Behind the Scenes – Mini ‘Mechs

November 5, 2009

My crew has been playing with the cardboard counters that came with a 13 year old boxed set. While this has been perfectly functional it has it’s drawbacks, not the least of which is a reduced level of immersion. I’ve been wanting to pick up some miniatures for our games.

Needless to say I was super-excited to hear about the new introductory boxed set which comes with 24 plastic minis. I was less than excited to find out that I couldn’t find a single online retailer who had the set in stock. I did however find a Boarder’s with it in inventory 2 hours away. After a little road trip I’m now the proud owner of a tiny ‘mech army.


I’m excited to see what havoc we can reap with our new little toys. The only problem now is that they desperately want to be painted, a project I’m not sure I have the skill or the patience for.

Atlas is more intimidating in 3D

Picking a fight


Behind the Scenes – Roleplaying, lite.

November 3, 2009

One of the few things I don’t like about the BattleTech system is how it reduces pilots to only two stats, piloting and gunnery. In order to add a bit more roleplaying into the campaign (without digging into the MechWarrior system) I’ve introduced specialties as well as a modified version of BTs existing experience system. Here’s an example of the simple pilot info sheet I’ve created and some details about the XP system.

Pilot Sheet

I’ve swiped some of the specialization categories from MechCommander 2. I’ve also edited the experience advancement rules from the basic master rulebook. Here’s how my rules work, keep in mind these have not been playtested and are designed for a short (6 missionish) campaign.

After completing a mission every surviving pilot is awarded XP
1 XP for surviving
1 XP for surviving with Mech intact
various XP may be awarded by GM for spectacular valor in combat

Over the course of a campaign players may use XP to purchase upgrades in skill. 4 XP to reduce their piloting skill modifier by 1, same for gunnery skill. 2 XP can be used to transfer a specialty point (pilots cannot have more than one weapons specialty and one mech specialty at a time).

Specialty points add a -1 piloting modifier when using that class of mech or a -1 gunnery modifier when using that weapon type. Pilots may have one weapon specialty and one mech specialty at a time.


Behind the Scenes – Saving Time

November 2, 2009

It’s official, my gaming crew is awesome!

I got an e-mail this morning and one of the players wrote a ‘to-hit’ calculator for me. It’s a cute little program that accepts all of the possible modifiers and adds them up instantly. It’s simple but I’m sure it will help speed up the pace of play.

One of the things that has been slowing down our games is that I, as the GM am responsible for calculating the attacks of anywhere for 4 – 10 units a round. Add into that the fact that I have never been particularly fast at mental math and you have the recipe for a bottle neck. To this end I’m going to be implementing some streamlining features into our next game to see if we can’t speed things along:

Order of Play: After movement when we begin resolving attacks the GM will resolve all of the NPC attacks first, with the help of the player being attacked. Players who are not directly being attacked will calculate their hits, locations and damage on their own. Once the GM is done each palyer will be able to read off Target, damage, location, and then sort out any criticals. I have a really honest group so I can trust them not to lie about hits and misses.

New Markers: I’ll be printing out markers on cardstock that have “+1,” “+2” … “+12” and everyone will get a set. After movement pilots will be responsible for calculating the modifiers they are responsible for: Spaces moved, jumping, if they are standing in woods, etc. They will place the marker on their hex and the attacking character will only be responsible for calculating their own modifiers rather than having to constantly ask questions such as “how far did he move” and “did he jump?”

The Calculator: Like I said before I’m going to give this program a test run to see if I can’t streamline my side of the equation. Here’s a pic of what it looks like.

BattleTech Calc Pic


November 1, 2009

Welcome to the Hangar Bay. This blog has been set up to catalog information about the BattleTech campaign I’m currently running with a group of friends. For an introduction to the site please check out The Rundown.