Battletech Tactics: Mech Damage

I feel if we are talking Wargaming 101 tactics you want to engage a unit- be it shooting and or assault and remove it from the table- blow it up and take it out. Fire on a unit until it is gone.

In Battletech, due to the unique nature of the initiative system, taking out a mech, or other unit is BIG. With a mech, not only do you take out its guns and movement, but now that is one less unit your opponent has to activate, and if you have more units that is a greater change to get side or rear shot by overwhelming them in numbers.

But now I’m starting to rethink that with Battletech…

Last game, my Jade Falcon mechs had to put this Timber Wolf down. It manged to make it to the rear of my lines so I sent in my Summoner and some Elemental to take it out, with a bit of help from some other mechs I was pushing forward.

Man, did I beat on that mech, and in true to charm Battletech fashion it kept on coming- everything to internals, arms blown off, hip damage. I’m shooting and shooting into it…

…and I realize, what am I now gaining? To the north of the gaming table a Daishi was attacking, and I really could have used the mechs going after the ‘Wolf up there.

If the Timber Wolf has nothing to shoot back with (or almost nothing), and can’t really move, is it worth burning the game turns trying to take it out. With Battletech you never know- will that NEXT shot be the one that scores multiple critical hits in the center torso?


Maybe not.

Do I cut and run when an opposing mech can longer move or threaten back the mission effectively?

Or do you shoot it till it is down- I say SHOOT since Clans aren’t allowed to punch.


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4 Replies to “Battletech Tactics: Mech Damage”

  1. General rule of thumb with Battletech is put 3 times the damage you think is necessary to kill something to actually bring it down. Otherwise, it’s very likely it will not die.

  2. Hmm, for a Clan game specifically, I’m not sure how closely you follow Clan Zellbrigen rules. If you are already focus firing on a ‘Mech with more than one other Clan ‘Mech, technically Zellbrigen is already broken and you should just go all out in a melee brawl. FYI, BV balance does not take Zellbrigen into account.

    As for threat prioritization, I suggest to ignore an armed ‘Mech only if:
    1) It is prone
    2) It has at least one arm blown off
    3) It has gyro and/or multiple hip/leg actuator critical hits
    4) No indirect fire/artillery in play

    A ‘Mech cannot fire when prone if it has lost an arm. With gyro or leg damage, it is likely it will destroy itself through falling through failed piloting skill rolls. It’s still a bit scary if it has some kind of long range weapon though in the event it somehow manages to get back up again.

    P.S Wait until you get into Dark Age era Jade Falcons… They toss Zellbrigen out the window and comes up with bizarre melee weapons like Talons.

    1. We are playing with the full Zellbrigen/clan honor rules…
      …which makes it interesting to play clans.

      I’m constantly reminding myself not to fire on that wasp or other fast moving light mech as to not engage it and spend the entire game trying to track it down.

      1. Zellbrigen isn’t all about all 1v1 though. It’s risky and I recall it is also written in the novels, but you can also challenge multiple ‘Mechs at once to tie them down. Be warned that means you need to honorably hunt them down with that ‘Mech!

        But yes, it is a very different way to play Battletech indeed and definitely best limited to games with folks you know to avoid rules arguments and devious tricks to wring your way out of the duels.

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