Battletech: Thor & Loki

A trial of possession to see who will have the honor of leading the invasion into House Davion space, to begin to restore order to the NEW Star League. 

We are not just spiritual successors to the Star League, we ARE the Star League…

Thor and Loki are a pair of Summoner class mechs in my Jade Falcon list- and so far I always field the two together using their mobility vs. weight class to add some firepower as needed turn by turn.

Need some more volume of dice working to finish off a mech- add them to the mix. Need to hold a position for a few turns- send ’em in. Redeploy and attack the other side…

In a recent game the two were tasked with holding of a Daishi for a few turns as the rest of my forces contended with a Timber Wolf that was running around trying to get behind me.

The two took some damage from the Daishi, but were holding and dishing out OK damage in return. I wasn’t going to sit and slug it out, just needed to check the advance, and if I didn’t take out the Timber Wolf in two turns or so I’d pull back with the two and regroup in the woods…

And then Loki gets hit with a single SRM missile from the Daishi- roll for location: 1,1- critical hit center torso, roll to confirm crit: 12,12 (!), roll for three crits- gyro, gyro, and fusion engine…

Loki is down.

Welcome to Battletech.

The hobby/narrative question for today is this, for Battletech and in general wargaming.

For the most part mechs slug it out till the end, that is the charm of the game- the extreme amounts of damage these machines dish out and take, but occasionally something connects to a weak point and it goes BOOM in one hit.

The fortunes of war.

But what if you were a new player to the game- or if this was your first game and that happened, as rare as it is?

A demo game I did a long time ago had this happen- my mech hit my opponent’s head on the first shot, and blew it clean off- mech out of the game.

Between veteran players we would be laughing and giving high fives, but as an intro to the game, it leaves you feeling powerless.

Should “kills” like this be removed from the game?

A kind of intro/Battletech light were we don’t roll for crits- you fight it out till your mech cores out?

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7 Replies to “Battletech: Thor & Loki”

  1. The starter Battletech that came in the anniversary box set was exactly what was described. There were no internal structure, just hit locations.

  2. I love it. That’s battletech at its finest. I think the message to a new player is “Look. THERE IS ALWAYS A CHANCE!” What happened to you was a 1/1296 chance. That’s a 0.00077 percentage chance. But if it goes the other way? If the newbie is the one to roll the lucky headshot or the lucky center torso crit hit? You’ve got a battletech fan for life. My 6 year old son’s first game included him headshotting my Victor with his Atlas’ AC20. He calls that Atlas “Headscalper.” It’s the best.

    1. I’ve been averaging one 5-12K battle value Battletech game a week for a while now and it seems like in those games there is a killer headshot of auto-kill center torso/ammo explode crit from a single shot every 1-12 games.

      1. The headshot kill is going to happen much more frequently than the lucky engine kill for sure. In “forced retreat” scenarios where the units have to withdraw if they suffer engine damage, that CT crit is just devastating.

  3. Those “You got BATTLETECHed!” moments. I had a fresh Atlas blown up round one in the game. A single LRM/5 cluster hits on left side of Atlas, rolls 2, gets one crit in and crits an ammo bin.

    I would remove them for an absolute beginner. In my 3rd Ed box set, they only introduce critical hits in the 3rd scenario out of 4 to let the beginner work up the basics of moving and shooting first.

    For non-beginners, it’s a toss up. The Floating Critical Rule is a common house rule and it was eventually placed into Tactical Ops as an option. That way, if you get a roll of 2, it would not always be a torso crit. I see the benefits of both schemes, but for non-competitive games, the original rule should stand. It adds an amount of tension and uncertainty to the game and usually becomes the highlight of the game to talk about.

    P.S I was confused by the title initially as a Loki/Hellbringer is also a common Clan Jade Falcon ‘Mech.

    1. After reflecting, I agree with the no crits for beginners- odds are small of it happening, but it can, and might sour the start of the game. On the opposite side, once a few games in, and for the veteran players I love the crit system- captures the fog of war well- bad things can and will happen- chose the when and where you engage very carefully.

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