Thursday, July 30, 2015

No-Dachi enters the Fray

Recently commissioned by the 9th Galedon Regulars, this fearsome 70 ton mech is ready to go.
Following this will be one more heavy. and then several squads of Kage light battle armor.

Say Hello to the Vistula Guard

Here's a snap of my new paint scheme:

These are the beginnings of the Vistula Guard. The Vistula Guard is a combined arms regiment. Currently the Guard is commanded by Colonel Matthew "Marshal" Dillon. 

At this moment it is small but growing.


Sunday, August 2, 3071: Battle On Lycos II!

Bad Moon Risin
Outworlds Alliance
Sunday, 8 / 2 / 3071
0830 Hours Standard

Just a few jumps away from Dneiper, the 5th Explorer Corps follows up a rumor of a lostech cache on Lycos II, one of the famed "Twin Moons" of the planet Risin. Terra-formed during the heyday of the Star League, Lycos II now counts as a "dead" world, the massive machines that fed its atmosphere with its Earth-like mix of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide long since destroyed or dismantled. But while it can no longer be the haven for agriculture and aquaculture it once was, this lonely satellite still stubbornly clings to life. A few rugged colonists, the descendants of the moon's original settlers and geo-scientists, still remain.

The Corps follows their lead to Lycos II's most verdant continental valley, to the site of a once thriving mining town called Klondike. Here it became legend that a distant relative of the OA's ruling Avellar family funded a rogue energy project to create a more complete neural linkage to better meld the MechWarrior or AeroJock and his or her machine. Rumors persisted for centuries that this project and the fruits of its labor wound up at a black site under Klondike--an abandoned mine turned into a hidden research facility!

Does a prototype of the Avellar Neural Net exist? Is it hidden away beneath Klondike? Opposing forces must battle it out to find the truth!

Campaign Notes

This session will consist of two linked battles. The first will be a small Meeting Engagement between Light 'Mechs and infantry in the hidden mine research facility under the town of Klondike. This will be built on 33% of each side's total force. We'll need an objective marker that represents a technological stash grabbed from the site. The winner gets to claim this.

The second battle will be a Pursuit with the winner of the first battle joining his larger force and making a run for it with the tech stash. This battle will consist of 75% of each side's total force, and the pursued force must include surviving units from the first battle.

As a bonus for winning the first battle, the pursued force gains +1 on initiative for Turn 1.

Let me know what you guys think!


Sunday, July 26, 3071 Preliminary Campaign Game

We had a game Sunday, 7/26/15 between my new unit, the 5th Dneiper Explorer Corps (funded by mysterious multi-billionaire Shango Agathi) and Kurita forces augmented with Mercs. Setting is loosely 3050s - early 3060s.

I took a bunch of pics, so I will show them here. We used all of the basic and advanced rules, but did not employ variable damage. Awesome game, all around!

Above elements of the 5th assemble to defend a research installation on Dneiper. I fielded 259 pts.--8 'Mechs and 1 unit of infantry.

Above a close-up shot of the 5th units who participated in the battle. Captain Geoff Yandorak calls the shots from his Atlas!

A hothead at the con, Corporal Quai-Lung did not know that the battle would call more upon her Hatchetman's stand-off anti-air capability than her machine's eponymous melee weapon!

Above a shot of MechWarrior Charon Crawford in his 60 ton Quickdraw QKD-8K--he would find himself in the thick of the battle in short order!

A raiding force of Kurita 'Mechs and mercenary 'Mech and Aerospace elements landed on Dneiper in the dead of night! Their goal? Seize valuable research data and hardware from the Carnegie Center For Science and Innovation nestled in the bucolic countryside of the planet's central continent.

Pictured above, Falon's Wood--it would become a central scene in the pitched assault on the Center! Madsen's Flea FLE-17 streaks headlong into it to scout the oncoming foe...

Above, as scientists and workers scurry for the safety of the Center's panic bunkers, Captain Yandorak lumbers ahead in his 100 ton Atlas AS7-S, and the 5th's intrepid infantry take up positions in one of the facility's buildings.

Above a Kurita Grand Dragon fords the Sage River! A Guillotine approaches behind him, and a Panther flanks and provides withering covering fire. The enemy is upon us!

Above, elements of the 5th take up defensive positions in Falon Wood, the Guiilotine strikes after jumping the river, and the Merc Aerospace elements make the first of three deadly strafing/bombing runs!

Above, a view of the battle from one of the Center's aerial recon drones! Due to severe damage from the Merc Aerospace, Madsen and his Flea had to, well, flee!

Above, another deadly strafing run from those pesky Merc fighters! Salazar's Orion ON1-MA used its Flak to good advantage, scoring a hit on the fighter, but the skilled pilot stayed airborne!

Above, Quai-Lung's Hatchetman HCT-5S fires on and hits the second enemy Aerospace fighter, but the Merc keeps his cool and remains in flight! Meanwhile, Madsen narrowly avoids total destruction from the strafing run--speed is armor!

Above, Quai-Lung and the 5th's infantry fend off a flanking Quickdraw as the Kurita Atlas lumbers into deadly medium range! Also, that pesky fighter makes its last run!

Meanwhile, combined fire destroys the Kurita Guillotine, but not before he blows up Veronica Beck's Commando COM-5S!

Above, with the Guillotine dispatched and Beck safely ejected from her burning machine, Crawford's Quickdraw and Kwint Savak's Vindicator VND-3L leap from Falon Wood and land behind the Merc Zeus and prepare to blast him!

They strip him of all of his Armor and get into his Structure, but they cannot put the kibosh on the stubborn Merc warrior!

At this point both Aerospace fighters were stripped of all armor and refused to make further runs. The Merc Zeus also fled rather than risking dispossession, and the Kurita raiding force pulled back, driven off by the stiff resistance of the 5th Dneiper Explorer Corps! Beck's Commando was salvaged, but the Kurita Guillotine proved too far gone to reclaim. The 5th had to content themselves with knowing they had successfully defended the Carnegie Center For Science and Innovation!

Thanks for reading!


A Quick Game

Two Sundays ago my friend Skye and I played a quick pick up game of Alpha Strike. Skye started out with his mechs in  a prepared defensive position while I was tasked to make a hasty assault and take the position. I had  a few more points than he did, but they didn't do me much good as you will see.

(Skye's Awesome 80 ton mech in a prepared defense position)

I started my assault by moving on the right flank of his position. I had to cross a small river to get to it. The board was mostly devoid of cover, but it did have a few terrain features that provided partial cover from some angles.

As moved forward and the Atlas lumbered forward, Skye sent some of his mechs off to move onto my right flank. I decided that this was more of a diversion and  would deal with it if it became a problem and continued pushing towards my actual objective.

(My assault on Skye's position continues)

As we entered firing range the critical part of this engagement unfolded. Skye concentrated his fire on one mech at a time. His firing (dice rolls) were lethal. He managed to destroy my 80 ton Zeus in three turns of firing. On the other hand, I only made two hits the entire time I was closing.

By this time Skye's mechs on the flank were closing to firing range. Again concentrating his fire, this time on my Atlas, he began to peel away at the assault mech's armor. 

After the destruction of the Zeus and the lethal fire coming from my flank, I decided the smart thing to do was to make an ordered withdrawal and to come back and take the position with a planned assault with more force.

As I withdrew Skye's continued to fire effectively on my Atlas. My return fire remained hopeless. Smelling the blood of an Atlas, Skye closed with the flanking mechs.

Again concentrating on the Atlas he managed to strip it of its armor and into the structure. He also scored a critical hit to its movement rate. But, finally, my shooting improved. His flanking Hunchback got a little too close and I managed to shred it with fire from my Atlas. After that he decided to let my force withdraw.

Total, I lost a Zeus and had an Atlas all but destroyed. He came out with a damaged Awesome and a Hunchback in critical condition. Because I withdrew he would have been able to recover the salvage from my dead Zeus. The pilot escaped however. So a clear victory for Skye. I decided my force commander would be having some words with whoever was in charge of maintaining his mech's targeting computers. 

It was a good game. We both had fun. Here's the best thing. The entire engagement took 40 minutes from start to finish. I love Alpha Strike.

Thanks for reading.



At this point in time I am focusing on gaming in the BattleTech universe and the Alpha Strike rules in particular.

For those of you who do not know, Alpha Strike is set of tactical rules produced by Catalyst Game Labs that allows players to play larger scale battles in the BattleTech universe. It does this by not tracking the details of the individual systems of the mechs and other weapon systems in BattleTech. Rather, it tracks the effects of those systems and applies those effects to the game.

For example, in BattleTech itself each individual section of armor is tracked. As you shoot at a 'Mech, the exact location of any hits are determined and the appropriate section of armor is checked off as it takes damage. In Alpha Strike a mech just has an overall armor value. When all the armor is gone, the 'Mech takes structure damage and takes critical hit tests. In Alpha Strike you won't know if it was the left or right knee actuator that was damaged; but, you will know that your movement is slowed for the balance of the game.

The procedures used in Alpha Strike allow players to control more 'Mechs. Therefore larger battles can be fought in a shorter amount of time without overwhelming the players. I believe Alpha Strike does this without losing the fidelity to the BattleTech universe. Playing Alpha Strike still feels like BattleTech to me.

I and my friends are playing Alpha Strike using the standard Catalyst Game Lab produced 'Mechs that come in the BattleTech Introductory boxes and in their Alpha Strike Lance boxes. We also use several figures from Ironwind Metals. These figures are around 1/285 to 1/300 scale, or 6mm.

(Atlas 100 ton mech in 6mm)

I also have a fairly good collection of Ironwind Metals' BattleForce scale 'Mechs. These are scaled down to about 1/600 or 3mm scale. Since they are about half the scale of the larger 'Mechs, I plan on gaming with these using centimeters rather than inches and game in a smaller area. So if a 'Mech would move 8 inches in a turn, it would move 8 centimeters instead.

(Atlas 100 ton mech in 3mm)

Here is a comparison shot of the two scales. Both models represent an Atlas 100 ton mech. One is in 6mm, the other in 3mm:

(Side-by-side of the two scales)

So that is my current project. As this blog moves forward, I and the others in my gaming group will detail my BattleTech adventures in modeling, gaming and other projects for you.

A Heart Felt Welcome

Welcome to Small Wars in the 31st Century. This is a blog that will cover all aspects of the hobby of playing Catalyst Game Lab's BattleTech Alpha Strike. It centers on a small group of Pittsburgh fans of the game. The blog will include ruminations, modeling, painting, miniature craft, terrain making and, of course reports on the game itself. So buckle up and get ready to go to war in the 31st Century!