Catalyst Game Labs Showcases Upcoming Merch At Mech_Con

Catalyst Game Labs Showcases Upcoming Merch At Mech_Con

Catalyst Game Labs took over Mech_Con last Saturday to not only showcase their upcoming products but also put on a huge tabletop experience. And I am not even joking – an entire corner of the convention was entirely devoted to CGL’s massive game tables. Technically, Catalyst had more space devoted to them than any other company present.

Tabletop

But it’s not the size that matters – it’s what you do with it. Catalyst was certainly no slouch there, putting on a workshop for BattleTech veterans and newcomers to the tabletop alike, featuring incredible hand-painted miniatures and sprawling campaign maps. For new BattleTech players, it was a chance to see what inspired the computer games that were on center stage.

Catalyst wasn’t just there to put on a workshop though. They were also there to showcase the latest designs for their upcoming products, of which they announced many, and all of them to be appearing in 2018.

Presentation

The first big announcement was two new box sets for the tabletop game. The first box, simply titled BattleTech: Beginner’s Box Set, is intended as a quick start to the BattleTech game. Consider it BattleTech on training wheels, very similar to the quickstart rules that were given in previous editions of BattleTech. The box will come with two minis – a Griffin and a Wolverine – and one map sheet to play on. This will also be one of the cheapest BattleTech boxes ever at just $25.

Griffin

The second box will be the main course. BattleTech: A Game Of Armored Combat will feature eight miniatures, two map sheets, and the full rules to BattleTech. The eight minis included will be a Battlemaster, Awesome, Thunderbolt, Catapult, Shadowhawk, Wolverine, Commando, and Locust. Each of the minis is based on the redesigned art featured in BattleTech: Alpha Strike and are hella cool. Take a look at some of the snapshots I grabbed at Mech_Con to see what I mean.

Randall Bills also said that these will be out before next year’s GenCon in Spring of 2018.

Locust

The new minis are currently only going to be available in the new box sets, so keep this in mind for the BattleTech mini aficionado in your life (I’m lookin’ at you, CamoSpecs).

Along with the new box sets, Brent Evans also announced brand new BattleTech fiction coming in the new year. He was mum on much of the details, but he did tease a new short story that deals with Durant Carlyle, Grayson Carlyle’s father, and his exploits as part of Carlyle’s Commandos. There will also be short fiction to be found in the campaign books set to come out in 2018 as well, of which precious little info was provided.

New Minis

Veteran MechWarriors will also be happy to note there will be brand new map sheets available soon that will be based on the new fiction. They’ll also be included in the new box set, so if you want to kill two birds with one stone you can shell out for the latest version of the tabletop to save on shipping.

And finally, the biggest news of all for classic BattleTech fans: CGL plans on hosting a series of events in 2018 to take place worldwide. I don’t have any other details than that, but expect to find out more on that bombshell before the new year.

That’s it for Catalyst! Stay tuned as we hit all of the big names to attend Mech_Con in the coming days.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the redesigned minis would available separately, but they aren’t. So buy that new box set to get your mitts on them!

Mech_Con 2017 Recap

Mech_Con

If there were any doubts as to what is the new mecca (hah) of ‘Mech conventions, they were put to rest on December 9th, 2017.

Mech_Con brought together the biggest names from all things BattleTech, from PGI and Harebrained Schemes in video games to Catalyst Game Labs on the tabletop, and there has been a slew of super exciting announcements that will give any ‘Mech-head the chills.

We’ll certainly get more in-depth with each announcement in future articles, but first a quick recap of what went down at Mech_Con 2017.

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Community Outreach – RoA Nitrox of Black Plasma Studios

Hunchback Normal

courtesy of Black Plasma Studios

Welcome to Community Outreach! Many of you were impressed by last week’s teaser video of a brand new animated MechWarrior series on YouTube. To find out more, I reached out to the teaser’s director, RoA Nitrox, who was kind enough to answer a few questions about the video’s development and how he became a BattleTech fan. Enjoy!

UPDATE: It looks like the video has been taken down. According to Nitrox, Black Plasma Studios received a cease and desist letter. Rumor is there’s some internal negotiation happening, so hopefully, it’ll be back soon. The response – before it was taken down – was certainly good enough to warrant a real animated series. 

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A Short December 2017 BattleTech Gift Guide

At the time of writing, we’re already a couple of days into December, which means time is quickly running out to get some BattleTech related goodies for your gaming buddies, for your significant other, or hey, even for yourself!

I’ve taken a bit of a look around, and here are a few good places to find some holiday BattleTech models and books that just might save the day and give the gift of heavy metal mayhem this holiday season. This is by no means an extensive list, meant to serve as just a general survey of what’s out there in this snapshot of time, and it’s pretty well skewed towards being primarily useful to those in the US and Canada.

Just want you to be aware before diving in.

Local Game Stores

A word about FLGS’s and what they mean to the community. MechWarriors, if your LGS supports BattleTech by carrying product, please do all you can to do your buying and ordering through them. They are the ones who are taking the biggest chance by dedicating precious shelf space to the game we all love, and it’s important for us to make sure they know we appreciate it.

So please, before you order online, make sure to take a moment and confirm (it’s pretty easy for most of us, as I’m sure the majority already know, but it still has to be said) that you have no local sources for BattleTech models and books.

You may just help save your favorite gaming space if you can source your gifts locally.

Now, onto the guide.

Click on the logo pictures below to go to the relevant pages. 

Aries Games & Miniatures

One of the most popular of the online retailers that specializes mostly in BattleTech and Alpha Strike, Aries has a good relationship with Iron Wind Metals, so their catalog is fairly vast as far as selection is concerned.

Of note at Aries is that they seem to have a good supple of the highly sought after Alpha Strike Lance Packs that feature 4 hard plastic BattleMechs in each pack. At a price of $7.99 per Lance Pack ($2 off of MSRP), these are a great deal and a quick way to buy a whole Lance, Company, or even a larger unit.

Aries doesn’t stop there, either, as they have pretty much (I don’t think all of) most of IWM’s BattleTech Archive and bits catalog, too. There’s not much I can’t find at Aries, just poking around the site. So if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for a gift of BattleTech models, Aries is likely your best bet.

BattleTech Rulebooks

Though we’ve recently received some good news that the core rulebooks will see a reprinting, probably in 2018, many MechWarriors still need rulebooks now. From Total Warfare to Alpha Strike, some of these books are getting pretty tough to find. Here’s a few places I’ve seen with some of these books in stock.

Also, most any place that has any BattleTech rulebooks will have some selection of models, but none of them are as extensive in selection as Aries.

Game Nerdz

Alpha Strike, Combat Manual: Mercenaries, and the BattleMech Manual are among the books I’ve seen in stock with Game Nerdz. Not the biggest selection, but nobody has that at this point.

The War Store

Vik the Viking actually has a pretty good selection, but it is mostly TRO’s, Record Sheet books, and secondary game supplements, thought they do have both Alpha Strike and the Alpha Strike Companion in stock.

Miniature Market

This site has a good mix of game books and the Alpha Strike Lance Packs, though most items are in pretty low stock. But, if you’re looking for a place to pick up the Lance Packs and the Alpha Strike rulebooks in one place, this site is probably your one stop.

BATTLETECH – Harebrained Schemes

It’s not too late to get your BattleTech buddies (and yourself!) in on the BattleTech strategy game by Harebrained Schemes, coming out in 2018. I had a chance to talk to Jordan Weisman earlier this year at GenCon and try out the latest of the game updates as of that time, and wow! was it awesome a few months ago.

Since then, the multi-player beta has officially launched, and details are coming out on a regular basis about the game’s campaign mode and story line. This is one BattleTech game no Mech fan should miss for any reason.

MechWarrior Online Gift Store

If your MechWarrior plays MWO, then don’t overlook the possibility of getting them a gift code for a brand new, shiny Mech Pack. Thought it’s not a physical product, if your givee enjoys the digital Mech action, then the MWO Gift Store is a prime place to look for an opportunity. You get the Gift Codes through your email when you buy them, and you can forward them on to your favorite MechWarriors at the proper time.

Terrain

There are lot of options here, far too many to list. Good scale terrain for BattleTech has become more accessible over the past year or so, especially if your MechWarrior is into 3D printing, or knows someone who is.

One pretty awesome new source for 3D printed terrain files is actually a well-known site for digital gaming supplies, DriveThruRPG. There’s some great stuff available there for gamers who are already into, or are getting into, 3D printing.

BattleTech for the Holidays

Wherever you get your BattleTech related gifts, I hope that you all have a great holiday season playing and enjoying the game and the hobby that we all love.

Spread the joy, and always keep a light trigger finger.

Happy Holidays, MechWarriors.

BattleTech Fall Classic – Republic Gunslinger Tournament

Back on November 4th (just shy of five weeks ago at the time of writing) six Middle Tennessee area MechWarriors descended on one location to fight it out in a series of matches that would determine who was worth of the title “Gunslinger”.

With the gracious hosting of The Game Cave in Hermitage, TN, I was able to organize the tournament and invite the Middle TN group to have it out in a series of four 1v1 matches, each at a different weight class.

I further upped the stakes by adding environmental conditions into the mix, much to the groans and mixed chuckles of all of the participants.

A link to the full rules for the tournament is HERE.

There was some prize support present as well.

The prize support for the Fall Classic.

Modeling tools (provided by the Wargamers’ Reunion), 3D printed 6mm terrain (provided by Dicey Ventures), and even a CAV model (given to the lowest ranked player at the end of the day) were among the prizes. Also, there was one prize above all, seen to the far right of the picture (No! Not the DQ cup!).

I speak, of course, of The Gold Malice Gunslinger Trophy!

The legendary and much sought Golden Malice trophy went to the winner, along with the title “Gunslinger”!

Here are some shots of the hex map action from the 4 Rounds of the Fall Classic.

Josh Koziura (ProbableKoz on YouTube) took home the Best Painted award with his Mercenaries!

Photo by Josh Koziura (ProbableKoz)

This was my first tournament as a Catalyst Demo Team Agent, and while there are definitely things I would have like to change (like not bumbling through a couple of rules calls), it was still a great first start to getting more regular stuff planned, not only tournaments, but also special events.

After the first of the year, the next step is to organize an Alpha Strike event, and then to get ready to defend my Championship Belt at T-N-T 2018.

There’s so much more exciting BattleTech ahead, `Mech fans!

New Animated MechWarrior Series Teased on YouTube

New Animated MechWarrior Series teased on YouTube

courtesy of Black Plasma Studios

BattleTech: The Animated Series was easily my favorite Saturday morning cartoon growing up (surprised? I thought not). Now it looks like independent YouTube video makers are bringing BattleTech back to our TV screens with a teaser for a new animated series.

The teaser is on the Black Plasma Studios YouTube page and is being spearheaded by MechWarrior Online enthusiast RoA Nitrox. Much of what’s on the teaser appears to be taken directly from MechWarrior Online, including the models and sound effects. It looks like they tossed the textures in favor of smoother animation, and it’s really brought these multi-ton death machines to life. These ‘Mechs move far more fluidly than anything seen in the game and even take part in some hand-to-hand combat.

Curiously, it seems like they’re using meta-builds from the game rather than stock ‘Mechs. For example, the Cicada shown carries six Medium lasers, while the Hunchback IIC that opens fire on it sports four Ultra AC/2s – known colloquially as a “dakka” build amongst MWO players.

The Timberwolf briefly shown appears to be a laser-boat build, while the Dire Wolf is the most ludicrous build possible: 11 ER PPCs. Which, by the way, will shut you down for an entire minute if all fired at once, but only if you don’t immediately explode from the heat spike.

Black Plasma Studios seem to typically create Minecraft videos for public consumption as it remains the second most popular video game of all time. The videos are actually pretty good, with silent protagonists and music that’s all top-notch. Their “Blocking Dead” video has over 30 million views, so this is a studio that’s making YouTube money.

I don’t think BattleTech can put up those kinds of numbers, but I know I’d love to see some BattleTech animations on YouTube, and I’m sure you would too. So click the link, like, and subscribe to Black Plasma Studios and help this teaser vid become a fully-fledged animated series.

Update On The Harmony Gold Lawsuit

Update On The Harmony Hold Lawsuit

courtesy of marcomazzoni.dunked.com

Things are looking bad for Harmony Gold, and good for our BattleTech heroes!

Piranha Games (not to be confused with the Piranha ‘Mech), makers of the successful MechWarrior Online game, have recently filed court documents that would dismiss the case brought against them by the much-reviled Harmony Gold.

If you recall from our last update on the case, there was some confusion on the part of Harmony Gold as they had entered into arbitration against the very company they said gave them the copyrights to the Unseen ‘Mechs, Tatsunoko Productions. At the time it appeared that Tatsunoko never actually owned the copyrights in the first place, which meant that Harmony Gold couldn’t have bought them and thus can’t sue anybody over them.

It looks like PGI found out how that case went since they’ve filed a request for summary judgment to dismiss the case entirely on the grounds that Harmony Gold doesn’t have the standing to bring any case of infringement to the courts.

Dismissal Dismissal 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

PGI’s lawyers make three compelling arguments that the judge should dismiss the case with prejudice:

  1. Harmony Gold does not own the copyrights for the Unseen ‘Mechs. Those copyrights are actually owned by a Japanese company called Big West Co. Ltd., a company I have literally never heard of.
  2. The Unseen copyrights were never licensed to Harmony Gold, and the licensing agreement actually excludes the copyrights they’re suing over. Which, by the way, they never owned in the first place since Harmony Gold licensed from Tatsunoko, not Big West.
  3. And here’s the big deal, and should be the nail in Harmony Gold’s coffin. That arbitration that took place between Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko in US District Court found a judgment that shows Harmony Gold officially does not have the license to the copyrights they’re trying to sue over.

That last bit is huge. If there’s a previous court case that a lawyer can point to that says Harmony Gold doesn’t legally own the copyrights, then it torpedoes their whole case. Not that it was a particularly strong case to begin with, if you remember the arguments they made when filing their suit originally.

I know that BattleTech has had some bad luck with judges in the past, but you’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to think that Harmony Gold has any legal standing to enforce a copyright they don’t even own. Here’s hoping the judge throws their case, and them, flat out on their asses.

And this time let’s hope they stay gone for good.

 

Ogre Video Game Released

Ogreing Away!

Last month, the official digitized version of OGRE was released on a few formats, including PC.  What is OGRE, how does it relate to BattleTech, and what can it do?

Ogreing Around the Map in Style!

OGRE was a futuristic science-fiction tabletop wargame released in 1977.  It was the first game made by famous game designer Steven Jackson, who would create games like Munchkin and GURPS.  OGRE was a very interesting design that had a few interesting things going for it, and in some ways, felt a little like BattleTech light.  It’s been so popular that countless versions, including some video game inspirations, followed.  There was even a sequel based around one of the units – GEV.

OGRE was a good example of an asymmetrical game.  One player played a single unit, the great, powerful, battletank, the OGRE.  Then the foe had units like hovertanks, normal tanks, missile launchers, and infantry to try and take it out.  Each of these units had their own rules.  Take the GEV hovercraft, for example.  It was the only unit that could move, fire, and then move again, enabling powerful hit-and-fade tactics.

The Doom Arrives!

OGRE has been pretty popular since its release.  It’s not difficult to finish a game quickly, sometimes in just 30 minutes, which enables fun at the table.  Different versions of the games introduce new rules to help make the game more interesting.  And the game’s design holds up very well after these years.  Some of the rules seem to evoke a sort of spirit of BattleTech.  For example, if a GEV begins and ends its movements on a road, railroad, or water, then it gets +1 to its move.  Sound similar to tanks in BattleTech?

I’ve always felt a connection with OGRE and BatteTech.  Can you imagine a game where one side has a single BattleMech and the other side conventional forces with the same BV?  Who wins?  Let’s find out!  From the hexagonal maps to the futuristic feel, the games play into a similar space.

Last month, an official updated version of OGRE was released in video game form by Auroch Digital, and you can pick it up on Steam if you want. Since any game you purchase on Steam can be returned with fewer than 2 hours of gaming, why not grab a copy, take it for a spin, and then try it out?  If you have never played OGRE, then this is a great time to check it out!  And if you have, then this is a great time to come back to the game!

Battletank Away!

Get your battletank on!

 

 

 

MegaBots Returns With Kickstarter For Giant Robot Tournament (or not)

MegaBots

courtesy of Kickstarter

(update 2017-11-21The campaign was cancelled early.)

MegaBots has returned after their first ever successful international giant robot bout with yet another Kickstarter aimed at creating the world’s first Giant Robot Fighting Tournament.

You might remember MegaBots from their longstanding feud with Japan’s Kuratas creators, Suidobashi Heavy Industries. The two titans of robotics finally came to blows after a two-year wait on October 17, with the Kuratas taking the first fight and the MegaBots Eagle Prime taking the second. Although the fight fell a little short of our dreams for Solaris VII style gladiatorial combat, the video was watched over 20 million times across all its media platforms.

With that kind of viewership, MegaBots decided to take things to the next level and start a Kickstarter campaign to fund the next logical step: the creation of an international league of giant robot combat.

Billed as the world’s first Giant Robot Tournament, it would see competitors not just from America and Japan, but also China, South Korea, Canada, and Australia. The Chinese already have two fully completed robots: the Fighting My Bots Yamantaka and GREATMETAL’s Monkey King. No word on what giant robots the other countries have in store, but hopefully the Canadian entry is a giant mechanical beaver that fires maple syrup.

What? I’m allowed to say that. I’m Canadian.

Yamantaka

courtesy of Kickstarter

MegaBots has got a steep hill to climb though. They’re asking for $950,000.00 in funding, and say that if they can’t meet that as a minimum they’re going to shut their doors for good, forever ending the dream of giant robot combat. They say the cash is needed to help other teams enter the sport with footing the cost of R&D, which MegaBots will help out with by making their schematics for the Mk.II Iron Glory open source. That means anybody with a bunch of spare parts and some engineering know-how could make their very own combat capable ‘Mech.

Some of the stretch goals include creating a comic book series, an 8-team battle royale, and at $5 million, the holy grail: actual walking ‘Mechs.

They’ve also got some artists’ renditions of the tournament that seems straight out of a Solaris VII TRO. I’m guessing part of that money will be spent on figuring out how to have a live audience anywhere near a combat zone without getting killed.

Tournament

courtesy of Kickstarter

So far they’re at a little over $30 grand, so a bit of a slow start, but hopefully things pick up when the word gets out. And if you’re the type to support giant robot fighting (and I know you are) there’s some cool merch available for backers too.

So what are you waiting for?! Be the BattleTech change you want to see in the world!

Update 2017-11-21The campaign was cancelled early.