Saturday, 16 July 2011

BattleTech Infantry

I've been painting infantry today, and yesterday, and the day before. Surprising how long it takes to paint a load of infantry, when it the bigger scheme of things I'm only painting a couple of hundred troops per side. Mind you in BattleTech terms that is a pretty large infantry force, but when one steps back not so much in the broader scheme of things.

Anyway, not going to write about the numbers being painted, rather about some thoughts I've had on playing with said infantry tomorrow. If you play BattleTech you kind of know that everything has a record sheet.  I'm okay with that for mechs, can live with it for vehicles, but even then I want to simplify the records sheets down some more, but plain infantry it just bugs me to do the paperwork.

So I had a thought, like one does when one is cogitating stuff as one is painting, and I think I can simplify the paperwork for infantry by throwing it out. See it doesn't get simpler than that does it? No seriously, use the bases to keep track of the infantry, and either use dice as casualty markers, or base the infantry so that one can remove bases. I mean this is done all the time as standard in miniature wargames, so let's apply the idea to BattleTech is what I say.

As for calculating damage I'm going to use the rule of thumb that each infantry man is worth half an attack point, add up by squad, section or platoon and round down, and that is the number of attack points they do; in groups of two as per the standard rules. The difference between a rifle armed infantry versus rockets launchers, or laser armed men will be range, mg units will get a 1D6 bonus against other infantry, and flamers will catch stuff on fire as per the standard rules. Swarm attacks are calculated exactly the same way, but the damage is applied to the legs of the mech, or the transmission of the vehicle. I think this keeps infantry nice and simple, but still effective when used properly, but we shall see tomorrow what happens when the guys go to it.

As a result of this brainwave I realise that I now have to make up some infantry bases for my militia with two figures per base and mix these with the three man bases I have, which will double the number of platoons that I have. Now the question is would it be reasonable to treat four platoons as two Company's and therefore call them Battalions? Especially considering I'm going to be adding APCs, and helicopters for transporting the troops with integral artillery and some tanks to make a fairly formidable combine arms team. Let me know your thoughts on this?


  1. I remember the record sheets for infantry in Battletech, basically a line of numbers that you mark off for each casualty. You're right; it's easier to keep track of by removing figures or bases. That's how I do it using infantry in OGRE/GEV, switching out three-figure bases for two- or one-figure stands or placing wisps of cotton over figures to denote casualties.

    To answer your question, seems to me that four platoons is equal to a single company, not two companies. However, with your organic transports, armor and arty, it all probably adds up to a battalion.

  2. No, you're right. Four platoons is a Company, I just carried away with the whole integrated force thing that contemporary practice encourages, except that in general these integrated units are made up from units within the Division, Brigade and pulled from the Regiments for mission specific assignments.

  3. What, no pictures?

    3085 in combination with TacOps and TechManual give us near infinite variation in infantry squads. There are fast moving Aerial Beast Riders from the FWL to the near battle armor quality Clan Heavy Jump troopers.

    Record sheets will always be a necessary evil. But when you have so many fun and interesting types to play, why not take advantage of them all?

    There is more to infantry than a bag of hit points if you want them to be.


  4. Pictures later...

    For what I want a bag of hit points will do, my obsession is quicker playing medium to large games in around two to four hours, give or take a bit.

  5. I am currently working on an outline for a BattleTech Infantry Primer.

    It will address the more common troop types available, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, go over potential missions and like that.

    In short, I want to write something that will make it easier for the average player to select and effectively run infantry in BattleTech.

    One thing I have noticed... there are very few infantry transport vehicles designed after the introduction of TW, and I think this may be an issue, as the older machines aren't necessarily configured to be a good option for troop transport anymore...

  6. I've noticed that too, and I'll look forward to your infantry primer piece, which I assume will be on your blog, or is this a TRO entry?

  7. No, it will be a PDF of its' own. I will likely track it on the current blog, or even make a new one. There is a lot to go over, examples, etc.

  8. Now I know you are a glutton for punishment. I will of course be looking forward to the fruits of your labour though.