Ah yes, the combat vehicle. It’s downright prolific in the Inner Sphere (and the Periphery even more so)! We have lots of things telling us that your basic combat vehicle has a lot of value on the battlefield. But let’s set aside the fluff for a moment and talk about what your experience has really been with tanks and other vehicles.
“TACTICAL ‘MECH COMBAT RETURNS TO THE PC.”
I was a backer of MechWarrior Tactics before it fell apart amidst development. MechWarrior Online is alright from the first-person view- vehicle simulation side, but I was hankering for something a little closer to the original source material, and with a much richer immersion in the interstellar politics and intrigue that makes up the BattleTech universe. Personae Studios‘ MechWarrior Tactical Command was, in my opinion, an unsung classic game that gave me a mobile MechCommander fix. But the game was fairly short and its title’s similarity to MechWarrior Tactics as well as its exclusivity to high end Apple mobile products made it instantly obscure and isolated. Of course there is always Megamek, but for one reason or another, I’ve never really had a good experience with it.
Whether its units on the battlefield, or what happens in the universe, most people have a favorite House. Mine has always been the Capellan Confederation, led by House Liao. Let me tell you why, and then you can share your stories about your favorite House.
Are there BattleMechs out there that are ugly as sin but you still get real joy from playing them? Is there a go-to ‘Mech for you that your friends taunt you about, but you just know how to get it to work? What BattleMechs out there play better than they look for you?
Jenner – I don’t know why, but for some reason, I always get Jenners to work well. They look ugly, I don’t like the design that much from an aesthetic standpoint, and you might wonder at how I can get an overheated low-armor unit to work so well. I wonder it about it too! But I do. Sometimes I just get them to play like a musical instrument. I get a devastating impact from them at times, and in my most recent run on MegaMekNet, I had a couple that had a lot of surprising kills they had ratcheted up. From Hunchbacks to an Archer, the Jenner can sometimes be a master of taking out things on the battlefield way above its tonnage. At least for me.
Ever since I looked at my first Technical Readout, I realized that BattleTech was a game about aesthetics, just as much as it was about blowing stuff up. There were always a variety of BattleMechs that just has a really effective design. Before I played my first game, before I even knew the rules, a friend told me to just play a ‘Mech that looked good – the better looking ones always played better.
Of course, now I’ve played the game long enough to know better. Design and beauty aren’t always hand in hand. There are a variety of units rocking the block that look like more of a threat than they actually are. Let’s take a look at a few BattleMechs that I always thought had the look, but couldn’t follow it up.
Hollander – I love the way this light ‘Mech looks, with the big gun, the frame built around it and more. It just looks great, like a ‘Mech fused to a piece of artillery or a modern day weapon like the M777 Howitzer. The ‘Mech has always felt like a realistic looking and strong design. Except, it’s not. As a design, it lacks ammo, backup weapons, armor, speed, etc. It’s just not a strong design. I’ve played them, and I have really wanted them to work, and it’s never to be.
Have you ever run into BattleMechs that you just don’t get? Have you heard lots of accolades from other players, but then they never work for you? They are highly acclaimed in forums and have lots of defenders online, but you’ve always been disappointed from them.
I just don’t understand them. I’ve tried them, I’ve played with them, and they just never work. I have a few BattleMechs below that have just never worked for me, no matter how much people might extoll them. Have they worked for you?
Commando – I get that there are some enthusiasts out there that love their Commandos, with its fast strike capacity and strong weapons payload for a 25 ton unit. But me? I’ve never gotten them to work well. They are too weak in armor, and I’ve always wished they’d be faster, or jump to get a little closer, or to get a little harder to hit. They can get blasted at range, and they need the right terrain to be feasible. Commandos – I can’t get them to work.
Have you played Alpha Strike yet? At first glance, it may be a bit too much of a shift away from BattleTech for some established players to be able to handle. Sure, it simplifies, abstracts, and condenses everything about our favorite game of stompy ‘Mechs and heavy metal mayhem into a neat little package that can be learned and demoed in about an hour.
Let’s stop and think on that just for a minute. An hour? One hour!?
If you’ve ever played BattleTech, and I’m assuming most of you have at one point, then you will know what an amazing concept it is to think that you can stomp around in your favorite ‘Mechs, beat your opponent into a mangled pulp, and then still be home in time for dinner.
I think this is what makes Alpha Strike most appealing, and my gaming group agrees. We met this past weekend to play some 150 point games of Alpha Strike in order to get people more familiar with the rules in the hopes that we can do bigger games soon.
The day was a rousing success all around. We started playing at noon, and by 4 o’clock all of us had played three (3) full games of Alpha Strike! Below are a few pictures that I managed to snap during the day.
Earlier this week I found myself staring at my BattleTech shelf, and the four lonely BattleMechs that I had spray painted with primer and base coated black six months ago once more caught my attention.
I picked up the models back in November on a business trip to Fort Worth, TX, and I was now very annoyed with myself for forgetting how excited about the project I had been back then. I had big plans to paint up the four models, a Doloire, a Lament, an Eisenfaust, and a Prefect, as members of the XII Hastati Sentinels and to get on that right away. Six months later, I decided that “right away” had waited long enough. So, earlier this week, I started the process.
I like this Lance composition for a number of reasons. It is a very energy weapon heavy Lance, with only the Doloire and Eisenfaust sporting ammo dependent weapons. Even then, both ‘Mechs with ammo do not depend solely, or even primarily, on those weapons. I like this fact because it makes the Lance a bit of an oddball, being an Inner Sphere unit that is armed kind of like a Clan unit.
Much like my earlier hobby article, A Hobby Project: Clan Coyote Star, I have included several pictures at different stages of the project and share a few thoughts about my process and what I learned along the way.
We’ve all done it. At some point in our lives as BattleTech fans, each one of us has taken a look at how something played out and asked, “What if….?” This series of articles will attempt to take a look at both pivotal and seemingly unimportant events in the BattleTech timeline and ask this very question. My take on how events might have happened may be different from yours. Please, feel free to share in the comments how you think an event might have played out. See the previous What If? The War of 3039.
One of the most pivotal and, perhaps undervalued, plot points in BattleTech history is the Victor Steiner-Davion led Star League’s victory in the Great Refusal on Strana Mechty in 3060.
But what if the Clans had claimed victory in the Great Refusal, validating their legitimacy claims for the invasion of the Inner Sphere and calling into question the Truce of Tukayyid?