Battletech by Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns)

The core BT rules are very dated, agreed; though to be fair, they were dated in the 80s, too.

LOL no. BT rules were state of the art in the 80’s. And “real” raised-on-Panzer-Leader-SPI-AH-types poo-poo’ed BT as being a wargame for kiddies, barely worth sniffing over.

Then Magic came along and plowed us all in the arse.

@Spiffy: I totally agree that much of the coolness of Battletech (as captured in the novels I read in the 90’s) was about the long struggle through a campaign, with all the strategic level recon and tactical retreats and maintenance to keep a unit combat ready.

I’m not expecting too much strategic layer stuff from this game, but if they include the simple element of campaigns with between-mission maintenance (and no ability to ‘buy’ mechs from a magic store), that’d be pretty neat. It would also fit better with the mercenary theme IMO. I think the original Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries had some ‘campaign’ contracts where you’d be stuck with the same batch of mechs and pilots for several missions in a row.

That’s way up there on my list too! Loved it.

I’ll pass at the simplification like the new XCOM (which I absolutely love), I’d prefer a meaty game where I’m micromanaging heatsinks and armor pips.

but I’ll take anything!

An interview with Jordan Weisman confirms the time period as 3025, which is great news.

Good news, but not surprising. It’s the logical thing to do. Clans can always be an expansion/sequel. It’s harder to go back the other way.

+1 to everything you said. I’m very excited about this, although a little miffed that people at Gencon apparently get the chance to pick up some exclusive content. That’s a minor quibble, though.

I have to say that I’m very pleased with Harebrained Schemes, and having backed all of their kickstarters so far (except the Golem Arcana one, which didn’t interest me) I think they’ve consistently delivered some of the most entertaining and well polished games to come out kickstarter. I can’t wait for Hong Kong in a few weeks.

I hope this will be a smash hit so we can get even more Battletech. Maybe it could even lead to a revival of Mechwarrior.

Wasn’t it even more drawn out if you used the original 3025 mechs? I never got around to playing the actual game, but my impression was that the new stuff was more lethal and hence more decisive. People always said how much better they liked the original setting … but the setting had no bearing on the tabletop[ game. I guess they just really liked the fiction and original mechs.

Also, Front Mission 5 is just more of Front Mission 4. You can only play it through … certain means, however. And you need an FAQ to avoid missing a lot of good recruits.

Yes, that’s accurate. With 3025 tech, combat had a step by step feel, where the inevitable progression was ranged, short, then melee until you’re both a pile of junk, as the ranged weapons rarely had the punch to knock you out early and heat buildup slowed you to an inevitable face to face slugmatch. Clan tech really carved out roles and allowed ranged mechs to keep cool if you were careful and used cover and kept moving, and short ranged guys to zip in and deal lots of damage without becoming martyrs. That said, like everyone else, I have a soft spot for 3025, it’s like the middle age knights with maces and and flails pounding each other in the mud before someone came along with armor piercing crossbows and muskets. And like I was saying above, 3025 felt like the damage threshold took longer to get critical, so you could still have a chance to lumber off the field if your arm and torso was blown off. When you get hit by three or four targetted clan erPPC’s… not so much.

Totally agreed. Even still, it frustrated my friends and I to no end as soon as it became apparent that the vanilla tactical combat rules simply weren’t geared to continued operations and made it almost impossible to build a core lance. The rules, despite claims to the contrary in source books, simply didn’t scale well to multiple engagements (even with repairs between skirmishes). Even if you had one player act as a GM with a much lighter force, pilot and mech death could still come in so many ways (floating criticals, lucky head hit, etc). We wound up having to house rule BT almost to death to reach a point where we felt like mechs died due to tactical errors rather than dumb luck.

3025 is IMO the best time period. No gimmicks, no creeping power curve, no bullshit.

Just as a constant reminder, there’s still Mechforce 3.77 on Amiga emulation if you crave BT action on a computer :)

I’ll point out that there is already a streamlined version of BT, called Alpha Strike. It makes combat very, very much quicker and allows you to feel the flow of the battle on the tabletop more easily. It’s easy to have company vs company combats in the course of a couple of hours with this ruleset. Maybe they’ll use it? was the best version of Battletech.

The actual design rules in Battletech made almost no sense. Just off the top of my head, from 20 years ago, i can remember that PPCs and AC/5s weighed the same and had the same range, but the PPC did 10 damage for 10 heat, while the AC/5 did 5 damage for 3 heat. But this means you need to carry ammo for the AC/5, increasing it’s effective weight to, let’s say, 9 tons vs. the PPC’s 7. This means that the AC/5 “costs” 3/5 a heat point for every point of damage, while the PPC “costs” 1 heat point for every point of damage. But because the PPC weighs less, for the same weight you can get 2 extra heat sinks. 2 PPC’s means 4 extra heat sinks. Now if you simply alternate firing rounds; that is, only firing the PPC once every two rounds instead of every round, you get 1 point of damage for every 1/2 heat point, and you are dissipating 4 extra points of heat (2 heat sinks (2 rounds)). And you’re not vulnerable to ammunition explosions. Why would any military chose to ever use AC/5s? The whole game was full of these problems. Like infantry. Oh man, infantry are nearly free in the Battletech universe, but Mechs are “irreplacable”. But infantry do like 7 points of damage for ever 28 men. Screw mechs, just send in the human waves and win every time.

Sighs. It was a sad day in college when i took my duffel bag full of Battletech and set it lovingly in the dumpster, never to see it again. One has to grow up at some point, you know.

OMGWTFBBQ, cautiously optimistic.

I hope this is like a modern Titans of Steel: Warring Suns, I really enjoyed that game.

I would have liked Titans of Steel as well, since MechForce on the Amiga was its inspiration. Then they had to fuck it all up with shields, an even weirder impulse system, and other stuff that turned me off completely.

I LOVED Mission Force: Cyberstorm. Then they made #2, which was crap.

Very excited they are doing this. It’s high time the board game got a suitable computer game port and I am very excited they will be doing campaigns with rpg elements.

The decision to unify the artwork with MWO is also good news but also not surprising; the guy who does the concept art for MWO also does battletech game book covers.

Lastly the harmony gold thing seems to have been resolved based on new official warhammer mini being showed off at gencon and the warhammer and marauder gracing the cover of an upcoming battletech game book (along with the griffin and shadowhawk which appeared in MWO last year). Assuming this signals that the HG dispute has been resolved, there are no longer any “unseen” designs.

I’m another one who hopes they change/simplify/streamline/rebalance the original mechanics. I like Battletech, but the rules are old and not as lean and interesting as they could be. A Front Mission-like system (although slightly more complex, please) would be my preference.

Yes, FM4 is not perfect by any means, but the battles resolve quickly and the gameplay is generally fun. I realize it would be anathema for this game to do without the heat system, but the fact is (well, the opinion is) it was always a bad idea no matter how “tactical” it was because it just subtracted fun from the game. Not to mention dragging out the combat. There are other ways to establish weapon-choice and mech-design tradeoffs that are interesting without being painful.

It’s a computer game. Even if one assumes that the heat mechanic was a PITA for the board version, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be for the computer game, since so much of it is automated. I don’t remember the earlier BT/MW computer games being painful, even though they had the heat mechanic.

In BT, heat is about more than just weapon choice and mech design, it was also about how much of a gambler you were in combat and your playstyle (e.g., hit-and-run to allow heat to drop from an alpha strike). I think the heat mechanic is a core component of BT (even if there are other ways to do it) with numerous effects on gameplay, and removing it would result in a big part of what makes it BT.