Technical Readout: 3145 Federated Suns
Finally getting to my next review; we get the Davion entry for the TRO: 3145 series.
I really wanted to like Technical Readout: 3145 Federated Suns. Like many long-time Classic BattleTech fans, I always regarded old House Davion as the “good guys” among the major factions in the early years. This, of course, was how that universe was presented to us. Looking back on it years later, one could easily see disturbing racial undertones when we look at the vilification of Houses Kurita and Liao. Still, this was the genre we chose to embrace, for better or for worse.
Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine
CGL’s Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine, is the third in a series of faction-specific Technical Readouts of the 3145 Dark Age era.
As in my last review, on TRO: 3145 Capellan Confederation, I was incredibly pleased by the selection of units offered. Simply put, most of them are the kinds of equipment you’ll want to play with. They were designed as solid units using the best equipment available, and then they were given excellent artwork, and back stories. This is in contrast to many of the designs from the ‘Experimental Technical Readout’ series we received at the end of the Jihad line, which were strictly testing bed designs with the an almost random combination of advanced tech and Clan equipment. The developers have talked about how they designed new ‘Mechs in the past; have an artist draw something, then design a ‘Mech to fit the drawing. It is why the Mad Cat, the most iconic image in BattleTech / MechWarrior, doesn’t fit its own stats. (No standard configuration of the Timber Wolf carries two ER PPCs and a pair of LRM-15s.)
Technical Readout: 3145 Capellan Confederation
This week, I review CGL’s Technical Readout: 3145 Capellan Confederation, the second in a series of faction-specific TROs of the Dark Age era.
The ‘Mechs and equipment of House Liao were quickly gaining in popularity with many BattleTech fans in the years leading up to (and encompassing) the Jihad, with a long series of strong designs, and developing a new technology, Stealth Armor, that was both highly practical and powerful. This current collection in TRO: 3145 Capellan Confederation presents us with eleven BattleMechs, all but three of which are completely original, two battle armors, seven assorted combat vehicles, a conventional fighter, an AeroSpace fighter that drops infantry and a small craft.
Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries
In my second review for Sarna.net BattleTech News Blog, I report on CGL’s latest release of this writing, Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries.
Describing the equipment here – a promising mix of ‘Mechs, battle armor, tanks, VTOLs and other units – as “mercenary” is something of a misnomer. One of the delightful peculiarities of this ‘Dark Age’ era is that technology has proliferated throughout the Inner Sphere. It is not all that unusual to see the Jade Falcons using a vehicle produced in the Capellan Confederation, or for House Davion MechWarriors to pilot a ‘Mech originally built for the Ghost Bears. For this variety, we usually have the Sea Foxes to thank. These guys have become the Ferengi of the new BattleTech universe, and one starts to wonder if they haven’t grown much more powerful than anyone suspects.
Having said all that, these are the units that have become most popular among the mercenaries of the Dark Age. Record sheets are provided in the back, making the need for a secondary publication redundant. At least CGL seems to be interested in saving us a few bucks when they can, though maybe they just had to pad the page count. We only get 25 new units, but there’s a little something here for everyone: want a Clan-tech helicopter that can flat-out outrace anything that’s ever hovered in one place? The Gossamer should catch your fancy. Want a completely updated version of the most iconic BattleMech ever? I give you the Mad Cat Mk IV; they finally made a better mouse trap. The MC4, popularly known as the Savage Wolf, uses a double extra-light engine and Ferro-Lamellor armor – both from the Tactical Operations book – to improve upon a design that seemed impossible to upgrade. No wonder it was so popular with the VIPs of the Dark Age novels. Continue reading
Era Report: 3145
So I open with a disclaimer: Battletech’s Dark Age era was never my cup of tea. This was not a reflection on the novels, mind you, but more a conscious decision not to get involved with the MechWarrior: Dark Age system. (I had had my fill of collectible RPGs with Magic: The Gathering, thank you very much.) So I avoided the line entirely. Instead, like many long-time fans, I quietly celebrated when Classic Battletech proved more durable than the developers had believed. Recently, however, I read A Bonfire of Worlds, (essentially the last Battletech novel written, although it was ultimately released in serial parts via Battle Corps) and finding it to be a lot of fun, I decided to give the Dark Age another look. Continue reading