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‘BattleTech’ – Giant Mech Warfare in the 31st Century

BattleTech 1
Studying Time: 9 minutes

What Is BattleTech?

BattleTech is a tabletop wargame that places gamers in the cockpit of big mechanical robots (referred to as BattleMechs). These MechWarriors duke it out by maneuvering in and round terrain reminiscent of timber, lakes, and extra… and firing lethal weapons similar to lasers and missiles. Cube are rolled to find out whether or not weapons hit in addition to the location and quantity of the injury. Plastic miniatures are offered which have matching particular knowledge sheets that may be written on with dry-erase markers to trace injury and ammo utilization. Situations are included, however one-off video games are additionally supported.

BattleTech 1

Word: This assessment will cowl the BattleTech Newbie Field that introduces the primary guidelines of the recreation. Extra superior guidelines are coated in the BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight recreation field. 

BattleTech Newbie Field Elements

Included in the BattleTech Newbie Field are the following elements:

  • Fast Begin Guidelines — 12-page booklet that will get you up and enjoying quick
  • Two BattleMech Miniatures — Griffin and Wolverine fashions
  • Punchboard BattleMechs — further cardboard printed tokens and stands to symbolize extra ‘Mechs
  • ‘Mech Record Sheets — provide info on armor, weapons, etc., and are laminated for use with dry-erase markers
  • MechWarrior Cards — special pilot cards that provide special abilities
  • Terrain Mapsheet — hex-grid, double-sided map with terrain printed on it
  • Dice — 2x six-sided dice provided (also called 2d6)
  • Instant Guide to the Inner Sphere — overview of the BattleTech universe and history
  • Golden Rule — small short story booklet set in the BattleTech universe

Not included but recommended:

  • 3x six-sided dice per player — (3 different colors – black, red, white recommended) — these are used to track the type of movement your ‘Mech makes — walk, run, jump. Additionally, the three dice are used to track values related to combat (this will be explained below).

How to Play BattleTech


Players attempt to satisfy the victory conditions of unique scenarios provided in expansions for the game. The Beginner Box comes with a single scenario; the victor is the one with the last surviving ‘Mech on the battlefield.

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For the Beginner Box game, players choose to use either the desert or grasslands map. One player places their ‘Mech figure within 3 hexes from the south side edge of the map. The other player places their ‘Mech within 3 hexes of the north side edge of the map. One player will use the GRF-1N Griffin ‘Mech… the other the WVR-6R Wolverine ‘Mech, choosing the matching ‘Mech Record Sheet.

Your Turn

During a turn, players will move and fire weapons. Each turn is divided into three phases:

  1.  Initiative Phase — Each player rolls 2d6. The highest roll wins Initiative for that turn. Ties are re-rolled.
  2.  Movement Phase — The loser of Initiative moves first. (This provides the winner with a slight edge since he will see where the opponent moves.) Players can choose not to move.
  3.  Weapon Attack Phase — The loser of Initiative declares attacks and target(s). Players can choose not to fire weapons. During this phase, weapons are fired, hits/misses are determined, and any damage is assessed.

After the Weapon Attack Phase for the Initiative winner ends, a new turn begins and players roll for Initiative again.

The Movement Phase

Movement in BattleTech is fast to learn. ‘Mechs have four options: Stand Still, Walk, Run, or Jump. (Note: Not all Mechs can Jump.) Each ‘Mech’s Document Sheet signifies a MP (Motion Factors) worth for Stroll, Run, and Leap. That worth represents the most distance (in hexes) that the Mech might select to maneuver when choosing that Motion Sort. (Unused MP factors are misplaced at the finish of the Motion Part.)

The Wolverine WVR-6R, for instance, has Strolling 5, Operating eight, and Leaping 5. This implies it may well stroll as much as 5 hexes, run as much as eight, and leap as much as 5. Every motion sort comes with penalties utilized to each attacker and defender throughout fight that will probably be defined later.

A ‘Mech always faces one hex side (giving a total of six possible facings), and this determine firing arcs for weapons as well as forward and backward movement. A ‘Mech may only move forward into a hex it is facing… or backwards to the hex directly behind it. A ‘Mech may change the direction it is facing at a cost of 1MP per change of hex side. A 180-degree rotation will cost 3MP.

‘Mechs may not walk, run, or jump through a hex occupied by another ‘Mech, although they may jump over an occupied hex if they have Jumping MP points and change facing at no cost.

Terrain can effect movement. Light woods cost +1 MP to move into and Heavy woods cost +2MP. This is in addition to the 1MP cost to move per hex. For example, if the Wolverine with Jumping 8 wants to Jump 3 hexes away from its current position into Heavy Woods, that will cost 5MP (3 for the distance, +2 for Heavy Woods).

The Weapon Attack Phase

Before describing combat, players will need to determine if Line-of-Sight (LOS) is present for an attack and declare their attacks. LOS is determined by plotting a line from the center of both ‘Mech figures. Each hex the line passes through, no matter how small an amount, counts as a hex of distance. In addition, if any LOS passes through 3 points or more of terrain, there is no line of sight. These points are 1 for Light woods and 2 for Heavy woods, and any woods the Target or Attacker is standing in does not count towards this total. If LOS exists, a player may declare an attack on a target.

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NOTE: Intervening ‘Mechs between Attacker and Target do not count towards the 3 points used to calculate LOS.

Combat in BattleTech is made easier by using an acronym: GATOR. Each letter reminds players how to calculate the Target Number (TN). The TN is the value the player must equal or exceed by rolling 2d6 and totaling the dice values. The higher the TN, the more difficult it will be to hit the target. Anything over 12 is considered impossible.

Gunnery Skill Raring: By default, it is 4 if using the generic ‘Mech Record Sheets, but can be improved if players use the optional MechWarrior Cards. This value is added to the remaining acronym values below.

Attacker Movement Modifier: The Attacker ‘Mech’s selection of motion (Stand Nonetheless, Stroll, Run, Leap) might improve the worth of the TN. Strolling is +1, Operating is +2, and Leaping is +three.

Goal Motion Modifier: Simply as the Attacker’s selection of motion impacts the last TN worth, so does the motion of the Goal. As an alternative of the sort of motion, nevertheless, this modifier is predicated on complete variety of hexes moved from its preliminary place. A Goal that strikes 7-9 hexes in complete after leaving its unique place (not essentially distance) has a +three TN. Leaping Targets add a further +1 TN.

Different Modifier: For the Newbie Field, this solely covers terrain. (For the superior recreation discovered in BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight, there are different modifiers). If LOS passes by way of woods, +1 TN per mild wooden hex, +2 per heavy wooden hex. If the Goal is standing in mild wooden or heavy wooden, this provides a bonus +1 or +2 TN respectively.

Vary Modifier: Every weapon a ‘Mech possesses has a range beyond which it cannot fire. This distance (in hexes) is broken into Short, Medium, and Long range. Short range modifier is 0, Medium range is +2 TN and Long range is +4. For example, the Wolverine’s Medium Laser has values of Brief three, Medium 6, and Lengthy 9. This implies the Wolverine might hearth the lasers between zero-three hexes at no penalty, four-6 hexes at +2, and seven-9 hexes at +four TN. At 10+ hexes, the goal shall be out of vary for the Medium Laser.

When a participant declares an assault with a weapon towards a goal, he merely makes use of GATOR to make the TN calculation. So, the Wolverine that ran needs to fireside its Medium Laser on a goal four clear hexes away however standing in heavy woods. The goal entered the heavy woods after shifting four hexes. The calculation is made as follows:

G (four) + A (+2) + T (+1) + O (+2) + R (+2) = 11

That’s going to be a tough shot to make rolling 2d6. Solely an 11 or 12 will hit. The Wolverine rolls an 11! This implies assault location and injury quantity must be decided.

Hit Location and Injury

When a weapon assault is profitable, the location and injury have to be decided. The Attacker rolls 2d6 and consults the Hit Location Desk. A roll of seven, for instance, is on the Middle Torso. A roll of 12 is the Head. Potential places embrace Head, Left and Proper arms, Left and Proper legs, Left and Proper Torso, Middle Torso — a complete of eight places.

As soon as the location is decided, the weapon’s injury is utilized. This info is discovered on the ‘Mech’s Document Sheet in the DMG column for every weapon sort. A worth of 6 means the Defender will mark 6 pips of armor off from the assault’s location. (Every ‘Mech Record Sheet has a schematic of the mech with small circles representing points of armor. As points of damage are applied, players darken a circle with a dry-erase marker.)

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For missiles, the size of the weapon is consulted; missile weapons come in 2, 5, 6, 10, and 15 varieties, and another 2d6 is rolled to determine how many of the missiles actually hit the target. For a SRM/6 (Short Range Missile, 6 missiles per shot, 15 shots in all), a roll of 2d6 and a value of 8 means that 4 of the 6 missiles hit. Each missile weapon has a DMG that is PER MISSILE, so a value of 2/Msl would mean that the above attack did 8 points of damage (4 missiles of 6 x 2 points per missile).

Damage is tracked using the ‘Mech Record Sheet. Each ‘Mech location (such as Left Arm or Right Torso) has a limited amount of armor. When that armor is gone, any leftover damage is applied to another body part indicated by a small arrow. For example, the Left Arm has an arrow pointing to the Left Torso. When the Left Arm’s armor is gone and a couple of factors of injury stay to be utilized, this injury strikes to the Left Torso. When the Proper or Left Torso is totally broken, further injury strikes inward in the direction of the Middle Torso PLUS the Left or Proper Arm can also be indifferent and incapable of firing any weapon that it holds or is mounted there!

When both the Middle Torso or Head have misplaced all armor, that ‘Mech is destroyed no matter how much armor is left on the Legs, Arms, or Left/Right Torso.


Most scenarios have the winner as the last ‘Mech standing, but one advanced scenario (in the BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat) has a victory conditions based on getting a special ‘Mech attacker of the map on the opposite side of three enemy defenders.

Why You Should Play BattleTech

I played BattleTech in high school; yeah, the game has been around for a while… and in various formats such as video game, roleplaying game, and more. (There was a fully-immersive arcade style game of BattleTech that put players in pods that shook and had alarms and controls!) It was such a great game, but it lacked the plastic ‘Mech figures — we had to make our own or use cardboard cutouts. The rules were also a little more complicated (IMO) and not so much fun for novices to jump into. But even then, it was still a blast to imagine yourself running and jumping around in these mega killer robots… so I’m excited to see the recreation in this new (and, I consider, improved!) model.

BattleTech 4

The BattleTech Newbie Field comes with all the things you’ll want to play for two or extra gamers. With 2 gamers, you need to use the two included plastic ‘Mech minis, but for more than 2 you’ll want to make use of the cardboard punchouts until you purchase the BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight enlargement that brings eight further plastic minis plus superior guidelines (extra on that shortly).

With the GATOR acronym, gamers will shortly work out the fight a part of the recreation. I performed the recreation with my two boys (ages 11 and eight) and after solely a pair rounds, they have been each calculating their very own TNs for assaults towards Dad. I allow them to group up towards me they usually whooped me good as soon as they found out some primary techniques of working collectively to succeed in my blind spots. My 11 yr previous was screaming for an additional recreation and begging for me to ask a few of his associates over to show them. And we’re going to do precisely that — a BattleTech recreation at my home is scheduled in a number of weeks with 5 of his buddies.

The sport is quick, straightforward to study, and can convey a lot of grins and shouts of pleasure (and despair) when loopy photographs work, arms are blown off, and ‘Mechs tumble to the ground in defeat.

Should you decide you want to up your BattleTech game a bit, you’ll need to think about buying the BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight enlargement that gives further options similar to:

  • extra kinds of terrain that embrace water, rubble, pavement and extra
  • extra superior Mech Report Sheet
  • potential injury utilized to the MechWarrior driving the ‘Mech
  • rules related to heat buildup as the ‘Mech moves and fires weapons
  • three new turn phases — Physical Attack phase, Heat Phase, End Phase
  • terrain level features — rules for firing above and below
  • firing arc rules that make combat more interesting
  • combat and movement in water!
  • more advanced hit location table
  • physical attack rules for kicking, punching, shoving, and more
  • critical hit rules!
  • rules related to Piloting Skill for more advanced combat techniques
  • three scenarios
  • construction rules — build your own ‘Mech!

All in all, I’m fairly taken with BattleTech, and I plan on enjoying it extra with my boys. I’ve lastly discovered a recreation that each boys actually take pleasure in enjoying with me (they nonetheless favor their videogames, but when they’ll play a recreation of BattleTech with me a few times every week, I’ll take it!) and whereas I feel we’ll keep on with the Newbie Field guidelines for now, I think about it gained’t be lengthy earlier than my 11 yr previous needs to start out utilizing the superior guidelines. I’m recreation!

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Notice: The ‘Mech minis come unpainted… however the again of the superior rule ebook discovered in BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight enlargement field has some lovely examples of painted mechs from 4 totally different painters that present some good inspiration.

The BattleTech Newbie Field might be out there on February eight, 2019 and is out there for pre-orders.

The BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight field shall be obtainable on January 15, 2019.

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Disclosure: James was offered evaluate copies of each BattleTech Newbie Field and BattleTech: A Recreation of Armored Fight.

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