ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

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ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by serrate » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:07 pm

First of all, allow me to preface this by pointing out that this is a rule in StratOps that applies to dropships (and warships) only, and therefore only applies to the Black Water Navy op in this campaign. If you have no interest in BWN ops, you may wish to depart at this time. :)

Emergency Combat Heading Operation (ECHO)

What is it?
Simply put, it's an additional movement phase that occurs after all other aerospace movement, where a Dropship can execute a single hex-side facing change allowing them to partially react to highly nimble smaller craft.

How does it work?
After all other movement is complete, a Dropship (or Warship) may declare an ECHO by expending 2 thrust points. The unit must still have these thrust points available in order to use them. The Dropship may then rotate a single hex-side in either direction. Since we use Advanced (Vector) Movement, this becomes the unit's new facing.

The Fine Print
Engaging in an ECHO makes it more difficult to make an attack
  • If the unit used Safe Thrust, it adds a +1 to-hit modifier
  • If the unit used Max Thrust, it adds a +2 to-hit modifier
A unit that wishes to use ECHO may not evade.

Why, Serrate, WHY?
Seriously, I think it's an awesome rule. I like the cinematic value of a captain yelling last-minute, emergency heading orders at his crew.

More important than the rule-of-cool however, is that it's a valuable tactical addition. It's one of the biggest flaws in the Aerotech movement system, that the largest units on the board essentially have no counter to smaller units' movement, even when they've won initiative. In a situation where BV is essentially equal, but Side A has a Union dropship left on the board (3962 bv), and side B has just 3 Corsairs (4/4, 4/4, 4/5) with (3928 bv), the Union really has no shot whatsoever. Regardless of who wins init, the Union will always move first, and the Corsairs should be able to be in an advantageous arc most of the time due to their better thrust and maneuverability. Use of the ECHO rule turns this engagement into a true battle, instead of a foregone conclusion.

That's an extreme example, but I think anyone who has played BWN ops has been in situations where they would've liked to have been able to ECHO. If you fly an aerodyne dropship, like a Leopard or an Avenger, it would be even more valuable as you've got arcs that are wide open. In fact, for an aerodyne dropship, the arcs are so wide open that even an ECHO won't help depending on where those fighters are located. But it should help occasionally, which is better than nothing.

I think the rule is well-balanced, making it harder to hit for the ECHO'ing unit. StratOps compares it to a torso-twist in Battletech.

The down-side
ASF's will be more vulnerable than before. The player will have to take a close look at whether the DS has thrust left to use, and how to best counter a potential ECHO.

This is essentially another part of the movement phase and would increase game-time by a small amount. Not enough to bother me, but it is a negative.

It's not currently supported by the client, so would require coding... probably not an easy job. Use of the twist button wouldn't work either, because the ECHO needs to happen before any fire is declared. The weapons you fire, and in what order, often depends on what arc you're facing. This must be established before any fire happens, not just the dropship's fire.

Questions? Comments?

Discuss! :)

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by Spork » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:20 pm

This then becomes a post belonging in the MegaMek suggestions forum. Game engine changes are not campaign changes.

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by Khalcruth » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:27 am

I don't know if it would be useful information, but the last thing I recall about altering the aerospace code was the last post in this thread.


I don't know if things have changed since then, but it might be helpful to find out.

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by fahr » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:21 am

when my laptop is back in buisness I might look at this;
It's hard to feel sexy when you wake up in a pool of your own blood.

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by Jyson » Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:33 am

Good luck fahr, I took a look at the code for the Aero class. Its a real mess

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by Rushvin » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:27 pm

There is a good reason Warships and then Dropships move first. Admittedly the Achilles break from the reason that such vessels are relatively bulky and slow in moving effect that any smaller vehicle can easily plot where they are going and move accordingly.
The Sphere shaped dropships have a BV according to their ability to fire at all arcs (Union is a bad example to say a dropship can't shoot at a unit due to arc of fire).

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Re: ECHO - Emergency Combat Heading Operation discussion

Post by Jackal » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:10 pm

Since it's an official optional rule, I'm for it.

While I agree with Rush that there's a reason that dropships and warships are required to move before fighters, I do think if you get down to the endgame where one side has just 1 dropship and the other side has just fighters, the dropship needs more of a fighting chance (which I suspect is why they came up with the rule in the first place). And because there's a to-hit penalty imposed on the dropship executing the ECHO, I don't think it's overpowered.

And I also like what Serrate said about the cinematic appeal of last minute maneuvers. Just evokes images of a Commander Adama from BSG pulling-out all sorts unexpected tricks and maneuvers to keep the Galatica alive. :)

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