While Battletech does also have extensive rules covering infantry, artillery, armored vehicles, VTOLs, Aerospace fighters, and capital ships, the focus has always been, and will always be, on the Mechs. Each Mech is a complete fighting force in and of itself. Armed with missiles, lasers, and all measure of ballistic weaponry, Mechs rule the battlefield of the 31st century.
|Battle Mechs on a hex map.|
In the Combat Phase, you have the opportunity to make any physical attacks (punches, kicks, charges, or, my personal favorite, Death from Above) and fire any weapons you may be equipped with. Apparently range finders haven’t gone out of fashion yet in the 31st century, so you are always free to measure your range at any time. Once you have chosen your target(s) and the weapons you will fire, you need find out the respective ranges of your weapons. Each has a separate Short, Medium, and Long range bracket. Calculating your Hit Number would come next. Starting with a base number representing your Piloting Skill (4 is average), you add modifiers for your movement, your target’s movement, and any range modifiers for your weapons, as well as any other circumstantial modifiers involved. Once you have your number calculated, it is time to roll the dice.
|Record Sheeet for a variant of the classic Rifleman Mech.|
The final phase, Heat, is used to keep track of the effects that moving and firing weapons have on your machine. This aspect of the game is completely unique to BattleTech. Each type of movement and every weapon has an amount of heat it generates. Mechs are equipped with Heat Sinks to help bleed off any excess heat generated by operating it. Any excess heat is calculated and kept track of into the next phase. Side effects of overheating your Mech can range from loss of control or accuracy, causing and ammunition explosion, or shutting down the Mech completely. Managing your heat can make the difference between winning and losing a game. Knowing when to push the limits of your Mech’s heat tolerance is a very useful tactic. There are also several weapons in the game that can cause heat to rise on your opponent. These can be fearsome weapons indeed.