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Subject: Alpha Strike rss

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Over on Catalyst's BattleTech forums, there has been talk (mainly culled from recent BattleChats, as well as a video interview with Randall Bills) about an upcoming supplemental rulebook called Alpha Strike.

While details about AS are still thin on the ground for the time being, the book is set to be a "grown-up" standalone version of the fast-play Quick-Strike rules currently buried in the Strategic Operations rulebook.

So far, it's known that:

*It will be a full-colour supplemental rulebook, in a similar vein as A Time of War Companion (in terms of its relation to the Total Warfare through whatever Interstellar Operations will end up being axis) but as a stand-alone introduction to the Quick-Strike game engine.

*It will have support for both hex-based and hexless play.

*It will most likely be initially presented as a Clan Invasion product.

*The first batch of pdf expansions are in the works.

*Certain unit types, such as LAMs (and whatever "new" toys we may get in 3145), are not covered in the first book, but are options for later expansions.

*There is a somewhat limited WarShip presence in the core book, but they are more likely to show up in force in a later expansion.

*More in-depth support for other eras (such as the Dark Age) might also be fodder for later expansions.

*The core rules are done, and "crash" playtesting is afoot. Work on other written material for the project is in progress.

*It should be released (fingers crossed) before the end of the year.

*In the longer run, the existence of AS as "its own thing" may have an effect on future sourcebooks and TROs, in terms of how the unit cards for new toys might be presented.


At the moment, there are a lot of units which have Quick-Strike cards done up for them on the Master Unit List, as well as a series of PDFs with sets of unit cards keyed to certain Technical Readouts (such as this set based on TRO:3050U). Those same cards should work with AS when the time comes, too.


So, does Alpha Strike sound like it might be of interest, or would you rather wait and see more from Catalyst about what the book will (or will not) actually cover once it's ready for publication?
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Meh
Why play a nerfed version of Battletech? Battletech is just as much, if not more so, the mechanics of the game than the theme, setting and the fluff. Change the rules and it's not the same game to me.

I'd really much rather see Catalyst support the Battletech I know and love. Jihad sucks, Dark Age sucks, Quick Strike sucks. I want my FASA back, dammit!
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Christopher Bartlett
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I favor a Battletech that combines the game I love with the life I lead.

I.e. I need a Battletech that is fun, but faster... Much faster... To play.

The holy grail for me at my advanced age would be a Battletech that played as quickly as X-wing Miniatures does.

YMMV

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Honestly, cc_TheToph, it sounds like you'd love Heavy Gear Blitz! Field Manual: Core Rulebook Companion.

It's fast and fun 'mech combat.
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It's possible, but I LOVE the Battletech Universe... it's about 95 percent of the appeal. But I appreciate the suggestion - does the Heavy Gear ruleset lend itself to a B'tech conversion?
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hskrfn822 wrote:
Meh
Why play a nerfed version of Battletech? Battletech is just as much, if not more so, the mechanics of the game than the theme, setting and the fluff. Change the rules and it's not the same game to me.

I'd really much rather see Catalyst support the Battletech I know and love. Jihad sucks, Dark Age sucks, Quick Strike sucks. I want my FASA back, dammit!


The point of Alpha Strike is not to try and take options away from "classic" BattleTech, but to offer additonal ones for people who are interested in the setting but may not have the time/appetite/desire to dive full-on into the Total Warfare ruleset. (Or, at least, not immediately; I could well see AS becoming a "gateway book" into TW for some.)

And I should also note that the whole point of Catalyst making such a big deal of alternate eras is to make sure that when they go to one era in particular (such as with the recent Liberation of Terra volumes, or with the likes of The Wars of Reaving or the upcoming ilClan sourcebook) they are not simply abandoning any other eras in the process.

They aren't going to stop selling TRO:3039 or TRO:3050 just because they are working on TRO:3145.

cc_TheToph wrote:
I favor a Battletech that combines the game I love with the life I lead.

I.e. I need a Battletech that is fun, but faster... Much faster... To play.

The holy grail for me at my advanced age would be a Battletech that played as quickly as X-wing Miniatures does.

YMMV


While there isn't a preview PDF for AS just yet, there is an introductory file for its half-sister, BattleForce; as well as a file including BF/QS/AS unit cards for the same 'Mechs listed in record sheet form for the Introductory Box Set.

(BattleForce is intended for company-level battles, in which each unit represents a single lance, Star, or Level II. Quick-Strike is a kind of hybrid between BF and the miniature rules in StratOps, which Alpha Strike will expand upon once it hits the shelves.)

Does that look like the kind of complexity level that might work for you?
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cc_TheToph wrote:
It's possible, but I LOVE the Battletech Universe... it's about 95 percent of the appeal. But I appreciate the suggestion - does the Heavy Gear ruleset lend itself to a B'tech conversion?


To be honest, not really.
Its combat is much, much faster and deadlier. It's much more about quick maneuvering for optimal strikes to disable your opponents.
There would be none of the juggernaut feeling you get when assault 'mechs go head to head. To me, that's the main appeal of B.tech.

As a giant robot game, Heavy Gear freaking awesome because it's not trying to replicate that Battletech feel.
They nailed the genre they were going for, and it's awesome for that.

But, no, it's a different feel from B.tech entirely.
This is its main strength.
And, unfortunately, one of its main weaknesses in a way.
Most people that were weaned on B.tech will not take a chance on it.

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Agree completely with Nazhuret. But BT people, if only to see a different angle of mecha gaming should take a chance and check out HGB. It succeeds where BT fails.But the opposite is also true sometimes.
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Nerroth wrote:
Does that look like the kind of complexity level that might work for you?


Yeah, I don't know you at all, but we're clearly not on the same page and likely never will be. I tolerate the changes that have been made to Battletech, but I'm no fan of them. Since nobody is catering to Succession War-era fans right now, I'm stuck dealing with whatever the wild hair up Herb Beas' ass produces.

No matter what, players like me just aren't going to be happy. The proverbial cat's out of the bag. FanPro and CGL have embraced the Jihad, Dark Age and other junk stuff at the expense of older fans. So I'm happy for those that don't mind the current BT environment. They'll continue to get catered to whilst the rest of us play the game in a suspended state, clinging onto the game we came to love, waiting for CGL to throw us a bone once a year.

I'm not looking to play anything remotely close to Battleforce, Quickstrike or Alpha Strike. I prefer the scale the game was designed around. I'm happy for those that might want a set of rules for grander-scale games. Me? I'd rather they throw everything they can into fixing the Battle Value system, but you can't put a price tag on and sell that kind of effort in stores, so instead, we get more and more fluff. TRO's that aren't actually even needed to play the game. They're fan favorites and sell well, so they make them. Same thing with novels, Field Reports and Update books, few of which actually get a physical printing. Great! I'm not a huge fan of the direction FanPro and CGL took the game backstory-wise, but I'm sure some like it. I'd just rather CGL stop writing new stories and creating new rules for a bit and fix existing problems like BV, the sub-par ASF rules, and for crissakes, find some other company to make your miniatures.
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I'm steering clear of Heavy Gear because I'm okay with Battletech and am already thousands of dollars invested in Battletech. If CGL fixes the BV system and finds a way to affordably produce fine quality miniatures, be they metal or plastic, for EVERY unit they design, then I'm good. I can always ignore the post FedCom civil war fluff and new rule sets like Alpha Strike.
 
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Nerroth, you know I'm excited about it - I've already posted your AS "reporting" on my blog. I like the universe of BT and like the quicker play of QS. I totally get the appeal of BT game as designed. So much detail and story possibilities as you take out an arm. It just doesn't suit me, which is why I look forward to a quicker approach to the game.
 
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hskrfn822 wrote:
Nerroth wrote:
Does that look like the kind of complexity level that might work for you?


Yeah, I don't know you at all, but we're clearly not on the same page and likely never will be. I tolerate the changes that have been made to Battletech, but I'm no fan of them. Since nobody is catering to Succession War-era fans right now, I'm stuck dealing with whatever the wild hair up Herb Beas' ass produces.


I was actually asking The Toph that question, since he had mentioned his preference for a faster-playing game system.

But when it comes to the Succession Wars, there has been word on at least three additional XTROs for that era in the works, as well as files looking at each of the first three Succession Wars directly. (It's not clear yet if those will be historicals, era reports, or era digests; but if they are either of the first two, they would each see a print release as well as an electronic one.)

Quote:
No matter what, players like me just aren't going to be happy. The proverbial cat's out of the bag. FanPro and CGL have embraced the Jihad, Dark Age and other junk stuff at the expense of older fans. So I'm happy for those that don't mind the current BT environment. They'll continue to get catered to whilst the rest of us play the game in a suspended state, clinging onto the game we came to love, waiting for CGL to throw us a bone once a year.


So none of the Year of the Star League products were of any worth, then? Or the look back at the primitive RetroTech of the Age of War, or the transition to the "modern" level of BattleTechnology brought about by the Reunification War?

The two Liberation of Terra volumes are among the best print works Catalyst has done, and both of those cover events that have been waiting to be explored for over twenty years. Those Star League 'mechs first published back in TRO:2750 finally have the support required for them to function in their proper historical venue.

Even the Clans got a book covering Operations SABLE SUN and KLONDIKE, showing their key formative period when they had to get by without Trueborns and OmniMechs, and when they were still arguably more "SLDF" than "Clan" in terms of their prosecution of the Pentagon Worlds campaign. (And technically, that book is a "Succession Wars Era" volume, as is the associated era digest covering the Golden Century.)

While there has been a lot of effort expended on the Jihad and the Wars of Reaving, and now on to the Dark Age, it's not as if everything that has gone before has been ignored entirely.

(That said, it is unfortunate how long Handbook: House Kurita has been in a holding pattern at this point.)

Quote:
I'm not looking to play anything remotely close to Battleforce, Quickstrike or Alpha Strike. I prefer the scale the game was designed around. I'm happy for those that might want a set of rules for grander-scale games. Me? I'd rather they throw everything they can into fixing the Battle Value system, but you can't put a price tag on and sell that kind of effort in stores, so instead, we get more and more fluff. TRO's that aren't actually even needed to play the game. They're fan favorites and sell well, so they make them. Same thing with novels, Field Reports and Update books, few of which actually get a physical printing. Great! I'm not a huge fan of the direction FanPro and CGL took the game backstory-wise, but I'm sure some like it. I'd just rather CGL stop writing new stories and creating new rules for a bit and fix existing problems like BV, the sub-par ASF rules, and for crissakes, find some other company to make your miniatures.


The novel thing isn't all down to Catalyst; there seem to be certain issues beyond their control that are preventing them from simply publishing more. (Although, of you ever wanted to practice your German, there are two parts of a novel trilogy covering the Andurien Wars available from Ulisses Spiele.)

But I would hope that the recent Spectral LAM Kickstarter (which was able to add a couple of the "Mark I" LAMs as stretch goals) might help IWM make a more decisive shift into 3D modelling for future releases. That said, there's no guarantee that will happen, and we'd have to see what kind of quality the Spectrals (and Mk1s) will be before getting too carried away with what the prospect of them switching more fully into 3d modelling will lead to.

And so far as BV goes, Herb was asked about this in the latest BattleChat:

Quote:
New BV:
: How is the new BV system coming along? Are you still planning to replace the current BV system with it?
: Corrinald - We put the brakes on the new BV system to see how well received the latest errata holds. If we redo BV, after all, we'll even need to rework Alpha Strike.
: Oh, okay, I didn't realize there was new BV errata.
: Corrinald - Yes, there was a very extensive TechManual errata released. Plans are to issue a revised TM in PDF-only format later this year.
: Thank you. I will have to look into it.


While it is unfortunate that AS seems to be caught up in this development (at least indirectly), the idea of BV3 coming into being hasn't been written off entirely - and if the errata being referred to still doesn't work for you, why not contact them and say as much? They do have a portion of their site set aside for such feedback, and if enough people show the current setup not to work, things might start up again.


I feel like some of this should really be taken into a different thread, since it's getting in the way of what this thread was supposed to be about (in terms of dealing with Alpha Strike in and of itself). But ultimately, even if the game is not for you (which it clearly isn't), its existence doesn't have to pose the kind of threat to you that you seem to be making it out to be.

Even if our views on the franchise differ, there should be enough room in the BT community for more than one way of seeing things without one getting in the way of the other?


mojayhawk wrote:
Nerroth, you know I'm excited about it - I've already posted your AS "reporting" on my blog. I like the universe of BT and like the quicker play of QS. I totally get the appeal of BT game as designed. So much detail and story possibilities as you take out an arm. It just doesn't suit me, which is why I look forward to a quicker approach to the game.


I wouldn't be in a hurry to take credit on that; it was DarkISI who recorded the BattleChats in question, and who grouped the questions and answers together in a way that makes it easier for each portion to read.

Hopefully there'll be more "official" word on AS as the year rolls on.
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I guess I didn't have long to wait for the first "official" announcement!

Alpha Strike: The TableTop Miniatures Rulebook



Quote:
[Cover "in progress" by the brilliant Alex Iglesias.]

When we published Strategic Operations several years ago, a lot of people instantly fell in love with what is really a pretty small part of the book…the Quick-Strike Rules. And we immediately began getting questions of “when will you release a stand-alone rulebook of that?”

For those wondering what Quick-Strike is, the easiest answer is that it is the truest form yet published for being able to play BattleTech in a true “tabletop miniatures” style and speed, while still feeling like your playing BattleTech.

At the start of the year I had been thinking heavily about this, especially after years, at this point, of seeing plenty of people playing BattleTech in this manner at conventions. I then pitched the concept to Herb of a complete, stand-alone rulebook that would be the “table-top miniatures game” play of BattleTech. As it happened, great minds think alike and Herb had already been working an an epub release. I felt we shouldn’t only go half way on that and instead should embrace a full print book, full-color, hardback…the works (I know…shocking I wanted the kitchen sink in there…).

With that we got to work. The original outline, unfortunately, even for us, was way, way too much data as we wanted to cover every Era and even provide samples armies for all such Eras…the book might have been one of the biggest we’ve ever published…not to mention being crazy intimidating for other tabletop miniatures players that might want to give this a try.

So we immediately started trimming back, while still ensuring the book will provide a complete, full BattleTech experience that would have players coming back for more. This also allows for the creation of a series of great epubs to build upon the solid framework of Alpha Strike.

But wait…if they were called Quick-Srike why are we calling this Alpha Strike?! Well, to be honest, in hindsight the former is just too close to “Quick-Start” and we’ve gotten a fair bit of confusion along the way…hence a more unique name this time around.

We’re currently on track to have this at Gen Con with the book available to the public in September…or at least that’s the current plans…will see if it survives drop insertion….

In the meantime, this is the first of several blogs where I’ll discuss this great project…the drive flare of an incoming DropShip, announcing its coming…we’ll start getting into the bowels of what the ship carries in the coming weeks and months.

See ya there…

Randall


That WIP cover art looks great so far. I do hope that Alex's take on the Savage Wolf ends up on the cover of whichever AS expansion takes us forward into the Dark Age!
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Love the cover art by Flying Debris.
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So, when it comes to BGG.com's own coverage of this book, would it be likely that a product page might go up some time soon; or would it be more realistic to expect it to happen closer to the actual release date? (Say, when the cover art has been finalised, perhaps.)

I noticed that another in-development item from Catalyst, Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers, has a product page up already. (And there's less known about that game than this one, since AS is set to inherit much of the design work put into QS, rather than needing to be worked up from whole cloth.)
 
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You can submit a game yourself - go here and read how. It's rare you get to add one:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/item/create/boardgame
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Thanks for the link.

I sent a submission, though I'm sure I've made more than a few mistakes with it.

Still, if someone more qualified than I ends up doing a better job with the page-to-be, well and good.
 
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And AS has its own BGG page! It's still a little bare-bones at this point, however.


Is there a way that I can have this thread linked to that page?
 
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Nerroth wrote:
And AS has its own BGG page! It's still a little bare-bones at this point, however.


Is there a way that I can have this thread linked to that page?


You do know that the Admins kind of frown on this sort of thing until there is real, solid information on a game. Why was it necessary for Alpha Strike to have its own page in the database right now?
 
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As a point of comparison, I should go back to the example of Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers, another upcoming title from CGL which has its own BGG.com page already, despite there being far less known about it than is currently known about Alpha Strike.

(People are able to play AS' direct predecessor, Quick-Strike, right now. What tabletop game can someone play to help get an equivalent grasp on how the game mechanics on SR:SG will work?)


That said, I myself wasn't expecting the book to get its approval quite so quickly; even if the timing of its release wasn't an issue, I figured there would have been a number of the other entries on the queue of games-to-be-approved to be looked over before this one.

But now that it has been approved, would it really help anyone to have it closed right away, only to re-open it in September once the book hits its (hoped-for) street date?
 
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Not wanting to hijack this thread, but for those looking for a faster Battetech game in the Succession Wars era, have you guys seen what we are doing with regular Heroclix bases and 6mm Battletech miniatures?



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karlhiesterman wrote:
Not wanting to hijack this thread, but for those looking for a faster Battetech game in the Succession Wars era, have you guys seen what we are doing with regular Heroclix bases and 6mm Battletech miniatures?





No.

Do you have a link to something for us to look at?
I'm interested.
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The rules are in the Files section: Battleclix: A Company-level game of Battletech combat, using miniatures on Heroclix bases

I just uploaded an update of the rules, but that often takes a day or two to get approved.

Here are some picture of the system in action:







We find that we can play 3 on 3 player combats (36 Mechs a side) in about three hours. 1 on 1 (12 Mechs each) can be played in an hour or so.
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Awesome.
Thanks!
 
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I've been carrying the Quick Strike Banner for about 2 years now. I can't praise these rules enough. The game is still Battletech, just faster...letting you do much larger battles in a much shorter span of time.

The Quickstrike rules turn this record sheet...


into this...


While keeping the flavor and spirit of the game the same. Fast Battletech is the best way to describe Quickstike.

I just ran a grinder game at a convention with 9 players using the Quick Strike rules. Seven of the players had never played B-tech before. The 9 players each had a 4 mechs, played one at a time in an arena, when they lost their mech their next one came out the next turn.

Eliminated 35 mechs in under 4 hours. That is with the moving walls of the Steiner Coliseum slowing things down (along with the card based movement).

I'm also running a Quick Strike Tukayyid campaign (on hiatus at the moment, as we have all caught the Dreadball bug). You can run a couple companies against a couple Stars of clanners in 3 hours or so.

http://tukayyid.blogspot.com/2012/08/game-night-3.html

http://tukayyid.blogspot.com/2012/09/game-night-4.html

I for one can't wait for this new ruleboook to come out.

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