Payn;s Ponderings@ Battletech General Discussions

payn

Legend
Greetings,

I don’t see a ton of Battletech/Mechwarrior postings going on around EN World. I wanted to kick start a general discussion thread to see if folks enjoy the genre as much as I do. I plan to keep this OP generic and just say everything goes and the conversation will follow. I cant wait to hear about your experiences and love for Battletech!

Battletech/Mechwarrior discussion topics;

Battletech General info

Battletech Setting

Classic Battletech

Catalyst Battletech

List o’ video games in Battletech

List o’ fiction novels in Battletech
 

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payn

Legend
I just finished my first Battletech novels; The Warrior trilogy. I’ll start by saying I have played numerous video games and have more of an understanding of the setting from that than the TTRPG/Wargame. I think a new reader would definitely be benefited from reading the wiki (pretty expansive and a big chore) or the campaign primer included in the new Armored Combat box set by Catalyst for a quick overview.

This trilogy was written by Michael A. Stackpole who seems to have a lot of genre fiction under his belt. As far as I could tell, this was my first experience with his writing. I liked the attempts at showing the cultural differences between the factions. At times, it seemed a little surface level and not to have as much depth as I would like. However, looking at the sheer number of themes the author was working with here, the page count could be pushed to very high levels for what works out to be a genre light read.

At the heart of this story is political intrigue, as the factions battle it out for territory and power. As mentioned, the themes are numerous so you only get a good sense of a handful of characters. Two factions clearly play out the white hat and black hat of this adventure story. All the other factions and merc groups just serve to play ally or foil to plans as they unfold in the story. Characters are at times developed, and other times are a bit of a caricature. The surface level detail seems to be an ongoing theme here.

The mech battle sequences are not as common as you might think. There are several battles but they are usually reserved for plot critical points, which makes total sense. I have a myriad of images and experiences with mechs which makes picturing the combat rather vivid. Without that experience, I feel a reader might be a bit at a loss of exactly what is happening. Like the cultural and character details, this is a light read and is not a technical readout like you might expect from a Tom Clancy novel.

Overall, it was a good read for a fan of the genre. As a fan of general literature perhaps much less. There is enough coverage for this story to make sense, but the details of the plots, mech battles, and character motivations are slim. I would recommend them to fans of the franchise, but not good enough to rise above the level of genre fiction and into generally great fiction.

I would love to see the authors of The Expanse get ahold of this franchise and do a write for a series in the BattleTech universe! I think they could do wonders with the available material which is quite expansive itself.

What experiences do you have with Battletech fiction? Any particular novels you would recommend?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Good game! Never won, but always had a blast. Had my share of epic highs & lows.

For example:

1) played one scenario where all the Mechs had to be dropped into the battlefield, so there was a chance for damage right at the beginning. I failed catastrophically, destroying a leg. I was put out of my misery by the end of the first round of combat.

2) Another game, the very first attack I landed was a head shot on the biggest enemy mech on the board. Essentially, one shot, one kill.
 

payn

Legend
Good game! Never won, but always had a blast. Had my share of epic highs & lows.

For example:

1) played one scenario where all the Mechs had to be dropped into the battlefield, so there was a chance for damage right at the beginning. I failed catastrophically, destroying a leg. I was put out of my misery by the end of the first round of combat.
yikes.
2) Another game, the very first attack I landed was a head shot on the biggest enemy mech on the board. Essentially, one shot, one kill.
nice.

I have always wanted to get a steady game going. My experiences have mostly been with a local pick up group (none of my friends play or seem interested.) By the time we agree on a secenario, set up, start playing its already time to tear down. Also, the guys at the shop play all ages of battletech (there are many) so they have weird calcs to make the fight seem balanced. I'd prefer to play in the same era.

I do have lots of stuff now from kickstarters I backed. I am thinking of developing a campaign where the players run a merc group, and I run their opposition. In between missions, they can find ways to improve mechs, pick missions, etc..
 

Mezuka

Hero
I never played Battletech. But a few years ago Catalyst did new plastic miniatures that look much better than the old Iron Wind models. I invested in the starter box and a few extra units from the Kickstarter.

I prefer the Alpha Strike version with the simplified mech cards to the full game with all the 'bubbles' to cross-off. Feels to much like 90s to me (I played Cars Wars). It's more dynamic and the games are shorter. You can have 5 against 5 in 90 minutes or less.
 

I have no experience with the Battletech RPGs so far, only with the video games (I have especially fond memories of Mechwarrior 2 in the special Matrox Mystique edition on one of my first computers) and, to a certain extent, with the novels. I don't remember much of what I read when I was young, but I have read the Gray Death trilogy and found that I actually still like (classic) Battletech. Yes, the characters and their motives are as shallow as puddles in summer, but the "hardish" SciFi touch combined with pseudo-medieval feuds still works quite well for me. The writing is a mixed bag, thus I'm taking a break from the series at the moment (currently reading old Shadowrun novels, which, on average, have better writing so far). I haven't abandoned the plan to read the books up to until #15/Falcon Guard, though.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Back in the 80's I played Battletech (the FASA version) all the time. I really loved the game, but I haven't played it in a long, long time. Back then I tried starting a Mechwarrior TTRPG campaign, but it quickly floundered due to external issues.

I also played for a while Succession Wars, the board game.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
Love Battletech, and still play it when I can in our game circle.

There is a ton of lore and timeline advancement, most of which I completely ignore. As a grognard who bought and still has the original FASA Battletech and Citytech boxes, along with the cardboard cutouts, I stick to 3025-3050. Though I have picked up some of the rules compilations and such over the years, and the new, really nice plastics and the resins from Kidslogic (under their Minitech line for Robotech - all the unseen).

I find, though, that the games can take an age to play, even if just a lance on lance (4 on 4) due to the vagaries of dice rolling, hit boxes, etc. Now I prefer to play to a scenario, or a time limit, or whatever, unless I have literally all day to play. :)

So many great moments over the years...
 


thullgrim

Adventurer
I’m a Third Succession Wars guy myself. My inner grognard say take your Clans the get out of my Inner Sphere.

I’d like to get a regular game together but just don’t have the time right now. I think you can play outline somewhere. Last time I looked it was sprite based but it’s been years.

My first real game with my dad so the game Carrie’s a heavy dose of nostalgia for me.
 

MGibster

Legend
If you had asked me in 1998 which would be more popular today, Battletech or Warhammer 40k, I would have gone with Battletech. I played quite a lot of it starting in the late 80s through the late 1990s, but it seemed to have practically died off for a few years there. I know it never ceased to exist, but its only in recent years that I've started to see more BT stuff for sale and hear of people actually playing it.

I did play a game around Christmas in 2019, and while it brought back a lot of memories, I found the rules to be rather clunky and the game time consuming. A simply two mech duel went on for far longer than it should have in my opinion. The version of BT out today looks and feels remarkably similar to what I was playing almost 25 years ago.



In my heart of hearts, this will always be what Warhammer is supposed to look like.

Warhammer.JPG
 

payn

Legend
If you had asked me in 1998 which would be more popular today, Battletech or Warhammer 40k, I would have gone with Battletech. I played quite a lot of it starting in the late 80s through the late 1990s, but it seemed to have practically died off for a few years there. I know it never ceased to exist, but its only in recent years that I've started to see more BT stuff for sale and hear of people actually playing it.

I did play a game around Christmas in 2019, and while it brought back a lot of memories, I found the rules to be rather clunky and the game time consuming. A simply two mech duel went on for far longer than it should have in my opinion. The version of BT out today looks and feels remarkably similar to what I was playing almost 25 years ago.



In my heart of hearts, this will always be what Warhammer is supposed to look like.

View attachment 257078
I ran up to the FLGS last night and picked up a couple more mech packs. I got my favorite the Grasshopper! I really want to put together that campaign now to run my friends through. Just a merc company flying around inner sphere learning about the factions. I do want to give them some pilot things to upgrade, but that doesn't seem to be part of the armored combat system that Catalyst has. I was close to picking up the campaign sourcebook last night. Decided that minis would be more fun to collect right now.

G>A>T>O>R has become easy enough to understand, but takes a few rounds to get. I am curious about Alpha Strike which seems to be a much simplified minis wargame. Not sure if its too stripped down though. Hard to say. Anybody have experience with these different takes?
 


Jagga Spikes

Villager
check out MegaMek/MekHQ. it's free fan-made adaptation of Battletech and true to source, with tons of optional featurs. computer does most of calcs, and company vs company is doable within an evening play. there is also possibility of running a campaign against a bot, or against/with other people.
 

payn

Legend
check out MegaMek/MekHQ. it's free fan-made adaptation of Battletech and true to source, with tons of optional featurs. computer does most of calcs, and company vs company is doable within an evening play. there is also possibility of running a campaign against a bot, or against/with other people.
I've heard of MegaMek; is it more like Battletech by Haribrained Schemes, or more like Mechwarrior FPS? I'd love to get something going in Foundry, but I never see anything about systems or modules for BT :( .
 

mcmillan

Adventurer
I've mostly been exposed to BattleTech via Mechwarrior 2 and the new Battletech video games, but have liked the idea of the setting and been interested in getting into different aspects. I saw there's a BattleTech bundle right now on Bundle of Holding. What do people think of the books being offered as an introduction? Any books not in the bundle that might be worth also picking up?
 

payn

Legend
I've mostly been exposed to BattleTech via Mechwarrior 2 and the new Battletech video games, but have liked the idea of the setting and been interested in getting into different aspects. I saw there's a BattleTech bundle right now on Bundle of Holding. What do people think of the books being offered as an introduction? Any books not in the bundle that might be worth also picking up?
Holy mackerel, Im glad I didnt pick up campaign operations last night! Im in on this bundle for sure.

Total Warfare is the only book I have along with the Armored combat and Clan invasion box sets. So, this seems like a great deal for the money.

Sarna.net is the wiki for BT stuff. You can learn a ton about the setting and mechs just browsing there too.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Had a friend who was big-time into minitiatures gaming - mostly Warhammer 40K and Battletech. We did get him to play D&D once, but he wasn't a fan. We never played WH, but he did get us to play Battletech, which we ran for about 6 months. Because our friend was trying hard to get us to like the game, in the beginning he helped custom design some mechs based on our ideas. The mech we designed for me, I called the Werewolf, which included Claws (as a physical weapon), which at the time didn't exist as an option - another BT release did include Claws eventually, and the claws we designed turned out to work with the new rules (no changes needed with 5 tons and 5 crits per claw). I built a 75 ton bipedal mech, with triple-strength myomer for internal structure (we built both an Inner Sphere and Clan version, both work, though the Clan version is better). It's got jump jets. As a 75 ton mech it's movement with jump jets was a 3/4/5 mech, until you achieve "Heat" then it's a 5/8/5 mech. Until you took some damage, this mech design had perfect movement, and weapons to achieve Heat, no matter which option it required. If I remember right the Inner Sphere version had 6 medium lasers, 3 per side torso, and 1 small laser in it's head. Whereas the Clan version had 6 medium pulse lasers (3 on each side torso) a small pulse laser in it's center torso and a small laser in it's head. It was a fun mech to play, if you enjoy the risks of physical combat. It tended to hide in heavy forest waiting to ambush passing mechs.

I've even designed a few Battletech maps... this one I call The Pit...
 

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payn

Legend
Had a friend who was big-time into minitiatures gaming - mostly Warhammer 40K and Battletech. We did get him to play D&D once, but he wasn't a fan. We never played WH, but he did get us to play Battletech, which we ran for about 6 months. Because our friend was trying hard to get us to like the game, in the beginning he helped custom design some mechs based on our ideas. The mech we designed for me, included Claws (as a physical weapon), which at the time didn't exist as an option - another BT release did include Claws eventually, and the claws we designed turned out to work with the new rules (no changes needed with 5 tons and 5 crits per claw). I built a 75 ton bipedal mech, with triple-strength myomer for internal structure (we built both an Inner Sphere and Clan version, both work, though the Clan version is better). It's got jump jets. As a 75 ton mech it's movement with jump jets was a 3/4/5 mech, until you achieve "Heat" then it's a 5/8/5 mech. Until you took some damage, this mech design had perfect movement, and weapons to achieve Heat, no matter which option it required. If I remember right the Inner Sphere version had 6 medium lasers, 3 per side torso, and 1 small laser in it's head. Whereas the Clan version had 6 medium pulse lasers (3 on each side torso) a small pulse laser in it's center torso and a small laser in it's head. It was a fun mech to play, if you enjoy the risks of physical combat. It tended to hide in heavy forest waiting to ambush passing mechs.
The only physical brawler I have played is the Banshee.
 

ephemeron

Explorer
I've mostly been exposed to BattleTech via Mechwarrior 2 and the new Battletech video games, but have liked the idea of the setting and been interested in getting into different aspects. I saw there's a BattleTech bundle right now on Bundle of Holding. What do people think of the books being offered as an introduction? Any books not in the bundle that might be worth also picking up?
If you want to get seriously into the Battletech board game, it's an amazing deal. The base tier is the core rules and unit-construction rules for the board game, and the core and so far only book for the latest RPG for the setting. Then the bonus collection adds lots and lots of extra optional rules and systems for the board game.

The biggest omission from the bundle is 'Mechs. I'd recommend getting Technical Readout: Succession Wars (link is to DriveThruRPG) for the 3025 era (which Harebrained Schemes' Battletech and Mechwarrior 5 are set in), and/or Technical Readout: Clan Invasion for the 3050 era (Mechwarrior 2).
 

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