MechWarrior: Dark Age (Game System)
MechWarrior: Dark Age (Retitles for its second major expansion as Age of Destruction) was a tabletop wargame by WizKids based on the BattleTech universe, that used the Clix system. The miniatures were pre-painted models of infantry squads, Battle Armour, vehicles, and BattleMechs.
The game was mainly purchased in blind booster packs (similar to Magic: The Gathering), but pre-packaged "Action Packs" also existed with units gathered around a common theme. Outside of direct purchasing, trade is the most common option for aquiring figures, followed by purchases on eBay. There are units that were only acquired through trade or send-aways, such as the Battleforces and the Designer Series Mechs and pilots.
There were several factions to collect, and many are interconnected by alliances and other relations.
The following factions were present in the game:
- The Republic of the Sphere
- Bannson's Raiders
- Dragon's Fury
- Steel Wolves
- Spirit Cats
- House Liao
- House Steiner
- House Kurita
- House Davion
- Clan Jade Falcon
- Clan Nova Cat
- Clan Sea Fox
- Clan Wolf
- Rasalhague Dominion
- Wolf Hunters
In addition, mercenary units were also present in the game; these units were represented by figures with no affiliation on their base.
Over time, these factions acquired their own particular style of play. For example, the repairability of the Bannson's Raiders units lend themselves to quick strikes followed by a retreat.
Three factions (House Liao, Clan Jade Falcon, and Clan Sea Fox) have inherent abilities not stated on their figures. Examples of these abilities include improved damage to elite or novice enemies, better targeting through forests, improved jumping attacks, or gaining the ability to deprive an enemy player of an order. This concept has been extended in later expansions by the addition of faction pride cards and special pilot abilities. Starting in January 2006, the factions abilities for House Liao, Clan Jade Falcon, and Clan Sea Fox were replaced with faction pride cards.
One of the most interesting aspects of MechWarrior: Dark Age is its relation to the Classic BattleTech game. In the first expansions of the game, Wizkids tried to make MW:DA a simplified version of BattleTech, with many of the 'Mechs capable of being easily converted to their pen and paper BattleTech equivalents. With the release of Age of Destruction, though, Wizkids, starting developing new 'Mechs no longer based in the Classic Battletech conception of a 'Mech. For example, while the Shen Yi of older expansions had a card that assisted in translating it into a Classic Battletech 'Mech, the new Shiro is not strictly compatible as a Classic BattleTech 'Mech. While many fans of the game applaud the creativity Wizkids has in making 'Mechs outside the box, a fair number of fans were very dissatisfied with departure from the traditional rules regarding 'Mech design.
MechWarrior: Age of Destruction introduced new rules and new mechanics to the game, most notably the pilots and gear data cards. These cards are included with the booster packs, and improve any 'Mech they are attached to. This also introduced Gunslingers, mercenary pilots with preferred 'Mechs that can be "recruited" to all, or most, factions. They have become common prizes at sanctioned tournaments.
As of MechWarrior: Age of Destruction, many of the older factions have been absorbed into their larger "parent" Houses or Clans.
- Highlanders (Absorbed by the The Republic of the Sphere)
- Dragon's Fury (Absorbed by House Kurita)
- Swordsworn (Absorbed by House Davion)
- Stormhammers (Absorbed by House Steiner)
- Bannson's Raiders (Allied with House Liao, later rebelled aginst them)
- Spirit Cats (Absorbed by Clan Nova Cat)
- Steel Wolves (Disbanded; some members became the core of the (Wolf Hunters)
The MechWarrior: Dark Age game also has associated fiction set in the Dark Age era of the Battletech universe. Below is a list of titles that have been released with novel #30 being the last of this current line:
- Ghost War, Michael A. Stackpole
- A Call to Arms, Loren L. Coleman
- Ruins of Power, Robert E. Vardeman
- A Silence in the Heavens, Martin Delrio (Book One of The Proving Grounds trilogy)
- Truth and Shadows, Martin Delrio (Book Two of The Proving Grounds trilogy)
- Service for the Dead, Martin Delrio (Book Three of The Proving Grounds trilogy)
- By Temptations and By War, Loren L. Coleman
- Fortress of Lies, J. Steven York
- Patriot's Stand, Mike Moscoe
- Flight of the Falcon, Victor Milan
- Blood of the Isle, Loren L. Coleman
- Hunters of the Deep, Randall N. Bills
- The Scorpion Jar, Jason M. Hardy
- Target of Opportunity, Blaine Lee Pardoe
- Sword of Sedition, Loren L. Coleman
- Daughter of the Dragon, Ilsa J. Bick
- Heretic's Faith, Randall N. Bills
- Fortress Republic, Loren L. Coleman
- Blood Avatar, Ilsa J. Bick
- Trial by Chaos, J. Steven York
- Principles of Desolation, Jason M. Hardy and Randall N. Bills
- Wolf Hunters, Kevin Killiany
- Surrender Your Dreams, Blaine Lee Pardoe
- Dragon Rising, Ilsa J. Bick
- Masters of War, Michael A. Stackpole
- A Rending of Falcons, Victor Milan
- Pandora's Gambit, Randall N. Bills
- Fire at Will, Blaine Lee Pardoe
- The Last Charge, Jason M. Hardy
- To Ride the Chimera, Kevin Killiany
- A Bonfire of Worlds, Steven Mohan Jr.