Getting Started In BattleTech
This document details the basics of getting started in BattleTech. I will attempt to answer some of the most frequent questions I get asked by people interested in beginning BattleTech. If you fave any more questions, feel free to e-mail me.
First of all I should probably explain what kind of game BattleTech is. BattleTech is more of a strategy boardgame, then a Role-Playing Game (RPG). You move counters representing your 'Mechs around a mapsheet broken into hexes. On the mapsheet, there are several types of terrain, which provide varying degrees of cover from enemy fire. The object of the game is to pound your oppenent's force into smithereens, while somehow managing to stay in one piece yourself.
For those of you more interested in a RPG, you should look into Mechwarrior: Second Edition. Mechwarrior is the RPG based in the BattleTech universe, which is a rich environment for RPG gaming.
The most basic pieces of equipment you need to play are the following:
It just so happens that you can get all of these if you purchase one of the BattleTech boxed sets. You have a choice between the BattleTech: 4th Edition boxed set or the CityTech: 2nd Edition boxed set. The sets are essentially the same, except that the CityTech set contains city mapsheets, building counters, and rules for fighting in a city envirionment. The boxed sets run for about $30 US, and you should be able to find them at your local gaming store, or I think you can order them straight from FASA. The rulebook also includes rules for dedigning your own custom 'Mechs.
One of the newer products from FASA is a book called First Strike. I have not gotten a look at this yet, but it is a sourcebook/rulebook for players new to the game of BattleTech. It apparently contains scenarios made specially for new players. Youzmight want to pick this up.
The BattleTech Compendium
If you get into the game, I would reccommend that you pick yourself up a copy of this book. The BattleTech Compendium is the complete rule book for BattleTech. My friends and I consider this book the absolute last word in all rule disputes. This book usually sells for about $20 US.
The BattleTech minatures, made by Ral Partha, add a great deal of character and realism to the game. Even thought they are a bit on the expensive side ($5-10 US apiece) they are fun to paint up and play with.
Map Sheet Sets
Another item you may want to look into for more realism are the map sheet sets. There are three or four map sheet sets, each of which contain 4-6 map sheets of different terrain types. I think it becomes boring to play on the same terrain each game, so you might want to invest in some map sheets. If every member of your playing group buys a different set, then soon you will have a large selection of terrain to play on. The map sheet sets usually cost about $15-20 US.
The BattleTech Technical Readouts are sourcebooks full of new 'Mech, Fighter, and Vehicle designs. The reading in these books is pretty good, and interesting to read. The Tech Readouts usually cost abouyt $20 US.
If you have any comments or suggestions on how I can improve this page to better help you understand getting started in the game, please let me know. I am providing this page as a service to newbies, so all comments help.