BattleTech: The Board Game of Armored Combat http://bg.battletech.com Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:26:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Catalyst Game Labs At Gen Con 2017! http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/catalyst-game-labs-at-gen-con-2017/ Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:26:48 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7245 As Gen Con celebrates fifty years, Catalyst Game Labs is celebrating ten and we hope you’ll join us at booth 1611 for the festivities, including cake every day! (First come, first-serve basis.)

DEMOS, TOURNAMENTS AND GAMING
Of course we’ll be running our usual wall of demos, as well as massive events surrounding Shadowrun and [...]]]> As Gen Con celebrates fifty years, Catalyst Game Labs is celebrating ten and we hope you’ll join us at booth 1611 for the festivities, including cake every day! (First come, first-serve basis.)

DEMOS, TOURNAMENTS AND GAMING
Of course we’ll be running our usual wall of demos, as well as massive events surrounding Shadowrun and BattleTech games. With the Shadowrun tournament, BattleTech Grinders, Shadowrun Anarchy games, BattleTech Alpha Strike games, and all manner of Shadowrun Missions and BattleTech scenarios being run, you can dive in throughout the con to find fun and adventure in some of the most exciting, enduring game settings of all time!

Our Shadowrun games are all being run in ICC 122-123, while our BattleTech games are being run in ICC Hall B.

NEW GAMES


In addition to our great catalog of existing games, the following brand new games will be available to play and purchase at the show!


Dragonfire: The Dungeons & Dragons Deckbuilder [$59.99]
Dragonfire is a 2 to 6 player deckbuilding game set in the world’s greatest roleplaying game, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Players choose from a number of races, from dwarf to elf, half-orc to human, while assuming the quintessential roles of Cleric, Rogue, Fighter, and Wizard. Equipped with weapons, spells, and magic items, players begin their adventure along the famed Sword Coast, then expand to other locales across the Forgotten Realms, such as Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter, and Waterdeep, in future expansions. Along the way, players level up their characters, opening access to additional equipment, feats, and more. Join the quest, and build your own legend!

Come play in a demo and walk away with the free Gen Con promo Character screen!

Character Pack: Heroes of the Sword Coast [$24.99]
Character Pack: Heroes of the Sword Coast contains thirty-two additional Character screens, introducing the Druid, Bard, Ranger and Warlock Classes into Dungeons & Dragons Dragonfire. Additional races are also featured, including Rock Gnome, Tiefling, Lightfoot Halfing, and Gold Dwarf. Other screens bring Classes, genders and races together in a broad variety to fill out a sweeping range of adventuring parties. Finally, the pack includes dozens of sticker sheets, as well as twenty-seven new Market cards.


BattleTech: BattleMech Manual [$39.99]

  • Standing from seven to sixteen meters tall, and weighing from twenty to one hundred tons
  • Powered by an armored and shielded fusion reactor
  • Skeleton of honeycombed, foamed aluminum core wrapped with stressed silicon carbide monofilament and sheathed by a rigid, titanium-steel shell
  • Locomotion generated via bundles of polyacetylene-fiber myomer muscles
  • Protected by aligned-crystal steel over a layer of boron nitride impregnated with diamond monofilaments Mounting a swath of powerful weapons from charged particle beams to lasers, missiles to rapid-fire autocannons
  • All at the command of the noble elite, the MechWarriors

The modern BattleMech is the end result of more than three thousand years of battlefield technology development. Combining awesome destructive power and unparalleled maneuverability, the BattleMech is perhaps the most complex machine ever produced. The undisputed master of thirty-first century warfare, the BattleMech seems destined to reign supreme for centuries to come.

—Excerpts from a promotional pamphlet originally distributed by Defiance Industries of Hesperus, Lyran Commonwealth, 3007

Using the most up-to-date rules text, the BattleMech Manual has been designed from the ground up to cater to the BattleTech player wanting to engage in an all-’Mech battle. Includes a variety of optional rules, terrain and more.

Welcome to the most table-usage-friendly BattleTech rulebook ever published!


BattleTech: Technical Readout: Succession Wars [$29.99]
On February 5, 2439, the Mackie obliterated all opposition during its first combat trial, ushering in a new era of warfare. The BattleMech—King of the Battlefield—was born. BattleMechs reached their pinnacle during the golden age of the Star League. The fall of the Star League and the Succession Wars that raged for centuries afterward took their toll and by the Fourth Succession War, the technology employed on the battlefields was a mere shadow of what it once was. However, the discovery of the Helm Memory Core unlocked the technological potential to develop new BattleMechs and experimental technologies for the first time in centuries.

Technical Readout: Succession Wars is the perfect “first Technical Readout” companion to the BattleMech Manual. Combining the ’Mechs previously found in Technical Readout: 3039, Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade, and Technical Readout: 3075, this volume features some of the most common ’Mechs from the Age of War to the Succession Wars. Each machine is illustrated in detail, and accompanied by a description of its history, capabilities, game stats, along with their most famous pilots.


BattleTech: Legacy Anthology [$11.95]
A Draconis Combine warrior struggles with immoral orders in the First Succession War. A House Davion MechWarrior participates in a risky heist as part of Operation Guerrero. A history buff battles the Word of Blake during the Liberation of Terra. What do these MechWarriors have in common? Each one pilots the same BattleMech, a survivor that has been repaired and rebuilt countless times throughout its long and bloody 300-year lifespan.

The seventy-ton GHR-5H Grasshopper can outmaneuver and outlast some of the most fearsome enemy ’Mechs, making it an invaluable asset to battlefield commanders. Even an incapacitated Grasshopper will be rebuilt to fight another day, with a new pilot at its controls, because MechWarriors can be replaced, but ’Mechs cannot.

In BattleTech: Legacy, thirteen all-new stories chronicle the fortunes and tragedies of a single ’Mech across several tumultuous points in its wide-ranging combat history. Veteran BattleTech authors Kevin Killiany and Craig A. Reed, Jr. bookend this exciting collection, while other familiar names and new blood explore important moments in this ’Mech’s history of constant, unmitigated warfare that leaves no corner of the Inner Sphere untouched.


Shadowrun: The Complete Trog [$44.99]
They can call you a trog. Sure they can. Let ’em think it’s a smear. Let them show you what they don’t know. Let them ignore history, the great accomplishments orks and trolls have made in every field in the Sixth World, the homes and enclaves they’ve built out of nothing. There’s enough talent in the trog population to punch, hack, rig, charm, or enchant that smug smile right off their face. You know what you are. They’ll learn—fast, if they know what’s good for them.

The Complete Trog is the definitive guide for ork and troll characters in Shadowrun. With information on what it’s like to be an ork or troll in dozens of spots across the globe, details on working in corps as a trog (including in ork- and troll-dominated corps) and the heroes and enemies of trog culture, the book helps players add flavor and depth to their characters and the world around them. On top of that, it has gear, qualities, and life modules compatible with both Shadowrun, Fifth Edition and Shadowrun: Anarchy. Plunge into the rich culture of trogs and watch them turn that slur on its head.


Shadowrun: Sprawl Stories Vol. 1 Anthology [$11.95]
The Sixth World is a dangerous place, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Seattle, the so-called Emerald City. Surrounding its neon-drenched heart is kilometer after kilometer of Sprawl, where millions of people scratch out a living among hazardous, slowly decaying neighborhoods and even more dangerous neighbors.

Sprawl Stories contains four Shadowrun novellas that explore Seattle through the eyes of the people who live there every day. A burned-out mage detective tackles a missing person case that quickly threatens to spiral out of control. A reporter goes on the ride-along of her life with a high-octane DocWagon team, and uncovers a conspiracy on live triedeo. A young ex-wagesalve is caught between powerful forces while investigating his uncle’s death. And a shaman must deal with a serious injury that threatens his very way of life–but not before taking vengeance on those who double-crossed him.

So take a walk on the true wild side of the Seattle Sprawl If you’re good–and lucky–you might even come back out in one piece…


Shadowrun: Zero Day, a two-player card game [$19.99]
You’re the contagion. You are the fear. You are the thing that makes the megacorporations of the world tremble. In the world of Shadowrun, the corps think they have everyone and everything under their thumb, but they don’t have you–the hacker in the Matrix, the fly in the ointment. You know where the world’s deepest scariest are buried–and you have the weapons needed to fight to bring them out.

In Shadowrun: Zero Day, players hack into the megacorporations that rule the Sixth World. Whoever disables and bypasses the myriad countermeasures and scores the most assets wins!


Sixth World Tarot, Deluxe [$39.99]
Look Closer!

When you look at this tarot deck, what do you see? You can’t miss the 78 cards with gorgeous, original art by Echo Chernik, that adapt tarot arcana to Shadowrun’s Sixth World. But look closer. Examine the details. Explore connections. Do you see them? Are you catching everything the cards have to tell you?

Are you seeing enough?

The Sixth World Tarot is a complete deck of Shadowrun-themed tarot cards, useful as game props, plot hooks, or any other purpose tarot cards are for!


Master of Orion: Conquest, a dueling deckbuilder [$19.99]
Master of Orion: Conquest is a two-player dueling deck builder. Play as one of two species in the galaxy–the humans and the shape-changing, mimicking Darlocks–as you build and fighter your way to victory. Explore the galaxy to find new Planets to colonize and use their production to build your fleets. Destroy the enemy’s Home World and become the Master of Orion!

OUR USUAL TCHOTCHKES




We’ve also got our usual bevy of new t-shirts, pins, and dice, including these fabulous, all-new metal dice made from aircraft-grade aluminum, and the first ever BattleTech and Shadowrun poker chips!

AND SOME SURPRISES



If all of that weren’t great enough, come get a sneak peek at an avalanche of awesome games coming in the next 6 to 12 months from Catalyst Game Labs!

We hope to see you all within the week!

Team Catalyst

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BattleMech Manual: Final Release http://bg.battletech.com/news/battlemech-manual-final-release/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:02:35 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7210 Hi all!

The new BattleMech Manual is now available for purchase, and I thought I’d answer some of the questions arising in the wake of its release.

First: yes, this is the final edition of the book, not the Beta version. It’s PDF-only for now. Thanks to Ray “Adrian Gideon” Arrastia’s tireless work, there [...]]]> Hi all!

The new BattleMech Manual is now available for purchase, and I thought I’d answer some of the questions arising in the wake of its release.

First: yes, this is the final edition of the book, not the Beta version. It’s PDF-only for now. Thanks to Ray “Adrian Gideon” Arrastia’s tireless work, there will be a limited hardcover print release at GenCon, with a full hardcover print release to follow at some as-yet unspecified date beyond that. We’ll let you know the moment it hits our warehouses and we can be sure of a street date.

So, what is this book? Specifically, how does it relate to Total Warfare and the rest of the current BattleTech line? We heard that question frequently during the Beta, and I wrote a lengthy post on the official BattleTech website detailing the design process:

In short, the BattleMech Manual is NOT a new edition of BattleTech: these are the same basic rules you’ll find in Total Warfare (TW). However, they have been heavily cleaned-up and reworked. These rules cover ‘Mechs only, have been rewritten to be clearer and more concise, include all errata and FAQs, and have been designed specifically for play at the tabletop. Also, there’s a ton of gear from Tactical Operations, some of the optional rules from that book, and bits of Strategic Operations and Interstellar Operations. No construction rules are present. Below is the full BattleMech Manual Table of Contents:

So what’s changed between the Beta and the final? In short, lots. This wasn’t a Beta that simply collected typos and minor glitches (there weren’t a lot of those, but they were fixed, too). I had a full six months to collect feedback from the BattleTech forums and the many other sites on which BT fans congregate, and any regular TW errata that came out in those six months was also included. Mainly though, I spent that time going over the manuscript again and again, looking for ways to trim to the text further, clarify further, and rearrange things to make more sense. The process involved not just correcting errors, but making a lot of quality-of-life improvements as well. The final changelog came to 346 alterations. Some of that was “hey, I see an extra space here,” but there were many, many larger-scale changes as well. I’ll go over a few of them.

The biggest change was in the layout of the Movement chapter. Rulebook design is tricky, since you have to define your target audience first. With the Manual, we were looking to make something for veterans. At the same time, the changes intended to appeal to vets — clearer text, easier-to-find information — are also good for new players, and I hope that those just getting into the game will also find the book useful. The major difference between those two groups is that the new player is more likely to read the book beginning to end: for them, it’s more like a novel, and so should flow in a reasonably logical start-to-finish order. The vet, on the other hand, generally knows the rules of gameplay, and just needs to be able to locate certain rules quickly. They know how to play the game, but might not remember the precise mechanics of spotting for indirect fire, for instance. They’re not looking at it as a novel, but are hopping around all over.

Back to the Movement chapter. I made a lot of alterations from TW when I first wrote it up. Much of this was focused on shifting the odder, less-used movement rules off to other chapters (skidding was moved off to the Urban Combat chapter, for example). However, it was also important to me that those rules flow in a more logical order (as I explained in the blog post linked at the start). When it came to the Jumping rules, I followed the TW example, which was to list all movement modes together and detail them in their entirety there. But during the Beta review I realized that while this choice was logical from a “keep everything together” perspective — the viewpoint of the veteran player perspective, who wants all their stuff in one place — it doesn’t make a lot of sense to the new guy. Jumping offers all sorts of exceptions to the regular movement rules: it’s pretty much just a giant list of ways in which you can break or ignore them. If I want a new BattleTech player to be able to ease their way into movement, that’s not going to happen if they run into a full page at the very start detailing how jumping ignores facing changes, works with levels like so, and interacts with water like this, especially when they haven’t reached the regular rules for those things yet. It’s presenting the reader with a list of exceptions to rules they don’t even know yet.

As such, the final version of the Movement chapter has Jumping listed as a movement mode, gives only movement mode information in that section, and leaves the rest of the jumping rules until after the basic movement rules, in a new subsection called Jumping Movement. So it’s still mostly all together, but now a reader learns the rules in a more understandable progression.

Beta on the left, final on the right.

Other parts of that chapter were overhauled, too. A lot of the movement basics were re-ordered to be more logical. In the Beta, I had the progression as: a section called Movement Between Hexes (which had some terrain info), then a Level Change section (terrain), and then a Stacked Terrain section (terrain…). Now there’s a much simpler Ground Movement section, and terrain and levels are dealt with in a separate new Terrain section.

Readers will find changes like that throughout the book. To give just one other quick example, the Beta’s Combat chapter had an Attack Declaration section that more or less repeated rules the reader had just read but left out some important info: when exactly do you declare specialized attacks? That’s been fixed.

Many, many clarifications were also made. For example, displacement is an innately tricky issue, in that it involves movement, damage, and a host of potentially weird timing issues. A very fruitful discussion on the feedback thread at the official BattleTech forums brought up all sorts of questions over the course of several pages. Several drafts and re-writes later, the section has doubled in size, but is much easier to follow. The general goal with the Manual was “less is more” — and a great deal of text was trimmed throughout the book — but that went out the window if a higher word count was actually needed.

Everything in yellow was rewritten, so … everything. There were numerous pages like this.

Skidding was a big one. I’m not really a fan of these rules, but if they had to be there (and they did, because this isn’t a new edition), then I wanted them to be as clean as possible. The Beta broke Skidding up into more manageable chunks, but going over that section again, I felt I could do better. So the final version breaks up the Collisions section further (into Collisions with ‘Mechs and Collisions with Stationary Objects), and clarifies the examples with regards to all the displacement stuff that occurs as a result. A good four pages of text was completely replaced here.

Quirks were also heavily redone. They were added to the Manual in the first place as the result of fan feedback, and we received a lot of corrections and suggestions on the quirk list during the Beta period. Many ‘Mechs have received new quirks, or have had inappropriate ones taken away, and we added a few ‘Mechs we missed in the first place. Lastly, the quirks themselves were edited to make them clearer and more playable, one was deleted (Rumble Seat, which bestowed a capability that TechManual said all ‘Mechs already have), and one all-new quirk was added (Ramshackle, for all your Periphery and Third Succession War-era needs).

Lastly, there was the weapons chapter. Some excellent feedback on the forums pointed out that a lot of the ‘Mechs in the most recent Technical Readouts had equipment the Manual didn’t include rules for. Now, the Manual was never intended to include everything: “95% of what 95% of players need” was the mantra. But with those new TROs using so much cutting-edge gear, we were definitely falling behind that 95% figure. You can read more about the thinking around this issue here.

In short, gameplay rules for the following new pieces of equipment were added to the final:

  • AES
  • Armoured components
  • Ballistic-reinforced armour
  • Boosted C3
  • Ferro-lamellor armour
  • Hardened armour
  • Lance
  • Partial wing
  • Re-engineered lasers
  • Reflective armour
  • Talons
  • Vibroblade
  • XXL engine

And of course I went back through the book and added references to all these items in the appropriate standard rules sections. For example, both the Heat and Movement sections now detail XXL engine effects, the Club section now mentions the additional modifiers applied when you try to use a club with claws, etc. And then Chris Hart, writer of so many of those well-received bits of flavour text on all the weapon entries, added some fun new ones to it all.

I hope all of this has helped show just how much the Beta process changed things, and why it’s worth upgrading your copy to the final version. The BattleMech Manual gives you the clearest, easiest to follow, most thoroughly-pored-over set of ‘Mech rules we’ve ever had, excellent regardless of whether you play in 2450, 3025, 3150 or any era in between. Thanks to everyone that contributed feedback, and I hope you have a ton of fun with it.

— Keith Hann

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Forum Issues (Mostly Resolved) http://bg.battletech.com/news/forum-issues/ Wed, 12 Jul 2017 02:11:11 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7156 At this time (9:30 PM US Eastern 12 July 2017), the forums are more or less running normally. Some smileys aren’t loading properly and we are continuing to monitor for additional problems. Please report them in the “Website and Forum Support” board so the technical team can look into the issues and work to resolve [...]]]> At this time (9:30 PM US Eastern 12 July 2017), the forums are more or less running normally. Some smileys aren’t loading properly and we are continuing to monitor for additional problems. Please report them in the “Website and Forum Support” board so the technical team can look into the issues and work to resolve them.

Original post:

As most of you are probably aware, the BattleTech site recently experienced an extended outage. We are still completing the process of bringing the forums fully back to normal.

At this time (10:11 PM US Eastern 11 July 2017), we are aware of problems logging in or posting on the forums. The technology team is working to resolve that issue and we will update this post once everything is resolved.

In the meantime, please be patient, give us time to work on resolving all of the issues, and do not create a new account to post.

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Origins 2017 Announcement: Worldwide Event 2017 – Scorched Earth http://bg.battletech.com/news/origins-2017-announcement-worldwide-event-2017-scorched-earth/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:21:06 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7144 Take part in the battle for New Oslo in this all-new worldwide event for BattleTech, A Time of War, and Alpha Strike!

All games must be run and submitted by a member of the Catalyst Game Labs Demo Team to count toward the event. Players can connect with their local Agent by visiting the official [...]]]> Take part in the battle for New Oslo in this all-new worldwide event for BattleTech, A Time of War, and Alpha Strike!

All games must be run and submitted by a member of the Catalyst Game Labs Demo Team to count toward the event. Players can connect with their local Agent by visiting the official forums at bg.battletech.com and clicking on the “Catalyst Game Labs Demo Team” forum. Look for a local game, or request an agent to run one near you. All games must be submitted by Labor Day to count for the event.

Catalyst Demo Team Agents present at Origins will receive the official event files during the convention. All other Agents will receive the same info via e-mail during the week of June 19. (Agents who wish to play in the event themselves should not read the event documents!) After the event is complete, the files will be made publicly available.

Connect with your local Agent, and get your games of Total Warfare, A Time of War, and Alpha Strike!

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Catalyst Game Labs Announces New Leadership for BattleTech Line http://bg.battletech.com/news/catalyst-game-labs-announces-new-leadership-for-battletech-line/ Thu, 01 Jun 2017 15:30:27 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7135

Lake Stevens, WA (May 25, 2017) – Catalyst Game Labs announced today the appointment of new individuals to three key leadership positions overseeing the BattleTech game line, moves which will secure the property’s three-decade-long legacy of success for years to come.

Brent Evans, Catalyst’s Art Director, will step into the role [...]]]> atlas-vs-madcat_announcementproof

Lake Stevens, WA (May 25, 2017) – Catalyst Game Labs announced today the appointment of new individuals to three key leadership positions overseeing the BattleTech game line, moves which will secure the property’s three-decade-long legacy of success for years to come.

Brent Evans, Catalyst’s Art Director, will step into the role of BattleTech Line Developer. He takes over the position from Randall N. Bills, who will remain Catalyst’s Managing Director and continue to oversee development of all of the company’s gaming products.

Evans has been instrumental in shaping the look of the BattleTech universe over the past decade, building a stable of high-quality freelance artists who have brought the future to life.

Joining Evans is Ray Arrastia, who will serve as BattleTech‘s Assistant Line Developer. A versatile graphic designer, production manager and game developer, Arrastia is also the co-founder of CamoSpecs, a community of elite artists whose talents have graced BattleTech miniatures since.

Finally, Mary Kaempen will take up the duties of Catalyst Demo Team Lead and Event Coordinator. Kaempen will be responsible for managing the Catalyst Demo Team day to day, and coordinating the CDT’s convention activities. In her previous position as Demo Team Executive Officer, she was instrumental in the Demo Team’s reorganization and expansion over the past two years.

“I could not be more excited to have Brent, Ray and Mary leading BattleTech into the future,” said Bills. “This team represents the very best we have to offer, and I know their passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm will continue to make this beloved game a vibrant and exciting experience for MechWarriors around the world.”

Among the team’s first priorities will be preparing new products and gaming experiences for the upcoming Origins Game Fair and Gen Con. Evans and Arrastia will also focus on bringing all-new introductory BattleTech products to store shelves which are guaranteed to excite both longtime fans and newcomers alike.

BattleTech is produced by Catalyst Game Labs under license from The Topps Company, Inc. For more information, please visit bg.BattleTech.com.

Discuss this news here!

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WHAT IS THE BATTLEMECH MANUAL? http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/what-is-the-battlemech-manual/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 01:09:43 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7056 When Total Warfare (TW) came out in 2006, it was the fifth major BattleTech rules compendium. Coming eight years after the BattleTech Master Rules, it drew on over twenty years of gameplay experience in an attempt to make the best collection of the BattleTech rules possible.

While Total Warfare was by far the most thorough [...]]]> When Total Warfare (TW) came out in 2006, it was the fifth major BattleTech rules compendium. Coming eight years after the BattleTech Master Rules, it drew on over twenty years of gameplay experience in an attempt to make the best collection of the BattleTech rules possible.

While Total Warfare was by far the most thorough BattleTech rulebook ever released, its very thoroughness frustrates some. The fact that it has fiction designed to help immerse you in the universe, advice on painting and modelling, and rules for almost every unit type in the game (including rules for how all those rules interact with each other) means that the heart of the game, the BattleMech, can get lost in its 312 pages. For some people, all this other material just gets in the way of getting right into stompy robot action.

At the same time, just as the lessons of previous rulebooks informed Total Warfare, we’ve learned a lot about how to make books in the ten-plus years since it was released. Ten years of release means ten years of use at the tabletop and ten years of feedback on its layout, its wording, and other aspects.

As such, it was decided that the time had come to put together a new rulebook. Not a new edition, but a book that took all that play experience and feedback and channelled it into a new, ’Mech-only tome, designed from the ground up for clarity, ease of use, and play at the tabletop, intended both for beginners and vets. That’s the new BattleMech Manual.

The Process
We started by taking the text of the most recent printing of Total Warfare, which ensured we had all errata to date in our base text. At the same time, there was an additional three years of errata not yet collected in any printing that we added in.

Next we cut all the non-’Mech information. All the fiction, all the modelling advice, all the construction rules, all the rules not related to ’Mech gameplay: all gone. This was a huge savings in text right there, but we kept cutting. We went out of our way to trim text whenever possible, to make sentences tighter: every word trimmed is one bit faster that someone can read a rule in the middle of a game. Overall, even after removing the non-’Mech rules, the text is about 15% shorter than in TW.

That having been said, improved clarity was a major goal of this project, and so nothing was cut if it came at the expense of understanding. Some sections were even expanded if player feedback indicated that they were confusing. I read through ten years of Total Warfare rules forums posts to see what tended to trip people up, and issues such as TAG, ammo usage, and critical hit transferal were all given a more thorough treatment.

All this left us with a pile of well-edited text. But we wanted to take it a bit further, so we re-examined the layout of Total Warfare itself, to see if we could make the rules flow better. For example, in TW the Movement chapter starts with a discussion on water, difficult terrain, and level changes. However, if you don’t even know how to get and spend MP or change your facing yet, then this information might just be confusing.

tw-movement

The Manual instead starts by explaining movement modes: the means by which you get MP. Then you learn how to spend that MP: first by change your facing, then by moving between basic hexes. Only then do you hit the rules for level changes and the like.

bmm-movement

There was also a general attempt to compile information that, while in the rules, was not always placed to its best effect. The best example I can think of is the End Phase: that nebulous zone of gameplay in which a bunch of random things happen. In TW, there’s lots of mentions of the End Phase scattered throughout the book. But no rulebook has ever had a list of exactly what happens then. Worse is that some End Phase actions are mandatory, while others are merely optional, and with the optional ones, it’s annoying to remember later in the turn that you wanted to do that action but the time for it has already passed. So the Manual adds an End Phase checklist.

bmm-end-phase

Another good example of this is the immobile status. BattleTech has a bunch of times where things have 0 MP but aren’t immobile. Keeping track of what’s actually immobile vs. not can be rather annoying, and TW doesn’t do that, so the Manual lists this all for you (both in movement and in combat, each of which is a logical location to check):

bmm-immobile

Then there’s presentation of information. There’s lots of occasions in the rules where an activity has a lot of modifiers or a list of conditionals to go with it. Whenever this was the case, the mods were separated out from the main text, instead of just burying them in a paragraph. That way the essential information, especially key numbers, leaps out at you.

bmm-bullet-1
bmm-bullet-2

Finally, there’s segregation of information. We tried to keep the more unusual information segregated from the main rules, even if technically a weird rules section might go with a main rules section. For example, Underwater Combat is in TW’s Combat section. To me, this was a big chunk of rules that rarely saw play and constantly got in the way when looking for something basic. So, we took the most basic elements of such oddball scenarios, covered that and only that in the relevant chapter (Movement or Combat), and then shunted the rest off to specialist sections. For example, movement in water of some sort is common, so that’s all in Movement. But fully submerged underwater combat is quite rare, so that just gets a quick mention in Combat and then you’re instructed to see The Battlefield chapter, which handles unusual environments.

Similarly, skidding is clearly a movement rule. However, it only applies in urban environments, and then the bulk of it only really applies if you fail your skidding check. If you do though, you then need literally three and a half pages of content to resolve the result. In TW that sits like a brick in the Movement chapter (where it takes up five pages). For the Manual, instead there’s a brief mention in Movement that tells you that skidding exists, and even how to resolve a skid check, so that you don’t necessarily have to start page flipping. It’s only if you fail that check that you need to run off to the Urban Combat chapter, where all the skidding failure rules are now. I’d say 95% of the time the result is much more useful to the reader that’s just trying to find basic, everyday movement or other rules.

bmm-skidding

The Manual also splits more of the material in TW out into separate chapters. Damage is removed from Combat and given its own chapter, both to keep Combat more manageable in size but also because damage can come as a result of movement (falling) as well. Piloting Skill Rolls are also separated out from their placement in TW’s Movement chapter, since battle damage means that PSRs can occur in the Movement or Combat phases. Instead, the PSR rules are with the falling rules, in their own chapter.

The most important change in this regard is how Weapons and Equipment are handled. In TW, these rules were in the middle of the Combat chapter. Further, a lot of the rules information for weapons in TW is only found on the Weapons and Equipment tables at the back, in footnotes.

For the Manual, we instead have a dedicated Weapons and Equipment chapter. It has everything found in Total Warfare that is relevant to ’Mech-only combat. It also features the vast majority of the relevant weapons and equipment from Tactical Operations. All the game rules info you need are in this chapter, leaving the summary tables to contain only the raw stats for each weapon. There’s even tonnage and critical space info, previously only in the TechManual.

bmm-we

Now that we had our chapters, we made sure that they received a thorough review by outside eyes. For this we went to the people who have more BattleTech experience than almost anyone else: the Catalyst Demo Agents. Spearheaded by Mary Kaempen, lead BattleTech Demo Agent, the team pointed out all the spots that they’ve had issues with over the years running battles and teaching the game to others. The book is immensely better for their feedback.

As part of this, one of the demo agents mentioned that they kept running into the same set of common mistakes people were making. These sorts of misconceptions are tricky to correct, because people are convinced that their understanding is correct. As such, no matter how clear we make the rules in question, many won’t bother to look them up, because they already “know” how they work. The solution was to create a special Common Misconceptions chapter, a quick five pages that lists the things people unknowingly tend to do wrong. This should help end those BattleTech urban legends.

bmm-misconceptions

What about appearance? Just as we had learned how to improve the text over the years, there were some solid ideas as to how to make the book more user-friendly visually. Again, this book was designed from the ground up to be used at the tabletop. We wanted the layout to match that. Ray Arrastia, in charge of graphic design for the Manual, created a crisp-looking page layout with some nice improvements.

If you look at the picture of the Misconceptions chapter, posted above, note the chapter tabs on the right side of the page, there to easily orient the reader. The bottom of each page also has an indicator as to where you are in the book, so as to help someone flipping through it.

My favourite element is how example text is handled. In TW, examples are part of the main rules text, albeit slightly indented and in italics. This makes them fairly easy to see, but places them in the midst of the rules, so that when you want just the rules, you sometimes have to wade through a great deal of example text to find it. With the Manual, an example is always out of the way, but instantly identifiable should you need to refer to it.

bmm-example-example

New Content
So what about new content? Overall, the idea was that this is a new presentation of existing rules, not a new edition. As such, we kept new rules to a minimum. However, there are a few.

For example, as part of showing off the depth of gameplay available, we decided to include a selection of the simplest and most popular optional rules from Tactical Operations (TO). TO is a 424-page monster, so we could never include more than a fraction of its content, but some of your favourites—such as sprinting, engine explosions, ejection, rapid-fire machine guns, and floating criticals—made it in. All are clearly marked as options. As Randall puts it, it’s 90% of what 90% of players use.

bmm-flamer
Here’s an all-new TO-type option, one people have requested for thirty years

Beyond that, we included some simplified forms of some Tactical Operations content. For example, TW just includes rules for the most common battlefield terrain types: woods, rubble, rough terrain, and water. The Manual expands this by adding in night fighting rules, plus those for mud, snow, ice, rain, wind, fog, swamps, and jungle—all reasonably common environments. In TO, some of those have extensive rules for getting stuck or otherwise endangered by the terrain, but we’ve cut that here in the interests of faster gameplay. Similarly, fire and smoke—a ruleset that goes back to the very beginning of the game—is featured in the Manual in a simplified form that allows you enjoy a bit of heat without rolling all day to track flame and smoke spread.

We also knew that, even for those players who like the ’Mech first and foremost, some people really enjoy the concept of laying minefields or raining artillery and air strikes on your opponent’s head, but don’t want to have to learn the many pages of advanced rules normally required to do so. With the Manual’s all-new Battlefield Support Rules, you can accomplish all three in under five pages—complete with air interceptions and smoke and illumination artillery—instead of the 70 (!) pages the regular rules need instead.

Lastly, the Design Quirk concept, which allows players to quickly customize their machines to represent design oddities or battlefield travails, has proven quite popular ever since it was introduced in Strategic Operations. Numerous other quirks have been introduced in other books since then. The Manual collects all those quirks, applies all errata to them, expands them for further play, and adds several all-new quirks. It also features a canon Master Quirk List for the almost 500 BattleMechs that did not yet have any assigned.

bmm-quirks

Also from Strategic Operations, we include its rules for hot-dropping ’Mechs from the sky directly into combat. These were again simplified (and cleaned up), so that you don’t have to know any of the aerospace rules to land an Atlas on somebody’s head.

So there you have it. The result is a 150-page rulebook that gives you everything you need to stride across the battlefields of the 31st century, in a clearer, easier-to-use fashion than ever before. If you were wondering why you might get the BattleMech Manual, I’m hoping this has helped make it clear. Thanks for reading!

-Keith Hann

The BattleMech Manual is currently available as a beta release! Your feedback can help improve the final release. For a full Table of Contents and information on a Catalyst Game Labs webstore coupon that you can apply to the Manual or any other CGL product, check out the Tumblr post.

To purchase a beta copy of the Manual, follow either of these links (CatalystStore, DriveThruRPG). Note that because the coupon above allows players to snag the entire book for only $5, the beta does not automatically upgrade to the final release:

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BattleMech Manual Beta PDF & BT Survey Available! http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/battlemech-manual-beta-pdf-bt-survey-available/ Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:38:42 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7041

Standing from seven to sixteen meters tall, and weighing from twenty to one hundred tons Powered by an armored and shielded fusion reactor Skeleton of honeycombed, foamed aluminum core wrapped with stressed silicon carbide monofilament and sheathed by a rigid, titanium-steel shell Locomotion generated via bundles of polyacetylene-fiber myomer muscles Protected by aligned-crystal steel [...]]]>
e-cat35010-battlemech-manual_cover

  • Standing from seven to sixteen meters tall, and weighing from twenty to one hundred tons
  • Powered by an armored and shielded fusion reactor
  • Skeleton of honeycombed, foamed aluminum core wrapped with stressed silicon carbide monofilament and sheathed by a rigid, titanium-steel shell
  • Locomotion generated via bundles of polyacetylene-fiber myomer muscles
  • Protected by aligned-crystal steel over a layer of boron nitride impregnated with diamond monofilaments
  • Mounting a swath of powerful weapons from charged particle beams to lasers, missiles to rapid-fire autocannons
  • All at the command of the noble elite, the MechWarriors

The modern BattleMech is the end result of more than three thousand years of battlefield technology development. Combining awesome destructive power and unparalleled maneuverability, the BattleMech is perhaps the most complex machine ever produced. The undisputed master of thirty-first century warfare, the BattleMech seems destined to reign supreme for centuries to come.
—Excerpts from a promotional pamphlet originally distributed by Defiance Industries of Hesperus, Lyran Commonwealth, 3007

Using the most up-to-date rules text, the BattleMech Manual has been designed from the ground up to cater to the BattleTech player wanting to engage in an all-’Mech battle. Includes a variety of optional rules, terrain and more.

Welcome to the most table-usage-friendly BattleTech rulebook ever published!

BattleMech Manual Open Beta PDF (Buy From CatalystStore)

BattleMech Manual Open Beta PDF (Buy From DriveThruRPG)

BATTLETECH SURVEY

Greetings MechWarriors!

We need your help!

To mark the release of the BattleMech Manual, our new rulebook which makes the tabletop game more accessible than ever before, we’ve launched a survey seeking the opinions of MechWarriors of all types. We want to know all the ways you enjoy BattleTech in all its forms, to help make the game even better.

It won’t take long to share your opinion, and anyone who completes the survey will earn a special reward. Click here to get started! Click here to get started!

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New Legends Epub Available http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/new-legends-epub-available-3/ Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:32:13 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7036

A flash of steel, a thin crimson line, and a foamy gurgle of confusion marked the beginning of Takashi’s rule, and the passing of Theodore’s grandfather.

Theodore Kurita is the son of Takashi Kurita, and heir apparent to the Draconis Combine, one of the most powerful realms of the Inner Sphere. But the Draconis [...]]]> heirtothedragon

A flash of steel, a thin crimson line, and a foamy gurgle of confusion marked the beginning of Takashi’s rule, and the passing of Theodore’s grandfather.

Theodore Kurita is the son of Takashi Kurita, and heir apparent to the Draconis Combine, one of the most powerful realms of the Inner Sphere. But the Draconis Combine has never been a place of smooth transitions. Historically, a Kurita proves himself a fit leader by a successful bid for power, political or… otherwise.

Theodore’s perilous journey to power is a twenty-year odyssey beginning with his graduation from Sun Zhang Military Academy. At each level of ascendancy, Theodore finds that keeping power is far more difficult than getting it, and failure lies in wait at every turn.

Theodore’s tactical knowledge is put to the test all too many times. His successes in impossible situations are dismissed as smoke and mirror trickery by some, but lauded as genius by others.

Upon reaching the level of Lord of the Combine Military, his new power allows him to see the uncertain future of his people. Theodore must step carefully as he bargains for his future with ComStar, the mystic sect, and the Yakuza, an interstellar network of organized crime. All the while, maintaining an uneasy truce with the man whom he must one day depose… his father, Coordinator of the Draconis Combine!

Heir to the Dragon Epub (Buy From CatalystStore)

Heir to the Dragon Epub (Buy From DriveThruRPG)

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New Legends Epub Available http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/new-legends-epub-available-2/ Fri, 02 Dec 2016 01:42:44 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7033

Task Force Serpent has triumphed and Clan Smoke Jaguar is shattered beyond redemption. But the final battle is still to come, when Prince Victor Steiner-Davion braves the unknown and travels to the very heart of the Clans: Strana Mechty. There, with elite units from across the Inner Sphere, he must wage the ultimate battle [...]]]> prince-of-havoc-3

Task Force Serpent has triumphed and Clan Smoke Jaguar is shattered beyond redemption. But the final battle is still to come, when Prince Victor Steiner-Davion braves the unknown and travels to the very heart of the Clans: Strana Mechty. There, with elite units from across the Inner Sphere, he must wage the ultimate battle to destroy the the Crusader cause and forever eliminate the possibility of a new Clan invasion. Pushed to the edge of of endurance by a peace they cannot understand, the Clans accept the challenge—and the ultimate battle begins.

But even if the Inner Sphere should prove triumphant, will their return be what they expect? Prince Victor left an Inner Sphere in united under a new Star League to battle the most dangerous foe the Inner Sphere has ever encountered: the Clans. But he also left behind his scheming sister Katrina Steiner, whose ambition knows no bounds. Task Force Serpent and Prince Victor believe that facing the Clans on their own homeworlds would prove the most difficult fight of their lives. They will soon learn that their fight has just begun.

Prince of Havoc Epub (Buy From CatalystStore)

Prince of Havoc Epub (Buy From DriveThruRPG)

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New Legends Epub Available http://bg.battletech.com/news/news-and-announcements/new-legends-epub-available/ Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:59:48 +0000 http://bg.battletech.com/?p=7027

Harley Rassor is a simple farm boy in a complex techno-universe—more than happy to work the land of planet Slewis with his father. His restless older brother left to join the elite mercenary corps, Able’s Aces… and paid with his life. Now, Harley’s father wants him to join the fight—and learn what happened to [...]]]> by-blood-betrayed

Harley Rassor is a simple farm boy in a complex techno-universe—more than happy to work the land of planet Slewis with his father. His restless older brother left to join the elite mercenary corps, Able’s Aces… and paid with his life. Now, Harley’s father wants him to join the fight—and learn what happened to his brother.

What he learns is that the Aces are in turmoil. His instructor—tough-as-nails Lieutenant Livia Hawke—also happens to be his brother’s ex-lover. Rumors of suspected payoffs and setups are commonplace. And the entire unit is in danger of being disbanded.

Then pirates launch a devastating raid on the Rim Collection’s resources, sparking an all-out fight that will put the Aces in the thick of battle—and reveal to Harley that there are worse things in war the death…

By Blood Betrayed Epub (Buy From BattleShop)

By Blood Betrayed Epub (Buy From DriveThruRPG)

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