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Cosmic Era Mecha

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Scrasamax:
Walkers Versus Mecha

I want to use Walkers as well as Mecha, but whats the difference between the two?

A Walker is typically less complicated than a mecha. It usually lacks arms and favors a reverse knee/bird like leg configuration. This makes walkers cheaper to make and easier to maintain.

Walkers are also generally slower than mecha, they do not move above a walking pace, whereas mecha can walk, run, sprint, and in some cases, jump or even fly. The walker can use smaller power plants, and generates less heat, and again: cheaper and easier to maintain.

Walkers do not use a hard point system, so all of their weapon systems are internally mounted, these systems are also limited by how large they can be and their dimensions have to fit inside a certain amount of space. Swapping weapons and systems out on a walker is substantially more difficult than swapping gear on a mecha.

But those are all limitations on the machine, and areas where the Mecha proves itself superior, the walker is more simply built, slower, and less versatile in it's payload. All these disadvantages are in place to bring out several advantages it has over the mecha.

The Walker is heavily armored. Not needing to be fast or agile, or as precisely balanced, the walker can mount more impressive armor. In the triangle of Firepower-Armor-Speed, the walker most definitely favors armor above the other two. With the weapon systems being internally mounted, versus the external hardpoint system, said weapons are better protected as well. (On a rules level,  mecha hardpoint mounts can be taken out with called shots, just like attempting to snipe a mech in the head.)

The Walker doesn't have a vulnerable head that can be sniped. The command section is buried in the torso of the walker, and unlike single pilot mecha, a walker can can have a crew, with 2 being the norm. This splits the work inside the machine up between a pilot/driver and a gunner/computer officer.

The Walker is cheaper than mecha, and for the same price more can be fielded. An old formula said that one mecha cost as much as six tanks (same weight) a similar application could see that one mecha cost as much as two walkers of the same weight.

The Mecha favors more aircraft, while the Walker favors tanks and armored vehicles

Scrasamax:

--- Quote from: axlerowes on October 05, 2012, 05:34:30 PM ---What rules are using for these tank-mech match ups?  As Valadaar points out the rules for  the old school battletech favored the mechs, the battletech rules that I am familiar also made tanks much more prone to damage to their drive systems. 


Do you not the like the Omni mech system employed by the clans?

--- End quote ---

Even with the rules favoring mecha, I was routinely able to trounce my opponents with conventional forces. The simply fact of six tanks for the cost of one mecha was just more than the mech users could deal with. Tanks would be destroyed, and the tank building rules were a huge pain in the rear. Engines were massive, energy weapons required full heat sinks, power amps, and anything else that could be tacked on to slow down the tank. In the end, one heavy mech fighting six tanks armed with rail guns was simply a matter of time and the lucky shot that would take down the mech. The same applies for using bombing rules, VTOLs or anti-mech trained infantry. The mech and similarly the battle armor suits don't do so well. 

Using mixed forces was the best defense against non-mech units. The best thing to deal with troublesome infantry is either more infantry, or light armored vehicles. Special role vehicles also did well removing their designed counterpart, such as the AA tank versus aircraft. But this is basic tactics and not any sort of advantage. The mech only worked because tanks weren't cool and compared to the 10+ tech manuals of mecha there are 2 tech manuals for vehicles.

So some real advantages in the rules: mecha need to be more durable, more agile, and need to be able to be more effective than their numerically superior and cheaper rivals.

Mecha have the initiative advantage, from their innate form of being worn, more so than being driven.

Lacking a central crew compartment or needing room inside for men to move around, the machine can be more compact and more heavily armored. This armor can also be shaped for causing glancing hits, deflecting hits and the like. In BTech the tank had unlimited weight for armor it could carry, while mechs were limited to a maximum amount of armor based off of their weight class. This system can be kept, but modified.

Nothing says a 50 ton mech has to have a chassis designed for a 50 ton mech. The 50 ton mech could have a chassis for 75 tons (this would be 7.5 tons weight versus 5 tons) and would allow the machine to wear armor for a 75 ton mech, or load itself out to 75 tons without concern for structural failure. The same can be done for the engine, mounting a larger engine than required by the basic numbers. This increased power could be limited for when the machine is unloaded, but could keep it moving at a regular pace when it is loaded. The weapon systems would only in certain situations be carried internally. The unloaded mech, unless it has internal weapons, is unarmed or very lightly armed. Thus all of it's build weight can be devoted to chassis, engine, and armor. The 50 ton mech mentioned above could have the armor of an old system mech 50% larger than it is, but retain the speed profile of a machine of it's dry weight. Depending on how much weight and gear the pilot wants to carry, the machine can be very heavily armed, and has a versatile payload potential.

Basically building reinforced chassis mechs and using basic encumberance rules.

Functionally, the new mecha would be omni-mechs, in that their weapons are removable and interchangeable. But by that description, we already have omnifighters.

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