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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Head Crushing Battletech

The 1st Argyle Rangers have been called to yet another periphery planet, this time to secure a recently rediscovered an advanced water purification system from the Star League era. Water purifiers?  Hey, it's a McGuffin, and there are lots of worlds in the FedSuns outback that could benefit from this tech.

The Star League outpost where the tech is housed. 

Some mercenaries loyal to the local periphery power have already claimed the cache, but they are heavily outnumbered and outgunned by the Rangers.  [Interesting scenario rule: me and my opponent rolled off each turn for control of the mercs, but they have to shoot at the closest viable target].

Word of another interested party has reached the Rangers, so they deploy heavy. Hard hittting armored mechs with a VTOL spotter and artillery.

[This is my first time using artillery - the rules are heavily dependent on a hex map, so we modified them to use 4 blinds placed in the artillery phase, one of them being the actual target "hex".]

And here come the enemy, the Red Hand Mercenary Company, which coincidentally brought their own artillery.

No those aren't Christmas lights, they're tracer rounds.

Artillery proves to be potentially quite scary. The splash damage damaged the enemy on their entry.

Initially the enemy's artillery, not using a spotter, was quite... spotty.

But they got closer each time...

While the Rangers rounds consistently landed glancing blows against the approaching mechs, thanks to VTOL spotting.

I won the right to control the neutral mercenaries for several rounds, advancing them towards the Red Hand. Perhaps they understood that the FedSuns force would prove more lenient with them than the other mercenaries.

Enemy artillery fire started to get uncomfortably close.

Meanwhile the enemy advanced into range of the neutral mechs.

They tied each other up nicely, allowing for the Rangers to get into position with only artillery to worry about.

The exception being the enemy Jenner, which attempted a wide flanking maneuver, perhaps to get at the Rangers' artillery.  Unfortunately for the Jenner, with the rest of the Hand mechs tied up by the neutrals, it was alone against the whole lance.

The only thing that saved it initially was its speed.  Massive packs of long range missiles rained down on it, but couldn't quite connect.

Darting around the hill, it found itself under the guns of a Rifleman.  Many jokes were made about Anakin having the high ground.

The Rifleman stayed stationary, torso twisting to fire its guns on the Jenner. Several shots connected, and eventually took off one of the Jenner's legs.  Artillery was called down on the unmoving target, finishing it off.

While the rifleman dealt with the Jenner, the Rangers continued to advance.

While the Hand was locked into combat with the neutral mercenaries. 

The Assassin (wow, what a useless mech!) landed a Death from Above attack, but damaged itself more than the enemy.  It was soon forced to withdraw.

The battle between the mercenaries was getting hot, and the neutrals were by far getting the worst of it. The Panther took internal damage and started to withdraw, firing as it went.

Meanwhile, the Rangers sighted their real enemy at last...

And just as things were about to get real, the Rangers' Warrior VTOL made a dangerous run towards the enemy artillery, having slowly worked its way down the right flank unopposed.

The lead mech, (a centurian I think?), moved up alone, as its fellows were still pulling past the neutrals and taking fire.  Man, I would not have wanted to be that pilot, facing an Atlas head-on, supported by a Crusader and Bombadier.

The Crusader was  soon distracted by the approaching Battlemaster and Marauder, trying to keep them off the Atlas.

At this point, the Rangers were feeling pretty cocky. Both sides were calling down Artillery so close to the battle that it risked damaging everybody.  The enemy's Marauder and Battlemaster had taken significant damage on the way in, but the Atlas was barely damaged at all.  It looked like the Rangers would soon be drinking some exceptionally high tech water.

Artillery landed behind both sides, damaging rear armor, but only slightly.

Even more encouraging for the Rangers, the VTOL was able to destroy the enemy artillery with its missiles, and counter-battery fire from its own artillery. Things were looking terrible for the Red Hand, and the Rangers commander was about to ask for their surrender or demand their withdrawal.

Then, as the heat started to get thick, the enemy made a desperate move...

...a death from above attack against the Atlas.

A lucky hit saw the centurion crush the head of the mech, instantly killing the mechwarrior inside.  Suddenly, things were up in the air again!

Of course, the Centurion fell and took some damage as well.

The FedSuns mechs began to back off, trying to keep the enemy at range, but they pushed forward into the firing missiles.

As the Battlemaster closed on the Bombadier, the Crusader began to dance with the Marauder, deftly maneuvering itself around to strike at the heavily damaged rear armor (weakened by artillery shots).

The Rifleman didn't last long running interference for the Bombadier, but it managed to take the Centurian down with it.

Then something I would never have suspected occurred:  a brawl between a Bombadier and a Battlemaster.  When your long range missile boat is getting punched, something has clearly gone FUBAR.  The destruction of the Atlas saw the Rangers center completely give way, allowing this weirdness to occur.

Desperate, the Warrior tried calling in artillery into the Battlemaster's rear, while firing its own missiles as well, hoping to distract the mech.

...while the Crusader and Marauder continued their own strange waltz.

The Bombadier pilot shocked the Battlemaster by giving even better than it got, punching and kicking and doing extreme damage to its opponent.  Artillery fire landed too close, damaging both mechs. The Battlemaster, heavily damaged, decided to disengage and withdraw.

Meanwhile the Crusader continued to fire missiles into, as well as punch, the rear of the Marauder.

Finally, it got through, damaging the Marauder's gyro and sending it crashing down.  Artillery immediately zeroed in on the damaged, but still dangerous mech.

Severely damaged, the Battlemaster had enough, and fled the scene, leaving the Bombadier to return to the fray.

Artillery finished the job.

The last Red Hand mech beat a hasty retreat, taking missile fire as it fled.

A costly engagement for both sides, but at least the Atlas would be salvageable.  Those water purifiers had better be worth it.  A crazy game!