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Battletech A Game of Armoured Combat

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In this introduction to the BattleTech game and universe, players each take control of one or more giant walking war machines (BattleMechs, aka ‘Mechs) and battle until their opponent is destroyed or until the scenario objectives being played are completed. In 2019 the old BattleTech Introductory Box Set was replaced by two all-new box sets. The second of these (after the Begi…
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Category Tags , , , SKU ZBG-CAT3500D Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Complex in-depth strategy
  • Mecha V Mecha combat
  • Good range of included BattleMechs

Might Not Like

  • Rules take a lot to digest
  • Not for absolute beginners
  • There are a lot of acronyms
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Description

In this introduction to the BattleTech game and universe, players each take control of one or more giant walking war machines (BattleMechs, aka 'Mechs) and battle until their opponent is destroyed or until the scenario objectives being played are completed.

In 2019 the old BattleTech Introductory Box Set was replaced by two all-new box sets. The second of these (after the Beginner Box) is A Game of Armored Combat. AGoAC comes with eight 'Mech miniatures--seven new, one a repeat from the Beginner Box (all made to a higher quality level than the previous generation of box set miniatures). The AGoAC rules cover introductory weapons and construction technology, and the standard BattleTech ruleset for mechs.

An expansion for this set, the BattleTech: Clan Invasion box set, adds more advanced technologies and introduces the Clan factions.

In terms of rulebooks, the intended follow-on from this box is either the BattleMech Manual (for more advanced but still mech-only play) or Total Warfare (for combined arms play featuring mechs, combat vehicles, infantry, air support, etc).

Player Count: 2
Time: 120 Minutes
Age: 12+

Battletech is the definitive game of mech on mech combat. A Game of Armoured Combat serves as the equivalent of a starter set or core box. It contains 8 battlemechs, 2 hex maps, rulebook, dice and supporting materials. It also serves as an alternative and more in-depth introduction than the beginner box which only comes with two battlemechs and stripped-down rules.

For anyone unfamiliar with Battletech it can be a beast to get into and this serves as a good jumping in point. Although fair warning it can be a fairly steep learning curve. This core set enables you to play games in the inner sphere zone of conflict in any of the pre Clan Invasion War eras(Although it can cover later if you ignore the omnimechs and stick to core inner sphere models).

It also acts as a precursor product to the Clan Invasion intro set which adds omnimechs and other various clan era technologies. This acts as a sort of tiered introduction so you can go from Beginner > Armoured Combat > Clan Invasion with the alternative options of Alpha Strike and the supplementary modules available as and when you feel the need to add them and increase the depth of gameplay.

Contents

The rulebook included in A game of armoured combat is a slightly abridged version of the full rules and is also available to download if you want to review the rules contents before buying. The battlemechs included are a nice balanced group and contain the following: Awesome, BattleMaster, Catapult, Commando, Locust, Shadow Hawk, Thunderbolt, and Wolverine. This is a good range with several roles being filled and is a solid selection from which to build a lance from.

There are two double sided paper maps included depicting both a desert landscape and a grass/woodland region. These offer a nice variety of different environments. There are two d6’s included, reference sheets for the included mechs, and finally there is a small primer booklet to introduce you to the lore. There are also some alternative components including some standees so you can proxy more mecha as well as cards for use in the Alpha strike game variant. This makes it a reasonably good value set and clocks in at about the same cost as two of the plastic lances while also including the supporting documents. It is also a reasonable buy if you are familiar with the rules for the maps and mecha minis.

Gameplay

For sake of brevity I will not review the entirety of battletech but in the context of a starter set when played with players unfamiliar with the game. Battletech is a player vs player game. Each player fields a lance. This is generally 4 mecha referred to as ‘battlemechs’. These can range from fast moving scout mechs to giant rocket armed support mechs and brawler types with jet packs. You get a good choice from those included and personally I am a big fan of the BattleMaster with its rocket launcher.

Gameplay is done on a hex grid map with topographic heights and terrain playing a major role on the game. Turns are taken consecutively with most of the action happening in the move and combat phases. You usually play until one player has lost all their units and this takes approximately 2-3 hours (although we were referencing the rules often so your milage may vary).

Movement feels important as you optimize the best placement for firing volleys and combat is satisfying meaty and destructive once you get the GATOR system down. There are also some more administrative elements as damage has to deplete outer armour before hitting internals and actions generate heat which can force an involuntary mech shutdown and this all has a knock-on effect for the relevant GATOR rolls. It is a lot to take in but a very

chunky and endearing game. Although it will come as a shock to people use to the more streamlined modern wargames. The terrain itself has a drastic impact on the game and the maps included offer some very different and interesting variants. Woods block lines of fire and elevation plays a key element as you manoeuvre your lumbering mechs around. You can also submerge your mechs and use water for a defensive advantage.

Component Quality

The minis are all well designed but the casting is a little soft in places. This is easily covered by a paintjob and compared to the old metal minis they are a drastic improvement. A few of the included mechs are quite similar visually so you do need to take care that you do not confuse the two which happened in one of the games I played.

The paper mats are well printed but a stronger material or some kind of protective finish would have been appreciated.

The rulebooks and other printed components are all good quality with little to question. The rulebook also does a stellar job of breaking the game down into a digestible document even though it does clock in at some 60 odd pages. But chances are if you are interested in Battletech to this stage that will not be an issue. It is also highly recommended if possible that you laminate the included mech sheets so you can use them with dry erase markers.

Conclusion

The Game of Armoured Combat is a meaty starter box that covers everything you need to know to get started with BattleTech and offers a good starter selection of mechs, maps and docs. It is however unashamed in how much it throws at you so if you are completely unfamiliar with wargames and more in-depth rulebooks then it might not be the best choice.

The beginner box however covers this area well so if you think the the game of armoured combat is a bit too much then that is an ideal product instead to gauge whether it is worth investing. It also succeeds in offering a good value product even if you already know how to play and it will be of good use to experience and returning players.

The game itself offers a highly strategic take on mech vs mech combat and an absolute wealth of customization and loadout options. This in itself is a whole new world to get into and the BattleTech Tech Manual is the main entry for that aspect. There is so much to cover with BattleTech that it is hard to abstract the overarching beast from the sole product but if you have an inkling that BattleTech might be for you then this is a fantastic way to jump in fully.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Complex in-depth strategy
  • Mecha V Mecha combat
  • Good range of included BattleMechs

Might not like

  • Rules take a lot to digest
  • Not for absolute beginners
  • There are a lot of acronyms