A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I strolled into 401 Games on Yonge and Wellesley after dinner and decided to pick up some extra board games for the coming winter days. I had already picked up the core set for SmashUp, and a couple of the expansions, and we wanted a to add some variety to our collection. As I made my way through the aisles of wooden shelves carrying hundreds of board games searching for the original Carcassonne, I stumbled across an old favourite from my high-school days – BattleTech.
Back in the 80’s, table-top role-playing games were making quite a fuss. Dungeons and Dragons was one of the most prolific icons of the time, and it spawned an industry that would fill the void left by a floundering video game industry. Until the rise of Nintendo, people of all ages returned to pen and paper for adventure. BattleTech, a game similar to Warhammer, utilizes figurines on a hexagonal map, dice, and paper record sheets to track progress. It could be played as an RPG (like D&D), or as a standalone tabletop game, which gives it the ability to appeal to a wide audience.
The BattleTech Introductory Box Set includes everything you need to get started. It includes a quick-start manual, full game instructions, two map boards (made out of the thick cardboard game board stuff and not the flimsy paper maps), record sheets, 26 figurines, and some other goodies.
For a couple of days it sat on the shelf while I headed out around town picking up supplies for the other thing that games like these are good for – painting the figurines. While not necessary, it does make for some good-quality quiet time, while stretching those old creative bones for a few hours. After doing up a couple of Mechs for my wife and I, we laid out the board and got to playing.
Using the more basic rule set, my wife was able to pick up into the game fairly quickly and get into the groove of things. Within two or three games she started to get the hang of the strategy behind the terrain and manoeuvring, and was able to take my Mech out rather quickly by the third game. Now that we’ve successfully tested the game, I’m looking forward to introducing even more friends in a future board gaming night in the coming months as the weather keeps us from venturing outdoors.
If you want to check out the world of BattleTech, you can do so here.