Note: This review assumes a certain level of passing familiarity with BattleTech, if this is your first stop, I recommend you check out the review of the base game on this site that will give you a better introduction to the game.
[excited trash can noises]
It is impossible to review the UrbanMech (urbie) outside of cultural context that is because on a surface it is objectively a pile of poo. Dig in it though and examined under the scope of the meta conversation and memes of Battletech it is best boi. It is what everyone is talking about, beloved and special, and magic, so much so that the manufacturer set up an inflatable one the size of a house outside of GENCON in 2022 to promote the game, and I myself no less than 24 hours ago took part in several online events dubbed ‘the urbie derby’ on BattleTech’s sister game Mech warrior online where all the competitors pilot urban mechs, why do we love the urbie so much? Because it is a pile of... The urbie is the little scrappy mech that makes up for its short comings in natural ability though heart, it’s the fat smell underdog that always farts a lot in those lovable children’s movies and we love him for it, and we want him to win out in the end, urbie our mascot, urbie is precious, I’m getting ahead of myself though, as Brad Pitt once said to Morgan freeman “what’s in the ****** box”?
Inside the box of the Urbanmech you get one fully assembled miniature of this happy fellow, majestic isn’t he? Sculpted with his massive weapon ready to pump away hot slugs (an AC 20 (autocannon twenty to sophisticates)), complementary small laser, powerful meaty calves and dustbin lid crown atop his head. I think he is a work of divine craftsmanship. Perfect sculpt, ten out of five.
Now you may not agree with me about his inherent beauty, maybe you will even believe it to look like a pile of poo, I understand he may not look like much to the untrained eye or to everyones individual taste, but when you compare it to the old Battletech urbanmech sculpt.
God Is Dead
Well what we are looking at here is best described as a malformed flat footed long legged egg holding a telescope backwards like a dart standing in a puddle of what one can only reasonably presume to be its own effluent that still visually falls short of the sum of its parts into the realm of the grotesque like r2-d2 in thigh high boots coming to hurt you.
Now frame this information in the understanding that this is what we’ve been working with for the 35 years prior, and indeed the best we could expect, you can probably see my point clearly. The new Urbie in context is a master work in redesign, capturing the intent on the original piece but improving on it in every way. The turd has been polished to a brilliant shine.
Urbie At Play
So how is the UrbanMech in a game of BattleTech? That’s an open ended question… as a special promotion catalyst games released a free pack of record sheets for 8 variants of the mech so there is lots of customization.
There are also free ‘non-cannonical’ fan made variants you can find online such as, and I wish I was making this up, the ‘Karl Urban Mech’.
Is it good though? well, I can tell you that you don’t play Urbie because you are planning on wining, you are playing them because you think they are fun, and looking to have a good time and winning would be a lovely surprise but not expected.
With walk speed of 2, jump speed of 2 and in one instance even a running speed of 2 (3 normally) they are glacial. For those of you who don’t know the game but pressed on with the article anyway (bless you, you brave souls, and hello mum!) it takes 3 movement points in this game to turn round, and 2 to walk up or down a shallow slope, or into a light wood, (don't even think about walking into a steep slope into a heavy wood with an urbie that way lies trouble!) this mech is lucky if he moves more than one hex a turn. To frame that, in the last game of battletech I played there was a mech that walked 14 and ran 21 so as long as you don’t mind being up to 10 times slower than other mechs it’s fine really, it’s fine. The mech does have some laudable qualities in play to make up for speed, they are typically very heavily armed for their size, potentially having guns that can be 1 hit kills even on the big boys (i.e. ac/20 mentioned earlier). And have the ability to fully rotate their top half like a turret to have a full 360 arc of fire meaning they never snuck up on. The turret analogy is actually a pretty good one, if your treat these boys like they are a turret that you can move if you have to, suddenly they don’t look so bad.
So would I recommend the urbie (Urbanmech)? On an analytical level, no, NO no, NOO. But on a level that is deeper within my soul, truly, with all my heart I recommend it may the next 40 years serve this little guy as well as the last 40 did. Which I guess since I want to both give this a 0% and 100% recommendation leaves with a quantifiable rating of 50, which is fitting if you know about the mech I don't need to recommend it to you if you don't know about the mech I can't recommend it to you.