ScrapYard Armory

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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category


Strategic Hex Chits

Over the years I’ve played a few games of BattleForce and have also taken a distinct liking to the new Abstract Combat System.  One thing that unites these two rule sets is the use of Strategic Symbols to represent combat units.  While you could always proxy in miniatures I feel that the use of iconography showcased in Strategic Operations (itself a modification of familiar Military Symbology) really adds to the gaming experience.

Catalyst Game Labs has made available some modestly priced PDF products for those who wanted make their own tokens at home.

I’ve downloaded the whole bunch and have played around with them in the past.  I really think they hit the mark.  They are gorgeous tokens but they do require a bit of work to make them tabletop ready.  Not a huge detriment considering we are all war gamers who are perfectly comfortable cutting, filing, priming, painting, and sealing minis and terrain for fun.

However, I’ve always wanted something with a bit more heft.  Something a bit more substantial than some card stock glued back to back.  Over the last year I’ve been using Print on Demand services from The Game Crafter (TGC) to procure board and card game prototypes.  Just recently I’ve prototyped some hex chits for my Battle for Altais scenario.  After some tweaks as well as some process improvements at TGC I wanted to make these chits available to anyone to purchase.

A Closer Look

Take a look at the following action shots to see how they look.  The chits will come attached to a punch board so you have the fun of punching out the chits when you first receive them.  The hexes are just a bit smaller than a standard BattleTech map hex so they fit nicely next to each other even when things get crowded.  My only complaint with TGC is the front to back registration can be a bit off, so the radar blips sometimes are skewed to one side.

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One of the best features is a UV coating which makes every hex dry erase marker compatible.  You can mark units, keep tabs on radar blips, and do any kind of tracking you can fit on the hex.  After the battle, just wipe it away and be ready for the next campaign.

stratopstokensdryerase - 1

I have more than a few sets available for sale depending on what assortment of colors and units you are most interested in. (Click through to see details on TGC) Each item will have a full inventory in the description.

The multi-color packs feature a reduced variety of units but cover all five major colors BattleTech players will want to see (red, blue, green, yellow, purple).  The single color Reinforcements have a much wider variety of units including things like Aerospace, Artillery, Mechanized Infantry, and even an HQ unit.

Future Plans

I have a few more ideas in mind for future expansions to the lineup.  A Grey Reinforcement set is a given.  A set of space hexes is also in the works.  We could all use some Warships, Space Stations, Jumpships, and Dropships in our lives.

Looking For Something Completely Custom?

Not seeing anything you like?  Perhaps you need a different color?  A unique unit type?  A different mix of units to capture your favorite battle?

I can work with you to do something completely custom.  I generate the images for each hex using a script so just about anything is possible.  With a little bit of work I can generate a custom TGC order for you to purchase.  If interested, shoot me an email at and we can discuss the details of your project.

Posted under Misc

A Grinder a Day

Grinder- - 6

I have not had much time to game these days so when I do get a chance I savor every minute.

My last venture to the battlefields was with two local gamers.  We broke out my Grinder terrain, took control of two units each, and proceeded to blast away at each other until dinner time.

While none of us managed to climb into our heavies in the time we had, we had a lot of fun and rolled a lot of dice.  There was lots of jumping and maneuvering to keep us on our toes.  I started with a RAC5 on one of my ‘Mechs which I managed to jam three times.

I hope my guests had fun and look forward to more games in the future.  Keep those dice rolling.

Grinder- - 2Grinder- - 1Grinder- - 4Grinder- - 3

Grinder- - 8Grinder- - 7Grinder- - 6Grinder- - 5

Posted under Misc

A Few of My Favorite Games

For those of you who may have been frequent readers in the past you may notice that the frequency of my posts here at the ScrapYard has declined somewhat.  I wanted to take a moment to say I’m still here, still kicking and keeping very busy.

The majority of my free time these days is going into the maintenance and improvement of the Succession Wars game.  That is not to say that I have forgotten about this blog or BattleTech in general.  I have plenty of post ideas, miniatures to paint, and battles to play out.  Time is just not on my side at the moment.

In lieu of a more proper post I’d like to show off some of the games currently underway at the SuccessionWars site.  Click on any map for a larger version.


This game is just getting underway and features a increased player count to include the Terran Hegemony and the Rim Worlds Republic.  This Order of Battle is an example of a user generated setup.



Steiner is in control in this game with Liao putting a hurting on the normally dominant Davions.



Another fan made Order of Battle features the Clans invading the Inner Sphere for conquest and honor.  It is still relatively early in the game but the Clans have proven they are worth their mettle and have driven almost to Davion space.



This game features the Davions in the driver seat with Liao almost gone and Steiner and Marik battling for survival.




Posted under Misc

Best Of 2012

2012 was a hectic year with a mix of hits and misses.  I had the distinct surprise of being able to attend GenCon at almost the last minute.  To be honest my time to work on the blog has been limited this year but I see a lot of great posts in the pipeline and my love of the game has not diminished.  I expect to continue this blog well into the future and keep posting great BattleTech content as often as I can.

2012 also saw the Beta release of The Succession Wars online game here at the ScrapYard.  This is a huge milestone for the development team who worked for some time behind closed doors and through a private Alpha test game to bring this effort to life.  While there remains more work to do, we have a list of bug fixes in the pipeline that are almost ready to roll out.

BattleTech is a great passion of mine and I love sharing through this blog.  Here’s to a great 2013; Whatever adventures it may bring!

Without further adieu, here are the top posts from the past year ranked by page views.

  1. The Bounty Hunter Dossier Review
  2. The Succession Wars Beta
  3. WorldWorksGames a Time of War Terrain
  4. Mech Repair Bay by Iron Wind Metals
  5. The Succession Wars Combat Simulator
  6. Total Chaos Review
  7. City Fight
  8. Catalyst Delivers Interstellar Operations Open Beta is Live
  9. The Succession Wars Vassal Module 2.1
  10. Ranger Danger

Thanks to all those who take the time to read this blog and especially those who leave a comment!  I love hearing from fans of the game!

Keep those dice rolling in 2013!


Posted under Misc

GenCon 2012 Reporter Needed

It’s that time of year again and the best four days of gaming are looming.  Alas I won’t be able to attend this year but I would like to keep up the fine tradition this blog has of reporting GenCon BattleTech news.

Last year I had help from two great fans who were able to bring the convention to these pages.  Hopefully, there are those out there who are ready to help out again.

The Requirements

  • You must own your own camera.  It can be a point and shoot but it should be able to take nice miniature pictures. (macro mode)
  • Be able to upload pictures to the ScrapYard each day.  I will provide FTP access for you.
  • You should be planning on attending the What’s Up with BattleTech/Catalyst Seminar and take notes.

The Loot

Obviously I wouldn’t ask for you to donate your time and energy for nothing.  In addition to the soul altering satisfaction of helping the ScrapYardArmory meet the insatiable demand for BattleTech GenCon coverage I am able to offer the following incentives.

  • I’ll cover the cost of internet access at your hotel room if needed.  (in past years the convention center had great free wireless coverage so this is just in case)
  • For each day of coverage you help me provide, I’ll give you a new in box BattleMech from my collection.  I have at least a hundred or so minis to choose from, you are sure to find something you like.

I hope to hear from you!

Posted under Misc

The Succession Wars Beta

We are opening up our online version of The Succession Wars to public Beta.  Emphasis on the Beta.  We got hooked when playing the game  by e-mail.  We’ve (ok, Saxywolf) over analyzed it.  And we (ok, mostly Brian) have been hard at work coding it for the past 6+ months!  You could just play by e-mail, but we are doing this so you don’t have to worry about semantics and can just… play.

Please email bugs, questions, comments, and complaints to

Please be careful when clicking.  There are no take-backs (except if it is a bug; we’ll do our best to fix it).

When we update & upgrade the game, we will do everything we can to preserve your game(s) so you can continue to play.  Allowing you all to play was our goal, after all.

We would like to thank all of our play testers: Bob Fischer, Mark Hall, Julio “Ladob”, and 2 others for helping us thus far and look forward to crushing them in the Closed Beta game (in round 4 now).

We have a list of current bugs to fix, but it is very playable.  We have a really long list of additions to add too (of which I know we will sadly just never get to all of them).

MOST of the rules used are straight from the rulebook, but not all.  Some are just not yet implemented, some necessitated change due to the online format, and some we have purposefully decided to change.  We will eventually release a revised rulebook that matches the rules as programmed.  For instance, a House Interdict is limited to two rounds.  Also, a regional interdict lasts a full round rather then then just until the end of the affected player’s turn.

With that said, please play by the rules as programmed (subject to change at any time… and they will), but please feel free to contact us.  We need feedback!

Starting a Game

First step is to start or join a game.  If you are starting a game on your own, then you will follow these steps to get things moving:

  • Create a new game via the link on the Dashboard.  Give it a name and a description if you like.

Optionally, there is a password you can set to ensure that only your group of friends gets to play.  If you are open to playing with strangers, leave it blank.

  • Build your new game.  This takes a bunch of steps and a few minutes.  Let it finish completely before trying to click anywhere else.
  • At this point players are allowed to join the game.  Invite your friends and fill up all of the slots.
  • Once all player slots are occupied, you Begin Player Setup.  This will open the Play link for all players who can then begin placing units on the game board.
  • Once all units have been placed, the Start Game link will be available.  Clicking this is the last step and will draw cards, generate initial income, and set the first player going.

Playing the Game

Once you have a game underway each player will take turns until there is only one successor to the Star League Throne!

Each player turn is broken up into the following phases:

  • Production
  • Movement
  • Combat (if required)

Production and Movement are fairly self explanatory.  The current player controls the action and clicks on the DONE link when they are ready to move to the next phase.

Once combat begins, all players in the game are allowed to view the affected territories and must click DONE to continue.  Once the first round of combat is complete the players who have contested territories must assign casualties and click DONE to continue.

Other phases of the game like Taxes and Placement are done automatically for you.

Have Fun

We hope you do.  This was a lot of work to put together (all during our “spare” time).  Let us know what you think!  Leave a comment below or email us at!

Posted under Misc

The Succession Wars: Combat Simulation

Here at the Scrapyard we are quite fond of the Succession Wars board game.  We have been playing in a few games and have cooked up an interesting tool to help us gauge the risk/reward associated with particular moves.  Do you press your attack or leave sleeping dragons lie?

Check out the Combat Simulator at Saxywolf’s site.


The Succession Wars is the Risk version of BattleTech.  In the board game, The Succession Wars, an attack occurs when combat units enter a region controlled by another House that already has units there.  They automatically engage for the first barrage (a single exchange of fire in the combat phase), although after each barrage they have the option to retreat if they have a friendly jumpship in the region with them (the jumpships could have dropped them off and then moved back to a friendly region).

For your strategizing needs, we have created an Combat Simulator to help you better understand what the results may/probably will be.  This simulation, however, assumes nobody retreats and that only two Houses are engaged in the combat. “Two man enter…”


1) Select the method of applying the ComStar Interdict and Star League bonus.  I.e. do they apply before or after the combo(s) are made? (The default selection is how the ScrapYard Armory is programming the web version.)

2) Select the strength of your units in the first two columns.  The second column is used to combine units with the adjacent unit in the first column (SW rules p.9).  If you are have a Tech ability to raise the strength of ‘Mechs, input the ‘Mech’s strength as it would be with the increase.  Note that you do not need to put your strongest units first as the default kill order selected is from the weakest to the strongest unit.

3) List your leaders’ combat abilities in the third column.  The order is not entirely important, but since the leaders are used if the combination is less than 10, a combination of 9 and a Leader of 2 will add up to 11 and waste 1 point worth.  For better results, try changing the order of your leaders if you have some 1’s.  Alternatively, you could put your weaker units/combos at the top of the list as the overall kill % remains the same no matter who gets the Leader bonus.

4) Do the same for the enemy units & leaders.

5) Select Comstar Interdict and/or Star League bonus if they apply.

6) (optional) Change the Number of Simulations.

7) Press Submit.

If the simulation is taking too long, reduce the ‘Number of Simulations’.  If it doesn’t finish, please let us know.

Try different combinations to see what maximizes your chances (or for the enemy minimizes).  Keep in mind that every time you run the simulation, the results will be slightly different and so will show different results as this is a simulation and not a calculation.


‘% chance you Win’ is the chance all the enemy units will be eliminated before yours.  You will keep/gain control of the region.

‘% chance you Lose’ is the chance your units will all be eliminated before the enemy’s.  The enemy will keep/gain control of the region.

‘% chance you simultaneously wipe each other out’ is the chance you and the enemy will wipe each other out in the same barrage.  Whoever had control of the region before will retain control AND gain control of any dropships and leaders remaining.

‘When you Win, % Chance of AT LEAST this many of your units lost’… Ok, so you might win, but at what cost?

‘When you Lose, % Chance of AT LEAST this many enemy units killed’… If you lose, how many of the enemy can you take down with you?

‘Average # rounds taken to finish an attack’  This is the average number of rounds it will take to complete the combat in the region.  This is important because the greater it is above 1, the more likely either side will be able to retreat.


If your units are under a ComStar Interdict, always combine as many units as you can to reduce the penalty by up to half.  By default, the Interdict affects the roll and not individual units.  Effectively, a combo of two units will only suffer a single -2 penalty (reducing the possible penalty by half).

If you are out numbered, avoid combining units.  Yes, even if you have weak units.  This is because there is a chance of killing 2 units rather then a better chance of killing only 1.  Unfortunately, you may be outnumbered and/or interdicted…  see the first tip.

Conversely, if you outnumber your opponent, you should combine at least all the way down so that you have the same number of combos as they have total units.  Doing so will eliminate the chance that you’ll have a wasted kill, but more importantly reduce the effectiveness of any Interdicts coming your way.  If you are hoping to wipe them out in a single barrage, watch out for creation of ‘Mercs via card, Contract Ends, or bribes.

Avoid combining units to be over a combined value of 10, unless you are combining for a number of guaranteed kills equal to the number of units they have or if you are interdicted then go for 12 max to counter the interdict’s -2.

Posted under Misc

The Succession Wars: VASSAL Module 2.1

As mentioned in the previous The Succession Wars, Play By Email post, VASSAL  is a free open source board game engine for playing online and several modules have already been made for you to play The Succession Wars using it.

Our commendations to the developer of the 2.0 module, mycenae.  If at first you think it appears simple, you would be mistaken.  I’ve looked at the code and there is a lot of it.  I’m sure the Module Editor helped, but it is still pretty extensive work; not to mention the ton of little images.

The original layout of the 2.1 map was designed by nckestrel, who is currently the GM running A New League.  I’ve helped revise it and adapted the layout several times including for my reference map.  There were some map errors in the 2.0 map caused by the fact that Terra was supposed to be added afterwards when using the region outline available online for the 2.0 map.  This 2.1 map keeps to the original connections of the board game and makes square pieces fit much better.

The House logos were made by Punakettu and there are more beautiful vector logos available in Punakettu’s deviantART Battletech Logos gallery.

You can download the 2.1 version from the ScrapYard Armory Downloads page or from the  The Succession Wars Module wiki page.

UPDATE: mycenae has published version 2.4 of his Succession Wars Vassal Module.

Posted under Misc

Open Call for Play Testers

The ScrapYard is in need of a few good gamers willing to donate some of their time which includes a distinct possibility of playing a game or two.

The game in question is the Succession Wars board game.  If that sort of thing is up your alley drop me a line at and sign up for a slot.  There are only five available slots so hurry!

Please keep in mind the following short list of general requirements to be a tester.

  • Must be available to play between the hours of 8:30-10:00 PM EST (I’d like all players to be available at the same time to aid progress)
  • Must be willing to take notes along the way, bugs, improvements, comments and criticism welcome.
  • Must be willing to accept that bugs may force the game offline from time to time.  Your patience and perseverance would be appreciated.

Thanks and hope to hear from you!

Posted under Misc

Best of 2011

2011 is in the rear view mirror and it was a great year.  The 25th anniversary box set hit the shelves to overwealming interest from gamers.  I played some great games in 2011 and am looking forward to more in 2012.  For all that the past year has given us, 2012 promises much more.  We have a lot to look forward to including the realeas of the next major installment of the Mechwarrior franchise, community playtesting of specific parts of Interstellar Operations, and more great products from Catalyst Game Labs.

Catalyst Game Labs continues to be a force in the gaming industry and reguarly supplies the BattleTech community with new material for our games covering multiple eras.

The ScrapYard has been busy as always and have a full compliment of games, miniatures, and articles to write about in the coming year.  Here are the most popular articles from the past year based on a weighted average of page views.

  1. Portable MercRoster
  2. Breaking and Entering
  3. BattleTroops Reborn in A Time of War
  4. Hold the Line
  5. Twilight of the Clans, The Great Refusal
  6. 25th Anniversary Box Set
  7. Dark Age Turning Points: Liao
  8. Bad Intel
  9. Chaos Reaving
  10. Wolves in Exile for a Friend

Thanks to all those who took the time to comment on the many articles here on the ScrapYard.  I really enjoy your feedback and will continue to bring great material to the BattleTech community.

Heres to a great 2012!  Get those dice rolling!

Posted under Misc