My First BattleTech Battle
As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, I have procured a box of 2nd edition BattleTech. I had never played before, but I couldn’t resist a piece of table top history for one dollar at a used book store. I was excited to see the FASA logo front and center on the box, and the game even had all its pieces except for one paper cutout BattleMech, a plastic stand, and dice. I like to imagine that the one mech I’m missing is sitting on some forty year old programmer’s desk right now, a relic of his childhood.
After letting the box languish in my car for a bit, I sent an email to my usual minis rival that went something along the lines of “OMG, I HAVE 2nd ED BATTLETECH!”
He replied with “OMG, I HAVE 3RD. GAME ON!”
And thus began my first BattleTech experience. Well, I had played MechWarrior 2 for PC once and I demoed the latest edition of BattleTech at Gen Con, but I don’t count those as real games. This was a full on skirmish.
I don’t know how I would compare BattleTech with WarMachine, my preferred game for robot slugfests, other than mentioning how awesome the movement and heat rules are. Basically, you are harder to hit the less you stay in one place, and moving and firing weapons generates heat that will fry your mech up if you don’t learn to stay frosty. While it means you had to keep your eyes on a couple of charts at a time, I never found it as overwhelming as managing Focus on my warjacks in WarMachine. The setting, theme, and overall sense of commanding awesome weapons of destruction is stronger in WarMachine, but I think BattleTech plays faster.
The experience reminded me a lot of FROM Software’s giant robot games, but specifically Chromehounds. There are rules for creating your own mechs, so I’d like to mod some Chromehounds communication tower rules to BattleTech for an objective based game. If you haven’t played Chromehounds for Xbox 360, the communication towers are the only way players can talk to each other and see enemy units on the radar (unless you’re a cheater). I have some ideas of how to work rules for this in the game that mostly involve minor penalties or targeting restrictions. I don’t imagine it being difficult to implement a scenario like this, and it would be a great way to kill an afternoon. I’ve missed Chromehounds since the servers went down, and BattleTech could be a way to keep that flame alive.
Overall, I am impressed with BattleTech. The box was full of everything and more that I would need to play. While I don’t have any real figures for the game, all the cardboard cutouts make me feel like I have a huge battalion of robots. I definitely want to play again, although BattleTech may not replace WarMachine as my steel on steel combat favorite. I think BattleTech 2nd Edition is going to make a great rainy day tactics game.