One of the great things about the Battletech game and universe is just how well combined arms are integrated into the game.
Certainly the ‘mechs are the stars of the game, and one can play mech vs. mech for some intense battles- my first ten years of BT play was mech vs. mech. But warfare is big business, and mech rather rare. Tanks, infantry, support vehicles, air support, space fighters…
…and artillery can all be represented and played on the table.
Often, with the correct tactica applied, giving the elite mechs pause and great concern. We have explored the use of mechs, tanks, air and space support, so in this post we are jumping into artillery with the Mobile Long Tom unit. Artillery works a little different in the game phase order in that one has to declare ahead of time where it is targeted and intending to land- a use for the numbers on those hex maps!
After mech movement and shooting, and air unit interaction, the artillery lands, and is resolved. This makes it quite a game of calculating how, when, and where it needs to hit- while also allowing for some deviation. On the table, the Long Tom gun has a range of 30 maps- not hexes, but actual maps. Since most Battletech players only use one or a few linked hex maps, its possible to not even have the Long Tom “on” the table.
The artillery phase of the game, makes it possible to purchase units and use them off table, similar to some naval assets in the game.
Or one can deploy them model itself on the table as part of the narrative- but in a way the model need never exist. In terms of tactics, the Long Tom is best used against static targets where one can also deal damage with a miss or scatter. Dealing 30/20/10 damage radiating out from the point of impact, it has a chance to soak multiple targets with a single hit. Urban assaults are great for the Long Tom.
Firing into city centers and buildings full of tanks, infantry, and hidden battle mechs. Nobody likes the risk of getting hit with artillery…
But is it really effective?
For 500 battle value, what is one piece really going to do.
One could get a lucky hit. But it is more the psy-op and tabletop pressure it creates- lobbing shell after shell each turn, the random nature of it creating tabletop fear vs. direct damage.