Battletech: Battle Royale 3025

Today’s post owes the entirety of its content to the work of my old comrade in dice, BF Wolfe.

My esteemed colleague, and fellow Battletech aficionado, has continued his probe into the mysteries of the sweet science of mechanized combat. The last time we discussed his theories, we looked at his genetic algorithm for evolving an effective mech design. This time we shall look at his study of effective designs from the 3025 era. BF always amazes me with his perspicacity, and from my perspective has mathematical knowledge bordering on the arcane. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I find it impressive when a player can accurately surmise the stats of an opponent, not from knowing the results of rolls and their targets, but from analyzing the statistical probability of the results and using that to determine the probable trait scores of the enemy.

I digress.

Using the combat simulator he devised for the evolutionary trials of the earlier experiment, BF Wolfe set each of the following ‘mechs against each other in a series of battles in order to see which mech was most likely to win against the others. The results are laid out below:

The Results
Battlemech Standard or Variant Matches Won
Hammerhands S 51
Wolverine S 50
Quickdraw S 43
Dervish S 41
Centurion S 40
Crusader S 40
ShadowHawk-J V:  SRM4, 10 Heat Sinks 39
Catapult S 37
ShadowHawk S 35
Dragon S 35
Grasshopper S 31
Thunderbolt S 30
Blackjack S 25
ShadowHawk-L V: Large Laser, 14 Heat Sinks 23
Archer S 22
Trebuchet S 20
Rifleman S 19
Clint S 17
Assassin S 15
PheonixHawk S 14
Enforcer S 13
Griffin S 8
Chameleon S 7
WarHammer S 4
Scorpion S 2
Marauder S 0
Methods of Madness

The matches were organized according to the following conditions, rules, tactics, and assumptions.

Conditions
  • Each mech fought every other mech twice in round robin matches.
  • Each match was the best out of 11 battles.
  • A battle ended when a mech’s centre torso or head was blown off, there was an ammo explosion, a mech overheated, or after 100 rounds.
  • A battle was considered a draw if there was no winner after 100 rounds.
  • The mech that reached 11 wins first was awarded one point for the match, the loser 0.  If 11 draws was reached, 0 points were awarded to both mechs for the match.
Rules & Tactics

Combat used the standard Battletech rules with some simplifying assumptions for combat.

Weapons fire:

  • Each mech calculated its optimal firing curves for its current weapon load.  This calculation multiplied the damage for each weapon by the probability that a weapon would hit at a given range.  Heat efficient weapons were fired earlier.
  • Weapons were ordered for each possible range to maximize the ‘expected damage’ and each mech would fire weapons in that order up to its maximum heat on any given turn.
  • Number of missile hits was always the average roll, but multiple hit locations were used when required (SRM and large LRMs).
  • Mechs only fired weapons that had a chance to hit that round given range, movement modifier (self and target) with an assumed gunnery of 3.

Movement:

  • Mechs would calculate their optimal distance to the current opponent by comparing their own expected damage curves to their opponents.  They would then move their best rate to reach that distance each turn.
  • Best walking or running rate was slowed by a random distance of 0 to 3 hexes to account for terrain and turning.
  • If a mech’s optimal distance was closer than the current distance, Run (forward) speed was used.
  • If the optimal distance was farther than the current distance, Walk (backward) speed was used.
  • Mechs chose the greater distance of their run/walk, or their jump if available.
  • The match started at a distance of 24 hexes, and the change in range distance for each round was a subtraction of the maximum distances described above. The mech with the greater movement moved a total of the difference toward their optimal distance.
Assumptions

Simplifying assumptions that are built in that may not be accurate:

  • As terrain was not specifically programmed, it was assumed that each mech would be able to find a movement which matched their maximum (modified) move and still reach this distance.
  • Mechs did not ride their heat lines as some pilots would, since firing extra one round would mean firing less the next.
  • Since terrain was abstracted, mechs could not hide to cool down
  • Rules like sprinting, and skilled evasion were not implemented
  • Piloting rolls, and physical attacks were not implemented
Response

As those who have followed this set of posts from the beginning will know, I was not to pleased to see the Warhammer near the bottom of yet another set of these lists, but as it was the standard version, and as it did not out-and-out lose, I guess I can see an improvement.

What do you think about the rankings? Do they match your expectations?

Comments
2 Responses to “Battletech: Battle Royale 3025”
  1. BF Wolfe says:

    A lot of these mechs need very little tweaking to move them up the list. The Warhammer’s failings are almost entirely heat related.Your favourite variant without machine guns and with 2 extra heat sinks shoots up to the middle of the list.

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