Tag Archives: Mechs

Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 The Clans

product-TRO3145TheClans_4398_cThis week in product reviews, I examine Technical Readout: 3145 The Clans, the seventh in Catalyst Game Lab’s faction TROs covering the late Dark Age era.

I’d like to open with another personal statement on my philosophy regarding ‘Mechs : I like tripped out units. There it is. I like BattleMech designs that take advantage of every critical spot and half-ton of weight. To me, the ideal ‘Mech incorporates the best of the newest technologies with the proven equipment of yesteryear. At the same time, I roll my eyes at “proof of” or “test bed” machines that throw new technologies onto a chassis without much thought on how to make them work together efficiently. Continue reading

Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Lyran Commonwealth

product-TRO3145LyranCommonwealth_09de_cFirst, I want to extend my apologies to the staff and readers for being away for so long. A few months ago I took a new job in a new city. (A rather large city, in fact.) It has taken me this long to get settled and to reach a mindset where I felt I could do a good job with these articles. I know the products I’m reviewing came out months ago. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to continue with what I started for as long as Nic allows.

In this week’s product reviews, I examine Technical Readout: 3145 Lyran Commonwealth, the sixth in Catalyst Game Labs series to bring us up to speed on the ‘Mechs and machines of the late Dark Age era.

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Your Four Favorite ‘Mechs from 2750

Star Leagues Unite!

The classic Technical Readout: 2750 displays the beginning of Readouts that feature newer technology.  The impact this Star League era book had on many players can still be felt today.  Even with much of the book devoted to non-BattleMech units and information, TRO: 2750 introduced iconic additions to battlefields everywhere.  Let’s look at some of our favorite ‘Mechs from that book!

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Your Five Favorite ‘Mechs from 3025

It is the best TRO?

Every time I take a look back at the original 3025 Technical Readout, I am reminded of the high quality of the BattleMechs that were created.  They are fleshed out, have great stories, and are a lot of fun to read.  I love going back to the first printing of it, before the unseen were pulled, and just rereading all of these powerful designs.

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Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League

Winter is Coming. Get in the Stalker.

This week in product reviews, we take a look at Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League, the fifth in Catalyst Game Labs Technical Readout: 3145 faction series.

First, though, a disclaimer: Everyone has had their own experiences playing BattleTech, and everyone develops different tastes, preferences and opinions regarding what kinds of ‘Mechs, weapons, equipment, etc. that they prefer, usually based on those same experiences. Several times, I have felt a certain way about a ‘Mech by just reviewing their stats in a Technical Readout, only to radically change that view when I actually see one in play. This will probably happen again, and I hope it does. Otherwise, I’d probably get bored of the game. The point is, these reviews are simply written based on my own opinions. That’s all they are. I’m happy to debate various points with people, and I’d love to hear about your own playing experiences as well. (That’s what comment boxes are for.) But please, do not be offended if I seem to slam your favorite ‘Mech, faction, weapon or hovercraft. I assure you, it is never personal.

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Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Federated Suns

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3145 Federated Suns

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.

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Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3145 Draconis Combine

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.)

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Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Capellan Confederation

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3145 Capellan Confederation

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.
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Product Review: Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries

BattleTech: Technical Readout: 3145 Mercenaries

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