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- Out-of-Print Books
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With almost thirty years of history, BattleTech has hundreds of rulebooks, sourcebooks, and scenario packs that are long out of print. While some of those books have updated versions currently in print, for long years most of that material simply was unobtainable. Now those books are once more available, in PDF format, for use by any player or gamemaster.
Please note the term “Out-of-Print” refers to any print book (or product such as a box set, map set and so on) that is no longer available in print form and will not be re-printed in its original form. This is different than “Out-of-Stock”, when a print product is temporarily unavailable in print form while a reprint is scheduled and generated.
Not all out-of-print books are available yet; as they become available, they’ll be added here. Additionally, there are items that will eventually be found in this out-of-print section that simply can’t be replicated even in a PDF form. They are provided here simply to showcase the legacy of BattleTech and to provide the potential collector with a list of what he may be hunting for.
The following information is important to keep in mind when purchasing these older items.
Almost three decades and hundreds of publications have given rise to a magnificent universe anyone can visit in a variety of ways. However, that very depth, despite best efforts, can give rise to inconsistencies in sourcebook/story fiction material (see Story Fiction Vs. Sourcebook Fiction at the bottom of the New to BattleTech? page). While some such inconsistencies may be accidental, most often they are purpose-driven to correct errors of the past. To determine what material is considered accepted as “true”, the term “BattleTech canon” is used. As a general rule of thumb, newer products are canon, while older, replaced products are no longer canon.
For example, much of the fictional content of say Field Manual: Capellan Confederation (published in 2000) has not been duplicated in newer products. Only portions of it are freshly re-presented, along with brand new information, in various items, such as the also out-of-print Field Manual: Updates (published in 2003), as well as the in-print Handbook: House Liao, Masters and Minions, and e-pub only Field Report: Capellan Confederation, and Objectives: Capellan Confederation (all four of which were published in the last two years). This leaves Field Manual: Capellan Confederation with valuable setting information players can still use to flesh out various aspects of their game play involving House Liao’s Capellan Confederation.
However, while Field Manual: Updates is also out-of-print, because it is a newer publication, if any information there directly contradicts material found in Field Manual: Capellan Confederation, the newer information is “true” and considered “BattleTech canon”. Furthermore, for the four in-print/epub books listed above, if anything in either Field Manual: Capellan Confederation or Field Manual: Updates is directly contradicted by this newest material, it is “true” and considered “BattleTech canon”
Scans of Printed Books
These books are not direct conversions of electronic files like the current in-print PDFs. Instead, these are scans of older books, meaning pages can be slightly off-center, covers may be creased and worn, and so on. Simply a fact of life to make these long out-of-print books available once more.
Some products may contain modified images of BattleMechs not currently used in BattleTech.
Out-of-print rulebooks provide a great snapshot of the development of the rules across the lifetime of the BattleTech line. While players are free to use any rules set they wish, all of these rulebooks have been superseded by the Core Rulebooks of Total Warfare, TechManual, Tactical Operations, Strategic Operations, and A Time of War: The BattleTech RPG.
Almost all the units presented in any out-of-print Technical Readout are found in a current in-print Technical Readout. However, while the game play information is translated to the in-print books, often the fictional content is presented in a new form, sometimes leaving the older Technical Readouts with their own universe information players can still enjoy.
Unlike older rulebooks which are superseded by the latest rules offerings, the details on a record sheet remain valid; though the graphic treatment may have changed, along with errata corrections as appropriate. While the current print and e-pub record sheets cover the lion’s share of previously published record sheets, as with other aspects of this out-of-print section, some players find the behind-the-scene look at their progression over the years interesting.
Scenario Packs generally focus on a specific combat formation or conflict, providing an in-depth look at the events and personalities involved. Unlike the Turning Points e-pub series which encourages players to construct their own forces and battles, however, Scenarios Packs follow the style of scenarios found inside the print Record Sheet books, with pre-generated details for all aspects of a game, including which maps to use, which forces are involved, and so on.
Adventures are specifically geared towards role-playing the BattleTech universe, providing a story and the characters that allow players to immerse themselves in this style of experience. Adventures often include maps, non-player character stats, and more.
These Historicals are part of the in-print series, but are simply no longer available in a print form.
Just as with in-print Setting Sourcebooks, these flesh out the universe in a wide variety of ways. Similar to the Historicals above, these may be part of a series of books where some in the line are currently in-print (such as the Handbooks), or books long out-of-print, with no corresponding in-print similarities. More so than any other style of out-of-print books, the most un-superceded information about the universe are found in these pages.
A variety of paper maps have been published over the years; Total Warfare, along with many other products, still refers to many of these maps. While the HexPack series is starting to bring these maps back into print, most remain out-of-print at this time.
Players can find small PDFs of each of these maps in the download section of the website.