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For simplicity’s sake (and the fact that to really get into the full depth of how it works you need the “Building A Force Rules”), in Strategic Operations the Force Quality is how good the unit is (Elite/Veteran/Regular/Green). Then you’ve got the Equipment Rating directly determining Force Loyalty. And both of those then determining how Morale/Fatigue works.

While that does the job of providing a rules framework for using Morale and Fatigue (Outside of Game Play), they are incredibly coarse. What’s more, they don’t fully portray the fiction of the BattleTech universe, where various forces break said rules. Such as the Fifth Sword of Light that as of 3059 were Green, yet Fanatical and only had an Equipment Rating of C. Or the 4th Regular Hussars that as of 3059 were Veteran, yet Questionable and had a C Equipment Rating.

So the question is, how do you create rules that allows players to accurately portray the fiction of the universe, but do it in a way that’s a solid framework that’s easy to understand and use?

Well, the first thing you do is break things down somewhat from what’s in Strategic Operations. For example, I just finished writing up this draft of initial rules:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The rules in Strategic Operations for generating Force Quality, as well as Force Loyalty is incredibly course. A desire to make it simple and easy to take pre-existing data and generate the information players need to immediately put these rules into game play.

These rules expand upon those, providing a more realistic approach to generating those details, but at the cost of time and complexity.

First, it is important to define the terms that will be used in these rules.

    Experience Rating: Force Quality, as defined in Strategic Operations, in these rules will be known as Experience Rating; the over-all skill rating of the force.
    Force Loyalty: This has the same definition as Strategic Operations; how loyal a force is to its faction (or to the contract, if a mercenary). However, how you arrive at this value is determined using a new rules set.
    Equipment Rating: Once again, this has the same definition as Strategic Operations (i.e. the level of advanced technologies the force has access to).
    Logistics Rating: Regardless of the type of equipment a force has access to, how often the force is re-supplied—as well as the size of its warchest of supplies—directly impacts its capabilities, as well as its morale (and even fatigue).
    Force Quality: Under these rules, Force Quality is not the Experience Rating of the unit. Instead, it is a single value that takes into account the four values above to generate an over-all rating for the unit, off of which Morale (and to a lesser extent Fatigue) will operate (as well as other effects).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Next, you need to have rules for not only generating the new value of Logistics Rating, but you also need to have rules for how to generate the other values as well before you even get to Force Quality. After all, especially when you get to the Inner Sphere At War level of game play, players will be generating forces en-mass and expecting them to run every one of those through the complete Force Generation rules is unacceptable.

After thinking about it for a while, I did what I almost always do in such situations…I started to dig into reference material to see if I could start to detect patterns. I’ve been in-putting all the Field Manuals data into a spreadsheet that allows me to generate data I can use to build such rules in a way that’ll be relatively easy to use, while ensuring the players can mimic anything that’s come before.

After in-putting the Draconis Combine data (circa 3059), it generated the following details:

76 Regiments
6 Elite: 7%
28 Veteran: 36%
22 Regular: 28%
20 Green: 26%

76 Regiments
17 Fanatical: 22%
38 Reliable: 50%
21 Questionable: 27%

76 Regiments 12 A-rated: 15%
14 B-rated: 18%
23 C-rated: 30%
21 D-rated: 27%
6 F-rated: 7%

ELITE
Force Loyalty %
5 Fanatical: 83%
1 Reliable: 16%
0 Questionable: 0%

Equipment Rating %
4 A: 66%
2 B: 33%
0 C: 0%
0 D: 0%
0 F: 0%

VETERAN
Force Loyalty %
5 Fanatical: 17%
16 Reliable: 57%
7 Questionable: 25%

Equipment Rating %
8 A: 28%
8 B: 28%
7 C: 25%
5 D: 17%
0 F: 0%

REGULAR
Force Loyalty %
3 Fanatical: 13%
10 Reliable: 45%
9 Questionable: 40%

Equipment Rating %
0 A: 0%
4 B: 18%
7 C: 31%
9 D: 40%
2 F: 9%

GREEN
Force Loyalty %
4 Fanatical: 20%
11 Reliable: 55%
5 Questionable: 25%

Equipment Rating %
0 A: 0%
0 B: 0%
9 C: 45%
7 D: 35%
4 F: 20%

Now there’s a couple of fascinating things to pull out of that data.

First, while the rules in Strategic Operations are too course…they’re still very much within the over-all data presented here.

Second, when I was simply sketching out ideas for how to make this work, my initial thought was a resource allocation-style when dealing with Force Loyalty/Experience Rating/Equipment Rating/Logistics Rating. In other words, regardless of the number of forces involved, if you’re going to ‘create forces in a faction’, and have those forces roughly mimic a force that’s been a part of a faction for decades (if not centuries), resource allocation allows you to do that.

Taking Force Loyalty as an example: 10% of the force is Fanatical, 75% is Reliable and 15% is Questionable. Then, for every percent point you want to move into the Fanatical category from Reliable, you move a percent point into the Questionable category. It’s surprising how close the actual published data comes to my notes I’d sketched out before compiling that information, which is incredibly encouraging.

Now obviously I need to finish in-putting all the Field Manuals, though so far the Free Worlds League is pretty close (and the differences can easily be created with a few faction-specific style tweaks to the resource allocation).

Also, the other values of Experience Ratings, Logistics and so on will receive a similar style of resource allocation, each building off of the other data to create that final Force Quality for each force of a faction. How exactly is that done? Still working on it…

As a final aside, for those that want to play at this level but even thinking about the final rules that’ll result from all this makes you glassy-eyed…there’ll be tables for quick generation of such things, for those that don’t mind the randomization.

See ya next time.

Randall

 

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