AAR: Mech Attack At Adepticon 2017

After many weeks (and several blog posts) of preparation, CSW's Adepticon 2017 Mech Attack game finally happened, and the results were EPIC. The table got a huge amount of attention resulting in getting blogged by Beasts of War. Further, Tim's brilliant ideas of having Chicago Skirmish Wargames T-shirts for us and business cards to handout made the club more visible and will hopefully result in some new members.

The Scenario

Each year we advance the story of the battles for Melk 3 and this year was no different. The players were given a scenario sheet (download a PDF copy here: Mech Attack Borschtegrad 2) explaining that the Melk Defense Command (MDC, Grey Team) was rushing to seize valuable intelligence caches and would receive points for seizing (having an infantry unit inside with no enemies inside) each of 3 different buildings and also points for holding those buildings at the end of the game. The Unified Colonies (UC, Green Team) were holding out for extraction and trying to slow the MDC. The UC would score points for destroying MDC Mecha and bonus for destroying both of a given player's mechs. They then choose their units from a side-table we had setup and the game began.

Here are the three objective buildings, each with a radar dish on top.  The old train station, a green-roofed building and the 3-story red building.

The foreground edge is where the the UC player would deploy. About a third of the way forward is the train line that provided cover and cost double movement for heavy mecha to crawl under (or climb over).

The far end of the table is where the MDC player would deploy. Here's one turn after the initial deployment from the MDC side.

Each player's light mechs were allowed an additional free move before the game began as "scouts".

Each year we add something new to our Mech Attack game. This year we added a freight train and freight station to the scenery and flying units to the game itself.  The MDC forces were given a pair of troop transport helicopters and the UC forces comandeered 2 heavy transport copters which could each carry a light mech.

More on these models and the real-life inspiration for the orange and white color scheme can be found here.

The Game

As the game began both sides were quite cautious in their advance.

The UC forces took up positions at the  Train line.  This would later hurt them as the UC mechs generally held back and didn't offer easy targets.

The MDC forces were also surprisingly conservative, holding back their troops and copters for much of the game.

The UC troops finally restarted their advance....

..but by this time the MDC had taken up advantageous, well-protected positions.

Still, the UC pressed on.  The commandeered transport choppers began dropping off their mecha cargo.

And the two sides traded increasing amounts of firepower.

The battle swung back and forth with the two sides slugging it out on the MDC side of the of the trainline.


As the game wore on, the MDC realized they needed start seizing objectives.

A full push was made to get MDC infantry in the air...

and the APC across the train line.

As the troops dismounted and advanced on their objectives,

the MDC mechs and armored vehicles concentrated their fire on UC infantry in the objective buildings.

With the buildings cleared, the MDC infantry began to move into the objective buildings.

At this point the game time was just about at an end. As time ran out, the MDC had seized and held 2 objective buildings for a total of 6 points. The UC had only destroyed 2 mechs from two different MC players for a total of 2 victory points.

Post Game Observations

The players seemed to have a good time. As always Mech Attack proved easy enough to teach that after the second turn Tim and I were needed only for occasional consultation. We had a 3 hour slot and 2.5 hours of actual play flew by. The addition of flying units wasn't revolutionary, but it was practical to the scenario and it certainly added a lot of visual interest. They will definitely be used in future Mech Attack games.

There are however a few areas for scenario improvement; As was pointed out by a few players, it does seem in retrospect that the objectives were slanted in favor of the MDC.  It proved easier for the MDC to wait till the end of the game and push for the objectives than for the UC to wipe out the MDC mecha. I think a higher points score for each UC Mech destroyed might have better balanced the game. The UC had the option of hiding their mecha for most of the game and expecting new players to immediately assume a highly aggressive strategy is probably unrealistic.

Futher, Tim pointed out that the train line created a natural barrier for the UC to hide behind. He also noted that though it didn't actually impede movement much, the UC players still seemed to naturally stop there rather than rushing on to their objectives of destroying MDC mecha.  This seemed to slow the momentum of the game unnecessarily. In the future I think I will run the train line from one deployment zone to the other  rather than across the middle of the table.

As in the past, Adepticon was very supportive with prize support, supplying us with a massive medallion for Best General and two smaller medals for the Most Deadly and Best Sportsmanship. In addition, there were a few pieces of terrain to give away. This was on top of Tim and I receiving free admission for the weekend and a swag bag. It really feels like Adepticon values the smaller and more obscure games. For the past 3 years that we have run this game, they've always made us feel welcome and it has inspired us to keep making the game better and the terrain ever-more-impressive. We will be back!

To finish things off, here's some more pictures of the layout:

Hope you enjoyed this AAR.  Remember that we're going to be back at Adepticon next year with even more Mech Attack action.  Consider signing up for the battle or at least drop by and say hello!

-Karl Paulsen

Founding Member, Chicago Skirmish Wargames.



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5 responses to “AAR: Mech Attack At Adepticon 2017

  1. Thanks for taking the lead in organizing this game and writing about it Karl.

    I’m really happy that we had our first "sold out" game at Adepticon. Maybe we need to add another couple of spots or run a second game next year?

    We should also note that you left your city in place for the rest of the day and there were at least a couple of other games played on the table. Did you get any photos of that group with all the 40k imperial knights?

  2. You’re very welcome Tim. Thanks for all your help putting it on.

    I think adding a couple of spots is a great idea. I seem to recall that we might have had 8 available (don’t recall if they were ever filled) when we first ran this years ago at Little Wars.

    I did get shots of the knights and another game as well. I’m planning a little gallery blog post about that in a few days. There are some pretty impressive pictures of really well painted Imperial Knight Walkers striding through our layout.

  3. Great work Karl and Tim! This game keeps getting better and better. To think that I played in the very first incarnation all those years ago. Great pics too. Looks like everyone had a lot of fun. I can only imagine the number of rubbermaid containers required to haul all of that terrain around.
    I’m not sure where you go from here? How can you one-up this performance? Maybe a multi-level city for truly 3-dimensional mech combat?

  4. Thanks Patrick,
    As it happens I’ve already got 2018’s improvments planned out. I’m going to have a strip of tarmac with some large spacecraft on it. Already got the base toys for conversion. Just got to get to work on them. That and increasing back up to 8 players (possibly on a table that’s a bit wider, but not quite as deep) as well as some new mecha and a second grey terrain mat (to match the one I have) will probably be next year’s upgrade. Also kicking around the idea of making a separate base for each building that would have a bit of sidewalk and some greebling, but that might have to wait until 2019

    As for transport Currently it takes 9 large tubs just for the buildings and a bunch of cases for the scatter terrain and mecha.

  5. jedthehomarid says:

    Awesome! Such a cool table of terrain. Nice work guys!

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