BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set review

BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box SetBattleTech is an epic, ongoing fictional science-fiction universe supporting a game that simulates combat in the 31st century.

The lords of the battlefields of the 31st Century are 30 foot tall humanoid combat vehicles known as BattleMechs.

The Battletech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set contains everything you need to start playing Battletech.

Included in the box is:

  • 24 unpainted, ready-to-play plastic BattleMech minis
  • 2 unpainted, premium-quality plastic BattleMech minis
  • One 12-page full-color quick-start rulebook will have players into the action in minutes
  • 36-page book of pre-generated BattleMech Record Sheets
  • One 80-page full-colour rulebook
  • Inner Sphere at a Glance, a 56-page full-colour book of universe background and BattleMech technical data
  • One 16-page full-color Painting and Tactics Guide
  • Two heavy-duty cards of compiled tables
  • Two 18″ x 24″ game-board quality maps

Before we get stuck in to the review, something about my relationship with BattleTech. I’m a bit of a lapsed BattleTech fan, I used to play a lot of BattleTech but haven’t had a game in nearly 20 years. Why is this relevant? Well, I’m hoping that this boxed set will be a trip down memory lane for me, and that it will be a great way to start playing again, if it fails in either of these I will be hugely disappointed and the score at the end will reflect this. Anyway enough navel gazing on with the review…

On opening the 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set, I am pleasantly surprised by the shear amount of stuff that it contains, included is a selection of rulebooks and source books, record sheets (just waiting to be photocopied), 26 miniatures,2 quality card hex maps and a couple of dice.

Books from the BattleTech Introductory Box Set
Books from the BattleTech Introductory Box Set

After a read of the various books I have to say that I’m impressed. The quick-start rules genuinely will get players up and gaming in less than an hour and for new players I would recommend a game or two using these rules before tackling the rules within the introductory rulebook.

For those that don’t know BattleTech: The full introductory rules are moderately complex, BattleTech being a more complex game than say Warhammer 40,000. Although it’s just a matter of personal taste, I have always liked the way that units in BattleTech sustain damaged in quite a granular fashion, ‘Mechs can sustain damage to a range of systems, actuators, engines, gyros etc. Even when simply moving and shooting care needs to be taken not to generate too much heat, heat can lead to movement and combat penalties, damage to your ‘Mech or can even lead to the pilot losing conciousness. As a result of this complexity you tend to play with far fewer miniatures than many miniatures games. This isn’t a review of the rules however so back the box contents…

The introductory rules almost exclusively cover ‘Mechs, this isn’t too much of an issue as this is typically where people would want to start anyway and this is an introductory boxed set after all, rules for other vehicles/troops can be found in the full rulebook BattleTech Total Warfare. All in all the rules are well explained in the Introductory rule book with good use of examples making the more complex game mechanics easy to grasp.

Of the other books included, the most significant is “The Inner-Sphere at a Glance”, which provides quite an in depth introduction to the history and politics of the BattleTech universe, it certainly contains enough source material for players to decide which House (or other power) they would like to play and hence how they might like to paint your miniatures, see Camo Specs for more inspiration.

BattleTech Miniatures
BattleTech Premium & Standard Miniatures

Talking of miniatures… there are 26 ‘Mech miniatures in the box, 24 of which are of average board game quality, i.e. they fall well short of what many wargamers might expect. I admit to being disappointed. That said with a little cleaning up, filling and a tiny bit of re-sculpting of detail that has failed to mould perfectly these miniatures can be brought up to a standard that most gamers would be satisfied with… that is until they stand the remaining two miniatures next to them… The two premium miniatures are in a completely different league, being crisp hard plastic models, you can see the difference in this photo, click for a bigger pic.

I feel that I would have preferred to have fewer higher quality miniatures. Maybe 12 of the premium quality ‘Mechs instead of 24 poor quality miniatures that  really don’t inspire me to invest a lot of time painting them.

Finally, the 2  maps supplied are  of good size and quality.

Conclusion

BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set represents great value for money and is a great introduction or re-introduction to BattleTech.

The box set is jam-packed with stuff, including a well written introductory rule book, a detailed introduction to the background of the BattleTech universe and 2 high quality hex maps for you to play out your ‘Mech battles.

The only disappointment comes from the quality of the majority of the miniatures that come in the Introductory Box Set, personally I would have  preferred to have seen less miniatures if it meant they could have all been of the same quality of the two ‘premium’ Clan ‘Mechs included in the box.

Overall score: 8/10

 

You can pick up the BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set at Mythreal for only £33.99*: BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set

*Accurate as of 11th April 2011

(Review courtesy of our sister site Mythreal)