BattleTech

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Nerroth, Aug 17, 2021.

  1. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    There are a number of ways in which the universe of BattleTech has been brought to life: be it through the "classic" tabletop game; its younger, more miniature-oriented sibling Alpha Strike; its series of novels and other stories; or its collection of video games, such as the one released by HBS and Paradox Interactive in 2018:



    In tabletop game terms, Catalyst Game Labs has divided the "future of the 80s" BT timeline into a series of eras, from the "Primitive" BattleMechs of the Age of War to the onset of a brand new IlClan era:

    [​IMG]

    So, rather than post separate threads for each separate form of BT media, I thought it might be as well to set a single umbrella topic where any and all aspects of this universe could be discussed.

    Are there any here with an interest in one or more particular incarnation(s) of the BT setting?
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
  2. Thestral

    Thestral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Big fan of Battletech here, the lore, the board game, the various Mechwarrior games, and all. I found the HBS Battletech game to be really, really good actually, considering it started out as a Kickstarter by Weisman.

    Have to admit I haven't really delved into the recent lore, pretty much anything more recent than, uh.... the Jihad. Which puts me like 80 years out of date in game. St. Ives and the ELH forever though!
     
  3. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    As it happens, CGL just recently announced that a new BattleTech Universe volume, set to provide a broad overview of the setting through to 3150, is set to be released in April 2022.

    That same list of upcoming releases includes writeups for the first two "post-IlClan" sourcebooks, Tamar Rising and Empire Alone. Although, I might advise skipping over their respective blurbs if you want to avoid any IlClan-related spoilers...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
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  4. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Last year Catalyst games has started a Kickstarter for a complete revamp of Battletech Mechs in plastic - the KS went through the roof ( they projected a minimum of 30.000 $ and ended up with more than 2.5 million $ :lol:, i have spent more than 400$ on that KS).

    So with this solid backbone the BT universe is well and alive when in all fairness it should have died long ago as most games did that came from the 80s without a major overhaul. BT still plays with a games design from the 80s but people love it, including me. Quite a few friends from my gaming club have also participated in the KS and i'm looking forward playing the game again with brand new and state of the art Mechs.

    Videogames never went away and i have played most of them - from Mechwarrior to Mechcommander and the most recent Battletech. I even dabbled a bit into Mechwarrior Online but it was too complex for me as a casual player.

    The novels though was where it's at - so many iconic characters, small connected series and standalone books but when the Clans were introduced the universe blew wide open.

    To this day i get chills when i read a specific scene - Jaime Wolf, commander of the Wolf's Dragoons ( a secret advance force sent by the Clans to learn about the Inner Sphere) gathers the who's who of the Inner Sphere after the initial successes of Clans, who have invaded the IS. A sort of dim-witted noblewoman claims she is not concerned because out there must still be Kerensky's troops waiting to return and save the IS.

    Jaime Wolf: "Madam - you didn't understand. Kerensky's troops have returned. They are the Clans!"
     
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  5. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    While there are a number of incarnations of tabletop BattleTech, perhaps the two most prominent at this time of writing would be "classic" BT (or "Total Warfare", after the current name for the core ruleset for that game system) and Alpha Strike.

    In TW, units such as BattleMechs are represented by Record Sheets, which have distinct armour and structure "bubbles" representing different sections of the 'Mech (arms, legs, and so forth). Games in TW are hex-based by default.

    in AS, units are more heavily abstracted, with each Unit Card showing only one set of armor and structure bubbles per 'Mech. AS is a hexless, miniature-based game by default, yet can be played on a hex map if needs be.

    -----

    Actually, the development of Alpha Strike is quite interesting. In essence, it's a spinoff of BattleForce, a game in which each counter represents a formation of units (an Inner Sphere lance, a Clan Star, a ComStar/WoB Level II, or a Marian Century). When BattleForce was revised and reintroduced in BattleTech: Strategic Operations, a "Quick-Strike" ruleset was offered which split each BF counter into its component units.

    Eventually, Quick-Strike was upgraded and published as a standalone product called Alpha Strike; the BF-scale abstractions of units became AS Unit Cards - most of which have black-and-white versions made freely available on CGL's Master Unit List website.

    Initially, the Alpha Strike core rulebook was accompanied by the Alpha Strike Companion. The current Alpha Strike: Commander's Edition consolidates most of the material from both prior core books into a single volume.

    As it happens, the most recent revision to Strategic Operations has removed the BattleForce material, which will be combined with the BF-related material in the Interstellar Operations book and published as it own volume. Even so, there should be enough of a difference in focus between AS and BF to allow each to stand on its own terms going forward.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
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  6. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Perhaps it's a reflection of my general nerdiness, but I find some historical music fitting for the BT universe. Since Aleksander Kerensky was Russian, I kind of like the idea of this being used during the Klondike campaign. :D

     
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  7. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    I barely got into the original FASA tabletop game in the late 80's-early 90's. I was into too many things back then so it didn't really "take".

    I did make some custom lead minis for modified mechs. I still have them somewhere.
     
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  8. Thestral

    Thestral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Man, that scene was so good, the whole training on Outreach. That was Romano Liao who said that, right? Although the scene where Hanse Davion gives Melissa Steiner the Capellan Confederation as a wedding present is super-iconic to me too.

    I know that Michael Stackpole was a lot more famous for his Star Wars writing, especially the X-Wing series, but his Battletech work is where I first read and enjoyed his work and still what I think of.

    That reminds me - did you see the story from back in 2012 about the Australian year 12 history exam that showed how a Marauder took part in the Russian Revolution?

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    No, it was Jaime Wolf who said and it was set up so brilliantly. If Battletech was done as a TV show this would have been the season 3 finale. First season setting up the universe and characters, second season scattered reports coming in about some new mysterious force in the Periphery with the season 2 finale Clan Invasion! - some high octane action in season 3, with the IS slowly coming together and in the final moments Jaime Wolf drops that bombshell line - fade to black - see ya in season 4 with the leadup to the Battle of Tukkayid.

    Man.. just writing this reminds how cool a BT show with high production value could be. The general story itself is so awesome and there are enough groups and characters out there to fill many shows.
     
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  10. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    :rommie: Which model was it? :angel:
     
  11. Thestral

    Thestral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ ETA, sorry @Unicron : LOL I think it's the classic -3R variant, considering that looks like an autocannon barrel yeah?

    Right, naturally not the actual quote, you said that was Jaime. I meant the dim-witted noblewoman saying that Kerensky's troops would save them; I remember Romano's idiocy being (easily) emphasized in that scene.

    The reveal of the Clans' origin is definitely one of the most brilliant moments, yes. I think you could basically do The Warrior Trilogy as Season 1 - or 1 and part of 2? Possibly elements of The Sword and the Dagger as well? And maybe at least part of Lethal Heritage.

    With Season 2 you could do Lethal Heritage/Wolves on the Border, as well as the War of 3039 in general and jumping forwards in time to 3049. Showing the birth and early life of the "next generation" of Victor, Katherine, Hohiro, Kai, Deirdre, and Phelan. I'd end Season 2 with Phelan's mission on The Rock and him being captured as the closing shot as a cliffhanger.

    Season 3 basically do the majority of the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy - the Clan invasion. Tyra Miraborg's sacrifice as the mid-season break, and the defense of Luthien as the conclusion?

    Season 4 finish up the invasion, including the Jade Falcon trilogy, ending with Tukayyid.

    That's not even going into the Grey Death as a series... there really is so much material.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
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  12. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

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    Stupid me thought FASA just dropped Trek in favor of this.
     
  13. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    The first of four "post-IlClan" sourcebooks, Tamar Rising, was released earlier this week. (I should once again note that even the blurb for this book is a spoiler for the events covered in IlClan and in Hour of the Wolf, so tread carefully...)

    To try and explain things in as spoiler-less a fashion as possible, whereas IlClan covers events on Terra through to approximately mid-3151, Tamar Rising looks at a key region in the "north-west" quadrant of the Inner Sphere through to mid-3152.

    By all accounts, the other three "post-IlClan" sourcebooks (Empire Alone, Dominions Divided, and a third book which has yet to be named in public) shall each cover their own zones of interest across the Inner Sphere in the same time period.

    Oh, and one other thing which Tamar Rising includes is a separate map showing various jump routes, recharge times, and other details which might be of use for anyone looking to launch a campaign across the region in question.
     
  14. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm a big BT fan, played tabletop in the 90s and loved it. I've REALLY liked the Battletech 2018 game and even ended up voicing a fan-made mod to it, adding new pilots to the game.

    I'm looking to get MW5 for my PS4 eventually when it hits a nice sale, anyone here played it?

    Mark
     
  15. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I recently got the latest TROs for the ilClan series, and I admit I'm kind of curious where they could go from here storywise. I admit to some degree, I have mixed feelings over the evolution of the arc (the Wolves not only took a huge bite out of Lyran space, but also managed to effectively defeat the Republic of the Sphere so they could finally claim Terra? Somewhat convenient... :rommie:), but it wouldn't be the first time. ;) I also wonder when they'll get around to fixing the HPGs, as it seems like that concept sort of just fell by the wayside with no real resolution.
     
  16. Thestral

    Thestral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Wolf Fiat was dumb as hell, but also typical (why yes, I did pick Jade Falcon in Mechwarrior 2!). Not to mention the entire idea of the Clans succeeding...

    Still, the idea of the time jump is fascinating and I do admit to being curious how it's all gonna fall apart for the Wolves (like it did for the RotS, like it did for WoB, like it did for Comstar, like it did for the Star League...)
     
  17. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I can see the Clans having some measure of success, it just seems to me like it could be done more logically. I mean, if all of the Clans had invaded in Operation Revival as they did in Klondike, things would have turned out much differently. :rommie:

    It just sort of seems like every group that actually controls Terra for some length of time winds up getting screwed by a plot arc, sooner or later. The Star League, ComStar, Republic of the Sphere... :biggrin:

    Are you familiar with the Living Legends scenario book? I've always had a bit of a soft spot for that one.
     
  18. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    There isn't going to be a time jump.

    If anything, the novels and sourcebooks of the IlClan Era seem set to take a more measured pace than those which got us to this point.

    To put it another way: WizKids' MechWarrior: Dark Age/Age of Destruction material ran from 3132 (the year the Blackout took place) through to 3139. Catalyst Game Labs first moved things forward in the novel A Bonfire of Worlds, but the first "proper" Dark Age Era sourcebooks were set in 3145. Following those, the Shattered Fortress sourcebook moved the timeline across the Inner Sphere and near Periphery as far as 3150, on the eve of the events portrayed in Hour of the Wolf and the IlClan sourcebook.

    As noted above, HotW and IlClan go as far as mid-3151, and focus primarily on Terra itself. Whereas Tamar Rising only covers a given region of the Inner Sphere, and only as far as mid-3152.

    On a side note, events have progressed in the Deep Periphery, also: the recently-published Operational Turning Points: Hanseatic Crusade covers a war in 3140-3141 between the Hanseatic League and the Imperio founded by Clan Goliath Scorpion.
    One interesting item of note: the HPGs established by the Scorpions in this region were not affected by the Blackout. So whatever mechanism caused the majority of HPGs in the Inner Sphere and near Periphery to fail seems to only extend so far into the galaxy.

    Still no word on the goings-on in the Clan Homeworlds, though. The most recent look at the Pentagon Worlds and Kerensky Cluster timeline-wise was in The Wars of Reaving and its Supplemental File: even the Scorpions have seemingly had no word from them in decades.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
  19. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    If the Clans would have invaded full force they would have gotten much further but would have been stopped due to the inherent social and psychological flaws that some Clans, especially Wolf, and the IS discovered, which is how they were able to beat the Clans at Tukayid. It would have been just at a far bigger scale with far bigger losses in the military and civilian sector.

    In the long run though it would get boring if someone succeeds and wins for all time, creating total peace - doesn't fit in a military conflict universe with added tabletop combat rules, does it= ;)

    I have not delved too much into IlClan, i'm still getting up to speed in the tabletop game at all ( which has been hampered by Covid restrictions) and have to master my favorite era 3025 and then upgrade to Clan Tech before i consider going even further.

    Anyone know if all those new IlClan Mechs will also get miniatures?
     
  20. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Probably only the handful of new designs, as most of the IC mechs are updated classic models.