Monday, March 13, 2017

Alpha Strike Prep for the Day of DOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Team Game)

So The Enraged Wookie and I are breaking loose over his spring break to visit a game shop near us.  We’re going to be playing 3 or so games of Alpha Strike at different point levels.  To our endless glee, we’re actually on a team for one of those games, and i thought i’d take a minute and break down our units, and show off just how list building works in this game.  We’re playing a game at 500 points, and have decided to split our points evenly (mostly) down the middle.  He tends to favor fast medium/heavy units and is tailoring his half of the list that way.  I’m going to favor an energy weapons heavy group that can stand off at range and put holes in things from Downtown.  

Our force building requirements were:
Between 10 & 16 units
Don’t be an asshat with Lance formation special abilities (The particular venue we’re playing at has some issues with the Fire Lance, and that’s fine, We agreed between the two of us that we were only going to take 1 Fire Lance, and Drew called it.)  
The Era we’re likely playing in is during the Late Republic Era (something about play testing a scenario for the Capellan Crusades),

I personally love this era, because it’s an interesting change of pace for the Battletech Universe.  A centralized government has brought the semblance of peace back to the galaxy, and things are slowly starting to recover from the horrors of the Word of Blake holy war 50 years earlier.  I have an idea for my half of the points, and i decide to build a single lance out of my 250 points.  I know that the Wookie is probably going to bring 6 units (we talked about it) so we comfortably hit our unit requirement.

With 250 points, and 4 units to pick, it’s time to open up the Master Unit List and go.  

The Master Unit List

Setting the parameters for the Republic of the Sphere as our faction and the Late Republic era as our setting, we see an absolute pile of choices.  The Republic of the Sphere has the broadest access to units and advanced technology available during this era.  Knowing that i have to pick four units, i make a couple of conscious decisions about what my force is, and who they represent on the tabletop.

I decide that my Unit Commander is actually a Paladin of the Republic, a high ranking member of the Republic with broad powers and above average combat capabilities.  The rest of his unit is a bodyguard composed of members of Stone’s Lament (his personal regiment of the most capable Mechwarriors in the galaxy).  

For more information on Paladins, check out
For more information on Stone’s Lament, check out
With my bias towards energy weapons and the combination of small numbers with Elite pilots, i do some digging and find the four mechs that i am likely to want to use in this game.  I settle in on the Hellstar, the Nova Cat Prime, and i am going to cheat a little and run two of the Sun Cobra 2.  


I’ve loved the Hellstar since i saw it in a Technical Readout.  It mounts four extended Range Particle Projection Cannons and has enough heat sinks to fire all of them without building up waste heat.  It’s a similar design to the Awesome and the Masakari, and does a fine job of being able to reliable throw damage at any range.  


My original idea was to put my Paladin in this Mech, and set the Skill to 1.  This makes the Hellstar an 88 PV machine, so i settled at Skill 2 for 77 PV.  He is the Paladin and designated as the Force Commander.  This mech doesn’t move incredibly fast, so i am going to end up giving him the Maneuvering Ace SPA and probably Sniper before I finish.  This sets the total Point Cost for the Hellstar at 82 points.

Nova Cat Prime

70 tons of Energy Weapon pain, the Nova Cat Prime is the only Omnimech in the force.  In a campaign game, i could swap out the Prime for one of the other configurations, and it has the benefit of being able to carry a point of elemental battle armor as mechanized infantry.  (If i were running this as a clan Wolf formation, i would probably do that, and let the elementals make up the 5th point in the star.)  It’s also got the benefit of the OVL ability, meaning i can use it’s Overheat value at long range.

Nova Cat Prime

Keeping with the similar ideas of long ranged killing power with an almost exclusive energy weapon base, the Nova Cat Prime fits the bill to a tee.  (It’s also the personal favorite clan mech of our favorite Studio Head, Mitch Gitelman from Harebrained Schemes).  It’s got the same speed profile as the Hellstar, and between the two of them can throw a whopping 11 points of damage down field.  Setting the Skill at rating 2 also increases the PV from 44 to 62.  

Sun Cobra 2 (2)

The original version of the Sun Cobra mounts a Gauss Rifle in each Arm, which is kind of amazing on a 55 ton medium mech.  This iteration mounts an ER PPC instead, and carries the advanced Targeting Computer found on other mechs.  It’s an excellent all around package for a mid weight sniper mech.

Sun Cobra

The Sun Cobra 2 rounds out the units i want to run for this formation.  With a faster movement speed of 12 inches, the Sun Cobras are going to be able to get out ahead of the heavier mechs in the formation, and hopefully deal with threats that crop up.  Again, we’re going with a skill rating of 2, to represent the elite nature of the parent formation (Stone’s Lament) and that raises the PV to 51 per mech.  

Conclusionary thoughts

So i’ve spent 246 points of my 250 point allotment on the four mechs i am going to run.  The Wookie said something about wanting to borrow a couple of points for a special pilot ability, so that effectively leaves me with two free points to spend.  I could spend 1 of those points to upgrade from Maneuvering Ace to Natural Grace so that the Hellstar can shoot directly behind it, and i might end up doing that.

This formation is tailor made for the Direct Fire Lance formation, and i would do that (and drop the Sniper off the Hellstar and give it Combat Intuition instead).  However, we’re meeting new people and don’t necessarily want to leave an ugly impression, so I’m going to field this formation as a Battle Lance instead, and hope i can have some fun with the 6 re-rolls provided with that formation benefit.  

Between my Lance and the Wookie’s battle group, we have an average skill rating of 2.2 (his complete lance is Skill 2, and his two orphans are Skill 3).  Looking at the Special Command Abilities section, we qualify for two abilities.  I’d love to grab Sharpshooters to maximize the shooting gallery aspect of the lance i built, but he’s opting to grab Banking the Initiative (A wonderful ability that lets us trade losing the initiative for the ability to automatically win initiative in later turns) and Off Board Movement (which lets our guys leave the table and come back in from a different spot).  I may try to talk him out of Off Board Movement and swap in Sharp Shooters, but we’ll see.  

I don’t actually have the models to play these units on the tabletop, so i’ll be proxying for the game in question, but this may be the incentive i need to put together a complete Stone’s Lament company for this era.  

Anywho game fans, those are my thoughts for this particular part of the Day of Doom, and i’ll see if i can get the wookie to put one of these articles together for your benefit as well.  Game on, Game Fans.

Last minute updates

So after some discussion, we came up with a differing game plan than our original idea.  My units remain unchanged, but the Wookie’s bringing 2 Venoms, a Grasshopper, a Thunderbolt, a Battlemaster, and an Archer.  The Venoms are rolling on their own, and the Grasshopper, the Thunderbolt, the Battlemaster and the Archer are being formed up into a Battle Lance.  That means he’s going to have six uses of the Lucky Special Pilot Ability to use among them.  This change set all of his pilots at Skill 3 instead of the mix of 2 and 3, and this increases our overall average skill to 2.6.  THrough the power of rounding, this makes our merry band Veterans instead of Elites, and we’ll end up losing one of our Special Command Abilities.  We decided to keep Banking the Initiative, as it gives us a lot of potential options.  

I transition my force over to a Fire Lance, and that makes life a little more interesting for me.  Since i qualify for a Fire Lance, i’ll be able to give two of my units in the lance the Sniper Special Pilot Ability, which cuts the penalties for range in half (+1 to hit at Medium Range, +2 to hit at Long Range).  I can change that at the start of each turn, so i’ve got some flexibility.  This means i’ll drop Sniper from my Hellstar, and give him Natural Grace and Combat Intuition instead.  Grace basically gives me a 360 degree firing arc, and Combat Intuition lets me move shoot and kill before the other guys get to act.  I’ll also be adding Combat Intuition to the Nova Cat Prime, because i like the ability a lot.  

Now He’s not sent me the list of the exact breakdown of which units he’s using, so i can’t toss those stat cards up, but i can hopefully convince him to explain himself between now and our big day out gaming.  

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