Wednesday 19 June 2024

Conflicted on Hard Counters

New MAC Tech just dropped!

(in my version of the doc, that is. I won't be adding them to the Google Doc till I've done some tests)

Let's see what we've got.


ECM: This module ignores hits from G and M weapon types.

Mesh: This module ignores hits from B and R weapon types.

Reflector: This module ignores hits from P and D weapon types.


Frag (F): Calculate TN using the target’s Class in place of their Motion.

Demolition (D): Each Hit causes Hits equal to the target’s Class.

Rapid (R): You may make a second attack with this weapon, for 0 Heat, against a different valid target within 6" of the first target. 

These weapons require dice to track Chem (yellow die). Like Heat, this starts at 0 and cannot go higher than 6. All Chem is removed at the end of the Move Phase.

Chem (-C): x2 AD. For each Hit, instead of resolving normally, the target gains 1 Chem.
In their next Move phase they either let the attacker move the unit using a Hold or Advance Move or take 1 Hit for every Chem. The unit’s owner still sets facing at the end of the move.

Kinetic (-K): Each Hit increases the target’s Motion by 1.

Nano (-N): Hits cannot be nullified, reassigned, or ignored by any means. Cannot attack targets in Cover or Buildings.

SF3-K QuakeWave
AR3-C AcidRain
LD2-N SingularityBeam

With MAC Attack I don't want to just create new weapon types and hardware for the sake of it. The core weapon types/subtypes are pretty solid right now and give you plenty of options for how to equip your units.

So what's the point of these new types?

More opportunities for MAC/AU customisation of course!

With the original options you've got 144 possible weapons. With these new additions that goes up to 504 and I think they're all viable.

Well, that sounds very much like "creating new weapons for the sake of it" but yeah... I guess MAC Attack does indulge in a little of that. Let's not fight it.

Then, as I wrote them, I realised I was creating some relatively hard counters. Some more than others.

Frag counters small, fast moving targets and wrecks AUs of all types.
Demolition counters buildings and big MACs.
Rapid counters swarms of infantry and vehicles.

Chem counters units that want to hide away in cover or buildings.
Kinetic throws off the accuracy of artillery and sniper MACs.
Nano is terrible news for heavily Armoured AUs.

I've typically been averse to hard counters in wargames. I dream of a world where you can throw any two armies against each other and have a fun game, with every unit being able to shine in their own way.

I wake up at night sweating about wargames that have shields only offer protection against missile attacks... then discovering your opponent has brought exclusively melee units...

If your all-pikemen army hard counters charging cavalry and I show up with an all-Knight force I want us to still be able to have a good time, even if we acknowledge that we're diverging from a historical simulation.

Of course MAC Attack isn't burdened with history, but I still shudder thinking about loading up on Nano weapons just to discover that none of the opposing force is carrying any form of damage protection.

Yet, if both sides are bringing a bit of everything to the fight then these counters can provide a fun tactical challenge at the table.

I don't want to be too prescriptive with the force composition rules, like limiting how many Class 3 MACs you can bring, or ensuring that every Force has some sort of armour in place, so instead I'm taking a different approach.

These new modules are deliberately tucked away in the "Advanced Modules" section with the other variant rules, because then I don't need to worry about them ruining somebody's first ever game.

If you've already played MAC Attack a few times then you already love it, right?

At that point what do I care if your AU Swarm force gets wrecked by an opponent loaded up with LR1 GatlingArrays?

If your all-Class-3-MAC force gets destroyed by a bunch of buggies with SD2-X ImploderCharges then I guess your gamble didn't pay off. Tweak your list, rack them up, and let's go again.

But if that's your first ever game? I wouldn't blame you for not coming back.


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