Supreme Guide to BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat

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Welcome, Mechwarrior! Are you a fan of giant robots? Tactical wargaming? Just love cool miniatures? Then you are in the right place!

BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat is the world’s greatest table-top miniatures wargame of armored combat. You will take command of a squad of giant robots in a challenging game of tactical warfare. Whether you are looking to play a board game, tabletop wargame, or role-playing game, BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat has something for you!

Whether you are here for the big stompy robots, fun tactical gameplay, huge combined arms battles, or even the HUGE amount of lore within the BattleTech Universe, there is something for everyone.

So MechWarrior, are you ready to climb into your Mech and make a name for yourself?

supreme guide to battletech
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The Supreme Guide to BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat

What is the BattleTech Universe?

BattleTech is a science-fiction tabletop miniatures wargame set in the 31st Century. You play as a MechWarrior, the master of a multi-ton, towering avatar of destruction called a Battlemech. These war machines are the culmination of more than 3,000 years of battlefield technology development.

It could be a precious heirloom passed from parent to child across centuries or trusted to you by your world’s government. Whether a soldier-of-fortune or a true-blue patriot, you drop into hot zones across a thousand planets to expand the star-spanning empire of one of the noble Great Houses.

Or are you an elite, genetically engineered Clan Mechwarrior from beyond known space, invading the Inner Sphere to bring order to the barbarians of the old world? The choice is up to you!

Era’s of the BattleTech Universe

terran hegemony

The Terran Hegemony

The history of the BattleTech Universe spans millennia of warfare, with each era divided between brief periods of peace. From the rise of the ancient Star League to the fall of the Republic of the Inner Sphere, let’s take a quick look at the different eras of the BattleTech Universe.

With the creation of the Kearny-Fuchida Jump Drive, humanity began to spread out amongst the stars rapidly. The Terran Hegemony was formed to manage the worlds immediately around Terra, and the feudal Great Houses start to expand further into the unknown. The strain of this expansion led to many conflicts between Terra and its new colonies. 

star league

The Star League

Ian Cameron, the ruler of the Terran Hegemony, concludes decades of tireless effort with the creation of the Star League, a political and military alliance between all Great Houses and the Hegemony. Star League armed forces immediately launch the Reunification War, forcing the Periphery realms to join. 

For the next two centuries, humanity experiences a golden age across the thousand light-years of human-occupied space known as the Inner Sphere. It also sees the creation of the most powerful military in human history.

succession wars

The Succession Wars

Stefan Amaris, The Usurper, launches a coup that ends up killing First Lord Richard Cameron and every last man, woman, and child with a drop of Cameron blood. Following the thirteen-year war to unseat him, the rulers of the five Great Houses disband the Star League. 

General Aleksandr Kerensky, along with 80% of the Star League Defense Force, departs beyond known space. The Inner Sphere collapses into centuries of warfare known as the Succession Wars that will eventually result in a massive loss of technology across most worlds.

clans

The Clan Invasion

A mysterious invading force from beyond known space begins conquering the worlds of the Inner Sphere. The invaders, called the Clans, are descendants of Kerensky’s Star League Defense Force troops, forged into a society dedicated to becoming the greatest fighting force in history. 

With vastly superior technology and warriors, the Clans conquer world after world. Eventually, this outside threat will force the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere to forge a new Star League, something hundreds of years of warfare failed to accomplish. Also, the Clans will act as a catalyst for a technological renaissance.

fedcom civil war

The Civil War

The Clan threat is eventually lessened with the complete destruction of Clan Smoke Jaguar. With that massive external threat apparently neutralized, internal conflicts explode around the Inner Sphere. 

House Liao conquers the St. Ives Compact, a rebellion of military units belonging to House Kurita sparks a war with Clan Ghost Bear, and the Federated Commonwealth of House Steiner and House Davion collapses into five long years of bitter civil war.

The Jihad

Following the Federated Commonwealth Civil War, the leaders of the Great Houses meet and disband the new Star League, declaring it a sham. In this power vacuum, one of the most significant threats to humanity was born.

The pseudo-religious Word of Blake—a splinter group of ComStar—launch the Jihad: an interstellar war that will ultimately pit every faction against each other and even against themselves, as weapons of mass destruction are used for the first time in centuries while new and frightening technologies are likewise unleashed.

Dark Age

The Dark Age

Under the guidance of Devlin Stone, the Republic of the Sphere is born following the Jihad. One of the more extensive periods of peace begins to break out as the 32nd-century dawns. To one degree or another, the factions embrace disarmament, and the massive armies of the Succession Wars start to fade. 

However, in 3132, eighty percent of interstellar communications collapsed, throwing the universe into chaos. Wars almost immediately erupt, and the factions begin rebuilding their armies.

Factions of the BattleTech Universe

inner sphere map

The BattleTech universe is made up of many different factions, all vying against one another for more power and control. These factions can be divided into three groups, the Great Houses, the Clans, and the minor states/miscellaneous players.

Great Houses of the Inner Sphere

The feudal Great Houses have controlled the Inner Sphere’s two thousand star systems for centuries. Shaping the futures of trillions, each House is ruled by a single family that wields immense power. 

These dictatorships, benign or otherwise, began to rise to prominence following the creation of the Terran Hegemony, binding nearby planets together for mutual protection.

The nobility of the Great Houses is mainly hereditary, and noble titles are standard, from planetary governors to MechWarriors, the modern equivalent of knights.

federated suns

House Davion – Federated Suns

House Davion’s Federated Suns are seen by many as a nation that glorifies war. With one of the Inner Spheres’ most capable military forces and a nobility system based on feudal England and France, the Federated Suns profess the ideals of personal freedom and the rule of law above all else.

During the Fourth Succession War, the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth united to create the Federated Commonwealth. Under this union, Houses Davion and Steiner challenged the might of House Kurita in the War of 3039. But this alliance eventually collapsed during the FedCom Civil War. 

The Federated Suns have a free market economy, and militarily, they prefer combined-arms warfare and strategic initiative, valuing the virtues of logistics and maneuvering over brute force and savagery.

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House Kurita – Draconis Combine

The Draconis Combine is based on the culture of feudal Japan and ruled by House Kurita; it is a realm whose warriors and citizenry embrace the tenets of bushido—the ancient Japanese Way of the Warrior. Honor and duty are the cornerstones of Combine society. These ideals make the Combine’s military one of the most fearsome and passionate on the battlefield.

The “Dragon” became one of the first victims of the Clan invasion, which almost reached their capital of Luthien. They later repaid their would-be conquerors by leading the charge to Annihilate Clan Smoke Jaguar.

The Draconis Combine has a particularly harsh and xenophobic society that maintains a socialist market economy and an authoritarian leadership divided into social castes. 

The Draconis Combine military struggles to function as a unit against a determined enemy and bushido ideals of personal honor and glory. It’s not uncommon to see a lone Combine warrior challenge a superior force as it is to see entire formations combine their might to bring down an enemy.

capellan confederation

House Liao – Capellan Confederation

The Capellan Confederation was initially settled by people from Terra’s Asian nations, with the roots of Chinese and Russian culture showing throughout their society. House Liao has come to embrace the harsh reality of police state politics and ruthless control to ensure their nation’s survival against its enemies after centuries of unrelenting warfare.

Nearly shattered by House Davion in the Fourth Succession War, the Confederation allied with the Magistracy of Canopus and the Taurian Concordat and reclaimed much of what was lost. 

For the Confederation people, the needs of the state will always take precedence over those of the individual. This fact is evident in the militant nature of the Capellan soldiery and the open market communism that dominates the nation’s economy.

free worlds league logo

House Marik – Free Worlds League

The Free Worlds League is the oldest of the Successor States, and unlike the other feudal realms, it is a democracy, at least on paper. Although primarily run by House Marik, the League is a conglomerate of many smaller states and planets that allied long ago.

Though internally divisive by nature and riddled with bureaucracy, the League has existed in relative peace for many years and even escaped the worst of the Fourth Succession War. The Free Worlds’ industry and economy boomed after the Clan invasion started, allowing them to become the arms dealer for the Inner Sphere.

Defining itself as a nation of tolerance and open-mindedness, the Free Worlds League is an open market capitalist economy and socially progressive realm with a military made up of regional forces.

lyran commonwealth

House Steiner – Lyran Commonwealth

The Lyran Commonwealth is widely recognized as a nation of merchants, industrialists, and warriors. Founded by Germanic and Scottish settlers, the Lyran state is united in pursuing status and wealth. House Steiner rules through a combination of political intrigue and brute economic force.

Often on the defensive in the Succession Wars, House Steiner’s calls for peace eventually lead to creating the Federated Commonwealth. But the Lyran half of that alliance suffered greatly during the Clan invasion. This event, among others, led to the eruption of the FedCom Civil War and the eventual birth of the Lyran Alliance.

Like the Federated Suns, the Lyran state enjoys an open market economy along with some of the Inner Sphere’s most industrialized worlds, leading to centuries of stability and success. Lyran martial prowess improved from reforms during the Federated Commonwealth era but is now widely seen as militarily inept due to so-called “social generals” and the widespread confidence in “bigger equals better” strategy. 

The typically Lyran solution to most problems is negotiation, barter, or covert action—and because of their resources and wealth, they often field heavier and more numerous forces producing a virtual wall of steel against an enemy advance.

ComStar logo

Comstar

ComStar is an organization that sprang up after the collapse of the Star League, charged with maintaining the backbone of interstellar communication in the BattleTech universe. Minister of Communications Jerome Blake feared that the wars caused by the Star Leagues collapse would destroy the Hyperpulse Generator network and the accumulated wealth of human knowledge and technology.

With the support of the House Lords, ComStar was given monopolistic control of the HPG network, and Terra declared a neutral world and headquarters for the organization. They also created the ComStar News Bureau, a Letter of Credit called the C-Bill which soon became the standard in interstellar commerce, and the Mercenary Review Board was formed as an ‘honest broker’ for the booming mercenary industry.

Although presented as a neutral party, ComStar would secretly manipulate the Great Houses, pitting them against each other for its own purposes. This shroud of secrecy eventually developed into a mystical religion, based around a holy duty to save humanity from itself by controlling all knowledge. 

Tensions between a secular faction aimed at helping humanity and the fanatically religious Word of Blake came to a head with the ComStar Schism. The conflict between the two sides would lead to the Jihad, with the Word of Blake effectively destroyed and ComStar much reduced in power. Ultimately, ComStar ceased to exist after being forcibly integrated with the Republic of the Sphere in the 32nd century.

Descendants of the Exodus – The Clans

The Clans came into being following the collapse of the Star League when the remnants of the Star League Defense Force, under the command of General Aleksandr Kerensky, fled the Inner sphere almost 300 years ago.

After traveling one thousand light-years, Kerensky’s forces settled the Clan homeworlds and forged a new, unique culture. Clan society resembles ancient Sparta, focusing on the warrior ethic and dedicated to advancing the technology of war.

The Clans are divided into two general camps about their ultimate mission. The Crusaders believe it’s their destiny to conquer the Inner Sphere and Terra. The Wardens believe their role is to protect the Inner Sphere against an as yet unrealized threat. There have been fierce debates between both factions since the creation of Clan society.

The Crusaders eventually launched a massive invasion of the Inner Sphere in the year 3050. Through a unified effort, the Great Houses were able to halt the attack. The Clans have since gradually become permanent inhabitants of many Inner Sphere worlds. 

Continued contact with the Inner Sphere has begun to erode various elements of Clan life, despite efforts to maintain their unique culture.

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Clan Blood Spirit

One of the minor Clans, they were also the most traditional and isolationist. And the only clan to be named after an ideal than a totem animal. Clan Blood Spirit produced excellent warriors but was weak militarily and only survived due in part to having nothing worth fighting over. They believed the other Clans abandoned Kerensky’s vision, developing a bitterness that ensured they had few friends.

clan burrock logo

Clan Burrock

Named for an invertebrate endemic to the planet Dagda that could burrow through solid rock, Clan Burrock was one of the original twenty Clans. They are known for their consistently shifting style of combat that focuses on a combination of electronic warfare and mobile firepower.

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Clan Cloud Cobra

Clan Cloud Cobra is a minor Clan and the only one to incorporate organized religion into its governing structure. Dedicated to an overarching concept known as “The Way,” their warrior-priests were among the most cunning and emphasized their aerospace forces.

Clan Coyote

Coyote Clan is one of the strongest of the Clans and was responsible for the invention of the OmniMech. The Coyotes warriors were bound together in a brotherhood based on native American religious practices. As one of the Clans that opposed the invasion of the Inner Sphere, the Coyotes became the target of the Crusader Clans and their strength and influence diminished. 

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Clan Diamond Shark

Often referred to as the “Merchant Clan,” the Diamond Sharks were among the most powerful and progressive of the Clans. Known initially as Clan Sea Fox, they are the only Clan where the merchant caste’s influence exceeds that of the warriors. 

They were also the only Clan to allow warriors to join another caste, with many becoming Warrior-Traders voluntarily. After the Jihad, Clan Diamond Shark changed their name back to Clan Sea Fox.

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Clan Fire Mandrill

Clan Fire Mandrill is unified in name only.  The Fire Mandrills never become a powerful force in Clan society due to their fractious nature. 

Their Clan is divided into groupings known as Kindraa and fought with anyone, even each other, to resolve issues. This fractious nature eventually led to the Mandrills’ downfall.

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Clan Ghost Bear

One of the most powerful Clans, the Ghost Bears are known for their conservative nature and deep familial relationships. While slower to accept new concepts or new technologies, their approach to life also ensured the Clans’ survival and growth over the years.

The Ghost Bears were one of the four Crusader Clans, invading both the Free Rasalhague Republic and the Draconis Combine. The Wars of Reaving forced the Ghost Bears to flee the Clan Homeworlds and resettle in the Inner Sphere. 

Ultimately, they would merge with the remnant of the Free Rasalhague Republic to form a powerful Clan/Inner Sphere hybrid state known as the Rasalhague Dominion.

Clan Goliath Scorpion

The Goliath Scorpion Clan valued strength, speed, and precision in every action. Obsessed with recovering lost artifacts of the fallen Star League, knights-errant known as Seekers would roam far and wide to recover them. 

Many Seekers were often inspired by “visions” from the use of Necrosia, a dangerous toxin produced by the Goliath Scorpion of the Clans namesake. The Goliath Scorpions eventually fled to the Inner Sphere, conquering Nueva Castile and renaming it Escorpion Imperio.

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Clan Hell’s Horses

Known prominently for their use of combat vehicles in front-line forces, the Hell’s Horses valued all Clan society members as part of a greater whole, including freebirths. The Hell’s Horses were among the most stable Clans and held their own against others. During the Wars of Reaving, Clan Hell’s Horses gradually moved their holdings into their Inner Sphere.

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Clan Ice Hellion

Clan Ice Hellion is a fierce, quick-handed Clan bordering on reckless. Ice Hellion warriors themselves on the ability to strike first, while members of the civilian caste were more even-paced in their dealings. The clan was nearly destroyed during the Jihad Era, some being absorbed into Clan Goliath Scorpion in 3073 while other fragments became pirates.

Clan Jade Falcon

Clan Jade Falcon warriors are aggressive fighters and staunch traditionalists. They were central in creating the Crusader philosophy and one of the four original participants in the Inner Sphere invasion. 

Sworn enemies of Clan Wolf, their martial “might makes right” mindset made them one of the most powerful. Jade Falcon treated their civilian castes well, and their merchant caste was second only to the Diamond Sharks, leading to an above-average standard of living.

Clan Mongoose

One of the original Clans, the Mongoose were known for their aggression and used politics to sidestep various rules of Clan society. They would eventually incur the wrath of Clan Smoke Jaguar and be absorbed by them after a dispute.

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Clan Nova Cat

A Clan marked by a unique brand of mysticism, the Nova Cats were guided by visions through pyromancy. Following these visions tended to cause conflict with the other Clans. Only the strength of their warriors was the Nova Cat Clan kept safe over the years. 

In the year 3060, Clan Nova Cat sided with the Second Star League against the other Clans following a vision. They were later forced out of Clan society and eventually resettled in the Draconis Combine. The Nova Cats later backed the wrong side of a rebellion within the Combine and were subsequently destroyed.

Clan Smoke Jaguar

One of the most infamous Clans, the Smoke Jaguars were among the most aggressive and warlike of the Clans and early supporters of the Crusader philosophy. Though all Clans prioritized the warrior caste over all others, Clan Smoke Jaguar was severely repressive of their civilian castes. One of the four original invading Clans, the Smoke Jaguar Khan Leo Showers became the new ilKhan and was given the honor of leading the Clan invasion. Following the creation of the Second Star League, Clan Smoke Jaguar was targeted for a Trial of Annihilation and destroyed as a show of force.

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Clan Snow Raven

Masters of manipulation and opportunists of the highest order, Clan Snow Raven possesses an almost un-Clanlike sense of self-preservation. The Snow Ravens placed a heavy emphasis on aerospace and naval forces and a willingness to sell their services to the highest bidder. 

They have the largest WarShip fleet in known space, though this came at a cost to their ground forces. Forced from the Clan Homeworlds during the Wars of Reaving, they moved to the Inner Sphere’s periphery border and merged with the Outworlds Alliance.

Clan Star Adder

Known for their pragmatism and their strategic view towards battles and treating freeborns that proved themselves as equals, Clan Star Adder was one of the few conservative Clans. Though they did not participate in the invasion of the Inner Sphere, they made significant gains in the homeworlds and would go on to Absorb Clan Burrock.

clan steel viper logo

Clan Steel Viper

Clan Steel Viper’s early history was marred by the acts of the Not-Named Khan, causing the Steel Vipers to enact a form of isolationism. Having one of the most brutal training regimes of any Clan, the Steel Vipers produced fewer but more elite warriors. 

Straddling the fence between Warden and Crusader, they participated in the Inner Sphere invasion as a reserve force and assisted the Jade Falcons. After attempting to dominate the Home Clans, the Steel Vipers instigated the Wars of Reaving and were Annihilated in 3075.

Clan Widowmaker

The second Clan to fall, Clan Widowmaker gained a reputation for undue aggression. During Operation Klondike, the operation to retake the Pentagon Worlds after the creation of Clan society, their saKhan Mariel Sanders was assassinated. 

The rage caused by this event caused them to be removed from the battle by ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky and replaced by Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon. This dishonor caused an intense hatred between Clan Widowmaker and Clan Wolf. 

In the summer of 2834, the Widowmakers massacred their merchants during a caste dispute. Though the Widowmakers blamed the Wolves for causing the conflict, the Grand Council questioned their right to rule and gave the Wolves the right to absorb them. 

During the Trial of Absorption, Widowmaker Khan Cal Jorgensson accidentally killed ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky. The ilKhan’s death caused such furry in Clan Wolf that the Trial of Absorption turned into a de-facto Trial of Annihilation, leaving few Widowmaker warriors alive.

clan wolf logo

Clan Wolf

The chosen Clan of Nicholas Kerensky, the Wolves dominated Clan society until their destruction in the Refusal War. Less formal and more flexible than others, Clan Wolf blended caution with decisiveness in their tactics. 

Their Warden mindset led them to oppose the invasion of the Inner Sphere, but the Wolves were forced to participate as one of the four original invaders. Clan Wolf was eventually reborn with a decisive Crusader mindset and later fled to the Inner Sphere during the Wars of Reaving, taking the only copies of the Founders’ genetic legacies with them.

Clan Wolverine (The Not-Named Clan)

One of the original 20 Clans, the Wolverines were noted for their unwillingness to back down from any challenge. This tenacity plus their progressive nature allowed the Wolverines to become very successful. Clan Wolverine was officially destroyed in 2823 during the first-ever Trial of Annihilation. Their destruction was called for due to heinous crimes against the Clan way, including using a nuclear device to destroy a Clan Snow Raven city and genetic repository. In the aftermath, all references to Clan Wolverine were purged, and they are now only known as the Not-named Clan.

The actual truth, which has been covered up with falsified records and fabricated history, was that the Clan Wolverine began questioning ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky. Fearing the schism this may cause in the fledgling Clans, Kerensky allowed a coalition of envious Clans led by Clan Widowmaker to plot the downfall of Clan Wolverine. 

Their destruction would unite the Clans through a common enemy while making the Wolverines an example for everyone who thought to cross Kerensky. During the trial, Clan Wolverine was hunted down to the last man, woman, and child.

Even though “officially” destroyed, scattered evidence suggested that some members of Clan Wolverine survived and fled to the Inner Sphere. Check out this article at Sarna.net for more details on the mystery of the Wolverines.

Minor Powers

While the Inner Sphere is dominated by the Great Houses, there are many smaller factions that still make a big impact on events in the BattleTech universe. The most notable with the Rim Worlds League, under Sefan Amaris, whos coupe led the the fall of the Star League and Succession Wars.

Periphery States

The Periphery lies beyond the boundaries of the Inner Sphere, home to independent-minded souls looking to escape the repressive regimes of the Great Houses. It is a boundless frontier, where the spirit of exploration and discovery is alive and well. 

The less savory elements of independence are equally present, with numerous pirate bands and bandit kingdoms thriving in these almost lawless regions of space. While largely unexplored and sparsely populated, the Periphery has played a pivotal role in several major interstellar events, including the fall of the Star League.

The Periphery has a reputation as backward and technologically inferior, which is only partly true. Though many areas are underdeveloped, it includes scattered regions where culture and technology have advanced significantly. 

The Taurian Concordat is well known for its excellent educational system and high literacy rate. Simultaneously, the Magistracy of Canopus exemplifies some of the most progressive views on human rights in known space.

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Mercenaries

There will always be someone willing to sell their services to the highest bidder in a universe at war. From legendary units like Wolf’s Dragoons and the Kell Hounds to the greenest company, mercenaries are a staple of the Inner Sphere. Though not technically a power unto themselves, they—perhaps more than any private army—have raised and toppled empires.

Pirates

Throughout humankind’s history, rogue elements have always lived outside the confines of civilization, willing to do whatever it takes to survive. In practice, that usually means taking what they need from someone else.

Though pirates are generally associated with the Periphery, some pirates have become legends, feared, and reviled across known space. Lady Death, the Band of the Damned, and the New Belt Pirates, just to name a few.

What do I need to start playing BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat today?

battletech gameplay

So, you want to play some BattleTech? I knew you would get hooked! Don’t forget to pick up your Supreme BattleTech Beginner Pack at the end of this article.

BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat was first released in 1984 (Damn, I feel old!), and has gone through many revisions. I have included a handy table that will help you decide which is the best option for you to get started. 

Whether you are a total noob or a seasoned wargamer, take a look at this handy table to see which option would be best for you to get into the work of mech combat!

Which is best for me?

  • Total Noob (never played a wargame or to introduce young players): BattleTech: Beginner Box
  • Rookie (some experience with wargames): BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat Box and BattleTech: Clan Invasion Box
  • MechWarrior (experienced wargamers): Rookie level + BattleTech: Alpha Strike
  • House Lord (advanced wargamer looking for more challenge): MechWarrior Level + BattleTech: Strategic Operations, BattleTech: Interstellar Operations, and BattleTech: Campaign Operations

Level: Total Noob

Are you brand new to wargaming and looking to find a great game to jump in and get your feet wet? Or maybe you are an experienced wargamer looking to get a younger player into the hobby? Then this is the level for you. I personally introduced my son to the hobby of miniature tabletop wargaming using the BattleTech: Beginner Box and I would recommend it to anyone!

battletech beginner box front

BattleTech: Beginner Box

Have you seen a game of BattleTech on YouTube, your local game store, or at a friend’s house? Thought it looked awesome and wanted to get in on the action? Then this boxed set is for you!

This introductory box set is designed as the entry point into the game for new BattleTech players. The quick-start rules, which you can learn in under an hour, will have you quickly slugging it out in your thirty-foot-tall BattleMechs. 

The BattleMechs included in this set 2 unpainted plastic ‘Mechs, the venerable Griffin, and the versatile Wolverine. These war machines are 55 tons and fall within the medium ‘Mech category, providing you both speed and firepower.

battletech beginner box back

Along with the plastic ones, you get eight cardboard ‘Mechs, two more Griffins, two more Wolverines, 2 Locust light ‘Mechs, and 2 Thunderbolt heavy ‘Mechs. All the ‘Mechs, plastic and punchboard, include reference sheets that show the weapons, stats, and other characteristics of the ‘Mechs.

This ready-to-play starter set also includes a double-sided map, cardboard terrain tokens for your battlefield, a painting and tactics guide, pilot cards with special abilities that let you spice up your gameplay, and two six-sided dice.

As a bonus, it also comes with a map of the Inner Sphere, a brief synopsis of the BattleTech Universe, and the short story “Golden Rule” by William H. Keith, Jr that gives you a glimpse into the lives of a MechWarrior.

Breakdown:

  • Two high-quality, fully assembled (unpainted) miniatures
  • 18″ x 22″ full-color paper map (hexed, double-sided)
  • Sheet of die-cut cardboard ‘Mechs & terrain tokens
  • Quick Start Rulebook
  • Universe booklet
  • 24-page fiction novella “Golden Rule”
  • Record sheets
  • MechWarrior cards
  • Six-sided dice

Level: Rookie

If you have some wargaming experience and are new to the BattleTech universe, then the BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat boxed sets are for you. These sets contain everything from rules, maps, and miniatures so you can jump right into playing the game.

Battletech Box Front

BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat Box

Are you a wargamer looking to jump into some savage ‘Mech on ‘Mech combat? Then take a look at BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat, the classic BattleTech boxed set, reimagined from the ground up and full of exciting new material and miniatures!

BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat Box is designed for intermediate players, someone who has either played the BattleTech: Beginner Box or another wargame and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with rules and is willing to learn.

Accompanying the complete ruleset are eight high-quality unpainted plastic miniatures, representing some of the most common ’Mechs found in the Inner Sphere. These include the Awesome, BattleMaster, Catapult, Commando, Locust, Shadow Hawk, Thunderbolt, and Wolverine.

Along with the plastic ones, you get nine cardboard ‘Mechs, an Awesome, a BattleMaster, a Thunderbolt, a Catapult, a Wolverine, a Shadow Hawk, a Commando, a Locust, and a Griffin. All the ‘Mechs, plastic and cardboard, include reference sheets that show the weapons, stats, and other characteristics of the ‘Mechs.

While this box does include the punchboard Griffin and reference sheet, you can only get the high-quality plastic miniature in the BattleTech: Beginner Box.

This ready-to-play set also includes two double-sided maps, cardboard terrain tokens for your battlefield, pilot cards with special abilities that let you spice up your gameplay, and two six-sided dice.

To supplement your gameplay, you also get a record sheet booklet with pre-filled “mech sheets and a blank to copy, two cards that combine all the needed tables into one easy-to-use place for both players, as well as Alpha Strike cards for all the included ‘Mechs!

Alpha Strike is an alternate, fast-playing form of BattleTech. The rules are not included in this box set, but you can get the Alpha Strike Quick-Start Rules in the Supreme BattleTech Beginner Pack at the end of this article.

As a bonus, it also comes with a BattleTech Universe Primer providing an overview of the game world, its history, and its factions, and the short story “Eyestorm” by William H. Keith, Jr that gives you a glimpse into the lives of a MechWarrior.

Breakdown:

  • Eight high-quality, fully assembled (unpainted) miniatures
  • 56-page Rulebook
  • 16-page Record Sheet Booklet
  • 16-page Universe Primer
  • 24-page fiction novella “Eyestorm”
  • 8 Pilot Cards
  • Two heavy-stock reference sheets
  • 2 18” x 22” full-color paper maps (hexed, double-sided)
  • Sheet of die-cut cardboard ‘Mechs & terrain tokens
  • Two six-sided dice
Clan Invasion Box

BattleTech: Clan Invasion

The year is 3050 and the true heirs of the lost Star League have returned from the depths of the far Periphery. Backed by high-tech OmniMechs bristling with advanced weapons and battlesuit-clad Elementals capable of bringing down a ‘Mech, the Clan crusades drives toward the heart of human-occupied space.

The Clan Invasion box set is designed for intermediate-level play, building off Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat. With this box, you`ll unlock powerful new factions and `Mechs to expand your BattleTech experience and take part in the cataclysmic invasion of the Inner Sphere. 

The BattleTech: Clan Invasion box set includes five iconic OmniMechs – the Timber Wolf, Executioner, Nova, Adder, and Mongrel, as well as two maps, the intermediate-level Clan rulebook, and a brief guide to the Clans to set the stage.

Clan Invasion Box mechs

Breakdown:

  • Five high-quality, fully assembled (unpainted) miniatures
  • Two Elemental squads
  • Clan Rulebook
  • Clan Primer Booklet
  • Novella “Bonds of Battle”
  • Record Sheets Booklet
  • 10 Pilot Cards
  • Alpha Strike Cards
  • reference cards
  • Game Maps
  • Sheet of additional cardboard ‘Mechs and terrain tokens
  • Two six-sided dice

Level: Mechwarrior

Welcome, Mechwarrior! Are you a lover of huge battles of miniatures wreaking havoc across the battlefield? Then take of look at BattleTech: Alpha Strike. It is a fast-playing game of armored combat with simplified rules and designed for large unit engagements. BattleTech: Alpha Strike lets you become the commander of a whole army and experience the BattleTech universe like never before.

BattleTech: Alpha Strike: Commander's Edition

Alpha Strike: Commanders Edition

There remains one constant in the BattleTech universe: the drums of war. 

And where there is war, hulking BattleMechs, brave infantry, and daring aerofighters lead the charge to a certain victory or crushing defeat on the sprawling battlefields of distant worlds. As a fearless military commander, rally your troops onward into the fray and surge forth to triumph over the enemy.

Alpha Strike: Commander’s Edition collects into one handy volume the revised fast-play rules from the original Alpha Strike and the expanded rules from Alpha Strike Companion. 

Take command of large-scale engagements with tabletop-miniatures gameplay designed for the modern wargamer. Use the force-creation rules to marshal your armies, charge them into battle, and either reap the rewards of conquest or taste the bitter pill of defeat. 

You can find my full review of Alpha Strike here. The future of the Inner Sphere is in your hands!

BattleTech Alpha Strike succession wars cards

Alpha Strike Game Aids – Succession Wars Cards

Alpha Strike: Succession Wars contains the ‘Mech Units that survived centuries of warfare across the Inner Sphere. Full-color, poker-sized, and laminated for dry-erase use, you just need miniatures and dice, and you’ll be battling for control of humanity’s tenuous future.

Alpha Strike Game Aids – Clan Invasion Cards

Alpha Strike: Clan Invasion contains the Mech Units that sprung from the distant Periphery to terrorize the Inner Sphere and Mechs designed to repel them. Full-color, poker-sized, and laminated for dry-erase use, you just need miniatures and dice, and you’ll be battling for control of humanity’s tenuous future.

Level: House Lord

Taking over a city? Pathetic. An entire world? Chump Change. You are looking to rule the universe! With BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat box set and these expanded rules you will be able to take your wargaming to the next level and craft history-changing campaigns that span the stars.

BattleTech Total Warfare

BattleTech: Total Warfare

Total Warfare is the product of more than twenty years of gaming experience and expands on the rules presented in the BattleTech: BattleMech Manual, where all the rules for various units that have a direct impact on the deadly battlefields of the thirty-first century appear in a unified rules set: from BattleMechs to ProtoMechs, Combat Vehicles to Support Vehicles, infantry to aerospace fighters and DropShips. 

Interwoven and meticulously updated, Total Warfare provides the most detailed and comprehensive rules set published to date for BattleTech—the perfect companion for standard tournament play.

battletech strategic operations

BattleTech: Strategic Operations

Plasma blasts into space from the kilometer-long WarShips fusion engines as it escorts DropShips deploying from your JumpShips at the edge of the solar system. Prepare yourself for engaging space combat as you conquer an entire solar system!

Strategic Operations is the one-source rulebook for aerospace tactics that will allow you to gain air supremacy to match your grasp of ground tactics. It includes new aerospace movement, combat and advanced aerospace unit construction rules, comprehensive maintenance, salvage, repair, and customization rules.

Finally, it includes rules for a complete game system called BattleForce, allowing players to use their existing miniatures and map sheets to play quick, fast-paced BattleTech games, from companies to battalions and even regiments.

battletech interstellar operations

BattleTech: Interstellar Operations

Marshal your forces and prepare to conquer the Inner Sphere. Building upon the aerospace rules presented in Strategic Operations, assume the role of a House Lord and dominate the galaxy!

Interstellar Operations contains rules for running an entire faction’s military. A player tries to conquer numerous solar systems, including rules for conducting warfare through scales larger than previously represented within the core line of rulebooks. 

Finally, the Alternate Eras section introduces a vast swath of rules for playing across the thousand years of BattleTech history, including weapons and equipment unique to a given era, such as complete rules for building and playing with Land Air Mechs.

BattleTech: Campaign Operations

Forge your forces and prepare to fight any battle across the Inner Sphere! Campaign Operations completes the core rulebook series begun in BattleTech: Total Warfare. 

While previous rulebooks detailed gameplay at various levels–from a single MechWarrior, to a BattleMech company, to entire armies–this final volume focuses on the forces a player will build and run through any level of play.

Campaign Operations contains rules for creating and running any military unit, whether a down-on-their-luck mercenary company or a well-stocked House regiment. As well as complete rules for devising solar systems allowing players to recreate existing star systems or craft all-new worlds to challenge each other. 

Best of all, this book brings several options to the table for campaign play. Building off previous sections in Total Warfare and Strategic Operations, the Narrative Campaign, Map-Based Campaign, and Chaos Campaign rules allow you to build exciting, fun campaigns for your newly-minted forces!

What can make my games of BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat even better?

battletech accessories

So, you have jumped into the vast universe of BattleTech and are looking for more? With a rich history that has evolved for 30 years, there is more than enough to keep you coming back for more! Check out these additional resources that can make your tabletop games even better.

BattleTech Miniatures

While the BattleTech boxed sets contain miniatures for you to use in your battles, you will probably want to expand your army some time to get more variety in your games. The Force Packs contain additional BattleTech miniatures that you use for either BattleTech or Alpha Strike tabletop games.

battletech force pack inner sphere command lance

Miniature Force Pack – Inner Sphere Command Lance

Containing some of the most iconic Inner Sphere mechs, this battle back would be a great addition to any army.

The Inner Sphere Command Lance includes the Marauder, Archer, Valkyrie, and Stinger, four MechWarrior pilot cards, and four Alpha Strike cards.

battletech force pack inner sphere battle lance

Miniature Force Pack – Inner Sphere Battle Lance

With some of the most popular mechs available in the Inner Sphere, this battle lance pack will provide you with a much-needed boost to your army.

The Inner Sphere Battle Lance includes the much-loved Warhammer, Rifleman, Phoenix Hawk, and Wasp, along with four MechWarrior pilot cards and four Alpha Strike cards.

battletech clan command star

Miniature Force Pack – Clan Command Star

The Command Star contains the most skilled warriors of any Clan unit. Raising through the ranks based on their combat prowess, this mech pack will give you a distinct edge in your battles.

The Clan Command Star includes the Dire Wolf, Summoner, Stormcrow, Mist Lynx, Shadow Cat, five MechWarrior pilot cards, and five Alpha Strike cards.

Miniature Force Pack – Clan Heavy Striker Star

Are you looking to add more firepower to your BattleTech matches? Then this Miniature Force Pack is for you! Containing some of the most powerful Clan mechs, with no assembly required, you can instantly increase your team’s combat effectiveness.

The Clan Heavy Striker Star includes the Gargoyle, Hellbringer, Mad Dog, Ice Ferret, and Viper, along with five MechWarrior pilot cards and five Alpha Strike cards.

battletech force pack clan elemental star

Miniature Force Pack – Elemental Star

Using technology from the Star League and genetically engineered warriors, the Clans Elemental power armor shocked the Inner Sphere during the Invasion. Having not seen these types of units for more than 300 years, the Successor States confounded Inner Sphere defenders and caused significant damage.

The Clan Elemental Star includes five hex-based miniatures, fully assembled, ready-to-play out of the box. Each model represents a star of Elemental power armor, a fantastic addition to any Clan strike force!

Map Packs and Battlemats

While the BattleTech boxed sets contain paper maps for you to use in your battles, having some variety in your battlefields can make your games more fun.

MapSet Grasslands Front

Map Pack: Grasslands

This Map Pack expands on the all-new maps found in the BattleTech: Beginner Box and BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat box.

Created using the same brilliant aesthetics as the new box sets, these maps include six double-sided maps providing twelve brand-new battlefields and a variety of terrain elements for players of every skill level. 

Each paper map is 17″ x 22″ and can be placed side-on or edge-on with other maps for expanded battlefields. Among the twelve map designs will be recreations of two of the most popular BattleTech’s maps.

MapPack Battle for Tukayyid

Map Pack: Battle of Tukayyid

Another pack of maps that expand on the ones found in the boxed sets, allowing you to recreate one of the most pivotal battles in BattleTech history.

Created using the same brilliant aesthetics as the new box sets, these eight paired maps detail the seven battlefields of the Battle of Tukayyid, where Comstar brought the entire Clan Invasion to a halt. 

Each double-sided map is printed on 17” x 22” paper, including the Deployment Zone bonus map.

BattleMats

These high-quality 34” x 22″ neoprene maps are the perfect size for most games on your BattleTech gaming table!

Each map is high-resolution with excellent color quality, making them some of the most beautiful and durable BattleTech maps ever produced. These BattleMats are made of thin neoprene for ease of storage and double-sided for versatility.

Each of the four BattleMats displays a unique Grasslands map on one side, and the second side includes 1 of 4 brand-new maps—desert, lunar, alpine, and savanna—designed to be used together.

The choice of battlefield is in your hands!

Sourcebooks, Combat Manuals, and Technical Readouts

If you are looking to expand your knowledge of BattleTech history, mechs, and more then you would want to look into the BattleTech sourcebooks, combat manuals, and tech readouts. They give you a more in-depth look into the history of the significant events that shaped the galaxy as well as more mechs you can use in your tabletop games.

  • Sourcebooks – These books are more lore-focused, providing you plenty of history on the world of BattleTech. From the machinations of the Great Houses, the battles of the great wars, and much more.
  • Combat Manuals – The Combat Manuals give readers an in-depth look into the combat units of the BattelTech Universe. From unit tactics to unit paint jobs, and much more!
  • Technical Readouts – Just as they sound, the Technical Readouts are chalk full of information about BattleMechs. Stats, combat roles and even lore about each Mechs development make these great for any reader.

Mechwarrior Destiny

Are you looking to add more flavor to your BattleTech games, or just want to try something different than Dungeons & Dragons? 

Mechwarrior Destiny is a new way to role-play in the BattleTech universe, using streamlined rules based on the easy-to-learn Cue System. It focuses on action and story, and an all-new system for ‘Mech combat lets you wade into battle without requiring miniatures or maps.

Set in the year 3025, MechWarrior: Destiny is a narrative-focused role-playing experience that provides you a new way to dive into the action-packed BattleTech universe. As war rages across the vast interstellar empires of the Inner Sphere, the armies of the Successor States vie for dominance across more than a thousand light-years of inhabited worlds.

And where there is war, there will be people seeking fortune and fame. MechWarrior: Destiny has all you need to grab some equipment, load your sidearm, and strap into a ’Mech, aerospace fighter or tank to fight for honor, glory, or even the almighty C-Bill.

Do you see yourself as an honor-bound samurai of House Kurita? Or a crusader for freedom in the service of House Davion? Maybe you would like to test your mettle as a champion in the arenas of Solaris VII for House Steiner. 

Perhaps you will rain down fire from the skies in a House Marik aerospace fighter or operate in the shadows as a House Liao intelligence agent. Will you pursue a life of service behind the veil of the secretive ComStar, join an elite mercenary outfit like Wolf’s Dragoons, or even choose to lead a band lawless band of pirates? 

The path you lead through the 31st century, and the legacy you leave behind, is all up to you!

MechWarrior: Destiny is loaded with characters, ’Mechs and other military hardware make it easy to start trading fire on 31st-century battlefields in no time. It also includes rules for incorporating play in BattleTech’s Total Warfare and Alpha Strike games.

Is BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat Worth the Investment?

mechwarriors in battle

I’ve been a massive fan of BattleTech for years, and I think it is one of the best wargames for players of any level. Whether you are a complete beginner to wargaming or a grizzled veteran, BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat has something for everyone.

  • Easy of Play: From the simplified rules of the BattleTech Beginner Box, the in-depth rules of BattleTech Total Warfare, to the streamlined fast play rules of BattleTech Alpha Strike, the games you play with this system are up to you!
  • Rich Lore: The history of the BattleTech Universe is long and filled with drama. If you want to take your games to the next level and start creating more narrative gameplay for your matches, BattleTech has so much for you to draw from!
  • Less Expensive: BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat costs less to get into than a wargame like Warhammer 40k. And who wants to spend a lot of money to start playing a game they don’t even know they will like playing? 

To sum it all up, BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat is worth the investment to me. If you are even a little bit interested in miniature tabletop gaming, I think you’ll like it too. Download your Supreme BattleTech Beginner Pack below to try it out; you’ll get the free starter rules, free map pack, custom game scenarios, and much more!

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Jason
Hi! I'm Jason, the guy behind Alpha Strikes. I've been in love with miniature wargames for more than 30 years, even more lately. It has become my mission to spread my love of wargames to new players. I hope you enjoy the site!
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