Or the obligatory "I'm not dead!" post.
2016 was a good year in general, but regarding the hobby it was rather disastrous, and this year is only marginally better. There is too little spare time - and so many rulesets to try yet! Also, my main gaming buddy switched to multiplayer boardgames, so there you have it. From my little spare time I spent some on boardgames, some on painting (see my orc warband below!) and most on browsing the rulesets and acquiring new ones.
|Blurry and Furious!|
I have recieved my preordered Rogue Stars, only to decide it would be a pain to teach someone tired enough after day's work, but I still like the idea of really small SF groups thriving through a shady bussiness. Perhaps I may try Void Pirates, or wait for Harder Than Steel? Or man up and finally try the Savage Worlds (Showdown)?
Finally, Battletech happened.
You know Battletech, don't you? I mean, who doesn't? For more than 30 years players pick or design their huge, armoured and weapons-bristling mechs (piloted robots) and send them against each other. While I don't think that huge bipedal weapon platforms can ever reign the battlefield, I like the setting, the feeling and the detail as the bolts start flying, the armour of your mech falls off (or evaporates outright) and the systems fail (or evaporate too). I also like the turn structure, and I just have respect for a game that has changed very little in over thirty years and still gets played! Actually, I think Classic Battletech is like a T-Rex: It's ancient, it's cumbersome, but you simply have to respect it.
|That's 100 tons of massive respect on the left,|
55 tons of respect in the center,
and 20 tons of "okay" respect on the right.
(Image taken from a wallpaper to HBS computer game )
However, my road to Battletech wasn't as straight. At first I found the rules for Adeptus Titanicus, with the pre-plotted orders, different body parts etc. While I was charmed, there was no reasonable way to play it with something more than self-made paper chits. Then came Imperial Knight: Renegade (itself just an upgrade of Godbreaker Clash, a WD minigame), which I still hadn't purchased, but liked the rules, and gravitated more and more to big stompy robots. What I did was to purchase some EM4 Steel Warriors and Samurai Robots Battle Royale from Ganesha games - not a bad game, and close to my favourite Song of Blades and Heroes, but ultimately not what I wanted.
Then, finally, Battletech happened for me. On a whim I acquired some second hand plastech minis (Made of evil plastic. Really, not bad - Evil. Because whenever you try to remove the awful moldlines, it just won't let go - and you can forget about using a file...), intro rulebook, maps and record sheets for almost nothing, and talked my friend into trying it.
|Phoenix Hawk vs Shadow Hawk|
We had started a duel of Hawks that is yet to be concluded, if ever. (Fortunately, in Battletech, SaveGame is incredibly easy. You just write your mech's position and facing to its recordsheet and you're done.) However fragmented and incomplete, the game impressed me enough to try harder and finally discover another BT player in my area. We had some pair vs pair games, and that's where I got to the slippery slope and just had to have more.
Not only I have purchased more maps and mechs - I wanted a more intense experience. So we went 3:3, and finding out about a tournament nearby I pledged to take part, making it the first ever tabletop tournament in my life. The tournament is still to come, but I'm already having tremendous fun building the list (traditionally, mechs fight in four-member formations called lance) and running simulations. It also means that I'll have to paint some more miniatures, yay!
To sum up: Classic Battletech is a wonderfull game. It may be a bit oldschool with all its
character record sheets, bubbles to cross out, tables, modifiers and time requirements, but in return you get a cinematic experience, coupled with an excercise in tactics. The game has been here for thirty-some years and offers a rich universe to explore, enjoy and smash to pieces with your huge robots. You can start with as little as a free pnp download, you can wait for starter box sets coming the next year, put one together from available map sets, lance packs and paid downloads, or you can scour the bazzars for a good catch. Either way, it is worth a try.