First MechForce Germany
After the launch of the MechForce concept through MechForce North America, which was taken over by FASA after a short time, FASA also granted a license to a German national fan organization. In 1993 the (first) MechForce Germany was created in Essen as a Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts (GbR), a Partnership Agreement under the German Civil Code. Membership fee was 72 DM annually.
The MFG was very active across Germany, organizing chapter fights among its members, attending gaming conventions such as the Essen Game Fair, and hosting smaller conventions themselves. Their Life Support magazine ran for 8 issues.
The first MFG is said to have collapsed under its own success. It gained over 2,000 members in a very short time, allegedly eclipsing the MFNA in memberhip size within some 18 months, which overtaxed the administrative structures. The peculiar choice of forming a GbR, a legal framework intended only for small business and unsuitable for a fluctuating membership, impaired the day-to-day administration and meant that each and every individual member co-owned the organization, with full liability, which became a serious problem when the financial situation deteriorated because of members not paying their membership fees regularly. In the end, members had to advance money so that the later issues of the Life Support magazine could be produced and shipped.
Restructuring efforts in 1995 and 1996 that included the introduction of "House Officers" came too late to save the organization. FASA terminated the license in 1996, and the MechForce Germany GbR disbanded.
Nice Dice e.V.
Many active members of the defunct MFG joined the Nice Dice e.V., a roleplaying and boardgaming association, where they formed the BattleTech AG (AG meaning Arbeitsgemeinschaft, "workshop") in 1996. This successor organization to the first MFG essentially took over the MFG's membership base and structure and continued the operation within a more suitable legal framework, legally independent from FASA and without the license that made and defined an official MechForce.
The Nice Dice e.V. BattleTech AG flourished thanks to the groundwork laid in the MFG's 1995/1996 restructuring efforts, and for a time even had more members than the MFG. They produced their own quarterly fan magazine, the Warrior's Guide, which ran for 36 issues.
After a long, slow decline since approximately 2003 and internal conflict in 2004 followed by a failed restructuring effort, they ceased their activities completely in early 2006.
Second MechForce Germany
In the same year that the first MFG disbanded, a number of fans relaunched the MFG with supported from FanPro, the German producer of BattleTech material. Through the aid of FanPro CEO Werner Fuchs they acquired a new license from FASA and created the MechForce Germany e.V. (e.V. stands for eingetragener Verein, a registered association under the German Civil Code).
This short-lived second incarnation of the MFG was troubled internally as well as externally. As a relatively small organization with only around 200 members, it was greatly overshadowed by the Nice Dice e.V. with whom it competed for members; the two organizations had a strained relationship.
The second MFG lost their license again in 1997 already. Their house magazine, successor to the Life Support magazine, was called MechQuarterly and ran for 4 issues.
Following the demise of the second MFG, a share of its members formed the Sternenbund e.V. in its stead. Under the chairmanship of Stefan Pawlicki, the association remained very active with a broad range of BattleTech-related activities similar to the MFG and Nice Dice e.V., but their activities lapsed after he stepped down. The association can be regarded as nonexistent as of 2003.
The Sternenbund e.V. had the Infobrief, but it was more of a club pamphlet and not a proper magazine. Membership fee was 12 DM annually.
Third MechForce Germany
The second MFG was followed by a third incarnation. The memorandum of association, dated 1 December 1997, declared the first accounting year to begin on 1 January 1998. Active to this day, the third MFG publishes the Terra Post magazine (originally a quarterly magazine, biannually since 2004).
The third MFG, too, began its existence in Essen as a noncommercial e.V.; an influx of new members from all over Germany following an advertising campaign in FanPro's German gaming magazine Wunderwelten in 1998 soon shifted the center of their activities away towards Hamburg.
According to the statutes, the MFG is currently seated in Duisburg.
Like the previous two incarnations, the MFG operates under a license from (originally) FASA to use the name "MechForce". This is laid down in Article 3 Section 3 of their statutes. Unlike MFNA (which was a part of FASA), MFG's license apparently neither ran out nor was revoked when FASA ceased operations in 2001, and hence remains valid.
- Geschichte der MechForce Germany (German)
- Deutsche Fanzeitschriften (German)
- BattleTech und Vereine (German)