When developing the movement system, one of the questions I had was why use it at all? After all, if my ‘Mech is dug into good cover, why would I ever leave and expose myself to enemy fire? The answer is in the actual BattleTech miniatures game: there are missions, and those missions have your force doing something. So why move? Because you have a mission to advance to a target. Or because you need to get into position. Or you need to search for an objective.
Missions here in the DMG come in steps1. Each step has a requirement that has to be fulfilled. Once the step has been completed, a thing happens. Once all three steps of the mission are complete, a large bonus is applied.
That “a thing happens”? It makes the game into more of a lance of ‘Mechs against another lance because some mission milestones unlock allied ‘Mechs that harass your opponents. You may be on a mission step that when complete, you can add an Assault ‘Mech that is unshakeable to your opponent’s current location. Because the keyword Unshakable is used, your opponent cannot move off of his current location until he defeats the Assault ‘Mech. This allows you to attempt to get into flanking position and really damage his ‘Mech.
A sample mission that depicts a raid on an observation base might read:
- Complete by travelling through 3 Rough and 1 Heavy Forest to approach target location. When complete, place 1 Assault ‘Mech (unshakable) to opponent’s current location and 2 Light ‘Mechs (pursuit) on your right terrain card.
- Complete by defeating both Light ‘Mechs. When complete, draw two new locations and choose one for free.
- Place Observation Base on the next Ridge card drawn. Complete by defeating Observation Base. When mission is complete, add 3x Aerospace Assault to your deck.
In this mission, Step 1 is your approach to the location; the Assault ‘Mech is part of your squad engaging the enemy and covering your advance. That ‘Mech is going to keep your opponent from moving until he knocks it out. (The Assault ‘Mech is controlled by random draws from the deck.) Step 2 begins with you encountering resistance. The pursuit means the ‘Mechs will follow you, even if you move away. You can’t complete this step until you defeat them, but you can still maneuver. When this step ends, you can hightail it to safety by choosing a location that can get you out of a possible outflanked situation. Step 3 means you are trying to get to a specific terrain type where the objective is. Once the Observation Base has been destroyed, you get to call in Aerospace units to attack your opponent.
So then, with missions, how do you win the game? There’s still the win condition of taking out the opponent’s ‘Mech. Do that and good, you win. But with missions (and a possible exfil “mission” card), there’s the ability to start adding in a point system. You didn’t knock out your opponent’s ‘Mech, but you did complete your mission and began an exfil mission when your opponent completed his. You’d wind up with 25 for the damage on the ‘Mech, 25 for the mission, and 7 for starting the exfiltraton. Your opponent racked up 18 points for damage on you, 15 for his mission (which was easier than yours), and completed his exfil with the minor objective for 12. You win, 57 to 45. Points are still in flux, so we’ll see what happens with internal playtests.
- Inspiration for DMG’s mission structure come from Fantasy Flight Games’ Lord of the Rings LCG’s mission stages and from Margaret Weis Productions’ Marvel Heroic Roleplaying’s milestones [↩]