Friday, December 31, 2010

Future War Commander with rebased MechWarrior clix

After a few very successful online trades, Karl and I found ourselves with a surplus of MechWarrior clix. Maybe surplus is too generous — we each snagged hundreds of mechs, tanks and infantry for the mostly-defunct game. Our plans are to rebase them as "proper" miniatures and play Future War Commander, the excellent mass battle game from the publisher of Blitzkrieg Commander, and we tried our hand doing that very thing last night.

I've played plenty of Blitzkrieg Commander, so there wasn't a learning curve at all for FWC. Karl picked up the game after just a few turns too.

We played the Surgical Strike scenario, with two 2,000-point armies. I used the Reaper/CAV army lists to create both of our armies; this list, while not expressly designed for MechWarrior units, was nonetheless full of ideal surrogates for the tanks and mechs that we pushed around the tabletop. A MechWarrior Marksman M1 tank was easily statted up as a CAV Wolverine tank, for example. There are also several fan-made BattleTech lists floating around on the web for use with FWC.

For the scenario, we set up two installations — Forward Hangar JX-7 and the Noonien Astrophysics Laboratory — as the objectives. I was the attacker; it was my job to push onto the table and infiltrate the two facilities using my infantry units. As the defender, Karl was allowed to deploy a small force near each installation while the bulk of his army deployed near his table edge.

As the photos show, the two facilities were positioned on opposite ends of the table, with several built-up city blocks separating them. The buildings are actually superb paper models from Dream Pod 9 (perfectly in scale at 10mm), assembled by me and Karl and mounted on vinyl tiles to add stability. They're cheap, modular and stackable, so you can create multiple stories and entire city blocks with ease.

I moved onto the table with my infantry-heavy force and immediately sent the bulk of my forces toward the Noonien Astrophysics Laboratory. For the remainder of the game, this sector of the table saw the fiercest fighting, although a few firefights erupted near Forward Hangar JX-7 on the opposite flank.

I scored two lucky shots early in the game and destroyed two of Karl's three battle tanks. Behind a heavy mech and a tank bristling with weapons, 6 squads of my infantry advanced steadily on the Noonien Astrophysics Laboratory, led by an elite unit mounted in an infantry fighting vehicle.

This spearhead surged forward under heavy fire, delivering its squad of battle-armored soldiers to the laboratory entrance — where they were met with a withering hail of fire from the defenders of the installation. My elite infantry was forced to fall back in the face of the entrenched defenders.

But it was only a matter of time before I overwhelmed the Noonien defenders with sheer weight of numbers. Moreover, a lopsided turn of point-blank shooting by my armored vehicles on the opposite flank had crushed Karl's defenses, leaving behind two burning tanks and a flaming mech wreck. Unopposed, my remaining infantry raced toward Forward Hangar JX-7.

By turn 7 I had moved four squads of infantry into the Noonien Astrophysics Laboratory, thereby allowing me to roll on a cool chart to see if my guys were able to carry out their mission. Indeed they were! Charges were set and the lab exploded while my soldiers evacuated to safety.

It was a very fun game, and a good reminder of why I like the "Commander" series of games. Unit statistics are abstracted a bit, but the focus on command units ensures that players remain "in the game" turn after turn. Both Karl and I agreed that we could easily scale our game up to 4,000 points (or more) per side. We definitely have the miniatures to do that!


Desert Scribe said...

Thanks for the photos and writeup. I've played FWC once, using Epic 40K figures, and I liked the game. I hope to play it again someday.

Phil said...

This looks great. I planned to do the same myself a year ago. Picked up the rules in the UK, my son had the old Mechwarrior stuff kicking around, but I never got around to it.
I think it might be a project for next year seeing the success you have had.

Tell me, having only played BKC a couple of times, why did you feel it necessary to rebase the figures for FWC?

Patrick W. Rollens said...

@Phil: The decision to rebase the figures was purely cosmetic...neither my opponent nor I particularly liked the look of the clicky bases. To us, it was well worth the minor effort to rebase the models.

The game would play just fine if you just used standard Mechwarrior figures.

inrepose said...

Nice work on the terrain and layout. Great to see some mechs in action!