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CAV 2.M Beta [Fan Revision]

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Forgot about this. May pull the CAV back out again since the last time a year ago :) Love CAV 2, since the simplicity of it made the game about tactics and not about pening the rulebook every 10 minutes.

Happy to be inspiring more play of CAV 2! PM me an email address if you're interested in skimming or trying the latest version, always happy to get more eyes on it.

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Another test game today, this time saw Rach vs. Malvernis on an urban board, with both sides trying to recover data from a crashed satellite at the center of the board. This being a playtest game, the Rach brought a potentially game-breaking section of three Emperors, a Kahn '74, and a Vanquisher '74, plus backup in the form of two Kharl '74s and three Malefactors. The Rach used the improved repair doctrine, giving the Emperors the unholy combination of Rugged and Hardened Armor. Across the field was an armor section consisting of a Revenant, two Wights, a Rogue engineering CAV mounting an Advanced Repair Module, and two Outlaws; a flight of Ghast IIs; and seven stands of armored drop infantry with satchel charges, jump jets, and close combat weapons. Leftover points were used to give the Revenant, Outlaws, and Rogue all +1 DV.

 

The Rach deployed their tanks to the south and CAV to the north, while the Malvernis forces concentrated near the center of their deployment zone. The Malvernian CAV inched out around the edges of the building to deliver an opening salvo, softening up the Rach gunships and Vanquisher beyond range of their return fire. In response, the Rach Malefactors advanced and opened fire on one of the Wights, an exchange which would continue for most of the game. The Emperors advanced next; with most targets still behind cover, they lobbed a volley of indirect fire at the Ghast IIs, dealing minor damage.

 

Next round, the Kharls zipped across the battlefield to engage the Ghasts with their shredder missiles, inflicting moderate damage but failing to score a kill. A Wight and the Revenant obliterated one of the Malefactors, while the Rogue patched up the damaged Wight. Then, the drop infantry entered the battlefield, making use of their jump jets to reach base contact with the three Emperors. At point blank range, the Emperors posed a threat even to infantry, and with the assistance of the Vanquisher and the Kahn eliminated three of the seven squads outright.

 

Enraged, the two squads still bearing satchel charges converged on the central Emperor and successfully attacked, inflicting three points of damage. A second round of fire from the Rach CAVs left the rifle section in tatters, but the damage had been done; the Revenant and Wights took advantage of its lowered defenses and reduced it to a smoking pile of scrap. The Rogue continued to repair minor damage to the Wights, while both flight sections took hits.

 

The next round proved the turning point; free of the distraction of the infantry, the two remaining (undamaged) Emperors advanced and set their sights on the Revenant. With targeting assistance from the Kahn, their rotary cannons proved deadly even at medium range, all four shots hitting with high enough rolls to trigger Wrecker for 8 points of damage. In its death throes, the Revenant inflicted minor damage to one Emperor. With some lucky rolls at close range, this proved enough of an opening for the Wights to bring down a second Emperor, but one was destroyed in the exchange. Meanwhile, one of the Malefactors had reached the crashed satellite and taken possession of the data.

 

We called the game at that point, with the Malvernis forces lacking a section with sufficient firepower to contest the Emperor's dominance. We had entered the game with the expectation that Wrecker was not properly balanced, especially with the Emperor's high RAV, and given that, the game was a remarkably close match. We expect to be able to balance Wrecker and GRCs with some minor stat and costing tweaks. The infantry played well, inflicting more than enough damage to justify their cost. The inclusion of a large number of armored rifle teams in a single section didn't seem to be a balance problem (for this game specifically we said Bulky only counted for the purposes of Transportation). My opponent greatly enjoyed the new Rogue model, using it on multiple occasions to restore the Wights to pristine condition. I have one more test game scheduled for later this week, after which we'll work on implementing some of the balance adjustments these games have indicated are necessary.

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I've found that when using infantry to assault it works better to put them in transports, so they can remount and have the mobility to engage another target. Even when power armored and given jump jets they just don't have the mobility to keep up with all but the slowest CAVs.

 

I prefer to give drop troops either of the missile weapon upgrades, since it gives them some range to reach out and touch somebody to make up for their lack of mobility.  That and it's fun to launch a M3 attack with a rifle section against a CAV.

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The RC08 Grenade Launcers are an excellent surprise tool against the huddle too. IA w/no AOE means that they don't need LOS but never drift. So they can jump out of their transport and attack an ECM/EST model hiding behind a wall of bigger CAVs.

 

They were actually supposed to have no AOE in the original CAV 2 rules, but someone added the AOE stat at the last minute w/out realizing how it effected the weapon's mechanics.

Edited by Chrome
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I've found that when using infantry to assault it works better to put them in transports, so they can remount and have the mobility to engage another target. Even when power armored and given jump jets they just don't have the mobility to keep up with all but the slowest CAVs.

 

I prefer to give drop troops either of the missile weapon upgrades, since it gives them some range to reach out and touch somebody to make up for their lack of mobility.  That and it's fun to launch a M3 attack with a rifle section against a CAV.

 

That's been my general experience as well; I'm particularly fond of drop infantry with both FiST and AT-23s for a really nasty one-two punch. Maybe too nasty--I'm strongly considering a one-strike-per-activation limit. In this particular case, however, it worked out fairly well; he caught my Emperors at the head of an alleyway, so while I could have run away with a couple of successful EXP checks it would have meant returning the Emperors to my deployment zone, which likely would have reduced their effectiveness even further than the loss of one of them.

 

The RC08 Grenade Launcers are an excellent surprise tool against the huddle too. IA w/no AOE means that they don't need LOS but never drift. So they can jump out of their transport and attack an ECM/EST model hiding behind a wall of bigger CAVs.

 

They were actually supposed to have no AOE in the original CAV 2 rules, but someone added the AOE stat at the last minute w/out realizing how it effected the weapon's mechanics.

 

So THAT's how that was supposed to work :wacko:  I think that also means it would suffer range band penalties to the attack roll like a direct fire weapon? I'll have to give it some consideration--I was intending to rewrite the drift rules into the main rules text as part of a wider effort to reduce the number of rules subsystems which make no appearance outside the appendices, but it would preclude having the grenade launcher function that way as it would make drift an intrinsic part of IA.

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Fourth playtest game tonight. My opponent thought I might play my old favorite Adon and we wound up both bringing Rach, though with substantially different doctrines. My opponent had an Emperor, two Dictator '70s, and a Kahn '74 in an armor section, a specialist section of two Conqueror '74s, and a flight each of Kharl '74s and Barracudas. My force consisted of a single specialist Barracuda, a fire support section of four Conqueror '74s, and three identical sections of four rifle teams in two Krakens, with Shock, close combat weapons, and two satchel charges.

 

We used the same city board as the previous game, with the two main CAV sections deploying opposite each other and the aircraft scattered around the field. My Barracuda opened the game by dropping a smoke strike across the alleyway in front of my opponent's heavy CAVs, offering some cover for my Conqueror '73s to bombard the heavily clustered models. Unfortunately, most of the models made their rolls to make defensive fire through the smoke, and it was an even exchange at best. Enemy indirect fire did light damage to one pair of Krakens and a focused artillery strike finished off one of the damaged Conquerors. Meanwhile, the Krakens advanced, the damaged pair unloading near the middle of the field and using their machine guns to bring down a Barracuda.

 

Next round the Krakens continued rocketing towards their goal. Pushing the limits of their movement, one section surrounded the Emperor and set off their satchel charges. One stand rolled double 10s for 6 damage even after the Emperor's shielding and armor, and the remaining three stands provided more than enough damage to tear the Emperor to pieces. In retaliation, the enemy Conquerors blasted another the third pair of Krakens out of the sky, infantry still on board.

 

The following rounds saw the fight round down fairly quickly. The Krakens and infantry were able to summon enough firepower to bring down the Dictator '70s, but took severe losses in the process. The game ended with only two Conqueror '74s per side, a handful of gunships and infantry, and the damaged Kahn.

 

This game was useful in confirming that infantry remain balanced fairly well for their points. There was some discussion of tweaking the Rach Berserkers doctrine, either by preventing it from stacking with satchel charges or possibly rewriting it to function more like the Overload SA, where the infantry would take a point of damage in order to deal an extra point. Indirect fire proved perhaps too accurate, particularly on the Conquerors with their FRS/3 and AOE/5, and other Exp rolls failed only rarely as well; I plan on reducing all Exp values by 1 in the next revision. My opponent noted that indirect fire, while more functional than in the old rules, still didn't have the right feel for him, referencing Bolt Action's indirect fire rules where, when firing at the same target point repeatedly, misses improve the chance of future success as the model zones in on the target. Neither of us were sure how to implement something similar for CAV, but we're keeping an open mind for now.

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The bonus isn't the issue, so much; +1 or +2 on the target point roll definitely makes sense to me. But it would require tracking the previous target point in some way, which goes against the streamlined nature of the rules. If the rule was a specific model rather than a point, that's a bit easier to track (and I think fits the description of CAV's indirect fire and target lock mechanics well enough), but it also fails to achieve the intended effect, which is the ability to force an enemy to abandon an entrenched position. It may be that that's simply not what indirect fire is meant to do in CAV; I always thought of it as simply a method of attack which allowed you to avoid defensive fire and punish closely grouped models. In which case, maybe we ought to be considering if there's a different mechanic (say, strikes) which can be used to discourage 'camping'.

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I know it tends to be a no-no in CAV but would it be hard to use a chit/counter to mark a target point?

Edited by papabees
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I no it tends to be a no-no in CAV but would it be hard to use a chit/counter to mark a target point?

 

I think that would be fine up to a point. If I only have a couple of fire support models or they're using the same target points, sure. But if I have a section of six Hornets and they're all firing at different targets? Suddenly it's a nightmare to keep track of. One alternative is if you assumed the entire force's targeting computers are communicating and allowed any model to take advantage of any prior target point; it makes the tracking portion manageable (just drop a generic token each time you use IA), but has the downside of not scaling quite linearly with game size. It would, however, add an additional incentive to use Attack models with IFMs, as even if they failed to damage the bonus could assist subsequent fire support.

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In Battletech I used a lot of artillery and ended up with charts for predetermined target points and flight time when playing on large scale boards since some of it doesn't land same turn. When I started over with IF with CAV I had little colored chits for each of my IF units. I liked to call in all my fire at once and then start rolling to see where it went. It wasn't hard to keep track of that at all.

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I was unable to download the beta rules - any idea when they might be available again? (dropbox gave a 404 error)

 

Sorry about that, I must have removed the old version at some point after we switched to private testing. I'm working on the next public release as we speak, which should be ready in about 1-2 weeks (just in time for CAVCon!).

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Great to see the CAV 2 rules still kicking about, the one thing that I wished could have been eliminated from them was the huddle. EW stuff is good and thematic but man, seeing a bunch of walking tanks being so close together always seemed asinine IMO.

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