Last weekend I got together with the old gaming group for a game of BattleTech. This was, I believe, the third time I've done that recently, though the group has had many other sessions. Before that I hadn't touched BattleTech since the first edition FASA days, but have always retained an interest in the game. I remember fondly the days of sitting in lakes to cool off while I unload all my weapons, and tearing limbs off of other 'Mechs to use as clubs.
The game ran fairly long — six players doing ten rounds of combat in around six hours. We played using some popular modified tournament rules, along with some house rules the group felt made the game better. If I recall correctly, all but one of us ran with custom built 'Mechs (built in part using the excellent, multi-platform SolarisSkunkWerks), though I cannot remember what model the standard 'Mech on the board was.
I built a quad 'Mech (for some unknown reason constantly referred to in the rules as "Four-Legged" instead of "Quad"), a first for our group. It was a 45 ton 'Mech, with a pair of small pulse lasers, a pair of medium pulse lasers, and a pair of MRM-10 missiles; as well as an impressive amount of armor. All this in a 'Mech costing less then 5,000,000 Cr. The group as a whole was evenly split between nimble light 'Mechs and lumbering medium 'Mechs. The battlefield was huge, it had to be over 25 by 40 hexes easily.
For the first 8 rounds there were two battles going on, the lights in one and the mediums in another (though the quickest light took a pot shot at a medium before diving into the all-light fray). Two of the lights tore each other up, while the quickest one managed to weave in and out, dishing out damage while avoiding getting hit much. Ultimately the two slower ones were taken out, giving the quick one assisted and one unassisted kill, after which he ran over to join the mediums. Both decided to come back on the board, though I don't recall them having too great an affect on the outcome.
Of the mediums, one took five turns running just to get into the battle, while the other medium and I traded volleys. Though I only won initiative once, I managed to luck out in that most of the time I went after my two main adversaries, thus having the upper hand on them. They were tough, at one point teaming up on me to deliver nearly 60 points of damage in one round. But I gave as good as I got. The last couple rounds were the most interesting. I had removed the rear armor on one of the other mediums, which gave the quick light a chance to run up behind it and deliver a killing blow, scoring yet another kill. The other medium managed to exit the board before the last round (though not before losing a limb or two), leaving me and the quick light as the only two 'Mechs to stay on the board the entire game.
I really enjoyed the game this time. Though I disagreed with some of the 'house-rules,' I was happy to see my creation hold its own on the battlefield. The previous session I played was actually not much fun for me, as I was seriously outclassed by pilots and 'Mechs that benefited from experience gained over several sessions (the custom 'Mechs were over twice the value of my standard, while the pilots had all kinds of skill advantages). I don't actually remember the first session I played in, 'twas many months ago.
Unfortunately, this was probably the last BattleTech game I'll play for a while. I've found a new group which is playing Dungeons & Dragons 4E, which is what I've been wanting to play for some time now, and that will take my allotted two games per month. However, once Catalyst Game Labs is able to release a new box set (25th Anniversary Edition, I hear), I will likely try to get my hands on one. Once I get time to start painting minis, I'll probably try to get some good BattleTech ones as well. I foresee a time when I'll be able to do more then two games a month, and filling those other slots with miniature games like BattleTech sounds like a great idea.