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A Look Back–And Ahead–at BattleTech’s Success
On January 2, 2023
As the calendar turns to 2023, and we prepare another exciting year of BattleTech for customers and fans, we thought it appropriate to pause, and look back at the unbelievable success of the line over the past few years.
January 2023 will mark four years since the release of the A Game of Armored Combat and Beginner Box sets, the match which set off the current explosion of the game we all love so much. It’s the perfect time to journey back to see the arc that brought us here, reveal some data about that success, and talk a little about the shape of things to come.
In 2015, Catalyst embarked on a radical plan to redesign all of the unseen ’Mechs that, for legal reasons, had been removed from the universe. Our publication of those first redone images–in the Warhammer and Marauder–spurred other BattleTech licenses to embark on their own redesign efforts, resulting in all of the fan-loved classics appearing in Piranha Games’ amazing MechWarrior Online and MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, along with Harebrained Schemes’ award-winning BattleTech.
But we wanted to take it further. That meant all-new, ready-to-play, high-quality plastics–and completely redesigning the core products to match that quality, including a brand-new, never-before-seen item for BattleTech: the Beginner Box. These were a success from the moment they became available in January 2018; advance order sales were so high that we began second printings before the first even got to market. The seventh printing of A Game of Armored Combat and the eighth printing of the Beginner Box were being loaded on ships at the end of 2022, and once they go on sale there will have been 160,000 copies between these two boxes moved into the market in four years.
But this was just the foundation. While it was brilliant to see the core products in the market again, they offered redesigns of just nine ’Mechs. What we really wanted was a massive redesign of a huge swath of ’Mechs, with corresponding plastics. So, in July 2018, we ran what became one of the Top 100 Kickstarters of all time, unlocking nearly a hundred additional BattleMechs. It was amazing, stunning, and fantastic!
Yet, the question remained of whether those 15,000 backers–awesome, brilliant backers!–were the ceiling of this new resurgence? Or was this success only a taste of what was possible? Once the nearly two dozen different ForcePacks from the Kickstarter hit the market, once again, they exploded. More than 600,000 ForcePacks have been printed, with more than 500,000 selling within the last two years.
Coming out of the Kickstarter, the Clan Invasion boxed set has absolutely kept up with the first two boxes, despite releasing two years later: the fourth printing is being put on a ship at the end of 2022, and will bring the total number of copies of that box in the market to 55,000.
Four new mercenary ForcePacks–Eridani Light Horse, Kell Hounds, Northwind Highlanders, and Hansen’s Roughriders–will reach Catalyst’s warehouse in January, and four more ForcePacks will finish printing by March, including theGray Death Legion and Snord’s Irregulars ForcePacks, along with an UrbanMech Lance–four different variants of that iconic ’Mech–and a surprise pack. All told, this will total another 160,000 ForcePacks.
Of course, we can’t discuss the success of those ForcePacks without talking about our new Alpha Strike box set, showcasing the BattleTech game designed for the modern tabletop player. The initial run of this box set was the largest amount we’ve ever printed before: 25,000 copies. We retained 5,000 of those for shipping to Australia and Europe (they’re on ships now). The rest, we brought to the U.S. We sold through two thirds of that printing in mere days, and worked with our fantastic printer to quickly get a second printing of 20,000 copies done ASAP; that will get loaded on a ship in mid-January.
Once all that material moves through game stores by mid-summer 2023, we’re looking at more than nine million plastic miniatures put into the market in four-and-a-half years!
But it’s not just the miniatures. Sales of our rulebooks and sourcebooks have exploded as well.. Every single rule, campaign, and plot book we’ve published has immediately gone back to reprint. This includes the brand new ilClan Era campaign books. One of the best sellers is Total Warfare, whose tenth printing hits the warehouse in January. All told, we’ve sold more than 100,000 books in that same time frame. Supporting these products are our numerous digital-only items as well, such as the long-running Recognition Guides, arguably the best-selling digital-only series in our history. Not to mention all the ancillary products: for example, in the last four years we’ve published nearly fifty new BattleTech maps via paper and our deluxe neoprene, and we’ve got many more to come.
The BattleTech fiction line has also grown to match the game’s current lofty heights. We republished the entire Dark Age Era novel line–all 30 volumes–with all-new covers. Eleven issues of the official BattleTech magazine, Shrapnel, have seen print, as well as twenty-two new novels, eight short novels, eleven novellas, and fifty-seven short stories. All told, we’ve published more than 6.2 million words of new and re-issued fiction in the last four years!
And we’re just getting started! We’ve paired up with AdeptiCon, “The World’s Premier Tabletop Miniatures Convention,” to live-stream the launch of the Mercenaries Kickstarter on March 23, 2023.
Our upcoming Kickstarter will unlock more than fifty new plastic designs, including a slew of long-desired, fan-favorite ’Mechs, such as the “Ost” series; the Goliath and Scorpion, the first four-legged ’Mechs; as well as the original Technical Readout: 3055 Clan IIC ’Mechs. Plus, we’re beyond excited to bring more than a dozen vehicles to game tables, all molded in the same high-quality plastics and ready to play straight out of the box–including working turrets! The Kickstarter will also deliver a new Mercenaries box, a dozen new ForcePacks, new challenge coins, patches, pins, and all of the paraphernalia needed to celebrate mercenary life!
We’ve started releasing behind-the-scenes PDF previews of those coming designs; Preview 02 is available right now! That preview also teases the launch of The Mercenary Tales in January, a monthly installment of mercenary action all throughout next year!
Dominions Divided, the third ilClan Era campaign book, releases in January, along with more installments of Recognition Guide PDFs. New premium miniatures, fiction, t-shirts, plushies, and always more epic tabletop play, both at conventions and at your local friendly game stores….
By any metric, BattleTech is now more successful and more popular than ever before. With the coming Mercenaries Kickstarter and the lead-up to BattleTech’s 40th anniversary, there’s an excellent chance our current staggering success will be eclipsed as BattleTech reaches even more fans.
Thank you. To all the fans that have stuck with us through all these years. To the returning fans, and to the new fans finding us now. Welcome to all of you. This explosion of popularity–where we watch actual-play videos, painting photos, lore videos, excited discussions and more, happening every day on social media channels–is because of all of you! We could not do what we do without you by our sides.
We hope you love what’s happened with BattleTech over the last four years, and will join us as we charge onto even larger battlefields in our desire to ensure that everyone, everywhere knows how amazing BattleTech is, and have them give it a try.
- Veiled Resin With BattleTech and Shadowrun
- Now Available – BattleTech Adventures: Ghosts of Obeedah; Corrected Rifleman and Phoenix Hawk Premium Miniatures
- Now Available – Recognition Guide Vol. 1: Classics in Print!
- Now Available – BattleTech Activity Book 02, Full Range of PlushyTech, Gray Death Legion ForcePack, Plus Updates!