Enemy Targeted: Alpha Strike!

Have you played Alpha Strike yet? At first glance, it may be a bit too much of a shift away from BattleTech for some established players to be able to handle. Sure, it simplifies, abstracts, and condenses everything about our favorite game of stompy ‘Mechs and heavy metal mayhem into a neat little package that can be learned and demoed in about an hour.

Let’s stop and think on that just for a minute. An hour? One hour!?

If you’ve ever played BattleTech, and I’m assuming most of you have at one point, then you will know what an amazing concept it is to think that you can stomp around in your favorite ‘Mechs, beat your opponent into a mangled pulp, and then still be home in time for dinner.

I think this is what makes Alpha Strike most appealing, and my gaming group agrees. We met this past weekend to play some 150 point games of Alpha Strike in order to get people more familiar with the rules in the hopes that we can do bigger games soon.

The day was a rousing success all around. We started playing at noon, and by 4 o’clock all of us had played three (3) full games of Alpha Strike! Below are a few pictures that I managed to snap during the day.

Here we see the XII Hastati Sentinels facing off against Clan Coyote on our Heroscape/Lego board. Buildings are constructed from Legos that I got for Christmas. (Yes, 31 years old, and my wife got me Legos for Christmas. I am happy with her choices.) The board was really fun to play on, and Heroscape doubles as a BattleTech board using hexes or as an Alpha Strike board. Very versatile option for gaming.



On the opposite board, a Lance from the 5th Sword of Light faces off against an ancient enemy, the 17th Avalon Hussars. This table is great for a running battle, helped by having jump jets. The terrain is from the game Dropzone Commander, from the Ruined Cityscape set. I was really lucky to snag this set a few months ago from an online store, but the terrain has become very difficult to find.

The Tables

This is a shot I took the night before when I finished setting up the terrain. It took me about an hour of fiddling with the Heroscape board to get it the way I liked it, and the Ruined City set up in about 5 mins. Another reason to really like Alpha Strike is that it lets you easily play with just about any terrain from any other game you play. That can be a huge advantage if you don’t have many map sheets for BattleTech or just want the terrain to be more tactile and visual.

The day was a lot of fun for everyone. While there are a couple of us that still want to play regular BattleTech from time to time, I think there are better opportunities to grow the group, and maybe even move some of our game days into our FLGS soon. It’s a process, and I think Alpha Strike is a great tool in any arsenal for getting people into the world of BattleTech and to get older players to come back for a new look.

What about your gaming group? Have you tried out Alpha Strike? Is it your main way of playing BattleTech?

Let us know what your group is up to in the comments section.

To check out Alpha Strike, you can order it in either PDF or printed from the links below.

BattleTech: Alpha Strike (Book) on BattleCorps.com
BattleTech: Alpha Strike (PDF) on BattleCorps.com
BattleTech: Alpha Strike (Book & PDF Combo) on BattleCorps.com
BattleTech:Alpha Strike (PDF) on DriveThruRPG

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8 thoughts on “Enemy Targeted: Alpha Strike!

  1. Project Dark Fox

    I got my hands on Alpha Strike and the Companion when it was on sale for 67% off at DriveThruRPG. I spent several hours getting together a bunch of templates, mostly out of paper but some out of cardboard, and a river piece painted on a thin sheet of foam, to get ready for a few Alpha Strike games. I didn’t have Heroscape or any other terrain systems aside for a few mapsheets, so with almost nothing, I had a decent (if janky) table with lots of modular parts.
    When my girlfriend came over for the weekend, I had told her about this new game system that was supposed to play quickly. She has a few games of the Introductory Rules system under her belt, so she agreed to this. We both learned how to play with a lance on lance battle (we didn’t bother with points, we figured 1/1/1/1 was good enough; this is usually enough if the cards you printed and prepared are Succession Wars exclusive!). We enjoyed the speed of the game as we figured everything out, the game was done in about an hour and a half. Couple days later, we decided to scale it up to a company engagement: once again, no points, instead the arrangement was 3/4/3/2. This game took only two and a half hours, there was only one turn where a ‘Mech didn’t fall on either side. I lost both games but we both found great enjoyment out of the system, and I can’t wait to play again!
    Alpha Strike seems to have a couple great things going for it. 1: Yes, the speed is great if it’s just a lance on each side. 2: It is perfect for larger scale engagements where time may be short, or you don’t want to bleed the entire day on a single battle with the old system.
    Now, if only I could get a bigger table, then I would definitely go for a full battalion on each side…

  2. Timbal

    I’ve had the rules sitting on my hard drive since forever. Always wanted to get my son involved in a few games but never really got around to it, but I don’t really have an excuse considering I also own the Introductory Box set with the two companies’ worth of plastic miniatures that we can use.

    My main issue with standard BT rules is although covering so much detail, it really slows things down. Simplifying the rules and streamlining them to have an average game run about an hour long is perfect to try and convert my board gaming buddies to BT. It’s been a sorely needed addition.

    1. Scott

      As someone who is getting into the BT universe now (and also as someone who is not daunted by the original versions complexity) I have a few questions for you.

      I know in the Companion book, you can figure out the conversions for old BT mechs so that they can play in AS games, but is the same true for AS mechs? Can they be used in classic rules BT games? Is there a difference in the model sizes or quality? If I were to get involved with a community who plays on the original rule set or with competitive, tournament style rules, would AS miniatures be usable in those games?


      1. Dave Martin Post author

        Hey Scott! Alpha Strike and BattleTech use the same models. They’re technically the same game, as Alpha Strike derives its unit stats from BattleTech Record Sheets.

  3. Jason Weiser

    Really, Alpha Strike is the only way to play, IMO. It is simple, fast, and clean. You can do a company sized game in 3-4 hours. When is the last time anybody ever did that in old Classic Battletech? I certainly have never heard of such a thing….my group plays it exclusively.

  4. Wrangler

    Having had mix experiences with Alpha Strike i think it depends on how you or who play with.

    I played originally in a gladiator type combat in a arena and with regular standard rules for the game. Though very fast for Battletech, i found it lacking in some departments.

    Following year i went to a con which a friend mine was running big city free-for-all he choose to use Variable Damage rule from the Alpha Strike Companion. Instead of fixed damage every time you struck, you actually rolling the damage value of your unit via 1D6 per damage point. Rolling to see if actually damages it. I found that well, more satisfying gaming experience and changed my opinion of the game.

    No doubt it’s better game for large matches and when you decide run company + units on 1 card when Interstellar Operations comes out. I think AS will be better for jaded older players and new people. Sure it’s not the original game, but it could lead to people wanting play more detailed game if they have the desire to.

  5. Scot Reid

    Played a game of Alpha Strike at my club with some Battletech veterans just after picking up the rulebook and we loved the simplicity and mass battle appeal that BTech will never have. (Played a traditional BTech game a few weeks ago with 6 vs 8 level 3 rules, and in 5 hours we managed 4 turns). However, I felt it lacked something at that point. Don’t know if it was the fact the rules are a condensed version of BTech or something else, but it felt a bit hollow. Plus the balance was horrific. The AS Companion seems to have been the shot in the arm the game needed, ironing out what felt like a beta test to the experience we had hoped it would be. Our second game with the ASC additions was excellent, very easy to demo, and I am planning a large game to entice the non-players at the club in the coming month.

  6. J.L. Wickham

    I purchased this on PDF almost as soon as it became available on Drivethru RPG. I have a love/hate relationship with BattleTech. I love the setting but have grown weary with the level of crunch and calculation necessary to play, particularly as I want to run it as an RPG setting.

    I actually found that Alpha strike was still too complex and slow playing for my liking. I’m trying to develop a homebrew system that will give me the simplicity I’m looking for with just enough crunch to retain the unique feel of the different Mechs and Mech combat, but that’s a tough nut to crack.


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