Monday, June 25, 2012

Marauders! (Updated)

UPDATED!  This has been edited with some issues that ncKestrel pointed out (see comments), and the overburn value has a graphic issue I'll be fixing in the today.  All the cards are new and the comments were tweaked.

Apparently I can't escape this game, there is simply no other one I can get into :(

I like Quick Strike/Battleforce stuff.  I like any game that abstracts combat potential into a single number.  Not sure why, but I have tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of counters that do just that for all sorts of games.  

NOTE:  I calculate damage and heat efficiency by range band, not for the overall design like strategic operations.  This makes some units more powerful at some ranges.  I also make Rocket Launchers a single shot weapon, and split attacks into ballistic (with a corresponding LA for limited ammo, or shots / tons to reload) and energy.  And finally, I round normally, not up, a single MG shouldn't be 0.2 rounded up to 1, that is silly.

So, I'm going to compare all the Marauder II (not IIC) models, and point out how they differ in Quick Strike.

First, they all have SRCH, SOA, ES, and SEAL.  Also, all are weight 4 and armor 10, and none have an ER attack.

All have 8 structure and 3j move unless I indicate otherwise.

MAD-4A. 21 Pts.  3-3-2 attack, ENE.  It also has 1 overburn.
  Great mech with no downsides.  This is the stock model with 2xPPC, 1xLL, and 2xML.

MAD-4H. 22 Pts.  1-1-1 attack, ENE.  Also has 3-3-1 Rocket Attack and 2 overburn.
  This mech is a one-shot wonder, but even its one shot at best gets you 3 attack, it is always better to choose the MAD-4A, which is not only cheaper but has better long range attack capability.  This is the rocket crazy version with 2xERPPC, 2xERML, and 180 rockets.  Too bad its only got 21 single heat sinks.

MAD-4K. 26 Pts.  This mech has a ballistic attack of 3-4-4.  It can perform this attack 5 times, and it'll take 2 tons of ammo to resupply it.  Its energy attack is 2-3-3, so even when out of ammunition its quite effective.  It also has the ability "BG3", which means "Big Gun 3".  Each attack allows you to roll on the critical hit table, with up to a 3 modifier.  It can overburn by 1 with ballistic weapons.  This mech is pricey though, though I'm not sure worth 5 more points than the MAD-4A.  This is the dual HPPC and GR version, which is why it gets the BG3.

MAD-4S. 26 Pts.  This mech has a ballistic attack of 3-3-2, which can be done for 5 turns, after which 4 tons of ammo are needed to resupply.  It also has an energy attack of 2-2-2.  It can run hot, with 2 overburn with ballistic weapons or 1 with energy weapons.  The mech is 26 points, and though it has BG1 I seriously can't see why you would take this over the MAD-4K, or even the MAD-4A.  This is the dual ERPPC and HGR version.

MAD-5A. 21 Pts.  This is your anti-aircraft assault mech.  It only has 4 structure due to XL, and its attack is just 3-3-2 ballistic (2-2-2 energy).  It is the same cost as the MAD-4A, but does include CASE.  Its one redeeming factor is its FLK attack of 1-1-1, which it can perform 10 times before requiring 3 tons for resupply.  It has an overburn of 1.   I would only consider this model over the same priced MAD-4A if there were lots of flying units about.  This one has dual ERPPCs and the LB10X.

MAD-5B. 26 Pts.  I can see no reason to take this design.  Its expensive, its ballistic attack is 3-4-3 with BG1, and it does have 8 turns of ammo.  However it has no CASE, and its energy attack is only 2-2-2.  It can overburn by 1 but that doesn't help enough.  It simply isn't worth the points over a MAD-4K.  2 ERPPCs and a GR fill out the armament.

MAD-5C. 20 Pts.  Again another horrible mech.  With only 4 structure, a 3-3-2 ballistic attack (2-2-2 energy), and 7 turns of ammo it simply sacrifices too much over the MAD-4A to be a viable option.  Even its overheat value is only 1.  This one has the dual ERPPCs and the UAC5.

MAD-5W. 24 Pts.  This mech gives you 3/5j movement, so it is far more maneuverable than most Marauder IIs.  However your attack is energy only with 2-2-2 with 1 overburn.  It does have C3I, BG1, and MHQ2.5 so it makes a good WOB Level II unit, but only if the whole Level II can move the same.  Otherwise you may as well take a 4A again, which is cheaper and overall more effective. This model mounts dual SNPPCs and a HPPC.

MAD-6D. 24 Pts.  Another version with only 4 structure, expensive, but it does give 3/5j movement.  Its ballistic attack is 3-3-1 with 1 overburn (energy 2-2-1, no overburn) but it only has 3 turns of shooting.  It does include CASE but to compare the design with the same price point 5W, its reduced long range damage and lack of electronics and BG means its just not cost effective either. This sucker has 2 SNPPC, 2 LPPC, and a HPPC.  

MAD-6M. 22 Pts.  This model, along with the 4A and 4K, are really the only ones I think should be considered.  It does only have 4 structure, but its movement goes to 4j.  Its energy attack is 3-3-1 with 2 overburn and it even includes ECM.  This crazy version has 2 LXPL, 2 MXPL, and an ERPPC.

Marauder II Clan Refit.  29 points.  This is a very pricey model, but worth it.  It has only 9 armor and 5 structure, but it gains a move of 4j, has CASE, and a ballistic attack of 5-5-4 (energy 4-4-3).  And that without any overburn necessary.  It also gets BG2, AND a flak attack of 1-1-1.  It has 7 turns of ammo and only requires 2 turns to reload.  Overall this is the best non-unique Marauder, but you pay for it.  This is a standard version with clan weaponry.

And finally the super munchy one.  The Marauder II "Bounty Hunter".  Obviously the Dread Pirate Roberts.... er... Bounty Hunter knows his designs.  While the design is a whopping 38 points, it easily rules them all.  It has 3j movement, a 5-6-5 ballistic attack (3 overburn) with 5 turns of ammo (2 tons to reload), and its energy attack is 5-5-3 with 2 overburn.  It has CASE, AND its BG3 so it has a good chance to obliterate your enemy.  However, if your paying points for your game, you could nearly buy 2 MAD-4A's for this, which have more firepower, far more armor, and doesn't put all your eggs in one basket.  While this model has 2 ERPPCs, 2 MPLs, and a GR, the jump jets and targeting computer really spike the point cost.

So the Quick Strike/Battleforce calculations really help to see a more of a difference in the designs.  The MAD-4A is a great and solid design and should usually be the Marauder II of choice.  The MAD-4K or Clan Refit are viable options though, if one has the points to spend.  The MAD-6M could be taken if additional maneuverability and jump jets are necessary.  Simply don't take the 4H/4S/5A/5B/5C/5W/6D ever, for any reason, they suck.  If your in a Solaris VII arena however, the Bounty Hunter's build rules them all.

Looking at these numbers, its pretty easy to see how BV may not be quite so balanced.


  1. How does the MAD-4H not have an overheat value somewhere?
    11 Rocket Launchers, 180 rockets, 53 heat. 21 heat sinks.
    7-7-2, single shot with no overheat?
    If you're going to limit rocket attacks by heat, then they should get some ability to use the "lost" rockets? Either Overheat, multiple attacks, or something?

    MAD-5B. long range has two er ppcs (10) and a gauss rifle (15). That's 35 damage. 32 weapon heat + 3 jump heat = 35 -4 = 31 heat to dissipate, 32 heat sinks. 35/10 = 3.5 should round normally to a 4? You have 3 listed?

    Same with Marauder II Bounty Hunter. two clan er ppcs (15), gauss rifle (15). That's 45. plus targeting computer bonus of 10% is 49.5. it builds up 34 heat firing all those and jumping, and has 34 heat sinks. 49.5/10 = 4.95 round normally to 5? You have 4 listed?

    1. One note. I do not subtract 4 from heat when doing calculations, why you may ask? 4 heat in 1 battletech turn has no ill effects, makes sense then. However, over THREE turns in a single battleforce turn, that is 12 heat, its cumulative, so it'd be overheating at 1 every turn it fired. Generating only 4 heat in a battletech turn is no biggie, but over 8 its automatic shutdown, and that is only 2.67 battleforce turns. So I don't subtract it, as it makes mechs that run hot more effective in BF/QS than they would be in Battletech.

      The MAD-5B has 2xML, 2xERPPC, and a GR. It also has 3 jump and 16(32) heat sinks. At short range all the weapons work, and do 5+5+10+10+12, so 42 damage, but generates 3+3+15+15+2 and 3 for jumping = 41 heat. 32 heat dissipation / 41 heat = 78% efficiency, multiplied by 42 damage = 32.78 damage, divided by 10 is 3 damage at short range. Medium range damage is 45 as the Gauss Rifle is no longer under minimum, which makes it 35.12 damage, divided by 10 makes it 4 damage at medium range. At long range the medium lasers don't fire. So long range damage is 10+10+15, and heat is 15+15+2 and 3 for jumping. Heat efficiency becomes 91%, making it 32 damage, so at long range its damage is 3. Total is 3-4-3, or just 2-2-2 for only energy weapons. My previous sheet showed 3-3-3 and 2-2-2, something I did today screwing with rockets fixed that, not sure what, but its correct now.

      The bounty hunter MAD I wasn't adding the bonus for a targeting computer, it is now doing that and the unit is correct. Great catch!

  2. It looks like my rocket formula needed a major revisit, so here is how it "works" in detail.

    Now the toughie, I'm not saying all the rockets are fired in a single battletech turn, instead they are all fired over 3 battletech turns, or 1 battleforce turn. Any heat leftover would be used to determine the heat efficiency for all other attacks. So, if rockets used half the heat of the unit, on average, over 3 battletech turns, its efficiency for all other attacks is 50%, but rockets are still 100% (unless it creates more heat than the unit can dissipate over 3 battletech turns).

    So, for the MAD-4H. It has 2xERPPC, 2xERML, 4xRL20, 6xRL15, and 1xRL10. It has 21 single heat sinks and 3 jump movement.

    So, for heat:
    The rockets generate 47 heat. Over 3 battletech turns that averages to 15.67 heat per turn. Taking into account 3 heat for jump those rockets leave only 2.33 heat per turn for other weapons to fire when they alpha strike, over a 3 turn period. The rockets do a total of 108 damage, but is reduced 10% because they are +1 to hit, so 97.2 damage. The 2.33 heat per turn allows 2.33/5, or 46.6% of an ERML shot at short/medium ranges. At long range only the RL10 is fired (though it still uses the rocket attack, can't have it all). The RL10 uses only 1 heat per battletech turn over 3 turns, and does 1.8 damage per turn over 3 turns. With 21 single heat sinks, -1 for the RL10, and -3 for jumping, we get 17 heat per turn that can be used with other weapons. The ERMLs are out of range, so the 17 heat extra lets it fire an ERPPC, and 2/15's of another, resulting in damage of 13, rounded by 10 is just 1. So rockets are kinda silly to use up at long range on this design. The rocket attack is 3-3-1.

    Now for the overheating, sure enough, this sucker should overheat all the time, not when just firing rockets. I had a bug where I was doubling overall damage output when determining if overburn should exist, making it basically always 0. Oops! However, overburn while showing both ballistic and energy attacks gets wacky. Lets say you have a bunch of ballistic weapons, and a single medium lasers. Surely the overburn shouldn't help once you run outta ammo. So I updated the code to show 2 overburn values when they are different, just like normal attacks, there will now be an overburn Ballistic/Energy value. In this case, the MAD-4H has a 1-1-1 ENE attack, a 3-3-1 RL attack, and an overburn value of 2.

    Rockets, in battleforce terms, just aren't very effective. Basically an RL10 averages to 6 damage, *90% as its +1 to hit, and divided by 3 as it only fires one time in a battleforce turn. Even an RL20 averages only 3.6 damage over ONLY ONE battleforce turn. A medium laser is a far better purchase, just like one-shot weapons, rocket launchers are insanely ineffective.

    But thank you very much for checking my work, while I find bugs all the time, I sure don't catch them all. The more people critically looking at what I'm creating the more stuff they can find, which I'll fix as soon as I can.

    And since I think your the one with the BF list out there from quite a while back, if you want I can export all the BF/QS values into an excel file and shoot it to you in email if you like (its constantly changing, so I don't wanna post it online). Just email me at bad_syntax over at and I'll get you a copy within a few hours.

    Oh, and I'll edit the original post now to fix the issues you pointed out, again, THANKS!

  3. Do you the rules changes summarized that are required to use your cards? Or, are there any rules changes required? I was trying to find something on your site that said what the new stats do.

    1. They are all over my blog, the history page is a good place to search, but I'll add a specific page just for them soon.

      Here is what I do differently than SO:
      - I calculate heat efficiency by range band. SO would make a unit with 10xML, 2xERPPC, and 30 heat sinks have attacks of 4-4-1, my method makes it 4-4-2. Basically, I don't count weapons that can't reach a range band in calculations for heat.
      - I do not subtract 4 for heat efficiency calculations. This is because 4 heat, over 3 battletech turns, is 12 heat. It doesn't make sense, so I don't do any removing. I do count the maximum of jump movement or ground movement heat (XXL engines being 2/4 instead of 1/2).
      - I round normally, not up.

      Now, here are my new abilities, most of which have an * to denote they are mine, and all can be ignored if you want only canon rules:
      - PUL: This unit is 100% pulse equipped and gets a -2 to all to-hit rolls. Note that the weapons damage is not increased by 20% like pulse weapons normally are.
      - BG#: This means "Big Guns #", where # is the number of weapons that can do 12+ damage. If you have this value you have a whopper of a cannon that can, in 1 hit, do massive damage (or knock off the head). Multiple weapons increase the number. This gains you a free critical roll on any hit, even just armor, adding the big gun value to the roll. I may tweak how these rules work and even create a big-gun effect table, but you get the gist.
      - RL #/#/#: Rocket launchers have their own attack, which is used instead of all other attacks. It can only be used once, but can add in ballistic overburn.
      - Attacks can have a plus (+) sign in them. This is typically for units that do <5 damage in a turn, often infantry. If you see a number in the damage column like "3+", if you hit your target you must roll 3+ on 1d6 to do a single damage point.
      - Attacks now often have 2 values, separated by a dash. The first value is ballistic attacks, the second value energy. If there is only 1 value and the unit has ENE, its obviously an energy attack. In normal battleforce/quickstrike you'd just use the first value, but I provide the option to track and resupply ammunition. If underwater the energy attack is used instead of the normal attack. Note that some units have no energy attack, and would have a - in the place. This means when the unit is out of ammo thats it, it can no longer fire (but could still do melee).
      - LA #/#: Limited ammunition shots/tons. When using a ballistic attack you use ammo, the LA ability shows how many times you can use that ballistic attack, before the tons value of ammo must be used to resupply the unit. Many units only have a few turns of ballistic ammunition, while sufficient for a single engagement, after that they really need to resupply or loose much of their effectiveness.
      - Some systems like Clan NARC have 2 values like 1/1. This is to show that the item can be used in SR/MR range bands.

    2. PUL? Ick, clan small pulse lasers will now rule BF. and you brought back the worst part of Battletech, clan large pulse lasers. But didn't give LBXs their bonus, nor anything their range bracket bonus (long range weapons are not just because they reach long range, but they reach medium range sooner). at least with BF as is, they all get lost together, picking out pulse lasers as something to get back their advantage while everything else doesn't is the wrong direction (IMO).

      BG#: as written is overpowered. the crit effect table is intended to show multiple critical hit. one BT crit does not equal one BF crit. and every gauss rifle hit (nor even every three gauss rifle hits) are going to cause crits as all. again, this seems to be to bring back one particular weapon types advantage back, while leaving others in the cold. crit seekers for example.

      and if you want that level of detail, that's what battletech is for? you are getting real close to having multiple attacks, with different abilities for each. (PUL, BG, out of ammo, Rocket on top of LRM, SRM, AC, IF, FLK, ART, etc).

      If you're going to do split range bracket for heat, shouldn't overheat also be split by range bands? my medium lasers being able to overheat and add to my long range damage is odd. BF does that, but it penalizes long range up front. (not saying BF is a good solution either, just that while the range/heat split is a good thing, what it does as a single value to long range is give the unit full long range AND overheat, which is worse than partial long rnage plus overheat).

    3. Valid point on PUL, though I can't say they'll rule, 100% pulse units will have a serious advantage. However, they do in battletech as well IMO. That is what I was trying to mirror, not my own personal opinion that pulse weapons should either use the MHT for damage, or get multiple smaller shots per turn. LBX's get the bonus when part of the standard attack (only 5%), when they are part of a FLK attack that attack gets its bonus as normal, so they aren't nerfed at all. There is a line between too much detail, and not enough. I'd like to see a lot more detail for quick strike, I think dividing armor by 5, and itemizing attack types would be great, but for BF a single attack is fine. I'm trying to stick on the line in the middle, but I am thinking I need to go both directions and make BF fast and scale to regimental sizes, and QS really fast compared to BT but not quite as abstract as BF.

      BG is indeed overpowered. I think having weapons with over 12 attack *is* an advantage that should somehow be mirrored in BT, but looking at the crit tables that isn't the right approach. I want to keep it there and figure out a better method. Another approach would be a modifier to any normal critical rolls, but I'd need to do some number crunching to figure out the best and simplest method. The big guns in BF/QS are so abstracted you may as well never take them, so they need something to make them stand out, an AC20 has benefits over 4xML after all, especially when 7 in 36 hits with an AC20 would kill a mech outright.

      Yeah, overheat should be broken down too. Honestly, if I was to play BF or QS, I'd rather try to avoid using overburn rules at all. They just don't make sense over a BF turn that is 3 BT turns. Think about it, the heat scale goes to 4, lets say that is 30, so each "overburn" is 7.5 heat. However, that is over 3 turns, so each overburn is really only +2.5 heat per turn. While in BT you can alphastrike, shoot your heat up, and perhaps double your damage, over 3 turns you can't do that every turn, so the damage averages out. I think heat management has no place in BF.

      Speaking of breaking stuff down tho, for a QS game I'd like to see attacks all broken down to say SRM, LRM, ENE, AC, etc, but always broken down. Damage would be on a 1:4 scale instead of 1:10, and heat would be tracked perhaps 1:3. Units would have a heat sink count designated, and they could do a little bit of management. They could pick a class of weapon to fire and still feel individual details of mechs. In BF though, I'd rather see it broken down to just Ballistic, Energy, and perhaps Indirect, as special ammo and stuff quickly breaks the rules down, adds very little, and greatly increases the time it takes to process a turn.

  4. Ack, while looking at some units I found another issue that a computer should be able to help me resolve.

    The TI-1A Titan. It has 2xPPC, 6xML, 22 SRMs, and 22 heat sinks. By my current calculations its ballistic attack is 2-2-2, with an SRM value of 1/1. This is just like SO would generate it, but it really hurts the units massive SRM battery.

    It *should* be 1-1-0 ballistic attack, AND 3-3 SRM attack. But since the 6 medium lasers generate 18 heat, and the SRMs 16 heat, and there are only 22 heat sinks, it ends up really hurting the heat modified SRM attack.

    So, I'll try to write into code for ballistic attacks a special part dealing with SRM, LRM, AC, etc. I will calculate the full effects of each of these separately, without heat modification. Then, when totally ballistic attacks, I'll use the maximum of these values until the general ballistic factor is achieved, or add any that is left to that general ballistic factor.

    This will allow hot mechs with special attacks to give them a priority when firing over non-special attacks. In some cases this will actually increase the attacks. So the TI-1A titan will get 3-3 SRM *AND* 1-1 ballistic.

    1. I was considering a split where a unit would have multiple options, and a heat value for each option.
      Catapult would have LRM1/2/2, Ht: 2, Las2/2, Ht: 2 and 2 HS.
      So the player could choose a combination of his attacks, paying the heat cost for each, and then subtract HS.
      While I could calculate the damage values, Ht, and HS, I couldn't figure out a system to divide the weapons in to groups that wouldn't involve manual human intervention.
      but then the weapons could also have different special abilities (like PUL) without requiring that all it's weapons be pulse. (A unit with 4 MPLs and one MG doesn't get PUL, but a unit with just 4 MPLs would. They likely have the same damage value, but the first would be penalized for having an additional weapon).

    2. I have actually done something just like this in the past, and mentioned it in my previous posting. However I was looking at a bit more detail with QS.

      For BF though, believe it or not you can fit every stat on a .5" counter.

      You can look at on my blog to see an article on it, click on the green intertech image. Basically I took BT, abstracted it enough that you still had things like flank attacks and weapon classes, but made weapons a simple roll. This I think, with some testing of course, would make a company on company battletech game quite playable in an evening.

      While I love the universe of battletech, I feel that most games people play are just Solaris VII matches. Battles aren't usually so small, so by expanding the game so you can play a company or battalion level action, yet still feel a difference between 2 different Marauders, it not only keeps the flavor of the game but makes it move fast enough to play, yet detailed enough to still completely feel like BT.

      As for your issue figuring out a system to divide weapons, just use aerotech weapon classes. You don't need to know if its an ERPPC or a PPC, just the damage it does in each range band. I was actually going to ignore range bands completely, and just average them out to speed the game up and still let weapons have wacky ranges, but range bands make grouping things *really* easy.

      Now that I have all the data for every single battletech unit in a single easy to read database, its pretty easy for me to do any amount of crazy calculations on units. Heck, I've been thinking of posting the entire 3025 Wolf's Dragoons roster in quick strike, battleforce, company battleforce, battalion battleforce, regimental battleforce, and even brigade battleforce, just to prove how easy it is. Actually, the only thing stopping me is going through 30 designs with names like "Archer" or "Warhammer" and adding "ARC-2R" and "WHM-6R" to them, at which point I can do the math lickety split.

    3. By splitting them, I meant it is significant if a unit has 20 medium lasers, and only 10 double heat sinks, to not have all 20 medium lasers as a single choice that builds up 60 heat.
      with that simple of an example, I'd say split them in to one group that does exactly no heat build up (6 or 7). and then additional groupings for where the limit of each heat scale increment would be.
      for something that has bracket fire (long range weapons but then switchs to entirely separate group of short range weapons with exactly enough heat sinks for either group), the groups are pretty obvious. one long range, one short range.
      But many 'mechs are just a mess of weapons. and how to formulize making a good heat-neutral loadout (or two), followed by useful options for overheating, I could not do.

    4. While it would take a while, and be a lot of looping, I could indeed go through every weapon at every bracket, and determine the best method of attack, and thus the highest attack. It wouldn't be that hard for a computer, even doing ammo calculations (though its still a LOT of recursion).

      However as long as SRM, LRM, TOR, HT, and AC are all separate attacks, that method will destroy any hope to use those factors along with the normal attack. FLK and IF would be fine, as those attacks replace all others.

      If you dropped all the special ammo weapons however, which I would recommend in a battleforce scale as it adds so little to the game and isn't even supported very well, this method would be preferred.

      This goes back to QS/BF. I really think they should be different. QS should have weapon attacks kinda like warship bay weapons IMO, while BF should abstract individual weapons for the sake of playability.

      I'll start tinkering with getting the best possible config, for both ballistic and ballistic+energy, on each range band, and using those instead. Maybe I can knock it out today, heck, it may even be less actual code than my current method. I'll post a blog update if I get it working ok.

      Let me know if you see any other issues with the QS cards and I'll fix em right away.

    5. Just made an update, I added the code to calculate best possible scenario at any range band (the code allows me to put in an actual numeric range, not just the hard-coded range bands) and get the exact amount of damage that should be dished out, within the heat capacity I gave it. It seems to work pretty well, and has resulted in some surprising numbers (for me anyway) already.