I first played Battletech on a Sunday morning in 1987 at U.S. Army Basic Training in Fort Benning Georgia (one of the guys smuggled a box set in and hid it in his wall locker). I've been hooked on the game since the first time. My first mech was an Archer and I've been an Archer man from then on; though I have found uses for some of the other mechs in the system. Playing the game for 30 years now I've tried different variations on a lot of classic games. Battletech chess is one of my favorites.


Battletech chess is played with a standard chess board and a group of random battletech map sheets. Pawns are light mechs, Rooks and Knights are meduims, Bishops are heavies, the King is an assault, and the Queens weight class is players choice. You get 220 tons divided between your 8 light mechs (pawns), 190 tons divided amoung 4 medium mechs (rooks and knights), 135 tons divided amoung 2 mechs (bishops), and one 80 to 100 ton mech (the king); or the two players can decide on specific weights for each piece. Pilot and gunnery skill levels must be agreed upon for each piece before play begins. I usually start at 4 pilot 3 gunnery (it makes for a little quicker game). As the players move and make attacks on the chess board the mechs battle for the square. When there is an engagement for a square on the chess board randomly determine the map sheet you will use. For a shorter game damage between battles is cummulative and for longer games assume full repair between battles (I like a 24 hour repair cycle). Of course there are many variations you can do with this as well. You can use vehicle or infantry for pawns, knights and rooks or any configuration you like of units available.

In one game of note I almost beat an unscathed Atlas with a Locust. I had his King (an untouched Atlas) in attack position of my Queen's Bishop (a slightly damaged Archer [go figure]). He left his King in position thinking if I attacked with the Bishop it would be an easy battle for him. So he advanced on my Bishop which put him in attack position for one of my Pawns (a Locust). I attacked with the Locust thinking I could do some damage and give the Bishop a better chance (we were playing with cumulative damage). The plan worked better than expected. We rolled for the map sheet and it was rolling hills with patches of woods everywhere. I employed a hit and run tactic staying in his side and rear arcs using the woods and hills as cover. By the time he finally put my Locust out of the game I had stripped away all of his rear armor and a lot of damage to the other locations. He had 2 engine hits, a gyro hit, the AC/20 had taken several hits, one of the rear mounted medium lasers in his center torso, and the LRM 20 and SRM 6 in the left torso were both hit. I just couldn't seem to get an ammo hit. Needless to say his next move was out of my Bishop's line of attack. If I would have had a Mercury with 2 medium lasers instead of the 1 on the Locust the game would have been mine right there. Unfortunately, that technical readout wasn't out yet.