Saturday, October 17, 2009

Battletech, still fun ten years later

I'm sorry I haven't been posting as frequently as I would have wished. With no gaming happening regularly in real life I get lot less food for though. Hopefully it will pick up somewhat soonish, though.

Now for a fun game night yesterday! I bought Battletech 2nd ed some day back in the late eighties, and played one game with a friend. It was very slow and we found it very cumbersome. Today I wonder how we managed to get that impression! Thanks to some talk about the Battletech universe lately (check out microMechWarrior!), I dug out my old box and started reading.

God knows I find all kinds of anime or manga with mecha boring. I really can't understand what's so cool about those robots. But, for some reason the setting of Battletech seem less silly to me. I sure am strange. Fire up about those big robots, I decided to bring the game to games night at the club.

I decided to build two teams of exactly the same mechs, since I could find an opponent who wanted to play but didn't want the fiddly bits like choosing a mech and filling out the form. In the end we had one 20 ton Stinger, a 55 ton Shadow Hawk and a 65 ton Crusader each. Putting down the two maps from the Battletech box, we started from one side each and without a scenario we just tried to beat the living daylights out of each other. It was quite enjoyable!

The only problem we had with the rules were that we missed that LRMs should be rolled for in packs of five, and how many missiles were really fired in a salvo. The former problem just meant we had to roll less dice when we noticed it, but the latter was only resolved by looking at examples, as it wasn't explained well in the rules. We checked the newest quick start rules and strangely enough they were not very informative on this subject.

It was cool to see a critical success on my Crusader. Soon I had to adapt to the fact that I had an reactor which was leaking and helped heat my mech 5 pts every turn! Ouch. Then my Shadow Hawk got pummeled by LRM fire from the opponent Crusader and looked kind of beat up. Revenge was sweet though, when I managed to shoot off one leg and totally maim the other on my opponet's Stinger. If someone can tell me how to use, and survive in, light mechs please do!

After we had been fighting a while one guy came over and admitted that he and his old friends had been playing MechWarrior quite a lot when they where younger. This game have been everywhere.

Now I feel tempted to start a Battletech campaign!


  1. re: LRM - no units with missiles featured in the QSR, so no need to include those rules. ;-) Better use the CBT Introductory Rulebook next time.

  2. From what I remember, the way that light mechs survive is to use their speed to make themselves hard to hit and to (hopefully) maneuver behind larger and slower mechs.

  3. No better way to make a quick campaign than one of the Starterbooks. Check out Sword and Dragon or Wolf and Blake.

    Just a few points of errata to keep in mind and you are sure to have a blast.

  4. Light Mechs - I run them to their max MP or jump them every round. I try to keep on the lighter side (weapon damage-wise) of the heavier Mechs and use them as distraction or possible lucky shots. Pay attention to the firing arcs/ranges and if I lose initiative, I back them off.

  5. Fara,

    I'm not sure what kind of rulebook I have! I was cheap and didn't print the cover, so I have no idea what it is. I haven't found it on the CBT pages now, so it might be older or just something I found around and forgot about.

  6. Great feedback about light mechs! Gotta try out some light tactics next time. Thanks!

  7. I'll sure take a closer look at those starter books. Thanks for the hint, Brian!

    I now am tempted to by the introduction box, or maybe just the new rulebook. Hm. Do I want minis or not? To many choices, too much good stuff.

  8. @ Andreas: - you can find both pdfs I was talking about there. :-)

    The official order is Introductory Box Set -> Sword and Dragon -> Total Warfare/Wolf and Blake. This takes you from 'oldtech' (Succession wars era) all the way up to the current 'newtech' (Jihad era).

  9. CBT_Introductory_Rulebook.pdf was indeed the rules we were using! So that's where I first found it.

    Frankly, I find the BT website very confusing.

    Sounds like the Intro Box and Sword and Dragon is something I'll look at very closely soon.

    Thanks for the help finding that download! Gobs of stuff to grab for free. Amazing, really.

  10. I agree the download section could be a bit easier to surf. The nice thing about it is the fact that you can get a really good look at the contents of the different products. :-)

  11. Necro post from an OSR Battletech player. Nice blog, thought provoking posts and interesting comments. I Shall Be Back...

  12. Thanks! Browse around. We'll love to have you around as a regular. :)


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