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Subject: Complexity for a noob rss

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Aaron Gelb
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How hard is this game to learn/teach/really get the hang of.

I love the idea, but am wondering if I should go with Heavy Gear Blitz!
as I've heard Battletech is really quite heavy.

Any info would be appreciated, and if there is anyone in the Los Angeles area that plays I'd love to learn!
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Brian Hart
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HG:Blitz is easier to learn, but Battletech has way more technical depth and background. They have some similarities but otherwise are really two different systems. Battletech is very detailed in damage allocation and the effects on the individual mechs lending to smaller engagements (although there are other rules for larger battles), while HG is more for a larger company+ style battle with more emphasis on maneuver and use of terrain and combined arms fighting. I have both and love both. Im sure that is not the answer you are looking for, but getting in to either with the basics will cost you around $60 or so. Not too bad. Its the addiction that forms afterwards that can hurt your wallet.
Rules, etc: You can buy many of the books online in pdf format which I would recommend for starting since they are cheaper than the hardcovers.
Minis: Finding used, painted and assembled HG gears is harder than BT online. But both are close in size and could be easily substituted between the two systems.
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asgelb wrote:
How hard is this game to learn/teach/really get the hang of.

I love the idea, but am wondering if I should go with Heavy Gear Blitz!
as I've heard Battletech is really quite heavy.

Any info would be appreciated, and if there is anyone in the Los Angeles area that plays I'd love to learn!


I checked your profile to get some indication of what games you like or may have played before when I noticed the OGRE microbadge. (Also note my microbadges displayed!) If you have played and like OGRE, I suspect you'll find Battletech to be both easy to learn and enjoyable. Mech on Mech combat is very similar-feeling to Ogre on Ogre combat.

Here's some resources for you to check out. Yes, they're all links.

CGL's Official Battletech Site
Battletech Wiki
Solaris Skunk Werks (Record Sheets)
Heavy Metal Pro (Custom Mech Design Program)
Camo Specs Online (Paint schemes & Great painted mech pics)
Iron Wind Metals (Seller of metal mech miniatures. Click Battletech from the directory on the left.)
Ral Partha Europe (Another mini seller. Based out of the U.K. Dirt cheap shipping to the US, believe it or not. Often cheaper to order a mech here than the same mech from the US-based Iron Wind Metals. The downside is a smaller selection of mechs)

Last but not least, if you want to try the game before buying, check out MegaMek an online, Java-based, freeware adaptation of the Battletech game and rules. It's excellent and allows for games between friends, strangers from across the globe, and bots.

If you take a liking to it, I always recommend picking up the Total Warfare book and usually the Intro Box set. The box set can run about $50, but can be found cheaper at some places online. The box set comes with everything needed to play, including a mounted hexmap, 24 plastic Inner Sphere mechs, 2 premium quality plastic Clan Omnimechs, base rules and beginner rules, as well as record sheets for every mech in the box.

As with many other tabletop mini games, I wouldn't judge it just off of one game, especially if that game was with the beginner or quick-start rules. It takes a game or two to get eased into things, but again...if you like OGRE, I suspect Battletech would hook you.

Now regarding Heavy Gear...it's not a bad game either, so you won't catch me badmouthing it. I just prefer Battletech's depth.
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Ron D
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First, let me just second Brian's post above. Everything he posted is great and you'll find a lot of good BattleTech stuff at those links.

I just wanted to add one small thing: if you are a minitures person, which I suspect you are given your various WH and WH40K badges, there are some real differences in the miniature lines for these games.

The BattleTech line is huge. Iron Wind Metals and/or Ral Partha Europe keep almost everything in production that has been made for the game in over 25 years (with the exception of some 'Mechs that were based on licensed artwork, which they lost the rights to). That means there are hundreds of minitures avaiable, with multiple versions of many of the most popular 'Mechs. Ral Partha Europe shows 651 BattleTech items in their catalogue and I know that their line is substantially smaller than Iron Wind's. In that number of models, you are going to have a few stinkers, along with quite a few that were sculpted 20 years ago and haven't been updated - they aren't bad but they show their age in some cases. That being said, there are plenty of great looking minis and a good range from single piece figures to very complex, 10+ part 'Mechs. Iron Wind and Ral Partha Europe make exclusively metal minis - the intro box set minis are plastic but everything else is pewter.

Additionally, BattleTech minis are cheap and you generally don't need a lot of them. I don't think any of Iron Wind's BattleTech figures cost more than $15 and change (at MSRP), and the few that cost that much are huge, complex 'Mechs that most people won't need. Most of the time, light 'Mechs cost about $8, mediums about $10, and heavy and assault class 'Mechs in the $12 - $14 range. Most vehicles, if you want tanks or hovercraft to go along with your 'Mechs, cost $10 - $13 for a two pack. Most BattleTech games won't put more than 4 'Mechs per player on the table, so you can put together a very reasonable force for about $50, less if you buy used or from an online retailer that discounts (but of course, they won't carry the whole line). There are also some Lance Packs that get you a discount, though many of the Lance Packs that don't represent named lances come with pretty simple, one or two piece miniatures in unimpresive sculpts.

My experience with Heavy Gear minis is that they are consistantly very nice, but more expensive and you need a lot more of them. I haven't actually played Heavy Gear Blitz, but I've bought some of their figures for converting BattleTech minis, so take that as you will.
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