Sunday, February 18, 2018

Battletech & Mechwarrior

Far off, long ago, in another land, in another time, I got my first introduction to the Inner Sphere. We were in a small Missouri town, devoid of cool game stuff.  However, people liked to keep that old 'devil-worship' stuff in attics and other hidden places.  We found this out and started scouring attics across town for whatever game books we could find, and to our surprise we kept finding things people had hidden away and had absolutely no use for.  A friend of mine found a copy of Mechwarrior, 2nd Ed. in his mom's attic.  It belonged to his older brother, but as soon as we got ahold of it I don't think the older brother ever saw it again.

Battletech would come later.  I would already have experience with this type of game, as I was one of the only people to collect Renegade Legion at the time.  Battletech had 'mechs, though...and it caught on a little stronger in most folks' imaginations than the Renegades could at the time.

As an aside to tabletop gaming, my game group and I have no shortage of experience behind the controls of a virtual battlemech.  From Mechwarrior 2 all the way to Mechwarrior Online, battlemechs have been an enduring part of our gaming experience, even if they weren't always at the forefront.

Now, we're going to do something completely different.  We are going to the the Dark Age, a much maligned era of Battletech lore.  However, the very nature of the Dark Age makes it preferable to us, since we won't be using Battletech miniatures or rules exclusively.  We're going non-canon, but in a way that will fit in the canon.

Clan Jade Falcon elements approach to attack the Freeborn position...even if they are Clix.
 10mm games aren't quite as prevalent as games of other scales just yet, though in the last few years some have risen (and fallen), providing us with a lot more options at that scale.  In truth, I like a lot of stuff, but I decided that 10mm was a great place for giant robots in the pantheon of my collection.  With a Kickstarter's worth of C.A.V. models, I started looking around for rulesets to guide army creation.  I found a ton of cool games, including Horizon Wars and Tomorrow's War.  I decided I liked both of them, and they both work for 10mm quite pleasingly.

I still didn't have a narrative, though.

I found out that Mechwarrior: Dark Age was 10mm, just like the lines I had been collecting.  I wanted helicopters, and didn't have them already, so I hopped on Ebay and found a ton of cool VTOL aircraft in 10mm.  Yeah, they were clix...but so what?  When they arrived, I was quite satisfied...and decided to take a look at infantry.  Guess what?  I liked those too, and finally decided to take the plunge on some battlemechs.  Shortly after that, I decided I'd just play Battletech...or at least in the Inner Sphere, no matter the ruleset.

Steiner Stormhammer elements staging to repel the Clan attack...and no sign of debilitation due to clicky-ness.
I hadn't delved deeply into the lore of the Dark Age, honestly.  My time was spent during the 4th Succession War and Clan Invasion, and honestly that's where I feel most comfortable.  So, it's nice to actually get out of that comfort zone.  The Dark Age pretty much gives me carte blanche to do whatever I want with the story and / or units involved.  For the first time in a good long while, I actually am cranking up (what I think is) a cool setting and adventure / campaign.

Who cares what models you use?  It's the DARK AGE!  Is that a battlemech that 'doesn't exist' - or is it just one you never saw, that they made on a blind planet, one time, because they had to?  Who even cares?  I'm going to be putting some 10mm German troops on the board, painted as Steiners, so please suspend your disbelief.  The galaxy (i.e. The Inner Sphere) is HUGE.  Plenty of room for all kinds of stuff.

It's time to take back the Inner Sphere!

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