Using Miniatures in Mechwarrior: Destiny
Mechwarrior: Destiny is Catalyst Game Labs’ most recent Battletech role-playing game. It’s quite a departure to previous Mechwarrior systems, being very much narrative focussed and player led with minimum complication. It’s also completely self contained, not needing any other resources or even any prior preparation to get it on the table and played. It’s a fantastic book, and if you are Battletech or RPG fan that hasn’t had a look at it yet I thoroughly recommend investigating it.
Being an RPG set in the Battletech universe it of course has rules for mech scale combat. They are perfectly servicable and suit the narrative focus of the game very well without needing the use of miniatures, battle mats or terrain. This is all very well, but most Battletech players already have a collection of these they might like to use.
Fortunately a baseline structure is there that can easily be extrapolated. There are a few different ways of doing this, but for ease of use I shall just be showing my results.
The game should follow the same structure, but with the following modifications.
At the start of each turn, both sides should roll 2d6. The highest result must activate the first unit. Alternatively, if used during a role-playing session, the players should start with the initiative each turn. After that, sides alternate taking a turn to activate a unit at a time until each unit involved has been activated once. If playing with more than two sides, simply roll off as above but take turns clockwise around the table.
Each unit has Movement Points equal to three times it’s Movement.
When using map sheets, a movement point is expended to move to any adjacent hex ignoring facing. Entering a non-clear hex costs extra movement points equal to those shown in Mechwarrior: Destiny. Units can climb or descend one height level per hex without issue. Mech’s must expend an additional 2 movement points to change 2 height levels in a hex, other ground units may not do so.
Jumping allows you to ignore all intervening terrain.
If using terrain boards and rulers, you need to decide on a scale depending on how much space you have available. If playing on an average dining table or a card table in a shop you will probably want to use 1″ (or 3cm) per movement point. If you have more space available, such as the average 6′ x 4′ gaming table, you should use 2″ (or 5cm) per movement point.
At the end of a unit’s movement it can turn to face any direction.
Line of Sight
When a unit wants to make an attack, it must first be able to see the target. A unit can only see in the 180 degrees to the front of it. Intervening buildings and elevations 2 levels or more higher than the ground level you are standing on will block line of sight to and from Mech units, as will 2 intervening hexes (or 2″/4″) of woods. Other ground units will be obscured by 1 level and 1 hex respectively.
If you can see your target, count each intervening terrain hex and the hex that the target is standing in for terrain modifiers to hit.
These distances represent the various range bands:
Like movement, each of these represents a hex. or 1″/2″ of range depending on which measure you are using.
Shooting with Advantage
Ignore the advantage/disadvantage modifiers from Jumping. Instead, shooting a target from outside of it’s front 180 degrees grants you a +1 modifier to hit. Shooting at a jumping mech still inflicts a -1 modifier to hit.
Those are the only modifications to the rules needed to start introducing miniatures satisfactorily to Mechwarrior: Destiny. There are however a couple of other optional rules you may like to introduce, depending on preference.
In Battletech, BattleMechs also have rear armour locations that are generally less well protected than the front. It would be a simple matter to use the Hardware conversion rules to find out what the rear torso armour value is and apply any torso hits from the rear 180 degrees to that location instead.
Static Defence Numbers
People don’t always like the idea of opposed rolls for everything. It is a simple problem to get around, since the most common number rolled on a pair of six sided dice is 7 and all modifiers are to the attacking roll. Simply calculate a static defence number for each unit at the start of the game, assuming that they have rolled a 7 and adding their Piloting skill to that.
Using Mechwarrior: Destiny as an Alternative to Battletech or Alpha Strike
The Mechwarrior: Destiny combat rules form a great foundation for a much faster, more approachable tabletop game than Battletech without having to sacrifice the same level of detail that Alpha Strike does. A group called Death From Above Wargaming (https://dfawargaming.com/) – who do some great battle reports on YouTube – has created a set of house rules that combine Mechwarrior: Destiny and Alpha Strike to achieve this. They have done some great work there with a lot more detail than my modifications above, but it does require owning and referencing multiple books. If you prefer the speed of play of the above modifications, it’s a simple matter to use them instead for straight up tabletop battles with the following guidelines.
Both sides have the same amount of Hardware Points to spend on building their force. 10 is a good number to start with. Simply select Hardware up to that value. You will also need pilots for these units. Each pilot is assumed to be Regular, but you can reduce any number of pilots to Green to increase an equal number of pilots to Veteran.
Given the limited amount of information required, you should be able to record this information directly on the unit’s hardware sheet rather than requiring a full character sheet.
Instead of using damage tracks, just record numbers of head hits for consciousness checks as follows:
Plot Points should not be used. Plot Points are not required to achieve a head hit.
If playing with map sheets, each player should bring one map sheet and the two should be combined side by side with the two short edges facing each player. Alternatively you can use a single neoprene battle mat between you.
If playing with terrain boards, players should arrange terrain pieces in any way that appeals to them.
Roll a d6 on the following chart to determine how forces will deploy in a game. For variety, you can roll separately for each side if you wish though this may result in unbalanced engagements.
|All units move onto the battlefield from your board edge in the first turn.
|One unit moves onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge each turn.
|Two of your units move onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge on the first turn. Remaining units move onto the board one per turn from an edge not controlled by either player.
|Your fastest unit moves onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge in the first turn. Remaining units move onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge in the second turn.
|One unit moves onto the battlefield anywhere along a board edge nominated by your opponent each turn.
|Two of your units move onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge on the first turn. The remainder of your force is delayed. Beginning from the second turn, roll 1d6 at the start of each turn. On a 6 the rest of your force moves onto the battlefield anywhere along your board edge that turn. On each subsequent turn the roll needed becomes 1 point easier; so in the third turn it will be a 5, the fourth turn a 4 etc.
Place an objective token in the middle of each map sheet, if using them. If using terrain boards place them on the centre line and 12″ (or 30cm) away from each side.
Roll a d6 for each objective to determine how you score from it:
|If one of your units is inside the objective hex or on top of the objective token at the end of it’s activation, you earn 1 VP.
|The objective token is a height level 1 target. It doesn’t roll dice in defence, but requires a 10 or better to hit. If it is to your right hand side you are defending it. If it is to your left you are attacking it. The defender begins with 5 VP. At the end of each activation in which at least 3 damage is dealt to the target, the defender hands one VP to the attacker. If 5 VP are handed over like this, the objective has been destroyed and no further VP can be gained from it.
|The objective token can be picked up by a unit in the same hex or on top of it by spending their entire movement doing so. A unit carrying the objective token may not make any attacks and must drop the objective token in adjacent hex of the attacker’s choice if it receives an arm hit. If you carry it to your own board edge it will earn you 5 VP.
You also receive VP equal to a unit’s Hardware Points when you destroy it.
Units may not withdraw from the board.
The first player to reach 10 Victory Points wins the game.