Sunday, July 7, 2013

Solo Battletech

Battle Armor by CB FX on Deviantart
 Hi all,

Time has been tight recently. Well, not for me, but for getting everyone together to play some games.

Idly, I began to wonder if I could play against myself and have any fun. I was hankering for some Battletech.

So, I broke out my 25th Anniversary set and got to work. For the first few games I just played both sides of the conflict.

However, I am the biased type and soon I noticed that both sides were preemptively anticipating each others tactics.

At that point I sat down and let my Google-fu do its thing. I found a few blogs that deal almost exclusively with this particular subject.

Solo Nexus

Solo Wargamer

Lone Warrior Blog  - they also publish a magazine devoted to solo gaming.

Also, almost every major blogger seems to have tinkered with solo gaming to one extent or another. Look up some of your favorites.

Uziel Battlemech by Rafta on Deviantart

Anyway, after much research about the Fog of War, random events, and programmed opponents, I went ahead and made a very rudimentary enemy tactics chart for playing Battletech.

Essentially, at the beginning of every turn I roll for each enemy unit to decide if it will fight aggressively or passively.

Aggressive fighting stresses maintaining range and exploiting the flank, closing the range for a more sure kill, and running the mech hot by firing the most damaging weapons over the more accurate ones.

Passive fighting stresses maintaining range and exploiting the flank, extending the range for a better defensive posture, and firing the most accurate weapons over the more damaging ones.

Battletech readily lends itself to this type of solo programming due to the hex-based game board, movement points, and heat. All of which act as limiting factors on what any opponent real or programmed can do.

I am not going into the specifics more than that, right now. If anyone should be interested I will elaborate upon my system.

My efforts worked better than I had expected. My programmed "enemy" acts (to me at least) like an actual opponent. It has several times occurred that as I was setting up a devastating attack, my opponent just pulled back or jumped over my head to get a rear or flank shot. It has also happened that he has acted rashly, not monitored his heat, and subsequently suffered a crippling ammo explosion.

I have declared solo gaming to be full of win. Making up programmed enemy tactics is almost a game unto itself. Now, I look forward to porting solo gaming into several of the other systems I play; 40k, Warmachine, and Flames of War.

Let me close by saying that games are played to be fun and enjoyable. Despite not having a human opponent and letting a random chart decide the enemy actions, I have had fun and had some hard fought, narrow victories. That is why I have been able to play six games of Battletech in the last week.

Solo gaming. Why not try it yourself?