Ah yes, the combat vehicle. It’s downright prolific in the Inner Sphere (and the Periphery even more so)! We have lots of things telling us that your basic combat vehicle has a lot of value on the battlefield. But let’s set aside the fluff for a moment and talk about what your experience has really been with tanks and other vehicles.
When I started playing BattleTech in 1991, for me the game was all about big giant ‘Mechs smashing into each other. Vehicles and infantry and such need not apply. They were extremely weak, and the biggest, nastiest, most armored tank you could imagine was still rocking all of the durability of a safety pin. After a few hits, it would become immobile and from there essentially destroyed. Even when my playgroup shook things up with trying out VTOLS, hover units, and infantry, invariably the old reliable ‘Mechs would blow through things and establish their dominance yet.
Since then, the rules have changed, and the value of combat vehicles has improved. Starting online in battles using MegaMek with servers such as MegaMekNet, the lack of resources forces one to turn to mixed armies and use of infantry and vehicles to supplement BattleMech forces. Just this past week, I’ve used the Partisan Tank, a pair of Bulldogs, a quick strike by a Saladin Assault Hover Tank, and a Maxim Hover Transport to move some infantry into battle quickly, and motorized infantry tugging around an AC5 field gun.
So for me at least, some things have changed, at least online. Not in real life gaming, I’m still all about the BattleMech. After all, this game isn’t built on tanks fighting each other. They aren’t waiting with bated breath the next battle on Solaris VII between a Behemoth versus an Ontos. We don’t see the Schrek PPC Carrier on the cover of the latest book. Ultimately, this game and this universe is about big giant, humanoid robot armor things smashing each other.
But online, I have learned to adapt and use combined arms, and fully fledged units that are completely devoid of ‘Mechs. But that’s still not my preferred way of breaking things or getting my BattleTech fix. So how about you? What has been your relationship with combat vehicles? Have you used them exclusively, regularly, sparingly, or not at all? What have you found out?