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Author Topic: Curious about the pros and cons of each system  (Read 1484 times)

Shinkaze

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Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« on: 29 April 2021, 17:36:43 »
I heard Alpha Strike is designed for speed but I haven't found the time to demo it yet.

Feeling curious about a timely game of BT, is there a place to read about the pros and cons of each BT and Alpha Strike?

I'm especially curious to know if people consider one system superior, and if Alpha Strike is rarely used.

Xotl

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #1 on: 29 April 2021, 18:44:10 »
Alpha Strike is the less common system, and also the far newer one.

Superiority doesn't really come into it, in that they're designed to do fundamentally different things.  Classic BT is best at a 2v2 or 4v4 scale.  Alpha Strike is good for 12v12 or 36v36.  Both fall apart when tried to play at the other's scale.

Like slow tactical play and lots of granularity?  You want classic.  Like the feeling of battalions smashing into each other and models dropping fast and furiously?  You want Alpha Strike.
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MarauderCH IIC

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #2 on: 29 April 2021, 18:50:50 »
Neither system is superior to the other. Each system has it's positives and negatives.

I've recently started playing AS. I've played the game on two different occasions and played a total of seven games in those two days. Each of those days there were ten people playing at those events so we got in a lot of gaming. AS is much better for this then BT. We never would have gotten in that much gaming playing BT. AS is more simple the BT. As a long time players of BT, I noticed this right away. Things don't work exactly the same and the game doesn't play exactly like a BT game. But I've also played with mechs in AS that I would never use in BT games.

Shinkaze

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #3 on: 29 April 2021, 21:55:15 »
I always thought the majority of the guns in BT were poor choices, and a large number of the mechs were pretty much virtual trash due to lack of armor or lack of heat sinks, so I look forward to a game where the mechs run closer in value.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #4 on: 29 April 2021, 23:52:15 »
there are upwards of 3700 variants now. many of them are quite well designed

Elmoth

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #5 on: 30 April 2021, 00:42:46 »
Alpha strike is less detailed that classic battletech. That means that games run MUCH faster with 2 advantages.
1. You can play the same scale of game or a little superior in size (4-6 mechs) in an hour instead of in a whole afternoon.
2. You can play 8-16 mechs per side in about 1.5 to 2 hours.

We use alpha strike for our RPG games and it fits right in for our combat events. It also would work well for tournaments, better than classic IMO since you can cram 3-4 games in a day easily and have extra time to brag, tell geognard stories from yore and laugh in general. Classic BT being slower is not as suitable for that.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #6 on: 30 April 2021, 09:14:59 »
A side effect of the faster game play in Alpha Strike is that mechs die much faster as well. This may seem obvious in the saying of it, but it's something to keep in mind if using AS to game out RPG campaigns. Unless players are very cautious, they may find their characters(or at least their mechs) have a much more limited lifespan on the battlefield than expected. This goes double for characters who go into battle in anything other than a BattleMech.
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Elmoth

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #7 on: 30 April 2021, 09:22:21 »
Yup, very true. We roll to hit for each point of damage a mech can cause, so it diminishes those hits that demolish a light mech in a single round, but damage accumulates more over time. In general a mech that is focused on will survive for 1-2 turns. If, and play in a mirror duel, it can survive for 2-4 turns before internal damage. TMM and cover are important things, and my players tend to be quite cowardly when damage starts to ramp up. As it should be in a 3SW setting. Mechs are certainly vulnerable in Alpha Strike.

Son of Kerenski

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #8 on: 03 May 2021, 16:24:28 »
Classic BT is best at a 2v2 or 4v4 scale.  Alpha Strike is good for 12v12 or 36v36.  Both fall apart when tried to play at the other's scale.

Agree with TW games falling down on the larger scale. Took a weekend to do 6 turns in a 36v36 game.

But lance vs lance (or 2v2) in AS is a great way to teach newbies the game as it doesn't require a huge investment in time. 30-40 mins and you're done. Ive been demoing this very way for a while now and it works well.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #9 on: 03 May 2021, 16:49:57 »
Play Total Warfare if you want a drawn out duel between players. It's where you get stories of 'Mechs with limbs blown off, surviving the battle with three total points of structure--one in each leg and on in the CT. Your 'MechWarriors take hits, get knocked out, and sometimes die.

Play Alpha Strike if you want to push a lot of minis across the board and play out large-scale battles. Combat is quick and deadly.

Kind of like first-person shooter vs. real-time strategy. I love them both but they each have very different purposes.

bobthecoward

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #10 on: 09 May 2021, 12:22:09 »
The new line of minis are amazing and reasonably priced. Alpha strike makes it easier to play more games with more minis. I had no interest in alpha strike before this, and now I Just want to keep painting these up.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #11 on: 12 May 2021, 02:23:34 »
Something I haven't seen mentioned, but is worth noting, is that combined arms is far easier to use in Alpha Strike, and armor units feel like they have a bit more bite.
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Atlas3060

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #12 on: 18 May 2021, 15:26:19 »
Total Warfare scale and Alpha Strike scale are both wonderful but different.
Total Warfare is best scaled for a 4v4 or 5v5 at best to get a decent game moving. Yes I know of some players that can do more but that's the average I've seen for a "fast" game.
Alpha Strike (and tangentially Battleforce to some degree) allow you to play with more, company versus company, rather swiftly.

The two serve different narrative purposes.
Total Warfare is more of a scale where your pilots can say "I was there when my lance mate bit it with that headshot"
whereas Alpha Strike is more of a scale where your forces can proudly announce, "We took down the rebellious forces, their leader was laid low by our headhunters. We'll move on their headquarters by sun down!"

Alpha Strike for the RPG would be interesting, but as others said, deadly. I guess a house rule so people don't outright die with a unit destroyed would be helpful. Still it would be useful for fast pace duels.

Also funny enough certain mechs perform better in Alpha Strike. That Shadow Hawk with the messy looking weapons profile in Total warfare scale? It's a ride that can pop at least 1 point of damage on all the ranges in Alpha Strike and might be a decent "soldier" Mech. That's kind of cool.
« Last Edit: 18 May 2021, 15:29:35 by Atlas3060 »
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butchbird

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #13 on: 07 June 2021, 20:04:19 »
Total Warfare has Personnality.

In Total warfare each mech feels truely unique, its a battle of attrition, counting on "that lucky hit", learning to love and/or hate each variant of a single unit, wanting to use that goddam quickdraw even though it's so badly designed 'cause it just feels like a big mobile humanoid war machine...and the level of details makes it so you cringe at each critical roll on your units.

Alpha strike is more like the typical wargame... sure that panther is a better machine then my cromwell but at this level the difference ain't that much...and so it goes for the quickdraw versus the thunderbolt.

But yeah, quicker game, allows for more combined arms, easier to train and interest new players, possibility for playing a company battle in a few hours instead of never finishing it... Alpha Strike has all those. I don't think I'll ever play Total Warfare again... not by choice, but because Alpha Strike is much more convenient unless you have friends/a gaming group ready to invest themselves in such a time costly enterprise as Total Warfare (But all that personnality!)

Elmoth

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #14 on: 08 June 2021, 11:20:58 »
Lol.
I find it difficult to be more insulting to alpha strike players like my group. Kudos to you to demonstrate why BT is not a new player friendly environment in a priceless one post capsule.

I could write the same text regarding classic BT (that I have played as well, but found not suited to my tastes) but I find that far from constructive.

Let's just say that AS is far from your (I am fairly sure, untested on the battlefield) personal opinion.

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« Last Edit: 08 June 2021, 11:23:09 by Elmoth »

butchbird

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #15 on: 09 June 2021, 06:20:28 »
Well...I fail to see how I'm being insulting...

True I haven't played much AS, or classic BT, I play these systems with friends when I have the time which amounts to every 6 months at best and I'm the only one really "versed" in it (in other words the only one who doesn't have to manually calculate all modifiers for shooting with a weapon when playing classic BT on a paper sheet)  but the fact is this: Choosing between a warhammer and an archer in BT depends alot on the situation...but you'd be mad not to go with the archer in AS which is simply superior (in their base variants anyway) because the level of detail is lesser as to enable quicker or bigger battles.

Perhaps you took it the wrong way, after all like I said Alpha Strike has a lot going for it...not the least the fact it's much easier to jump into then classic BT for new players.

But then, as long as you find the one post capsule priceless, I guess I (kind of) got the effect I wanted...but again, really, I mean't no slight towards AS players which is a great system.

Elmoth

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #16 on: 10 June 2021, 05:07:39 »
the comment stands, but it seems you have interpreted differently than I expected, probably because you are not reading the boards much.
I n recent weeks we have had a surge of posts by new players complaining that BT is hostile to them. One of the comments thrown is the existance of "gatekeepers" in the form of unfriendly BT players that tell you you are WRONG if you do not play lance on lance using classic BT rules, and that ANY other form of enjoying the game makes you a subhuman being. I do not fully endorse that in this forum but I have foun d them aplenty in other places, including events. the result is that I and my friends totally ignore he summons to go to BT events.
Your post sounded EXACTLY like that: Classic BT ha personality while AS is just for morons that do not know a thing about how their own lofe. Yeah, sure.

My opinion is the opposite. For me the "personality" is just the fact that I find classic BT totally dominated by random die rolls, but very low level of tactics whie alpha strike, because the units ar equite similar, tends to mean that the tactics, pincer moves, target priorization and other similar stuff are meaningful. So if you want to say "I was there when I randomly rolled a 12 and headcapped the enemy with nothing to show about skill on my part because it is all die-based, haw haw haw" classic BT is great, but I do not enjoy that. I prefer my battlefield decisions to mean something and Alpha Strike is much better for that. I think classic is just a dated system, not one with personality.

I also really think this thread was better before you and I intervened.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #17 on: 10 June 2021, 06:04:18 »
As I should be well asleep I was thinking regular (skill 4 pilots) are much more useful in alpha strike than regular BT.

A regular at medium range shooting an average heavy mech is going to hit on a 8 or 9 depending on terrain. In classic it would be 9 or 10 if it’s actually in the weapons medium range, rather than what we consider mid-range, even less of a chance if it’s a shot from a shorter range weapon.

Son of Kerenski

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #18 on: 10 June 2021, 11:50:58 »
I n recent weeks we have had a surge of posts by new players complaining that BT is hostile to them. One of the comments thrown is the existance of "gatekeepers" in the form of unfriendly BT players that tell you you are WRONG if you do not play lance on lance using classic BT rules, and that ANY other form of enjoying the game makes you a subhuman being. I do not fully endorse that in this forum but I have foun d them aplenty in other places, including events. the result is that I and my friends totally ignore he summons to go to BT events.

These people you speak of sound like true asshats. But I don't feel they are indicative of the general BT playing populace at all. Certainly not in my 34 years of experience.

Geg

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #19 on: 10 June 2021, 12:51:57 »
"personality"

I am not the OP, but the individual mechs lacking "personality" in Alpha Strike is a fairly common complaint I get leveled by  Battletech Players every time I experiment with Alpha Strike.  There just isn't enough differentiating each of the mechs from each other in the way they play.  And based on my experience, I'd agree that its more the Formations, and the force overall that generates its character.   Rather than a single plucky light mech.

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #20 on: 10 June 2021, 13:34:47 »
And based on my experience, I'd agree that its more the Formations, and the force overall that generates its character.   Rather than a single plucky light mech.

And this, I think, is the quintessential thing to understand in order to really make peace with Alpha Strike. It is just a different (and my personal favorite) scale to play with. AS is as much about positioning and target selection and heat management as BT, but the units you're concerned with are lances and the weapons you're choosing to fire at what are mechs. That being said, I do think it benefits more from objective-based scenarios than BT does in terms of "excitement".

butchbird

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #21 on: 10 June 2021, 20:13:39 »
Okay...gee, and there I was, thinking it would be a "social faux-pas" to use the word "character" and add "and  I'm all about character".

The BTU having started off as a post-apocalyptic setting where neo-feudal mechwarriors waged small battles in beat-up relics, it was inevitable a sort of "mech cult" would develop. Classic Battletech caters to this, the scale enabling a more detailed experience of managing a single unit. Is it a game system showing plainly it comes from the 1980's? Definitely, but then it caters to said experience in a splendid fashion in this way. Only way of doing this on table top (that I could think of) is through a lot of random die rolls...But then it would be wrong to assume it doesn't enable the use of tactics, it's just that it's more about not making any mistakes then out-thinking your opponent.

Out-thinking your opponent is what typical wargames are about, and so it goes for Alpha strike which, in my opinion, is unmistakenly a wargame, whilst for classic BT this is arguable, though I don't agree it's anything less. I've been a long time lurker (oh how I miss back in the days when there were lots of heated debates on the fluff with many realworld comparisons which BTU makes so tasty) and I remember that there had been a consensus that classic BT was 70% luck and 30% tactics, a proportion which would be more even in Alpha strike I suppose, though with my lack of experience I can only make an educated guess.

Anybody who's an adept of the "mech cult" needs the character contained in the plucky light mech. Far from me the idea of diminishing the "character" value of a hand-picked company, Alpha strike is an awesome game system which enables battletech fan's to enact major battles in a convenient way (I played a company against a trinary battle in classic BT once, only time I played with people who actually were battletech players...even though it's the only time I didn't play only with newbies, it still was slow as hell with all those units and I never finished the game, think I ducked out after 3 sessions)...But I'm attached to the different battlemech models, and Alpha stike, while giving me my battletech and "real and sufficient scale wargame" fix all at once, doesn't please the mech cultist in me as much...I suppose that's the bone the "classic BT purists" have with alpha strike.

That said, my limited experience (and what I gather from reading the forums, though I tend to concetrate mostly on threads concerning fluff) really doesn't lead me to think of battletech player as anything less then actively seeking to welcome new players into the fold...I mean, in a 100km radius from where I'm sitting, there can't be more then 10 people who own a battletech game system, driving away new players is madness.
« Last Edit: 10 June 2021, 20:35:46 by butchbird »

Orcygoodness

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #22 on: 10 June 2021, 22:22:18 »
As a newcomer to BT table top, I found Alpha Strike rules to be much easier to get my head around. The beginner rules to BT were fine, but when I got to the basic rules in the AGOAC box, I looked at the record keeping in particular and thought whoah, if I wanted to be an accountant I would have stayed in my last job.
But the downside to Alpha Strike is you don't get to fire individual weapons, so coming from PC games the feeling of using unique weapon combos is lost and yes, I do feel that the character of the mechs is less.
On balance I think Alpha Strike is a better compromise as more mechs can be used and games can be more varied. But I am thinking of trialing beginner rules with heat as a restriction, to see if I can get some of the weapon usage tactics back without the record keeping or the excessive complexity (only in my opinion).
Either way, I think there is plenty of fun to be had playing, collecting mechs and painting, and chatting on forums.
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ActionButler

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #23 on: 11 June 2021, 07:07:01 »
Total Warfare has Personnality.

Unfortunately, that personality is a 35 year old hoarder who has a whole closet full of outdated, obsolete equipment that he keeps around “just in case”.

There’s no question that mechs have more uniqueness to them in Total Warfare, but that uniqueness comes at the cost of being forced to play relatively small skirmishes instead of the grand, sweeping battles that we see in the fiction. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Total Warfare is Battletech: The Role Playing Game. Alpha Strike is Battletech: The Wargame.
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Dahmin_Toran

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #24 on: 11 June 2021, 08:36:34 »
Unfortunately, that personality is a 35 year old hoarder who has a whole closet full of outdated, obsolete equipment that he keeps around “just in case”.

There’s no question that mechs have more uniqueness to them in Total Warfare, but that uniqueness comes at the cost of being forced to play relatively small skirmishes instead of the grand, sweeping battles that we see in the fiction. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Total Warfare is Battletech: The Role Playing Game. Alpha Strike is Battletech: The Wargame.

That is why I prefer the Total Warfare mech sheets in Mechwarrior Destiny rather than the abbreviated versions in the core rulebook. It is more detailed and I can add that to the narrative in RPG battles.

NeonKnight

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #25 on: 11 June 2021, 08:48:47 »
The way I've explained the rules set is as follows:

Imagine you are recreating the Normandy beach Landings on D-Day.

First, you are dealing with the over arching command of the 4 Beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword). That's a LOT of forces, so the best rules set within the Game would STRATEGIC BATTLEFORCE (I know it wasn;t mentioned, but I use it in my explanations).

Then you decide to focus down to one beach (Omaha), and deal with the U.S. 1st Army's landing. Getting a little more Granular so we're gonna go to ALPHA STRIKE rules as we have potentially lots of units on each side.

Later, we're going deal a scene from Band of Brothers of Easy Company's assualt on some gun emplacements. As were only dealing a handful of units on each side, we can get even more granular and handle this battle with the standard TOTAL WARFARE rule set.

As seen, no one rule set is superior to the other, but is rather tailored around what exactly do you want to accomplish?

Could one use STRATEGIC BATTLEFORCE or ALPHA STRIKE for the assault on the gun battery? Sure, but the battlle would be short and dull.

Could one represent the entire Juno Beach Landing in TW rules? Again, sure, but would be very long, require a LOT of space, and would bog down real quick.
« Last Edit: 11 June 2021, 08:50:34 by NeonKnight »
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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #26 on: 11 June 2021, 09:42:27 »
That is why I prefer the Total Warfare mech sheets in Mechwarrior Destiny rather than the abbreviated versions in the core rulebook. It is more detailed and I can add that to the narrative in RPG battles.

I can easily see how that would work. Between Total Warfare, the MW Destiny sheets, and Alpha Strike, we have a series of different scales that are amazingly adaptable to whatever the players want to to do. You may have to staple a few things together through house rules, but its still pretty damned easy to do.
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bobthecoward

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #27 on: 11 June 2021, 21:35:38 »
Unfortunately, that personality is a 35 year old hoarder who has a whole closet full of outdated, obsolete equipment that he keeps around “just in case”.

There’s no question that mechs have more uniqueness to them in Total Warfare, but that uniqueness comes at the cost of being forced to play relatively small skirmishes instead of the grand, sweeping battles that we see in the fiction. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Total Warfare is Battletech: The Role Playing Game. Alpha Strike is Battletech: The Wargame.

If I played a tank game, I could see wanting to do it at the tank platoon scale. Would that be a wargame?

Oddly, I would like a fantasy game/rpg that played at the scale of alpha strike. Having a dozen unique minis sounds cool for fantastic.

butchbird

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #28 on: 12 June 2021, 09:54:15 »
The level of details of the rules is what determines the suggested scale...I don't really see how total warfare relates to rpg battle systems, though It's easy to see how combining total warfare battle system with a BT rpg system is a great idea. Lance on lance in alpha strike is fast and brutal, but also lacks the planing and maneouvering that makes the game fun, company on company in total warfare is a grand experience...but would probably take 30 hours of gaming to complete.

Also, I think its unfair to compare classic BT to a mid-aged hoarder...I see it more like those 4 monks who play outdoor hockey with us. Great people from a bygone age whose style of play feels slower and outdated but still works as well as the exuberant youngsters who hog the puck skating like they have a fire lit under their ass. Oh, and they ain't afraid to slash you in the legs if you lose it and cross-check 'em for no ****** reason.

Thinking about this, It also struck me how classic BT fans can relate to hockey geeks, the individual mech/player is just as important, when analysing the winning chances as the formation/team is...you learn to love or hate the individual player with all their strengths, weaknesses and character just like the mechs. I bet you could make a great comparison between alpha strike and football on the other hand, I'm no expert, but they're both more about the team and strategys involved (except the QB who get alot of press).

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Re: Curious about the pros and cons of each system
« Reply #29 on: 13 June 2021, 16:25:45 »
Total Warfare is Battletech: The Role Playing Game. Alpha Strike is Battletech: The Wargame.