Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Tukkayid Campaign: Smoke Jaguars Part 1

Hi folks,

Battletech Tuesday is back! A couple of days ago Heinz, KuriboGoomba, Wade and I spent the night popping the lid on a new campaign: Tukayyid. Goomba and I played through parts of this book way back in highschool (mid-late 90's), particularly the Jade Falcon and Ghost Bear missions. Considering we seem to have hit on a nice groove with our Battletech campaign play, I figured this would be a good time to revisit this juggernaut of a conflict.

Each session we will play a scenario from a different Clan and cycle through them (there are about 4 scenarios per Clan). To accommodate individual player's preference for certain Clans, each of us will alternate between playing the Clan and Comstar forces. This week I was teamed up with Heinz to represent the Smoke Jaguars as they attempt to secure a drop site, whilst Goomba and Wade would control a defending Lance of heavy Comstar Mechs.

Heinz rolled for our Mechs and came up with a Stormcrow C, a Timberwolf A and a Summoner A. This would give us a nice selection of pulse lasers and "head-cappers", just perfect for dueling, which is lucky as this scenario enforces the strictest level of Clan dueling rules. Wade and Joel selected a Hunchback, Archer (represented by a Catapult figure; hurry up new sculpts!), Marauder (represented by a Dragon) and an Awesome; a classic selection of hard-hitting Innersphere Mechs.

The game started with the Clan Mechs hot-dropping into ruined urban terrain (all buildings above level 5 on the map counted as rubble). With an inauspicious crunch, the Stormcrow failed its piloting skill roll and sustained heavy damage. The Timberwolf challenged the Awesome and immediately fired upon it with its PPC's, taking no damage in return. The Summoner challenged the Archer in and slammed home a gauss rifle slug and a large pulse laser volley. The next turn the Stormcrow was back on its feet challenging the Marauder, which took one turn of fire before withdrawing to focus fire on the Timberwolf.

After I closed in on the Archer with my Summoner, to maximise the effect of minimum range on the LRM 20's, Wade brought the Hunchback into play to cover for it. I was now stuck between staying close and weathering the AC 20, or moving out of range and exposing myself to long range missile fire. I grit my teeth for one turn to put some extra fire into the Archer before withdrawing; taking 20 damage to a single location repeatedly did not appeal to me.

Meanwhile, Heinz engaged the Awesome at close range to bring his medium pulse lasers into play. It lost an arm and eventually a leg in the exchange, but dealt horrendous amounts of damage in return. The Marauder maneuvered to support the Awesome, whilst carefully staying out of sight of my Stormcrow.

After losing two jump jets to critical hits, as well as two head hits, the Summoner jumped towards the centre of the board where there was more support. The unengaged Hunchback moved to pursue and I challenged it with my Stormcrow; he had nothing else to shoot at and I needed to take pressure off the Summoner. That means that the Stormcrow was now challenging two Mechs simultaneously. Needless to say, I hoped to take out the Hunchback quickly. I managed to hit it twice in the head, once with an LB 10X AC sub-munition and again with a large pulse laser shot, but failed to cause any critical hits. In the next turn the Hunchback destroyed the Summoner with another head hit, and I immediately returned the favour by touching off a ton of AC 20 ammo with one of my Stormcrow's medium pulse lasers.

On the other side of the board, the Awesome combined with the Marauder to disable the Timberwolf, by destroying multiple leg actuators and hitting the gyro. It was simply too hard for Heinz's pilot to stand the Mech up, though he tried several times, sustaining hilarious amounts of falling damage. The Timberwolf was eventually destroyed by the Marauder's kick, which completely destroyed the center torso.

With the Hunchback down and the Archer now unengaged, the Stormcrow challenged it and jammed it into a corner. With the Awesome floundering on the ground and the Marauder busy shooting up Heinz's Timberwolf, nobody was going rescue it. I kept pouring fire into it until it went down.

With that we called an end to the game; it was getting late and at this age we are afraid we will turn into pumpkins. Wade and Goomba had pulled every underhanded freebirth tactic in the book during the game, using the strict Clan engagement rules to their advantage. We were constantly being fired upon by Mechs involved in other challenges, so that we could not return fire. Ultimately, we were saved from a more painful defeat by Heinz's heroics with the Timberwolf (holding up an Awesome and a Marauder for the entire game, only one of which he could fire upon), as well as the effective fire of the Stormcrow taking down two Comstar Mechs. I am sure both the Stormcrow and the Marauder will return in future games to haunt each other...

See you across the table,