Monday, 10 December 2012

BattleTech Infantry Paradigm 1

At the top are three bases each with three figures, which I think makes a good representation of a squad/section of infantry for the game. In front, on the left, is a single figure on a base to allow for casualty removal during the game.


One of my desires in my current campaign is to play games with more stuff on the table than the typical BattleTech game, where it is mostly mechs with the occasional vehicles, or infantry acting as speed bumps. I also want more battlemechs too, don't get me wrong, but I want infantry, vehicles artillery and air support as well. If we can have combat engineers, medics, bridging units, and other specialist toys too that would be even better.

Not that every game has to have all the toys on the table, but I want the game to be fun when they are. More stuff is after all more stuff to play with.

I'll be honest as say that infantry in BattleTech aren't much fun, unless you are an infantry gonk.

I would consider myself an infantry gonk, but my current players aren't. This makes me sad, as I want them to see the fun to be had by playing infantry. So I want to work towards a paradigm for deploying infantry when playing BattleTech on the tabletop. A paradigm being a fancy way of saying a pattern, or model of how to deploy infantry so as to act as an example that can be copied, and therefore be an exemplar for others.

I also want to have the infantry models in my games to cover the area that real infantry platoons would be expected to cover. More info on infantry platoon frontage here. You will note that a squad in real life is expected to defend an area that is about the same size that a platoon in BattleTech would occupy. However, I want to just move on to basing figures, rather than talk about the rules this time around. How I want to organise them, to meet the needs of the the game, and increase the players enjoyment when using them?

Everything else in BattleTech is represented by one model except for infantry, and I just don't like the way it looks on the table, and it puts me off playing with infantry. Therefore I base my figures on coins, and can comfortably fit three conventional infantry figures to one base.  However, I have had to base my battle armour, and jump infantry as two figures to a base, because of their size. I also use two figures on abase to represent the platoon commander, and single figures on a smaller base for casualty removal. So quite a lot of variants when you think about it, and all because I don't like one base equaling one platoon, because to me it looks wrong.

Then it is a matter of deciding what number of bases make up a squads/section? I'm thinking a minimum of two bases, and a maximum of four bases. This would allow players to face Word Of Blake six man squads/sections, or 12 man larger squads/sections, for when one wants to represent contemporary practice e.g.: British Army sections, or US Army A teams. I'm thinking two three man bases with one small mortar section of two bases for House Steiner platoons, because it allows for one up front and two back formations.

Platoon size can then be based on a minimum of two squads/sections per platoon, up to a maximum of six squads/sections, per platoon. This is really only to allow for Word of Blake/ComStar forces in BattleTech, as historically three, or four squads/sections are more usual in the real world. Generally I would expect to see platoons organised as two to four bases of figures per section, with two to four sections, giving a range of platoon sizes from four bases up to a maximum of 16 bases.

This as it stands is quite a lot of figures, but it does bring infantry into the game on an equal representational footing by keeping to the one-figure-equals-one-man basis that BattleTech uses for both vehicles and battlemechs.

Once this is in place it is easy enough to count bases and add up the attack value from that, but how I intend to do that is for the next post.


  1. At a conceptual level, the 'Mechs in BattleTech seem to act much more like tough infantry than like armour - they jump around and use terrain in a way that the armoured vehicles can't. (I'm talking roughly WWII-Vietnam, here - none of the tactical integration that got started in the 1980s.) Once that happens, it's tricky to think of a way infantry can act more infantry-like than that. Use of buildings, I suppose.

  2. Where did you get the pictured infantry models from?

    1. They're MechWarrior Dark Age Clix re-based.

  3. Why not place infantry on a magnetic base with simple gravel frock, that way it could be a single base and as infantry die... Pull them off and stick them to another magnet? They have to be ferrous models sure, but there are some games that put out ferrous infantry that would fit battletech's scale.

    Certainly would be better scale than that Dark Age cra-cr... Figures, you use.

    1. Good question, I've seen it done and why not. Too much faff for me (cost of magnets, and makes getting infantry done take even longer etc). As for Clix figures scale they are at least consistent i.e: they are made to scale, unlike Battlemechs, where the models are not consistent e.g: the tallest being forty foot/12 meter mech tall should be 40mm high. Good luck with only fielding mechs that are scale.