Battletech by Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns)

I agree the DLC is hardly visible - the Urban maps do look pretty, and there is a reasonable attention to detail that makes them enjoyable, but most of the time I can hardly tell I have the expansion at all. Still wish i had pitched in the 2k or whatever to get a MechWarrior named “Enidigm” in there! I got the season pass day one. But Paradox games’ DLC in general tend to appeal to niche and are always bad content/cost ratios, sadly.

I kind of burned out on BT at release and only recently came back to it. BattleTech is a lot like a 4X game in that getting started is 90% more fun than finishing. If you pace yourself and don’t over-grind on the game I think you can have a lot of fun once you buy into the core gameplay loop.

The most basic game restriction - having a max of 4 mechs yourself with no reinforcements or switching mechs out - inevitably mean that whatever BattleTech could have been, the arc of the game is fundamentally a Pokémon like experience where you have to “grab them all” where having four 100 ton Mechs is the goal. That arc before you start reaching that point is where all the fun lies.

I’d like to see, if the four mech limit is for performance and sanity (just like tabletop, running 12 on 12 battles could wear your dice out, in many ways much worse than even Games Workshop tabletop, since every weapon has to be rolled, and every location has to be rolled, ect) i would like to see the ability to switch Mechs out with a “reinforcement” drop; you go to point C or whatever, and the game picks up the mechs you have there and leaves behind an equal number of reinforcement mechs. That would add a ton of scope to the battles.

Or, to summarize:


BTW, i found a PDF version of the original 3025 technical readout if anyone wants it. I assume it is kosher to offer b/c i assume they’re out of print; if this is not so, offer is withdrawn!

I think they sell it as a pdf through drivethrurpg

You can also go to the wiki for it and click on the various mechs & what not. I know it’s not quite the same feel, but the basic content is still there.

Oh I didn’t know about drivethroughrpg

They have apparently some fluff made for the game:

I might have to get that. The original ancillary stuff of BT wasn’t the best, so i suspect the new fluff to probably be of much higher quality.

Btw… i think i mentioned this before… anyone play the old BT game? Anyone remember the old sourcebooks?

There was one sourcebook that blew my kid mind because way in the back where they compiled these odd vignettes about random characters was one about some random weirdo who had “visions” of Kerensky’s fleet orbiting a star. Then the next sourcebook released was 3050 and the Clans. But I can’t remember now which book that was in. Not a huge deal, but I wanted to glance at whichever sourcebook that was again.

Also, looking at that site, i guess Catalyst Game Labs, the most recent owners of the BattleTech license, are now owned by Topps, the baseball card company?

There is a decent android app called mech factory which has a lot of info, and if useful for people that play tabletop.

I don’t remember if I had sourcebooks. I had all of the box sets in the 80s.

When I started playing this game last year it drove me to pick up the rulebooks from Catalyst. I still haven’t dove into them though. I figure between those and the megamek programs I can have some fun.

I got a couple missions under my belt and made it to the ship in the campaign. I found the bay to repair one of my mechs that was pretty damaged.

After 2 missions it seems pretty good. The missions are pretty meaty and they seem to like to add more objectives as I go.

That’s a very cool idea, and really seems like something that might be implementable in a particularly ambitious mod. The 4 mech limit is definitely the greatest restriction here, I do wish something could be done to open things up a bit.

I played a fair bit of BattleTech tabletop back in the 90’s and early 00’s. To this day I have a sort of psychological weakness for big schematics with lots of tiny checkboxes on them (I played a lot of Starfleet Battles too - same deal). Anyway, I recall devouring all the lore with abandon, but I don’t recall the particular bit you’re asking about. Have you looked at for it? They’ve got basically everything ever on this universe and a lot of it’s clearly sourced.

I played back in the day. I actually had the manual for creating mechs/vehicles and the like. As a 12 year old, I spent more time designing my own OP mechs, rather than playing it. I usually played a few games with my older brothers, and found myself flatten, because they were just that much better than me (being 5 years older then me had it’s advantages).

That being said, I really wanted to try out some of those cool rules (even if it meant the dice would be insane). I wanted to try out LAM mechs, or infantry with special tactics ambushing mechs. Or elementals being carried by hovercraft to attack the rear of a mech.

The old battletech manual had pictures of fully painted battlefields, with mechs, infantry and tanks, on a fully realized maps, with hills, buildings and lakes. I used to play on a hexagonal map, because that was all I had at the time and I used to have to explain how the rifleman figure would actually be a catapult, because I didn’t have a catapult, and I needed to use my marauder as a marauder. But with the, you have the maps, and the mechs, and you don’t have to worry about rolling hundreds of shits, or double checking all the rules. You can just play. Just not with all the things you wanted to.

By the way, Battletech was still more straightforward than the other tabletop game by FASA - Renegade Legion, with it’s weird shield mechanic, and movement point system.

Is there some sort of “Perfect Intel” mod that makes the mission Skulls actually match the mission difficulty?

I went into a 1.5 skull mission today with Vindicator/Jenner/Panther/Firestarter and ran into… Spider/Jenner/Shadow Hawk/Hunchback/Griffin/Griffin/Griffin/Crab.

I’m just a bit tired of this now.

Huh, that used to happen often, but I haven’t seen it in quite awhile (not since I restarted, in fact) - frankly I thought they’d fixed it.

Darius is a lying liar, and a pyromaniac to boot (have you heard his statements when you destroy buildings?).

Actually I felt the skull-intel was better in recent patches.

One thing to keep in mind is that the game will rate heavier mechs as a lower skull threat if they are not as well maintained (ie lower armor - you will often fight pirates with only 25% or 50% of the typical armor). That changes the mission balance: you will face much heavier firepower than you might be expecting but with relatively easy-to-kill opponents. This means heavy alpha-strike firepower tends to be more valuable on those missions than either mobility or armor - kill the lightly armored heavy hitters fast and you can take down much heavier lances. The upside to this is the salvage can be truly excellent.

I killed two of the mechs from the main target lance, ignored the reinforcement lance and then bailed on the contract.

I’m in an odd place for this. I would actually like the fact that intel wasn’t perfect and you could end up in the shit, but only if it hadn’t happened all the time in the early days of the game.

Now instead of my reaction being “Uh oh… now what do we do!?” it’s just straight “Great, this crap again.

Skulls being wrong all the time reminds me of an old bug in Wargame: European Escalation, where rocket artillery hit a perfect circle outlined around the target point rather than being spread evenly through the area.

Yeah, skulls are also supposed to have some random variance from reality (there’s a setting in one of the files which gives the range, iirc). When you’re starting out and going with a half- or one-skull mission, of course, there’s really no direction it could vary but up.

Battletech is a bit roguelike though. Sometimes you just need to bail on a mission.

Then our next mission was to place three beacons, make sure a target got obliterated by the artillery and then extract.

Everything is going fine except for the part where the Vindicator lost the arm with the PPC on it. The beacons went down, artillery came down, the compound went up and then… with three mechs in the extract circle and the Vindicator one hex away Darius calls off the mission because we “can’t possibly win.”

We get a good faith payment, but zero salvage, even though the third part of the Griffin I needed is right there. WTF Darius!?

Time for a new career, where step one is “put Darius in the airlock.”

I prefer games where you control ~6 units, like BG or IWD. Also Silent Storm. Vanilla JA2 allowed you 6 units per squad, which was noice. Blackguards gives you four units, but in many missions you control additional NPCs, especially in the sequel.

But, four characters seems to be the norm, sadly.

I hate that one, though it taught me the value of mid-mission saves. You basically need to start moving toward the extraction point before anyone tells you to.

This has mostly to do with BattleTech fiction going on in the background.

The “dropship” that carries your mechs to and from a mission (that is, the flying pizza box and not the spinning can ship in orbit above) is of the Leopard Class, designed to carry a single “Lance” of Mechs, which is the equivalent of a squad. There are 4 mechs to a Lance, 3 Lances to a Company, 3 Companies to a Battalion and 3 or 4 Battalions (I forget which) to a Regiment.

They might have felt that to carry more than 4 mechs would require a different dropship type, and ect ect along with game performance, just didn’t know how to square that circle and so stuck with 4 mechs for the player.