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How well supported is CAV?


Irishrover13
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Electronic warfare was in my mind a victim of unintended consequences. I give the game kudos for recognizing the important role it plays, but it resulted in gameplay behavior that wasn't that fun nor terribly realistic. There have been a number of suggestions on how to fix it, but instead we got development limbo with a new version that was going to ret con what was shaping up to be an interesting background.

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Electronic warfare was in my mind a victim of unintended consequences. I give the game kudos for recognizing the important role it plays, but it resulted in gameplay behavior that wasn't that fun nor terribly realistic. There have been a number of suggestions on how to fix it, but instead we got development limbo with a new version that was going to ret con what was shaping up to be an interesting background.

 

I have always thought that Electronic Warfare should factor into the game at a higher level:

 

EW is what prevents the orbiting starship (the one that brought the opposing mechs to whatever moon, planet, or world-let the battle is happening on) from finding, targeting, and toasting your mech from orbit.

 

Fluffwise, this is something that has always needed explaining in CAV: why are mechs useful / how are they viable military vehicles in a century where starships exist?

 

Interstellar travel is a given in CAV. The energy needed to fry a mech from orbit is trivial compared to what you'd need to move a ship to the next star. So building gunboats for the express purpose of zapping mechs from orbit would be easy and therefore the warring powers would build such things. But another given of CAV is that there are mechs (...and they don't get routinely fried from orbit.) A good answer is that all mechs are jamming the whole spectrum all the time so that they normally can't be shot from orbit (or from an adjacent tabletop for that matter).

 

The result of a failed EW check or EW system failure should be a minor chance of an orbital strike that could take out the failing mech in one shot (because it is momentarily in the clear).

 

Normally the whole battlefield would be a giant EW blur.

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Yeah, EW, and presumably a big-butt starship might be targeted by ground or orbital installations. And I mean we still have tanks even though jets are faster, better, and more heavily armed. A sci-fi aficionado of the past would probably say that mobile pillboxes just aren't viable when we have heavily armed fortresses with the firepower to level towns zapping around in the sky at a gazillion times marching pace.

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I don't know about CAV:SO, but orbital strikes are a part of CAV2 as support options. The problem with always on jamming is that you make a huge target in the EM spectrum. I was pushing for a while for an upgrade to direct fire missiles similar to current day HARM munitions. They would home in on models that were jamming giving a RAV bonus equal to the ECM value of the jamming model being targeted.

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Meh, "if everyone tells"... .. "if this is the case" ... "if some third party"...

 

That's alot of "iffing", none of which is more convincing than several tens of thousands of dollars in molds. The only logical reason to sink that kind of money in molds is if you've got plans to promote the line and it's most likely that reboot of CAV is going to have a ruleset to go with it.

 

I do however, think it's highly likely that we'll see them via kickstarter. They've got the molds, they've got a ruleset. Logic (though often skewed in this business) suggests that we'll see CAV minis and a game in the next year. The only real question in my mind is whether it'll be kicked off with a kickstarter (most likely) or just on the reaper website.

 

I think you''re so frustrated over the many past failures with CAV (and there have definitely been a few) that it's clouding your perception of recent events. Understandable, but not logical.

 

 

Actually I'm working off of my experiences working with Reaper for half a decade, then the business knowledge gained while I ran CAV and then when I researched taking total control of the property. Unfortunately CAV couldn't be a profitable retail product back then, and nothing has happened in the past 3 years to change that. Not even plastic CAVs. Because you can't make a profit selling something if nobody will buy it. And gauging the all-important customer market is what GAMA is all about. Even moreso when it comes to gauging your distributors interest.

 

That said, I do think that we'll eventually see CAV Bones in a KickStarter, b/c I think that having the models paid for up front is the only way they'll get made. But even with a KS I seriously doubt CAV will go into retail and that will have a big impact on any decisions that Reaper makes about whether to have a KS in the first place or not. The big question isn't "will a CAV Bones KS be successful"? Its "will anyone buy CAV Bones after the KS is over"? That I'm not so sure about, especially if Reaper can only sell them on their own website.

 

 

edit - I emphasized CAV in my first paragraph b/c I think that CAV the game (rules, miniatures, etc all wrapped into one) is a separate entity from plastic mechs, tanks, and scifi vehicle models released under the Chronoscope banner or some other new name. I just realized that I didn't state that in the post though.

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@TGP: I really recommend not thinking too hard about the details of any big stompy robot game. I think I've heard all the attempts at justifying that form factor for battle vehicles, and none has made more than the slightest bit of sense. For example, you don't need to make a piloting roll to keep an MBT from falling over: "I've fallen and I can't get up."

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I have always thought that Electronic Warfare should factor into the game at a higher level:

 

EW is what prevents the orbiting starship (the one that brought the opposing mechs to whatever moon, planet, or world-let the battle is happening on) from finding, targeting, and toasting your mech from orbit.

 

Fluffwise, this is something that has always needed explaining in CAV: why are mechs useful / how are they viable military vehicles in a century where starships exist?

 

Interstellar travel is a given in CAV. The energy needed to fry a mech from orbit is trivial compared to what you'd need to move a ship to the next star. So building gunboats for the express purpose of zapping mechs from orbit would be easy and therefore the warring powers would build such things. But another given of CAV is that there are mechs (...and they don't get routinely fried from orbit.) A good answer is that all mechs are jamming the whole spectrum all the time so that they normally can't be shot from orbit (or from an adjacent tabletop for that matter).

 

The result of a failed EW check or EW system failure should be a minor chance of an orbital strike that could take out the failing mech in one shot (because it is momentarily in the clear).

 

Normally the whole battlefield would be a giant EW blur.

There were a few unpublished products over the years that would have helped to fill in some of those holes. Matt Ragan had a mini-campaign system almost ready to go for CAV 1 that explained how an invasion of any key planet would start. Basically every majorly populated planet in the CAV world is protected by large, anti-orbital cannons. These are set up in a web around the surface of the planet so that every part of its atmosphere is covered by at least a few cannons. (More on the really, really populated ones.) If an enemy ship appeared anywhere around the planet, these cannons (Boomers iirc) could shoot them down w/in minutes.

 

So the only way to invade a planet like this was to send in a small strike team to clear the way. A transport ship would jump in-system outside of the boomers' range and drop several dropships. Those dropships were small and fast enough to avoid the boomers and would get in and drop the strike team. (Which in game terms was like three, 3000 points armies iirc. Its been a while.) The mini-campaign then was a game of cat-and-mouse between two players as the attacker had to move around a large scale map and destroy 3 boomer sites, while the defending player tried to hunt down the invading forces and destroy them. If the attacker could destroy 3 adjacent boomers, that opened up a hole in the planet's defenses for the main invasion fleet to land. It also gave the attacking ships a safe place to park above the planet and from there they could keep their part of space clear of enemy ships, so the ground pounders didn't have to worry about getting blasted from space.

 

The other product was the unpublished novella: Heavy Words. (Its still available for free on Mil-Net. Check the homepage - right hand column) Again its been a long time since I read it, but iirc the concept was something along the lines that energy weapons didn't work as orbit-to-surface weapons for some reason (maybe atmo deteriorated their power?) so orbital bombardment was done using missiles, cannon, etc. Suppression models like the Vanquisher, Ghost, and Sabertooth (Saberteeth?) excelled at shooting down incoming missiles and round, creating an "umbrella" effect for any nearby units.

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I've always viewed "traditional" mechs as "multipurpose mobile turrets". With the right loadout and the right pilot they could be very useful, despite the less than practical form factor. I would also like to point out that the sight of a mech is universally awe inspiring. One would be a fool not to capitalize on the psychological front.

 

The crazy ninja fast Japanese mecha on the other hand are just gnarly.

 

As for the argument over using strategic assets (aka starships and their big guns) versus using tactical assets (your conventional guns/armor on the ground)... I've worked in the strategic theatre and I can tell you that environmental factors weigh heavy in the application of those big guns, super advance sci-fi technology notwithstanding. Then there are the political angles. The potential fallout a faction will suffer from putting holes in a planet would be enough to make tactical engagements still necessary.

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The only thing that draws me to Battletech is the fluff, it has one of the best universe's out there that is fleshed out which is what draws a person to play their favorite factions mech. Add to that how there are so many 'historical' battles you can play out and you have a canonical storyline to draw from, it's easy to get sucked in and want to play...

 

...It's a true shame that CAV is sitting in the state that it has been, when it could be and should be, widely supported and played. BONES would be a nice help but without a rules system in place that is not overly complicated but streamlined and fun, with great support, well then things will stay as they are now.

 

I definitely agree about the appeal of the BT universe. I've got nearly every novel and a bookshelf of the sourcebooks and I don't play (or like) CBT rules. As for rules, that's why I don't ever put much stock in having to use a given companies miniatures with their own rules. I've really enjoyed "Mech Attack" with my mech models, and I'm really looking forward to "Alpha Strike", which is being released this week.

 

Whether it's via KS, website, or FLGS, if the price is right, I'll probably pick up some of these mechs and use whatever ruleset I and my clubmates like best. I've got the CAV:SO beta from a while back. I'll look it over eventually and if it's fast and streamlined I'll give it a go. If it's closer to CBT levels of complexity I'll use something else.

 

 

Meh, "if everyone tells"... .. "if this is the case" ... "if some third party"...

 

That's alot of "iffing", none of which is more convincing than several tens of thousands of dollars in molds. The only logical reason to sink that kind of money in molds is if you've got plans to promote the line and it's most likely that reboot of CAV is going to have a ruleset to go with it.

 

I do however, think it's highly likely that we'll see them via kickstarter. They've got the molds, they've got a ruleset. Logic (though often skewed in this business) suggests that we'll see CAV minis and a game in the next year. The only real question in my mind is whether it'll be kicked off with a kickstarter (most likely) or just on the reaper website.

 

I think you''re so frustrated over the many past failures with CAV (and there have definitely been a few) that it's clouding your perception of recent events. Understandable, but not logical.

 

 

Actually I'm working off of my experiences working with Reaper for half a decade, then the business knowledge gained while I ran CAV and then when I researched taking total control of the property. Unfortunately CAV couldn't be a profitable retail product back then, and nothing has happened in the past 3 years to change that. Not even plastic CAVs. Because you can't make a profit selling something if nobody will buy it. And gauging the all-important customer market is what GAMA is all about. Even moreso when it comes to gauging your distributors interest.

 

That said, I do think that we'll eventually see CAV Bones in a KickStarter, b/c I think that having the models paid for up front is the only way they'll get made. But even with a KS I seriously doubt CAV will go into retail and that will have a big impact on any decisions that Reaper makes about whether to have a KS in the first place or not. The big question isn't "will a CAV Bones KS be successful"? Its "will anyone buy CAV Bones after the KS is over"? That I'm not so sure about, especially if Reaper can only sell them on their own website.

 

 

edit - I emphasized CAV in my first paragraph b/c I think that CAV the game (rules, miniatures, etc all wrapped into one) is a separate entity from plastic mechs, tanks, and scifi vehicle models released under the Chronoscope banner or some other new name. I just realized that I didn't state that in the post though.

 

Thanks for all the clarification and explanation Chrome. You make some very good points.

 

The only thing I would offer up is that it's been so long that CAV has been out of the public eye that most new and younger gamers (who I assume would be the target of a CAV game with Bones Mecha) have no idea what CAV is. I can't even recall ever seeing CAV at my FLGS (Games +, Chicago area's biggest wargaming store) in at least the last 3 few years and they carry virtually the ENTIRE range of Chronoscope, Bones, LE, Dark Heaven and Warlord. IHardly anyone knows about CAV anymore.

 

CAV may have a bad reputation among vets, but folks who have come into gaming in the last 5-8 years, it mostly has no rep, and that could be it's saving grace when it comes to a reboot.

 

All that said, its an interesting suggestion also about possibly putting out vehicles, etc under a name other than CAV in an attempt to shed any baggage.

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The only thing I would offer up is that it's been so long that CAV has been out of the public eye that most new and younger gamers (who I assume would be the target of a CAV game with Bones Mecha) have no idea what CAV is. I can't even recall ever seeing CAV at my FLGS (Games +, Chicago area's biggest wargaming store) in at least the last 3 few years and they carry virtually the ENTIRE range of Chronoscope, Bones, LE, Dark Heaven and Warlord. IHardly anyone knows about CAV anymore.

 

CAV may have a bad reputation among vets, but folks who have come into gaming in the last 5-8 years, it mostly has no rep, and that could be it's saving grace when it comes to a reboot.

 

All that said, its an interesting suggestion also about possibly putting out vehicles, etc under a name other than CAV in an attempt to shed any baggage.

 

 

But, to see it in your store, the distributers would have to pick it up. And with the games history, that is not likely to ever happen.

 

I love CAV 1 and CAV 2. Great games. I just don't see any future for the line, without a ton of cash dumped into it, which Reaper doesn't do - they are a minis company, not a gaming company.

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