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The Battle Of Luthien - War Story From A Tabletop Veteran


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#1 Rush Maguin

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:45 PM

Yes, this is going to be a wall of text. It’s a long story and one I tell rarely – I’ve posted it only twice in the public eye before this in the last two decades since it’s happened – but I’ve always felt it a grand story in and of itself. I hope to engage you with it, inspire you to throw some dice at the game store or curl up with an old Battletech novel, or whet your anticipation for this amazing looking MMO that much further. I hope you forgive the length in favor of the story’s quality, and may it entertain and amuse.

The story I’m going to tell you here goes back a long way. It goes back so far, in fact, that some might say it’s just not important anymore, the same way that high school just isn’t important anymore twenty years later. It’s a valid bit of criticism, in my opinion. There’s something to be said about the gulf of time separating this long ago event with today being large enough to swallow whole any notion of relevance.

On the other hand, however, the reason I’ve repeated this story now and again – through other forums for Battletech over the years – is because it says a few things I feel are always worth remembering. It shows how unpredictable and tactical Battletech can actually be. It’s a parable about sportsmanship and camaraderie in the face of some of the worst cheating and scathing condescension I’ve ever personally seen at a gaming table. It shows how important playing the game for fun really is, versus having some ulterior motive or win at all costs objective. In short, it’s something that can be applied, largely, to any game out there even today, including digital ones like this. So, here we are in the latest telling of an old story. And there’s one more reason to tell the story, which I’ll get to in the end.

It’s staggering to me that the epic invasion of the Inner Sphere is almost thirty years old now. I was barely into Battletech a year and a half with my other high school friends when we saw a hanging display at the hobby shop (some kind of mobile, if you can believe that) advertising THE CLANS ARE COMING! We’d made a practice of playing Battletech on almost every weekend since we’d gotten into the game together, caught up as we were in the drama of the Succession Wars and the Road Warrior feel the game originally had. We were on the edge of our seats.

Players from back in the old days – this was oh, 1991 – will remember that Fasa was frustratingly vague about the Clan Invasion in spite of themselves. Technical Readout: 3050 was a jarring experience, informing us of the Clans and their tech for the first time, but we had so many more questions left unanswered. This just made the paranoia and alien feel of the Clan Invasion all the more tangible, however. In retrospect, it was a clever way to keep us all as off balance as the Inner Sphere was.

It was during all of this that my family sent me to a local game convention. Summer of 1991, then; Phoenix, Arizona. Thanks for making it through that lengthly preamble above to hit the actual story, here.

I went to the con for one reason: To connect with other Battletech players. I’d gone with my twin brother and our two friends (effectively filling out a complete lance.) It was meant to be three days of gaming bliss.

I wasn’t there ten minutes when I looked up the biggest Battletech event I could find. Ahh, there it is. A massive scenario about the recently written Battle of Luthien. The hosts had a massive map of 3-D terrain set up with legions of painted miniatures on hand to run a Lord of the Rings scale battle in the convention hall. The four of us signed up on the spot. From there, things started to go downhill.

Back in this time, there was a national organization called Mechforce, an official player’s club for Battletech. The club featured a ladder where you could send in the results of your battles and be ranked against other players across the country. This would provide the ulterior motive of our hosts: they were men ranging from, I’d say their mid twenties to mid thirties, and they were some of the most disagreeable people I would meet in gaming.

They could, at best, be described as impatient. More realistically, they were bullies. They dripped condescension and even a touch of sadism in how they related to the player. I was personally threatened – threatened! – when one of them handed me my assigned miniatures for the battle. A guy in a House Liao hat told me repeatedly how badly he’d beat the crap out of me if anything happened to his prize miniatures. He went on about that three times in a row until I assured him I understood English and not to worry.

But the real kicker was the scenario they had set up themselves. See, they were all members of Mechforce, and they had opted to play the Clans in this scenario. They were signing players up for Mechforce right there on the convention floor and then handing them 3025 era Battlemechs – perhaps one in four of which was upgraded with 3050 era tech. Right there we should have smelled a rat.

Turns out these guys were setting us all up top be sacrificial lambs in a battle we were NEVER meant to win, or even have a fighting chance of winning. All we had on our side were those 3025, rarely 3050 era Inner Sphere mechs, while they employed a legion of OmniMechs, clan aerospace fighters, five squads of Elementals, and later, a dropship. The map was two thirds open terrain, with only the one third on our side (the outskirts of Imperial City) providing any measurable cover. They were going to line us up and shoot us down simply to ratchet up their Mechforce numbers using the newly minted memberships of young, unsuspecting enthusiasts. You do the math.

Now, I had an idea that I was going to do well from the get go; one of them started assigning mechs (each player would control an entire lance) and asked who liked big, slow targets. I thought “Sure, why not” and raised my hand. I was handed my semi-random mech picks, all 3025 era: Two Crusaders, one Thunderbolt, and a Marauder II.

The Marauder II had been my favorite mech since I first got into the game, and I’d just finished a year long campaign with my friends where I ran the 3050 edition of the mech every weekend to great effect.

We retreated outside the convention hall to start our strategy session. I was 17 at the time and I was still in my social shell; I was some fresh faced prettyboy at best, so I had no incentive to think I’d be taken seriously. But as the strategy session rolled on, I found myself injecting more and more on the tactical side of things, offering up hidden units in the city limits to ambush Clanners that broke our main line. It was nice, being an otherwise shy and reserved kid at the time, to have the positive feedback I started getting in the strategy session, and I could see right then that there was an elemental conflict here: Good sportsmanship versus bad sportsmanship. I’d seen the Bully-Hosts treating everyone else around me as badly as they’d already treated me, so I was ready to dig my heels in and stand shoulder to shoulder with my team until the last shot was fired in pure defiance.

Well, when the game started, the Bully-Hosts didn’t like the idea that we had hidden units employed. They reasoned that because at least one of their aerospace fighters had a Beagle Probe, they could automatically reveal every hidden unit on the entire battlefield if they were flying on the low altitude map – their Rules Lawyer got involved and argued us all into the ground that a three hex range for the Beagle Probe didn’t indicate Battletech or Aerotech low altitude scale and thus they could see everything we hid. He argued and argued and argued until our side threw up its hands and gave up trying to reason it out. The kings would not be challenged in their own kingdom, so all of our units were revealed.

Now, we had a small army of players on our side – maybe 20 odd players perhaps? Each controlling a lance, and each pretty aggravated by the obvious rule lawyering. My brother and my two friends dropped out of the game on the spot and handed their lances to other people. I tried to convince them to stay but they were becoming pretty disagreeable about all they’d seen just up to that point, so I ended up being the only member of my home brewed lance to hold the line. Well, at least I had everyone else on my side to bank on, but I had come to run the field with my brother and my friends, after all.

As of the first turn, I spread my lance out around an industrial complex and its pressure tanks near my side of the map. I ran my Marauder II just past the factory’s outermost building and behind a medium sized level 2 hill, where I would end up commanding the rest of the battle. I had one Crusader hidden near the center of the factory area and had my Thunderbolt and Crusader advancing with the rest of the main force along that same flank.

The carnage began. We attempted to fight with Clan Honor against the approaching horde but we were getting cut down too hard. After each turn I joined the guys outside and suggested, on the second official turn, that we were going to have to break the Clan Honor rules and open a grand melee if we wanted a fighting chance at all – between the strafing Aerospace fighters and the Clan firepower on the ground, going one on one was an unconditional death sentence. I advised everyone to scatter their weapons fire about; using direct fire weapons massed on lighter targets while using crit seekers on heavier secondary targets, to keep the clan players off base about how much firepower they could expect each Omni to take from turn to turn. I also suggested firing at the aerospace fighters with LRMs or cluster shots only and as additional secondary targets against our ground priorities.

The Bully-Hosts were thrilled. They thought we were the biggest fools in the world to open up a grand melee. How they laughed.

Two turns later, they weren’t laughing. We started dropping Clan mechs thanks to the dice gods, but we were still bleeding hard from our own wounds. On the final overflight of their aerospace fighters, they dropped off five squads of Elementals – right into the factory complex itself. Between that turn and next we wiped the fighters off the board, but as soon as the Elementals landed I knew we were in serious trouble. They’d easily wipe our flank clean.

At the same time, a Clan Vulture had crested the hill and was dueling with my Marauder II. I managed to put a head hit on it with a large laser as it closed but my luck was starting to run short. The Bully-Hosts were already laughing about the Marauder II “Hiding behind the hill.” They’d sent that one over to finish me off and teach this 17 year old prettyboy a lesson, I’m sure.

It was good fortune, then, that the pressure tanks were explosive and auto-destroyed everything within three hexes of them. They’d made that declaration at the start of the game with all the fanfare you could imagine for making part of our force sit on top of bombs. Fortunately for me, four of the five Elemental Squads wending their way through the factory were in the blast radius of the pressure tanks – as well as the Clan Vulture that was dancing to the side, trying to get my rear armor to face the Clanners on the other side of the hill.

More cheating. When the Bully-Host controlling the Elementals realized what was going on, he turned a shade of white that I had just enough sadism to find quite pleasing. He tried to talk me into believing that the pressure tanks only exploded one hex, not three. We’d all heard differently and insisted on three hexes. He tried to get one of his friends, another Bully-Host, to side with him. “It was one hex right?” “No! Three hexes. Three hex blast range.” “I thought it was one hex.” “No, three hex blast range, that’s final.”

The other Bully-Host didn’t immediately realize that he’d just sold out his friend. Three hexes it was, declared with finality in front of all of us as witnesses. The only thing that kept me from wanting to destroy the tanks was that one of my Crusaders would die (no big deal) as well as a mech from another player on my side, and I didn’t want to destroy his mech out of hand. He volunteered for it when he saw what it was going to net us. While he and I were talking about it, the Elemental Commander kept coming up and telling me over and over again, “They’re not worth that much.” “They’re not that big a deal.” “They don’t score much for points.”

At this point I realized how desperate he was not to lose them, and I was disenchanted by yet another attempt at cheating my side. The puppy dog eye routine was the last straw. The final time he tried to convince me that they were harmless I said, “Then you won’t mind losing them. I blow the tanks.”

Twenty-one Clan warriors – twenty Elementals and one Vulture – died in one blow. The Bully-Hosts were –livid-. No more laughing now. I made a point to fire the deadly shots from my Marauder II, shooting past the Vulture and into the tanks behind him, starting the chain reaction. It was this moment in the scenario that I had stopped playing the game and marched myself into war.

The explosion was a huge morale booster for our side and it had the effect of making me the impromptu force commander from then on. The players nominated to be battalion commanders wanted me to run the show if they were wiped out of the game. I won’t lie – it was a great ego booster to have that kind of acknowledgement, especially at that impressionable age. I had my doubts whether staying in the game at all was worth my time, but their support nailed my feet in place. I was stuck in until the end.

At this point, we were fighting just well enough to worry them, and the loss of their outflanking strategy left the Bully-Hosts increasingly disillusioned with their scenario. The goal stated at the start of the game was to prevent Clan units from entering Imperial City along our home board edge, which as it turned out, we were doing very well. It didn’t help when we started winning several consecutive initiative rolls; each time we beat the dice, my entire side cheered and we plotted our moves for the next turn while the Bully-Hosts glared. They had a decent offensive strategy but they weren’t so good with their defensive one; Inner Sphere mechs charged forward into the fray, shooting down Clan mech after Clan mech. Oh, we had our losses, but those three or four turns of swinging the initiative rolls our way had a grand effect on our offense.

It was coming down to the wire. Losses were high on both sides, but the Clans – having fielded fewer units than the defending force, of course – were actually hurting more than we were. Seeing at last that they might actually lose the scenario, these guys committed another flagrant breach of Clan Honor and on top of that, the worst cheating move in the game so far: They decided that they had a Clan dropship, Union class, that was going to come down over the center of the battlefield and hose down the Inner Sphere forces.

It was our turn to be livid at that point, but no one wanted to back down. My advice was to use cluster and LRMs on the dropship as a secondary target only and continue the main assault pushing forward on the ground as fast as we could toward the main Clan line. (With Aerotech hit tables being what they were back then, bridge and cockpit hits happened the same way that they did for mechs, and were just as bad. Fighters and Dropships also carried less armor and fuel in those days). On the second turn after it attempted to fly in and save the day, the dropship limped back up into orbit a smoking wreck – only because I heard the Bully-Hosts reason that the dropship’s death would wipe out the entire board, including their units. I’m sure the score for wiping a dropship for our side wasn’t encouraging either.

The next turn dawned and we won initiative again. My instructions were simple: Charge. There weren’t many of us left, but not many of them, either. Much fewer than us, at that point, so the end of the story was all but written.

Instead of facing the end with some measure of decency, the Bully-Hosts looked at each other and said “You wanna call it? Shall we call it?” Grumpy to the last, they quit the game right there. We didn’t even get to play out our cinematic charge.

In spite of their nasty attitudes, rampant cheating, intimidation tactics OOC at the rest of us and employing a technologically superior combined arms force against deliberately handicapped players on the other side, they lost. That was NEVER supposed to happen. Ironically, their OOC attitudes and our own duplicated the feel of the Battle of Luthien itself: The Jags and the Cats thought there was no possible way they could lose and oh, those pathetic freeborns defending the capital, what chance did they stand? ….Wow, they stood a pretty good chance after all.

When prizes were handed out at the end of it all, I was conspicuously passed over for any recognition at all. The Bully-Hosts had originally said that they were all impressed over my Factory stunt and how they admired my acumen, but that dissolved when the rest of the scenario played out and they couldn’t recoup their losses. (The remaining Elemental point was squatting behind a one hex, level one rock while other defending assets were moving in to pepper them with long range fire. Totally neutralized the Elementals altogether).

I was even told that my side “Clearly” lost the scenario because our job was to protect Imperial City, and my destroying the pressure tanks “Clearly” did the opposite. Mind you, the wording at the start of the game was to prevent them from entering the city limits along our board edge, a feat they FAILED to accomplish resoundingly. Not a single Clan unit made it off of our board edge, and the ones who got closest to it were destroyed on the spot. Hey, score that how you will. I know how to tally that one.

That did still sting, I admit. I at least wanted the respect of my enemy, but I suppose I was still clinging to the notion that we were all fellow enthusiasts in the hobby and some sportsmanship might reign. Moreover, in the years after, the Bully-Hosts were pretty mean about my role in the entire thing. On BBS and at convention alike, they smeared me heavily at every chance as some kind of coward who hid from the real fight. They mocked me as the “Marauder II hiding behind a hill!” Very snide, very unpleasant. I caught them doing it at a con a couple of years later (they didn’t recognize me, or they did and made a point to pretend not to) when they were going on about it to some of the other players on hand.

I was bummed about it until a friend pointed out that theybasically singled me out because it aggravated them so much that I pulled off what I did. I was a 17 year old kid, after all, and these guys were much older, and I had become instrumental in defeating a no-win scenario meant to gratify their avarice for easy Mechforce rankings. No wonder they weren’t going to let it go. Could they possibly be more insulted?

Whatever the case was, there were casualties in it all. My friends John and Jason quit playing almost immediately after that because they felt that these bullies represented too much of the hobby. My twin brother quit until just recently, nearly 20 years on, and cited them as his reason. This rigged game cost me my two good friends and my brother where Battletech was concerned.

I tell ya what, though. I stayed in. I was more determined to stay involved in the game than ever. I’ve now been a dedicated Marauder II pilot for 23 years now, and a member of House Davion the whole way through. I’ve taught a ton of people to play over the years, and to play with an eye toward the sportsmanship that the Bully-Hosts lacked. And while there was an array of competent players on my side of the board who showed their raw heroism, I’ve never lost a certain, cunning smirk when I think of the prominent role I played in preventing these guys from winning their impossible scenario.

Truly, it was a long, long time ago to say the least of it; these guys are probably senior citizens if they’re still active in the game at all. I’d not be the least bit surprised to see one of them pop up here even now and spew the same nastiness I had to endure on public BBSs and conventions back in the day.

And that was the final reason I’m writing all of this now. Remember at the start of this wall of text I said I had one last reason to say all of this? Easy: The make sure that my side of the story was known in the community, too. To outlast their condescension and nastiness in accounting for this game. To make people aware that even though every game has its share of rotten people, the good people involved are always worth staying for. Ironically, their attempts to humble me from the start and in the aftermath of the scenario had a lot to do with my STAYING in Battletech and training new players over the last two decades that’s almost fitting revenge by itself. Their final backfire.

I look forward to seeing you all out on the battlefield here on MWO. I’m thrilled Battletech is seeing a rebirth, especially with two incredible looking free to play games. It’ll be an honor to serve at you, or an honor to shoot at you. But if you’re here because you love Battletech, you’ve kept on with the game through thick and thin, you game to have fun and appreciate a challenge, you’re a brother or sister at arms and I am proud to know you. And if there’s ever a Battle of Luthien scenario in this game as the Clans come marching in, rest assured: I’ll be there one more time, weapons blazing. Good hunting, warriors.

EDIT: July 19, 2019: This post is now seven years old. It's gotten an amazing response, and I'm thankful for all the feedback over the years. The Clan Invasion is 30 years old next year, which makes this story now 29 years old. I'm a 45, going on 46 year old man. After years of waiting, my beloved Marauder II dropped in game, and I'm loving it.

But I post today to give props to the Clan Invasion boxed set on Kickstarter. Fully funded in seven minutes. First stretch reward in 20. Just two or three days in, and it stand at $734,000+ dollars, last I looked. They funded at $30K.

I can't tell you how much joy it gives me that BT lives on, and that the Clan Invasion has this level of response. Other eras in BT have come and gone and I've liked them all for different reasons, but like this story illustrates, this was -my- era. For me, this is when BT was the most personal and the most alive.

So, I'm bumping this thread in tribute to the revisit of my favorite BT era. The game lives on and players are still passionate about it. It makes me think happily about a young me theorizing tactics with his friends over pizza and soda or reading the newst Battletech novel cover to cover in one day.

Looks like the fun doesn't have to end -just- yet.

Props and salute to my fellow BT fans, old and new. I hope you have what it takes to fight the clans again, a second time. Posted Image

Edited by Rush Maguin, 23 July 2019 - 10:12 AM.


#2 Volume

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 07:02 PM

This is legendary. I think you're a God amongst men. Against all odds.

I too have had terrible cheating and rules judges try to ruin some times at conventions (Avalon Con Britannia, Diplomacy tournaments/matches), with blatant abuse of "misinterpreted" rules (Literally they've all been playing against the rules for years and perpetuating lies and misinformation at the conventions), but nothing, NOTHING has come close to your experience here.

You were 17? This could have been a coming of age movie.

It would be an honor to ever play with you - I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield as well.

I'm sure you'll find the sportsmanship that you've cultivated and promoted over the years in this community, as most of the people who seek this out are your type - the true, the patient, the creative (Very nice pressure tank move. Twenty Elementals. Jesus) - they're here.

I'm really sorry to hear about your friends and brother, but as you can see, one bad experience or one bad impression with a game can really turn it sour for a long, long time, or totally make people give it up. Thankfully most BT tabletop games aren't like the one you described.

But thanks for staying in and sticking with it - because you proved you have what it takes, and you've kept that with you, and this has been one of the most amazing things I've read on this forum. I appreciate your posting this story, and hope others do as well.

Edited by Volume, 23 June 2012 - 07:09 PM.


#3 Lipot

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 07:11 PM

Very well written and a very important lesson for everyone to learn. Thank you good sir for showing that by enjoying the game for the sake of the game you are better then the rule nazi that show up way too often in these types of games.

#4 Radgor Ryan

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 07:30 PM

Wow. Amazing story man. One of those moments in gaming that is forever remembered.

I was around 20 and a TT player when you played this game, so the picture you painted of the convention brings back a lot of memories. It really was a golden time of it. I agree that TRO 3050 jarring for me too. Honestly, I hated it at first. It took a long while to appreciate it to be honest.

Your story is interesting on many levels, I think we've all faced poor sportsmanship and 'rules lawyers' at one stage of gaming or another. Now online they've just become griefers or hackers or simply angry trolls. I applaud you on your victory, and for sharing your story.

Hard to believe its been over 20 years, hopefully MWO brings on another golden age for Battletech and we'll be telling more stories in another 20.

Cheers.

#5 Surtr

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 08:35 PM

Well written and done sir. I've been a long time player of both Btech, as well as warhammer (40k and fantasy) and gaming conventions bring out the worst kind of sportsmen. Glad you got to stick it to em though.

#6 Rush Maguin

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:24 PM

View PostVolume, on 23 June 2012 - 07:02 PM, said:

This is legendary. I think you're a God amongst men. Against all odds.

I too have had terrible cheating and rules judges try to ruin some times at conventions (Avalon Con Britannia, Diplomacy tournaments/matches), with blatant abuse of "misinterpreted" rules (Literally they've all been playing against the rules for years and perpetuating lies and misinformation at the conventions), but nothing, NOTHING has come close to your experience here.

You were 17? This could have been a coming of age movie.

It would be an honor to ever play with you - I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield as well.

I'm sure you'll find the sportsmanship that you've cultivated and promoted over the years in this community, as most of the people who seek this out are your type - the true, the patient, the creative (Very nice pressure tank move. Twenty Elementals. Jesus) - they're here.

I'm really sorry to hear about your friends and brother, but as you can see, one bad experience or one bad impression with a game can really turn it sour for a long, long time, or totally make people give it up. Thankfully most BT tabletop games aren't like the one you described.

But thanks for staying in and sticking with it - because you proved you have what it takes, and you've kept that with you, and this has been one of the most amazing things I've read on this forum. I appreciate your posting this story, and hope others do as well.


Thanks. :D And it was 21 - twenty Elementals and the jerk in the Vulture. I wish I had a snapshot of their faces. :wub: Yeah, I was 17 at the time, one of those fresh faced pretty boys that got picked on for being a fresh faced prettyboy, so I'm sure among their ilk it didn't make me any more beloved. (Let's just say I don't imagine women were beating down their doors for attention). Normally when I played BT I would just cut loose and have fun, maybe do things that were just tactically ridiculous just because I was trying to have fun with it all. That was the one time I really buckled down and went strategic. The planets were in the proper alignment, I suppose. My forum handle here, Rush Maguin, is the character I created around that battle as a personal badge of honor. I've followed his career over the last twenty years, from his backstory leading up to the invasion all the way up to the jihad as new events unfolded. He became a token NPC of mine when I wasn't using him in pick up games and the like, so the players I taught to play over the years have all met him. I hope I can recreate some of his success on the MWO battlefield. :P

View PostLipot, on 23 June 2012 - 07:11 PM, said:

Very well written and a very important lesson for everyone to learn. Thank you good sir for showing that by enjoying the game for the sake of the game you are better then the rule nazi that show up way too often in these types of games.


Thanks. :wub: I can't say it was as much fun when it was happening, but it was a good time in retrospect. By and by, I've found cooler people in Battletech than almost anywhere else - we've got a great sense of community, generally speaking - but the bad apples are still out there, as I'm all too well aware.

View PostRadgor Ryan, on 23 June 2012 - 07:30 PM, said:

Wow. Amazing story man. One of those moments in gaming that is forever remembered.

I was around 20 and a TT player when you played this game, so the picture you painted of the convention brings back a lot of memories. It really was a golden time of it. I agree that TRO 3050 jarring for me too. Honestly, I hated it at first. It took a long while to appreciate it to be honest.

Your story is interesting on many levels, I think we've all faced poor sportsmanship and 'rules lawyers' at one stage of gaming or another. Now online they've just become griefers or hackers or simply angry trolls. I applaud you on your victory, and for sharing your story.

Hard to believe its been over 20 years, hopefully MWO brings on another golden age for Battletech and we'll be telling more stories in another 20.

Cheers.


So, you're another veteran of the original invasion. Thank you for your service in those dark times. ^_^ It's an odd, unique quirk of Battletech, isn't it, how the timeline advances became as emblematic of eras of our lives as any other real world event? I think "Clan Invasion" and I go, "I was in high school then." The Refusal War? Living with my brother in our first house. We reformed the Star League when I was working at an arcade, I was dating my favorite ex (and taught her to play!) during the Civil War...somehow experiencing the timeline firsthand is so amazing. I've tried to tell people about the Clan Invasion and what it was like, but it was really a luxury to actually -experience- it in something relating to real time.

View PostSurtr, on 23 June 2012 - 08:35 PM, said:

Well written and done sir. I've been a long time player of both Btech, as well as warhammer (40k and fantasy) and gaming conventions bring out the worst kind of sportsmen. Glad you got to stick it to em though.


DId my time in 40K. Mainly for my brother - that's where he went after Battletech. But I kept up with BAttletech over the years. It remains my favorite game of all, and I was teaching people the ropes in the game as recent as last year - making hardcore converts of them as well. I only hope I haven't created a monster - my deadliest rivals are, fittingly, dedicated members of Liao and Kurita. :P

Edited by Rush Maguin, 23 June 2012 - 09:25 PM.


#7 Surtr

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 09:49 PM

Quote

DId my time in 40K. Mainly for my brother - that's where he went after Battletech. But I kept up with BAttletech over the years. It remains my favorite game of all, and I was teaching people the ropes in the game as recent as last year - making hardcore converts of them as well. I only hope I haven't created a monster - my deadliest rivals are, fittingly, dedicated members of Liao and Kurita. :wub:


I'm drifting away from Warhammer honestly. The newest editions of both fantasy and 40k have been lacking and lost their flavor. Not to mention my huge backlog of unpainted models, as well as the ridiculous prices. They now charge $75 for a land raider! When I started playing they were $45. But battletech has never lost its charm. To me, everytime I crack open a book (novel or rulebook) I feel like that 9 year old who was totally confused by the critical hit system and used to fight massive battles with cardstock counters...against himself for days on end :P

#8 Gazza

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:00 PM

Ha that was a monster story! Wish you had that on camera.

#9 Rush Maguin

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:03 AM

View PostSurtr, on 23 June 2012 - 09:49 PM, said:


I'm drifting away from Warhammer honestly. The newest editions of both fantasy and 40k have been lacking and lost their flavor. Not to mention my huge backlog of unpainted models, as well as the ridiculous prices. They now charge $75 for a land raider! When I started playing they were $45. But battletech has never lost its charm. To me, everytime I crack open a book (novel or rulebook) I feel like that 9 year old who was totally confused by the critical hit system and used to fight massive battles with cardstock counters...against himself for days on end B)


Yeah, 40K lost me fair and square. If the balance and the rules snafus weren't enough, the sportsmanship in 40K on a local front is like those guys from the con every bloody day. B) And at least Battletech's core principles have never changed. They might tweak a rule here and again but largely it's the same lay of the land from my high school days. As for the pricing, yeah, forget that noise. Hands down. The Raider was 45 when I started (you must have started around the time I did), and 60 was pushing it, but I wouldn't pay 75 for that thing in GW's most wild and twisted fever dreams. A friend I met a year ago through 40K and I spent six months of that year so angry at GW we stopped playing altogether. I've always been happy with Battletech, by comparison. At least with Battletech, war stories like mine are entirely possible.

View PostGazza, on 23 June 2012 - 11:00 PM, said:

Ha that was a monster story! Wish you had that on camera.


I wish I could have! But cell phones and even pagers didn't exist back then, or at least, not like they do no - miniaturized with built in cameras. I'd have loved having some visual keepsakes of the battle, though. It was a hell of a map and a great visual treat, I'll give it that much. :lol:

#10 Amarus Cameron

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:24 AM

My hat is off to you sir, excellent story telling and good for you for sticking it out. Chances are I would have been with the Bully's purely because I will be a Jaguar forever, though I will say they are no clansmen, opting to call it rather than finish. If you let some freeborn mechwarriors pummel you so hard then you deserve to lose, at least have some pride and die fighting.

If there is ever the chance I would be honored to fight you you dirty Davion dog.

#11 TheSassySquatch

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:58 AM

Wow. This was actually a great read. Thank you for taking the time to write it. It unfortunately seems like no matter what game or sport you play, a-holes like this exist. But way to keep the positive attitude and passing it on to others.

#12 Rush Maguin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:12 AM

View PostAmarus Cameron, on 27 June 2012 - 05:24 AM, said:

My hat is off to you sir, excellent story telling and good for you for sticking it out. Chances are I would have been with the Bully's purely because I will be a Jaguar forever, though I will say they are no clansmen, opting to call it rather than finish. If you let some freeborn mechwarriors pummel you so hard then you deserve to lose, at least have some pride and die fighting.

If there is ever the chance I would be honored to fight you you dirty Davion dog.


I will be keeping an eye out for you if the CLans do come to MWO, Amarus. I've made it my business to stop CLanners from the sphere side for twenty years now. I look forward to testing your mettle in combat. And definitely, they were dezgra. A dropship? Elementals? Aerospace? And giving us the equal of bearskins and knives to defend ourselves with....well, at least they got their just deserves. Tell your clan friends my name and that my mech, "Lucky 21" - for the 21 of you I killed on Luthien - will be stalking them!

View PostBIackice, on 27 June 2012 - 05:58 AM, said:

Wow. This was actually a great read. Thank you for taking the time to write it. It unfortunately seems like no matter what game or sport you play, a-holes like this exist. But way to keep the positive attitude and passing it on to others.


That is sort of what kept me going afterward. Battletech is an amazing game. It needed better representaiton than those guys were giving it. There had to be a counterpoint, even if it is a small one. I honestly have no idea if those guys still doing anything BT related or not - they owned a game store at the time that's been closed now for years and years - but anything we can do as players in good faith to bury those antics and promote good sportsmanship is more critical than ever in today's cynical, digital world.

#13 Amarus Cameron

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:27 AM

View PostRush Maguin, on 27 June 2012 - 06:12 AM, said:


I will be keeping an eye out for you if the CLans do come to MWO, Amarus. I've made it my business to stop CLanners from the sphere side for twenty years now. I look forward to testing your mettle in combat. And definitely, they were dezgra. A dropship? Elementals? Aerospace? And giving us the equal of bearskins and knives to defend ourselves with....well, at least they got their just deserves. Tell your clan friends my name and that my mech, "Lucky 21" - for the 21 of you I killed on Luthien - will be stalking them!


Technically you should not have had more than one in four 3050 upgraded mechs, at the time the DCMS was woefully behind the tech curve, it was with the Clan invasion that they got their stuff together. But I know that Smoke Jaguar warriors level 1 and 2 honor is expected, their dezgra attitude is just so sad.

I will tell my starmates, purely so that you are saved for me :) Clansmen like to kill tough targets. You will find me in Sentinel, my Summoner Prime. (until the clans are added I will be part of the Clan Scout Jaegers, we are the 'anti-expeditionary' unit)

#14 Jerous

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:29 AM

History is told by the victors.

#15 Stormwolf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:37 AM

Awesome, you showed those honorless stravags who's boss.

They weren't very good Clan players if they had to resort to handicapping you guys on purpose in every way. It's supposed to be the other way around, the Clan player should be at a disadvantage and should strive to come out on top in the end.

#16 Firefun

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:56 AM

Amazing story and always good to be the winning underdog against all odds. :)

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:21 AM

I honestly think poor sportsmanship is what led to the downfall of Dark Age.
I played a lot of Dark Age at various venues but time and time again the venue hosts would rules lawyer like crazy for thier buddies making sure they got the best prize pieces. Dishonest venues keeping prizes for themselves didn't help either.

These types of actions drove the honest for-fun players away from official venues. Without the competitive nature of the venues, there wasn't as much need to buy the biggest and best and sales fell.

#18 Rush Maguin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:49 AM

View PostAmarus Cameron, on 27 June 2012 - 06:27 AM, said:


Technically you should not have had more than one in four 3050 upgraded mechs, at the time the DCMS was woefully behind the tech curve, it was with the Clan invasion that they got their stuff together. But I know that Smoke Jaguar warriors level 1 and 2 honor is expected, their dezgra attitude is just so sad.

I will tell my starmates, purely so that you are saved for me :P Clansmen like to kill tough targets. You will find me in Sentinel, my Summoner Prime. (until the clans are added I will be part of the Clan Scout Jaegers, we are the 'anti-expeditionary' unit)


One in four was loosely held up in that game. I personally had no upgraded mechs; I think one of the two guys originally under my company command had one (a Steiner Marauder, the one with the Gauss rifle on top? At least I think that was a Steiner variant). And yeah, I'm Jade Falcon on the Clan side of faction, and I've never seen a clan player (even the not so pleasant ones) so obviously stack the deck against their foes. They'll do cheesy builds and pulse boats and the like but I haven't seen anyone since deliberately rig an entire scenario for one side to fail. I certainly wouldn't throw dice with anyone who did.

View PostJerous, on 27 June 2012 - 06:29 AM, said:

History is told by the victors.


Better the victors in this case than the sore losers. The smear campaign and bad sportsmanship got old. You know, I actually did consider, more than once, heading over to their game store to bury the hatchet and maybe join their Battletech group there, but I realized that if they were going to be that poisonous to me as a complete stranger, letting them into closer quarters probably wasn't the best idea. I had no incentive to think I'd be treated any better for my effort.

View PostStormwolf, on 27 June 2012 - 06:37 AM, said:

Awesome, you showed those honorless stravags who's boss.

They weren't very good Clan players if they had to resort to handicapping you guys on purpose in every way. It's supposed to be the other way around, the Clan player should be at a disadvantage and should strive to come out on top in the end.


The oddball thing is how their nasty attitudes and our desperate but gung ho counter-attitudes duplicated the atmosphere inside the scenario itself. Arrogant, overwhelming Clanners with all the advantages thinking they could never lose, and the thin red line of INner Sphere "barbarians" who beat the odds and pushed them back. It wasn't their intent, but in retrospect, that actually did make the Battle of Luthien feel a bit more alive. Between that event, reading of it in Stackpole's books and then playing it out digitally in the Crescent Hawk's Revenge (what a great old game for its time), and the Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries branch of missions there, I felt I -lived- the Battle of Luthien. ;P

View PostFirefun, on 27 June 2012 - 06:56 AM, said:

Amazing story and always good to be the winning underdog against all odds. :)


Thanks. :P I didn't go to the con planning to be an underdog - I don't think any of us did - but everyone on the SPhere side walked away from a battle to be proud of. ;)

View PostRixx, on 27 June 2012 - 07:21 AM, said:

I honestly think poor sportsmanship is what led to the downfall of Dark Age.
I played a lot of Dark Age at various venues but time and time again the venue hosts would rules lawyer like crazy for thier buddies making sure they got the best prize pieces. Dishonest venues keeping prizes for themselves didn't help either.

These types of actions drove the honest for-fun players away from official venues. Without the competitive nature of the venues, there wasn't as much need to buy the biggest and best and sales fell.


I think you're absolutely right. I think poor sportsmanship at tournies does a lot, a LOT, to drive down sales and a game's following. It drove my brother and our two friends away from Battletech. I've seen people drop out of 40K forever here because the sportsmanship of just a select few can be so very, very bad. Gaming is about community, building one and participating in one; it's everyone sharing an enthusiasm for something and making newcomers feel welcome at the table. Bad sportsmanship and crap behavior hurts --everybody--, somewhere in the equation.

#19 Harleqwin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:01 AM

Wonderful story! Reading your epic tale brings back some old memories of mine. I played in the same recreation of that Luthien battle at GenCon in 1991. The large (3 tables) battle area and the 3d terrain, the huge number of miniatures, I believe I even remember the exploding storage tanks.

FASA always had really good drama around the newest release of material for BattleTech. A friend and I were at GenCon 1988 when Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner got married. There was cake with both Houses symbols on it; and then a BIG announcement...I think they even made it over the loudspeakers; "Mechwarriors report for duty, Davion just promised his wife the Capellan Confederation as a wedding present." And the Fourth Succession war was ON!

The suspense that FASA built up for the introduction of the Clans was incredible! Reading the first Lethal Heritage book and then having to wait for the next was maddening for my little gaming group. In retrospect, all the references to Alexander Kerensky (and the Wolf's Dragoons) throughout the BT source material were nice hints about what was to come.

#20 Rush Maguin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:15 AM

View PostHarleqwin, on 27 June 2012 - 08:01 AM, said:

Wonderful story! Reading your epic tale brings back some old memories of mine. I played in the same recreation of that Luthien battle at GenCon in 1991. The large (3 tables) battle area and the 3d terrain, the huge number of miniatures, I believe I even remember the exploding storage tanks.

FASA always had really good drama around the newest release of material for BattleTech. A friend and I were at GenCon 1988 when Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner got married. There was cake with both Houses symbols on it; and then a BIG announcement...I think they even made it over the loudspeakers; "Mechwarriors report for duty, Davion just promised his wife the Capellan Confederation as a wedding present." And the Fourth Succession war was ON!

The suspense that FASA built up for the introduction of the Clans was incredible! Reading the first Lethal Heritage book and then having to wait for the next was maddening for my little gaming group. In retrospect, all the references to Alexander Kerensky (and the Wolf's Dragoons) throughout the BT source material were nice hints about what was to come.


That is AWESOME. ;) That's the kind of immersion you look for in gaming! Fun stuff like that. A cake? Loudspeakers? How wonderfully epic. ;) Did they run any scenarios with that?

And yeah, watching the Clan Invasion unfold is so different from how people get into the game and read about it in retrospect. They handled the suspense and paranoia of it really well, and nobody knew -what- was going to happen next. I said before, I'll say it again; watching the storyline roll out over time like that was such a luxury - it was just so much fun. I try to tell newer players what the atmosphere of the game was like in that era and how dramatic it was, how we'd snap up every novel or sourcebook that moved things forward even an inch...oh, those were the days. :D





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