Ever since I looked at my first Technical Readout, I realized that BattleTech was a game about aesthetics, just as much as it was about blowing stuff up. There were always a variety of BattleMechs that just has a really effective design. Before I played my first game, before I even knew the rules, a friend told me to just play a ‘Mech that looked good – the better looking ones always played better.
Of course, now I’ve played the game long enough to know better. Design and beauty aren’t always hand in hand. There are a variety of units rocking the block that look like more of a threat than they actually are. Let’s take a look at a few BattleMechs that I always thought had the look, but couldn’t follow it up.
Hollander – I love the way this light ‘Mech looks, with the big gun, the frame built around it and more. It just looks great, like a ‘Mech fused to a piece of artillery or a modern day weapon like the M777 Howitzer. The ‘Mech has always felt like a realistic looking and strong design. Except, it’s not. As a design, it lacks ammo, backup weapons, armor, speed, etc. It’s just not a strong design. I’ve played them, and I have really wanted them to work, and it’s never to be.
Mauler – I know that the
Daboku…Mauler is a major unit from the Draconis Combine that was a force in battle, supposedly, in various wars and such, and it looked so good, that they had it as one of the BattleMechs in the animated series. But the problem is that when I started seeing it played at the kitchen table, it just wasn’t that good, especially for a 90 ton unit. It’s armor is weak, it has the vulnerable XL Engine as well, it rocks a pair of ER Large Lasers, 2 LRM15s and 4 AC2s, so it lacks any form of closer range weaponry to help, and it doesn’t have anywhere near the heat sinks to use those weapons. It’s a mess.
Rifleman – I know that I might aggravate some folks out there, but while I do think the Rifleman is an attractive looking design, the unit’s weaponry, armor, and heat don’t have a good payoff. I doubt that the look and feel would have been copied from other sources (cough Super Dimension Fortress Macross cough). It just looks awesome! But the problem is the design. You can alternate fire with the 2 large lasers and then the 2 AC5s, but that gives you a damage spread of 16, and then 10, and then 16, and then 10 again – pretty tame for a dedicated fire support unit. It has notorious armor and ammo and heat issues. It has never worked well for me, or against me.
Quickdraw – The Quickdraw has always fascinated me. It looks like a durable, solid, design, that is well built and ready to rock. The concept of a lighter heavy BattleMech that leaps around and has good close-range weaponry seems like it’s one that should be really useful. And then you get the Quickdraw. First of all, its armor is really weak – which is a shock on a ‘Mech designed to get in close. I mean, it may not be a Thunderbolt wading into battle, but when you are getting close range, you need more armor. The LRM10 is an odd choice for a long-range weapon, since its weak short-range, and the unit could use some more heat sinks. It just doesn’t work that much for me. It always dies too soon.
There are four units that never played well for us, but which looked really sleek and strong.
What are some units that you always felt had a bigger bark than its bite?