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BattleTech is a science-fiction “space opera”: a factional, militarized universe set in the thirty-first century, a future where humanity has spread to the stars and spawned titanic interstellar empires, each nation controlling hundreds of worlds across a region of space stretching a thousand light years and beyond.
“It is the 31st century, a time of endless wars in which star empires clash across human-occupied space. These epic wars are won and lost by BattleMechs, 30-foot-tall humanoid metal titans bristling with lasers, autocannons and many other lethal weapons; enough firepower to level entire city blocks.”
Initially published thirty-five years ago as a tabletop board game, BattleTech has gone on to become one of the gaming industry’s most important and longest-lasting science-fiction universes. In the free BattleTech Primer PDF above (it’s 68 megs, so may load slow depending upon your internet connection) we will skim the surface of BattleTech’s incredibly rich fictional setting.
CHOOSE YOUR EXPERIENCE
There are five ways in which people enjoy the BattleTech universe.
- 1. As a tabletop miniatures game
- 2. As a board game
- 3. As a roleplaying game (RPG)
- 4. As a reader of fiction
- 5. As a computer game
It’s important to note that what makes BattleTech so enjoyable is there is no “right way” to enjoy it. While the avenues above are the primary ones, often players mix and match all aspects, with board gamers reading all the fiction, or the roleplayers rotating to the board game during ’Mech vs. ’Mech combat, the fiction and board game players as much a fan of the computers games as any electronic-only gamer, and so on.
While the website is designed to provides details on how you can tailor BattleTech to your specific tastes, it’s ultimately up to you to delve in as far and as wide as you’d like, taking what you love and leaving anything else behind.
Computers Games and More!
This site is dedicated to aspects 1 through 4, as noted above, of BattleTech. However, the universe has spawned a host of other experiences, most notably computer games (hence point 5 above). Check out the portal site of BattleTech.com for links to a variety of developing computer games.
The following FREE downloadable PDF products will propel you directly into the BattleTech universe and game system in no time! They’re organized along the lines of the primary ways to enter the BattleTech experience as described above.
Once players have experienced the free PDFs below, they can move onto the full line of books & games supporting the BattleTech board game and universe. Each path below includes a link to the corresponding “Getting Started” page, providing a list and summary description of the books, games, and or fiction recommended for those starting down a given path.
If you’re looking to experience BattleTech as a tabltetop miniatures game, start here.
The training missions will quickly guide you through a skirmish of just a pair of ‘Mechs, all the way up to a battle pitting a dozen battlemechs against their equal number. The Alpha Strike Quick-Start Rules comes with everything you need to sample the game—including terrain templates and unit cards—all you need to try out the game is a pair of six-sided dice. If you’re already a veteran of the Battletech board game, you can use your miniatures to play Alpha Strike!
If you’re looking to experience BattleTech as a board game, start here.
Specifically designed to hurtle players onto the battlefields of the 31st century in minutes, it comes with everything you need to play – including a map and unit counters – you just need to bring your imagination and two six-sided dice! If you’re new to the BattleTech board game, start here!
A roleplayer looking for a new, epic science fiction setting? Start here.
For those who immediately want to tackle role-playing in this universe, A Time of War is the BattleTechRPG.
What empire will you swear allegiance to: a warrior merchant of House Steiner; the vat-bred warriors of the Clans; a mercenary that fights only for the highest bidder? Choose your life: a MechWarrior piloting the thirty-foot-tall BattleMechs that turn the tide of any battle; a spy deep behind enemy lines discovering secrets; a scientist unleashing the latest cutting edge technologies? How will YOU become a legend? This PDF comes with all the rules you need to leap into the roleplaying action of the BattleTech universe…you just bring the adventure!
4. As A Reader Of Fiction
Looking to dive into the fiction of the universe? Start here.
Story Fiction vs. Sourcebook Fiction: Outside of the games themselves, BattleTech uses two different types of fiction to convey its story. “Story fiction” includes novels, novellas, short stories and so on; fiction that puts the reader inside the heads of the characters that populate the universe. The two stories in the front of the Quick-Start Rules above are an example of “story fiction.” “Sourcebook fiction”—such as the Universe Guide above—presents story elements as though the reader were a character transplanted into the game universe, reading military documents, historical texts, secret security briefs, intercepted personal communications, local newspapers and so on. These two methods work hand-in-hand to bring the BattleTech universe to life.
This full-color, forty-eight page book introduces players to the fascinating and stunning universe of BattleTech, including details on twenty-four BattleMechs; a perfect fiction companion to the Quick-Start Rules. (You may have already come across this PDF at BattleTech.com.)
As you dive into the the free PDFs above, as well as the rest of the site, the following additional information may be useful.
The same scope and dynamic energy that makes BattleTech so compelling can also potentially make it confusing, with so many sourcebooks, novels, games, and so on, published over the years. To help quickly and easily convey the timeline of the BattleTech universe—and to allow a player to easily “plug in” a given game, sourcebook, novel, and so on—we’ve divided BattleTech into six major eras; check out more details on the BattleTech Eras page.
BattleTech vs. Classic BattleTech
As players encounter BattleTech sourcebooks and rulebooks, they will encounter books that bear the title “BattleTech” and others that bear the title “Classic BattleTech.” What’s the difference? BattleTech was originally published by FASA Corporation. When FASA Corporation closed its doors the BattleTech property was purchased by WizKids LLC (and then The Topps Company, Inc.), who licensed the rights to continue to produce books in the same vein as FASA Corporation to FanPro LLC. WizKids leapt the timeline forward to create MechWarrior: Dark Age, a collectible miniatures game set 65 years into BattleTech’s future. To help ensure there was no brand confusion, the word “Classic” was added to the BattleTech title, though the game and its fictional setting remained the same. The current publisher of BattleTech books, Catalyst Game Labs, has secured the rights to revert “Classic BattleTech” to “BattleTech.” However, regardless of what title a book bears, it’s all BattleTech and it’s all part of the skein that has been woven of a fantastic universe that’s fun to visit at the table top and between the pages of any of its books.