- This article is about the fan organizations. For the video game, see MechForce (Video Game).
MechForce was the moniker for several official BattleTech fan organizations that catered to the game's growing fan community with regular magazines, chapter fights, and other fan support.
Most references to "MechForce" are meant to refer to MechForce North America.
MechForce North America
The first and most prominent MechForce was MechForce North America (MFNA), also occasionally called "MechForce NA", "MechForce US", or "MFUS". It is generally considered the "true" MechForce by virtue of having been the first MechForce established and also for being run directly by FASA, who set it up ca. 1988. From 1990 to 1995 it was run by AWOL Productions, then control reverted to FASA.
Despite its name, the MFNA was open to players across the globe; besides North America, it was explicitly meant to include players from countries where no national MechForce existed.
The MFNA produced a regular magazine. This was initially the MechForce News in the early days while FASA ran the organization. When AWOL Productions took over, they replaced the club letter with a proper magazine, Mech magazine; later, when the organization had reverted to FASA, it was renamed to MechForce Quarterly. These magazines could be regarded official products by virtue of being produced under a valid license from FASA in the second, and under FASA's direct aegis in the first and third cases; however, magazines ("even official ones like 'Mech") have explicitly been declared to be not among the canonical sources for BattleTech and can therefore be considered apocryphal at best.
Dwindling membership rendered the MFNA almost inactive since around the year 1999, and according to some officially folded in that year already. When FASA ceased its activities in 2001, the MFNA's license ran out, terminating the MFNA for good.
Several national MechForce organizations were also granted an official license from FASA to use the name. Although technically independent, they generally cooperated with the MFNA and adopted its modus operandi.
MechForce United Kingdom
- see MechForce United Kingdom article for details.
The MechForce United Kingdom (MFUK) was relatively small and run by a mere handful of members for around a decade. Yet it gained a reputation as a particularly creative and prolific producer of merchandise, house rules, scenario packs and new BattleMech designs (see also: Category:MFUK Publications). Notably, Ral Partha produced miniatures for a number of MFUK custom 'Mech designs which led many fans to believe them to be canon. These included the Dreadnought, Hades, Hydra, Katyusha, Tree Frog and Falcon Eyrie.
The MFUK had a regular magazine called Comnet that ran for 47 issues (the final issue being misnumbered 46).
For most of its existence, the MFUK was run by Bob Nicholls and it effectively ceased to exist when he left the organization for health reasons on August 31, 2001; in the final Comnet issue his wife announced that he had died.
- see MechForce Germany article for details.
Among the national organizations, the MechForce Germany (MFG) was the biggest and most active, allegedly even eclipsing the MFNA in membership size at its peak.
The only MechForce organization still in existence today, the MFG went through three successive incarnations. Both earlier organizations spawned a successor organization (the Nice Dice e.V. BattleTech AG and the Sternenbund e.V., respectively) before they lost their license but these successors, too, are defunct long since.
The first MFG produced the Life Support magazine (8 issues), the second the MechQuarterly magazine (4 issues), and the third the Terra Post magazine (46+ issues and ongoing). The Nice Dice e.V. produced the Warrior's Guide magazine for BattleTech (36 issues). The Sternenbund e.V. had no dedicated BattleTech magazine; their "Infobrief" was largely limited to the club's administrative issues.
Minor national MechForces
Other national MechForces with official license from FASA are known to have existed in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan, but these never had the size or relevance of the aforementioned three organizations. The MechForce Switzerland joined the MFG in the publication of the Life Support magazine from issue 5 onwards.