Thursday, May 3, 2012

Death by a thousand laser cuts: Part 2


Screech wanted to stumble thru a game of CBT the other night, and as such that gave me an opportunity to try my Protomech horde out. Not having any map sheets of my own (Screech's plasitcard hexes are too big for a map sheet anyways), we used 'regular' terrain (mainly my Heavy Gear paper buildings as I don't have any other terrain in the CBT scale). Converting one hex into 2 inches, as we used to do in days of old. Personally I think 1 inch per hex would be easier, but as he's still new to the game, I went with what he's most familiar with to make it easier.

Using the master unit list for our forces which the limit was set to 9k points per side. Having only 3 actual mechs in his inventory with decent pilots (no stats were lower than a '3'), it wasn't hard for him to reach that number. Our forces were as follows:

Screech's force:
1 Mad Cat Mk II
1 Vulture
1 Puma (not sure which configuration, other than it had 2 PPCs)
2 points of Motorized Clan Infantry

My force:
1 Corvis 2 with a 3/4 pilot
5 Centaurs (standard)
10 Minotaurs (standard)
5 Rocs (standard)
(all protos had base stats)
1 Point of Motorized Clan Infantry

A note on the infantry, they're just 'filler' using up leftover points to get as close to 9k as it was possible. Mostly they wandered around, mine never go to shoot, his fired a few times & finished off an already beaten up Roc.

This is pretty much where things ended due to time constraints.

Casualties/damage on my side was:

Corvis suffered moderate armor damage with no critical hits (its not seen above as its hiding behind the top most building)
4 Centaurs destroyed
1 Roc destroyed with a second in bad shape
1 Minotaur destroyed with a second in bad shape

Screech's losses:

The Puma's left arm was gone and the left torso was almost gone as well, and he was suffering from heat issues.
The Mad Cat & Vulture each had moderate armor damage peppered around their hulls, but no internals/criticals.

So, despite having to call it due to time,sounds like I lost right? Well, all game i was hearing cries & complaints/comments of:

'OP! OP! Damn that's a lot of shit! Wow they're fast! I should've turtled up in the corner and waited for you to come to me. 

and so on...

So, the question is, are Protomechs over powered? While it sounds like I lost, had we gone just one more turn, the remaining Minotaurs and their 18 ERMLs would have been in optimal range of the Mad Cat & Vulture, while the Puma would have been surrounded by the rest of the bunch. It didn't look like it would end well for Screech in both of our opinions.

It kinda brought to mind my old PAK army from heavy Gear, in which Murl had 1-2 turns to try & do some damage before turtling up as hover tanks strafed him from all directions  (I sold that army as it really wasn't any fun playing something that really was so overpowered).

Rather than using their hit location chart, I was using the standard BM hit chart (and fudging torso/leg hits as necessary). I didn't use the proto hit chart as I couldn't figure out why the numbers 3 & 11 were missing (neither of us had the total warfare book on hand). Reading online yesterday, I found that those locations are considered 'near misses' and if rolled, no damage is applied to the Proto. Those numbers popped up a time or two, so odds are one or more of those dead protos wouldn't have been.

Granted, had he had a full star of mechs, rather than just the three, it would have been easier to deal with the horde, but in all likelihood, the Protos would have a lot better pilots (after point level was increased), so maybe not. In various forums Opinions range from 'Protos totally suck!' to 'OMG they're OP!!!' I've even read of them being banned from leagues! However the most common consensus is that they're just plain ugly & so most people don't use them. True, most of them are, but then again, so are most mechs, so what the hell?

It'll take me a few more tries to really get the hang of them, but I'm wondering if the easiest way to balance them (if indeed that are OP) is to have them on both sides of the engagement...


Hive Angel said...

I think you may be right with he idea of Protomechs on each side. In respect to clans and fluff, the Clans generally take a balanced force of Battlemechs to Protomechs to elementals. Your force might have have a little more of one which may have tipped the scales. Screech's force was a heavy, slow force trying to overclass a lighter, faster unit which he should have chose a lot more lighter, faster Battlemechs. IF he did turtle up the game would be pointless. Then again when you use miniature for mech this limits this. You are right, some tweaking, rules reading, and practice might get them to make more sense in everyone's minds.

Da Masta Cheef said...

He was just going with what he had. I was thinking of maybe throwing in a point of HAG Oro's (2 in a point) which roll in at about 3k. Those & the Corvis & 2 points of Minotaurs would fill out a star, while cutting the protos in half.

Of course those 2 Oros are beasts in their own right.

Hive Angel said...

Beasts they may be, I think you might have found a balance to work with. Still you would have had 10+ targets versus his 3.

Da Masta Cheef said...

Actually that's only 4 points, but i still have the Maxim to haul around the token infantry point.

If I pass the other 2 points of protos to him, that evens the odds some, though both types are lighter than the Mino's.

Screech said...

I'm probably gonna pick up a point or two of Elementals as well as order some Joust tanks. Those will give me some extra room to play around with.

I may also pick up a few more mediums as the star I currently have will just get its ass kicked over and over (though they will look awesome during that process).