Category Archives: Convention

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

If you’ve already got BattleTech and don’t want to shell out for a new version of the tabletop game, never fear! The redesigned minis will also be available as a stand-alone box set. Coming in sets of four, you can grab each of these minis – along with metal versions – very soon on the Catalyst store.

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

 

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.

Continue reading

Mech_Con Details Revealed On Fancy New Website

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

Mech_Con is making its triumphant return next December and has recently released their schedule of events along with ticket sales on a fancy new website.

We knew Mech_Con would return as early as May, but PGI hadn’t yet ironed out the details back then. It looks like they have now, as revealed in the aforementioned fancy new website recently posted in the new mechwarrior.com portal (itself being a new development in PGI’s web presence). This year looks like it’ll be better than ever, so let’s go over a few of the highlights on the schedule.

Banners

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

First off, and most excitingly, there will be a MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries development build available for attendees to try out all day long.The first new single player MechWarrior experience in over a decade is a highly anticipated new game from PGI, and this may very well be the first time anyone outside the company will be able to get their hands on a demo.

Along with MechWarrior 5, BattleTech and MechWarrior Online will also have development builds available for trying out the latest iterations of both games before they go live, as well as 1v1 “Solaris style” MWO battle stations, where you can duel your friend mono a mono to see who is the best MechWarrior. Catalyst Game Labs will also be demoing their latest and greatest creations, as well as having a tabletop BattleTech game running all day long.

Bombadil

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

The Main Stage will be home to the MechWarrior Online World Championships, where the top teams in the world will be duking it out for the title of best MechWarriors in the world. In between matches will be presentations by Catalyst Game Labs, Harebrained Schemes and Piranha Games on the latest developments each BattleTech company has to share. Each company will also have 1 hour a meet & greet and Q&A session throughout the day, followed by an autograph table.

The full schedule of events (as well as when the all important munchies will be provided) is available on the Mech_Con website here.

It’s not all presentations and MWO tournaments of course. There will be a merch booth set up for you to purchase the best BattleTech swag around, as well as prizes, raffles, and giveaways. Keep an eye out for your favorite YouTube and Twitch streamers too, as they’ll be wandering around the convention floor and maybe even taking on would-be champions at the Solaris stations.

Tournament Casters

courtesy of mechwarrior.com/mechcon

Tickets are on sale now, and Mech_Con begins at noon on December 9th. If you can’t attend, consider picking up the 2017 Tournament Supporter Pack. Proceeds go towards the World Championship prize fund, and you get a ton of awesome in-game loot and an extra 10% to all your c-bill and experience gains.

We hope to see you there!

Forging the Road Ahead – Local Level BattleTech on the Rise

Hello, Sarna!

It’s been a while since you last heard from me, and so much has happened since I last wrote to you about our favorite game and science fiction universe.

What have I been up to?

Well, keeping the discussion to just BattleTech, there’s still a lot to talk about.

For the past year I’ve been getting progressively more involved in the Middle Tennessee BattleTech scene, growing gaming relationships and working for ways to establish a home and give the scattered players in the region a place to gather. I wanted to sit down and take a moment to share some of what the journey has been like so far and tell about what the future might have for our group.

The T-N-T Gaming Convention, in its first held on May 19-21 in Nashville, TN, was our first stop of the year, and our Demo Team Agent organized a great Alpha Strike tournament for us at that event.

The stakes at TNT were high, with the Grand Championship belt going to the tournament winner! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

The championship game of that tournament is here chronicled:

After T-N-T, our intrepid Demo Agent Josh once again planned an event for us at Nashcon, held June 2-4 in Franklin, TN. This time it was a multi-player mega battle that was semi-narrative, and recreated the conflict on Tukayyid between the GomGuard and the unfortunate Clan Diamond Shark.

One of the rare Diamond Shark achievements, first blood went to the Clans! (Photo by: Josh Koziura)

Sadly (depending on your perspective), history repeated itself at Nashcon, and the Diamond Sharks once more ran away to their DropShips and away from Tukayyid.

It was after the Nashcon event that I had dinner and a conversation with Demo Agent Josh, and in that conversation it was decided that I, like him, would become a Demo Agent. Together we would share the task of trying to get local level BattleTech back on the right track in our area.

Fast forward about a month, and all of my paperwork was accepted and processed, minting me as Demo Team Agent #880. Now the fun could begin.

In the time since my official commission as a Demo Agent, I have been searching for a game store for us to call home, one that would like to see us grow and that would be willing to support us.

This past week, I made inquiries at a local shop in Hermitage, TN called The Game Cave. I was already acquainted with the store owner, so earlier this week I went in with some Alpha Strike demo materials and showed him what we’re all about. He observed a demo game of Alpha Strike, and afterwards we discussed things.

The first Alpha Strike demo game at The Game Cave ended in epic fashion, with the Dragon taking a 12 Critical roll from the Zeus. (Photo by: Dave Martin)

I’m happy to say that the Middle TN BattleTech Group has tentatively found a new home at The Game Cave, starting Wednesday, July 19, and continuing on Wednesday evening for the time being.

This is a great leap forward for the local group, and I’ve already begun putting the word out that there’s a place that wants to see us come in once a week to play BattleTech and Alpha Strike!

So this is where this article leaves you, at the jumping off point for a new chapter in a local BattleTech group’s journey. As it’s my group that I’m writing about, I plan to keep you updated on how things go. Josh and I are working together to get fall tournament events planned, and if The Game Cave works out, that would be the preferred venue for any future big events.

If you’re reading this in the Middle TN area and you’re not connected to the group, please reach out using any link scattered throughout this article or leave a comment below with a way for me to get in touch. We’d love to bring you into the fold!

GenCon is coming up, too, and like usual I plan on attending, with a schedule this is mostly BattleTech related. I hope to have things together enough to do another summary for you all like I did two years ago.

Be on the lookout for more in the story of the Middle TN Battle Group, and I’ll be seeing you through my crosshairs!

 

Dave

BattleTech at E3 and What Is The “Argo”

Concept Argo art

courtesy of Harebrained Schemes

As some of you may be aware, E3 is happening, and that means the developers of BattleTech are there to show off their latest build and drop a few more hints as to what the final product will look like. And oh boy did they ever, with Harebrained Schemes revealing 2 full minutes of never-before-seen footage of the single player campaign screens.

Hosted by PC Gamer magazine, the co-founders of Harebrained Schemes Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman sat down to talk with Sean “Day[9]” Plott about the upcoming game. The conversation was mostly aimed at non-BattleTech aficionados, so I won’t bore you with all the minutiae of what was said, but I’ll make sure to give you the keynotes of the presentation.

Lady Kamea Orano

courtesy of PC Gamer

First off, we were given some additional details as to how the story will unfold. Lady Kamea Orano (the spelling of which is questionable as I’m transcribing from video) has been deposed by her evil uncle and has contracted the player’s mercenary company with restoring her to her rightful throne.

The throne, in this case, being to an interstellar nation called the Aurigan Coalition, which was revealed in a Kickstarter update to be a minor house nestled between the Capellan Confederation and the Taurian Concordat. This addition to the Inner Sphere circa 3025 seems to be made entirely for the game, but considering it’s being born from Jordan Weisman himself it is likely to be made canon upon BattleTech’s release.

After the campaign overview, the interview went into detail on the inner-workings of your mercantile ship, the Argo.

Argo

Courtesy of PC Gamer

What IS The Argo?

From the video, it can be very hard to tell what kind of ship the Argo even is. During the interview, Mitch described it as “a broken-down hulk of a spaceship” along with being “your mercenary command center,” and that “you can take it all over space, going from star system to star system.” That makes it out to sound like a JumpShip, however, the Argo doesn’t resemble any JumpShip in the known universe.

It turns out the Argo isn’t a JumpShip at all, but rather a massive mobile space station that was built before the Amaris Civil War. It was intended to follow behind the first wave of system surveyors as a sort of logistical hub, supporting colonization teams with her massive onboard hydroponics bays. The intention was for the Argo to remain in-system for months, if not years, and as such it has vastly larger living quarters, recreational areas, and passenger accommodation than any military DropShip.

Inside the argo

courtesy of PC Gamer

You can tell based on the screen grabs from the development footage that the Argo does indeed have a lot of room, with massive navigation and bridge stations. There’s also a folding grav deck that allows for artificial gravity, although anywhere else people are still forced to wear mag-boots to keep from floating off.

But it doesn’t have a jump drive, so it’s forced to piggyback on JumpShips like any other dropship. Well, not quite like any other dropship; much like the Behemoth-class, it takes up two docking bays of whatever ship it latches on to. Also, like the Behemoth, she can’t fly into atmosphere owing to her vast size. Smaller DropShips dock with the Argo in order to bring men and machines planetside.

Inside the argo

courtesy of PC Gamer

As an aside, it’s nice that HBS wants to expand the BattleTech universe and make the player feel like they have something unique in the BattleTech game, but it really doesn’t feel like the Argo was even necessary. The story could have been told just as easily with a mercenary band somehow getting hold of a JumpShip, or even just a regular Union DropShip. And considering the Argo can’t even go planetside, your mercenary company will also need a real DropShip or two just to get boots on the ground.

Oh well. I doubt anyone will complain about having a luxury liner for a DropShip, at least in comparison to what most House militaries field.

Salvage Details And Some Memorable Quotes

After a peak inside the Argo, viewers were treated to another demonstration of combat with BattleTech, which didn’t seem to offer much more than what is already available in the backer beta. We did get some information on the salvage system, which will be based on BattleMech damage and that MechCommanders will want to hit opponents “just hard enough to take them down”.

Inside the argo

courtesy of PC Gamer

We also got some pretty excellent one liners. After showing a Hunchback getting cored in the back, Gitelman commented, “Get around the back of a BattleMech and slap penetrate.” Wiser words were never spoken.  

Also, after Day[9] reminisced on playing the original table top as a child, Mitch responded, “As a kid, huh? Thanks, pal.” Day[9] will be 31 later in June.

No word yet on a final release date, but it’s looking closer than ever. I’d even bet on seeing BattleTech release just in time for Christmas.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

Are You Heading to Mech_Con?

On December 3rd, over in the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Canada, Piranha Games is hosting a day long BattleTech and Mechwarrior themed convention.

A variety of events and fun stuff is planned.  Many guests from various community members and companies are planning on attending, such as Jordan Weisman and Randall Bills or online media personalities from Twitch and such.

Mech_Con

In the best traditions of the Solaris VII Games, one of the headline events is the first World Championship of MechWarrior Online.  Don’t you want to establish dominance and win that trophy?

Hey look, everybody knows that we don’t always get a chance to flip some dice and push around metal the way it was meant to be in real life.  I’m playing online with stuff like MegaMek.  So, getting the chance to play live with real enthusiasts, purchase stuff from live vendors, get some autographs, and rub noses and talk shop with with all of you folks is a great opportunity.

So what about you?  Are you heading over?  Why not check out all of the information they have to see if you are interested in getting your ‘Mech on, Vancouver style!