MechWarrior: Dark Age Collectable Miniatures Game

MechWarrior: Dark Age Collectable Miniatures Game
Product information
Type Miniatures Wargame
Publication information
Publisher Wizkids
First published 2003
MSRP Starter Set: $29.99
Content
Era Dark Age

MechWarrior: Dark Age (typically abbreviated MW:DA or simply MWDA, and retitled as Age of Destruction, MW:AoD, for its second major expansion) was a new tabletop miniatures wargame by WizKids that was set in the BattleTech universe. It was the successor of BattleTech after a fashion, though the classic BattleTech boardgame (CBT) wound up outliving MWDA.

Released in 2003, this new game was a new approach to the BattleTech universe. With its first plot-driving novel set in 3132, MWDA was set loosely a century in the future of the year 3067 where the classic BattleTech line had left off at the conclusion of the Civil War era. The MWDA plotlines made reference to a highly devastating "Jihad" era that had shaken the universe and set up the MWDA setting, but gave relatively little detailed information. The original boardgame was meanwhile rebranded "Classic BattleTech" and the license went to FanPro with the caveat that they could not advance the timeline, so as to not create canon inconsistencies with the future as described in MWDA novels and sourcebooks. Also, FanPro renamed the MechWarrior RPG series to prevent confusion with the new game, reprinting MechWarrior, Third Edition as Classic BattleTech RPG (and later A Time of War for the 4th edition). The classic BattleTech line would outlive MWDA and evolve its timeline through the Jihad well into, and beyond, the MWDA setting in the 32nd century, creating one single connected history for the BattleTech gaming universe.

MWDA came with its own, all new line of novels, sourcebooks, and an in-character website. Although extremely successful in its time, MWDA was discontinued in 2008 after WizKids had been sold to the Topps company.

Overview[edit]

MWDA was based on WizKids' Clix system that tracks damage and other stats on dials in the base of the playing pieces. The miniatures were pre-painted models of infantry squads, Battle Armor, vehicles, and 'Mechs. Unlike classic BattleTech, it was meant to be played on hexless terrain from the onset.

The game was mainly purchased in blind booster packs (similar to Magic: The Gathering), but pre-packaged "Action Packs" also existed with units gathered around a common theme. Outside of direct purchasing, trade is the most common option for acquiring figures, followed by purchases on online auction sites. There are units that were only acquired through trade or send-aways, such as the Battleforces and the Designer Series 'Mechs and pilots.

Setting[edit]

Upon its release, the MWDA timeline was set in the future of the classic BattleTech timeline, in what was then called the Dark Age era. A cataclysmic but only tenously described Jihad era that had ravaged the Inner Sphere and upset the setting was mentioned as part of the background for MWDA. This gap in the timeline would eventually be filled out by the ongoing classic BattleTech timeline and new novels even after MWDA was discontinued.

A new Successor State, the Republic of the Sphere, had formed around Terra, House Marik's Free Worlds League had fractured, and a number of high-profile irregular units or mercenary units closely associated with one of the Successor States were available in lieu of the old Houses proper. As of MechWarrior: Age of Destruction, many of the older factions had been absorbed into their larger "parent" Houses or Clans. Designated factions included:

In addition, independent mercenary units were also present in the game; these units were represented by figures with no affiliation on their base.

Game History[edit]

Over time, the factions acquired their own particular style of play. For example, the repair ability of the Bannson's Raiders units lend themselves to quick strikes followed by a retreat.

Three factions (House Liao, Clan Jade Falcon, and Clan Sea Fox) have inherent abilities not stated on their figures. Examples of these abilities include improved damage to elite or novice enemies, better targeting through forests, improved jumping attacks, or gaining the ability to deprive an enemy player of an order. This concept was extended in later expansions by the addition of faction pride cards and special pilot abilities. Starting in January 2006, the faction abilities for House Liao, Clan Jade Falcon, and Clan Sea Fox were replaced with faction pride cards.

One of the most interesting aspects of MechWarrior: Dark Age is its relation to the Classic BattleTech game. In the first expansions of the game, Wizkids tried to make MW:DA a simplified version of BattleTech, with many of the 'Mechs capable of being easily converted to their pen and paper BattleTech equivalents. With the release of Age of Destruction, though, Wizkids, starting developing new 'Mechs that were no longer based in the Classic BattleTech conception of a 'Mech and did not conform to classic construction rules. For example, while the Shen Yi of older expansions had a card that assisted in translating it into a Classic BattleTech 'Mech, the new Shiro is not strictly compatible as a Classic BattleTech 'Mech. While many fans of the game applaud the creativity Wizkids has in making 'Mechs outside the box, a fair number of fans were very dissatisfied with departure from the traditional rules regarding 'Mech design.

MechWarrior: Age of Destruction introduced new rules and new mechanics to the game, most notably the pilots and gear data cards. These cards are included with the booster packs, and improve any 'Mech they are attached to. This also introduced Gunslingers, mercenary pilots with preferred 'Mechs that can be "recruited" to all, or most, factions. They have become common prizes at sanctioned tournaments.

Products[edit]

Sets[edit]

Boosters[edit]

Battleforce series[edit]

In early 2006, WizKids released the Battleforce series, which consists of pre-packaged sets of 'Mechs painted to represent normal service units from each major faction. They come with pilot cards that depict ranked pilots from the faction.

Action Packs[edit]

In late 2006, WizKids announced that the blind booster pack format was over for MechWarrior: Age of Destruction and that they would switch to non-blind faction-specific "Action Packs" for all 2007 releases. The first Action Pack releases are:

Both the Wolf Spiders and Gamma Regiment sets have pilots with combat abilities that can be used in other mechs. Previous pilot abilities were only activated in the pilot's preferred Mech, due to the familiarity with the machine. In GenCon 2007 WizKids announced the production of a Solaris VII champions set, coinciding with the six Players who had won the Solaris VII Open Worlds Event hosted that year. However, due to issues in production, the Mechwarrior line was put on permanent hold status, and the Solaris VII Champion set was never produced. WizKids did however, create a set of custom 'Mechs based on existing sculpts for the six Champions, they are the only known Solaris VII Champion 'Mechs produced, but did not come with pilot cards.[citation needed]

Magazine Exclusives[edit]

Battlefield in a Box[edit]

In cooperation with Gale Force Nine, Wizkids introduced a line of 3D terrain sets.

Dice Sets[edit]

In cooperation with Koplow, Wizkids introduced a line of dice sets:

In cooperation with Gale Force Nine, Wizkids introduced a line dice sets:

DropShip[edit]

In 2003, WizKids produced a special Aurora DropShip playset. Sold only at conventions and through special promotions, the Aurora DropShip is a massive unit that has four cannon turrets and four bays for repairing units. The playset also has special rules.

References[edit]

  1. http://www.warrenborn.com/Files/Rules/MWAOD_FAQ_021508.pdf "The Wolf Strike units #106 "Vindication" Warwolf and #118 "Deception" Vixen have not been released by WizKids Games, and as such are not tournament legal for play in a sanctioned MechWarrior event. MechWarrior: Age of Destruction Errata, Questions, and Answers, WizKids Games, February 15, 2008