Category Archives: Catalyst Game Labs

Answering Questions – An Interview with Author Bryan Young

In terms of BattleTech writers, Bryan Young is relatively new, but he’s made a big impact in a short amount of time. He’s rehabilitated the hated Clan Jade Falcon into something a little more likable in A Question Of Survival and Without Question, the Fox Patrol is already a beloved mercenary unit, and VoidBreaker will (hopefully) end the Dark Age HPG Blackout once and for all.

With the events of Without Question settling the Jade Falcons into an uncertain future, Bryan and I sat down to discuss the greenest of the Clans, where Jiyi, Katie, and Bugsy are headed, and what Jar Jar Binks could do for BattleTech. Enjoy.

WARNING: There are a few spoilers for Without Question discussed in this interview.

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Your BattleTech News Round-Up For May, 2024

April showers? More like May showers. And they’ll also certainly bring hordes of angry mosquitoes even this close to the urban centers of Southern Ontario. But you know what makes inclement weather and ravenous insects bearable? Spirit Cat Irregulars reinforcements! I love all these little guys, from the Crimson Hawk‘s goofy sculpt to the Avalanche doing its best “we have Shadow Cat at home” impression. Special thanks go to my brother for not only painting and sourcing these minis but also kitbashing the Koshi P and its many Micro Lasers.

I’m expecting a Scorpion Empire trinary to follow alongside plans for a new Bad ‘Mechs mercenary company. But that’ll be in June. For now, we’ve got a bunch of May BattleTech news.

Mercenaries Kickstarter Fulfillment Confirmed For June!

Tuesday Newsday: Episode 15
Watch this video on YouTube.

The biggest news of the month is easily a shipping update on the Mercenaries Kickstarter. According to Rem and Loren on the most recent Tuesday News Day broadcast, the Mercenaries Kickstarter will begin fulfillment next week. Loren specifically stated packages will begin leaving the warehouse within “seven to ten days” (just after they receive a few remaining “tchotchkey items”) and then it’s however long it’ll take the shipping company to get things to your specific locale.

Basically, June will be the month of Mercenaries. Excite!

For those still looking for an explanation of what went wrong with shipping, several updates on the Mercenaries Kickstarter have confirmed details on what went wrong, such as taxes being incorrectly applied or box quantity being increased due to the Savannah Master Salvage Box surprise. All of these corrections were completed earlier in the month and cards were charged on May 13. Any and all questions surrounding shipping fees, or requests for additional consideration due to unexpectedly large shipping charges, should be sent to Catalyst through Kickstarter’s message system (go to the project page, click the Catalyst Game Labs name, and then select ‘Contact Me’ in the pop-up menu). 

Without Question Is Out Now!

Without Question

This is your reminder that Without Question is available now. I reviewed this novel earlier this week, and I must say it’s a page-turner. Definitely didn’t think I’d ever feel sympathetic toward Clan Jade Falcon, but Bryan Young can sure write a sympathetic character. There’s still a lot of “please forgive the war crimes, we’re better now” going on, but BattleTech is a universe where people seem to either forgive or forget war crimes relatively easily (giant robots with lots of guns will do that to ya).

Hungry Like The Wolf Answers The Question Nobody Asked: How Horny Is Alaric Ward?

BATTLETECH: Hungry Like the Wolf
Watch this video on YouTube.

I had originally assumed that Hungry Like The Wolf was just a fun April Fools cover for a novel that would never exist. Little did I know that Stackpole had actually written the opening pages of this novel, which you can download from his Patreon. And then Big Red came along and narrated this passage in his absolute horniest voice

For years, I’d threatened to create a BattleTech pornography starring some enormous Elementals. Now I’m not sure if I should bother. Clearly, BattleTech will never be hornier than this.

Big Red Provides A Full Overview Of The Upcoming BattleTech Universe Book

Battletech: Universe
Watch this video on YouTube.

It’s been described by multiple folks at Catalyst as the most important sourcebook they’ve ever worked on, and indeed, could be the most important sourcebook in the entire BattleTech canon. BattleTech Universe will bring a brief summary of the entire BattleTech lore under one roof up until the ilClan era. It will certainly become the book recommended to anyone looking to get started with BattleTech as a hobby in order to center them with several centuries’ worth of history. And it will be coming out alongside the hotly anticipated Mercenaries Kickstarter.

We’ve seen a few hints of what’s inside BattleTech Universe, but Big Red provides us with a full overview of the book as well as more peeks inside its cover. This is probably the best look we’ll get before the book arrives with the Mercs Kickstarter, so I encourage you to view the video above.

Star League Command Lance Reveals Kerensky’s Orion Looks Pretty Good

Star League Command Lance has arrived
byu/phoenixgsu inbattletech

Speaking of upcoming products, here’s the Star League Command Lance in the wild. There were some concerns that the pre-painted Aleksandr Kerensky Orion wouldn’t be up to snuff, but I think it looks pretty good. It’s certainly not as good as I’ve seen from some of BattleTech’s more prolific painters, but I think it’s certainly better than the average mini painter, and definitely worth it for the time you’d save, provided you wanted to recreate this iconic ‘Mech yourself. Kudos to phoenixgsu for the reveal.

I’ve also just been informed that the Star League Command Lance ForcePack is now available for purchase. Catalyst says they’re available now and I’ve got confirmed reports of people receiving their Star League ForcePacks in the mail. 

Why Isn’t There A Crab IIC?

Marauder IIIC (art by Jesse Serrano)
byu/krika-makura inbattletech

I know this is supposed to be some fictional version of the Marauder IIC, but it’s hard not to agree with the top comment: all things evolve to crab eventually. Even the venerable and iconic Marauder. Credit goes to Jesse Serrano for bringing us yet more evidence that carcinization is inevitable. 

This sort of made me wonder why we haven’t seen a Crab IIC? Certainly, the Star League Exodus fleet had a number of Crabs, and certainly these ‘Mechs would have been beloved enough to warrant re-making in the IIC way. It makes you wonder if all things truly do lead to Crab or if maybe Crab needs a better publicist.

MechWarrior 5: Clans Expected To Launch In Q4

This comes from Phil over at No Guts No Galaxy, who dove into MechWarrior 5 publisher EG7’s recent financial release for clues on when we can expect MechWarrior 5: Clans to hit digital store shelves. That date still hasn’t been disclosed, but EG7 did have a section discussing its expected game releases, and MechWarrior 5: Clans was listed as arriving in the fourth quarter of the 2024 financial year. Unlike a lot of companies, EG7 seems to have their financial year line up with the calendar year, so we can expect to receive MechWarrior 5: Clans somewhere between October and December. 

Also of note, there’s no mention of any additional MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries DLCs or expansions, so it looks like MW5: Mercs is finally done. On the one hand, pour one out for what eventually became one of the best MechWarrior games ever released. On the other hand, now the modders can go to town on Mercs without fear of having their work invalidated by another DLC (although it should be noted that PGI has done a great job working with modders to keep things working smoothly on the mod front). 

However, there are still some persistent rumors that there will be one more DLC dropped just before Clans that ties the two games together. I’d expect anything like that to be extremely small, maybe just a mission or two, with a fun and foreboding cinematic to get us all in the mood. If we’re really lucky, it might even be free.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Gets Patch For Solaris Showdown 

MW5 Mercs Patch Notes

Speaking of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the older MechWarrior title got a patch this month to fix some of the lingering issues with the latest DLC, Solaris Showdown. Arena Exhibition Missions were some of the most problematic, with some maps spawning too many enemies, some ‘Mechs spawning underground, and some enemy ‘Mechs standing completely still even after the match had begun. Those have all been fixed, as has another bug that would cause lancemates to freeze up when ordered to attack a specific target. 

There are still a few complaints regarding Solaris Showdown, so I’d expect to see another patch before PGI lays this game to rest to focus solely on MechWarrior 5: Clans

The Bullshark Comes To MechWarrior Online (And There’s A Free ‘Mech Available)

MechWarrior Online Bullshark

Last on the MechWarrior front are a slew of announcements for MechWarrior Online, starting with the Bullshark. You might remember this 95-ton behemoth from BATTLETECH‘s Heavy Metal expansion. Assumed to be designed by Clan Wolverine, the Bullshark originally came equipped with four ER medium lasers, two UAC/5s, two LB 10-X autocannons, and a Thumper Artillery Cannon. Thumper Cannons don’t exist in MWO, so instead, you’ll get a selection of different assault ‘Mechs armed with autocannons, PPCs, missiles, and lasers. The full details of each variant are available on MWO‘s site here. Note that some variants are based on Inner Sphere tech while others are Clan. 

The Bullshark arrived in MechWarrior Online on May 21st along with a new patch. May’s patch contained just a few adjustments, with Hyper Assault Gauss Rifles all getting their heat reduced, Thunderbolt Missiles having their spread increased and their velocity reduced, and a few ‘Mech quirks being adjusted. All Cougars and Jenner IICs now have 15-percent heat reduction, all Victors and Hunchback IIC variants now have 100 percent increased jump jet initial thrust, and several adjustments have been applied to variants of the Nova, Black Hawk-KU, and LinebackerYou can read more about MWO‘s recent patch in the notes here and purchase one of the Bullshark packages on its dedicated site here.

And finally, there’s a free ‘Mech up for grabs! To celebrate the Cauldron’s anniversary of taking the reins with balancing MWO, you can grab a free Ebon Jaguar B (which was designated Cauldron Born when it was first seen by the Inner Sphere) with a 30 percent C-bill boost and a green glow effect by taking part in this event. The event runs until June 3, so you still have a few days to grab this 65-ton ‘Mech.

Redesigned ‘Mech Sculpts Seen In The Wild

Besides Mr. Kerensky’s Orion, the Atlas II, the Thunder Hawk, and that fancy Phoenix Hawk, we have several other new ‘Mechs on the way. The Grizzly, Thanatos, and Black Python are coming in various ForcePacks in the Mercs Kickstarter, while the Argus arrives with the second Star League ForcePack later this year (hopefully). We got to see painted versions of all four as well as a Demolisher and more courtesy of FaithAndHeresy over on Twitter.

Gotta Keep Those Cat Paws Clean

Tech, 2023, OC
byu/Remmor inOutreachHPG

Working on your Mad Cat is (probably) a tough job. Keeping those laser lenses clean is priority number one, otherwise, you’ll just be a light show on the battlefield. Here we see a MechWarrior doing her best to keep those lenses clean, starting with what appear to be the heat sinks. Or maybe they’re the power couplings--I’m not a technician. Kudos to Remmor for sharing this piece.

MegaMek Celebrates Milestone Release, MRC Announces MegaMek Tourney In June

MegaMek Cover Image

We talked about MegaMek getting a big story-based beta update last month, but this month brings another big milestone for MegaMek: the release of MegaMek v.0.49.19.1, or “One-Ninety-One” as it’s being called. This is the first new stable release of the year and the first stable release under the development team’s new milestone system. This release backports fixes from the development version of MegaMek, including fixes to one-shot weapons, issues with the Partial Wing, and a “nasty surprise around Gun Emplacements.” 

MRC Icon

There are a bunch of changes players should be made aware of, which you can review in MegaMek‘s official release here.

Also, the MechCommander Review Circuit (MRC) has announced a MegaMek tournament for June. The “Summer of Profit”, as the tourney is being called, takes place in the year 3152 with Clan Sea Fox hosting. Teams will take part in combat trials based on famous past battles that heavily featured mercenary units. For more details, check out this video explainer or ask around in the MRC Discord.

Opinion: Clan Sea Fox Is Great, Actually

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

One of the problems with BattleTech is having a favorite ‘Mech that wasn’t part of your favorite faction. You might love the Jenner, but it’s a hard thing to explain how a Draconis Combine ‘Mech managed to make it all the way out to the deep periphery to become part of the Magistracy Armed Forces, for example. It could happen, but it’d require a big story as to how that Jenner traveled a couple of hundred light years.

That’s all changed thanks to Clan Sea Fox. Now, if you want a ‘Mech, or a tank, or anything at all, anywhere at all, you could always just say a traveling Sea Fox sold it. How’d they get it? Who cares. Sea Foxes trade with anyone and everyone in a vast galaxy-spanning network that can easily transport any given weapon system from one end of the Inner Sphere to the other. And maybe even beyond. 

In the ilClan era, if you want a Turkina but you’re in the Taurian Concordat, just say a Sea Fox sold it to you. Want an ancient Star League Excalibur (and not one of those WOB models), just tell ’em a Sea Fox sold you a museum piece. Want something cutting edge, like an Alpha Wolf? An indebted Sea Fox trader gave it to you as a gift. Narrative explanation solved.

Of course, some of you prefer coming up with wild backstories for how you managed to steal a Malice from a former Republic garrison and smuggle it aboard a DropShip without anyone noticing, but for those of us who just want to play with whatever ‘Mechs we want, there’s Clan Sea Fox. 

Leave your thanks in the comments for these mercantile foxes, and thanks to Ollie Garkey for this humorous take on the Sea Fox menace.

Remembering Tukkayyid

REMEMBER MAY 20TH
byu/agentlou44 inbattletech

May 20th is the day we all remember ComStar‘s sacrifice in defending the Inner Sphere from Clan aggression after spending centuries fucking with the major Houses. Meanwhile, the Clans collectively found out after fucking with the Inner Sphere for just two and a half years. Nobody would have expected the galactic phone company to be the deliverer of justice, but remember: if the Clans took over, ComStar would have been out of a job. Thanks to agentlou44 for the reminder of this blessed day.

BattleTech’s 40th Anniversary Edition Box Set Now Available

40th-Boxed-Sets

Earlier this year, I asked Ray and Aaron at Catalyst how they planned to celebrate BattleTech‘s 40th anniversary. Their answer was to send Randall on a world tour and release a special 40th-anniversary version of BattleTech: A Game Of Armored Combat. Inside you’ll find the usual eight ‘Mechs (Locust, Commando, Griffin, Shadow Hawk, Wolverine, Catapult, Thunderbolt, and Awesome), the same 56-page rulebook, the same 16-page universe primer, and the novella Eyestorm. What new stuff you’ll find are eight ilClan-era Record Sheets for the eight ‘Mechs in the box, a one-page ilClan rules sheet for some of the new tech on those modern variants, and a four-page ilClan primer to add onto the universe primer. Oh, and a special new box, of course.

Pre-orders are available now on Amazon and at your local games stores. BattleTech’s 40th Anniversary Edition arrives on June 12 if you order through Amazon, but I’ve got reports that folks are getting these boxes now from other sources.

How To Fit A PPC Onto An Archer

Archer ARC-7P
byu/_masaka inbattletech

It’s a bit of a FrankenMech, but this Archer has the goods courtesy of a Shreck. If by goods I mean PPC, which I do. Kudos to _masaka for sharing, and for this similar animation of a custom Centurion.

Itty Bitty Orion Diorama Shows The Star League Bracing For War

Bracing for the Oncoming Storm: A BattleTech Diorama
byu/TheLegendBoss inbattletech

This tiny diorama by TheLegendBoiss is roughly two and a half hexes long, which makes it absolutely incredible. The Orion is already a very clean paint, but then there’s the cherry picker, the fuel and ammo trucks, the tiny garage with the soldiers standing watch, and “fuck Amaris” graffiti on the back wall. Throw in a bunch of battle damage and this is one of the coolest dioramas I’ve ever seen. Click the pics for some fun dialogue, and check the comments for info on where some of these models were sourced (the Orion is all CGL).

Someone, Please Animate This Hunchback Sprite

Pixel Art Sprite of the Hunchback (Took longer than I thought it would, but I love how it turned out. Tell me what you think.)
byu/PanzerMagus inbattletech

It’s hard not to love the Hunchback. Even folks that are normally assault ‘Mech fans still hold the plucky little Hunchback in high esteem. That’s probably because the Hunchback still demands respect from even the largest of ‘Mechs thanks to its heavy armament and decent armor. A ‘Mech that can take your head off in a single lucky roll is something you can’t write off. And for the rest of us, it’s the medium ‘Mech that punches way above its weight class. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and best of all, cool.

And what’s cooler than a pixel art remake of five Hunchback variants? Thanks to PanzerMagus for giving us these gems. Somebody give these bad boys a 2D fighting game stance (maybe with their weapons firing) so I can start throwing them around on Discord. 

Fan TRO Reveals Way More Stone Rhinos Than I Ever Knew

TRO Behemoth

I’ve seen high-quality, fan-made TROs, but I’ve never seen a TRO dedicated to a single chassis. To close out this month’s news blast, I present Technical Readout: Behemoth, by Mark Charke. He started working on this TRO back in 2018 but decided that the release of the Stone Rhino in MechWarrior Online was as good a time as any to unleash this beast onto the world.

As you’d expect, there are a lot of Behemoth variants inside, from the standard Gauss-toting Stone Rhino to the progenitor Matar, better known as Amaris’ Folly. Once done with the official stuff (with some excellent edits of the original Behemoth artwork by Dana Knutson), Mark then gets into the fan-made stuff with some pretty great original artwork. My personal favorite is the Smoker, which looks like a steampunk version of the Stone Rhino. You can head to Mark’s website to download the PDF.

And that’s it for May! Join us next month for a celebration of plastic!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For April, 2024

Did you know the Locust IIC is over 40 points in Alpha Strike? The Fire Moth Prime is close to 30, and there’s even a Kit Fox that’s 40 points. My point is, it’s hard to find a cheap Clan ‘Mech to round out a 200-point Star. Even Elementals are around the same point value as a Succession Wars Stinger. The good news is that most Clan factions have a few random Spheroid ‘Mechs thrown into the Master Unit List, so if you see a Star of Timber Wolves with one random Hunchback, just know that there’s no big story behind that Hunchie—they just couldn’t afford another OmniMech.

The good news is I kinda dig the weird mix of Inner Sphere and Clan ‘Mechs you get in the current era. And with that small rant out of the way, onto the BattleTech news for April 2024.

Clan Spaniel Leads A Packed April Fools

Clan Spaniel Sourcebook

We had a bumper crop of April Fools Day content earlier this month, starting with the BattleTech: Clan Spaniel Sourcebook. Yes, the Clan propaganda piece first mentioned over a quarter-century ago in Warriors of Kerensky has evolved into… well, still an in-universe fictional Clan comprised of anthropomorphic animals who teach young Clanners the virtues of proper Clan etiquette, morals, and behavior. The latest sourcebook reveals how the in-universe show The Adventures Of Clan Spaniel evolved before and during the ilClan era, how the Inner Sphere reacted to Clan Spaniel broadcasts, and how modern Clanners are having their worldview shaped by these honorable yet furry creatures.

I guess we could say that Clanners aren’t really closeted furries anymore.

Hungry like the Wolf

The Clan Spaniel Sourcebook is available through Catalyst’s website for a steal at $3. It includes tons of lore, a full episode script, and several episode scenarios for you to live out your Clan Spaniel fantasies. Dibs on Ferdinan. If anybody out there is thinking about creating a new BattleTech Animated Series, it should definitely be about Clan Spaniel.

But Catalyst didn’t stop there. We were also treated to a new harlequin romance novel called Hungry Like the Wolf by Mykaelya Stakepoole featuring a very shirtless Alaric Ward. The April issue of Shrapnel also featured the recently-announced Urbie LAM on the cover and contained non-existent stories of the UrbanMech LAM’s exploits

Shrapnel Urbie LAM

And of course, it’s not all official April Fools jokes. BattleTech podcasts from around the Inner Sphere all joined forces with writer Jason Hansa to announce a series of entirely contradictory plot points for the upcoming non-sequel Farther Country. This one was more of a slow-burn joke that I didn’t quite hit until I’d actually listened to several podcasts (and also had someone kindly explain it to me). Kudos to BungleTech, BigRed, Mercenary Star, Of ‘Mechs and Men, On the Origins of BattleMechs, The Periphery Podcast Corporation, The Valhalla Club, and WolfNet.

We also had a few great art pieces produced by RealMechIsLove, aka geergutz. Thanks to everyone for making this April Fools extra weird.

MekHQ & MegaMek Begins Story Arc Beta Test

MegaMek Story Arc Beta Test

Before there was Hairbrained’s BATTLETECH, there was MegaMek, a totally free adaptation of Classic BattleTech‘s turn-based rules. I don’t talk about MegaMek nearly as often as I should (partially because it’s been around almost longer than I have), but it’s been continually updated for years with new and better features. And soon, you’ll be able to add a branching story to your MegaMek campaigns.

For those who aren’t aware, MegaMek isn’t the only program you can download to play a digital version of tabletop BattleTech. MegaMek handles the battles you’d normally keep track of with pen and paper, while MekHQ handles unit-based logistics such as personnel, salvage, and repairs, while also allowing you to create missions and manage campaigns. There’s also MegaMekLab that lets you create custom ‘Mechs, and MekWars to help you matchmake games against other players. The team behind MegaMek has just announced Story Arcs, which allows you to create branching stories associated with your campaigns in MegaMek.

For now, Story Arcs is just a beta with a single campaign revolving around “a Trinary of young Wolf warriors eager to write their own line in the Remembrance through glory and sacrifice.”  You can try Story Arcs by downloading the beta here, which also has links to submit feedback. Hopefully, this will lead to a fully functioning custom story creator that allows players to make campaigns that could include multiple mission chains depending on their actions.

MRC To Host MegaMek Tournament In May

BATTLETECH Clan Invasion tourny & mech review! The best mechs of the clan invasion era reviewed!
Watch this video on YouTube.

Speaking of MegaMek, the MRC is hosting a “semi-narrative event” that showcases the Great Refusal between the Clans and the Second Star League. Participants will be split into either the Clans or Star League, use era-appropriate gear, and then fight four rounds in a Swiss Pairings tournament system. Scores are tabulated after each match, and whichever faction has the most points wins.

MRC Icon

The fun part of this tournament will be bonus points for the side that adheres to Zellbrigen the longest. You get an additional five victory points if you force your opponent to break Zellbrigen first. The rules for this are outlined in the overall tournament rules document, but those familiar with the Clan way of combat won’t find anything too surprising. Players are encouraged to verbally spar before issuing their challenges during the weapon attack phase. Note that challenges may be refused if the challenging ‘Mech is of a different weight class and a more appropriate target is available (so no challenging a Fireball if you’re a Dire Wolf and there’s an Atlas two hexes away). 

Players will need to submit their 9,000 BV lists to the MRC email address by midnight on May 3, 2024. The first round begins on May 6. Since this is supposed to be a battle of the best tech each faction had to offer, Clan factions can only take OmniMechs and battle armor, while the Star League is barred from taking introtech units. For more restrictions and the scoring system, check out the rules here or watch the video above.

Michael Ciaravella Becomes Catalyst Game Labs’ New Events Manager And Demo Team Coordinator

All hail the new Coordinator! Michael Ciaravella is now the commander-in-chief of the Catalyst Demo Team, which surely has accepted their new leader by signing an oath of fealty with a bloody thumbprint. Ciaravella is also the new Events Manager for Catalyst Game Labs, which probably comes as little surprise to anyone who’s seen a Catalyst livestream at a convention.

I can point you to Catalyst’s press release for proof that Ciaravella has the business knowledge to excel at the job. Still, the proof was already there in his incredible ability to be everywhere at once. Even if you’ve never met him during his nine years as a Special Agent on the Catalyst Demo Team, you’ve almost certainly read one of his books in either the BattleTech or Shadow Run universes.

Congrats to you, oh beneficent Coordinator! May the Dragon shine through your deeds. 

Bryan Young’s Without Question Gets Ad Ahead Of May Release

Without Question - Book Ad
Watch this video on YouTube.

I can’t remember the last time a BattleTech book got an ad, but I guess that’s just how important Without Question is! Or it will be when it releases on May 15. 

The sequel to A Question Of Survival (which you can get in the recent Humble Bundle—more on that later), Without Question tells the tale of poor Jiyi Chistu, Khan of a beleaguered Clan Jade Falcon beset on all sides. Clan Hell’s Horses have finally come to Sudeten to take the Jade Falcon capital, leaving Jiyi in a desperate situation. He not only has to fend off the Horses, but he also has to maintain a supply line with the rest of the Jade Falcons on Terra—or what’s left of them after their disastrous fight against the Wolves.

We know Jiyi will be doing some fighting since his Gyrfalcon is on the cover. Will he successfully defend Sudeten, or will the Falcons finally be crushed forever? Find out May 15.

Learn To Play BattleTech: Encounters With Battle Born’s Handy Video

Let's Play Battletech Encounters! Learn-to-Play | TUTORIAL | REVIEW #battletech
Watch this video on YouTube.

With all the hubbub last month surrounding BattleTech: Encounters, you may have asked yourself just what the heck is BattleTech: Encounters and how does one even play this new tabletop game? To answer these questions, Battle Bound has created this instructional video set to one of my favorite tunes from MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries.

The video is roughly 25 minutes long, so you’ll want to watch it for the full explanation. My quick summary: you play as one of the big-name mercenary units pulling contracts for the Great Houses. Your goal is to gain 10 Reputation Points by completing contracts, using salvaged and purchased equipment to improve your battlefield performance.  You’ll face opposing House forces, fellow mercenaries, and even Clanners during each contract, rolling dice to determine your success or failure.

It looks like the general idea is to take easy-to-complete contracts early on, gaining C-bills over Reputation to start. But once you’ve been able to purchase enough equipment to up your firepower, you can take on more difficult contracts that offer Reputation rewards in addition to C-bills.  

You can play alone or with up to seven other players. You don’t fight other players directly, but you can steal their contracts whenever they fail. The benefit to stealing contracts is knowing what you’ll be up against rather than having to deal with the random contests you’ll face when drawing new contracts yourself. For games that have more than one player, there’s also a fairness mechanic that provides the player with the fewest C-bills a guaranteed income for their turn, while the leading player is forced to accept the hardest contracts that could leave them destitute.

Once you get your groove, it doesn’t seem like BattleTech: Encounters is a particularly hard game to play, and the fact that it’s just cards and dice keeps this tabletop game’s footprint down to a minimum. You can get BattleTech: Encounters at Barnes & Noble, but some of the Mercenaries Kickstarter backers will already get the game as part of your tier’s rewards, so be sure to check before you run off to your local mall.

Mercenaries Kickstarter Shipping Errors Being Corrected

Tuesday Newsday Episode 8
Watch this video on YouTube.

Around the end of last month, some of you might have been more than a little shocked after logging into your Mercenaries Kickstarter order to view the shipping fees. For more than a few of you, the shipping charges came out to be more than the total value of the items you ordered. 

CGL had mentioned they were going with a new shipping company than the one used during the Clan Invasion Kickstarter to avoid some issues, but it seemed like the swap created an even larger issue. Thankfully, CGL was quick to get ahead of the problem and promised to talk to QML (the new shipping company) to correct these shipping invoices.

We’ve received regular updates since then and a promise earlier in the month that nearly everyone’s shipping invoice will be under $150 once the review has been completed, but it looks like this is a process that’ll take a bit of time. Seeing as how this will save us all money (and some of us a lot of money), I’m not going to suggest rushing things. Still waiting to hear the final verdict, and fingers crossed we’ll still receive the Mercs Kickstarter in June as planned.

MechWarrior 5: Clans Reveals Demo At GDC

MechWarrior 5: Clans GDC Demo Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

At the end of March, some lucky individuals got to see MechWarrior 5: Clans in action over at GDC. The rest of us didn’t get to see the demo right away, but after a few tense weeks, PGI gave us a peek at what they’ve been working on. And boy oh boy, we’ve got a lot to discuss.

The big deal here is seeing actual MechWarrior 5: Clans gameplay for the very first time. It’s confirmed that you’ll command a full Star of Clan ‘Mechs, with five characters from the same sibko taking part in Operation: REVIVAL. The trailer and demo reveal the opening stages of the operation with fights against pirate kingdoms in the deep periphery. Naturally, the player’s Clan Smoke Jaguar Star easily annihilates all opposition. 

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries only granted the most basic control over your Lancemates, but MechWarrior 5: Clans gives you a top-down overlay to command your Starmates, allowing you to issue more nuanced commands. You can even queue commands for friendlies and tell them to perform specific tasks in a specific order, like going to a specific location to destroy an enemy building before heading to a second location to defend it from enemy ‘Mechs.

The UI is updated to be cleaner and a little less cluttered, there’s a new scan mechanic that harkens back to the Enhanced Imaging system from the BattleTech Animated Series, and best of all, there are fully animated character portraits with great voice acting and mocap. This really looks like a game that’s going all out on the story.

I spotted the Koshi, Viper, Hankyu, Blackjack, Locust, Kit Fox, Spider, Flea, Shadow Hawk, Cicada, and Centurion in the demo, confirming that we’ll be fighting Inner Sphere ‘Mechs with Smoke Jaguar machines you’ll have seen in MechWarrior Online. There don’t appear to be rules for Zellbrigen, which is a shame, and it’s still unclear how the player will progress from piloting a Shadow Cat to something more substantial. My hope is that you’ll have to pass Trials of Possession to acquire new ‘Mechs, but I’m still waiting on answers along with everyone else.

For more, No Guts No Galaxy provides a great review of the demo and story trailer, and IGN has an article available to peruse. Still no release date yet, but PGI has promised we’ll see MechWarrior 5: Clans sometime later this year.

Trains Are Still A Highly Efficient Method Of Timber Wolf Transportation

My Timberwolf
byu/Due-Essay9897 inbattletech

I don’t normally care to showcase a Timber Wolf since I think it’s already a poster child for the franchise, but this was just too good to pass up. This hand-painted piece is based on a diorama that apparently confirms the existence of railroad tracks in the far future. Even a thousand years from now, trains are still the most efficient form of mass transportation. With kind regards to Due-Essay9897, a lover of Timber Wolves and trains.

I Just Like Assassins, Okay?

Long deployments in the lawless periphery are enough to keep any MechWarrior on edge
byu/Rabbit_Food_HCE inMechwarrior5

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I like Assassins. They just look cool, okay? They’re not actually good or effective, and they’re certainly no better at killing light ‘Mechs than other light ‘Mechs, but there’s a certain vibe to the Assassin that’s hard to overlook. I think Senerae captures that vibe perfectly.

Catalyst Gathers For First AMA Of 2024 On Official Subreddit

Hermit Crab

This month, fans got to ask nearly everyone at Catalyst Game Labs whatever questions they wanted. We had Line Developer Ray Arrastia and Assistant Line Developer Aaron Cahall, developers Joshua Perian, Joshua Franklin, and Eric Salzman, as well as authors Bryan Young, Craig Reed, Jason Hansa, and Stephen Toropov all in a single thread fielding hundreds of questions

Now, you could read the whole AMA to glean what information you could, or you could just read my quick summary of the event below:

  • Hermit Crab model requested, many ilClan-era ‘Mechs that are likely to come first. However, all things lead to Crab eventually.
  • Fox Patrol swag? Maybe
  • More audio books from ilClan and older eras coming
  • No Alpha Strike version of AeroTech, even though Joshua Franklin loves the idea
  • Working on an ” easy introductory Classic format or mission packet outside of the campaign books”, possible updates to Classic rules
  • Chance to see IndustrialMechs
  • Will see more “era” ForcePacks, but unlikely to see more era Kickstarters
  • Likely to see “a new edition of A Time of War/A new Battletech RPG”
  • No baseless minis on the horizon
  • House Arano/Aurigan Reach fell apart before the Fourth Succession War but might reappear somehow in the ilClan era.
  • Looking into more optional ‘Mech parts, possibly as separate products
  • New paint schemes for ilClan-era Jade Falcons and reformed Smoke Jaguars 

There’s of course more, but you’ll have to sift through a lot of comments yourself.

Bryan Young Fox Patrol AMA Confirms New Book Is On The way

The BattleTech: Lone Wolf and Fox serial novel is now complete, I’m the author – AMA
byu/swankmotron inbattletech

In addition to the larger Catalyst AMA, Bryan Young did his own AMA to celebrate the release of the Shrapnel #16 and the thrilling conclusion to the Lone Wolf and Fox serial novel. And as before, I have a summary of important responses:

  • Another Fox Patrol story is in the works! 
  • Creamy peanut butter, not chunky
  • Katie is ace, Evan inherited his Locust from his aunt who won it in a card game, and Arkee took catechism classes (which he didn’t enjoy) so he and Evan could get married at St. Michaels
  • Bryan can draw a dragon, but not well

We’re Here To Discuss Your BattleMech’s Extended Warranty

Critical Elements
byu/ThePBG48 inbattletech

 

You never really think about your ‘Mech’s extended warranty until an Elemental is shattering your cockpit glass and sticking a battle claw through your chest. Zoom in on the pistol for a surprise. Kudos to Zaku for this piece.

Humble Bundle Gives $900-worth of Fiction For Thirty Bucks

Or forty bucks if you’re Canadian. Anyway, doesn’t matter what currency you’re using, because this is by far the best deal you’ll ever get for a DropShip-load of fiction. I’m not even going to bother listing the novels because I’d be here all day. Let’s just say it’s everything published since 2003 or so. That’s 71 items, including a bundle of classic BattleTech books that you can eliminate if you’ve already read them a dozen times. That brings it down to about $25 CAD, which is under twenty bucks in USD (I think). 

This deal is only available until May 1, so don’t wait! Buy it now!

Bruce Jensen Shares Unreleased BattleTech Covers

Freebirth Cover Bruce Jensen

Threads of Ambition Bruce Jensen Cover

Emil and I recently spoke about his work preserving BattleTech art, and he pointed me to two recent posts from Bruce Jensen, the cover artist for both Threads of Ambition and Freebirth. And now that he’s completed scanning these incredible pieces, we’ll be able to enjoy these covers in perpetuity. Or at least for as long as the internet lasts. 

Virtual World Pods Hosting Open House Next Month In Kalamazoo

Come play VWE BattleTech VR Sim Pods for FREE in Kalamazoo, MI Apr 27 and May 18th at our Open Pod Nights compliments of our Patreon backers and Catalyst Game Labs. Will also have tabletop BattleTech on site as well. DM or post for more info.
byu/VWE_PropWash inbattletech

It’s been a minute since I discussed Virtual World Entertainment and they’re incredible BattleTech: Firestorm pods. I remember checking one of these pods out as a kid, and I’d love to give ’em a try again sometime. Sadly, I’m in Canada, but if you live anywhere near Kalamazoo, Michigan, you should check out the Virtual World open night to be hosted on May 18. Details are in the Facebook post here. Besides having free use of the pods, there will be tabletop BattleTech being played if you get motion sickness from such an immersive system.

Cockpit Guide Reveals Where The Glass Is On Your Favorite ‘Mechs

Canon Cockpit Guide Bishop Steiner

Us BattleTech veterans already know where the cockpit is on a Thunderbolt, Marauder, and Wraith, but there are a lot of newcomers to BattleTech these days who don’t necessarily know where to paint the glass on an Assassin. For those newcomers, Bishop Steiner has created the Canon Cockpit Compendium, now with Volume 2 covering the Essentials and Beginners Box Set, the Alpha Strike Box Set, and quite a few of the more popular ForcePacks.

If you know a Warhammer (the game, not the ‘Mech) convert who needs some help finding the ferroglass on their favorite ‘Mechs, send ‘em here for a free .pdf download

The Black Hawk-KU Arrives In MechWarrior Online’s Latest Patch

Black Hawk-KU MechWarrior Online

April brings a new patch for MechWarrior Online Legends, and this month we get yet another new ‘Mech! This time, it’s the Black Hawk-KU, the Kurita-built copy of the Clan Nova. This is the first Inner Sphere OmniMech to arrive in MechWarrior Online, giving the same pod-based bonuses as its Clan counterparts.

As expected, there’s a lot of visual similarity between the Nova and the Black Hawk-KU. In comparison, the Black Hawk-KU is a little taller, has slightly different cockpit geometry, and has more bits and pieces sticking out of the design. It’s also armed with Inner Sphere weapons and it’s 10 tons heavier than the Nova, which provides interesting new options for builds. 

Curiously, PGI didn’t release a full suite of variants for the Black Hawk-KU, but you do get two left-arm pods and one right-arm pod that will allow you to customize the standard BHKU-O to be more than just a medium laser boat. The Black Hawk-KU is available now for just $20 USD, with an expected release later for C-bills. 

There have also been a few adjustments made to weapons and ‘Mechs. Light Autocannons and ProtoMech Autocannons have been buffed, while Magshot and AP Gauss Rifles have been slightly nerfed to no longer have bonus critical hit chance over base values, but also buffed in that they’re now affected by the same quirks that benefit regular Gauss Rifles. Thunderbolt Missiles are now faster and more accurate but inflict less screen shake to the target. 

As for ‘Mechs, the Arctic Cheetah now has an additional 10 percent heat dissipation, the UrbanMech IIC now has 15 percent heat dissipation, and the Ice Ferret tree all have five percent more heat dissipation (except for the Prime, which has 10 percent). There are a few other ‘Mechs with slight tweaks and a huge list of ammo quirk adjustments, but you can read about them in the patch notes here.

And we also have a few tips for what’s to come! May will bring yet another new ‘Mech to MWO, while June will bring two more Legendary ‘Mechs. We don’t know what they are, but we’ll be sure to report back once we find out.

The Sentinel Stands Guard In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Mod

My next mech mod is out: The Sentinel
byu/BoukObelisk inMechwarrior5

It’s not often I get to link back to two recent pieces here on Sarna, first my hit piece on the Sentinel, and second, my interview with Emil of The Art of BattleTech. Emil’s latest mod brings the Sentinel to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries courtesy of a model made by SirMortimer Bombito. I’d say it’s definitely a different take on the Sentinel with its far-chunkier build, but you still have the rounded cockpit, the Ultra Autocannon in the left arm, and a generally menacing attitude. 

You can grab the Sentinel over on Nexus Mods or MechWarrior 5‘s Steam Workshop. Emil has also given us the classic Warhammer mod, which makes the in-game Warhammer look more like Robotech‘s Tomahawk. If that’s an aesthetic you’d jive with, then grab the mod in the usual locations.

Boston Dynamics New Atlas III Robot Is Terrifying

Boston Dynamics, everyone’s favorite bot factory, has created its third iteration of the Atlas robot. Unlike previous robots, Atlas III isn’t just trying to mimic human movements, as you can see in the way it erects itself from a prone position. Nearly every joint now offers 360 degrees of movement, allowing it to perform actions that one might previously have associated with demons in a Japanese horror film.

Still, this is progress. Horrible, terrifying progress, but progress nonetheless. 

You Can Buy This Laser & Flamer-equipped Robot For Under $10,000

I originally saw this a few weeks ago and thought it was a gasoline-powered version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot. Turns out, it’s actually a much cheaper four-legged robot equipped with a flamethrower and a laser sight. Because you can’t be too accurate with a flamethrower.

Best of all, you can get this robot for just $9,420.00 anywhere in the continental US (where—for now—it’s still legal to own a robot with a flamethrower). I suspect this year’s wildfire season will be apocalyptic.

Lo-Fi Thors To Chill Out And Relax To

Lo-Fi Thor – This one even shoots!
byu/hzzzln inmechwarrior

For the past month, hzzzln on Reddit has been using Blockbench to create low-fi versions of their favorite ‘Mechs. It all started with the Hellspawn, then it escalated to the Thor, and most recently, the Fire Moth. I love them all and wonder if perhaps this is the first step to a MechWarrior 2 remake. Thank you, hzzzln.  

Battle Bound Reminds Us Of The Toons That Made BattleTech

The 'Toons That Made 'Tech - CRUSHER JOE | A Short #battletech #retrospective
Watch this video on YouTube.

In case you’re new to the BattleTech franchise, it wasn’t always the case that we had beautiful Shadow Hawks, Griffins, Warhammers, Riflemen, and Marauders running around. For a long time, these ‘Mechs were considered Unseen due to a lengthy court battle with the IP holding company that claimed ownership over these designs. That’s because those five ‘Mechs (and several more) were actually derived from designs taken from Japanese mecha animes from the 1980s. 

It’s a long story that’s better reviewed in Sarna’s wiki entry. The good news is that the bad guys lost (in no small part due to the legal battle waged by MechWarrior 5 developer PGI), and now we get to play with all these great ‘Mech designs that have since evolved well beyond their anime origins.

But just because the new ‘Mechs are better doesn’t mean the old ‘Mechs were bad, or that the shows they come from aren’t worth a watch. Battle Bound once again comes up in this news blast to give modern BattleTech fans a taste of what it was like to watch these ‘Mechs in the 1980s with a retrospective look at Fang of the Sun Dougram and Crusher Joe. If you’re looking for where BattleTech got not only its giant robots but also its star-spanning universe and its love of mercenaries, you need look no further than these two shows. 

Battle Bound plans for these retrospectives to be a series, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Robotech and Macross featured in the not-too-distant future.

Get To Know Sarna Senior Editor Deadfire In New Interview

Roll with Rem Alternis w/ Guest Shaun Cochrane || Shadowrun: Emerald Glitch "Where's the Rain?"
Watch this video on YouTube.

And to end things for the month, Catalyst Community Manager Rem Alternis interviewed Sarna’s very own Senior Editor, Deadfire! He does a lot of stuff here behind the scenes, including templates, automation, and other technical stuff that goes beyond my beginner-level understanding of HTML and C++. The interview was broadcast live on Twitch via GenConTV just before Rem continued her ongoing Shadowrun campaign, and can now be viewed in full on YouTube.

Turns out, Sarna has a diverse group of people helping to keep the greatest BattleTech resource on the internet running! And we’re not just all about BattleTech. Deadfire, for example, plays a lot of Magic: The Gathering, plays a bunch of shooters (Managed Democracy salutes you!), and also came into BattleTech through the MechWarrior: Dark Age clicks game! Okay, so I still circled back to BattleTech, but I don’t see a lot of folks who hold Dark Age in such high esteem, and I think that’s laudable.

Deadfire puts a lot of effort into the wiki and his journey to becoming a senior editor is full of hard work and good ideas. It’s a fascinating talk that once more pulls back the curtain to Sarna, and also how we’re always looking for folks to contribute towards Sarna’s improvement. I encourage you all to give the first 45 minutes of the above video a look-see

That does it for April! Join us next time as the BattleTech universe continues to expand.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

 

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For March, 2024

It was a busy month! We’ve had AdeptiCon and KerenskyCon happen this month, which means we have a lot of stuff to cover. And since I don’t really have anything else to complain about this month, we’ll just jump straight to the news!

Catalyst Announces New BattleTech Products At AdeptiCon

BattleTech Mercenaries Paint Set

Before we get into the new stuff that Catalyst presented at AdeptiCon, a brief note about the early release of BattleTech: Encounters at Barnes & Noble. This game was supposed to be released after the Mercenaries Kickstarter fulfillment (on track for June), but it looks like Barnes & Noble didn’t get the memo. Higher-level Mercenaries backers will get this tabletop dice game as part of their fulfillment, so there’s no need for everyone to rush off to Barnes & Noble unless you really want to get it earlier than planned. Then I guess you’ll have two, which you can share with someone else who might want a BattleTech board game.

With that out of the way, we got two big deals out of AdeptiCon. Earlier this month we found out that BattleTech was getting its own paint set, and now we’ve learned what that will look like. Images posted to the BattleTech forums (and spread to other BattleTech social accounts) reveal a selection of colors that includes 10 acrylic paints, seven speed paints, one metallic, one wash, one primer, and one base-coating paintbrush. You can expect this to arrive later this spring.

The other big announcement is a new premium Vulture mini, or Mad Dog if you’re a Clanner. I can’t quite tell from the posted images I’ve seen whether this will turn out to be a different variant or just a repose of the existing one, but my hope is that it’s a Mad Dog Alt Config A. If anybody has a better picture, send it to me!

Mercenaries Interior Box

Beyond that, a display case at AdeptiCon shows completed versions of several previously-announced products, including Force Manual: Davion, the Legendary MechWarriors III ForcePack, the 1st Somerset Strikers ForcePack, the Battlefield Support: Battle & Fire ForcePack, the Battlefield Support: Objectives pack, a whole bunch of mugs and badges, and the fully-completed Mercenaries box set. 

And what’s inside that box set? Well, this intersects with what we’ve learned from KerenskyCon, but besides the promised minis (which look great), there are also two cardboard sheets of standees for Elementals, Battle Armor, fixed gun emplacement, ammo dumps, field hospitals, Maxim, Vedette, and Demolisher tanks, and plenty of standard infantry. There’s more, which you can see courtesy of snapshots taken by Detocroix.

One more thing announced at the most recent Catalyst news stream: BattleTech is getting a graphic novel series! It’ll be co-written by Michael Stackpole and Bryan Young (creator of the Fox Patrol), with art by our very own Eldoniousrex. A post from Young on Reddit outlines what to expect: four graphic novels, 88 pages each, one overarching story, ilClan era, mercs, and a few guest writers coming in later on. We don’t have a release date yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how this rolls!

Also, Some Upcoming Fiction Releases

Shrapnel 16 Cover

Also courtesy of Rem’s recent news stream, a brief update on upcoming fiction. Next month, Craig Reed brings us In the Shadow of the Dragon, which details Yori Kurita‘s rise to Coordinator. Bryan Young’s Without Question returns to Terra to tell the story of the defeated Jade Falcons in the ilClan era and arrives on May 15. Coming in July is Michael Cieravella with Trial of Birthright, which tells the story of Clan Wolf following their victory. And finally, Philip Lee’s Letter of the Law brings us back to the reformed Free Worlds League in November with the sequel to Hunting Season.

Shrapnel 16 is out with a new Fox Patrol story and cover. And for those of you who prefer to get your BattleTech fiction in audio, Close Quarters, Rock and a Hard Place, and A Splinter of Hope are all available now as audiobooks. 

The UrbanMech LAM Is Real And It Can Hurt You

Urbie LAM Box Set

Several years ago, I reported on the theoretical existence of the UrbanMech LAM. It was just sketches and mockups at the time, but the idea was there, and ideas can be very powerful. So powerful, in fact, that they can make an UrbanMech fly.

Blurry photos posted on Facebook later became an official prototype mockup, until finally at AdeptiCon, we received confirmation that the UrbanMech LAM exists physically and will be made available as part of a dedicated UrbanMech LAM Salvage Box. The box will contain all modes of the UrbanMech LAM, including BattleMech, AirMech, and aerospace fighter mode.

While the UrbanMech LAM will be a real product with actual cards for Alpha Strike, it won’t be real in the BattleTech universe. That’s because the Urbie LAM will remain non-canon and without official record sheets, even though it’s something fans are clearly clamoring for. I suspect once the record sheet issue is solved we’ll revisit the issue of the Urbie LAM’s canonicity.

Is this the April 1st product that Eric warned us about? Maybe. We’ll find out if the Urbie LAM suddenly becomes available via the Catalyst store on April 1st.

Pre-Release Urbie LAM Has Serious Up Vibes

Got a pre-release Urbie LAM from some dude on the internet. Starting to suspect it’s not an official BT product…
byu/Horseburd inbattletech

This is probably what I had in mind when the words “Urbie” and “LAM” were first introduced to each other. I’m not sure why this Urbie had to be a Pikachu as the joke totally landed without the Pokemon, but I’ll take the double-whammy. Thank you to Horseburd for… this.

Motor City Mayhem Alpha Strike Tournament Coming In May

Last month we learned about the MRC hosting a Classic BattleTech tournament in Kentucky, and this month they’ve announced an Alpha Strike tournament coming to a Detroit suburb in May. Motor City Mayhem is a 300-point Alpha Strike tournament in Livonia, Michigan starting at 8 AM on Saturday, May 18, and running all day long. 

As for the rules, your army can’t exceed 300 points and must be available during the Civil War era. You may select any faction, but your unit choices must be available to that faction. Banned units include aerospace fighters, support vehicles, experimental tech, and units with the “unknown” or “unique” designation, but ‘Mechs, combat vehicles, battle armor, and conventional infantry are fair game. You’ll also have to designate a Force Commander who must drive a size two or larger ‘Mech.

There are also several other restrictions, but you can read about ’em on the event’s rules sheet here.

The important thing to remember is that food will not be provided, so pack a lunch or prepare to get some chow locally, and the tournament scoring system isn’t just about winning games. Being courteous and respectful, having beautifully painted minis, and having a creative army list that’s fun to play against are all factors that will determine the overall tournament winner. However, there will be secondary awards provided for these more nuanced categories.

Signups are available now. And be sure to sign up as soon as possible as the venue space is limited. Also, if you want your event advertised in Sarna, just leave a comment or send me an email and we’ll get you into the next monthly news blast.

This Underwater Thunderbolt Is Shocking

Thunderbolt “Tidehunter”
byu/Existing_Notice2033 inbattletech

BioShocking, if you’ll pardon the pun. Armed with an LR Torpedo/15, three SR Torpedo/4s, several lasers, and a giant fricken anchor, you’ll never have to worry about your little sister running away ever again. Probably. Credit to Existing_Notice2033 on Reddit for this one.

Meanwhile, At KerenskyCon…

The biggest news to come out of KerenskyCon is a preview of new ForcePacks. Randall Bills revealed a series of internal spreadsheets that show tentative release schedules for a ton of new ‘Mechs. Keep in mind that these units and dates are more tentative the further out you go, but that said, there are a lot of great ‘Mechs and other units to look forward to. Kudos to Available_Mountain on Reddit for giving us an easy-to-copy list (which I’ve linked to their respective Sarna entries). 

KerenskyCon Upcoming Minis 2

KerenskyCon Upcoming Minis

And a few ForcePacks without release dates and are more just ideas at this point, but wouldn’t require much work:

Ray Arrastia pointed out on the Catalyst Discord that this list—although extensive—isn’t set in stone. Expect things to change over the year, especially for ‘Mechs that haven’t received official redesigns yet.

The good news is that some of these ‘Mechs have been redesigned, and we got to see a few of them at KerenskyCon. The Helios, Thanatos, Emperor, Argus, Hellspawn, Tian-zong, and Dire Wolf Prometheus all looked incredible, as did the Thunderbolt NAIS and hopping Starslayer. As per our January report, expect these to come in this year’s second half. 

Another interesting item shown at KerenskyCon was BattleTech: Resurgent Empires. This tabletop board game features the major houses during the Succession Wars, with plenty of cards, tokens, and little mini figures of ‘Mechs and JumpShips. I don’t know the rules, but it sure looks like a fun time.

Finally, there were several interviews conducted at KerenskyCon with BattleTech‘s creatives, but you really can’t go wrong with Jordan Weisman and Mike Stackpole talking about the early development of BattleTech. Kudos to Battle Bound for bringing this interview to the masses.

It’s Always Cooler To Look Away From The Explosion

Ammo explosion, 2024, OC
byu/Remmor inbattletech

I love the Griffin, but I’d put most Bushwacker variants over the Roundfacer. Certainly, any variants that don’t include CASE, which seems to be this particular Griffin‘s Achilles’ heel.  A fantastic art piece from Remmor over on Reddit.

MechWarrior: Living Legends Is Hiring!

MechWarrior Living Legends Logo

Got some experience with CryEngine? Want to help make an amazing free-to-play (and I mean free) MechWarrior game? MechWarrior: Living Legends is looking for a programmer to help build the award-winning mod that’s now a standalone game. 

While it’s a big plus to have prior knowledge of the Crysis engine, the ad doesn’t say you necessarily need it. What you’ll really need is C++, Lua, and Flash. It’d also be good if you understood Git and had some prior experience working on games too, but given the fact this is a passion project and nobody is getting paid (not even the applicant), enthusiasm is probably what counts most here.

Check out this link for the details and be ready to communicate with the development team via Discord.

SAN-1C, He Can Really Move

Behold the Firemoth’s true form: the SAN-1C (Finished).
byu/GillyMonster18 inbattletech

This could very well be the saddest Dasher variant I’ve ever seen. GillyMonster18, you truly are a monster.

Celebrating The Women Of BattleTech For International Women’s Day

Natasha Kerensky BattleTech Legends

International Women’s Day was March 8. I haven’t exactly conducted a census of BattleTech players, but just looking around, I’d say the vast majority of them are male. And yet, women do play BattleTech, women write BattleTech, women create BattleTech, and women are incredibly important in the BattleTech universe.

Sarna recently sat down with two women to talk about how they’re creating the BattleTech universe we all love. Jennifer Brozek has written both The Nellus Academy Incident and the Rogue Academy Trilogy, two page-turners that you should definitely read. Rem Alternis handles both community management and marketing for all of Catalyst’s games, which I know is a tough job. You can check out these interviews here.

Yori Kurita

As for in-universe women, you don’t get more badass than Natasha Kerensky, up there as the best MechWarrior who ever lived. Katrina Steiner was an incredible politician, as were Candace Liao and Jessica Marik. Yori Kurita rose from nothing to become Coordinator of the Draconis Combine, while Callandre Kell not only reformed the Kell Hounds but also regularly took down ‘Mechs in a mere tank. And let’s not forget the entire Magistracy of Canopus, a matriarchal nation in the periphery with the best healthcare in the Inner Sphere (which is perhaps the biggest reason why we should put women in charge). 

Not cool enough? Hanni Schmitt was the commander of the Black Watch during the Amaris Coup. It took two nukes to finally take her out, and she nearly destroyed the entire 4th Amaris Dragoons with just eight ‘Mechs and her Atlas. Captain Elizabeth Hazen survived the first nuke that destroyed most of the Black Watch and led a resistance movement for years before Kerensky liberated Terra. She’d eventually go on to be the founding Khan of Clan Jade Falcon, while Hanni Scmitt’s granddaughter, Colleen, would be the founding Khan of Clan Blood Spirit.

Aletha Kabrinsky BattleTech CCG

But the woman who doesn’t get nearly enough credit is Aletha Kabrinski. She became Khan of Clan Ghost Bear in nothing but a Fire Moth, a ‘Mech so fragile it’d explode if it were presented with an offensive odor. She also was a key Clan politician who managed to convince the Snow Ravens to join Stone‘s coalition to end the Jihad. Most people are either MechWarriors or politicians in BattleTech, but Aletha proved you can do both. 

Wanna learn more about the cool women of BattleTech? Come to Sarna’s Discord server and join the discussion.

Solaris Showdown Arrives In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries - Solaris Showdown Launch Trailer
Watch this video on YouTube.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries received its sixth DLC this month in Solaris Showdown. Of all the DLC releases, this has got to be one of the smoothest—at least in terms of mod support. I saw some mods were updated for DLC 6 before it was even released, so kudos to both PGI and the many mod makers for getting things ready for Solaris Showdown

Having announcers give you the play-by-play of your destructive exploits in the arena should be core to the MechWarrior experience these days. It was also hilarious seeing the origins of Duncan Fisher, and of course, George Ledoux‘s performance was exceptional. This DLC probably has the best voice acting in the entire game. The new weapons were great, and the new ‘Mechs are even better.

But it wasn’t a perfect release. As many fans noted, the friendly AI would often get stuck in the spawning area of the later maps, making those missions incredibly difficult. We also learned that most of the new ‘Mechs added weren’t able to be salvaged when the DLC was released. That was fixed as of last week’s patch, so if like me you’re still searching for that Hunchback VEST, you should be able to salvage it from a medium ‘Mech arena contract.

Also, if you’re running into a consistent crash whenever you try to start the sixth mission in Solaris Showdown, turn off ray tracing. I kept getting a “DEVICE HUNG” error and thought it might have been a mod conflict, but it kept happening even after I’d turned off all mods. Hopefully, this will be patched soon.

Solaris Showdown is available now wherever you can download MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Not Even A King Crab Can Ignore Battle Armor Forever

King Crab Diorama ErofeaN

I hate battle armor, either in tabletop or video games. This King Crab, courtesy of ErofeaN, is definitely getting the worst of it from these jumping bastards. I hope they get the clamps, but I’m not holding my breath.

Hail Caesar! Now In MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Caesar Mod MW5

I’ve always loved the Caesar. Even before I read Double Blind, the Caesar‘s bizarrely sloped chassis and rounded vents just called to me. I’ve been able to make a reasonable facsimile of the Caesar using Cataphracts in MechWarrior 5, but it just isn’t quite the same.

Well, now I can finally drive a Caesar in MechWarrior courtesy of SirMortimer and SankaraSamsara. The new mod uses Sir Mortimer Bombito’s model, with the animation provided by SankaraSamsara. It sure seems that cockpit will be easy to headshot, though, so maybe take as much extra armor there as you can.

You can get the Caesar over on Nexus Mods or Steam (for both vanilla and YAML). You can also check out SankaraSamsara’s ever-growing list of MechWarrior 5 mods over on Nexus Mods, which now includes the classic King Crab and Executioner.

MechWarrior 5: Clans Teased At GDC

 

GDC has provided us with a tantalizing second look at MechWarrior 5: Clans. We didn’t get to see any actual gameplay, but we did get to see the game’s home screen courtesy of Narrative Director Chris Lowrey.

As you can see, there’s a Timber Wolf standing above a star of five characters, all of whom are wearing quite a lot for a MechWarrior (I still ascribe to the “underpants and cooling vest” MechWarrior aesthetic). The menu reveals instant action, co-op, and “Switch Campaign,” which I assume means we’ll have the option to play more than a single save file’s campaign.

Sadly, we didn’t actually get to see the demo, but hopefully, that’ll arrive sooner rather than later.

Please Animate The Gimp Atlas, Please

Super Deformed hunchback IIc, warhammer IIc, atlas refit, stinger refit (my art)
byu/geergutz inmechwarrior

 

Please geergutz, give me adorable little gifs of these guys doing crazy things. I promise I’ll only use them to harass my friends and enemies. 

MechWarrior Online Receives New Weapons In March Patch

MWO March 2024 Patch Notes

This may very well be MechWarrior Online‘s biggest patch in years. We’ll gloss over the returning Lucky Charms Event, the Duncan Fisher Hero Thunderbolt, and the Otomo Pack which brings MechWarrior 5‘s Otomo ‘Mechs to MWO (with skins, bolt-ons, and a 30-percent C-bill bonus). What really makes this patch are more than a dozen new weapons and equipment that are sure to shake up the meta.

Those weapons included the Light Autocannon/2 and 5, ProtoMech Autocannon/2 to 8, Thunderbolt Missile launchers, the Magshot and AP Gauss Rifles, the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle, the Beam Laser, the Plasma Cannon, and the Light TAG. Each of these weapons will have the same large the same stats as their tabletop versions (except for the Beam Laser, which doesn’t exist in tabletop). 

For a look at how each of these weapons performs, we turn to No Guts No Galaxy’s in-depth review. The autocannons all seem like tiny variations on fast-firing Bushmaster-style cannons, the Beam Laser is just a continuous beam that slowly builds heat, the Plasma Cannon is like a green PPC with added head damage, and the Magshot and AP Gauss Rifles are like teeny tiny Gausses. 

NEW WEAPON SHOWCASE & REVIEW - MechWarrior Online
Watch this video on YouTube.

As Sean mentions in his review, the Cauldron is aware that some of these weapons (particularly the Plasma Cannon and ProtoMech ACs) are underperforming slightly at launch, but the Cauldron would rather launch undercooked and then buff them later rather than release a completely busted weapon that warps the meta. You can expect those adjustments in April’s patch, as well as ‘Mechs being assigned quirks that affect these weapons specifically.

March’s patch has made the Cicada a bit more maneuverable, Vindicator, Nova, Kintaro, Thanatos, BattleMaster, and Highlander variants have all received buffs, and several maps have received fixes, including Solaris, Bearclaw II, Mining Collective, and Emerald Taiga. You can get the full details in the patch notes here.

This Is Why It’s Always Better For A ‘Mech To Have Fists

Brutal Punch was never the best card in the BattleTech TCG, but it sure had great art. And now, thanks to Alan Blackwell, we can experience the brutality of this punch in 3D. An incredible piece that just proves the dominance of the Atlas and why you should never close with one.

3D Artist Previews Upcoming Merlin Mini

Merlin Redesign Reddit

I’m getting a Merlin in my Mercenaries Kickstarter order, so I was extremely excited to see this preview courtesy of the modeler who created the new Merlin mini. Lizzie’s Reddit post takes us from the earliest sketch to her initial models, slowly adding detail until we finally get to a finished product ready for posing. 

I love the Merlin. Like the Grasshopper, it’s just one of those efficient heavy ‘Mechs from the 3025 era that can actually fire its entire weapons payload every turn without overheating. Plus it’s got jump jets for maneuverability, and enough armor to outlast anything in its weight class. Throw on the Easy to Maintain and Rugged quirks, and it’s a wonder you don’t see these in every major military across the Inner Sphere. Instead, you’ll see them in multiple mercenary outfits.

You can find the Merlin in the Inner Sphere Heavy Recon Lance ForcePack alongside the Charger (also redesigned by Lizzie), the Ostsol, and the Assassin. This pack will form the core of my mercenary unit as soon as it arrives in June. Lizzie, you’ve my undying gratitude for bringing these ‘Mechs to the 21st century.

Definitely Not The Battledroids You’re Looking For

These are not the Mechs you’re looking for…
byu/OhioYeti inbattletech

May the Fourth isn’t for another month, OhioYeti. Bring these two back then.

And that’s it for March! Join us next time, same BattleTech time, same BattleTech channel.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Crashing ‘Mechs With Jennifer Brozek, Author Of The Rogue Academy Trilogy

A lot of what keeps BattleTech going is the fiction. I may have been introduced to the BattleTech universe through the MechWarrior video games, but what truly hooked me as a wee lad was reading my first BattleTech novel. My first book was Freebirth. With its intricate look at the inner workings of Clan society and ProtoMechs of all things, it was a heck of a way to start. These days, I’d recommend a teenager start with something a little more accessible. Something like Iron Dawn, the first part of the Rogue Academy Trilogy by Jennifer Brozek.

It’s been a while since we checked in with this prolific author. I sat down with Jennifer to get the inside story on the Rogue Academy Trilogy, her life growing up as an army brat, and talk about her latest project; a cozy ghost story that’s told through physical mail. Based on true events from Jennifer’s childhood, Dear Pen Pal: Belgium 1980 is available now on Kickstarter.

Continue reading

Getting The Word Out With Rem Alternis, Catalyst Community & Marketing Director

I’ve been writing for Sarna long enough to know that there’s a lot of stuff happening in the BattleTech world pretty much all the time. There’s also a lot of opinionated people that love to share their thoughts--sometimes more crassly than others. Trying to get the word out while also making sure everyone plays nice is a tough job, so I feel a certain kinship with Catalyst’s Community and Marketing Director Rem Alternis.

For Sarna’s next interview, I sat down with Rem to see how she’s settling into the role, some of the challenges she’s faced, and how to interpret Catalyst’s recently-released community guidelines. Enjoy.


Sean Murray (Sarna): Well, first of all, thank you for agreeing to chat with me. I’ve been chatting with a bunch of Catalyst folks to start the year, and we wanted to chat with you since you’re going to be one of the front-facing figures for Catalyst with the Discord and the YouTube channel getting a lot more focus as Catalyst builds its brands and its community outreach. So thank you very much. 

Rem Alternis (Catalyst): Of course. 

Rem Alternis

Sean: To start us off, what is your BattleTech journey? When did you hear about it, what BattleTech games have you played, and what’s your favorite product of the BattleTech brand?  And if you have any games that you’ve played, what have you played before? 

Rem: Yeah, so I’m fairly new to it. I first heard about it alongside Shadowrun when I was going to the cons, but I was always more of a role-playing person than a miniatures person so I didn’t really pay attention. But at a con in about 2021, I was talking to Rhett at the Catalyst booth, and he told me that I might like the fiction because it’s big stompy robots meets Game of Thrones, and I was like, “Ooh, that sounds fun.”

So I kind of started getting into it. I started reading En Garde from the Warrior Trilogy, and then, as I got hired for Catalyst, I was like, “Man, there’s so much in here,” so I stopped reading because I was like, “I’d love to put everything that I’m learning into a stream for others to learn with me.” That just hasn’t come to life yet because we’re so busy with everything. But yeah, that was the first start. 

Sean: Alright, cool. Have you played any of the games? RPG, tabletop, or video games?

“I started reading En Garde from the Warrior Trilogy, and then, as I got hired for Catalyst, I was like, ‘Man, there’s so much in here,'”

Rem: None of the video games. The RPG, not yet. But I have played Classic. I’ve done a grinder, which was a ton of fun, and I just got to play Alpha Strike with the Aces beta ruleset on Six Sides of Gaming. So that was my first Alpha Strike. I’m still not 100 percent clear on the rules for Alpha Strike, but I’ve got Classic down pretty well, I think.

Sean: Alpha Strike I find to be a lot easier, and faster paced, and with BattleTech Aces, it also lends itself to a lot of interesting cooperative scenarios. I’m very much looking forward to Aces coming out, along with many other people, I’m sure. 

So you’re fairly new to BattleTech, but I’m still going to ask this, do you have a favorite ‘Mech?

Rem: Well, the ones that I’ve learned, I got the Archer plushie, so I knew what that was. And I’ve painted the beginner box, so I have the Centurion and the Rifleman. And so when I did the grinder, I started with the Rifleman, and when he died I grabbed the Atlas, and all of a sudden people weren’t so nice to me anymore; everyone started trying to shoot me.

“When I did the grinder, I started with the Rifleman, and when he died I grabbed the Atlas, and all of a sudden people weren’t so nice to me anymore.”

And when that one died, I grabbed a random one, which happened to be the Daishi Widowmaker, and everyone still tried to murder me a whole bunch. But that one was the moment where I really started to be like, “Oh, this is fun,” you know? ‘Cause someone did a full alpha strike on me and, like, the damage could be called cute. Whereas I then unleashed my Ultra AC/20 and just demolished through armor and everything else. That was a ton of fun

Sean: Yep, that’s why people gravitate towards the big guns.

Rem: Yeah, yeah, it was a blast. 

Sean: Well, you mentioned earlier that you came into BattleTech through another FASA product. Are you a fan of any other FASA products under Catalyst’s umbrella today? 

Rem: Oh, I’m a big fan of Shadowrun. I was lucky enough that my first game was with one of the writers as the GM. He was in our D&D group and he was like, “I want to run this cyberpunk fantasy game for you.” And I was like, that sounds dumb, but here I am absolutely in love with the world. I love the setting. I love the characters. And it’s a dream to get to work for the company that creates it.

Sean: I love Shadowrun too. It’s a very cool merging of these two genres that, surprisingly, few others have really tried. People kind of stick with the cyber side of cyberpunk and ignore the punk.

Rem: Yep. From what I’ve noticed, they like sci-fi or fantasy but they don’t like to blend the two a whole lot. But I think it’s great. The option of having it in our world is very attractive to me. I’m actually GMing on a recorded episode on Six Sides of Gaming starting in March.

BattleTech Crescent Hawk Training Vid - Kell Hounds
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sean: So people have something to look forward to in March. I’m excited!

As you mentioned earlier, you wanted to kind of share things as you learn them. I’m guessing that was sort of what the Crescent Hawks video was like. What did you learn from that experience that you were then able to apply to make the Mercenaries Kickstarter even better? 

Rem: Well, I wasn’t around for the Clan Invasion Kickstarter,  but I have heard tales of trying to keep commitments small so that we don’t overburden ourselves with stuff. I started two weeks before the Mercenaries Kickstarter launched. And so, I knew the team was planning for just about as successful a Kickstarter as Clan Invasion. They had stretch goals planned up to two and a half million dollars, and that was it.

I was actually at GaryCon during the launch and I had to drive down to AdeptiCon and wrangle Loren and Randall to be like, “We need stretch goals! We need to hurry! The community’s waiting! We gotta go, we gotta go!” We were live streaming, so every time they were off camera, I had to kind of bustle them together for a quick ten minutes between shots and be like, “What are the ideas? Come on, let’s go!” So, it’s a lot of cat wrangling.

“I had to drive down to AdeptiCon and wrangle Loren and Randall to be like, “We need stretch goals! We need to hurry! … It’s a lot of cat wrangling.”

But in terms of the Crescent Hawks video, I was pretty excited about the opportunity to do that. It was not my start on the lore. I’m a producer; I make all the creatives look good, that’s what I do. So I actually got to work with an uber fan, some of the writers, some of the developers, and they created the script. Then it went through the whole line of fact-checkers and editors, the fiction director, the line developer, and an assistant line developer for BattleTech to make sure everything was accurate. And then it got sent to Trendane Sparks, who narrates a lot of the audiobooks—he did the recording for it. So I was kind of just moving the pieces. Like, we’re here, now it needs to go here, now it needs to go to editing, and so on. So I didn’t work a whole lot on that one, I just produced it and made sure it all happened.

We had plans to do more. We want to do more, but this is not a small job. Everything is always a priority, so it’s been hard to get the focus back on it. I’m just now getting a committee together to help me implement YouTube content and stuff like that, and then Crescent Hawks will be back on the table. So we’ll do more of that, but It’s gonna take a little time. 

Sean: I hear that everybody wants to get into video production but it’s just so much more work. 

Rem: Yeah, it’s a lot, but it’s a blast. Eventually, I could see this job becoming, like, there’s marketing, then there’s someone doing community, and then there’s someone doing content and I love content. It would be great to be able to do that full-time, but right now it’s like one day of my week.

Sean: Yeah, fair enough. Well, let’s see if maybe we can expand things so you can be the content manager, and someone else can deal with the community. I know you’ve only been in this job for a short time, but what do you think is the most challenging part of marketing for BattleTech?

Rem: I want to give a thoughtful answer here. I think probably one of the challenges is we’re all a bunch of creatives, you know? Everyone’s so excited to work on what they’re working on. Sometimes things get lost in the planning, and they’re still trying to integrate me into their plan. So, sometimes they forget to let me know what’s coming and when it’s coming. I think it actually happened just yesterday; there’s a new BattleTech book that just dropped, and I got the notification about it yesterday. So now it’s like, alright, we gotta put that together. 

I would love what I did for the Camo Specs Online painting guides. I got those several months in advance, so we were able to actually tease and talk about it before it launched. And the engagement from that was huge; we went from 30 reactions to 300 reactions. So, there’s value there that I’m still trying to convince everyone is there and to include me in the process so that I can get some of these dates early on and get them out and advertised. 

“I was able to announce so much at PAX Unplugged. That’s gonna be our con from here on out where we stream and say, ‘Here’s everything coming next year that we can talk about.'”

It has gotten better. I was able to announce so much at PAX Unplugged. That’s gonna be our con from here on out where we stream and say, “Here’s everything coming next year that we can talk about.” I’m excited that we get to kind of promo that stuff, but it’d be great to have more of this ahead of time.

Sean: It seems like that’s a bit of a process that is improving day by day. Alright, let’s talk about something that was a bit of a controversy recently. The Catalyst Community Guidelines came out last month, and if anybody’s wondering what those guidelines are, they’re available on the new Catalyst Discord.

A lot of it is pretty standard, I would say: be kind, stay on topic, no hate speech, no bullying, no spam, and respect privacy. But there was some blowback for one of the items being a discussion of real-world controversial topics, as well as protecting the IP. 

Let’s start with how the community guidelines developed, and who might have been consulted in their development.

Rem: Sure. It was a long process. So in June, there was the whole Reddit thing that happened. There was an issue with a fan Pride Anthology where someone had reached out to me and asked me to post about it, and I was like sure, so I did. And then they posted it to Reddit and it got deleted as being real-world politics. So there was a big uproar on the subreddit saying, “Well, why is Catalyst okay with this but not Reddit?”

2023 BattleTech Pride Anthology

It came to light that there was a lot of moderation against anything Pride-related. Any minis painted in rainbow colors or flag colors got taken down. Some people even spoke up and said, “I didn’t even know it was a flag color and mine got deleted for it.” So there was a pretty heavy hand in moderation in terms of anything LGBTQ+ related.

There was kind of an uproar that happened and I had a bunch of people reach out to me and tell me about it. And I was like, well, one of my initiatives Loren wanted was more communities for Catalyst to participate in and make into official spaces. So I decided; if the people want an official subreddit, we can do that.

Since I was away moving that weekend, I assigned someone to just go ahead and find mods and make it happen. Other than that one moderator, I didn’t know anybody. They set it up, there was a great migration, and by the end of the weekend, I got a message from the original Reddit owner that said, “Hey, I just caught up on everything that’s going on. Holy crap, sorry about that. I’d love to not see the community fractured, I’ve already removed all of my mods, what can we do to bring this back together?”

I don’t use Reddit. It was before I would have ever been ready to jump into managing a subreddit or anything like that, so I didn’t really want to fracture the community, and I know that’s ultimately not the goal of Reddit. So I was like, well, maybe if we can get some community guidelines in place and if you can follow those, it’ll be a little clearer where Catalyst’s lines are in terms of what to talk about or not talk about. He was like, “Cool, can I have your moderators?” And I was like, sure, you can reach out to them. So he did, and they all migrated over.

From there we closed the new Reddit, and everyone moved back to the old one, but we had the new moderators in place. But I don’t own the Reddit, I’m not involved in the Reddit. There’s one freelancer that is a moderator and the rest of them are fans. Some of them are demo agents, I think. I’ve heard about one or two, but that’s it in terms of Catalyst’s involvement. 

“You don’t have to agree, you don’t have to be politically on one side or the other. You just have to not be a jerk to other people in the community.”

The problem was the new Reddit moderators wanted community guidelines that didn’t exist. So, we kind of looked at a couple of online communities that were pretty positive places and cobbled together something quickly for the time being, but I realized that we needed something that’s gone through the process.

We took that as a kind of starting point, added them a little more, and then partnered with a bunch of different people. We had a lot of reviews. We brought in the BattleTech and Shadowrun forums and had them review our guidelines. They all had experience in this that we didn’t as a new community. Those moderators gave us feedback on what they’ve seen or not seen and how that could work. We also sent it to the demo team; they have a very robust operations guide to compare to that and see what the differences are. 

The thing is each of these communities is also different, so we wanted something all-encompassing that can be applied everywhere. But if we need more specific rules for the demo team, or more specific rules for the forums, or wherever else, then we can still do that. Then we had them reviewed by all of the directors, by Loren, we got some feedback, and finally, they were ready to post. We got that out in January.

So that was the process. We tried to do a lot of research on what was already existing out there and what we still needed. We were thoughtful about the language. And in terms of the controversy, it’s just honestly being respectful to each other. Like, you don’t have to agree, you don’t have to be politically on one side or the other. You just have to not be a jerk to other people in the community. That’s all it is. 

Sean: Some people might find that a little difficult, but It’s the internet. I’ve been here long enough to know how it goes. Well, let’s take one of the controversial topics head-on. What is okay, and what is not okay, in terms of discussing real-world topics? 

“Identity is not political. Anyone identifying themselves as transgender or any of the LGBTQ+ options that are out there: they exist.”

Rem: So real-world topics: if it’s politics within BattleTech, you’re welcome to talk about anything lore within the universe. 

What is also the defining factor for the team that built these community guidelines is that—and I think if it says this in the community guidelines—identity is not political. Anyone identifying themselves as transgender or any of the LGBTQ+ options that are out there: they exist. They exist, it is not political. They exist and deserve to be treated respectfully. Where it gets political is if you’re gonna talk about social movements, if you’re gonna talk about law or any of that stuff, that is politics. And that’s real-world politics, and it just doesn’t need to be talked about here. 

The example I’ve been using is, if you don’t believe in gay marriage, I’m not mad at you about that. That is your right to believe in what you want to believe, but we’re just not going to talk about it in the BattleTech spaces. Even if you don’t agree with that lifestyle, you should still be respectful of the people in the community who do live that lifestyle. 

Sean: I think that’s fair. Everybody should just get along. 

Rem: Yeah. Be nice.

Sean: That’s what we keep kind of circling back to: just be nice. Let people live their lives. Alright, and now let’s get into the other controversial topic that came from a bit more of the tech-focused people in BattleTech: protecting the IP.

There, the big topic is 3D printing and the sharing of 3D printing digital files (or STL files). Why would sharing STL files for BattleTech be a bannable offense, and what is okay and not okay for BattleTech fans to share in terms of 3D-printed materials?

Double Mech Bay

Terrain, like this Double ‘Mech Bay from Cross Electric Designs, is okay to share.

Rem: Well, we do want to give warnings. Like, someone might genuinely not know, and we don’t want to ban them immediately for making a mistake. But, in terms of protecting the IP, we are stewards of the IP. The IP, you know, belongs to Topps, which is in turn owned by Fanatics, and that whole relationship is messy too.

But as Catalyst, we have approached Topps previously about branching into 3D printing. We know that there’s profit to be made there. There’s a lot that you could do there, and they just have no interest. They don’t even want to have a conversation about it. And as stewards of the IP, we have to enforce that in our communities. So in our spaces, we just can’t talk about 3D prints, can’t talk about or promote STLs. 

Word of warning to the community out there: there has been stuff over the years that has been reported to us, and we do have to investigate that, and as kindly as possible do a cease-and-desist.

Not only does keeping it out of our community protect the commitments that we’ve made to Topps, but we also have deniability. We don’t go looking for people doing 3D printing or STLs, but if they find us and are loud about it, it’s something we have to investigate. It’s just better for everyone if we just leave that out of our communities.

“We don’t go looking for people doing 3D printing or STLs, but if they find us and are loud about it, it’s something we have to investigate. It’s just better for everyone if we just leave that out of our communities.”

Sean: Fair enough. It sounds like Topps is the one preventing Catalyst from adapting to this technology. One of the things that I would have liked to see is redesigned ‘Mechs that maybe aren’t popular enough to bother manufacturing into ForcePacks but could be sold as 3D-printable models. It’s relatively cheap to have an artist redesign the ‘Mech—the real expense is getting manufacturers set up to produce that design in plastic. Selling the 3D-printing files as something official and legal would be a nice new income stream, but it sounds like Topps is just digging their heels in and making sure the game remains in the 1990s.

Rem: I hope that changes in time, maybe with Fanatics getting involved.

Also, just because that is the rule for one IP does not mean it’s the rule for other IPs. So who knows, for Leviathans, maybe that’s something we look into in the future. I don’t know what the restrictions are on that IP, so I’m just making that up, but we have a lot of cool stuff coming for Catalyst with some different IPs. If we can have a good showing of it and try something to break into 3D-printing in another IP, and then be able to show those kinds of figures to Topps, maybe that’ll change their mind. But it’s not within the current horizon. 

Sean: Fair enough. So, don’t expect anything anytime soon. 

Rem: Right. 

Sean: Is managing BattleTech the most work of Catalyst’s brands, or are the Shadowrun or Leviathans folks even worse? 

"Operation Bulldog Ambush" by Florian Mellies

“Operation Bulldog Ambush” by Florian Mellies

Rem: I’m gonna make someone mad no matter what. So, when I started, my first event was GaryCon, and I was so excited. I was meeting people in the industry and saying, “Hi, I’m the new Catalyst Community and Marketing Director,” and I would get a very raised eyebrow look, and people would say to me, “Good luck with that community. They are opinionated, they are passionate,” is a very nice way to say it. There have been challenges, but in my experience, it’s been the vast majority of the community has been excited, supportive, and enthusiastic. 

I would say that it is the BattleTech community that’s the rowdiest. But when you look at the Kickstarters, that’s 25,000 people that back the Kickstarter and even one percent of 25,000 is going to be way louder than one percent of 2,000. So it could just be relative. 

Sean: Where do you see Sarna factoring into the larger Catalyst community that is currently being built? Would you consider Sarna as a partner?

Rem: Sarna is absolutely a partner. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with the developers or the freelancers where I asked a question and they’re like, “Oh, let’s check Sarna.” I think there is a close relationship there, and I am looking forward to ways that we can utilize the experience and the knowledge that’s within Sarna. 

There are a couple of ideas that are too preliminary for me to talk about publicly, but it would be an amazing platform to play within the lore and build on it with maps and campaigns and different things like that. Have it be a marketing tool as well as a community tool. There’s no way that we would be able to take on an undertaking like that without support from Sarna, in my opinion. So I think that there’s plenty of room for a partnership in the future.

“I want to make sure that all the social platforms have what they need and feel supported before I dive into a massive new project for the community.”

It’s one of the next agenda items for the community. Reddit has asked for more presence from Catalyst in terms of posts, perhaps a monthly post on announcements of what’s coming, or doing an AMA every quarter or something like that. So I want to implement that and get that moving. I want to make sure that all the social platforms have what they need and feel supported before I dive into a massive new project for the community. I need a break after Discord.

Sean: Fair enough. Well, whenever you’re ready, Sarna is waiting and ready to help. 

Rem: Awesome. I’m excited for that. 

Sean: Alright, now for the fun part. This comes from some of the Sarna staffers. If you had the opportunity to set up a BattleTech anime soap opera, featuring a Clan and a House, which Clan and which House would you choose, and which five BattleTech staff slash CGL staff would you enlist to be their voice actors?

Rem: Ooh. Alright, so I know enough that the drama would be great with Steiner versus Marik. That would lead to some good soap opera drama moments. And then, gosh, in terms of voice actors. Oh, I love my team, but they’re not faces. I think Randall would have to be a voice, because, I mean, he’s just legendary. Loren I would love to, but he talks so fast, so he’d have to be one of the fast-talking wheeler-dealer types. 

Sean: There’s always one of those. 

Tuesday Newsday: Episode 4
Watch this video on YouTube.

Rem: Yeah. Gosh. I would bring Jason Hardy in. He’s on the Shadowrun side, but I’d bring him in for the snark. Ooh, Ian would be a fun voice actor—Ian is the art director for Shadowrun and he sounds like Eeyore but way more sarcasm. So, I think that would be a fun one. Let’s see, I need one more, I think. You know what? I’ll say he’s a freelancer: Michael Ciaravella. He’s got a good voice, so I think he’d do it justice. 

Sean: Alright, next question. Henry Cavill’s interest in Warhammer has attracted much fan attention in recent years. If you could pick any media star to get hooked on BattleTech, who would you pick? 

Rem: So I know Sam Witwer is super into BattleTech, so there may or may not be some hopeful conversations in the future.

But gosh, you know what? I’d like to get the Game of Thrones actors in. Since it’s like big stompy robots meets Game of Thrones, I’ll go with Emilia Clarke. We’ll have the Mother of Dragons come and take over in BattleTech

Sean: Alright. Interesting. I don’t know who she’d play. 

Rem: Yeah, I’m not sure either. I’ve heard a couple of the female character names. Isn’t it Natasha  Kerensky?

Sean: Yes, although she’s typically portrayed as having big, fiery, ‘80s-style red hair. But maybe she’d be better at playing Anastasia Kerensky

Anyway, the last question we have here. What has been your favorite BattleTech-related experience so far? 

Rem: I did love that moment where I was like, “Oh, I get where the fun is.” Like, that was a cool moment when I bought in. But, I will say that my very first game was on Tabletop Simulator, I was learning, and we kind of were dancing around each other a whole lot, and I got bored with that, so I just charged in. He was up on a mountain, so he tried to Death from Above me and ended up missing, critting, and killing himself. So I won without ever touching him.

“I know I get flack because I came in on Shadowrun and people are like, ‘Oh, she doesn’t care about BattleTech.’ Trust me, I care about BattleTech.” 

Sean: Sometimes the dice giveth, and sometimes they taketh away.

Well, that’s everything I had. Was there anything else you wanted to shout out?

Rem: In terms of BattleTech, I’ll sneak this in. Can’t say too much about it because the project’s not approved yet, but Loren went around to all the directors and asked at the beginning of the year what is the one thing that we want to accomplish for this year. 

I have a massive BattleTech project that I want to see come to fruition. And I know I get flack because I came in on Shadowrun and people are like, “Oh, she doesn’t care about BattleTech.” Trust me, I care about BattleTech and I’m very excited for this to happen. It’s still early on, but I’m hoping that I at least get the approval this year and can move on it as soon as possible. 

Sean: I know that we don’t necessarily talk about these before approved projects, but it sounds interesting.

Rem: It’d be a big marketing spin, so that’d be cool.

Sean: It has been a while since we’ve seen a big marketing push from BattleTech outside of the Kickstarter, of course. 

Well, thank you so much for talking to me, sharing your thoughts, and clarifying a few things on the community guidelines. And even giving us some things to look forward to.

Rem: My pleasure, thank you.

Sean: Okay, thanks so much. Have a good day. 

Rem: You too! Bye! Bye!

Thanks to Rem for sitting down to chat, and looking forward to seeing what surprises she’ll have in store for us in the future!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For February, 2024

Normally this is when Southern Ontario enters its deep freeze, with heaps of snow up to my shoulders where the removal services can’t get to fast enough. But this year, it’s been relatively snow-free. In fact, we’ve had more above-freezing days this month than any other February on record. Yesterday it was 16 degrees C (or about 61 degrees F). It then dropped to -6 over five hours, which was about as weird. It was almost like the weather remembered what month it was.

I won’t have to wait long for the warm weather to return. Spring has sprung early where I live, with positive temperatures expected for the next two weeks at least. Given how sick I’ve been this winter, it can’t come soon enough.

But you’re not here for the weather report. You’re here for BattleTech news, and this month we’ve got a whole lot of it. Here’s everything that happened in the Inner Sphere this February.

Wolves Wave 3 Announces Ragnarok Returns In MechAssault Fan Game

Wolves Wave 3 (MechAssault Fangame) - The Assault Continues
Watch this video on YouTube.

We start with a little love for MechAssault. Wolves, the MechAssault fan game, has been steadily working on its Wave 3 update. We already knew the Puma, Uziel, and Mad Cat would be coming in this update, but now we know the big bad of the game will also return. Prepare for Ragnarok.

Wolves Wave 3 Ragnarok

the Ragnarok (and its variant, the Ymir) aren’t specced out in official BattleTech terms, and that’s largely because they have an energy shield and a “Lava Gun.” Why the Word of Blake thought lava would somehow be more destructive than highly-excited ionic particles or a hypersonic slug I will never understand, but I do get why a forcefield might be difficult to write stats for using classic BattleTech rules.

Still, fans of the MechAssault games love the Ragnarok as much as BattleTech faithful love the Daishi or Atlas—it’s just a huge wrecking ball. And it’s coming in Woves Wave 3. It’s also coming to MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, according to a follow-up teaser that arrived the day after the Wave 3 trailer.

You can expect to experience Wolves Wave 3 and the Ragnarok soon(TM).

BATTLETECH Director Mike McCain Returns To Hairbrained Schemes As Executive Producer

Good news for HBS after a ton of bad. Mike McCain, game director for Shadowrun: Dragonfall and BATTLETECH, is back and taking over Mitch Gitelman‘s old job as Executive Producer (while Mitch takes a break and moves into an advisory role for the studio). 

“I’m thrilled to be back in the virtual office with this amazing team,” said Mike. “There will be plenty of challenges, but the creative momentum we have around this new project right now is exhilarating. We’re a small crew making something we really believe in and I can’t wait to share it!”

Mike did an incredible job adapting the tabletop BattleTech game into a turn-based video game that any fan will would love while still attracting fans of turn-based strategy games. The game started with an incredible narrative-driven campaign and later received DLC that improved the game’s galaxy-spanning sandbox into one where the player could create their own story.

The only downside to the news is yet further confirmation from Mitch that HBS hasn’t been given the license to make BATTLETECH 2. HBS has something in store, but it doesn’t sound like we’re going to get the sequel we all desperately want. A wild thing, considering BATTLETECH‘s success, but what can you do? These are wild economic times for the video games industry. We wish Mike and HBS all the success in whatever they’re working on.

A Realistic Depiction Of Ballistic Arcs Courtesy Of A Dragon

Commandos on Styk
byu/agentlou44 inbattletech

You know what I like most about this piece? Wild-Cat 144 gave the Dragon‘s autocannon rounds a ballistic arc. You’d think that a cannon on a BattleMech would fire fast enough that it might as well be a laser, but the only explanation why BattleTech‘s cannons have such short ranges is that they have extremely low muzzle velocity, so they’d drop a significant distance between leaving the barrel and impact. Kudos to you, Wild-Cat 144. I love accurate physics.

CGL Community Manager Rem Alternis Answers Questions About Community Guidelines

Catalyst Game Labs - Rem Alternis interview
Watch this video on YouTube.

Catalyst announced its community guidelines last month, and there was quite a reaction. Rem Alternis, community manager for Catalyst, has been kindly answering questions regarding the community guidelines, starting with YouTuber Critical Rocket

And I say kindly because a few people had some curiously harsh reactions to being told they couldn’t play in official Catalyst spaces if they didn’t agree to be respectful of another human’s race, religion, culture, gender, or sexual orientation. 

Expect Rem to have more words to say about the community guidelines in an upcoming interview with Sarna. In the meantime, I think Critical Rocket covered the basics, clarified some of the new rules, and noted that some previous bans might be overturned with a new appeals process. Thanks to Critical Rocket for being first in line!

Opinion: You Can’t Put The 3D-Printing Genie Back In The Bottle

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I think the online reaction to Catalyst’s new community guidelines was overblown, but there’s one thing I did agree with. Simply barring 3D-printed stuff from being shared on official CGL channels isn’t going to stop its proliferation. There’s just no putting the technological genie back in the bottle.

Don’t get me wrong, I think CGL offers a superior product. I have both unofficial 3D-printed minis and official ones, and the CGL minis are consistently tougher, more detailed, and scaled correctly so you don’t have to worry about your Tempest accidentally being taller than an AtlasGiven a choice between a 3D-printed mini and an official one, you should always pick the official CGL mini.

But at the same time, some people just can’t get official minis. They’re either not sold everywhere, or shipping is impossible, or pewter is too expensive, and 3D printing provides a reasonable alternative to play the game. On top of that, CGL hasn’t redesigned every ‘Mech (although they’re working on it), and there are a lot of talented 3D modelers out there who are practicing their craft.

In keeping with Catalyst’s guidelines, Sarna won’t distribute mini models or tell you where to go to get them, but I do think trying to ignore them is short-sighted. 3D models could be an additional source of revenue for Catalyst. Perhaps not every ‘Mech is popular enough to deserve being manufactured in plastic and put into a ForcePack, but they’re popular enough to be redesigned in the same manner as the current generation of minis and then sold as a 3D-printable file. 

Hopefully, Catalyst’s stance (which is directed by the copyright holder, Topps, so it’s really Topps’ stance) will change in the future, especially as 3D printing technology continues to improve. If you’ve got a constructive opinion, leave it in the comments (and remember to be respectful). 

BattleTech Universe Book Reviewed By Guerilla Miniature Games

GMG Reviews - Battletech UNIVERSE by Catalyst Game Labs
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For most of us, the BattleTech Universe isn’t going to be available until later this year, but a few people have received the upcoming book a little early. One of those people is Guerilla Miniature Games

We don’t get to see much of the Universe book besides the cover and the opening insert, but from what GMG describes, it sounds like this new Universe book is going to be required reading for any new BattleTech player. The rest of us might not find it quite as compelling as something like ilKhan’s Eyes Only, but Ray and Aaron have promised me that Universe will be a big deal and will have plenty for veterans too.

Catalyst Launches New Discord, Double-Sized Shrapnel Celebrates Mercs, and Previews Shared Online

Mercenaries Update
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We got a load of Catalyst materials to get through, starting with the double-sized Shrapnel issue that was released earlier this month. Shrapnel Volume 15 is twice the Shrapnel you’re used to but only priced at a dollar more. Inside you’ll find tales from your favorite BattleTech authors, including Michael Stackpole, Bryan Young, and Chris Purnell, as well as newcomer Robin Briseño. On top of that value, it’s also focused on everyone’s favorite BattleTech faction: mercenaries. Grab it in digital or print-on-demand formats

Craig A Reed Blood Rage

On the book front, Herbert A. Beas’s Forgotten Worlds trilogy is now available with a new title: BattleTech: The Quest for Jardine. And for those who didn’t back the Mercenaries Kickstarter, Craig A. Lee’s Blood Rage is now available for individual purchase either on Catalyst’s store or Amazon. 

Those who were concerned with hearing about the pre-painted minis that’ll be coming in the Star League ForcePacks can (probably) rest easy. A post to the official BattleTech forums has revealed Aleksandr Kerensky‘s Orion looks pretty good. Sure, some of you folks might be able to do a better job painting an Orion, but I think this looks like a perfectly acceptable mini. I’m also told that it shouldn’t be hard to strip the paint off this thing if you don’t like it, although it’d probably be easier to just get a fresh Orion mini. 

Another surprise for Mercenaries Kickstarter backers is the Savannah Master hover tank. These speed bastards have been the bane of many a tabletop experience, and now we know what they’ll look like when they arrive later in June when Catalyst starts fulfilling orders. That’s thanks to Randall being unable to stop himself from sharing on YouTube.

Last, but not least: Catalyst has a Discord now! Wanna chat with like-minded individuals? Get the latest announcements as they happen? Share details on your preferred paint methods? You can do all this and more on the Catalyst Discord here.

Kelly Bonilla, Lead Designer For MechWarrior: Dark Age, Has Passed Away

Some sad news took place late last month but didn’t reach my ears until February. Kelly Bonilla, the lead designer for Wizkids’ MechWarrior: Dark Age, has died. 

Kelly Bonilla MechWarrior

MechWarrior: Dark Age was never the most popular BattleTech product, but I liked it. For a while in my first year of university, it was my collective obsession. The idea of getting smaller armies, pre-painted, that looked good and had simplified rules so you could fight little battles out using everything on your kitchen table held a lot of appeal. And just having play stats tracked using the circular base was genius. 

Of course, MechWarrior: Dark Age wasn’t perfect. While I liked the tanks, I didn’t like how the setting seemed to emphasize these lesser units over real ‘Mechs. And while the setting was interesting, it was a jarring mess from the Civil War and Jihad eras that didn’t get untangled until years later. 

But Kelly wasn’t involved in the story writing. She was the playtester and designer. She just cared if the game was fun, and in that, she succeeded admirably. We’re sorry to see you go, Kelly.

TheB33F Is Back!

The Longtom Artillery Incident
Watch this video on YouTube.

Holy shit, TheB33F is back! He actually announced his return in December and posted his first video last month, but I hadn’t been paying attention since his long hiatus. But he’s back and better than ever! 

For those unaware, TheB33F is the MechWarrior Online streamer who does things… differently. His builds and strategies are typically aimed more toward having fun than following the current meta. His latest videos are still that, but he’s also making more tutorial-style videos that try to teach some basic tactics and ‘Mech builds (like the Centurion video he recently posted).

While his old videos were wildly amusing, his latest videos add some footage taken from MechWarrior 5 as well as animations taken from Tabletop Simulator. It makes for a far more cohesive and elevated experience, which I very much appreciate, and maybe you will too. Check out the video above, and if you like his material, be sure to subscribe to TheB33F’s channel here

And I almost forgot! TheB33F is also contributing to the future of MechWarrior Online by designing events. Look for those in the event queue in the coming weeks.

Brawl In The Bluegrass Tournament Coming To Kentucky In April

MRC Icon

In the Lexington area for the April 12 weekend? The Rusy Scabbard will host a Classic BattleTech tournament called “Brawl in the Bluegrass.” Entry is 25$ for this MRC-compliant event, with each player required to submit an 8,000-point Battle Value list with a maximum of six units. All units must be from a single faction during the Clan Invasion era as per the Master Unit List, and only ‘Mechs, battle armor, and combat vehicles. No artillery, no unique or extinct units, and no C3 or specialized armor types (although missile and autocannon ammo types are allowed). 

Sign-ups are allowed until April 11, but you might want to ensure your place sooner rather than later as no store has infinite seating capacity. You can get the full details on sign-ups from this document here, as well as the full list of rules. Any other questions should be directed to the MechCommander Review Circuit in this Discord channel

Have an event you want to be advertised in Sarna? Reach out and we’ll get you included in the next news blast.

Big Red-40Tech’s Warhammer IIC Video Is Out, And It’s A Doozy

BATTLETECH: The Warhammer IIC
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I kinda always thought that the Warhammer IIC was just this Clan-wide design that everyone made and everyone fielded. And indeed, you’ll find it in pretty much every Clan touman, according to the Master Unit List. Little did I know that the ‘Mech actually got started in Clan Star Adder. And I wouldn’t have known that had Big Red-40Tech not decided to create a four-hour YouTube video on the subject.

Yes, that’s a lot of lore for a single ‘Mech, and that’s largely because Big Red goes into the entire history of Clan Star Adder from Exodus to Reaving. Then we get into the Diamond Sharks/Sea Foxes as they distributed the ‘Mech so thoroughly amongst the other Clans that it became a common site in second-line forces everywhere. And then into the ilClan era where the Warhammer IIC can now be seen among Inner Sphere and mercenary forces too.

I can’t disparage the ‘Mech, that’s for sure. There’s nothing a Warhammer IIC can’t do aside from jump and run fast enough to keep pace with an Ice Ferret. It’s better than the original Warhammer in every way, and I know how beloved that old warhorse is. 

Check out the video above if you want the deepest dive into a single ‘Mech you’ll ever see, with special guests Tex, Frog, Sven, TheB33F, Paul, and Rem offering their voices too.  

Duncan Fisher Returns In MechWarrior 5’s Sixth DLC: Solaris Showdown

I am Duncan Fisher
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Yes, he’s back. Duncan Fisher, the renowned Solaris announcer from MechWarrior 4, is returning in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries – Solaris Showdown.

There’s still time for a Clan Invasion-themed DLC, but for now, we’re getting a story that revolves around Duncan Fisher and a mysterious plot centering around the game world of Solaris 7. According to PGI’s release, the DLC mini-campaign will start on the Mercenary Star of Galatea before moving to the planet Hardcore where Mason will bump into Duncan Fisher. The pair form an unlikely alliance as they fight to get into the FedCom Unification Tournament celebrating the recent alliance between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth.

It’s not clear why or what happens, but there seems to be some political intrigue going on that only a good ‘Mech stomping can fix. Best of all, we’ll have George Ledoux’s sultry tones guiding us the whole way. 

In addition to saving Solaris, the upcoming DLC brings a new ‘Mech: the Loader King. Fans of the Roughneck from MechWarrior Online will recognize this design immediately, but even if you haven’t played the PvP game, you might’ve noticed the Loader King as the same stationary IndustrialMech that you’ll sometimes see on urban maps or standing in enemy installations.

The Loader King will come with one Hero variant and five standard variants. We’re also getting new “arena” variants of the Corsair, Vulcan, Hunchback, Crusader, Cataphract, Orion, Zeus, Firestarter, UrbanMech, and Highlander. Expect them to come with superchargers and melee-focused weaponry.

Speaking of weapons, we’re getting a bunch of those too. New Burst-Fire variants of the Rifle series, Rapid-Fire variants of Autocannons, the Binary Laser, PPC-X (whatever that is), Medium Lance, Heavy Hammer, and Assault Greatsword. We’re also getting the Arena Supercharger, Black Market Countermeasures, and Black Market Probe. Not sure if those will be worse or better than their Star League counterparts.

While the DLC will certainly bring arena-style combat, it’s not just going to take place on Solaris 7. Arenas will appear in industrial areas throughout the Inner Sphere, which the player will progress through by accruing fame with each successful match. The more matches you win, the more variants of Arenas unlock, ranging from 1v1 matches to free-for-alls limited by ‘Mech class. There will also be optional objectives, open categories where anything goes, and more. Rewards will start at C-bills but eventually progress to “prized equipment.”

And as is ever the case with these DLC releases, everyone can expect to receive a free update with new features. This time we’re getting the new “heavy turret” as a potential spawn which has more hitpoints and hits harder than standard turrets. Otomo ‘Mechs will soon show up on the market as rare spawns, a new “repair all” option makes repairing post-mission easier, and enemy ‘Mechs will occasionally spawn with slightly different weapons than their base loadout. 

Solaris Showdown arrives on March 14 for $14.99. You can wishlist the DLC now to be informed as soon as it becomes available.

MechWarrior Online Gets Two New Legendary ‘Mechs As Talk Begins On A New PvP Game

MechWarrior Online Reaper II

Another month brings another patch for MechWarrior Online Legends and two new Legendary ‘Mechs. The first is WarhawkKasai,” which brings the game’s first supercharged chassis. The Supercharger is a locked piece of equipment and won’t be made available for other ‘Mechs (yet). It’s also lighter than MASC (usually) but doesn’t provide the same explosive speed. It only increases the ‘Mech’s maximum potential velocity and provides no boost to acceleration or turning speed.

Other than the Supercharger, the Kasai comes with three ATM-6s, two Large Pulse Lasers, and two ER Mediums. Missile velocity quirks make those ATMs a bit more deadly, and improved structure quirks give the Kasai a bit more staying power.

The Black KnightRed Reaper II” continues MechWarrior Online‘s tradition of having swords just for show. The heavy shield the Red Reaper II comes with, though, is a MASSIVE boost to the ‘Mech’s right arm armor. Two Snub PPCs, four SRM-6s, and five Small Lasers make this ‘Mech a deadly brawler, especially when you consider the shield you’ll have to chew through to start damaging this monster. Additional armor quirks for the rest of the ‘Mech make it extremely durable.

Other than the new ‘Mechs, the Cauldron has reduced the heat produced by Rotary Autocannons and Hyper Gauss Rifles, reverted the firing arc changes to LRMs from January’s patch, and given the Executioner a full quirk pass. For the full list of changes, check out the patch notes here.

And before we move on, it seems there are rumblings about a new PvP game coming out of PGI. Community manager Daeron commented in Discord that “internal discussions and planning for the next PvP MechWarrior game” are underway. No details on what this might look like or whether it’d be a stand-alone product or attached to the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Clans, but I’d put money on this being an Unreal Engine-powered game.

Raw, Sexual Charger

Next verse same as the first now in color.
byu/meltdonw14 inbattletech

I admit, I may have been too harsh on the Charger. The CGR-1A1 can jump in a lake, but the new Charger C is 80 tons of raw sexual energy—the exact same energy I’m getting from meltdonw14‘s piece here. This could be the cover of a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure mecha manga.

MechWarrior Living Legends Update 0.16.2 Brings Fancy New Cockpits And Other QOL Improvements

MechWarrior Living Legends Timber Wolf Camos

Been a while since we talked about MechWarrior: Living Legends, the Battlefield-inspired MechWarrior game that’s entirely free-to-play because it is entirely community-supported. The latest patch arrived earlier this month and brought a slew of changes, including updated visuals for 28 ‘Mechs, AeroSpace fighters, and VTOLs, three new camo options, and the usual assortment of bug fixes. Thunderbolt missiles now have a slightly faster fire rate and the Warhawk model has been shrunken down ever so slightly. 

There’s more, but you can read about ’em over on MechWarrior: Living Legends ModDB page, which is coincidentally also where you can download this amazingly free standalone game.

Focht News Network Is Heading To Toronto Comicon

Focht Network Toronto Comicon 2024

If you’re in the Toronto area on the weekend of March 15, Comicon will be hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, which is sure to be a good time. That’s because Focht News Network is putting on a BattleTech showcase, offering Alpha Strike previews to any passersby. I’m also told that Ronda Snord and a certain special Highlander might also make an appearance.

Of course, there’s going to be plenty of other stuff going on at Comicon, but BattleTech fans can certainly hang out and spread the good word of giant stompy robots. If you’re interested in local fans, head to the Focht Network Discord for more updates on local events.

A Halo Of Missiles

My brother surprised me with a commissioned Battletech x Halo crossover piece for my birthday
byu/odysseus91 inbattletech

Halo is cool and all, but I think we all know who’s going to win this battle of the brands. Not just because BattleTech is cooler, but Halo just isn’t quite as destructive as 75 tons of large lasers and way too many missiles. Unless Halo releases the Flood, but even then, I give us even odds. Kudos to tychorionDraws on Twitter for this piece.

Warframe, However, Has Too Much Space Magic

Since the Halo crossover pic was already posted here, thought I’d share the other Warframe x Battletech crossover I bought too. Credit to tychorionDraws, both pics were worth every penny!
byu/TrashCan_With_A_Gun inbattletech

I do love a good crossover, but as much as I love BattleTech, there’s not much you can do in a Crusader or Timber Wolf if you’re trying to fight cosmic forces beyond the knowledge of mere mortals. I’m not sure if there are enough LRMs in the entire Inner Sphere to bring down The Man In The Wall. More kudos to tychorionDraws, and to odysseus91 on Reddit for sharing. 

The Naga Hits MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Like An Arrow IV

I know the Longbow is still a recent addition, but you know what they say about artillery: when it rains, it pours. The Naga is the little-known Clan artillery ‘Mech specializing in delivering Arrow IV warheads to foreheads. I know Arrow IVs aren’t available in MechWarrior 5, so I assume those arms just contain large missile slots. Just throw an Artemis on your LRM-20 and it’s most of the way to an Arrow IV. 

You can get this mod on Nexus Mods or directly through the Steam Workshop.

And that’s it for February! Now I’m off to prepare my MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries company for Solaris Showdown. See you next month!

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

Keeping BattleTech Consistent – An Interview Eric Salzman, Fact-Check Director At CGL

The year of BattleTech‘s 40th anniversary continues with yet another interview with brand stewards Catalyst Game Labs. This time we managed to snag Eric Salzman, a longtime fan who broke into writing and then ascended to become BattleTech‘s Fact-Check Director. This guy knows more about the universe than I ever will, which is why he’s in charge of keeping everyone else consistent with BattleTech‘s established lore—something we here at Sarna can certainly appreciate.

If you think you’re the “well actually” guy at your gaming table, then this interview is for you. And at the end, you can find out how to maintain the lore of the entire BattleTech community by joining the Fact-Check team. Enjoy.

Continue reading

Your BattleTech News Round-Up For January, 2024

Ugh. I’m sick again. The very first party I go to after recovering from COVID I come down with… something. I tested negative for COVID-19, but my friend tested positive the very next day, so maybe mine was a false negative and I actually caught COVID for the second time in less than a month.

The good news is that this second bout of (maybe) COVID seems way less harmful than the first time. My sense of smell remains entirely unaffected. The bad news is this time I have a cough that’s bad enough to keep me up at night, so despite being in bed for nine hours, I’m getting less than five hours of actual sleep.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me complain about being a plague-infested MechWarrior. You came here for the best BattleTech news of the past month, and I don’t aim to disappoint.

BattleTech Turns 40!

BattleTech 40th Anniversary
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We’re starting off with a happy birthday to BattleTech! The specific birthday is August 29 with the first release of BattleDroids, but we’re naturally starting this celebration in January. I should start doing the same thing for my birthday.

We’ll have more to say on BattleTech‘s 40th anniversary later, but in the meantime, here’s Randall Bills with a message for fans from in front of more BattleTech loot than you could ever dream to collect. He’s also going on a world tour, so if you’re in Barcelona, Leeds, Edmonton, Indianapolis, Seattle, and a few other locales, you might see this bearded face playing BattleTech in your town.

Catalyst Announces Coming Releases

40th-Boxed-Sets

And by more 40th-anniversary news later, I mean right now. Catalyst has just announced two new covers for BattleTech: Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game Of Armored Combat coming out in March/April of this year. The content of both boxes will remain the same, but they’ll have new box art with the 40th-anniversary logo.

In addition to the 40th-anniversary boxes, Catalyst has laid all of 2024’s releases, starting with the Star League Command Lance ForcePack. That’s the one announced at PAX Unplugged and will contain an Atlas II, Thunder Hawk, Phoenix Hawk 1b “Special”, and the pre-painted Kerensky Orion. Expect this ForcePack sometime this winter. The Second Star League Assault Lance will arrive in the second quarter bringing with it an Emperor, Argus, Helios, and pre-painted Daish Prometheus, along with a bonus Coolant Truck

The Third Star League Striker Star is set to arrive in the third quarter and will contain a Jackalope, Kintaro, Hammerhead, Havoc, pre-painted Lament, and a J-27 Ordnance Truck. The fourth quarter brings another Third Star League ForcePack, this time containing a Wendigo, Excalibur, Peacekeeper, Malice, and pre-painted Savage Wolf, as well as a Savior Repair Vehicle. Finally, McCarron’s Armored Cavalry is getting an Assault Lance ForcePack to round out the year’s new minis, bringing a Tian-Zong, a re-posed Black Knight, and new variants of the Awesome and jumping Starslayer. Expect that to arrive in the third quarter and be exclusive to Barnes & Noble.

BattleTech Universe

Running through the sourcebook releases, Force Manual: Davion is expected to arrive in May, and Force Manual: Kurita will arrive sometime in the third quarter. BattleTech Universe is expected sometime in the middle of 2024 (I’m guessing the summer), as is Recognition Guide Volume 2: ilClan (that’ll be mostly all the new designs seen in the ilClan Rec. Guides). 

For the latter half of 2024, we’ve got some exciting new books coming. Hot Spots: Hinterlands will arrive in September to discuss the fighting between Hell’s Horses, Tamar Pact, and Calamity Kell‘s Liberty Coalition. Then in November, we’ll get ilKhan’s Eyes Only, a sourcebook that describes the state of the Third Star League following Clan Wolf’s victory on Terra. And sometime this year, we can expect the Brush Wars series will return to describe lesser-known conflicts from throughout BattleTech history. 

Lastly, Catalyst is still working on getting more print-on-demand stuff available through DriveThruRPG, with Operation KLONDIKE, Brush Wars (rebranded as Brush Wars Volume 1), and Wars of the Republic Era (rebranded as Brush Wars Volume 2) set to get their POD releases. For more, check out Catalyst’s official news release here

Oh, I almost forgot! We’ve got some new BattleMats coming. Misery/Thunder Rift and Twycross will be out in the second quarter, and we’re getting a City/Lunar Mat too. Finally, I can stop fighting in a rocky forest and live out my urban combat dreams. 

Your Annual Reminder That Trans Rights Are Human Rights, Now From Michael Stackpole

https://twitter.com/EnbyKaiju/status/1737944154490212576

Just a quick reminder that Trans rights are human rights. Unfortunately, the fight for Trans rights in the USA has really taken a dark turn in 2023, with the ACLU reporting 508 bills targeting LGBTQ people by the end of the year. Things aren’t much better up here in Canada either, with many conservative provinces taking aim at trans kids.

So it’s encouraging to see folks like Michael Stackpole, Russel Zimmerman, and Bryan Young step up to confirm the truth: trans people are people and deserve the same rights as everyone else. In fact, we’ve got a whole video showcasing support of trans rights now in case you ever need to refer to it.

Another Reminder: BattleTech Is For Everyone

Catalyst has released its long-awaited community guidelines. They’re short, simple, and easy to understand. Respect people’s privacy and don’t release personal info. Don’t take official CGL art from a sourcebook and try to sell it on a t-shirt. And don’t make derogatory comments about “race, religion, culture, disability, career, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” 

These guidelines have apparently touched off some controversy on social media, with some pretty wild accusations being thrown around. I’m not going to repost them here, but I’m sure we’ll talk about them more next month.

Play MechWarrior 5 In VR Thanks To New Mod

MechWarriorVR Launch Video
Watch this video on YouTube.

I’ve always thought that MechWarrior is perfect for a VR experience. Any vehicular combat game benefits from the full range of head motion that VR offers, but MechWarrior 5 would be super great to experience with a headset. And now you can, thanks to a new mod from sicsix!

This mod goes further than merely decoupling the camera from a fixed viewpoint. Sicsix (along with help from Perq and Stumblingdrunk) has reworked the cockpits of nearly every ‘Mech in the game to be interactable, with physical screens and a 3D heads-up display. 

I have a VR headset. It’s a little old, but I could give this a try. And yet I am hesitant—I’ve got so much muscle memory built up over the years from using a mouse and keyboard that I fear I’ll be back at square one the moment I plop the headset over my head and start playing with twin joysticks. 

I’m sure I’ll get over my trepidation eventually. In the meantime, head over to Nexus Mods to download the MW5 VR mod. And if you need some help, head to sicsix’s Discord here.

More Warhammer IIC Propaganda

Snow Raven Warhammer IIC on Moon by Alan Blackwell
byu/Big_Red_40Tech inbattletech

We had some lovely Warhammer IIC art from Alan Blackwell last month, and now here’s some more. Bonus Shadow Hawk IIC getting its arm blown off. This comes by way of Big Red-40Tech who is still mercilessly teasing his upcoming Warhammer IIC video. There’s gonna be some great art in them thar vid, I reckon. 

Opinion: What Piece Of BattleTech Lore Is Too Deep?

Sarna Complaints Department

Courtesy of Eldoniousrex

I’ll give credit to jasonskye over on Reddit for posting this interesting discussion piece. It simply asks the question of what official lore in a particular universe is “too deep”? What piece of BattleTech lore is so specific, so granular, and so bizarre that there’s no way to “reverse the massive psychic damage you have inflicted on yourself”? 

Before I dive into some of the better responses, I’m quite keen on my Canopian catgirls and their wandering Pleasure Circuses. I think someone needs to redo the logo for Canopus Delights Limited to reflect said catgirls, but we can’t expect our BattleTech lorekeepers to spend resources on a fictional entertainment company that would likely be considered illegal in most states. 

I’ll list some of the better answers. Atmafox pointed out that the Regan-era Star Wars defense system actually launched in 1985 in the BattleTech universe, while rxmp4ge noted that the BattleTech Animated Series was semi-retconned to be an in-universe propaganda piece for the Lyran Commonwealth. And of course, we can’t forget Far Country‘s alien bird things, which Cassius_Rex so dutifully reminded us of. 

But both I and ComingUpPainting can’t help but remind you that furries exist in the BattleTech canon, and they’re technically part of an incredibly advanced society that managed to avoid the fallout of the Succession Wars, Clan Invasion, Jihad, and Dark Age. Although, those furries are still stigmatized for being kinda weird.

Okay, kinda really weird. I mean, there’s Canopus catgirls, and then there’s real catgirls. Or boys. Or in between. Or both. 

Anyway, leave your deepest lore in the comments below and try to blow some minds.

A Nightstar On Canvas

Nightstar “Painting”
byu/1001WingedHussars inbattletech

This is technically a digital oil painting, but I’m not good enough at art to tell the difference between digital oil and the real stuff. I’m a simple ‘Mech fan: I see a Nightstar, and I applaud it. Especially with the hypersonic slug making multiple shockwaves.

Kudos to 1001WingedHussars for this piece.

A “Heavily Modified” Urban’Mech Is Go For Launch

A few years back, Catalyst introduced us to the UM-L99 variant of the UrbanMech. As you might have guessed, it’s a LAM version of the UrbanMech. I’d always wondered how anything as slow as the UrbanMech could get anywhere close to flight speed, and the answer (courtesy of Eldoniousrex) is that it simply can’t; it needs catapult assistance in order to get airborne. 

I don’t know how many traditional aircraft carriers existed in the old SLDF, but this Jolly Rogers Urbie is still a worthy interceptor. Too bad I can’t see any AIM-54s on ‘er. 

If you’d like a print, coaster, t-shirt, or anything else having to do with this UrbanMech or any of the more canonically accurate UrbanMechs that are out there, Eldon is selling this design among many others over on his site. The fake magazines from Tex’s Christmas video? Those are available in The Urbie Pack

A Cornered Crusader

Here we have a commissioned piece from tychorion, and there’s so much we can unpack here. In the middle is obviously a Crusader, but I think it’s the 6T variant with all those medium lasers. To the left of it looks like a Hatchetman, but without a hatchet and instead firing SRMs. In the left distance is a Nova, although it’s been modified to have both 12 lasers and four machine guns. And finally, the ‘Mech on the right is a little too obscured for me to ID, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Hankyu

A great piece, although I think the Crusader should abandon all pretense of subterfuge. 

More MechWarrior 5 DLC Is On The Way

MechWarrior 5 DLC News 2024

In a post that details MechWarrior Online‘s upcoming releases (more on that in a minute), we found out that MechWarrior 5 is getting yet another DLC. We don’t know what it’s about, but we should find out in early February. Possibilities include Clan First Contact out in the periphery, or possibly the Andurien Crisis. But my money is on a Clan First Contact DLC. It’d tie neatly into MechWarrior 5: Clans, and it’d be a great callback to MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries‘ first Clan contact mission where you steal a Kodiak

I’ll be sure to report on this as we learn more. 

MechWarrion Online’s First Quarter Includes New Legendary ‘Mechs And All-New Weapons

MWO 2024 Q1 Intel

I’m surprised at how MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries just keeps on truckin’, but I’m doubly surprised with the support MechWarrior Online is getting after all these years.

January brought two new Legendary ‘Mechs to MechWarrior Online in the form of the ExecutionerSovereign” and VictorLi Dok To“. The Sovereign looks like a long-range sniper with its quad ER PPCs and twin UAC/5s, plus some armor and mobility quirks to aim those guns a little easier. However, its top speed of 48 kph isn’t going to win any races, so expect to be in the backline for a while. 

The Li Dok To is the custom Victor belonging to the Kuritan general from the Fourth Succession War. In the lore, Tai-sho Li Dok To‘s Victor had an LRM-15 and 10 Medium Lasers, and that’s exactly what the Li Dok To has in MechWarrior Online. That right arm has an absolutely comical number of laser ports that make it ridiculously huge. It’s also got standard everything and far too little armor, so it desperately requires an overhaul. On the plus side, you can fire all ten of those lasers without suffering ghost heat, and the right arm has 40 extra armor. Double heat sinks alone would turn this thing into a bear. 

Elsewhere in the January patch, the Osiris received a quirk pass and the Cauldron continued to tweak with weapons, adding splash damage to the HAG series of weapons and changing LRM flight paths to be somewhat flatter. For more details, check out the patch notes here.

We also got a preview of what’s coming in February and March. February brings the Legendary ‘Mechs WarhawkKasai” and Black KnightRead Reaper II” with its introductory heavy shield (like the Centurion we got a while back). March, however, brings something exciting: new weapons. 

The Inner Sphere arsenal will receive the Light AC/2, Light AC/5, the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle, the Magshot Gauss Rifle, and the Thunderbolt series of missiles ranging from five to 20. Clanners will get ProtoMech Autocannons/2, 4, and 8, the AP Gauss Rifle, something called a Beam Laser, and the dreaded Plasma Cannon

There will also be free ‘Mech events in February and March, with February’s ‘Mech being open to suggestions. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the announcement page with your preference for a freebie, and maybe it’ll happen.

Nova Cat Beams Into MechWarrior 5 In New Mod

The next classic mech mod for MW5 is out: The Nova Cat made by the old school legend Pawel Czarnecki
byu/BoukObelisk inMechwarrior5

The Art Of BattleTech, aka Emil, aka SankaraSamsara, has once again brought forth a great Clan ‘Mech to MechWarrior 5. The Nova Cat has the classic lines of the original model courtesy of Pawel Czarnecki, who created it back in 2002. Throw in some sweet Clan Wolf and Nova Cat paint jobs, and you’ve got something that’ll terrorize an Awesome back into its ‘Mech bays. 

Head on over to Nexus Mods or the Steam Workshop page to get your Nova Cat today.

Furries Are Making Neurohelmets?

I know I’ve already hit my quotient of mentioning furries no more than once per month, but this is actually kinda cool. Using a brain-computer interface (which presumably did not require invasive surgery), these furries can control their avatar’s ears. If it’s anything like I’ve seen in other medical fields, this involves training yourself to think a certain thing and then telling the computer that this thought pattern means twitching your non-existent fox ears. And it looks like I’m right since Rantis showcased this process in action over on their Twitter account. 

I know this is a long way from a real neurohelmet, but the concept is the same. A neurohelmet isn’t just so that a ‘Mech’s gyro can tap into the pilot’s inner ear to keep you standing. A MechWarrior is able to move their ‘Mech’s hands to grasp or even punch things by thinking it through their neurohelmet. Some ‘Mechs have actual heads that can move at a thought. Some MechWarriors are even known to perform little dance numbers with a properly tuned neurohelmet. 

There’s nothing to stop this tech from evolving from moving fake avatar ears to moving real metallic hands. Although these are furries, so it’ll probably be a mechanical tail first.

BattleTech Museum Reveals Secret Pitch Book For ‘90s BattleTech Toys

BattleTech Museum 90s Toy Line Kenner

Many of you are already aware of the Tyco toy line that was made in the mid-’90s to support the BattleTech Animated Series. I had a Mauler, a Bushwacker, and an Infiltrator. However, it turns out that FASA had been in talks with a toy company named Kenner to produce another line of BattleTech toys before the show’s release.

The BattleTech Museum showcased a pitch book featuring some very ’80s BattleTech art (and Natasha Kerensky showing an amount of cleavage appropriate for children [ie. none]) as well as some toy concepts. There’s a Kuritan general with an Atlas, a Lyran guy with an Awesome, another Lyran guy with a Warhammer that shoots missiles out of its PPC barrels, and whatever the hell a Slammer is. 

For whatever reason, Kenner didn’t jump on the toy line. Probably because they didn’t have a cartoon backing it up. That’d change a few years later with the Animated Series and the Tyco toyline, but it’s sure fascinating to see what could have been. 

Head on over to the BattleTech Museum on Facebook to see more.

A Walking Ammo Explosion, Now Animated

Jagermech on Patrol
byu/_masaka inbattletech

It’s mostly a MechWarrior 5 JagerMech with some cool new ammo feeds for its autocannons and a rotating radar dish, but I really like what masaka has done to make the JagerMech feel almost threatening. It’s too bad this thing is still going to erupt the moment I fire more than one PPC at it. Or even just the one PPC if I get lucky. 

Focht’s News Network Announces Alpha Strike Tourney For Feb 25

ROMCon Focht's News Network

In the Toronto area? The fine folks over at Focht’s News have announced an Alpha Strike tournament for Sunday, February 25. This all-day event has a $25 registration fee, but it also includes lunch, three raffle draw prizes to be held throughout the day, and prizes for placing first, second, and having the best-painted force as determined by a group vote.

Forces are 350 points, Clan Invasion era, and must adhere to a single faction (so that means no running a Hellion in your Clan Wolf Assault Star). No more than two of any single ‘Mech/vehicle, no more than five of any infantry, no more than two VTOLs total, and all attack rolls will be played with the Multiple Attack Rolls optional rules as defined on page 175 of the Alpha Strike: Commander’s Edition Rulebook.

There are more rules, but you can go to the Facebook announcement page for the full rundown. I’ll have to decide whether I want to bring the Bad ‘Mechs mercenary company or my solahma trinary of Nova Cats, but I’m certainly thinking about going. Provided I can manage to be healthy by the end of February.

Got an event you want advertised in Sarna? Drop me a line and I’ll get it in next month’s news blast.

Night Gyr Getting Blasted In The City

A Night (Gyr) Out On the Town
byu/Terraphond inbattletech

Terraphond gives us this lovely piece of a Night Gyr getting exactly what it deserves. This is why you don’t go for a night on the town alone. Always bring a wingman.

And that’s it for the first month of 2024! Join us next time as we bring all the best BattleTech news that’s safe for human consumption.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

BattleTech In 2024 – An Interview With Line Developer Ray Arrastia & Assistant Line Developer Aaron Cahall

We’re starting the year off with a bang here at Sarna. We’re asking the tough questions, getting the unexpected answers, and determining where BattleTech will go over the course of 2024. I recently sat down with BattleTech Line Developer Ray Arrastia and Assistant Line Developer Aaron Cahall for the lowdown on what’s coming to BattleTech this year as well as what’s been going on with BattleTech‘s recent history.

This is Sarna’s biggest interview yet, so I hope you brought some popcorn. Enjoy.

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