Science Fiction Combat Book Game

BattleTech Combat Books
Product information
Type Game books
Development Alfred Leonardi
Primary writing Dennis Greci
Karl Hiestermann
James Rosinus
Pages 34
Cover artwork Doug Shuler
Illustrations Doug Shuler
Publication information
Publisher Nova Game Designs, Inc.
Product code (see article)
First published 1987
ISBN-10 (see article)
MSRP  ?
Content
Era Succession Wars era

The BattleTech Science Fiction Combat Book Game, also colloquially known as the (BattleTech) Combat Books, is a series of six books published by Nova Game Designs in 1987. Each book represents one particular BattleMech and its combat capabilities, and can be pitted against another 'Mech (book) from the series. The gameplay was adapted from Nova Games' other successful combat game book series, notably Ace of Aces and Lost Worlds.

From the back cover[edit]

On their back cover, all combat books feature the following shared introduction, followed by a rundown of the respective 'Mech's type, tonnage, engine rating and weapons, and a short piece of specific fiction:

In the 31st Century warfare is common. But whatever world the battle is on, the battlefield is dominated by one weapon: the BattleMech. Heavily armed and armored, these vaguely humanoid fighting machines are virtually unstoppable—except by another 'Mech. The men and women who pilot them, the MechWarriors, are the elite of a military society.

Now you can find out what it's like to pilot a 'Mech—from the inside! Each page of these books gives you the view from the cockpit of your 'Mech as you face off against another of these awesome machines. The controls are in your hands; the choices are yours!

Gameplay[edit]

Each book includes a loose pilot/stat card, a rules section and 64 numbered sections. They provide a battle system where each player is required to possess one book and the corresponding BattleMech stat card. To play, one would hand the book to one's opponent and receive his book in turn. Combat is then conducted by going to a specific numbered section in the books (starting at #49) that describes a situation for the enemy 'Mech and names certain options on how to continue the fight from this point, depending on the capabilities of one's own 'Mech. Players then turn to the next numbered section indicated by their choice. The new section indicates combat results (position, damage, critical hits) and further possible actions leading to further numbered sections. This process is repeated until one side has won.

The gameplay thus is a tree structure determined by player choices, and has no random element. In accordance with the cornerstones of the BattleTech Board Game, heat and ammunition levels are factored into the rules. The rules allow for multiple players, but require them to form two sides. Campaign rules are also provided, allowing for pilot improvement through experience and including maintenance concerns ('Mech deterioration, repair, ammo reloads).

BattleTech Combat Book Expansion[edit]

Two expansion sets were published that factored terrain features into the game with extra rules. Whenever a player decides to maneuver and change combat range, he has to draw a random terrain card (out of 64 in each set) which may alter the result of the current round of combat or the available choices to continue.

  • Basic Terrain Cards (1988): Barren Earth, Open Terrain, Open Water, Swamp, Rough Terrain, Rocky Terrain, Light Forest, Rubble & Debris, Wood Buildings, Heavy Forest, and Concrete & Steel.
  • Urban Terrain Cards (1991): Open Terrain, Parking Lot, City Park, Power Substation, Fuel Tanks, Rivers & Canals, Wood Buildings, Light Rubble, Heavy Rubble, Narrow Streets, Brick Buildings, and Concrete & Steel.

SHD-2H Shadow Hawk[edit]

SHD-2H Shadow Hawk Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2101; ISBN = 0-917037-50-2

The Shadow Hawk depicted on the cover bears the crest of House Steiner's Lyran Commonwealth. It is supposed to be a regular SHD-2H model, but the book completely ignores the head-mounted SRM-2 launcher despite it being clearly visible on the cover art.

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

From this vantage point you have a perfect view of the enemy's approach. Picking up a heat source at long range, you activate your weapon systems. The combination of Autocannon, Long Range Missiles and Medium Laser gives firepower at all ranges. That plus your maneuverability should give you the edge—depending, of course, on what is coming through the high pass below.

GRF-1N Griffin[edit]

GRF-1N Griffin Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2102; ISBN = 0-917037-51-0

The Griffin depicted on the cover bears the crest of House Davion's Federated Suns.

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

You've been monitoring these woods for several days now, with no sign of enemy activity. Suddenly you catch a glint of metal across the glade. The familiar hum of your PPC fills the cockpit and a solid click indicates your missiles are ready. Range is your advantage but will that be enough to defeat this opponent?

WSP-1A Wasp[edit]

WSP-1A Wasp Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2103; ISBN = 0-917037-50-9

An illustration from within the book (section 63: "Medium Range Firing Missiles") suggests that the Wasp's SRM-2 launcher is mounted in the right hip area of the 'Mech.

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

The new-made ruins of the city have been unnaturally quiet during your patrol. You alternate between speed and caution, picking slowly through the rubble and then darting across the open spaces. Suddenly, the building beside you explodes from weapons fire. Laser ready, missiles loaded, you leap into the courtyard. Can your speed and agility outwit this unknown foe?

WHM-6R Warhammer[edit]

WHM-6R Warhammer Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2104; ISBN = 0-917037-53-7

The Warhammer is the heaviest 'Mech for which a combat book was produced.

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

Again, you're first out of the DropShip. Scanning across the burning desert, you can see no sign of the enemy. Can this landing really be unopposed? No! There, on the horizon! The unmistakeable dust cloud of approaching 'Mechs. Powering up, you move out. Can your awesome firepower defeat these unknown foes?

LCT-1S Locust[edit]

LCT-1S Locust Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2105; ISBN = 0-917037-54-5

The Locust depicted on the cover bears the crest of House Kurita's Draconis Combine. This is notable considering that the LCT-1S variant of the Locust is normally associated with House Steiner instead. The Locust combat book is the only one not to feature the standard version of its 'Mech.

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

Approaching speeds of 130 kph, your 'Mech is one of the fastest machines on the battlefield today. Few opponents, however, suspect that your Locust has a bigger bite than most. Yours is the 1S variant, with machine guns stripped out and replaced by a pair of hefty SRM 2 packs. Your next opponent has a nasty surprise waiting for him...

RFL-3N Rifleman[edit]

RFL-3N Rifleman Game Book
Production code: Nova 595 - 2106; ISBN = 0-917937-55-3

The individual text part on the back cover reads:

The world you defend is hot, the atmosphere barely breathable. Most 'Mechs dread worlds like this, but you have fewer problems. The combination of large lasers and autocannon allow you to manage your heat buildup better. Suddenly, you spot a gleam of metal in the distance. Your on-board computer does not recognize it as a friend. You fire a burst of lasers...