Ah yes, the combat vehicle. It’s downright prolific in the Inner Sphere (and the Periphery even more so)! We have lots of things telling us that your basic combat vehicle has a lot of value on the battlefield. But let’s set aside the fluff for a moment and talk about what your experience has really been with tanks and other vehicles.
Whether its units on the battlefield, or what happens in the universe, most people have a favorite House. Mine has always been the Capellan Confederation, led by House Liao. Let me tell you why, and then you can share your stories about your favorite House.
Are there BattleMechs out there that are ugly as sin but you still get real joy from playing them? Is there a go-to ‘Mech for you that your friends taunt you about, but you just know how to get it to work? What BattleMechs out there play better than they look for you?
Jenner – I don’t know why, but for some reason, I always get Jenners to work well. They look ugly, I don’t like the design that much from an aesthetic standpoint, and you might wonder at how I can get an overheated low-armor unit to work so well. I wonder it about it too! But I do. Sometimes I just get them to play like a musical instrument. I get a devastating impact from them at times, and in my most recent run on MegaMekNet, I had a couple that had a lot of surprising kills they had ratcheted up. From Hunchbacks to an Archer, the Jenner can sometimes be a master of taking out things on the battlefield way above its tonnage. At least for me.
Ever since I looked at my first Technical Readout, I realized that BattleTech was a game about aesthetics, just as much as it was about blowing stuff up. There were always a variety of BattleMechs that just has a really effective design. Before I played my first game, before I even knew the rules, a friend told me to just play a ‘Mech that looked good – the better looking ones always played better.
Of course, now I’ve played the game long enough to know better. Design and beauty aren’t always hand in hand. There are a variety of units rocking the block that look like more of a threat than they actually are. Let’s take a look at a few BattleMechs that I always thought had the look, but couldn’t follow it up.
Hollander – I love the way this light ‘Mech looks, with the big gun, the frame built around it and more. It just looks great, like a ‘Mech fused to a piece of artillery or a modern day weapon like the M777 Howitzer. The ‘Mech has always felt like a realistic looking and strong design. Except, it’s not. As a design, it lacks ammo, backup weapons, armor, speed, etc. It’s just not a strong design. I’ve played them, and I have really wanted them to work, and it’s never to be.
Have you ever run into BattleMechs that you just don’t get? Have you heard lots of accolades from other players, but then they never work for you? They are highly acclaimed in forums and have lots of defenders online, but you’ve always been disappointed from them.
I just don’t understand them. I’ve tried them, I’ve played with them, and they just never work. I have a few BattleMechs below that have just never worked for me, no matter how much people might extoll them. Have they worked for you?
Commando – I get that there are some enthusiasts out there that love their Commandos, with its fast strike capacity and strong weapons payload for a 25 ton unit. But me? I’ve never gotten them to work well. They are too weak in armor, and I’ve always wished they’d be faster, or jump to get a little closer, or to get a little harder to hit. They can get blasted at range, and they need the right terrain to be feasible. Commandos – I can’t get them to work.
3058 is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to Technical Readouts (TRO), and that always made it harder for me to suss out. It introduces Inner Sphere omni technology in BattleMech form in the TRO series. It also features a large number of older designs, such as the Chameleon, Mackie, and Merlin and Striker that had been around for a long time. As a player I was never sure why they did that, and our playgroup had a lot of questions. But the TRO gave us some fun new ‘Mechs rolling off the lines with the latest tech as well.
So after all of these years, which of these are your favorite Inner Sphere units?
Scenario Packs and their ilk have been with us for almost as long as we’ve had the game. From the first campaigns to the latest Turning Point, we have seen a ton of scenario packs released down through the ages.
Sure, a handful of scenarios like Unbound, Living Legends and Necromo Nightmare might strike some fans as problematic from a variety of angles. Sales of modules, adventures, and scenarios are almost always going to be among your worst sellers. And it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a variety of different takes of the Scenario pack, whether it’s replaying a major battle or campaign (Luthien, Tukkayid, Twycross) or whether it’s running the battles of a famous unit (Northwind Highlanders, Tales of the Black Widow Company), many scenario packs are repeats of famous aspects of the universe. But when they don’t sell well, you get different flavors, such as generic ones like Operation: Flashpoint, Operation: Stiletto or those that push the limits of the universe (of which Living Legends is clearly the blatant example).
With that stated, what are my three favorite scenarios?
When the Clans arrived, they brought some seriously dangerous heavy metal to the Inner Sphere. To this day, it’s arguably the most significant event in recent Inner Sphere history. They came to fight, with OmniMechs that had flexible designs the pod space to fix them to your taste, terrain, and mission profile.
At first I thought it would be fun to have us all look at our favorite Clan OmniMech designs from Technical Readout: 3050. But there’s such a small number of their designs, and without using any payloads, Omnis tend to be a bit generic. So instead I figured we could just look at our top Clan OmniMechs from any era. That way we can include stuff like the Crossbow, Naga, or Blood Asp.
Let’s begin by looking at my own Top 5 Clan Omnis, and then ask what yours are!
5. Dragonfly/Viper – I never liked the Dragonfly at first. It didn’t hit any of my buttons for a good, quality BattleMech. After a couple of opponents had some success with it hopping all over the map, I just chalked that up to the luck of the dice. Then I played it once, and then again, and duplicated their efforts. After about a year of ignoring this 40 ton horse, I eventually embraced it in my playgroup and began to add it to the stable of ‘Mechs I would dip into regularly. It’s always played better for me than it looks. It has virtually maxed armor with ferro-fibrous combined with that strong 8/12/8 speed. It’s hard to hit, and when you do, it has the armor to protect critical components. Plus it almost has 9 tons of pod space available for stuff. It’s good combination of weapon space and survivability.
I think the BattleTech cartoon was probably as close the franchise came to making the mainstream of popular culture. I could include the videogames (which I have discussed before) but the cartoon took place during a time where big fighting robots were generally in the mainstream anyway. MechWarrior 2, Robot Jox, and of course blockbusters like Terminator 2. Even Japanese distributors were beginning to test the US market with titles like Patlabor and different flavors of Gundam. Big robots were beginning to become as much a staple of science fiction as the space opera. (Some media, like Gundam and BattleTech combined the two).
So how does one market a mech-centric space opera towards children? As seen with other US franchises like Exosquad, don’t sugar coat it. In space operas, there are big wars going on, and people die. 1st Somerset Strikers doesn’t show death like Exosquad does, but one of the plot developments banks on one of the major characters failing to eject from his devastated BattleMech before it explodes and being thought dead by his compatriots for most of the season. Likewise, though it specifically mentions in the official BattleTech canon that the Jade Falcons evacuated the city of Romulus before glassing it with orbital bombardment, it was never brought up on the show. So the viewer thinks they just watched an entire city of people get vaporized. Heady stuff. I really wish they had made more of a deal of the destruction of Edo on Turtle Bay later in the season, considering that most of the inhabitants in fact WERE massacred by the Smoke Jaguars (one of the reasons that clan was targeted for termination during Operations Serpent and Bulldog)
Appended Minutes for the BMNS 1st Annual Meeting
The BattleMech Naming Society calls its first official meeting in order to create a taxonomy of naming conventions for the powerful machines that captured the hearts and battlefields of people across known space.
Let us begin. After discussing potential categorizations of ‘Mechs, and debating whether or not certain animals are actually insects, we have created a six stage system that classifies virtually every BattleMech name currently used. Please note, these lists are not exhaustive, but intended to show the names of ‘Mechs commonly used.