BATTLETECH: MERCENARIES - BATTLE OF THE BOXES
Since 2018, Catalyst has released four new box sets to critical and commercial success, with a fifth currently in development. Each box set includes re-imagined miniatures that retain the core of each ’Mech’s identity from years past, updated with modern aesthetics in high-quality, ready-to-play plastic.
We’ll walk through each of these box sets, what they accomplish, and why you might want them on your game shelf.
BEGINNER BOX ($24.99)
BattleTech is approaching its fortieth anniversary. It’s an amazing living, breathing universe of brilliant characters and stunning events. Along with a vast toolbox of rules that allows you to play nearly any type of experience you wish. Its longevity can be well attributed here. But of course, that toolbox can be a little intimidating.
Whether you’re a seasoned tabletop player looking to see if BattleTech is for you, or a new-to-wargaming player wanting to see what all the talk is about, the Beginner Box is the perfect starting point to take a BattleMech out for a spin. For a great price, you can crack open this box of gaming awesomeness and see what it’s all about.
The Beginner Box is focused on getting you rolling dice as quickly as possible. It includes two ’Mechs–the Vindicator and Wolverine–a quick overview of the Universe, Quick-Start Rules, a game map, and some punch out cardboard tokens. There’s even a 24-page short story to throw you right into action of giant war machines storming across alien worlds!
A GAME OF ARMORED COMBAT ($59.99)
Looking back across three-and-a-half decades, Catalyst evaluated each of the previous BattleTech core box sets, their strengths and weaknesses, and what we could do to make a best-yet version. The massive current success of BattleTech is laid upon the foundation of this fantastic box.
While the Beginner Box is about getting a feel for playing BattleTech, A Game of Armored Combat takes players to the next level, allowing them to dig deeper into the myriad ways to enjoy the game.
It includes eight miniatures, a 16-page Universe Primer, 56-page Rulebook, 16-page record sheet booklet, 24-page fiction story, pilot cards, reference sheet, punch outs, two maps and a poster…it’s a fantastic value, with everything you need to really gain a solid understanding of the BattleTech game and universe.
If you’re confident you want to go deeper “in” to BattleTech from the jump–or are a well-seasoned wargame player–this box is the place to start.
CLAN INVASION ($49.99)
Upon the firm foundation of those two box sets, we ran the Clan Invasion Kickstarter in 2019, unleashing nearly one hundred high-quality plastic miniatures. BattleTech finished among the top 100 Kickstarter campaigns ever! Central to its success was the Clan Invasion box set, which has gone on to be hugely successful in the hobby game trade (along with the twenty supporting ForcePacks).
As mentioned, the BattleTech universe is a dynamic, evolving setting that covers nearly a thousand years. To make that digestible for fiction and game play, it’s been split into various Eras. Both the Beginner Box and A Game of Armored Combat are set in the Succession Wars–specifically around the year 3025–an era of low technology and resources. However, in the year 3049, an army from beyond the stars invaded with brand new BattleMechs and advanced technologies: the Clans.
The Clan Invasion box set plugs directly into A Game of Armored Combat, unlocking more advanced technologies for players to charge into battle with. It showcases five miniatures–among them the seminal Timber Wolf (Mad Cat)–along with two battle armor infantry miniatures (Elementals). It also includes a Universe Primer, a 32-page rulebook, record sheet booklet, pilot cards, punch out tokens, two maps, and a poster.
With just a few games from A Game of Armored Combat under your belt, you can easily incorporate this box set into your everyday BattleTech sessions.
ALPHA STRIKE ($79.99)
The Alpha Strike box set was released at the end of last year to huge fanfare. Still set within the BattleTech Universe–with a great short story included–it is a different way to play the game.
Designed from the ground up as a modern tabletop miniatures game experience, it allows players to run through a standard-sized BattleTech game in roughly an hour. Or, if you’ve got a pile of miniatures you’re itching to get into combat, you can easily up-size to play much larger games in roughly the same time frame as a standard game.
The miniatures are the same quality and scale; any of the miniatures Catalyst produces can be used with the Quick-Start Rules of the Beginner Box, the standard rules of A Game of Armored Combat and Clan Invasion, or Alpha Strike.
This box set might also be the best value in gaming: thirteen miniatures, 40-page rulebook, 16-page Universe Primer, 13 pilot cards, 13 Alpha Strike cards, 25 Battlefield Support cards, reference sheet, two punch out boards of trees and game counters and 15 fold-up cardstock buildings. This box overflows with the fast-paced action you’ll be running at your game table!
The latest box set in development, Mercenaries plugs seamlessly into the Clan Invasion box set as “the next BattleTech installment.” It includes eight BattleMechs, along with the introduction of four combat vehicles. Streamlined Battlefield Support rules allow you to add those vehicles–along with mines, artillery, and aerospace fighter strikes–into your game quickly and easily, while ensuring your ’Mechs remain the stars of the battlefield.
A BOX THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
There’s a BattleTech box set that’s right for you. Grab a copy and charge into this amazing experience!
Randall N. Bills has led the development and publication of hundreds of novels, sourcebooks, rulebooks, box sets, game aides, and more. He’s currently the Managing Developer for Catalyst Game Labs, overseeing the strategic development of the perennial BattleTech and Shadowrun properties, along with new games such as Leviathans: The Great War. He’s published numerous novels and short stories, and was involved in the core development and design of the Dungeons & Dragons Deckbuilder, Dragonfire.