BattleTech - Charging question ...

Jeff Wilder

First Post
I played a lot of BattleTech as an undergrad, about *cough* years ago, but we're relearning the rules for some casual play now.

Charging seems to be absurdly powerful. Number of hexes moved times 1 point for every 10 tons of mech weight (to defender), just 1 point per 10 tons of weight (to attacker).

A charging Spider could do 36 points of damage, while taking only 3 in return?

What am I missing?
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Charging is great, but there are a few things that make it problematic to use in play:

* You can only target mechs that have already moved

* It counts hexes moved, not MP. That Spider might be charging 12 hexes in a straight line, but far more often will have to turn, change level, go through forests or similar, which dramatically reduce the actual movement. (If you *do* get charged for 12 hexes, then you probably deserve the pain).

* Charging is declared during movement, but is resolved during the Physical Attack step. If the Mech is blown up, or fails a Piloting check beforehand (typically for taking 20+ damage in a phase), the charge attack automatically misses.

* To successfully charge someone requires a Piloting roll which is modified for movement, terrain and the difference between the pilot skills. Your general pilot with a Pilot 5 skill would thus generally need about an 8 or higher to successfully charge (+2 Running, and say +1 for target movement). This is an acceptable chance, but not a great one. Charging becomes a lot better once you have very low Piloting skills. (Same situation, P2 vs P5 means you only need a 2 to hit!)

* Meanwhile, you're in point-blank range of their guns. Charging a Hunchback doesn't seem such a good idea when that Spider takes a AC/20 blast to... anywhere, really.

* Oh, and a Charging Mech can't fire weapons.

I've seen charging be really effective, but often the map is too cluttered for most mechs to easily do so - or with a good chance of success.

Jeff, are you using the current set of rules? There have been a few changes over the years - not that many, but they can be confusing. (The best change is the new Partial Cover rule, which means that standing behind a hill doesn't mean a 1 in 6 chance of the head being hit...)

Cheers!
 


MerricB

Eternal Optimist
That's it. A new version of the Introductory set should soon be out (we hope) with actual board maps. (Quite thick). The rules don't change, though in the new release, and with the exception of the maps, the contents are basically the same. (An extra two premium-quality plastic mechs, the Thor and Loki, will be included).

Let us know if any of your mechs manage to get good success out of charging - most of the time, it's more worthwhile firing weapons. For very light mechs, the danger of being destroyed whilst charging is quite high, but every so often it is worth it!

Cheers!
 

Holy Bovine

First Post
That's it. A new version of the Introductory set should soon be out (we hope) with actual board maps. (Quite thick). The rules don't change, though in the new release, and with the exception of the maps, the contents are basically the same. (An extra two premium-quality plastic mechs, the Thor and Loki, will be included).

Let us know if any of your mechs manage to get good success out of charging - most of the time, it's more worthwhile firing weapons. For very light mechs, the danger of being destroyed whilst charging is quite high, but every so often it is worth it!

Cheers!

Yeah back in my university days a lot of BT was played and many was the player lured into the trap known as the Charge. In dozens of games I never saw it inflict more than minimal damage and the charging MEch was often badly damaged or even destroyed in the attempt. Or the charging player would do something stupid like charge a Mech that hadn't moved yet /whistles.
 

Wycen

Explorer
Back in the day we designed hover craft with the sole purpose of ramming mechs. Of course we had house ruled that hover craft could side slip 1 hex making targeting much easier.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
The way to do it is to put a really *bad* pilot in a hovercraft. Go to maximum flanking speed, then turn just next to the Mech and try to move onwards.

At this point, you have the skidding roll... oops, failed it... charging attack!

Cheers!
 

Thanks guys. Now I'm nostalgic for Battletech. Man, I haven't played that game since '98, during Thanksgiving, when two friends and I set out to have a planetary invasion involving hundreds of mechs over the course of several days.

The very first battle took place in a valley, with 20 mechs on each side. While a few hung back to fire missiles, most descended into close quarters. On the second round of combat, my friend David had everyone on his side focus fire on one of my assault mechs with a particularly large fusion engine.

We tallied all the damage, all the critical hits, and determined that by the rules (in the . . . what was it, Tactical Guide, or something like that?), the mech's engine went nova. We determined damage for that, rolled all the crits, and realized, oh, the two mechs adjacent to it? Well they were going nova too.

We spent about a half hour just calculating how many mechs were annihilated by cracked fusion engine chain reactions. I think it was like 8 mechs destroyed in one blinding explosion, and several others horribly mangled.

At that point we realized that the rest of the campaign would never be as interesting as that one round, so we called it quits. I don't think we ever even played the game again after that. But we certainly went out with a bang.
 

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