Recently, Catalyst Games released two new introductory box-sets for the battle-hardened BattleTech line. Despite gaming longer than BattleTech’s 35 years in existence, I’ve never actually gamed anything in this IP. Not even the ever popular video-games. But here I am…in my mid-40s and it looks like I’m becoming a Mechwarrior.
The two box-sets are a two mech Beginner Box and an eight mech, full ruled set. With a son that’s big into Gundam, I figured let’s start off with those intro rules. BUT…more mechs would be more fun…so I grabbed them both.
I understand the BT rules haven’t changed much in 35 years. TBH, that’s sort of appealing. In the past, I’ve enjoyed old-school games like Dark Future or Silent Death…games where you check off damage boxes. One of my favorite mechanics
Being new to this universe, I’m not really sure about all the factions, but my son’s favorite color is red, and he likes Japanese stuff, so I kinda, sorta painted a collection of mechs in the red of House Kurita. Not having any sort of Japanese iconography, or even dragon, transfers, I opted for some lightning bolts from my old Gorkamorka sheet. I know in the BattleTech game lances are comprised of four mechs, but I have ten models, so did five and five. Give us a little lance building flexibility.
For my faction, I was thinking a more militarized mercenary unit. I went with the same sort of dark blue/grey and neon green I used for my Dark Eldar fleet way back in the BattleFleet Gothic days. I had some Dreadball team number transfers left over and they appeared perfect for sci-fi mechs.
Again, still learning the game, when it came time for me to choose which five models would belong to which ones of our factions…I just sorta went with looks. The more angular cockpits became my mercs, while the more rounded domed, or dynamically posed models became the House Kurita set.
Basing was something I struggled with. I didn’t want to use my standard gravel and flock because having used that for 28-32mm GW models for decades, I was afraid it would trick my eye into thinking these were smaller than they should be. I wanted something different. Something that would be low, to perhaps give the models a little more appearance of height. I opted for mostly flat bases, but did use some of that Citadel Agrellan Earth. The idea being the cracks on the base are from the weight of the mechs crushing down on the dry earth under their feet.
These 10 models were very easy to paint and a short weekend project. We’ve gotten in a game using the basic rules from the Beginner Box, so no heat, no melee, etc. Initially it didn’t look like this game was going to go over well, but as the turns rolled on so did the narrative and the interest.
I’m looking forward to perhaps adding another 10 models (maybe in the upcoming kickstarter) and digging into the BattleMech Manual. I’ve got a great idea for a scenario based on one of my all-time favorite genre films. Maybe I can do both tise venerable game engine and that flick justice.