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Did anyone play pure miniature play in Battletech? i.e. Off hex maps? Was it particularly difficult?

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migrated from Feb 4 '11 at 0:03

This question came from our site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games.

Hmm, I've never really thought about doing this but now that you mention it I am intrigued. Would love to hear about this from anyone who's done it. – Alfred Bonnabel Aug 19 '10 at 20:30

I played "pure miniatures" in Battletech extensively in 1995-1999. The game shop I played at had a large sand table (sandbox on stilts) that added a lot to the game. We used model railroad terrain and buildings, which added a lot to the fun of the game.

It was not difficult to play, although there were a few rules modifications that we made to make play easier to adjudicate.

1) 1 hex = 2"

2) For movement purposes, 1 vertical inch is a level change.

3) Your mini moves straight forward. 1 mp per facing change, including fractions of a hex face.

4) Your forward field of fire is decided by the rear two angles of the mech's base \_/ and torso twists changed this field by another hex face left or right.

5) Line of sight is determined by laser pointer from the head of the shooter to the body of the target. If you can't see the knees of the target, it has partial cover.

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Welcome to the site, thanks for the info! – Pat Ludwig Dec 6 '11 at 21:27
With similar rules, this has been the usual way to play BT at our local wargames club for years. I only have the mapsheets because they're easier to store and carry than terrain. – Tynam Dec 31 '11 at 11:57

It's pretty easy. I have played a number of these.

If you use Heavy Metal Pro, you can pick a scale and choose to print all of the ranges and movement speeds in inches, instead of hexes. This makes it incredibly easy. Also, it gets rid of arguments about line-of-sight. The only things you need to play are pencil and record sheet, dice, and enough tape measures to go around.

If you don't use HMP, you will have to do some simple multiplication. (Ex: SRMs range of 3/6/9 becomes 9"/18"/27" in a 3-inch scale. Multiply everything by 3.) You can do the math ahead of time, and write it on your sheet, to make things easier.

At Dexcon, they have actually had a "macro" scale battletech game, using Robotech models a foot tall, with a scale of 1 or 2 feet per hex. I have also played a "macro" style game outside in a friend's oversized back yard. Very cool =)

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I have. It works just fine if you like pure miniature play for other games (40k comes to mind). The lack of hexgrid makes ranging a little more irritating, but the ability to seamlessly open the playing space makes for some fun strategic variety. The big headaches come in if you start playing with spaces large enough for on-board artillery attacks and/or if you use airstrikes. Both rules need conversion to retain sanity (or deal with an obsolete metric such as arty using 'mapsheets' as its range increment).

For airstrikes we decided on a minimum and maximum length of low-altitude flight and then the beginning and end of that path became the beginning and end of striking aircraft's vulnerability to AAA (rather than having aircraft skim the earth for the entire length of however absurdly large a playing area you had). Pilots could shorten the path at a greater risk of playing lawn darts.

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I did once.

Other than that I suck at those kinds of tactical miniatures games, no it wasn't hard.

Rather, I should say it wasn't hard to play, but it was very hard for me to win.

But they weren't my miniatures, so maybe he just put a lot more thought into it than I did.

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As someone who is a longtime BT player, I don't recommend Wizkids miniatures rules for classic battletech. They aren't awful but I find the standard hex-based play much smoother.

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Yes, I have. Twasn't hard, but I found it added more effort and gave no real benefit, and further, it made showing and adjudicating torso twists a pain. But that was more than 15 years ago.

I recommend using minis on hexgrid instead.

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