Mission briefing, such as it is, included here for a quick refresher on what's going on:
Here we go. Initiative determines who goes in what order over the turn. I have it set to “individual” mode, because otherwise the bot goes so slowly with this many units that the game actually locks up and crashes. Go figure. It still takes a few seconds for every move, and it has a lot of units (30 of them) to move every time. At least, to start.
Here's the initiative for deployment. As you can see, the bot has a loooot of stuff.
And here's what my guys look like deployed and ready to move out. I'm sticking to roads, because moonless night means that it is literally impossible to move through buildings at a greater rate than one hex per turn. The Awesomes are actually limited to one hex per turn anyway
, since moonless night increases the MP cost for moving into nearby hexes. It also makes everything harder to succeed, including both Gunnery and Piloting rolls. With that, I fully expect to not have to shoot at roughly half of the enemies on the map; the piloting rolls will take care of the rest.
As you can see, the map is pretty consistently a “**** you” configuration city. I'm the tiny collection of blue and green in the bottom left corner, and the enemies are the red at the city center. Triangles represent 'mechs, while squares represent vehicles. Later, you might see some diamonds that represent infantry and ejected MechWarriors. What you won't see is the star-pattern that represents aircraft. It's gonna get hairy. Here we go!
Annnnnd the downside to all this. It's going to take forever to get in range. I'll do everyone involved a favor and leave out the arduous trek to the city center and only mention important things like the enemy committing suicide.
Speaking of which:
The first victims of the night. No significant damage yet, but they haven't had a chance to brain themselves getting up yet.
The next turn is similar. The enemy Wolverine falls over, the Stinger falls over again
. Amusingly, the Stinger now has only 4 points of armor on the front torso. Who wants to place bets on when it outright kills itself?
turn, a friendly 'Mech takes the plunge too, and actually crits a heat sink. Two more enemy 'Mechs topple, and two of their vehicles effectively immobilize themselves skidding into buildings. It's a regular peanut gallery in the city center.
Contact! Finally close enough to take a shot on turn five at a Vindicator that's strayed from the city center. At least... theoretically close enough. 13+ means it's actually impossible. Oh well.
And the first actual rounds of the match. An enemy Vindicator (same one from last time) takes a potshot with an LRM 5, and the Manticore responds in kind at max range. I don't expect anything to happen, just wasting ammo, honestly.
Yeah, not surprised. The next couple turns are the exact same thing, the Manticore and a Vindicator trading potshots that are probably never going to hit.
Turn 8 I accidentally do something stupid, and get the Phoenix Hawk caught in a gaggle of buildings he can't jump out of. Whoops. He spends the next two turns getting back to the road the long way, through the buildings.
Several more turns pass, with various Pirate 'Mechs damaging themselves to various degrees, and another three mission-kills in the form of immobilized enemies. It's turn 9, and I haven't landed a hit, but half the enemies are already sporting damage.
Turn 10 finally brings some good action with it. My Phoenix Hawk gets back to the road, and jumps right behind a Vedette and Harvester Ant aaaaaaand
Does absolutely nothing except get dinged by the Vedette's machine gun. Figures. Hopefully the kick will go better. (spoiler: it doesn't) The Pixie misses, and at least manages to stay standing after the whiff.
Turn 11 actually features combat damage. The Hetzer takes a PPC hit from one of the Vindicators. Damn. It takes a bit of mobility damage, but nothing insurmountable.
Then Turn 12 happens, and I finally get a solid shot in. The Hetzer takes revenge on the Vindicator by almost blowing its right leg off with a single shot. A little more superficial damage changes hands on other battlefields, and the Pixie misses another kick.
The map of turn 12. As you can see, the Pirates are spreading down the avenue, with a few groups clustering up for protection. In order to win the fight, I have to destroy all ten civilian vehicles, as well as 50% of the defenders. With these concentrations, it's likely I'll have to destroy just about everything that moves in order to win. That means this game is going to be really ****ing long (Edit from the future: Good God, I had no idea). Woo.
At this point, the Hetzer crew is proving to be excellent shots. I'm considering nicknaming this Hetzer the Spoonzer, just because it's mimicking the actions of the Spoonzer I on the first mission of HLPX-COM quite well.
Shots are starting to go back and forth in earnest now, and there will be legitimate kills soon enough. It's just a question of whether it's the Vindicator or one of the tiny Light 'Mechs dueling with the Pixie first. Or the Rifleman to a lucky headcap, because those things are deathtraps.
Then the Pixie fell over, and I facepalmed.
Turn 14 was slightly better. That Vindicator that fell over fell over another two times, and almost took off his own leg just by trying to stand, suffering two leg crits. He now stands at range 1 to the Hetzer, which hasn't moved.
Lucky hit on the Hermes leaves it writhing in pain on the ground with one engine crit and one gyro crit. It won't be getting back up. The Hetzer should finish off the Vindicator momentarily, and then the combined Manticore and Hetzer will claim a second victim seconds afterward.
I'm getting a little concerned at the rate I'm taking damage, however. The Awesomes are taking far too long to advance, and haven't even entered the fight yet. I'm going to have to take a few extra turns to rotate them to the front after this to keep the vehicles from being knocked out unnecessarily.
The next turn, a Wasp and Stinger both fall over, and the Hermes tries to get up, and instead blows its own arm off. Hah.
Combat has started to get really interesting. That line of 'Mechs heading down the avenue is almost in range of
my Awesomes, and momentarily both sides are going to be practically wading into each others' fire. The Hetzer slams the Vindy with a fourth AC/20 blast, which it still survives, making this the most resilient Vindicator, or even Medium 'Mech for that matter, that I have ever seen. It only has three structure left on the center torso, but that's still technically alive.
The Manticore starts firing at the next 'Mech in line, a Rifleman, while the Hermes crawls its way into a building to escape the deadly fire.
Not pictured: Awesomes marching up the alley from the southwest.
FIRST BLOOD! The Hetzer lands hit number five (in sequence) on the Vindicator, and the center torso crumples into something unrecognizable. The crew is then stunned by return fire, but they'll be able to move, if not fire. Also noteworthy: The Rifleman goes down in a heap from fire from the Manticore. The Awesomes have finally gotten into range, and six PPCs per turn even at 11+ and 12+ are going to do some damage. Stuff's about to start going down hard.
The only really significant thing to happen this turn. The Manticore is now a pillbox. With its rapidly draining front armor, that's worrying. I'll have to get my other guys out in front as soon as possible. I'm a little bewildered at how little damage the turret is taking, however. Usually that's what takes the most damage, not the least.
The next turn, the Rifleman knocks himself unconscious trying to stand. With any luck, I'll be able to kick its ass before he wakes up.
Hit number six for the Hetzer, in sequence. This makes the crew the best shots I have ever seen, and they've already dealt more damage with the main gun than their tank has armor on it
, much less enough to destroy it.
Tragedy then strikes when the Manticore goes down to concentrated fire, which somehow hits the front and side exclusively. Seriously, the turret, typically the most struck location, still had over 35 armor on it. It gave good, though, crippling the Rifleman completely before succumbing. It only lost one location, to boot, so I'll be able to restore it, albeit painfully and expensively. If this mission ends in victory, I'll have all the time in the world, and over six million in c-bills to spend on repairing it, so their sacrifice has not been in vain.
And the Pixie finally inflicts damage.
Good kill. That's number two for the Hetzer, which is making a name for itself as the tank that doesn't miss. The pilots tonight aren't having a good time. Ejecting into buildings is a certain kind of suicide that they seem all too eager to undertake.
On turn 20, the Hetzer finally misses on a 12+. It rolled an 11.
The dangers of kicking. Sigh.
Turn 21 ended up being too busy for me to snap that many screenies. A friendly Wolverine ninja'd the Hermes kill out from under the Hetzer, who nailed it with an AC/20 at point blank. I'm considering awarding the kill to the Hetzer crew anyway, since the Wolverine basically just killsniped it at the end. All six PPCs on the Awesomes opened up on one Vindicator, which hit the dirt after three of them connected. The Pixie survived being unconscious in the middle of combat, somehow.
Turn 22 ended with more tragedy. The Hetzer succumbed to a terminal case of pillbox-itis. It, too, is salvageable, fortunately. Now it's all up to the Awesomes to batter down the doors and kill everything. At this point, I realize that I made a big mistake letting the vehicles take point like this. Underestimating your enemy, and all that jazz. Still, for being two vehicles in a BattleMech's world, three kills and two cripples by themselves is not a bad showing.
And then Turn 23 had absolutely nothing significant happen. At this point, the next several turns were right back to the introductory few turns' meaningless shots across the bow. The friendly Wolverine takes a bit too much damage and drops to the dirt because he walked into the middle of a running (waddling) gunfight between the Awesomes and the Icarus.
Pictured here what the alley has turned into. I'm calling it the Alley of Death, because it's pretty much the only place on the map that any significant fighting has taken place on. Ms. Pixie up top isn't really what I'd call "significant" at this point.
A hearty round of applause to Dragon, who gets the unit's first headcap and salvage! Add one Vindicator to the pile. Next target, Icarus.
After that fit of activity, the next two turns are eminently forgettable.
And this is why you don't mess with Awesomes. One of the Awesomes actually took three damage from an LRM launcher. That bastard. He will pay for his crimes.
That bastard paid for his crimes. Congratulations, The_E, on downing the first of the mission-critical vehicles that have to be destroyed, and the fourth 'Mech overall. Just 26 more units to go.
At this point, the game has been going for 32 turns and over five in-game minutes. Anyone who's ever played BT knows that's an eternity
, and I just managed to down the first lance
of enemies. I'm also getting really tired of recording most of this, but don't want to just say '**** it' and wait till the end. Decisions, decisions.
Turn 34 brought to my attention a terrible predicament: A friendly Wolverine that has been disabled in the alley is blocking the advance of the Awesomes. They'll have to either carve a path around, or hope that he dies before they kill the Vindicator. Kinda morbid, but oh well.
This turn ended up being pretty significant. The Quasit went down under sustained PPC fire, and the Stinger that's been leading the Pixie on a merry chase for literally the entire game has finally lost its leg far from home. Perfect. A kick, and he's down to 4 IS on the center torso, and an engine hit. The following turn, the Pixie destroys the Stinger with extreme prejudice.
And another fusillade from the Awesomes takes another Vindicator down. This one went down hard
, and might be in salvageable condition by the time they're done. Still gotta figure out how to get around that roadblock, though.
Hell yeah. Two Awesomes, two kills. The_E's kill in particular makes me think of the end of the Incredibles,
with the Stinger's entire engine exiting the back of the 'Mech from the hit. The Quasit is a complete and total write-off, not even worth picking up for scrap. Amusingly, the pilot actually survived ejecting. For once. The Stinger, though, that one is fully and totally salvageable, with literally the only missing piece being the engine and some armor. Finally some momentum here after six minutes of heated combat.
During turn 38, literally nothing happened. Everything missed.
Turns 39 through 40-some odd consisted of the Awesomes demolishing buildings with PPC and foot until they could get around the trapped Wolverine. It took a while.
This was halfway through the process, turn 42.
Turn 43 brought about probably the most amusing thing I'd seen all game: A Harvester Ant civilian 'Mech's engine stalled, and the resulting “fall” touched off the ammunition and turned it into a fireball.
And the Awesomes finally get through the 'roadblock' a couple turns later. In this picture it's already been blown through, but they still have to walk around, and that takes a while.
Of course, traversing the new route soon proved to be more dangerous than the entire enemy resistance up until now, at least for The_E. He successfully inflicted more damage on himself
than the enemy had.
BOOM! Headshot. Dragon logs his second such decapitation, and unless I'm much mistaken, third kill as he takes a Stinger's head clean off at 300 meters.
Turn 48: Breakthrough! Both Awesomes and the Pixie have broken through enemy lines and are converging on the city center. Finally. Now the enemy's tender rear areas are vulnerable to my wrath, and both Awesomes are still nearly 100%. I still need to hunt down and destroy every single civilian vehicle, but now that seems more plausible than the pipe dream it looked like twenty turns ago.
The Pixie (who, I'd like to remind everyone, is a liaison, and not anyone important) breaks off to go headhunting flatbed trucks, while both Awesomes pick an alley and proceed to level everything that moves. The alley they pick plays host to three of the remaining 'Mechs, one Scorpion tank, and one civilian APC. The 'Mechs are an Urbanmech, a Vindicator (again), and a Crab that's been having trouble staying upright. In fact, I think that Crab might very well brain itself before I even get there. That'd be nice.
Here we are, right at turn 50 (which anyone who's played BT knows is HOLY **** LONG game, and it's not even close to done). There's an impromptu standoff in the square, with an untouched Wolverine that I'm not certain had even moved until now, a Wasp chasing my Pixie, and all three surviving Hard Light 'Mechs. Nobody has shots, but next turn the Awesomes should be able to get into better position.
For those of you unaware, this is what suicide looks like. He took two PPCs to the face, dropped like a rock, and then the Awesome stepped on him until he died. Moving on.
Everybody wants a piece. Just about every remaining able-bodied 'Mech and vehicle is withdrawing to the central square, right into the Awesomes. That Vindicator standing over the corpse of the Stinger is the first one back, and took two PPCs in the left side for his trouble. He's still standing, but who knows for how long. (hint: not long).
What happens when two unarmed MechWarriors end up in the same hex. There was literally half a dozen PPCs crackling over their heads this turn alone, and they just crack a beer. Mech jocks, man.
Flatbed truck down. Good kill, Dragon. One less target to worry about hunting down later. Now full attention on the trio of Mediums making themselves nuisances.
The_E takes a nasty head hit that shouldn't have happened, but in return drops Vindicator #4 on its ass. Dragon should have an easy time stomping on it in the next phase. He does, nearly amputating its PPC arm. These guys are inflicting, at most, five or ten damage per turn, while the Awesomes are dishing out 40+. It's quite the sight.
Update the kill board. Another less flatbed. Enemy civilian vehicles should be down around five left, now. Halfway there.
At some point right around here, I noticed something amusing and odd. There were no less than two units under the Pirate's command that were stuck. Looking back after the game, there were also fully half of the allied units trapped similarly. They'd deployed in clearings between buildings and had no way to get out. That included one of the civilian trucks, and a Wasp. The truck is the most troublesome, since it means standing stock still and doing nothing but trying to take down the building for several turns. It'll have to wait for last. This is also the turn that the Crab pilot knocked herself out for the fifth time, without me even firing a shot. One more, and the pilot dies with no damage to the 'Mech aside from a few scuffs and dings. Fingers crossed.
At this point the party in the square is mostly over. Later that turn, the Wolverine got to feel what two Awesomes kicking in tandem feels like. The answer was to fall to the ground in pain.
Stompy stompy. The central square is just a collection of spare parts and battered machines, at this point. A Vindicator and Wolverine are writhing in collected agony on the ground, another Vindicator watches helplessly, and the 'Mechs not engaged are cowering in their respective alleys (or knocked the **** out from trying to stand up).
Ms. Pixie does her best George Takei impersonation rounding the corner. 'Bout to get painful for this guy.
The next turn ends up being painful for everybody, but moreso for the Pirates. PPC fire crackles back and forth, with a puny autocannon adding to the report. Then, the kicking starts. The Wolverine gets a good hit in on Dragon's ride, and he goes down, but the Wolverine goes down too, missing a leg. The Vindicator on the ground is still somehow
alive, too. I have new respect for the
'Mech. It can take a terrible beating.
Turn 60 rolls around, celebrating 10 minutes of continuous combat in the besieged city center. The Vindicator and Wolverine closest to the Awesomes are not getting up again, but aren't technically destroyed yet. Dragon's Awesome tripped, and had a little trouble standing, but should be up again this turn. The last mobile Vindicator is dancing around the other side of the square, taking between two and four PPC hits per turn and not ****ing dying
. Our Pixie is mauling the other Harvester Ant, and is
preparing to go maul another Flatbed and an APC as soon as that's done.
All in all, looking mostly like mop up, now.
Another turn, three kills. Wolverine, Vindicator, and Harvester Ant explode violently. Now the only thing left in the square is the Vindicator that's still up and walking. A few combat vehicles, a Clint, an Urbanmech, and an unconscious Crab are pretty much all that remain of the actual combat effective
**** yeah. Free Crab. I never even targeted it. Neither did my bot allies.
Uh oh, that's not good. Gotta gut this bastard quick. The retaliatory kick from Dragon topples the Vindicator, now missing a leg. The_E takes another hit when the Awesome hits the ground from the Vindy's kick, but he's still alive. Gonna spend some time in the infirmary after this, but alive. Just a couple more turns, and the Vindicator, and with it, the last effective 'Mech resistance in the city, is going to go up in smoke.
Another truck up in smoke. Just a couple more, and we can get the **** back to the dropship and enjoy a good month of R&R while everything gets fixed. Sounds good, no? It looks like The_E has four hits, so it could be a while before he wakes up. In the meantime, Dragon is making short work of that Vindy, and next up is the Urbanmech trying desperately to hide around the corner.
Scratch that, the Vedette and Clint are being more aggressive right now, and must die first. Amusing side note: that Vedette just wrecked his engine getting stuck in that building.
Vindicator down. Vedette crippled. Clint next.
Dragon strikes again! I've lost count of his kills, but it has to be past five already.
More Dragon being Awesome.
I love cities.
Dragon being Dragon. Seriously. This is an almost automatic skill-up when we get back to the barracks. At this rate, it could damn well be TWO. Now if only The_E would wake up, they could leave the damn square. I'm not having Dragon pull out for new targets until The_E is up and at 'em.
Another one down! I'm pretty sure there are only two left on the map, though all of them are either enclosed in buildings or heavily (relatively speaking) escorted. Our Pixie's job is now to guard the commander while Dragon goes hunting.
That is, if it gets there. I'm sometimes stupid, and jumped with damaged actuators. Let's see if the Pixie can stand up again.
Apparently not. Tried, pilot fell over and blacked out. Oh well. Dragon's operating on his own here. Fortunately, he has the least damaged 'Mech by far, so we're still good.
To my surprise, the Urbanmech actually came out to play. See the 'suicide' of the Stinger above to see why that's a bad idea. He suffered nearly the same fate, with three points left in the leg that Dragon stomped on.
Audacious little bugger, ain't he? Dragon shows him the error of his ways with a PPC to the chest, followed by a mean left hook. Missing most of the armor on its torsos, the Urbanmech is pretty much screwed if it doesn't GTFO right about... last turn.
It's now been near a dozen turns, and The_E hasn't woken up yet. Damn 10+.
The next turn sees me accidentally click through the weapons fire phase, so no PPCs, but the next kick knocks the Urbie down. He's not going anywhere.
Turn 79 sees our Pixie wake back up and succeed in standing. Woo! Back to the square to relieve Dragon. The Vedette and Scorpion that have been hiding in the northwest alley for most of the game are starting to get frisky and take potshots at the downed 'Mechs. As of now, that includes only The_E, unconscious for a record 20 straight rounds.
There are the sneaky buggers. Getting into position is slow and annoying. Every turn I'm absolutely dreading a headshot, as at this point even an AC/5 would finish the job.
Two more down. Urbanmech and Vedette out of commission. That leaves, running free, two Scorpions and one APC. A Wasp and a coolant truck are trapped in buildings, leaving a total of five enemy combatants left on the map.
It takes Dragon exactly one turn to kill the Scorpion. One tank, one 'Mech, two civilian vehicles left.
On turn 88, the Phoenix Hawk pilot wakes up again
(she slipped and fell again about five turns ago), before The_E does. She's going to be staying down this time. Just in case.
Turn 91. Luck mocks me once again with a headshot against Dragon. He's alive, but falls unconscious at the wheel. The Scorpion that made the shot takes two PPC hits in return, so not even a bad exchange. Just unlucky. There's not much a Scorpion and LRM APC can do to an Awesome to make me worry about one turn.
Then, luckily, Dragon wakes back up next turn.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dragon.
And then, impossibly, after five full minutes unconscious, The_E wakes up! Now I can actually go after those bastards hiding in the buildings.
And yet again. I'm not sure, but I think Dragon might be nearing 15 kills for this engagement.
At this point, I decided to just **** it. It's 3:30 am, and this is now a foregone conclusion. I could reasonably just abandon the city at this point and let the locals clean up the trapped enemies. I type in /victory, and the game is over. Hard Light triumphs.
95 turns. Over 15 minutes of continuous combat. Dragon deserves a medal for that one. How big of a medal? Well....
At the end of the engagement, everybody from the vehicles that were knocked out survived, miraculously (a couple had five hits. Six hits, and you're dead). I picked up the Crab, the salvageable Vindicator, and a pair of Scorpion tanks for salvage, and let the employer have the rest. My techs will have their hands full with these for the next while.
I'll tackle the post-battle stuff like medical treatment, salvage, and repairs some other time. This is a ****load of stuff to sift through. What I am
taking care of right this minute is getting Dragon promoted right quick. In one game, he gained 14 experience. That's one short of getting his 4/6 to a 4/4. He'll get a promotion to sergeant, at the least. At the rate he's going, senior sergeant is like one mission from now.