Category Archives: Fan Projects

3D Printed Clan Ghost Bear Medallion

3D printing is growing both in the areas of industry and as a hobby. Many tabletop gaming players dream of getting a 3D printer and printing up all the models they’ve always wanted.

While that may be possible for some, most 3D printing hobbyists can’t afford to by the level of printer that it takes to print models for games like BattleTech. Most of the 3D printers available to consumers are not suited for that kind of detailed printing. That’s not to say that these printers aren’t capable of some amazing things, but usually models in the BattleTech game scale are not something they can handle.

So what kinds of things can consumer level 3D printers do? In the roughly six months that I’ve been into the 3D printing hobby, I’ve printed some pretty cool stuff. Statues, terrain, Pokemon, and more. There are a ton of things to do with a 3D printer if you take the time to learn how they work. I don’t know near everything about 3D printing, and I’m having a great time with it.

This dwarf statue is but one example of what you can make with a 3D printer.

This dwarf statue is but one example of what you can make with a 3D printer.

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing through Thingiverse, which is an amazing website full of free 3D printable files that creators have uploaded to the website to share with the community.

As I was browsing I found the page of creator LordNova2 who had shared a couple of really cool MechWarrior and BattleTech related designs. Among those designs was a Clan Ghost Bear medallion. Being a Ghost Bear at heart, I had to download it right away.

And then, I completely forgot about it, until a few nights ago.

One of my 3D printers (I have two) had just come off a big project I was working on, and I decided to print something fun. I thought I would share the process that followed my decision.

Continue reading

A Year of Alpha Strike – 2016 Leader Board, Week 6

My local group is partaking in a year-long Leader Board for 2016.

Week 6 of the 2016 season kicked off Quarter 2, as players met on Saturday, April 16 for another round of quick and bloody ‘Mech action.

Four players descended on the battlefield that day, including a new player who sported the colors of Clan Sea Fox.

The Forces

Due to the nature of this Week’s scenario, players had the option of bringing two rosters, one for Attack and one for Defense. Not everyone did so, but the option was there.

Clan Sea Fox

Our new player, representing Clan Sea Fox, came prepared for battle with a force of OmniMechs that showed off what a front line Clan force should look like.

Over a Star of Clan Sea Fox OmniMechs descended on the League.

Over a Star of Clan Sea Fox OmniMechs descended on the League.

Continue reading

A Year of Alpha Strike – 2016 Leader Board, Week 5

My local group is partaking in a year-long Leader Board for 2016. In cased you missed earlier Weeks, here’s Weeks OneTwoThree, and Four.

Week 5 for the Leader Board Season was the last Saturday game for the 1st Quarter of the year, and we decided to cap off the accomplishment with a Mega Battle!

The lines were drawn between Inner Sphere and Clan, and we all met on Saturday, March 12 to determine which side would reign as Quarter 1 Champions.

The Teams

Each side brought 900PV, split evenly between the players on each side.

Continue reading

A Year of Alpha Strike – 2016 Leader Board, Week 4

My local group is partaking in a year-long Leader Board for 2016. In cased you missed it, here’s Weeks OneTwo, and Three.

Real life travel has delayed the Week Four report until now, and as such much of my memory of the Week 4 games has faded. I do, however, have army lists and the game results, so I will try to fill in the details the best I am able.

Week 4 of the 2016 Leader Board Season was played on Thursday, February 18.

The Lists

Clan Sea Fox

A wild Clan Sea Fox Star has appeared!

A wild Clan Sea Fox Star has appeared!

The Mercenary player decided to shake things up a bit and introduce a new force. The rules of the Leader Board do not prevent this, so he took to the field with a Grand Summoner, a Karhu, a Mad Cat Mk III, a Cave Lion, and a Tiburon. All units were at Skill: 3.

Continue reading

NASCAR-Inspired Solaris Campaign

I have a serious love/hate relationship with Wikipedia!  When I read an article that intrigues me, and it links to something else I want to check out, I will start reading and I don’t realize that an hour and a half has just passed until I come up for air.  I can start on something innocent, like reading about reviews of a recent movie that’s released, and wind up finishing in an article about the Treaty of Versailles or String Theory.

Having grown up in West Virginia, everyone around me loved NASCAR.   I never got it.  You are

Not Solaris VII, But Similar Enough to Inspire Me

driving around in a circle for a few hours.  That’s not really something that appeals to me.  Why would I want to watch that?  Who cares?  Even with NASCAR being the second most watched sport in America right now, it’s still not my thing, and I doubt it ever will be.  I’m not a NASCAR guy.

So I’ve never really understood the world behind NASCAR.  But then I read that wikipedia article, and 77 minutes later, a lot of things changed.  I saw just how closely a lot of the NASCAR teams and companies really dovetail with a lot of the fluff on Solaris VII.  I grew inspired by it, and now I’m looking to try out a new S7 campaign with some ideas from NASCAR to flesh out the stable system a little more.

What do I like about it?  Let’s take a look!

Continue reading

A Year of Alpha Strike – 2016 Leader Board, Week 3

My local group is partaking in a year-long Leader Board for 2016. In cased you missed it, here’s Weeks One and Two

Week Three of the 2016 Leader Board Season was playing on Saturday, February 6. Clans Jade Falcon, Ghost Bear, and Snow Raven were represented, along with Wolf’s Dragoons, Draconis Combine, and Mercenaries.

The Armies

Yay! I got shots of all of the armies this time!

Clan Snow Raven2016-02-06 17.02.29A carbon copy of the Snow Raven list used in Week 2, the CSR player wanted to gain more understanding of the list in the hopes of mastering the rules and tactics involved in the combined arms force. The Mad Dog and Linebacker were both Skill: 2 with all other units at Skill: 3.

Continue reading

A Year of Alpha Strike – 2016 Leader Board, Week 2

My local group is partaking in a year-long Leader Board for 2016. In cased you missed it, here’s Week One

Week 2 of the 2016 Leader Board Season was played on the evening of Thursday, January 21. The Jade Falcon, Snow Raven, Wolf’s Dragoons, and Ghost Bear players were able to make it. Additionally, we had two players play in their first intro game that night, with one of those guys even picking up a list and playing a Leader Board game after two people had to leave!

Huzzah for new recruits!

The Lists

I was a little better about lists this week, but still not good enough. The Wolf’s Dragoons player managed to get away without me getting a picture of his force, so his list will be to the best of my memory.

Clan Jade Falcon

Nothing like a nice, full Star of Clan OmniMechs to wreck someone in the...wait, is that a Turkina?!!!

Nothing like a nice, full Star of Clan OmniMechs to wreck someone in the…wait, is that a Turkina?!!!

Two of the Jade Falcon `Mechs, the Turkina and the Flamberge, were at Skill: 2, while the rest of the force was at Skill: 3. This force was fast and jumpy. It can pretty much always be where it wants to be, when it wants to be there.

Clan Snow Raven

This Clan Snow Raven force is well-rounded and swift.

This Clan Snow Raven force is well-rounded and swift.

The Mad Dog and Linebacker were both at Skill: 2. All other units were at Skill: 3. A massively dangerous Aerospace fighter, the Kirghiz has the potential to deliver a killing blow to just about any unit in the game. Oh, and side note, nothing is more annoying that Battle Armor that can fly by you and drop bombs.

Wolf’s Dragoons

Image file not found. Please contact your local Comstar office for further technical assistance.

Wolf’s Dragoons hit the field with seven (7) BattleMechs of mixed Inner Sphere and Clan manufacture. It was a generalist list that managed to have everyone at Skill: 3.

Clan Ghost Bear

What, no Kodiak? I thought you guys were Ghost Bears.

What, no Kodiak? I thought you guys were Ghost Bears.

The Bruin and Arcas were both at Skill: 2. The SolitaireArcas 3, and Beowulf IIC were at Skill: 3. This list is very similar to the Jade Falcon list, fast and mobile. The differences between the Bruin and the Turkina allowed the Ghost Bears to have beefier heavy `Mechs.

New Blood

One of our new players jumped into the fray right after his Intro Game, and he loved the game right away. We think he’s going to keep coming back. His list was based off of my Draconis Combine intro unit, which was expanded to 250 PV with supplementary Mechs from the group for his game against Wolf’s Dragoons.

The Games

Week 2’s scenario was one of simple point control. Two 6″ diameter objective zones were established in the center of the board, 12″ apart. To score, there must be no enemy units contesting the zone during the end phase of a turn, and each player scores objective points equal to the PV of the units controlling the point. First side to 150 objective points wins. Scoring begins at the end of Turn 3.

Round 1

Wolf’s Dragoons vs Clan Jade Falcon

Disaster struck early for Wolf’s Dragoons as its Vulture found itself in the sights of the Turkina on Turn 1. A roll to hit, succeeded, and one vaporized Vulture. The early hit to morale proved too much for Wolf’s Dragoons, and Clan Jade Falcon continued to pummel the mercenaries, grabbing a swift and decisive early Objective Win.

Clan Snow Raven vs Clan Ghost Bear

The Ghost Bears deployed aggressively, hoping to bully the relatively lighter Snow Raven force from the first moment. The fighting over the control points was brutal, with the Snow Raven plan betted everything on bombing the smaller Ghost Bear BattleMechs off the board. Several bombs missed their mark, however, and only caused superficial damage to the Ghost Bears, who pushed the Snow Ravens off of the objectives and claimed a strong Objective Win.

Wolf's Dragoons prepare to counterattack against the advancing 5th Sword of Light.

Wolf’s Dragoons prepare to counterattack against the advancing 5th Sword of Light.

Intro Game Time!

The two new players played out their Intro Game concurrent to Round 1. One side had a Lance from the 15th Avalon Hussars, while the other side had a Lance from the 5th Sword of Light. Good ol’ Davion vs Kurita match. For some reason, I did not write down who won, but neither player really cared. They both jumped into the game and found it incredibly easy to pick up and play.

Round 2

One of the Intro players and the Snow Raven player had to leave after Round 1, so the other Intro player was outfitted with reinforcements for his 5th Sword of Light, and the battles commenced.

Wolf’s Dragoons vs 5th Sword of Light

The 5th Sword of Light deployed its Daishi just a little too far out in the open, and Wolf’s Dragoons decided to punish the new player for his mistake. With their heaviest hitter out of the fight so early, the 5th Sword of Light rallied and pushed back, contesting the control zones to the very last man. In the end, Wolf’s Dragoons triumphed by destroying just enough of the 5th Sword to claim an Objective Win.

Clan Jade Falcon vs Clan Ghost Bear

Showing no fear of the Turkina, the Ghost Bears went right after the menacing Assault Mech on the first turn, with the <em>Bruin</em> landing a devastating blow on the heavier BattleMech. However, the Ghost Bears paid the price for their aggression, losing the <em>Bruin</em> on Turn 1 for an instant 4 v 5 situation. The fates battled back and forth for the rest of the game, with the Ghost Bears relying on the stalwart nature of the two <em>Arcas</em> BattleMechs. In the end, the Jade Falcons could not stand up to the Ghost Bears' repeated all-out assaults, and the final roll (Double Ghost Bears!) to take out the last Jade FalconMech is memorialized in the picture below. Clan Ghost Bear claimed the Win.

The Flamberge did manage to kill the Solitaire with its dying breath.

The Flamberge did manage to kill the Solitaire with its dying breath.

End of Day Results – 

Moving into Week 3, which is tentatively scheduled for either the first or second Saturday in February, the standings are still anybody’s to take. We have only played a handful to games so far, so fortunes could shift at any moment.

FactionGames PlayedWinsLossesTies*Win %Scenario Victories*Scenario Victory %*Kill Score*Units Painted
Clan Snow Raven20200.00%00.00%200
House Davion0000#DIV/0!0#DIV/0!00
Mercenaries211050.00%150.00%220
Clan Jade Falcon422050.00%125.00%750
Clan Ghost Bear3300100.00%266.67%720
Wolf’s Dragoons211050.00%150.00%150
Undecided10100.00%00.00%100

My personal goal for Weeks 3 and 4 is to start getting numbers up in the Units Painted category.

So that’s it for Week 2 of the 2016 Leader Board Season. Week 3 commences on Saturday, February 6.

Has your group talked about starting something like this? Need any advice, tips, or ideas? Use the comments section to tell me about what you’re up to, and let’s see how many groups can get their own Leader Board going for 2016!

Want to know more about BattleTech: Alpha Strike? You can pick up the free Quick Start PDF at the Catalyst Game Labs website

A Year of Alpha Strike – The 2016 Leader Board, Week 1

This year, my local BattleTech group is trying out something new. Instead of just simply getting together for games once in a while, we decided that we wanted to make our games count for something.

The collaborative effort that came out of our many emails on the topic birthed the 2016 Leader Board Season.

We decided that the group would be able to meet 1-2 times a month between two locations, and that each player who wants to participate in the Leader Board should concentrate on a specific faction for the whole of the season. In this way, it feels a bit like a relaxed league that tracks a few more stats than just wins and losses.

Ghost Bear forces advance on the mercenary position.

Ghost Bear forces advance on the mercenary position.

The Stats

And speaking of those stats, let’s go over what all we’re tracking and why.

Games Played, Wins, and Losses – The basic stats, from which most of the other stats will be derived. Beyond being a rough estimate of who wins most often, it pretty much just shows which of us show up most often.

Win % – One of the four primary stats we are tracking. It’s not about how often you play, it’s about how often you win when you do play. This is one of the stats that will award a trophy to the highest scorer at the end of the 2016 season, also granting to the recipient the title, “The Victor.”

Scenario Victory % – This stat is important for any group that wants to get beyond the “line up and kill each other” style of game play. Each time we meet for a Leader Board round of games, a scenario that includes alternate win conditions to just killing the enemy will be selected ahead of time. While it will always be possible to win through the Forced Withdrawal rule and by wiping your opponent’s forces off the board, adding in scenario objectives adds a tactical level to the games that we all decided would be a good thing and add to the depth of play. The winner of this trophy also gets the title, “The Tactician.”

Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Snow Raven forces clash.

Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Snow Raven forces clash.

Kill Score – Using the Basic Kill Scoring Table, found on page 159 of Alpha Strike: Companion, we will also be tracking how much sheer damage and destruction is caused over the course of the season. The winner of this trophy will earn the title, “The Destroyer.”

Units Painted – The hobby side of the aspect is an important facet to the game, and we wanted the Leader Board to reflect that. As the only non-game dependent stat, we felt it was important to track and honor the hobby efforts of the group as we grow our armies and progress throughout the year. The winner of this trophy will earn the title, “The Maker.”

We still have to have a little discussion about the requirements for winning some of the awards in order to set a minimum number of games that have to be played in order to qualify. This ensures that we are all kept honest and don’t sit on a good stat halfway through the year, mitigating the risk of falling in the rankings.

Truthfully, I do not fear that anyone in the group would do this, but it’s still a good idea to have rules like that in place.

Week 1 Report

Week 1 took place on Saturday, January 16. Four of us were able to make it, and a total of three games were played due to one of us having to leave early. I remembered to snap a few pictures of the games, something at which I need to get better. Our Week 1 scenario was a basic scenario that was outlined in the Alpha Strike book that included two objective markers on each side of the board, with each side attempting to capture the objectives on the opposite side.

For now, all games are at 250 PV. The only restriction we have placed on force rosters is that each force can only have a maximum of two (2) units at Skill: 2 and a maximum of one (1) unit at Skill: 1, with the total maximum number of units at either Skill: 1 or Skill: 2 capped at two (2) units.

The Lists –

I don’t have the rosters for all four of us, something I might fix in future Leader Board reports, but I’ll briefly explain the lists used below.

Mercenaries – The Merc player went with a “quantity over quality” approach and fielded two full Lances of BattleMechs all at Skill: 4. The force overall stressed maneuverability, with half or more of the units sporting jump jets.

Clan Snow Raven – This force was the only one of the day with an Aerospace presence, in the form of one heavy fighter. The ground force was a full Star of Medium weight OmniMechs, all of at least Striker speed. All units were Skill: 3.

Clan Jade Falcon – The Jade Falcon force was a full Star of BattleMechs, featuring several Omni designs, that ranged from Medium to Assault. The force overall was sturdy, packing a huge heavy hitter in its Turkina Assault OmniMech, and had several jump capable units. The force featured mixed Skill: 3 and Skill: 2 units.

Clan Ghost Bear – The Ghost Bears fielded a speedy, combined arms list that featured 5 Fire Moth OmniMechs all carrying Gnome Battle Armor, supported by a lone Solitaire BattleMech. Speed and rapid redeployment, as well as swift objective capture were the main tactics of this force. The force featured mixed Skill: 3 and Skill: 2 units.

End of Day Results –

In the first two games, Clan Ghost Bear won a Scenario Victory by running circles around the Mercenaries, only losing a total of one `Mech and one Battle Armor squad all game while reducing the mercenary force to two BattleMechs. Clan Jade Falcon achieved a board wipe against Clan Snow Raven, even eliminating the Snow Raven Aerospace support when it came onto the board for a run.

The mercenaries move on an objective as Clan Ghost Bear rapidly redeploys to counter.

The mercenaries move on an objective as Clan Ghost Bear rapidly redeploys to counter.

The Snow Raven player had to leave early, so the Ghost Bear player only got one game in. In their second game, the Jade Falcon and Mercenary players slugged it out with both sides taking losses. In the end, the Mercenaries won out by numbers and achieved a Scenario Victory.

Below is the 2016 Leader Board as it now stands, heading into Week 2, which is scheduled to take place this Thursday, January 21. The errors currently displaying on the spreadsheet are due to lack of data for the formulas to compute. Two of our group could not make it to Week 1, so as they get in games, the spreadsheet will begin to look more complete.

FactionGames PlayedWinsLossesTies*Win %Scenario Victories*Scenario Victory %*Kill Score*Units Painted
Clan Snow Raven10100.00%0#DIV/0!150
House Davion0000#DIV/0!0#DIV/0!00
Mercenaries211050.00%1100.00%220
Clan Jade Falcon211050.00%00.00%500
Clan Ghost Bear1100100.00%1100.00%300
Wolf’s Dragoons0000#DIV/0!0#DIV/0!00

 

So what is your group doing for BattleTech and/or Alpha Strike this year? Perhaps you would like to take the 2016 Leader Board idea and adapt it to suit your own local group. Feel free to do so, and do let me know how it goes if you do!

Stay tuned for more 2016 Leader Board Weekly Reports as we dive into the year.

Alpha Strike mod for Table Top Simulator

A chance interception on Reddit alerted me to this new work-in-progress game mod for TableTop Simulator on the Steam Network. TTS is kind of a virtual reality environment for playing tabletop games. You manually move the pieces, dice and sheets interactively – just using a mouse instead of your hand.

I was told by one of the users that the BattleTech mod uses map tiles and differing altitude levels, which suggests a measure of customizability to the environment. Though they and the assorted models and preset record sheets are fairly limited in number at the moment. There are nineteen ‘spheroid ‘mechs in the first mech pack. Turduckens has a number of these terrains to choose from, including River Map, Open Terrain, etc. Traditional rule sets for BattleTech have also proven to be  too clunky to be used in TTS, but Alpha Strike works very well. Even when fighting with a company or more on each side. It almost reminds me of a less-flashy prototype of what MechWarrior Tactics was trying for.

It’s certainly no MegaMek – but perhaps that’s a good thing. With a simple rule set and richer graphical experience, not to mention Steam Network’s voice chat system, ‘River map’ might develop into quite a compliment to MegaMek.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

Thanks to Tipsymahn260 for the image.

If you’re on Steam and feel like a game of Alpha Strike, or just want to check out the virtual models, it might be worth a look.

The Ultimate Technical Readout

The Same Thing Again!

Technical Readouts have defined BattleTech virtually as long as there has been a game.  They help to shape the era, the conflicts, and the people.  They give us units that we will use to face each other in battle.  In particular, the BattleMech has defined the game, and that unit tends to really be a major component of the Technical Readout (TRO).  What if there was an Ultimate Technical Readout?  It would have ‘Mechs from every era, state, and more.

Continue reading