Alpha Strike New Players

Alpha Strike Introduction

There have been some great content coming out as resources for new Alpha Strike players that I wanted to collect as a reference.

BattleTech: Alpha Strike Box Set
The new box set is shipping out from the distributor this week (as of 11/22/22). Catalyst Game Labs online store is expected to have it for order on 11/25. You can preorder at several online stores, or place an order at your FLGS. This is the recommended place to start with Alpha Strike.
Wolfnet Radio Alpha Strike Box Set Unboxing

Aries Games and Miniatures
Fortress Miniatures and Games

BattleTech: Alpha Strike Quick Start Rules
If you need a test before putting your hard-earned money on the table, Catalyst Game Labs has a free PDF, the Alpha Strike Quick Start Rules. You can print and play a sample Alpha Strike game.
BattleTech Downloads page
Scroll down and Alpha Strike Quick Start is the second link on the page.

How To Play Alpha Strike
Six Sides of Gaming Does an Alpha Strike playthrough with Randall Bills of Catalyst Game Labs and Ed Stephens, Catalyst Demo Team Agent.
BiggRigg has a series of short tutorials going through the basic aspects of the game (what Alpha Strike is, how movement works, how line of sight is tested, etc).

Alpha Strike: Commander’s Edition
The Alpha Strike: Commander’s Edition book is the full rulebook for the Alpha Strike game. In general, if it’s in AS:CE, it’s part of the Alpha Strike game. I’ll let Randall and Ed talk about all that’s in AS:CE.
Six Sides of Gaming AS:CE Promo
Also available in PDF from drivethrurpg, Aries and Fortress online stores (see AS box set links above) or your FLGS.

Master Unit List
The Master Unit List (MUL) is the official BattleTech site for keeping tracking of all the canon BattleTech units. For Alpha Strike, it also has the Alpha Strike Unit Cards for most of the units. It has an Alpha Strike Force Builder where you can add units to a force, set their skill levels, get a total Point Value (PV) and print off a force list and all the skill adjusted unit cards.

Alpha Strike Community
Catalyst Demo Team is the official demo group for Catalyst Game Labs’ including BattleTech and BattleTech: Alpha Strike. They have a Facebook group and are running Alpha Strike tournaments as part of the BattleTech Championship Circuit (BTCC) as well as locally organized events.
Wolfnet has a Facebook group, podcast, discord server, youtube channel and host Alpha Strike 350 format tournaments.
The MechBay podcast also has a discord server and regularly plays and discusses Alpha Strike on both.

Nashira Campaign: Powered Up!

Savage Baron took the Nashira Campaign and gave it a fancy new look and feel. In addition to a general cosmetic update, Savage Baron created a world map for Nashira, Alpha Strike cards for the new variants, and new Savannah mapsheet. Take a look!

If you’re not familiar with the Nashira campaign, it’s a scenario pack I intended for new players. It uses the maps, ‘mechs and rules from the BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat and Beginner’s Box sets. It expands upon an old mention in the background of Ardan Sortek, Prince’s Champion of the Federated Suns, and how he came to the First Prince’s attention after a well-executed raid on Nashira. Take command of a company of the Avalon Hussar’s during this raid or lead the Deiron Regulars as they try to protect their prized technology investment.

Download link on the Campaign page.

Alpha Strike Movement Cost Table for Hex Maps and Unit Special Ability Reference

This is a pair of quick reference PDF of the movement cost tables for Alpha Strike if using hex maps and a summary and page reference for Special Abilities on unit. For the movement cost table, there was a split in preference among those that want to convert unit’s MV from inches to hexes first, then pay movement costs in hexes, and those that just want the MV cost per hexes to be in inches so it matches how the MV is listed on the official unit cards. So I have provided two columns, one listing the cost in hexes and one listing the cost in inches. But both are for moving into a hex.

Alpha Strike Movement Cost Table for Hex Maps PDF download
Alpha Strike Unit Special Ability Reference

ilClan Force Creation and RATs

I heard several people asking about RATs for ilClan. Though it says to use FM:3145, there are new ‘mechs in the book and from the Recognition Guides that postdate the 3145 RATs, particularly for Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon. So I made some. I had no involvement with the ilClan sourcebook, these are just my thoughts on what they might have.

I have also added a list of the forces mentioned in ilClan as particpating in the battles on Terra and whether further details can be found in Field Manual: 3145 or the ilClan sourcebook itself.

ilClan Force Creation

ilClan Combat Commands

Battle of Tukayyid Expanded Force Creation

At long last the Battle of Tukayyid sourcebook was released. And one of the first responses after “ooh, look at that cover” was “why isn’t the Kodiak on the random tables?” The short answer was, the tables were not intended to cover every ‘mech that could possibly be on Tukayyid, but after a number of edits and cuts that shortened the “lists” compared to the tables, I can understand why a player seeing the final result would wonder why only a few weren’t on the tables for the Clans. A second response was “how do I determine what weight my Stars are, based on the Cluster weight?” And the response here was that the Cluster weight was just a guideline, the player chooses the weight of each ‘Mech.

But that did make me wonder. What if I had a goal of every ‘Mech available on Tukayyid being available (from the full Supplemental lists, not just the Kickstarter available units) on the random assignment tables somewhere, and what if we started with the Cluster weights (or Division weights) and built tables all the way through determining each Stars’ formation type and each ‘Mechs weight class?

Battle of Tukayyid Expanded Force Creation

Nashira Campaign

I wrote this BattleTech campaign specifically for new players getting A Game of Armored Combat and Beginner Box sets. At the time, there was already an announcement of an upcoming Succesion Wars campaign that I thought would do the same, so I impatiently released it myself as a fanwork. Perhaps if I’d had more paitence, but by the time Chaos Campaign: Succession Wars came out, the box sets had been out a while already and I didn’t want to wait another 6+ months to get approval and go through the process of an official release.

It’s built on a line in an old sourcebook (original House Davion?) bio for Ardan Sortek, where it mentions a raid on an electronics factory on Nashira led to his rise and eventually being noticed by Hanse Davion and becoming Prince’s Champion.

Nashira is well behind the border, and the mention of an electronics factory was interesting to me. Why would Davion be striking so far behind the lines at an electronics factory, and why would this be a big deal for the career of Sortek? Later, Nashira is home to the Genyosha, and even later the Genyosha would be well known users of the C3 system. So I had an early attempt at C3 that was halted by the Davion strike. The Genyosha did not exist yet, but I was able to bring in a later Genyosha CO as a younger officer on this raid. While this C3 system would be considered a failure, and its failure would be a mark on her career for some time, Laura Nelson would stick with both her career and C3 and both would eventually be rewarded with success. The 15th Dieron Regulars would not turn out so well..

You can download the Nashira campaign under the Campaigns page.

Designing a Narukami

Third TR 3145 Designing a … post, and the first design I actually did and the first that got published is the Narukami.

Another open-ended “requirement”.  A Kuritan assault tank.  Now, as most Kuritan players are aware, the DCMS isn’t all that respectful of its armor forces, and the TRs haven’t given them a lot of attention.  They have the Schiltron (which they share with many others).  They have ancient Behemoths, Demolishers, Ontos and Schreks.  They salvage Challengers and Alacorns when they can.  (So the MUL tells me).  That’s it for assault tanks.  They haven’t built a new asault tank other than the Schiltron since the Star League fell?

My first thought was twin Long Tom Cannons. I had been considering that one for some time.  Forget aiming, just cover the field and crush whatever is there.  This was rejected due to another unit already planned for TR3145 with that loadout (see TR3145 Davion).  Didn’t want the same concept repeated.

So I started poring over what tanks the DCMS had, thinking something was due for a make-over.  The Behemoth was already getting a Behemoth II (though for the Cappies and not the Kuritas), so I chose the Schrek.

The Schrek has good firepower and decent range.  Problems were its speed and armor.  The speed I decided to leave, it’s an assault tank, low speed can be accepted.  I wanted to improve it’s defense, and if I could also improve its firewpower, that would be a bonus.  I needed tonnage, and that meant an XL engine.  Yes, it’s much more expensive.  But one of its primary opponents (Federated Suns), was churning out XL engine assaults like they have nothing better to do, the DCMS would just need to pony up some money to match them.

The first thing I did was add some Anti-Missile Systems.  SRMs are a pain to tanks, whether standard SRM rounds causing crits, or inferno rounds that just ruin the day.  I put two systems and deliberately set one on the turret and one up front, so that the front is always covered even if the turret moves to track a target.  Preferably the enemy stays in the front arc, but if not, the gunner can track a target without leaving the front of the tank unprotected.

Next I added armor.  Lots of armor.  And I made it hardened.  Unfortunately, my memory failed me, and this doesn’t stop LBX rounds like I orginally hoped.  Nor does it do anything to vehicle movement crits.  It does still stop standard penetrating crits, and those pesky tasers.  (If you’re playing against tasers, you’ll love hardened armor).  I tried to change this to heavy ferro-fibrous at the last minute to make it even more armor, but those in charge liked the hardened.  I think the writer of the TR entry missed the hardened, as he refers to it as “underarmored for the modern battlefield”.  Odd for something carrying 17.5 tons of armor.  How much do you need? 🙂

And CASE got added.  Why?  Well, if there’s any vehicle crews in the DCMS worth saving, it’s likely to be the ones piloting their new, advanced assault tank.  Let’s try to save those crews.

Finally, two of the PPCs were kept, and one swapped for a gauss rifle to add a slight amount of damage and some range.  I then went looking for lightning based Japanese names, and came across Raiden.  That name has way too many connections in most people’s minds, so I found the less used Narukami and the tank had a name.

Quirks: Low Profile was “kept” from the Schrek description in TR3026/3039.  The Hard to Pilot combined with the hardened armor piloting penalty is a bit rough, but it’s mostly meant to park and smash, and it can’t fall down like a ‘mech, so it’s bearable.  Fast Reload?  Sure, keep that gauss (and AMS) going..  (The Low Profile was the one I choose.  We were asked to choose one, and leave the others for the writers/artists/whoever to have some room).

So that’s all of my part in the Narukami.  I love the art.  I was surprised by the gauss rifle being off-center, but at least this way it doesn’t look like a giant extended middle finger? 🙂

Designing a Stalker

Part two in the I have no idea how long Designing a.. series.

After having fun with the Narukami and Sarath, I thought I was done.  But jymset came to me and said he had a new addition that needed stats ASAP.  A Stalker II, and it needed to be “boss as ***K”.  No idea why he came to me for that, but I was happy to give it a try.

I immediately had two very opposing ideas.  All out defensive IS tech, or no holds barred the best of everything.  Defensive was to go with hardened armor and torso mounted cockpit to make it nearly impervious to regular weapons fire.  This left hardly anything for firepower.  It would be extremely slow, so I picked some extended LRMs so that it would also be able to fire something at a target.  I then needed as much firepower as I can manage with very little tonnage (or space for heat sinks), so I piled on medium lasers, and tossed a targeting computer.  (The original also had TSM to help with closing the distance speed.  Not sure why/when that got dropped).

For the no pulling punches variant, I pulled out the best of clantech and IS tech.  Compact engine, compact gyro, small cockpit, endo steel.  Sixteen double heat sinks.  16.5 tons of Stealth Armor.  ER Large Pulse Laser, Two Streak LRM-15s, Angel ECM, CASE II, medium pulse laser, TAG, targeting computer.  I should have thrown a c3 in there somewhere :).

And somebody thought the IS tech one was more interesting.  I immediately tried to upgrade the firepower, but I could find anything that was more interesting (in the opinion of the people making that decision).  One suggestion was to keep the stealth armor of the other variant in order to do twin thunderbolt 10s, and twin light ppcs, with the laser array and targeting computer. If I had remembered the piloting skill modifiers, I might have pushed this more… (see below).

Oh, and my note on the hardened armor/torso-mounted cockpit combination?

“I started just wanting it tough, the 8 MLs was just…how can I get some kind of firepower on this??  27 tons of armor is a lot. I’m concerned about its lack of mid-normal long range firepower.  12 damage from two exended lrm-10s isn’t much. I’ve also never used a torso-mounted cockpit.  Not sure if that’s a good idea or not. ”

Yes, I had forgotten that both the hardened armor and torso-mounted cockpit have piloting penalties.  Doh.