Tag Archives: news

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!




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.


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!

Kickstarter Awards Arrive for BattleTech Video Game

Well, it arrived today!  I was one of many Kickstarter backers of the various levels for Harebrained Schemes’ BattleTech Video game, slated for release next year.

Like many folks I backed at a high enough pledge to get both some nice BattleTech swag, as well as some strong comfort in helping to bring back a major video game opportunity for the franchise.  We need an infusion of marketing and interest.  Hopefully the latest video game will prove just the ticket!

It’s hard for me to find swag anywhere but online these days, so it was nice for me to open up my sweet bag of Draconis Combine swag.  Here it is!

Swag = Mag

Swag = Mag

I’m pretty stoked! I’m wearing my Draconis Combine pin to work tomorrow!

Did you order anything?  Has it arrived?  What did you get?  And who’s ready for some BattleTech?

Campaign Operations: First Look

Campaigning in Style since 2016

Campaigning in Style since 2016

Well that was fast!

After Interstellar Operations was being written for years before release, the next Operations books came quickly after.  Welcome, to Campaign Operations.

I’ve always wondered if other players play Campaigns as much as I tend to.  My playgroups, interests, games, and more are invariably part of an ongoing campaign.  It’s important for me because when I see the actual results of campaigns, folks play more realistically.  If you have a company of BattleMechs for a campaign, you might be more inclined to jettison one that’s critical in four spots, missing its right arm where the main weapon was, and just had a blasted hip actuator and is reeling.  You can save the unit by ejecting now, and then grabbing it post-battle, and just fix some internal stuff, rearm and re-armor it, and then grab a spare arm to weld back.  You might have to make some changes with weapon payload or something, but the unit is saved for later battles if you can salvage it.  A unit with both an XL Engine and CASE will just shut down when an ammo explosion destroys your left torso, not be destroyed.  Sure, it may not matter on the battlefield right then and there, but it’ll matter later for sure when you salvage it.  Folks are playing smart, long-game warfare, and worried about things like infrastructure, materiel, and support.  Campaign BattleTech supports a realistic form of warfare.

It’s rare that I don’t play some form of campaign.  They make me.  They invest me.

So it’s odd to me that we haven’t had a lot of Campaign stuff in a lot of more Core works, even heading back to earlier editions of the game.  We often have to wait for Campaign rules.  Now, we had some good ones sprinkled around in Tactical Operations and a few more rocking Strategic Operations with linked scenarios and such.  But it’s nice to have a new book that’s really focused on my zone of interest.  So hopefully there’ll be a lot of stuff here that sells me.  Now, there are still some things that are missing that I’d like help with as a GM of campaigns.

Take the industrial side of the Inner Sphere.  We know that there is a cozy relationship between the Military and Industrial complexes out there.  So how much would it cost to retool a Mechline to a new one with new technology?  What does that require?  So in a campaign, if I have a mercenary group with a good relationship with a particular company, how much would be needed to get your own ‘Mech design made?  Or how much to simply reconfigure a current line?  How about tanks?  And similarly, lots of missions will have units head out for stuff of an industrial nature.  “Hit that convoy!”  “Take out that construction group before they can finish building their defenses!”  Stuff like that.  How much money is salvaged from ferrocrete?  How about a few tons of industrial equipment?  If my mercenary unit is being charged for damages to local infrastructure, how much does it cost for various repairs?  TacOps has some of that, sure, but there’s a lot more out there I wonder about.

So I kept hoping that a Campaign-based rulesbook will talk about things like costs of military units to make, tooling factories, industrial finances, stuff like that.  But that still hasn’t really made it to the level I like.  Ah well.

Meanwhile we have a full-on Campaign Operations!

So what’s next?

Well you have the latest edition of rules like force creation and contracts.   Everyone has to get their Objective Raid on, right?  Buy some land.  Build a base.  And pretty much set up some shop.

And then skip past that for some formation building, and even some special pilot abilities.  Now I have to be honest.  I don’t have perfect recall by stretch of the imagination at all.  But there are abilities here I don’t remember in other products, like the Fist Fire ability that lets you fire weapons in the hand of a melee weapon (or punch) at the same time and hitting the same location the physical weapon hits.  And then we have stuff on conversions and campaigns for Chaos Campaign and Inner Sphere at War stuff.  And don’t forget solar system generation either.  I remember Beta Testing that for Interstellar Operations a while ago, but that was never included in it, and this is a lot more robust than other systems we had before.

So there’s a lot under the hood here to mention. Good stuff on my first read through, and I’m excited to try the new versions of some old rules, and new stuff as well.  Fist Fire away!

So the main question then is what are you looking for?  What excites you?  What’ll be the first thing your playgroup tries out?

Techwars Online Released

Techwars Online is now out on Steam

Sometimes you are just looking for a little ‘Mech on ‘Mech action.  Whatever the Intellectual Property, and whatever the style, a quick little online PC action happening can solve that desire.  Load up the game, log on, and blast some folks.  That’s why a lot of us are playing games like Mechwarrior:  Online.  This week, another (mostly) online ‘Mech game was released as well.  Techwars Online.

Turn-Based Fun Times!

The game is an admitted throwback.  Slower, turned-based combat in a time of fast games.  It’s actually based on a Russian novel of the same name, set in the future as two mega-corps battle for supremacy with BattleMechs.  Starting in Greenlight, it arrived on Steam on May 17th.  You can pick it up from the Steam Store Page for $10.

In the game, you start with the same ‘Mech as others, and then can upgrade it or change out ammo over time.  Grab the game, try it out with others, and see if it’s your style!  Turn-based ‘Mech combat.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  Even if it doesn’t evoke BattleTech per se, sometimes you just gotta get your ‘Mech on!

Well….It’s Here! Interstellar Operations

Vaporware no longer

After a long-delayed schedule, and having been announced years ago, Interstellar Operations released January 28, 2016.  The book contains almost 400 pages of rules from various angles, from generating a star system and planets to detailed information on playing in different eras of the BattleTech universe.

Many of the rules systems were released some time ago for playtesting and feedback from the community while the book itself was in Beta for around 6 months.  That’s given us a long time to get a chance to try out various rules systems and to give them a go in our campaigns.  Now the finished product is here.

I’ll be most looking forward to giving the Abstract Combat System (ACS) a serious run now that it’s been released.  This is a system designed to make playing very large scale multi-unit and multi-regiment battles feasible and to quickly resolve them.  I never really got a chance to try them out too much in Beta, so I want to see how the rules might have changed and then give them a full shakedown this weekend to see how they play out.

We now have a lot of alternative ways to play, from Alpha Strike and BattleForce to ACS and Inner Sphere at War.  We always had some systems before in these alternate books, but I don’t recall them seeing a lot of play anywhere that I was playing BattleTech, so I’ll b interested in seeing if they get a lot of play, or if they are just too many systems to understand.  I want to try out ACS, so we’ll see how that works out.

What are you most interested in trying out?  Is there anything you really liked from the Beta?  What’s your playgroup excited about?

TALON Precision-Guided Rocket- Turning Dumbfire Hydra Rocket Pods into Streak SRM Launchers

Historically, rocket munitions have always been more effective when fired in swarms. From the 15th century Korean Hwatcha rocket propelled arrow launcher to the MLRS or Grad rockets of today to the Itano Circus prevalent in ’80s Sci-Fi anime- and by extension, BattleTech. Rocket swarms can be brutally effective- if a not very efficient means of hitting your target. But those are artillery type weapons. Equipment covered in BattleTech by Arrow IV Missiles. What about something closer in?

The mainstay of western rocket direct-fire weapons for the past 60 years has been the Hydra 70 2.75″ (70mm) rocket pod. The Hydra rocket series weighs in at a hair over 6 kg, has an effective range of 8,000 meters and has an absolutely ridiculous selection of warheads to choose from (19 from the Wikipedia list). White Phosphorus, Flechette, cluster munition, HE, smoke, you name it.

M261 Hydra 70 launch pod with two different munition payloads.

M261 Hydra 70 launch pod with two different munition payloads.

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Real World Lasers are getting Smaller, and MEANER

Ever since Jules Verne and H.G. Wells enticed citizens and warmongers alike with talk of energy-based beam weapons, mankind has been struggling to catch up to its own imagination. And naturally, BattleTech is chock full of it – mainly in the form of lasers, and mainly seen from the view of a 1980s-era war game designer as a futuristic weapon.

Which it is… considering that compared to projectile, missile, and even flame weapons, lasers (especially weaponized ones) are to quote Val Kilmer in Real Genius “a young science.”

If only Jordan Weisman and team FASA could have seen the advance of real laser weapons in the past ten years from the ’80s. Israel is probably the most advanced so far, with several types in operation, mainly for air defense. Didn’t think the laser AMS got its start in the 21st century did you? The Iron Beam, as it’s called, is the close-in part of a multi-tiered air defense system called the Iron Dome. Iron Beam is reported to have an 80-90% success rate, and can engage even artillery and mortar shells in mid-flight with “into the hundreds” of kilowatts of energy. It’s essentially a land based version of a laser/projectile defense system like those used on the USS Ponce – which can also engage surface targets. But these are massive units the size of inter-modal shipping trailers. Next up, laser weapons that can be mounted on a light vehicle.

ATHENA: Looks like something you'd fight in MechWarrior IV.

ATHENA: Looks like something you’d fight in MechWarrior IV.

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Russia’s Inferno LRM Carrier

I follow world geopolitics pretty intensely. I credit epic, political space opera settings like Dune and, of course, BattleTech for my many years of interest. I was browsing some of the latest Russian shenanigans in Ukraine and Syria when I saw a Russian armored vehicle that made me wonder if they’ve been buying from Quickscell.

The TOS-1 Buratino really is a mobile warcrime waiting to happen, as it uses only incendiary and thermobaric 220mm munitions in the 30-tube launch system. The rockets have a minimum range of 400 meters and a maximum effective range of 3.5km. Short enough of a range that the system and crew are quite protected by the armored chassis of a T-72 MBT. Well armored by artillery standards anyway. This video shows that they can expend their loadout very quickly:

Be afraid, mechwarrior. Be VERY afraid.

Be afraid, mechwarrior. Be VERY afraid.

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The First Slate of Changes at MegaMekNet is Complete


Many Operations Await

As mentioned in a previous post, the online server for playing people online via MegaMek called MegaMekNet had instituted a new set of changes to shake things up.  The longest running server online, MMNet has decided to place the decisions for the latest cycle into the hands of the players.  Each faction elects a person to represent them on the stage, and then they suggest and vote on various rules changes that are fully player-suggested and supported.

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