Playing Big Scale Battletech Games

Incoming BATTLETECH from some email feedback on the blog... 

Is there a point at which large scale games like this could be played IRL? I don’t really know other games but does battletech handle this scale well? 

I think every gaming group has it's own ergone- the personality of the players, combined with the time and frequency of meeting to play builds a "standard" for the games played over time. My experience in Battletech is that a standard game is around 5000 battle value and plays out over 4-5 hours mostly using Inner Sphere mechs- 'Clans are a different deal which we will look at in a moment. Is this standard for other groups or players? 

On the opposite side, I LOVE large scale wargames- especially if they involve more players- teams. Increased social interaction and decision making, more surprises, and combined wargaming collections makes for the creation of something of scale that you can't get 1 vs. 1 and/or in "regular" games. The biggest factor in pulling off a big game- or deciding how much battle value you can combine is time + players. Will you have enough time to finish the mission? Can you account for a bit of extra game time for players to talk, plan, and interact? 

The more players the more time. TIME: Adding more BV to a game- are there elements that you can use to streamline the time? Playing on hex-maps generally has a quicker flow vs. a traditional wargaming table. Are you playing "classic" Battletech vs. Alpha Strike- Alpha is certainly quicker, and I enjoy it from time to time, but the charm of CLASSIC is hard to beat. Are you using optional rules such as force withdrawal- mechs pulling out when they go to internals, and the crew of vehicles bailing out when immobilized vs. fighting to the bitter end. Force withdrawal speeds the game up VERY fast. Is there a timer for the mission or is it open ended? Take the base in six turns or reinforcements appear and you are forced to withdraw. Play the game for six turns and see who inflicts the most damage. 

Dipping into the 'Clans also allows you to field bigger games since the weapons inflict more damage and start striking at farther ranges. PLAYERS: Do you have a game master for the big game who can set up the table, and look up rules to resolve if needed, allowing both sides to continue playing? Do you allow a few minutes at the start of the turn for players to talk about actions? 

I find that if you balance these ideas out, you can push your games to higher battle value and still finish in a reasonable time for Battletech.  

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