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Old 2013-05-20, 18:05   Link #1
Nerroth
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 36
BattleTech



After a recent discussion over in the Macross merchandise thread, I figured I may as well set something up here where the "Board Game of Armoured Combat", and its various spinoffs/tie-ins/novels/etc, could be discussed for anyone so interested.

The above pic is the cover art for the upcoming re-launch of the BattleTech Introductory Box Set; which will support "classic" BT play, and should also be useful for the upcoming fast-play rulebook also set for release later this year: Alpha Strike.

Is there anyone here who has an interest in all things Inner Sphere (and Periphery)?
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Last edited by Nerroth; 2013-05-20 at 18:31.
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Old 2013-05-20, 19:25   Link #2
kyp275
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yes, I used to follow the Battletech story, kinda lost interest after FASA went down and Wizard(?) took over and started the whole Dark Ages thing :/
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Old 2013-05-20, 21:04   Link #3
ArchmageXin
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Originally Posted by kyp275 View Post
yes, I used to follow the Battletech story, kinda lost interest after FASA went down and Wizard(?) took over and started the whole Dark Ages thing :/
They kind of made it better with a more detailed source of the Jihad and everything. But the story got so repetitive I stopped reading. I.E house Kurita was the 'good' Japanese Asian for following White-man hero and savior Victor Davion, the Chinese and Russians were the "Bad" Asians who can't do anything right. Clans are all Gengis Khans with Giant Robots, and there are tons upon tons of Lost Tech everywhere.

Dark Age was the big reset, because people were complaining on how they miss the "Mad Max" days of B-Tech (and FASAnomics was breaking down...), so they decided to reduce tech level with Jihad reset.

Which only infuriated fan base when people start to go into battles with 2 Tanks, 3 armor and 1 Mech to invade a fully populated planet. So suddenly the white man and the Chinese guy start to break out magic warehouses full of mechs.

Then everyone stopped reading. So now Battle Lab is trying to pickup the pieces.
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Old 2013-05-20, 21:28   Link #4
kyp275
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Pretty much, I read battletech for the epic mech actions, and 2 mechs invading a planet =/= epic mech actions.
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Old 2013-05-20, 21:59   Link #5
Nerroth
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That portion of the Dark Age only lasted for about a year or two after the onset of the Blackout in 3132, and only happened within the Republic of the Sphere. Once things started to "get real" in 3134, the "pirate factions" which bubbled up to the surface in MW:DA/AoD were rapidly overshadowed by the proper House and Clan militaries. And things really kicked off Sphere-wide in 3135, when the Fortress walls went up and everyone on the outside found themselves up for some serious armed real estate speculation.

To put it another way, Catalyst will be coming out with a PDF-only file called Era Digest: Dark Age, which will start up in 3130 (when Devlin Stone stepped down from the role of Exarch of the Republic) and cover the before, during, and after of Gray Monday itself. What they have out already, however, is Era Report: 3145, which concentrates on the ten years of Sphere-wide war which broke out beyond the walls of Fortress Republic.

Combined arms forces are not uncommon in the Dark Age, but the conflicts of the last decade or so (in-universe) have been fought with real armies and real weapons.

And it's going to come to a head in the not too distant future; once Catalyst have all of the "3145" books out, they'll be wrapping up the Dark Age era with a sourcebook that has only one word to describe it being teased so far...

IlClan.


But the handy thing about Catalyst's treatment of BattleTech is that they have made a point of splitting the overall timeline into distinct eras, each of which supported by different sourcebooks and so forth.

Just recently, CGL reached the tail end of their "Year of the Star League", which saw them cover the events of the Amaris Coup and the Liberation of Terra in significant detail. Volume 2 of the LoT series even includes maps of the regions on Terra where Alexandr Kerensky's SLDF divisions landed, from Sandhurst to Hokkaido to Alaska, and right up to the gates of Amaris' Imperial Palace itself.

And over the next year or two, there'll be further historical files looking at the first three Succession Wars. (One file will group the First and Second Succession Wars together, while the Third will get its own, separate book later on.)

Between them, you can (or soon will be able to) fight your way through the largest and most devastating conflicts in the history of the Inner Sphere.


You probably wouldn't be able to get by on that level with "classic" BattleTech, however. For that scale, there's the BattleForce game system (which is currently published in Strategic Operations). StratOps also includes a miniatures adaptation of BF called Quick-Strike; Alpha Strike will see the QS rules spun off into a standalone volume.

And when the "final" core book, Interstellar Operations, is eventually published, it'll include The Inner Sphere in Flames; which will let you play as a House Lord or Clan Khan and go all-out to try and conquer the known galaxy.


Long story short, the "classic" BT era hasn't gone away; but the broader universe is now broad enough to include it along with books looking at what has come before... and what is yet to come.
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Old 2013-05-20, 22:08   Link #6
ArchmageXin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyp275 View Post
Pretty much, I read battletech for the epic mech actions, and 2 mechs invading a planet =/= epic mech actions.
Actually, there is a reason for that, because if you ever tried to play Tabletop version of the game. With all the rulers, height, distance, dice rolls....I used to go through 7 hours games just for 12 vs 12 fights. Huge regiments dueling each other would take weeks to resolve. Heck, it would take days just to march 2 armies into kill range.

It also explain why missile/Laser range was barely 2 KM tops (because table needed would be huge). The U.S Marine corps/Air Force will laugh their balls off reading the specs of B-Tech weapons (Battle Computer: 5 Tons with 256 colors, missiles, 20 Rack launch tubes max range 2.1 KM, chance to hit: less than 50% of chance). And B-Tech had to use "magic armor" to explain why current 20-21st century weapons can't fight the Mechs....then you have old man with cross bow breaking Mech grade armor.

It was so full of inconsistencies and plot holes we had to make a rule on the forum saying any kind of realistic analysis of B-Tech Science/Physics/Chemistry/Economics will lead the instant death of a Cat Girl
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Old 2013-05-20, 22:20   Link #7
Nerroth
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It is noted that the weapon ranges are abstractions for game purposes.

And there is the concept of BAR ratings, which have lower numbers for more primitive (or civilian-grade) types of armour compared to what is listed for "modern" BattleMechs. (This is shown in the "April Fool's" XTRO:1945 file, where the units have BAR values of 5; making them virtually defenceless compared to the BattleTechnology of the far future. Notably, the weapon ranges in that file are intended to work with each other, and are not to be used if mixed with "modern" BT units.)

But even then, larger engagements do have other game levels, such as BattleForce, to be played on instead. (In "regular" BF, each Unit is a lance/Star/Level II, made up of Elements which have much more streamlined stats compared to what you see in "classic" BT. QS/AS uses the same streamlined Unit Cards, but has one Element per Unit/miniature instead.)
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Old 2013-05-20, 22:27   Link #8
ArchmageXin
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How does B-Tech explain Elementals get owned by Shotguns and Crossbows?
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Old 2013-05-20, 22:43   Link #9
Nerroth
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A Time of War lists bows and other "archaic" weapons, and compares them to more "modern" personal weapons. And also includes rules describing how to try and get through Battle Armor, which is noted as being under more at risk of targeted hits against weak points and vulnerabe joints at an intry level than at a moe tactical level.

('Mech-grade weapons, of course, could simply blow away a Battle Armor trooper in one go with a heavy enough weapon, but a sniper could pick out a weak point that might compromise a suit at a critical moment, even if he doesn't manage to kill the occupant outright.)
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Old 2013-05-21, 01:26   Link #10
JokerD
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Sorry, a question on 'classic' battletech. Did they ever explain why the tech levels fell so badly after the star league left the inner sphere? Did they take with them the scientists and engineers or something?
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Old 2013-05-21, 01:32   Link #11
Mr Hat and Clogs
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Dark Ages? What are these Dark Ages you speak of (*cough*).



JokerD, basically war, and political fallout from war. Kerensky got the shaft so he took like 3/4s the remaining SLDF with him. Between that and the remaining states feuding with each other things went downhill. Things like resources running short, humanitarian disasters - disease, famine and death -, planets becoming isolated, and unstable environments for good education and so on things would have been quite grim.

Well, that would be the story reason, gameplay wise it would be 'we need new shit! I know, ancient tech better than current stuff! That trope is GOLD!'

I may be remembering it wrong though.
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Old 2013-05-21, 09:33   Link #12
ArchmageXin
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Originally Posted by JokerD View Post
Sorry, a question on 'classic' battletech. Did they ever explain why the tech levels fell so badly after the star league left the inner sphere? Did they take with them the scientists and engineers or something?
Actually, only the Star League Army left. With the power vacuum there, people decided nuclear war and mass WMD deployment is a good thing. So they blast themselves back in Stone Age, while Comstar murder as many scientist they can get their hands on.

Comstar is basically the unholy bastard child or AT&T and Catholic Church. They believe it is their duty to guide mankind into the light----by bombing every last transistor and independent thought out of existence until mankind are left with sticks and stones. Then share with the survivors "the light of IPODS"
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Old 2013-05-21, 12:31   Link #13
Xellos-_^
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did fasa/wotc/whoever explain what/who cause the the hyperspace generators to go down?
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Old 2013-05-21, 13:30   Link #14
Nerroth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JokerD View Post
Sorry, a question on 'classic' battletech. Did they ever explain why the tech levels fell so badly after the star league left the inner sphere? Did they take with them the scientists and engineers or something?
The buildup to this is shown in the two recent volumes covering the Liberation of Terra, while the post-Star League collapse will be shown next year once Historical: Early Succession Wars comes out.

Both militarily and economically, the core of the Star League was the Terran Hegemony. While the House and Periphery states had mostly focused on building up their own economies in the Age of War, the emergence of the Star League saw no end of agreements and connections forged between its member states; with the Hegemony at the very heart of this grand effort. (Of course, from a Periphery perspective, the Star League bureaucracy was a grand kleptocracy looking to pillage the mineral wealth of the Territorial States in order to feed Terran and Great House industries, but how and ever.)

Plus, while the Star League Defense Force recruited from every member state, the elite Royal regiments were exclusively Terran in character. Indeed, many of the Royal regiments had been directly transferred to the SLDF from the now-defunct Hegemony Armed Forces. Much as the founders of the Hegemony ensured that Terra itself was the linchpin binding the Hegemony together, the First Lords of the Star League sought to ensure that the Terran Hegemony itself would remain "first among equals".

So, when the Amaris Coup and the subsequent campaign to liberate the Hegemony was being waged, the very heart of the Star League's economy was ripped out. As each of the Houses and periphery states sought to pick up the pieces after the Great Interstellar Crash, they were forced to look inwards, to try and go back to self-sufficiency - only by now, the degree of interdependency was such that no state could handle the strain alone.

And with the Hegemony in ruins by the end of the Star League Civil War, and the SLDF itself in serious trouble, the military force needed to keep the House militaries in check was nothing like what it had once been. Even before the Exodus began, the Houses had started to occupy and annex several of the Hegemony's worlds; even if Kerensky had chosen to stay, there was no guarantee that even he would have been in a position to hold the rest of it together.

When the Exodus took place, there was nothing to stop the Houses (or, as they had already started to style themselves, the "Successor States") from kicking off the wars which led to the final collapse of the Hegemony, the rise of ComStar, and the inexorable slide of the Inner Sphere into the technological and cultural nadir from which it has, arguably, never quite managed to fully recover.

Oh, and ComStar eventually launching HOLY SHROUD - a large-scale attempt to undermine the Houses' scientific and technological capabilities during the Succession Wars era - added its own fuel to the fire.

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Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
did fasa/wotc/whoever explain what/who cause the the hyperspace generators to go down?
The largest hints we've gotten so far is in the Dark Age novel A Bonfire of Worlds, which for now is an e-pub only.

Spoiler for Bonfire:


Catalyst have been teasing here and there about some of the Dark Age's major mysteries being answered during the course of this current batch of "3145" books. But, how much info we will end up getting remains to be seen.
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Old 2013-05-21, 14:25   Link #15
Endless Soul
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Join Date: May 2011
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Somewhere, in the deep recesses of a storage container, I still have the first release of the Battledroids board game, before FASA was threatened with lawsuits over the name. I thought I had a picture of it, but I guess I don't have one available. I also ended up getting the Battletech board game some months later.

Endless "House Davion" Soul
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Old 2013-05-21, 14:36   Link #16
ArchmageXin
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Originally Posted by Endless Soul View Post
Somewhere, in the deep recesses of a storage container, I still have the first release of the Battledroids board game, before FASA was threatened with lawsuits over the name. I thought I had a picture of it, but I guess I don't have one available. I also ended up getting the Battletech board game some months later.

Endless "House Davion" Soul
I find it funny FASA itself was sued by MacCross for stealing a couple Mech designs. Now only can be referred as "Unseen"

House Davion-The Space America Angelo-Saxon white man saviors
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Old 2013-05-21, 14:42   Link #17
Nerroth
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They didn't steal them, at least not knowingly. It's a bit more complicated than that.

But at this point, I much prefer BT to focus on its own "home-grown" designs, those done up from the outset for this universe, and not get too worried about those models which, regardless of the legalities involved, were ultimately intended for someone else's intellectual property.


And as of 3145,
Spoiler for 3145:
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Old 2013-05-21, 15:01   Link #18
ArchmageXin
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But for most of the classic era, you have to admit House Davion had everything. And they are also the quickest to recover.
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Old 2013-05-21, 17:49   Link #19
Nerroth
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The Federated Suns in the 31st century was able to benefit through an accident in astro-geography. When Operation REVIVAL hit the Inner Sphere, the Lyran side of the Federated Commonwealth bore the brunt of the assault, though there were plenty of Davion regiments in the AFFC which fought (and died) on the Clan front lines. Had the Clan Homeworlds been spinward or rimward of Terra, perhaps it would have been the Davions, not the Steiners, who were forced to fight over their own turf.

But one of the interesting things about the alternate era support is how it shows times when House Davion didn't have things go quite so well for it back in the day, either. During the Reunification War, the naval arm of the AFFS was humiliated by the Taurian fleet, and the Suns were forced to play second fiddle to the early SLDF (i.e. Terran) forces deployed as a part of Operation BULL RUN.

Plus, there was the War of Davion Succession during the supposed "peace" of the Star League era, where the only thing stopping the Draconis Combine from placing a Kurita heir on New Avalon was a full-scale intervention by the SLDF.

And there'll be events like the (first) fall of Robinson and the Kentares Massacre to take into consideration, once H:ESW is published.


Even if one doesn't take the events of 3145 into account, the broader scope which BattleTech is presented with shows that even the Suns didn't have everything going their own way. The Fourth Succession War is but one of many points along a timeline which need not be tied to one year or era when it comes to what one chooses to play out on the tabletop (or in RPG form).
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Old 2013-05-21, 18:04   Link #20
ArchmageXin
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But as long as FASA/WOTC was at the helm, House Davion was the wonder boy. 4th succession war was a big roll over of Davion superiority K.Oing House Liao and House Kurita (the Asians), then House Kurita saw the light and hand over their daughter to Victor Stiener Davion and became the "good Asians". House Davion got everything they wanted pretty much, and in every conflict Davion troops had the most POV scenes, so which meant Liao and Kurita could at best bend over and hope for the "Davion mercy"

Davion had the best Tech, best armies, the neighbor's royal princesses, highest level of education (even though source books states otherwise), best Intel agency (even though Liao was suppose to be the best) and the most heroic scenes. 9/10 of all novels center around Victor and super-friends.

It was until FASA realized that Fed-Com was ruining the story for all non Davion fans they had to tear it apart, but o' Victor rode the glory flag all the way to the Dark ages!
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