I have already mentioned about my WW1 naval fix via Avalon Hill’s Jutland but the subject of this post is something altogether very different - or perhaps not.
I enjoy a variety of Sci-Fi gaming backgrounds and currently Red Alert by Richard Borg - a Command and Colours game - and OGRE by Steve Jackson are my particular favourites. I also have Abaddon - another Richard Borg game - which features large piloted fighting machines called ‘Links’. Of course the premier game of Sci-Fi armoured combat involving large fighting machines is Battletech.
The base game comes with 8 Battle Mechs ranging from the largest to the smallest and these are made from a toughened polythene material. They are really nicely done and the beauty of this game is that you do not need many to have a good game so my collection of 16 models will be more than sufficient for my immediate needs. The game is hex based and as can be seen from the accompanying pictures, using Heroscape tiles would be a really good option to explore.
There is also a set of fast play rules for the system called Alpha Strike - an introductory version is available as a free download covering pure Mech battles - which are available but are pretty expensive - perhaps something for a later day.
The game is quite detailed - almost skirmish like - and so Mechs have a bewildering array of weapons and armour combinations to play around with depending on the type being used. Damage is recorded on control charts that feature hit location and the armour value thereof. Being giant fighting machines also means that melee combat features with some more predisposed to this than others - especially if your Mech does not have any arms!
The earlier comparison I made with naval games was due to a couple of reasons. Both (usually) reflect damage to specific systems via a damage record sheet, both require minimal amounts of models to have a really good game and finally there is plenty of variety within the four notional types of Mech in the game - light, medium, heavy and assault (you get two models of each type in the base game).
As a Sci Fi side hustle for me this game will tick a lot of boxes. To begin with painting 16 Mechs will present little difficulty and will be something I will enjoy. I can (finally) make use of the substantial amount of Heroscape terrain I have and I am safe in the knowledge that there is more than sufficient online resources and background material to tap into should I wish.
Besides, the models are really good!