BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => Strategic Combat => Topic started by: Mishkin on 18 May 2017, 14:34:11

Title: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Mishkin on 18 May 2017, 14:34:11
Hi friends,

TL;DR: Here is a complete reworking of the Inner Sphere at War rules for the campaign I'm running.  Feel free to take a look and leave me some feedback if you have the time.

I was inspired by the Inner Sphere at War rules from the IO book.  I've run hundreds of sessions of RPGs and hosted a lot of board games for my friends and I saw this game as an opportunity to run something new and different: a hybrid strategy/role-playing/tactical game that links all three aspects of play.  When HBS announced their BT video game, I knew I also wanted to incorporate this into the game. 

However, after reading through the ISaW rules for the tenth time, I had to admit that they are unplayable.  The spirit of the rules wants you to play an epic game of thrones in space, but the rules as written make this untenable.  If you play at the largest scale (the whole Inner Sphere), then you'll never have the time or energy to actually fight other factions with big, stompy robots.  And this doesn't even cover the inconsistencies, the repetition, and the typos (some of the ISaW tables are missing the "5" row and where the hell is the Order Sheet the rules keep referencing?!).  This is an inspired set of rules with the potential for creating a fun, collaborative narrative for competitive gaming.  However, it just doesn't work with the rules printed in IO. 

My goal was to rewrite the rules to create a game that (1) can be played over the internet, (2) gives participants a Player Character and puts them together on teams, (3) incorporates the new HBS video game, and (4) can tell an interesting story. 

Here's what I've put together to meet these goals:
Only a few of my BT friends live nearby and even with the changes I've made, the game has to have a online map (I use Roll20) and spreadsheets to track Combat Commands, RP, and planets.  Simultaneous secret order submission, a mechanic I've loved since my first experience of Diplomacy, is perfect for google spreadsheets.  The old Combat Operations rules for Leaders with some TW-ish rules for Pilots let each lets each player have PC in the campaign.  Plus, having multiple players on each faction (currently at 3 or 4 for each House) means that no one has to worry about ruining the game for her friends if they take a vacation or get bogged down at work. Everyone in our group is excited for the new video game, so this will be one of the ways we resolve combat.  I quickly realized that there will be so many battles that we can't play PvP skirmish matches for them all, so the system also includes some auto-resolve or abstracted rules for battle.  When players do have time to jump into a match, the match results take the place of the random rolls in the auto-resolve rules (still waiting for more details about the game's skirmish mode so I can incorporate faction 'mech preferences, unit skill, unit class, etc. into the rules for setting up a PvP match).  As the GM, I also wanted the flexibility to add events and developments as the campaign progresses, such as, the arrival of the Dragoons or rumors of a new Star League memory core.  Overall, I want the game to allow players to rewrite the entire history of the BT universe from our start date in 3004. 

An incomplete list of what is in my rules: (

If people are interested, I can also share my spreadsheets for systems (which tracks ownership and RP) and my faction Order Sheet which tracks orders, espionage, leaders, and unit stats/damage/parameters.
I hope to eventually include a single RPG session for each of the player teams.  And if our first campaign is successful, we hope to follow it up with a 4th SW game that picks up where we left off (we will then do a short Klondike/Golden Cent./OpRevival Clan campaign).


P.S. Shout out to Alexander Knight for sharing their hexographer map of the IS with me.
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Mishkin on 20 May 2017, 12:21:05
And here's a link that just about everyone who is playing ISaW will find useful: an example of my custom order sheets for each faction.  This is the one for the Dracs.  It's got a summary page to track RP spending, an Order page for military units (to track Orders, movements, XP, etc.), an Espionage page for black ops orders, and some character sheets (part of my custom rules).  Hope someone else will find this useful.* (

*Many of the values for supply and movement have been changed for my game.  You'll need to modify the values in the formulas if you want to use it for your game RAW.

Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Revanche on 29 July 2021, 10:05:22
Mishkin, would you please make the order sheet re-available for downloading? I've been looking for such a resource for quite a few weeks.
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Mishkin on 02 August 2021, 16:44:47
Sorry, should be able to download it again.
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Revanche on 04 August 2021, 09:16:10
Thank you very much. I'll get into it now.

I very much appreciate your custom rules. In my merging of the three books for a FSW campaign, I've been influenced by the artwork to break and liven up the text and how you use colors in the tables.

Your rules mention missions and events often. Do you have a GM-level document for those?
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: operative2259 on 28 January 2022, 14:35:51
Lots of good work here.  I hope to get my local group large enough to attempt this.   Currently limited to using SBF as campaign level play.
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Daryk on 28 January 2022, 18:30:42
Dang it, how did I miss this thread before?  Thanks for the necromancy!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: WarHammer Willy on 09 February 2022, 15:09:02
Wow! This is awesome. I've begun work on a campaign like this as well.
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: idea weenie on 09 February 2022, 20:16:20
P7 - One note for the world values table is you have the following symbols being used:
solid small circle - Marginal world
solid small circle - Standard world (symbol appears to be the same as Marginal World)
Square in one corner of a circle? - Industrial World (and additional factories have the same symbol)
Triangle in circle - District Capital
Solid circle in Circle - Regional Capital
Star in solid circle - National Capitals

I'd want to change the following symbols to the following:
Industrial developments might represent better mining technology that can support other planets with resources, industrial farming systems that produce plenty of food for the war effort, sheer population concentration that can provide a lot of basic labor (and infantry), factories that produce advanced goods, bureaucracy that allows efficient transportation of the goods for the use of the nation, or War Material factories that produce the Mechs/vehicles/Dropships/ASF/Jumpships.

One idea would be:
Once sufficient industry has been developed on an Industrial planet, it would be converted to a District Capital due to that planet's sheer capability.  This would represent overall restructuring of the planet so the resources are coordinated, rather than working separately.

p7 - Starting military, the italics below the "Unit Type Distribution" table:
"Starting XP - WbtE=5, RG=10, G=30, R=30, V=20, E=5"
According to this note, the Elite troops get the same amount of starting XP as Wet Behind the Ears troops

P13 - Economic treaties
One way to make this sneakier is that if an economic treaty is broken, both parties take 1d6% damage to their economy due to the sudden loss of trade and the necessary realignments of trading routes (this penalty is reduced by 1% for each turn after the treaty is broken as the merchants figure out solutions).  A nation can avoid this by deciding they will break the treaty earlier, and reduce the 1d6 roll by 1 for each turn ahead they planned to break the treaty.  The down side is that each turn they are planning to break the treaty, the opponent's espionage has a chance to detect this planned disconnect.  So if you are planning to go to war against your neighbor you might plan to break the treaty early in order to throw their economy off, but you also are risking them spotting the disconnect early.

(this needs a way to reduce the penalty if the opponent detects the disconnect early)
Title: Re: Complete ISaW Rework (fb plz)
Post by: Daryk on 09 February 2022, 20:41:30
For the page 7 thing, I take that to be the percentage of an overall force, and I would expect Elite to be no more than the WbtE percentage.