Friday, October 14, 2011

Battletech Quick-Strike: the Andurien Secession, Planet Drozan, 3030

Drozan is one of the Capellan Confederation's vital agricultural worlds. Its large arable plains produce enough crops to provide 5% of the entire Confederation's needs. The farms are managed by large automated cultivation and processing plants that run continuously. It is this high degree of automation that makes Drozan so bountiful. These farms are supplemented by large aquaculture installations which provide more foodstuffs for the Confederation.

Given its importance and agricultural output, it's no surprise that the Confederation has established research centers devoted to food synthesis on the world. Prior to the Fourth Succession War the Strategios also stationed a battalion of Warrior House troops on the world, rotating the unit so enemy intelligence agencies couldn't get a good view of the defenders. In addition, Drozan features a large base that houses motorized and jump infantry units.
-Planetary data courtesy

Drozan was one of the first worlds the Magistracy of Canopus attempted to seize from the Capellan Confederation during the Andurien Secession, with the task of taking the world falling to the First Canopian Light Horse. Although the initial landing went virtually unopposed, one of the first signs of serious Capellan resistance was when units of Warrior House Dai Da Chi ambushed two lances of the Canopian invaders in the middle of one of the planet's ubiquitous automated grain processing plants.

As the one portion of the Light Horse moved past the grain fermenting bunkers, they made contact with the Liao defenders moving out from a large, forested hill. Meanwhile, the other Light Horse elements took cover on a ridgeline and among the power generators and control facilities for the processing plant.

The two forces quickly came to grips, with unexpectedly bloody results among the lighter scout mechs (NB: this is because until round three we forgot to apply the defense mods for mech speed, durr), with casualties mounting quickly on both sides of the skirmish.

Here, a badly damaged Spider of Warrior House Dai Da Chi uses its great speed to escape the growing furball on the eastern flank, planning to ambush one of the invaders as the fight continues.

Across the plant, and on the very doorstep of the administration complex, a Canopian Cicada and a Liao Jenner take each other down with a short-range fusillade.

Back on the eastern side, the two sides are trading fire. The Canopian Hunchback, despite suffering two Fire Control hits, is still a significant threat, landing several hits. The pair of Liao Vindicators are trading fire with their Canopian counterpart, while one of the three Liao Jenners has found a perfect sniper's nest in the wooded hilltop. The Canopian Trebuchet, dubbed "Trash-bucket" by the Liao commander, is lining up on that Jenner with its back to the meters-thick duracrete of Grain Digester #5.

Near the admin/power complex, a second Liao Jenner has been lost, reducing the combatants to a basically unhurt Liao Hunchback variant, a Canopian JagerMech in good shape, and a badly battered Canopian Hermes II hiding behind a tokomak reactor. (NB: this particular reactor also holds our turn marker!)

The Canopian Hermes, unwisely falling back to the fermentation bunkers, is ambushed by the lurking Liao Spider, who in turn gets finished off by a point-blank autocannon salvo from the heavily damaged Hunchback. At the same time, the Canopian Vindicator has flushed the final Liao Jenner out of its blind, where the "Trash-bucket" finishes it off.

One of the twin Liao Vindicators is destroyed, and things look bad for the defenders of Drozan, with only two mechs remaining. But the invaders have been badly hammered, and are losing momentum. Despite surrounding the lone Vindicator, the Canopians are unable to bring it to heel:

and the Liao Vindy manages to finally down the Canopian Hunch. At the same time, the Liao Hunch has won its running battle with the JagerMech and is advancing on the weakened and overheating Light Horse.

At this point, engine hits and a poor understanding of heat managment have led the Canopian Vindy to decide to cool off before suffering a mandatory shutdown; however, the imminent shutdown would probably have been a better fate than the easy shot his decision gave to the Liao Vindy who gunned down the motionless invader. The sole Canopian survivor, the "Trash-bucket," missed its shot on the Liao Hunch and took severe armor damage from return fire.

The "Trash-bucket" tried to fall back towards friendly lines, but it was too late; the two surviving Liao mechs were not going to let one of the invaders retreat unpunished.

This portion of Drozan was safe from the invaders, for now.

So how was it? Quick-strike is faster than the normal Battletech rules, to be sure. But Keith (my opponent) and I both miss the decisions that you get in the regular rules that are abstracted out by Quick-Strike - things like running out of ammo, or the decision to move all out for the defense bonus but losing weapon accuracy by doing so (or the flip side, moving slow to increase your chances of hitting, but being easier to hit yourself). I think the glory of Quick-Strike is in introducing new players, or running a big convention game in a non-ridiculous amount of time. I'm actually biting off more than I can chew and have offered to run a large Quick-Strike game at MACE, the local game convention coming up in November, and I think for something like that it'll be perfect. But Keith and I both discussed it, and for our own gaming, we both would prefer the detail of Classic Battletech.

EDIT TO ADD: as mentioned in the comments below, here's some better-quality pics from my good friend (for [REDACTED] years now) Chris Norwood, of fame! WARNING: these are taken with a much better camera than my cellphone, so the brutal details of my crappy paintjob will come through if you view them full-size. You have been warned, etc


  1. Here are links to a few pics I took last week during your game:

    Ken and Keith battling it out!

    Closeup #1 -

    Closeup #2 -

    Skirmish -

  2. Chris, thanks for that - I was hoping those pics would dominate your blog report for last week's game night, but I'm glad to have them here. Do you mind if I edit my entry to include those pics in a block at the end of the writeup?

  3. QuickStrike rules do change the dynamics of the game in interesting ways. I for one do like that the movement penalty of targeted mechs is fixed as it encourages more manuvering then in regular BT.
    It is certainly inferior to BT for small scale fights. Need to get around making some BattleArmor and/or infantry cards so we can do large combined arms battles.

    PS. Battletech (the regular kind) on Thursday at TGC. I'm breaking out Protemechs. Should be fun.

  4. Brandon - I agree (based on my admittedly small experience with Btech these days) that you do get some interesting changes between the 'stock' and Quick-Strike rules. And I hope I didn't understate the fun we had playing with the QS ruleset - I think we both had a blast (I know I did, at least). We just found ourselves wishing for more trade-off decisions than QS provides. There was a ton of maneuver, that's true - our light and medium mechs had an average move around 10", I guesstimate, and we certainly used a lot of it. We'll see if Keith and I hit the wall when we break out the full rules - maybe we'll be switching back to QS!

    As for Thursday, I'd love to play (is this that Scientist's War thing you mentioned?) but I think Britt and I have a Heavy Gear rematch scheduled. Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing how the Protomechs perform.

  5. I'll probably put a couple on my report (which I'll hopefully finish over lunch today), but you can of course use them here as well.

  6. Norwood,

    Thanks! Going to edit them into the bottom of the post now.