Polanski’s Lancers were contracted by Lacstar Industries to harass the assets of the VolSaab Corporation on the colony world of Mundos. The 14th Uhlans were assigned the task by their CEO and covertly deployed to Mundos for the operation.
Of course, VolSaab’s facilities and territory on the forest world were not undefended. They had contracted site protection out to the mercenary company known as Thor’s Hammers. A Line Unit known as the Strong Hammers were currently on rotation at Mundos.
The Uhlans are primarily a light Line and Skirmisher force. Under the cover of darkness and strong ECM, the Uhlans began to infiltrate into VolSaab territory in an attempt to draw the defenders away from the main Corporate compound. The Strong Hammers did not take the bait, and instead only sent a patrol of Line and Light Line Jugs to investigate their perimeter as the strong use of ECM tipped off their Officers to potential enemy activity.
The models are from Catalyst's Battletech 50th Anniversary box.
14th Uhlans (Green Jugs)
3- Light Line (From front to back Enforcer, Trebuchet, Quickdraw)
Strong Hammers (Blue Jugs)
1-Heavy Line (Front, Dragon)
1-Line (Second from front, Hunchback)
2-Light Line (Whitworth, Dervish)
This is the standard Patrol mission from the rulebook. Therefore, the Strong Hammers are in the center within 6 inches of each other. The Uhlans are deployed anywhere on the board, in cover and at least 12 inches away. Uhlans will be the active unit.
The Uhlans elect to move first. I am careful to recall that an opposing unit may not react if the opponent remains out-of-LOS. They can not react until they are shot at.
My Quickdraw stays in cover and uses an ECCM Burst to make sure he is Fully Obscured. He passes the test. He is ready to react once the shooting starts.
The Assassin attempts to lock onto the trailing Whitworth. He fails his pilot check. However, the Skirmisher decides to open fire on the enemy Jug anyway. Since his weapons ignore cover, he can fire through the trees with no firepower reduction. He just blasts through it with weight of fire. The Whitworth attempt to react, but the Assassin wins the roll and opens fire. The shots ping harmlessly off the Jugs armor and shields.
The Trebuchet steps confidently out of the treeline and locks-on to the Hunchback. He opens fire with his missiles and cannons. The Hunchback fails to React as the trebuchet’s missiles and cannon blast into his side armor. The Cannon shells fail to find a weak point, but the missile strikes home and causes warning lights to flash in the cockpit. 5 hits left on the Hunchback.
The Enforcer moves to keep the squad out of LOS so he can target the lead Dragon one-on-one. He manages to Lock-on, and then opens fire. However, before he can, the Dragon reacts! The Strong Hammer turns to face his lighter opponent head-on. The close range barrage is too much and easily overwhelms the lighter JUGS armor. Point Defense failed to stop any rockets, and the Beam cut through the Enforcers armor reducing him to 2DP and crippling him in a single deadly salvo! The crippled JUGs return fire is pitiful and pings harmlessly off the heavy Dragon’s armor.
The Hunchback turned and clomped towards the Trebuchet that had injured it. He closed the distance quickly and powered up his cannon. The trebuchet still had movement left and reacted to his opponents move. He quickly backpedaled into the treeline for some cover, but couldn’t get far enough away to avoid getting shot at. He was starting to wish he had Braced instead of Locked-on. The Hunchback plants its feet firmly and Braces. Then, he fires. The treeline reduces the firepower by two, but it is still enough to potentially hit the Trebuchet twice. However, the armor saves one fothe cannon shells reducing the Trebuchet to 5 hits.
The Strong Hammer’s Dervish moves to back-up the larger Hunchback, but opts not to fire his missiles for reduced firepower. Instead, he goes on Brace as well.
The Whitworth moves forward and gets a bead on the heavily damaged Enforcer with its Beam. The weapon cuts through the Jugs armor like butter and reduces it down to 1 DP.
The Strong Hammers win the activation roll. This could be bad for the Enforcer.
The Dragon opts to fire on the Crippled Jug. He tries to Lock-on and fails. AS he moves to fire, the Enforcers pilot manages to react. He turns and runs into the nearby treeline, then tries to do an ECCM burst to protect himself, but fails. The Dragon slowly turns and smashes through the trees after his prey. The Dragon’s rockets saturate the area, but the Enforcers Point Defense swats it aside, however, the Heavy Jugs Beam manages to catch the Enforcer and cut him down along with several trees. The Enforcer is Disabled.
The Hunchback holds his ground and successfully Braces again. He goes to fire on the Trebuchet with his forward cannon. However, the Trebuchet reacts first. He bursts through the treeline and begins to approach the enemy Jugs. However, the Dervish reacts successfully.
The Dervish manages to Lock-on and opens fire. Even with the re-rolls for Lock-on nothing finds the moving Trebuchet. The Dervish then turns and moves away at a 90 degree angle. With nothing left to do, play reverts back to the Trebuchet to finish his Reaction. He moves ahead past the Hunchback, and fires on the Whitworth. The Whitworth fails to react. The cannon shells bounce harmlessly off its armor, but two missiles detonate in the Jugs back, reducing it to 4 Hits. Now in the open, the Trebuchet tries to Brace, but fails.
Play now reverts back to the Hunchback. The pilot Braced, so can not move unless he drops Bracing. He has no targets unless he moves, but can not try to use a Pilot skill again this turn. He decides to turn and move towards the Assassin Skirmisher. He fires his cannon and the Assassin fails to react. The shell strikes home and reduces the Assassin to only 3 Hits.
The Whitworth turns back towards the Trebuchet and returns fire. The trebuchet has used all his movement, firepower, and pilot skills so can not attempt to react. The Whitworth’s Beam reduces the Trebuchet to 4 hits.
The Assassin turns and moves quickly across the treeline, covering his movements with an ECCM Burst making him tougher to target. However, his weapon load-out does not allow for a left facing shot.
The Quickdraw burst from his cover and moves out to support the Trebuchet. The Whitworth attempts to react but fails, all though he only has movement left. He opens fire with his Cannon on the Whitworth, but misses. Then, his rockets and Beam attack the rear of the Dervish. The rockets are taken out by Point Defense, while the beam cuts the Dervish down to 5 hits. The Quickdraw finishes by Bracing.
The Strong Hammer win activation.
The Hunchback is in a position behind the Uhlan lines, so no one can react to his movement. He truddles around and faces the back of the Trebuchet. Instead of Bracing, he decides to Lock-on and opens fire. The Trebuchets weapons lock warnings ring out and the pilot attempts to react, but it is too late. The Heavy shells blast into the Trebuchets back, and cripple the Jug (2 Hits left).
Things look bad for the Uhlans.
The Dragon is satisfied that the Enforcer is out of the fight, and moves to get behind the Quickdraw. He can only bring his Beam to bear, but opts not to shoot due to the firepower reduction caused by the treeline. He wants to conserve his ammo. He holds his Pilot skill and Firepower to potentially react.
The Dervish begins to turn and the Quickdraw tries to react, which he successfully does. He opens fire with his full weapon compliment on the Dervish. The rockets miss and the cannons fail to find a weak spot. However, the beam cuts through the Dervish and reduces it to 4 Hits. He then tries to turn and move but the Whitworth tries to react, but fails. The Dragon also tries to React as the Quickdraw moves away, but fails. The Quickdraw moves behind the Hunchback, and Braces.
Play returns to the Dervish. He moves to try and get a clean shot at the Quickdraw, but can only get and Obscured shot which would reduce his firepower to very small chance at success. He decides to hold onto his firepower, and also Braces.
The Whitworth moves towards the Trebuchet, who tries to React, which he does successfully. This time the Jug Pilot Braces. He then tries to fire his reduced Firepower at his approaching adversary. The Whitworth’s Point Defenses take down the approaching missiles. The Whitworth returns fire and the Trebuchet easily absorbs it.
The Assassin moves and tries to take a sniper shot at the Dervish from the treeline. The Dervish tries to react, but fails. The Gatling and Rockets fail to make a dent in the Dervish.
Uhlans win activation.
The Trebuchet passes a Pilot Check to make a run order. When he tries to move the Whitworth reacts successfully. The Whitworth decides to finish the job, locks-on and disables the Trebuchet with a burst of rocket and cannon fire.
With that, the Uhlan’s have decided that discretion is the better part of valor. The Assassin activates and falls back off the board.
The Quickdraw makes a Pilot Check to run and passes. However, when he tries to move the Dervish attempts to activate, which he does successfully. A barrage of missiles home in on the fleeing JUG and cripples the Quickdraw.
The Dervish fails to perform an ECCM burst to cover himself. The Quickdraw completes his turn and can just barely get to the board edge and away.
Strong Hammers hand the Uhlan’s a decisive defeat. So much for disrupting the VolSaab Corporations interests on Mundos. Two disabled and 1 crippled Jug out of 4 is not a good ratio, and in exchange they only lightly damaged the Strong Hammers. I guess they lived up to their names.
Here is what I learned about the game system itself.
1.Winning Activation is not inherently good.
2.Choose when to use your Pilot Skills carefully, and pick the one you will need. This turned out to be a big part of the game.
3.Getting to the sides and behind opponents limited their return firepower and forced them to make decisions about movement that impacted their abilities to use certain Pilot Skills.
4.Making opponents move allowed you to react to them and potentially get the drop on them.
5.The Action/Reaction system was pretty fun, and reacting to reactions wasn’t as hard as I had feared.
6.Having a reference card to keep track of what each Jugs had available for firepower, Hits, and what Pilot Skill they had on was really useful. Bummer.
7.Terrain and Ranges reduction of Firepower still made taking cover and gaming ranges important. I wasn’t sure how this would play out in the field. Also, reacting and moving out of fire arcs was a good tactic.
8.Missiles are really good, but can be nullified by PD. Beams rule as they can only be saved while bracing.
9.Concentration of firepower is critical, do not spread it out!
10.The game maneuvered and played like I imagined big, stompy robots would
Overall, I would call this a success!