size. I shave it down on the sides and bulked up the chin with that green fill used for models. The central eye was a wheel from an airplane model, 1:144 scale. The guns were antennae and wheels from helicopters. 

I had done it!

Given it had taken me hours and hours to build the thing, I realized I could have exactly one. The bottleneck was the skull ring, something I got from a vending machine. Where Robotech depicts odds of 50 Battlepods to each Veritech, I had the opposite. 

How unsatisfying. 

A friend came to my rescue with a handful of bullets and a can of air vulcanizing rubber. It didn't go smoothly. The rubber reacted with some of the plastics and while it took the shape I needed, it melted the original. 

Tonight, I found the results of my experiment. There were a lot of blowouts. Sometimes it was the small details like guns. Other times, it was in the hip/leg joints.  

For the life of me, I cannot remember why I abandoned this. Unfortunately, half of the mold is missing. 

But I do have two useable models to start again. Maybe someday.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Mecha Review in Battletech Compendium - 10 Ton Mechs

Stuff you don't fight with a 10 ton mech.
10 and 15-ton mechs don't work for Battletech. Mechs of these sizes are punished by the math. Every cockpit is 3 tons. Every mech requires a gyro that weighs a ton per 100 units of rating. Tack on the internal structure of 10% of your maximum loaded weight. 

A hidden penalty is hiding in the construction rules of The Battletech Compendium. It's the units of 1 ton or 1/2 ton per part added. Some of the math results in values much lower than a half-ton, but rounding dictates either full ton or half-ton depending on the reading. 

Personally, I modify that rule to be 1/4 ton because .75 and .25 are just as easy to add as 1 and 1/2. It's not a "grab" to do this, it is just convenient to pair .75 tons of gyro to a 1/2 ton machine gun and 1/4 of ammo. It's not battle-effective, but it makes a lot of mechanical sense from a manufacturing point of view. 

One way to analyze mechs is to build them backward. A 10-ton mech needs a 3-ton cockpit, 1 ton of Internal Structure, an engine, and a gyro. The engine and gyro weights are linked. On the table below, everything in parentheses uses my 1/4 ton rule. 

Mech Tonnage Cockpit Internal Structure Engine Rating Gryo Size Rating/100 Engine Tonnage Remaining Tonnage
10 3 1 100 1 3 2.0
10 3 1 90 1 3 2.0
10 3 1 80 1 2.5 2.5
10 3 1 70 1 (0.75) 2 3.0 (3.25)
10 3 1 60 1 (0.75) 1.5 3.5 (3.75)
10 3 1 50 1 (0.50) 1.5 3.5 (4.0)
10 3 1 40 1 (0.50) 1 4.0 (4.5)
10 3 1 30 1 (0.50) 1 4.0 (4.5)
10 3 1 20 1 (0.25) 0.5 4.5 (5.25)
10 3 1 10 1 (0.25) 0.5 4.5 (5.25)

As you can see, the 1/4 ton rule modification doesn't do much at all except for the extreme last two cases. It does make a difference in larger mechs. 

Just looking at that chart I built, there is hardly any room for weapons, ammo, and armor. If you slap 2 tons of armor on the mech with an engine rating of 100, you have a crazy fast mech that can only engage in melee. That won't last long at all but there is a case for an unarmed scout. 

At the other end of the spectrum, you could have a mech with a move of 1 or 2 toting good armor and small weapons but they will never get into range of a bigger mech. 

In order to understand a 10-ton mech, you need to consider what every mech can do. They move. They have a reactor for power and heat sinks. Mechs tower over the terrain and protect the occupants. These advantages aren't enough for combat, but they may take a role in combat support. 

Every 10-ton mech can lift loads and move things fairly rapidly with a footprint smaller than a vehicle of equal size. They can provide power and sensors at a base. These are your jeeps, your radars, and your delivery vehicles. In terms of Battletech, these are more targets of opportunity or a terrain piece to dodge around. Sort of like shooting up the parking garage. 

Where they do make sense is in the RPG Mechwarrior. The characters need appropriately themed transportation. A 10-ton mech with an engine rating of 100 is a sprinting Maserati while one with a rating of 10 is a robot-themed bulldozer. 

They have their place but they don't have to be combat effective. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Game Review - Battletech Compendium (1990)

Title: The Battletech Compendium
Rule Set: Battletech
Year: 1990
Editor: Donna Ippolito
Publisher: FASA
Pages: 144 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars 

Battletech started in 1984 as a boardgame called Battledroids. Over the years, Battletech expanded the universe with a series of boxed sets like Aerotech and Citytech. Each one came with a set of rules, folding Mechs, bases, and two large maps. By 1990, Battletech was ready for a revamp, with all the rules in one place and streamlined. This took the form of The Battletech Compenium. 

And boy is this book concise and detailed. Within these 144 pages, you get Mechs, Aerotech fighters, infantry, dropship, tanks, heliocopters, and even subs all with integrated rules and easy to understand construction and pricing methods. 

The game is a great "I go, you go" game. Pick you mech or mechs, set the map, roll initiative and go crazy! 

One of the great things about Battletech is the heat system. Heat is the limiting factor on what you can do in a give round or game. Sure, getting a limb blown off slows you down, but if your reactor overheats, you're done. Like "went nuclear and got a fork stuck in you" done. You can actually explode from your own actions. 

Oddly, unlike other games where bad rolls can turn deadly, you have control over what harm you could inflict on yourself with heat. Every data sheet has a schedule of what occurs at each heat level. If you find the risk too high, slow down and cool it down. With great management, heat is never an issue. It's really a great game which lends itself to either one-on-one matches or full scale battles. 

For small scale fights, the rules are quick. Larger battles can bog down, but with some familiarity of the rules, they are still manageable. Even better, large battles work best off the hex map, so this set includes full color rules for tabletop battles with terrian. There is a massive selection of 1/287 scale figures for use with this set and to be honest, having the mechs is more fun than playing. 

Models for black and white pictures don't need to be painted.

This particular book requires more information than what is included. You will need Mech Data Sheets, a map or table, ruler, dice, and figures or tokens. There are plenty of resources online or use can use the ruleset to make up your own vehicles and mechs. The creation rules are extensive but intuitive. 

I got my copy on Abebooks. You can try this link for the The Battletech Compendium to search by ISBN on their site.  

You can also check out Classic Battletech on DriverthuRPG? While they don't have this exact title, they have tons and tons to choose from in the Battletech Universe.