In most war games, the positioning of your forces can be the most important aspect of each turn. One deft maneuver can both give you the advantage and force your opponent into doing what you want them to do. In BattleTech, no phase is as important as the Movement phase. Although you need to fire your weapons to deal damage, the right moves will set you up for success every time.
Initiative and Movement
|The very agile Phoenix Hawk is able to limit the firepower from the much larger Awesome by moving into its blind spot.|
One of the features of BattleTech that makes it different from most war games is the impact movement has on shooting. When calculating your hit numbers, a player must consider their own movement as well as the movement of their target. While the penalties for your own movement are always fixed (+1 For Walking, +2 for Running, and +3 for Jumping), the penalties from your opponent’s move depends upon how many hexes they have moved. The penalties can range all the way up to +6 to hit a target that has moved 25 hexes or more (unusual for a Mech, but not an Aerospace fighter on a strafing run). Crafty players are able to strike a balance between the penalties from their own movement and those applied to their opponent from that movement as well. Knowing when it is a good idea to stand still and line up a shot or move flat out in a Run to make your Mech harder to hit is a judgment call the best players know when to make.
|Although the Trebuchet (on the left) has a clear line of fire and is in short range for its LRM’s, the speed of the enemy Spider makes this shot far from easy.|
Know the Territory
|The maneuverable, but lightly armed Quickdraw (left) takes cover behind the woods while the Awesome takes advantage of its position in the water to cool off.|
Just because you lost the initiative does not mean you can’t still dictate the flow of the game. If you do go first, try to position yourself so that your opponent can’t out maneuver you. Walking backwards to keep your rear armor protected, putting yourself in a wooded hex, using hills and cliffs to force your enemy to move where you want them to and rivers and lakes to slow them down, or making yourself harder to hit by moving as much as possible are all viable tactics for a player who has lost the initiative.
What kind of gamer are you? Would you rather be able to run circles around your opponent or rely on arms and armor to see you through the fight? Stay tuned for part two; The Combat Phase.