BattleTech boxed set
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- 1 1984: Battledroids (FASA 1604)
- 2 1985: BattleTech, 2nd Edition (FASA 1604)
- 3 1986: CityTech (FASA 1608)
- 4 1992: BattleTech, 3rd Edition (FASA 1604)
- 5 1994: CityTech, 2nd Edition (FASA 1608)
- 6 1996: BattleTech, 4th Edition (FASA 1604)
- 7 2003: Classic BattleTech (FanPro 10980)
- 8 2007: Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set (CGL 35000)
- 9 2011: 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set (CGL 3500A)
- 10 2013: BattleTech Introductory Box Set (CGL 3500B)
- 11 2019: BattleTech Beginner Box (CGL 35020)
- 12 2019: A Game of Armored Combat (CGL 3500D)
1984: Battledroids (FASA 1604)
The game rules were different from the later (2nd Edition) BattleTech. Weapon firing and damage were a simplified system that combined all weapons into a single attack roll against the equally single armor rating of the target, forgoing hit locations in a fashion similar to the simplified combat in the later Alpha Strike ruleset. It was only the optional 'Advanced Battledroids Rules' that resembled what would become the classic BattleTech boardgame rules. Battledroids also had rules for tanks and armed jeeps that differed from the later BattleTech (CityTech) rules, and were more similar to the later rules for Elementals.
The Battledroids included with this first set as cutout playing pieces were the Stinger, Shadow Hawk, Archer, Griffin, Warhammer, Marauder, Crusader, Wasp, and Rifleman. All of these would later become Unseen. Rubber stands were included for the cutouts. In addition, the Merlin featured in the rulebook as a practical example for the construction rules, but it had no associated picture or cutout.
The rulebook was just a 26-page booklet without cover, and its last six pages were flip-sided and contained information about the universe. Like all subsequent boxed sets, the Battledroids box contained a pair of dice, and two (identical) fold-out paper mapsheets with a hex grid. The map layout of this basic playing map would remain unchanged until the 2011 Anniversary Edition.
The box also contained two small model kits that were identified as Shadow Hawk and Griffin Battledroids; the models were in fact imported "Dougram Combat Armor" and "Soltic H8 Roundfacer" models from Fang of the Sun Dougram. These models were out of scale and too large to fit on the gameboard's hex fields, and were not included with later editions of the boxed sets.
1985: BattleTech, 2nd Edition (FASA 1604)
BattleTech came with a rulebook (with a proper cover) with gaming and 'Mech construction rules. These were based off the 'Advanced Battledroids Rules', and form the core of the BattleTech boardgame to this day with minimal changes. The vehicle and infantry rules from Battledroids were dropped.
Background information for the setting, namely the Inner Sphere during the Succession Wars era around the year 3025, was expanded in the rulebook, including the first mentioning of ComStar. Crests for the five Great Houses (plus three Bandit Kingdoms and five mercenary units) made their first appearance as colored faction counters to go with the 'Mech cutout playing pieces. Notably, there were no scenarios included in the rulebook.
The game stats for all but three Battledroids–now called BattleMechs–were changed to some degree to account for errors or changes in the construction rules, and four new designs were introduced: Locust, Wolverine, Thunderbolt, and BattleMaster. All of these, too, would later become Unseen. A fifth new addition was the Chameleon TrainingMech.
1986: CityTech (FASA 1608)
Stats were provided for six 'Mechs previously featured in BattleTech (Archer, Rifleman, Shadow Hawk, Crusader, Marauder, Warhammer), six new 'Mechs (Stalker, Ostsol, Hunchback, Ostroc, Spider, Ostscout) and six combat vehicles (Condor, J. Edgar, Hunter, Vedette, Demolisher, Wheeled Scout). Unlike in the BattleTech 2nd Edition rulebook, no universe background was provided beyond a short story, Life in the Big City.
The CityTech box contained a slew of cutout counters for various tanks, infantry units and buildings, and two (identical) mapsheets that were different from the previous BattleTech mapsheets.
1992: BattleTech, 3rd Edition (FASA 1604)
Although the rules as such remained unchanged, the rulebook was reorganized and partiallly rewritten. It notes that BattleTech sourcebooks, scenarios and novels have brought the "present" year to 3055, but the associated technological advancements are "beyond the scope of basic BattleTech" and the rules remain at the 3025-era technology level. Four generic training scenarios were included ("First Run", "Final Exam", "Trial by Fire", and "Divide and Conquer").
1994: CityTech, 2nd Edition (FASA 1608)
1996: BattleTech, 4th Edition (FASA 1604)
The fourth edition, calling itself BT4 in the rulebook, came with a redesigned rulebook. It also included a separate second booklet, Introduction to BattleTech, which contained quick start rules and a dedicated description of the BattleTech universe background and its history up until 3049, including the role of BattleMechs therein and a Technical Readout-style section briefly covering the 'Mechs contained in the boxed set.
The rulebook states that the "current" year of the BattleTech universe is 3058, while BT4 is set in 3049. It also makes reference to the Rules Levels previously seen CityTech, 2nd Ed., and states that the technology described in the BT4 game is Level 1 (whereas Level 2 includes the technology available in 3058). Three of the previous edition's four scenarios ("Final Exam", "Trial by Fire", and "Divide and Conquer") were included in the rulebook, with small changes; most importantly, the original (now unseen) 'Mechs in these scenarios were exchanged for other 'Mechs from the new lineup included with this edition. The fourth scenario ("First Run") was used for the quick start rules, and was moved to the other booklet accordingly.
BattleTech, 4th Ed. Introduction to BattleTech book cover
2003: Classic BattleTech (FanPro 10980)
The arguably biggest change was splitting the previous set's Introduction to BattleTech universe background booklet into two, a Quick Start Rules booklet and one titled Classic BattleTech Universe, and adding a poster map of the Inner Sphere. A Record Sheets booklet was also included.
2007: Classic BattleTech Introductory Box Set (CGL 35000)
The rulebook was expanded to 80 pages, and abandoned the Rules Levels approach of previous rulebooks; instead, it now referred to Introductory, Standard (Tournament), and Advanced (Non-Tournament) rulesets. The rules by and large remain at the technology level of the year 3049, with some individual advanced rules provided, while the "current" year of the BattleTech universe was now given as 3085. Basic rules for vehicles and infantry were added back in, with additional training scenarios for these unit types, titled "Veteran Training Scenario" and "Elite Training Scenario", respectively.
The universe book was retitled to Inner Sphere at a Glance, but the content remained largely unchanged and it notably still only covers the universe through the year 3067. The Record Sheets booklet remained, and a "Painting and Tactics Guide" booklet was added that taught miniatures painting and some boardgame tactics.
CBT Introductory Box Set contents
Inner Sphere at a Glance book cover
CBT Introductory Box Set miniatures
2011: 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set (CGL 3500A)
In addition to the usual 24 playing piece miniatures there were two high-quality extra miniatures of a Hellbringer (Loki) and a Summoner (Thor), though unlike the other miniatures these two had to be assembled from parts that came on sprues.
2013: BattleTech Introductory Box Set (CGL 3500B)
2019: BattleTech Beginner Box (CGL 35020)
The Beginner Box includes two fully-assembled un-painted miniatures, nine cardboard standees to act as additional BattleMechs, one double-sided mapsheet, cardboard hex terrain meant to be used with the maps, the "Quick-Start Rules" for the game, color record sheets for several variants of the included BattleMechs, a set of MechWarrior cards, a short novella titled Golden Rule written by William H. Keith, a booklet explaining the BattleTech universe during the Succession Wars era and two six-sided dice. The included Quick-Start Rules describe the fundamentals of standard BattleTech gameplay including turn structure, simplified movement and attack rules for BattleMechs and tables for movement and attacks on the back cover for easy reference by players.
2019: A Game of Armored Combat (CGL 3500D)