Brian McCormick
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As a kid, I loved Battletech. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this confession, but I think I read the books more than I played the actual game. Sure, I had the introductory set (it came with cardboard stand-ups and a paper map) and several of the tech manuals, but I was more of a collector than a player. I liked looking at the pictures and "customizing" my mechs, even though a fraction of them were actually used in the game.

While waltzing (yes, I dance while shopping) through my FLGS, I saw this on the shelf. Moments later, my debit card was out, my wife was rolling her eyes and smirking, and we were headed home with the 25th Anniversary Intro Set in my arms. I was under no assurances that this things would actually get played. Heck, I figured I'd be lucky to play it once or twice - just for nostalgia's sake, of course.


images courtesy Bartoneus

What is Battletech?

Not everyone has played Battletech, and if you're reading this review you might not have even heard of the game before. I'll try to sum up my opinion of Battletech in one sentence, so here it goes: Battletech is more of a boardgame than most tabletop games, but it's more of a wargame than most tabletop games, too. If that description confused you, I'll make another attempt to explain it by going into more detail.

Battletech can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Truthfully, if you want to play Battletech, you can buy this intro set and never, ever buy a single plastic mini, rulebook, or map ever again for as long as you live. The intro set has all a player needs to play the game on a "basic" level. Compared to most tabletop games (*cough*Games Workshop*cough*). this sounds hard to believe, but it is true.

However, maybe you really like what you see and you want to add more mechs. Well then, go right ahead, my friend! There are several tech books and dozens of extra models that you could purchase. Or, let's say you like the mechs, but you want to add troops, tanks, helicopters, protomechs, bombers, and artillery into the mix. Yep, you can do that too. Or, perhaps you'd like to go "3D" and play in an urban environment with buildings and obstacles. Go ahead. Or, perhaps you'd like to run a full campaign while keeping up supply lines, upgrading your pilots and mechs, defending key facilities, capturing objectives, and repairing damaged equipment. Yep, that's also possible

Or maybe you're the creative type and you want to design a mech from scratch, choose all of its weapons, equip its armor, equip special radar technology, pick every piece of that mech, right down to the size and brand of its reactor core. Go ahead, my friend. You can do that, too.

The scope of the game is vast, which makes it easy to see why Battletech has survived for 25 years and is still going. The basic game has enough to keep you entertained, believe me, but if you want to take the game further, then the possibilities stretch beyond the horizon. There are plenty of books, manuals, and upgrades to the game - none of them essential, mind you - to shake things up. If you're playing Battletech one battle at a time, it may get boring after a while and you may move on to faster, sleeker tabletop games (or you might leave tabletop gaming entirely). However, you can take it to the next level and do multiple-battle scenarios, campaigns, custom mechs, and logistics, and when you do this, IMO Battletech is unrivaled when it comes to campaigns.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that - as far as I know - the game has remained more or less the same over those 2 and a half decades. If you're familiar with Game Workshop's tabletop games, you know that they revise their rules, often from the ground up. To contrast, Battletech's rules have been refined, but the core mechanics have remained mostly identical to how it was when it was first introduced. I'm not saying one way is better than the other. I'm just pointing out that Battletech's rules don't undergo massive overhauls like the rules of GW games do.

On the most basic level, the game is a tactical combat game where each piece on the board represents a single unit. Mechs have armor, speed, and weapon ranges, and they must also keep track of their heat (there are consequences if it gets too hot). The mech stats are what makes Battletech feel much more "wargame"-ish than your average tabletop game. Some might find this to be a good thing. Others might be turned off. All I'm saying is this: when you want to shoot your weapon, it involves checking for distance, checking for obstructions, checking for penalties from heat, checking for penalties from pilot fatigue, checking for penalties from your mech's movement, checking for penalties from your target's movement, and then taking any other special bonuses or penalties into effect, just to shoot your gun. If this sounds overwhelming, then I would advise you to carefully research the other aspects of this game before diving in. Now, to be fair, I am exaggerating a bit. Shooting isn't always this complex, but it can be, and new players should be aware of what they're getting themselves into.

Personally, I really enjoy the complex aspects of this game. I'm a boardgamer. I own simple boardgames. If I want simplicity, I have plenty of games to choose from. I'm not intimidated by a bit of complexity. If I'm not in the mood for complexity, I won't play this game. But there are times when I want a complex game, and I can pour over all of Battletech's various details while I play.

What's in the box?

Surprisingly, you get a fair amount of loot in the box: 24 plastic miniatures, a quick-start rulebook, an introductory rulebook, two cardboard maps, 'mech sheets, and several "fluff" books that explain some backstory and show you how to paint the models. The minis, maps, 'mech sheets, and rulebooks are really all you need in order to start playing, so the fluff is welcome, but not necessary.

While the overall quality is not on par, perhaps, with the sort of intro box you might buy for Warmachine or 40k, I must also point out that the $40 price tag falls well into "boardgame" territory instead of "tabletop" territory, where the intro sets can run twice this.

The quick-start rules are where you should start if you're learning the game or coming back to the game after a long hiatus. This is where I started after I cracked open my 25th Anniversary set. These rules are the skeleton of Battletech: movement, overheating, terrain, and combat. You aren't going to be using non-mech units, and you won't be learning about mech customization, but these rules will still allow you to play the basics. On this level, the game is fun, but it definitely feels like there could be more. Battletech is 25-years-old, and in the meanwhile there have been dozens of other games that have come and gone. If the quick-start ruleset is all you will ever use, then Battletech probably isn't a good choice for you, because there are better, quicker games out there.

However, if you're willing to dig deeper and add some of the more complex rules found in the "Intro rulebook" (also included in this set), you'll begin to glimpse why this game has survived for so long. For instance, you'll begin to see the incredible value of long-ranged units, even though they seem useless when you're first learning the game. You'll see the value of hiding in cover and flanking. You'll learn the fine art of balancing your heat and how you can use your opponent's heat gauge against them. As I said in earlier paragraphs, these things are just scratching the surface. I think that's what makes this game so endearing: if you like the quick-start rules but you want to learn more, there's more. Then, if you learn and like the Intro rules but you want to learn even more, there's more. Then, if you learn and like the mech customization rules but you want to learn more, there's more. Then, if you learn and like the campaign and scenario-builder rules but you want to learn more, there's more. More, more, and more!



I'm on the fence. Is this game for me?

I love my fellow BGGers, so I don't want my love of a game to get in the way of you folks having a good time, nor do I want you to blow your money on a game you'll never enjoy. So, I'm going to try to convince you not to get this game, but then I'll go ahead and throw in some final thoughts as to why you should get this game:

Stop reading this review, close the page, and buy a different game


thumbsdown Is this a novel or a rulebook? - Even the quick-start rules require a bit of time to learn, and if you're looking to learn the "full" game, then it will take you quite a while. There are a ton of rules, and many of them are situation-specific, meaning that you might learn them and read them, but you'll still have to look up the special rules on those rare occasions that they're used.

thumbsdown I'm not playing D&D, nerd! - You have a full-page stat sheet for each mech. Each. Mech. Let that sink in if you envision yourself playing 30-mech battles. If you gobble up stats and charts for breakfast, then Battletech will be a delicious feast. However, if record-keeping sounds like a chore, then Battletech will feel like doing your taxes.

thumbsdown I hate math for a reason - There are a large number of modifiers in this game, and a lot of things can happen while you play. Gameplay in Battletech can feel less like a game and more like a simulation. Be prepared to do a lot of adding and subtracting before you throw those dice rolls.

thumbsdown Dice? Are you kidding me? - For all of Battletech's complexities, it still uses dice. Some gamers simply cannot stand dice. Dice are random. Dice hate you. Dice will never be your friend. So, why play a game with dice? Surely any game with dice is just a variant of Monopoly, right?

thumbsdown No one wants to play with me! - No one will play this game with you. Nope, nobody. You'll bring it to boardgame night and it will be ignored. You'll show it to your wife (like I tried to do) and she will laugh. You'll try to teach it to a friend and they'll move to Florida. No one wants to play this game with you. Sorry, just accept it.

Should I be so negative? Is there any reason to actually buy this game, let alone learn to play it?

Yes, there are reasons to play Battletech!


thumbsup Blowing up mechs is what real men do - Roll your dice, shoot a volley of rockets at someone's rear armor, and do a victory dance as they fill in all those bubbles on their SAT test mech sheet. When you destroy a mech, you feel like you've earned it. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that individual kills in Battletech are the most satisfying kills in any tabletop game. Sometimes the dice rob you of a well-planned flank, and other times the dice will give you a glorious cockpit-kill. But kills always feel great when you get 'em.

thumbsup You're creative. You might as well prove it - Building your mech is no easy task, but when you prove your design on the battlefield, it feels very satisfying. Keep in mind that the rules are well-balanced against uber-mechs, so just because you think you've made the perfect mech doesn't mean that it'll compare favorably to the pre-built ones.

thumbsup It just keeps going and going and going - When you've learned the basic rules and you have a few games under your belt, there are plenty of resources for expanding the game. You can buy additional campaign books, more units, more maps and tiles, or even the "full" ruleset. You won't run out of material any time soon. This game can last you years and years.

thumbsup Making memories, one shot at a time - If you do find someone to play this game with you, they might be friends for life. Battletech is one of those games that forms lasting memories, especially if you play with the more advanced rules. Years down the road, you'll still be talking about the day you managed to bash an Atlus's cockpit with your melee weapon, or how your Heavy PPC shots never seem to hit anything.


The verdict?

To me, Battletech is a great game. My main gaming partner (my wife) won't give it a second look. Most of my friends have no interest in it. Yet, on those very few occasions that I do play it, I always have a good time. It's not a good pick for people who like to play a bit of everything, since Battletech only gives back what you've invested into it. But if you've thrown out your "cult of the new" membership card and you're wanting to invest more time in a select few games, then Battletech is a prime candidate for a game you can learn in a day but play for a lifetime.
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Chris Montgomery
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Awesome review. I get this out to play it once a year, usually at BGG Con. It's a nice nostalgic game, but my tastes have moved on, sadly - and finding opponents is difficult. The game does have quite a bit of minutiae, and I've never played a game with more than 6 'Mechs on a side . . . and you'll be talking a 10 hour slugfest. I couldn't imagine a full company v. company (12 v. 12). It's something to aspire to do - and do once. ONCE.

Great job! Here's a modest GG tip.

Chris
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Great review!

I had a regular weekly BT group in the Czech Republic years ago. Now, I'm happy to have a son whose gone nuts for BT. All thanks to the 25th Anniversary Boxed Set.
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cmontgo2 wrote:
Awesome review. I get this out to play it once a year, usually at BGG Con. It's a nice nostalgic game, but my tastes have moved on, sadly - and finding opponents is difficult. The game does have quite a bit of minutiae, and I've never played a game with more than 6 'Mechs on a side . . . and you'll be talking a 10 hour slugfest. I couldn't imagine a full company v. company (12 v. 12). It's something to aspire to do - and do once. ONCE.

Great job! Here's a modest GG tip.

Chris

Right on! I can sympathize with you, as Battletech is a horrible, slow, fiddly, drawn-out game when you play it as a slugfest.

HOWEVER (and I only say this because I'm not sure if you've played it this way or not), Battletech really shines when you begin doing multiple-scenario battles or even campaigns.

When you set up a battle and say "Okay, the winner is the guy who kills the other guy's mechs", then the game gets pretty dry, even for the most devoted fan.

But when you set up a battle and say "okay, here are four asymmetrical objectives. Player 1 needs to do this, Player 2 needs to do this" then the fun-ness of the game increases dramatically. I try to play it this way because not only do the battles go by more quickly, but it's just more interesting, IMO.

And then if you take that objective-based gameplay and stretch it across several battles and say "okay, Player 1 held that factory in the last battle, so you get to deploy this and repair that, but Player 2 defended that ridge over there, so they get to deploy here and here" THEN the game really starts to get addictive.

And of course, if you stretch this across a campaign that lasts for many battles (I've played a handful of campaigns in my life), then the experience is priceless.
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Matthew Kimber
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It's sad that your wife won't play this game with you. My wife loves a game of Battletech and has delivered some almighty thumpings to me over the years that she still teases me about, including one memorable occassion when she literally kicked the head off one of my prone mechs like it was the worlds biggest football.
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Nice review.

I've had an "on again off again" relationship with Battletech since the 80's. In recent years I've been playing may more eurogames and family games than the more hardcore games I grew up with (including Battletech, SFB, and many wargames). It's not that I didn't want to play, but finding others to play was a chore while finding eurogame players is a snap.

At GenCon this year I ended up spending a LOT of time with the folks at the Catalyst booth and game tables. I played a ton of BT (and Leviathans) and had an absolute blast. I baught a lot of new product and managed to get a couple games in with some new players. I'm now working on getting together with some other local players to see if I can get a few regularly scheduled games a month in.
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cmontgo2 wrote:
I get this out to play it once a year... It's a nice nostalgic game, but my tastes have moved on... The game does have quite a bit of minutiae, and I've never played a game with more than 6 'Mechs on a side . . . and you'll be talking a 10 hour slugfest.


Aurendrosl wrote:
...Battletech is a horrible, slow, fiddly, drawn-out game when you play it as a slugfest. ...really shines when you begin doing multiple-scenario battles or even campaigns.... objective-based gameplay and stretch it across several battles...


Agree with both of you. The game's theme and background are immersive, and the way it captures the genre is amazing, and Aurendros is right on target that playing objective-based scenarios across a longer campaign is great. But "slow, fiddly, and drawn-out" don't begin to address the game's flaws. To me it's the game's basic systems for combat resolution and tracking damage that are its greatest underlying weaknesses -- a "10 hour slugfest" says it all.

Back in my high school days I might have been able to devote that kind of time to my hobby, but not any more (and I'm retired now). And today's generation, reared on Playstation and XBox, typically lack the attention span to sit through a long session of "Science Fiction Accountancy" (which is kind of what the Battletech system requires). If the owners of the franchise really wanted to create new excitement and bring in new blood, they'd come up with a simple set of fast-playing rules for the game: something that takes maybe 2-3 hours max, and would let you run a minimum of 15-20 vehicles/mechs on a side.

Yeah, I know that's what they tried to do with Battleforce, but that design didn't do a good job of keeping what was fun about the game; instead it sort of skimmed off the good parts and kept the tedious number crunching and record keeping. And the Mechwarrior clix game that Wizkids produced abstracted things so much that it lost all the immersive trivia that connected the player to the Battletech storyline.

Here's to hoping someone can come up with a new system that retains the good and gets rid of the bad. Still waiting...
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Keith Higdon
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The Quick Strike rules from Strategic Operations allow you to play much larger engagements in a decent amount of time. They're basically Battle Force rules, but applied to individual mechs rather than elements.
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TheFlatline wrote:
However... The game *is* 30 years old, *is* dated, and has major community issues.

I've found, online and in real life, the BT community to be almost impossible for a new player to get into. There's too much story, the timeline spans hundreds of years worth of mechs and the game supports them *all*, and the community is very... insular. In fact, it's one of the coldest, least-welcoming gaming communities I've ever encountered on the whole (standard disclaimer, there's a lot of really nice people in the community, but as a whole getting into it seems to be like a salmon swimming upstream). Joining a BT discussion involves lots of references to the novels, which while cool, is very limiting for new players.


I disagree very much about the community. While BGG has just about the best net community you are likely to find, BattleTech's community is consistently more welcoming and helpful than with most other games. Catalyst maintains demo agents (always helpful and friendly, and happy to teach new players), the CamoSpecs team (full of advice and inspiration for the miniature side of the hobby) and active web forums at www.classicbattletech.com/forums . The folks over at www.lordsofthebattlefield.com are another great part of the community.

TheFlatline wrote:
Where you go after the introductory set is kind of murky. Yeah, there's Total Warfare (I have it) and the other two core books, but then you are sort of cast adrift in 25 years of content.


The Introductory Boxed Set provides two places to explore this. The "How the Core Rulebooks Work" booklet explains the different levels of play and which books will help you play the game you are interested in. Starting on page 9 of the Introductory Rulebook, there is an explanation of the different types of products and what they do for the game. The first thing explored are the Starterbooks, particularly Starterbook: Sword and Dragon. This book is an introductory campaign that is easy to get started and a great recommendation for new players after the boxed set.

TheFlatline wrote:
Not to mention that after FASA went down, licensing to cast figs for Battletech didn't follow the rest of the license. You have to google to find the people who make it, since Catalyst doesn't readily give you that information.


The license to produce BattleTech miniatures is where it has always been - with Iron Wind Metals. Their company used to be called Ral Partha (yes, that Ral Partha), but their shop (and a few of the same employees) have been making BattleTech miniatures since the '80's.

Catalyst does a lot to promote their relationship with IWM. Just below the discussion of the Starterbooks in the Introductory Rulebook, you get a discussion of IWM's matching 'MechPacks. These are sets of miniatures specifically to match some of the custom units in the Starterbooks. They are cross promoted by Catalyst and IWM. On page 11, the book explains all the other companies involved in the BattleTech franchise, with IWM first among them. They get an explanation, a large graphic, and an acknowledgement that they produced all the miniatures used in the pictures throughout the rulebook. There is even a subforum on Catalyst's BattleTech site called "Iron Wind Metals News and Announcements." These two companies work together closely to promote and support BattleTech. I think they even share booths at GenCon and other conventions.

TheFlatline wrote:
The overall feeling I get from Battletech is "You should have joined us 15 years ago, kid". Which is a damn shame because I like the system. It's just not set up to welcome new players at all. In fact, knowing what I know about Catalyst, I'm willing to bet that Leviathans is almost 100% due to the less than ideal state of BT's licensing, and possibly even of it's insular community.


I hope you didn't have a bad experience with a local group that left you feeling this way. My general experience is that people are warm and inviting to new players. Sometimes the age gap can be off-putting (as the average age of BattleTech players tends to be a bit higher than the Magic and WH40K set) but I've never seen that be a problem. You should try giving folks another shot - there are a lot of good people in the BattleTech community.
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Thanks for reviewing BT - of which I have very fond memories from my teens.

I still have all the original gear - Maps, Tech Readouts etc. I need to play this again to see if I still like it.
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Great review. I love how your enthusiasm shines through even while you acknowledge that the game isn't going to be for everyone.

Just curious if anyone has played BattleTech and Warmachine? I'm reasonably familiar with the latter, and am wondering what the main similarities and differences are in terms of overall game-engine.
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Thanks sir, for a fantastic review! I always love it when a Battletech player "gets it", because this is a game that despite its strengths often has a formiddable battle to attract new players. I love the game for all of the same reasons you do, and am always willing to play a match. Once upon a time I was blessed to have a BT group of about 8-10 players. Now it's just me and on rare occasion my brother.

I cannot speak about the welcoming nature (or lack thereof) of the BT gamer's community because I've never played at a convention (much less been to one), and so I don't know how they do there. I can tell you I'm always willing to spend that extra bit of time to teach a new person. Best rule of thumb? Start them off at 3025. Who knows, they may want to stay there a while. The rules for 3025 are fairly easy with very few modifiers, and frankly I find it the most fun. If your players want to really try different things out they can give vehicles or aerospace fighters a whirl as they follow the same basic rules (although vehicles are a tad bit less hardy than their Mech brethren go. Want to read some of the excellent novels? Start with the Grey Death Legion books and the Wolf's Dragoons novels. Look at maps...once you understand why House Laio's a scum suckers and House Kurita and House Davion (Hanse Davion forever!) are in a constant blood feud, why House Marik seems like its in perpetrual civil war, and why House Steiner has lots of Mechs but idiotic commanders, you'll have just scratched the surface. And that's before you get to the wackos of Comstar or the numerous Pirate Kings of the Periphery. Plotting campaigns at that point is just a sheer joy because BT provides you not just with a blank canvas and every paint color imaginable, but they give you an enormous canvas...it wraps around the room!

The game, admittedly, is very clunky when you start getting into larger engagements. Anything more than 4 Mechs on the mapsheet at once will result in 30-45 minutes a turn (about comparable to a turn of Axis and Allies, actually). If this isn't your thing, then I don't blame you, but if you keep at it you'll form incredible memories of desperate battles against overwhelming odds and rich storylines that you got to participate in. I love this game with a passion and it'll be the last one you'll ever see me part with in my collection.
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What I missed from all the reviews is - are there any scenarios and a campaign (with objectives) in this kit that you can play with? Or is it just a matter of who kills who first, as another person put it, until you buy the add-ons?
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cody_au wrote:
What I missed from all the reviews is - are there any scenarios and a campaign (with objectives) in this kit that you can play with? Or is it just a matter of who kills who first, as another person put it, until you buy the add-ons?

Thanks for your question. Out of the box, the missions go beyond "you shoot him, and he shoots you".In fact, Battletech would have probably died out a long time ago if that's all the game had.

But most missions actually consist of a mission, as in, you have to achieve an objective, keep a guy alive, reach a certain point of the map, and those are just "simple" missions. There are campaigns but you'll want to nab a starterbook (either the Wolf & Blake book or Sword & Dragon) to get those. Or, you could just come up with your own. And of course, the other supplimentary books provide plenty of extra rules for running campaigns witrh persistent effects, a branching storyline, etc.
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Thanks for your answer.

Can you give an example of one? Looking at pictures of the board, it looks like a big brown thing with a bunch of hexes on it. It doesn't look like you have terrain or cover or cities or anything to shoot about and run about trying to do things.

Most current games have tiles you'd lay on top to create areas (like in Memoir 44, etc), but I didn't see any here in the images. How do the provided scenarios work then?

Sorry if it sounds like a silly question ;-)
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cody_au wrote:
Thanks for your answer.

Can you give an example of one? Looking at pictures of the board, it looks like a big brown thing with a bunch of hexes on it. It doesn't look like you have terrain or cover or cities or anything to shoot about and run about trying to do things.

Most current games have tiles you'd lay on top to create areas (like in Memoir 44, etc), but I didn't see any here in the images. How do the provided scenarios work then?

Sorry if it sounds like a silly question ;-)

Nope, not a silly question at all. For starters, there are multiple maps (which are mounted; far superior to the paper ones I used as a kid) in the kit. Some have trees. Some have water. Some have roads. The objectives are not necessarily "Go blow up this tree on this side of the map". Iirc, the scenarios are more along the lines of "Destroy this specific mech and then flee off the south side of the map" and King of the Hill varieties and stuff like that.

But the scenarios in the base game don't hold a candle to the stuff you'd find in those starter Campaign books. If you're looking for campaign play, I'd highly encourage you to learn the game using the Intro set and then upgrade to a campaign after you've learned the basics.
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I'm a long-time player of BT, read the novels and the like, so I may be out of line... But I've never seen anyone from the community act unwelcoming or cold to new players. If anything, they provide links to sites containing overview information, or provide it themselves. Links to additional resources, fan sites and suggestions on what kind of mechs to start with (before the new box game came out), and so on. In 2 (older) incidents, I saw people playing battletech and encouraged me to join in, having never met me before.
I do not doubt your personal experience, and I don't deny there are those cold off-set people out there, but between my run ins with Catalyst and the BT community, I'd give them a A.

I love the game, and this was an awesome review. But I also share your thought that it is not a game for everyone.
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Joshua Love
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cody_au wrote:
Thanks for your answer.

Can you give an example of one? Looking at pictures of the board, it looks like a big brown thing with a bunch of hexes on it. It doesn't look like you have terrain or cover or cities or anything to shoot about and run about trying to do things.

Most current games have tiles you'd lay on top to create areas (like in Memoir 44, etc), but I didn't see any here in the images. How do the provided scenarios work then?

Sorry if it sounds like a silly question ;-)


While the terrain looks a little bare, the maps provided in the box set have hills, trees and multi-leveled lakes, which all provide cover. Ranges in the game are somewhat extensive, as a heavier weapon can fire across the map, and movement is somewhat limited in it's own range. One of the enticing things about BT personally is the fact that it simulates attacking a moving target pretty well. The faster your mech moves, the harder you are to hit, which is a sort of "cover" in of it's self.
There are also fan-made map sheets you can print on letter sized paper (8.5"x11"). There are loads of free Battletech resources found here, including a few free printable maps: http://www.mechforce.us/downloads.php

Edit: I do remember when my friends and I first starting playing BT back when the 4th edition box came out (basically a card-board-only version of the new box set). The only maps that were provided were the 2 basic maps provided in the new box set (but didn't have the forest side). We played a good dozen games on those things before we even looked for anything new. Sounds silly, but there was a lot of game on just 2 map sheets.

Lastly, to possibly help you understand the terrain types, you need to understand that mech's are about 10-12 meters tall (depending on the source), so it limits the type of terrain you can realistically use to cover yourself to mostly natural covers like large hills, lakes and so on. Urban combat is very possible (and extremely fun), but requires special case rules such as movement on concrete, buildings construction value (hit points + weight limit) and so on.

There are some ideas listed in the rule book provided by the box set that list a few objective (not mission) based games, such as escorts, attackers/defenders, king of the hill, or you can make up some others of your own pretty easily. Nothing really goes into any major detail unless you get into some source books that provide situational missions. Some cite Sword and Dragon as a good starting scenario book, which I believe has a miniature set that accompanies it (separately).
I would also recommend though that you learn to play the basic game with simple objectives at first.

This is a game (as the reviewer stated) that you get what you put into it. I've found it easy to try to dive in the shallow end and crack your head open (double sixes!) in this game, rather than easily walk in and gradually learn as you go. Take your time with it. ^^
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Lukasz P
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I'm really sad about the fact, that 25th was bought by collectors. Now is practically as unseen as a Warhammer. Nowhere to buy, except on auctions with ridiculous prices. I play with an old edition and I'm quite happy with it, but there's no cheap way for me to buy more additional miniatures, or new rules. At least maps are not that expensive and I always have one good free map editor.

All hope in the (now mythical) reprint, that everyone talks about on the internet stores comments.
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TS S. Fulk
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SeeM wrote:
I'm really sad about the fact, that 25th was bought by collectors. Now is practically as unseen as a Warhammer. Nowhere to buy, except on auctions with ridiculous prices. I play with an old edition and I'm quite happy with it, but there's no cheap way for me to buy more additional miniatures, or new rules. At least maps are not that expensive and I always have one good free map editor.


Germany's ebay site has good prices on figs now and then. You might also want to look at something like that in the Czech Republic. Altar published the Czech version of the game in the past. If you could find a used Czech version of City Tech or the 3rd Edition Box Set, you could get some cheap figures.

My friends in the Czech Republic read Polish Cyberpunk RPG books, so you should be able to read Czech Battletech stuff (or just use the minis and toss the rules).
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I played it when I was in my early twenties and spent a year in Brooklyn.
The problem is that when I moved back home to Texas, no one in my gaming group was interested in it.

I did play the Wizkids version, and actually enjoyed it.
Got rid of my miniatures when I moved to an extremely remote area with absolutely no gaming group.

Recently got remarried and my teenage stepdaughter is starting to get into gaming. Slowly introduced her to Carcassone, Settlers, etc. and her interest has grown. (Her mom isn't a gamer).
She was hinting about wanting to try a strategy "battle" type game, so I picked up a starter kit and a few boosters at my lfgs.
That was two weeks ago.
She is already starting to make her own terrain!
Really likes it.
Once I get her used to playing (LOS, Heat Control, etc.) I think I am going to pick up a copy of this and introduce her to the "finer points of mech control".
Wizkids version is ok, and it will give us some great additional models to use, but I think she is nearly ready for the real thing....
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Thank you for this review!!

I read it twice, looked at the pics in the gallery, and read some more.

Tonight, I found a copy at what is going to be my new local game store.

Awesome, awesome, awesome review. I remember seeing Battletech many years ago. Remember thinking this was too hard, too tedious, etc.

Now, I am happy to have this in my collection, happy to start reading the rules, painting, etc.

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Patrick Bird
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Great review! I've been playing BattleTech (and MechWarrior) since the late 1980's, and I agree with what you said, both good and bad. That said, here are some of my insights:

I agree that the main disadvantage to playing larger battles is the record-keeping issues. Flipping through the sheet-protected mech sheets to find the right one to mark with a grease pencil could be and often was tedious for us. Incredibly luckily for me, my fellow BattleMaster Alan was smart and skilled enough to program a simple program on his Commodore 64 that could be used to relatively easily keep track of up to a battalion's worth of mechs. I don't recommend trying larger battles without some sort of record keeping program. I now find myself wondering if there might be an app for that.

In my late 1980s gaming group, we played BattleTech as our main alternate to our D&D games. Since the D&D DMs (my friend Alan and myself) were also the main BattleMasters for our BattleTech games, we both quickly decided that campaigns were the way to go. We each created our own campaigns, much as we did for D&D, and had a great time with it, even doing larger battles where each player had a lance of mechs under his or her control. This is where the above program came in handy. With the two maps that we each had we were able to create a variety of scenarios by using corks, legos, small card boxes, or other type things to create buildings or other terrain features/targets. Luckily, things never had to be too complex. One main goal, often a couple of minor goals, and occasionally a surprise or two.

One example was that the group was sent on a raid to steal a new mech that was being developed. I used a blue ribbon to create a wide river that crossed the center of the maps, and used a piece of cardboard for the bridge over it. I put books on my end of the map to represent high and impassible canyon walls with the entry to the mech bay at the back of the canyon closest to me. Several 'buildings' were placed around the road and the river before the canyon entrance, including a large one that extended out onto the river and had a couple of cork 'smoke stacks' on top of it. The nasty surprises I had decided on were missile launchers hidden behind camouflaged doors in the canyon walls, creating a kill zone for any enemy (player) mechs entering it. One of the players, "Black Bart" decided that the building that extended onto the river looked like a tempting target and decided to blow it up, using several shots to do so. Unfortunately for me, in my notes I had designated it as the power plant for the facility, so after a moderately tough mech vs. mech battle in and around the town, they waltzed through the inactive kill zone (since power to the facility had been interrupted), knocked open the doors to the bay, and escaped with the mech. "Black Bart" was celebrated as a hero once the group realized what his 'foolishness' had saved them from, and when some of us get together now, years later, we still laugh about that battle.
They didn't even need a lot of effort to create. Alan and I sometimes took historical battles and updated them; he did one series of campaign battles that was loosely based on Hannibal crossing the Alps and invading Roman lands, while I did a planet-hopping raid campaign based somewhat on the island hopping campaigns of WWII. I still have fun dreaming up campaigns, even though I haven't had a regular group to play with in a decade or so.

Though one on one mech brawls can be fun for a while, the campaigns were where the lasting fun was. That is what campaigns can give a group, and why I highly recommend that everyone try one before putting the game in the yard sale pile. :-)
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Aurendrosl wrote:
Making memories, one shot at a time - If you do find someone to play this game with you, they might be friends for life. Battletech is one of those games that forms lasting memories, especially if you play with the more advanced rules. Years down the road, you'll still be talking about the day you managed to bash an Atlus's cockpit with your melee weapon, or how your Heavy PPC shots never seem to hit anything.
This.
Call it nostalgia, but those one-shot kills with your mech almost in pieces with an exploded left torso are branded into the memory. Yes maybe BT has its flaws, but I don't see them; this game rocks.
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