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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

And in my 37th Year I Conquered the Inner Sphere

by Ken Newquist / December 17, 2008
[img_assist|nid=2774|title=Classic Battletech Introductory Box Set|desc=A look at all the good stuff that comes with the boxed set, including maps, minis, setting history, intro rules, and mech technical readouts|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=233]

It's my birthday today, and I've been having fun playing with my toys, foremost of which is the Classic Battletech Introductory Box Set that my sister Kristen and her husband got me.

The box set has led to something of a resurgence of the game in my group. We've played Battletech on and off for years, but the cool thing about this game is that it puts us all on even footing.

For one thing, I've never had my own copy of the Battletech rules. I read a friend's copy years ago, but since then I've been content to let others direct me. The problem with that is that it's hard to really be vested in a game when you don't know the rules well yourself. This game comes with a quick start rule book and a thicker book with the introductory rules. There's a more detailed rule book out there, but this is enough to cut your teeth on.

There's also a nice book providing an overview of the Battletech's factions and history, but the best part (or rather parts) are the minis. It comes with 28 unpainted plastic miniatures, which means I can finally sit down and assemble my own fighting forces without relying on anyone else.

Very cool. 

The game also record sheets for those minis, battlemaps, and dice (though it's not like I really needed more dice).  All of this allows those of us who are Battletech rookies (there are three of us who now have this set) to easily play the game when our veterans -- the ones with all the maps and the metal minis -- aren't around. All in all, it's a very cool birthday present; I'm looking forward to playing more of it.

Exactly how we'll play more of it, I don't know -- I like Battletech, but I wouldn't want to give up our Star Wars campaign for it.  One idea I had was to come up with a simple tournament league among my friends; we could set up matches, and then leave it to those players to schedule games on their own time. I could also see returning to the mercenary campaign we'd kicked around a few years ago, but the drawback there is having a GM to run it; the tournament approach has the advantage that no GM is needed. Coupling the tournament wiht a loose story (e.g. this House is attempting to accomplish this goal, this faction is trying to stop them) could be fun as well.  I think the key is coming up with just enough of a hook to keep everyone interested, while not creating so much overhead for the GM that it all comes crashing down under its own weight.

But we'll see how it goes. First things first -- I need to play a few learning scenarios so I can really grok the rules. Who knows, I might even paint my minis.


I absolutely love that box set. BT had languished in the domain of old players for too long. Catalyst Labs did a great job in putting the intro rules and the box together. And the minis! Fantastic. I got one for a friend, but I need to get one for myself.

So, hey, how about dropping some mechs in KOTOR Star Wars? ;-)

Sith Battlemechs? Hmmmm ...

... but no, I think not. I did consider the opposite; using a stripped down version of the Saga rules (sans lightsabers and Force powers) to run the story aspects of Battletech, but as always the interface between the Battletech combat/pilot rules and the d20 rules is a bit of a sticking point. I think I could hack something together if I spent more than 5 minutes thinking about it, but I don't think we're in any danger of running a BT RPG anytime in the near future.

As far as the box set goes, yeah, it is a great thing. Good for bringing in new players, good for geek parents who wanted to try the game with their kids, just all around good.