Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Battletech - preparing for an intro level game

Hi everyone,

We're going to have a session of Battletech this weekend.  What's cool is that we're going to play with a group of friends who generally only play RPG games such as Pathfinder.  So, this is our chance to show-off how fun one of our favorite games, Battletech, can be.

Here's our plan:

- Forces:

Planning to run the session with one of us acting as a "Game Master"; and the other of us acting a bit as a "Lance Leader".  Sounds like we'll have 6 friendly mechs going up against 6 enemy mechs.

And, here's a little bit of how far we've come in the two or so years we've been playing and modeling.  We took some of the models (like the Dragon mech) and stripped off the older, more primitive paint job; and added in some new models; and then created the enemy force below.  Also showing an image of one of our old paint jobs for comparison.  Believe this is proof that improvement is possible!!!

When we first got our starter-box full of mechs, we went to work painting them.  Here's how we did back in July of 2014.

And, here we are in December, 2016.  Learned a lot about painting between now and then!!!  Still have some work to do on the bases.  But, what a difference with practice, practice, practice.  And, of course, still lots of fun room for improvement :)

And, thinking that we'd like the experience to be positive - so going to give the players an advantage of about 20% or so in tonnage.  Likely it'll be 360 tons vs. 300 tons.

Since these players are coming from an RPG type of world, thinking of giving them a choice like this one:

- Default - you get a Heavy mech.  And, you get Gunnary and Piloting of 5's
- Option - you select a Medium mech.  Then, you get 4's.
- Option - you select a Light mech.  Then, you get 3's.
- Option - you want the firepower and armor of an Assault mech?  Then, you get 6's.

Going to have the "bad guys" all have 5's -- though toying with giving the lance leader 4's to create an incentive for the players to find a way to take that "bad" mech out of commission.

Oh - and one other simplification.  Playing with pre-clan mech's.  So, strictly old-school in terms of lasers, PPCs and auto-cannons.

- Scenario:

Thinking that we'll probably go with something like "the rag-tag rebels need to kick House [blank] out of the city."

Since the "bad guys" have nice, new paint jobs - and very likely that the players will have paint schemes which won't match, hoping that this feels real to everyone.

- Table top:

For the table-top, thinking to use 3 standard fold-up maps.

But, want to spice it up with a first try of 3D pieces added onto those maps.

To create the 3D pieces, here's what we've done:
1.  Got some very inexpensive old Battletech maps on eBay.

Cutting out the "Level 1" and "Level 2" sections of this map.

2.  Cut out the raised portions with Xacto knife.  [Warning - the older edition Level 1 / Level 2 / Etc., markings aren't quite the same as the new ones.  So, you have to look closely at what you're doing.]

Here is one section - carefully cut-out with scissors and X-acto.  Cut the Level 1 portion apart from the Level 2 portion....

3.  Cut out 1" pink foam with the mini-band-saw to match the paper maps.

Here we are at work with the mini-band-saw on the pink foam....

And, a test fit-up of our paper cut-outs and pink foam on the terrain....

One more test fit-up with the Level 2 and Level 3 pink foam added....

4.  Painted the pink foam with the same tones as the paper cut-outs.  Used brown house paint for this - then did "dry brushing" with a sponge to add some lighter colors and texture.

Why buy new paint when you can get nice colors (like this dirt-colored brown) at Home Depot for $0.50!!  Somebody got a sample and then didn't want it.  We can use it :)

 Here's how the pink foam looked after a layer of brown and then a bit of dry-brushing with sponge to lighten up with lighter brown and tan colors.

5.  Then, going to use Mod-Podge to glue the maps to the pink foam.

Here we are in the middle of the Mod Podge process.  It was a little bit scary because it's not clear when you first paint it on.  But, it does dry as clear!

Here is our terrain - in ready-to-go condition :)

6.  Lastly, going to place little magnets on the under-side -- and embedded into the board so that the foam stays put :)

- Rules:

We're going to try to use most of the rules -- believe we can explain them to new people pretty quickly.

The biggest challenge for us is always torso twists.  What we've done before is to simply hand-wave torso twists and to say that in the firing phase a player can always twist however they'd like.  Know that this isn't really proper - but it has simplified things when we have lots of mechs on the board (and in this battle there'll be 12!!)

Then, going to use the idea of writing moves onto sheets to help everyone keep track.  This has worked well for us in the past - and don't have to worry about dice (marking the type of move and number of hexes) getting lost.  [Here's a link to our blog write-up about that.]