Campaign: Second Battle

To refresh the memory, you can check out the campaign backstory, campaign map, campaign goals and the account of the first battle before you get started.

As you may recall from his post on using a moving table in Mechaton, Simon had the choice of battlefield, restrictions and special objective for this particular game. The moving table thing has been outlined in this entry, so I won’t labour the point by restating what was said there. The special objective was a truck full of special foods. The side that held on to that particular truck would gain a multiplier to Population. There were no restrictions on attachments for this game.

Simon seems to exhibit a fair degree of luck when it comes to choosing forces. Both he and I plumped for four mechs each, but I lost out on points by having 14 attachments as opposed to his 12. Richard was fielding a far bigger (and stronger) force than his last outing, with six units and 18 attachments.

The points per and starting points for this game were:

Combined Military Forces (Me): 6/36
Allied Defence Dynamics (Richard): 3/24
The Miner’s Union (Simon): 7/42

Simon set up his objectives far down the field, covering them with his strongest mechs. Richard pretty much dominated the left hand side of the table, looking like he wasn’t going to repeat the mistakes of the last game. I stuck to the right hand side. With the special objective so far away from my units, through both other forces, it wasn’t looking like I could grab hold of it. However, Simons second station was looking much more promising.

The first turn was a disaster for Simon, a disappointment for me and a crushing start for Richard. The Miners Union had a mech knocked out almost from the get go and I just couldn’t roll anything with the dice. Richard on the other hand had his forces rush down the table, pounding the Union forces and (luckily) mostly ignoring the Army.

I’ll say this: I had awful, awful luck with the dice for most of the game. It was either a case of rolling very poorly on the initial rolls or being totally unable to convert hits to damage. Across the course of the game I think i did about three attachments worth of damage. Terrible!

As the game progressed, a little artillery duel began between my sole artillery mech and the two unharrassed artillery units from ADD. Leaving those units free to bombard the table was pretty stupid, but in reality there was little to be done with the luck that Simon and I were having.

The moving table convoy idea actually worked pretty well. It added an extra tactical dimension to the game when you realised that on every turn, the objectives would move another three distance units away from you. Anticipating that and making use of it actually allowed my Army mechs to take a Union station (or truck, in this case). I’m not sure I would want to use this kind of setup in every game, but it was certainly a fun diversion.

At the end of the battle, though, it was Richard who stopped having the luck. The final couple of turns allowed the Union mech defending the special objective to show some incredible tenacity and resistance to damage, holding ths objective until the bitter end, despite being toe-to-toe with a couple of heavy tanks. That really change the complexion of the battle. If he had taken the special objective, Richard would have remained on 24 points (he was down to 21 having lost a unit) AND he would have gained the x1 population multiplier. If that Union mech had been destroyed, Simon would have been down to seven points for the battle, a disastrous result.

In the fiction of the campaign, this is a curious one to work out. It seems that despite superior force and minimal losses, the ADD division lost the battle. We rationalised it as they had drawn back after failing to gain the special objective, a bit of tactical withdrawal. The Union gained the population multiplier because they delivered the food to the mining town, then hightailed it before the Army arrived. The Army won a tactical victory: no losses, capturing some Union trucksand taking control of this particular area.

In the end, though, the points worked out like this:

Combined Military Forces (me): 42 (no mechs lost, one enemy station taken)
Allied Defence Dynamics (Richard): 21 (one unit lost)
The Miner’s Union (Simon): 21 (two mechs lost, one station lost, special objective held)

When all this is taken into account, the current campaign points are looking like this:

Combined Military Forces

Government (x2): 138
Mines (x2): 138
Population (x2): 138

Miners Union

Government (x1): 57
Mines (x3): 171
Population (x2): 114

Allied Defence Dynamics

Government (x1): 35
Mines (x3): 105
Population (x1): 35

So story-wise, the Union has made big gains amongst the population as a result of that battle while the CMF still holds tightly on to control of the government. The Union are very, very strong in the mines but the military are certainly creeping up behind them. ADD are, in the main, failing badly at their campaign to win over the planet. They have very little support and their initial gains in the mines have been overtaken by the CMF gains in that same area.

Next up we have yours truly setting the battlefield, restrictions and special objectives. Oh, the Doomsday Calendar ticked down to eight at the end of the battle, with no further changes made by any of the participants. Looks like we’re all in it for the long haul.

Cheers
Malcolm

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8 thoughts on “Campaign: Second Battle

  1. mechachronic

    I like to think of this battle as a tactical victory for the army, but a strategic victory for the miners. We’ve maintained our lead in the mines, while making inroads into control of the populace.

    Richard’s performance shows how you can win battles but still lose the war – he destroyed huge amounts of my stuff, advanced right on top of my objectives, but couldn’t convert that into a victory. I’m still wary though, because it only takes one bad battle to totally change the balance of power.

    I’d also like to argue that luck has little to do with my choice of mechs and attachments. There’s always a little chance involved, but I like to think I’ve got a good grasp of the psychology of choosing armies, and I’m able to guess my opponent’s likely choices. We all commented that the real game started in the second battle with army choice. We’ve now got a lot more information on which to base decisions. There tends to be a tit-for-tat system – you choose a lot of mechs one game, and the others punish you by taking a lot of mechs in the next game. That evens out over time though, and the choices get a lot more subtle.

    The rolling terrain definitely upset my usual strategy. Having to keep moving with the objectives made cover very difficult to find. I also made some poor choices with tactics and deployment, allowing piecmeal engagement and endangering too many mechs. My plan was to sacrifice one mech and station, hopefully tying up both attackers and drawing them into a fight with each other, while keeping most of my mechs, and the special objective out of danger. The reality was that I lost the mech, the station, and a couple more mechs as well, due to disciplined fighting from both attackers, and some effective fire from Richard. I narrowly avoided total destruction of my force, which would have been the end of my chances in the campaign.

    Reply
  2. Mantisking

    Considering the battlefield would be constantly moving, how many mechs — from each team — were equipped with Movement attachments?

    Reply
  3. mechachronic

    Not as many as you’d think, actually. Malcolm swears by the combination of one movement, one armour, plus weapon, so he had a lot of those, but I only had one movement attachment, and I think Richard only had a couple as well. I’m pretty sure Malcolm appreciated them though.

    Reply
  4. mechachronic

    Well, kind of. We decided that leaving the map shouldn’t count as destroyed, as that was kind of rough. It just meant they couldn’t take part in the battle anymore. Malcolm’s commander made a “strategic retreat” towards the end of the game to avoid Richard’s artillery fire.

    Initially I was worried about people keeping all their mechs off the table to avoid losing points, but that didn’t look to be a problem. I think the problem needs looking at in greater detail, since Malcolm would have lost points from losing the mech, which could have changed the complexion of the final points a lot. Letting the mech avoid destruction made sense in the fiction, but from a game point of view, was not ideal. It’s not a huge deal though.

    Reply
  5. mechatonic Post author

    Moving off the table worked in the fiction. If your mech is really badly damaged, you want to get the hell out of there unless the justification for staying outweighs the reasons for going. That being said, in game terms, it was a bit of a dick move.

    In order to preserve fairness, I’d be happy to deduct the relevant points from my totals (in this case, 6 points for the ‘lost’ mech, which totals up to 12 points from each objective total).

    Cheers
    Malcolm

    Reply
  6. mechachronic

    Nah, I think it’s cool. There’s no telling if it had stayed on the table whether it would have been destroyed. We agreed to the terms at the time, and I don’t think it makes a huge difference.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Campaign: Third Battle « Mechatonic

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