The game day got off to a rocky start. I held the game at a friend’s home who had a lot more room then my apartment, so I wanted to get the board over to his home before the game day. Unfortunately, Patrick was sick, so we did not move the board over until early Sunday morning, and then we realized the board would not fully fit in his van. Ultimately, we secured it with bungee cords and let it hang out the back of the van. Once we set it up, I went about touching up the minor damaged spots on the board, and began setting up the buildings, roads, and trees. I was running about an hour behind. In the future, I must do a better job of making the board in segments, because hulling a 7.5’ X 5’ board around is the last thing I ever want to do again.
Moving on with the day, it improved. The players were very excited and eager to learn how to play. Fortunately, Dylan, who introduced me to the game in 1985, reintroduced himself to the game and learned the miniatures rules too, so he taught the other players how to play while I finished setting up. The turns progressed slowly; put picked up once the players understood the miniatures rules which complicated the standard Battletech rules to gain a hex free pretty board.
The two lances of mechs from the Skondia Mech Piloting Academy flanked rapidly to the left in order to control the bluffs on the western edge of the map, while most of the tanks of the 2nd Skondia Infantry Regiment remained scattered in the southeastern quarter of the board with the exception of the Goblin lance which set up on the first western ridge in order to control the highway coming south. In addition, the two Demolishers slowly moved up and over the bridge and then turned north. They were accompanied by a Zeus piloted by the planetary militia’s commander. Finally, the infantry company hid in the heavy forest by the bridge and the helicopters went north to begin bombarding the Draconis mechs with LRM fire.
The Draconis mechs fanned out each with their own objectives. Charlie Company’s Command Lance engaged the Skondia mech lances with long range missiles. The Support Lance cautiously took the central hills with the intent of destroying the radio antenna for victory points. Lastly, the Recon Lance moved along the game map’s eastern edge to skirmish with anything that might come over the hills.
While all of the artillery was landing in the Southern area of the map, the Skondia MP Academy mechs quickly closed the distance to the Draconis Command Lance outnumbering the Draconis mechs in that area. The Command Lance was taking fire from eight mechs and a lance of Goblin tanks. The command lance fell back a bit in order to maximize their strength in long range weapons, but upon doing that an artillery round badly missed the radio antenna falling short and directly hitting the Legion’s Whitworth forcing it to retreat because of internal damage to it’s center torso. At about this time, many (4) of the Lyran mechs also had to retreat because of internal damage. Also, at about this time (round 4), the Demolishers and Zeus finally rounded the cliffs in the center of the map and were looking for targets. Only one was available. The Support Lance’s Clint was the last mech through the central hills and the only target available to the Demolishers which attacked it at long range with little chance of hitting it, but one round made contact almost bringing down the mech with one hit. Even with that devastating hit, the Kurita players knew that it was still at least three rounds before the demolishers and Zeus could attack them again because of Lyran’s poor positioning and speed. Charlie Company’s Support and Scout lances were able to destroy the radio antenna and drive off the Lyrann helicopters which loitered in their positions too long making them vulnerable to attack. Though, both were able to retreat. By round five, the Draconis forces had five victory points (Radio Antenna-3, Karnov-1, & two Scorpions-1) to the Lyran’s zero points. The Skondian mechs were very damaged and many of the militias tanks were damaged by artillery while the Draconis mech company had only lost two mechs to retreat and had only three moderately damaged mechs. The entire Scout Lance was unscathed!
At this point, the Lyran players threw in the towel. They thought that they could still inflict quite a bit of damage on the command lance once the Demolishers and Zeus got up to the Legion’s Command Lance, but that was going to take time and in that time the Lyran’s entire left flank was going to collapse as the rest of the training mechs retreated or were destroyed. The Legion’s Support and Recon Lances threatened to leap in mass over the last southern hills and overwhelm the remaining tanks. Perhaps one or two mech would have been destroyed, but all of the tanks and infantry in the south would have likely been eradicated garnishing the Draconis side a lot more victory points. The Draconis players said that once they realized that they could avoid the Demolishers, their strategy was to destroy everything else and out maneuver the large tanks. The Lyran players acknowledged that they should have aligned the tanks on the western edge of the board and let them stay so that they could make better use of their range. Too much time was wasted moving them when the more maneuverable mechs were forced to fight a battle of attrition against more powerful mechs across the river canyon where the Chameleon’s short-range abilities were wasted.