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BATTLETECH Review: Starterbook Sword and Dragon

3 Minute Read
Nov 27 2011
Hey, folks, Voices here again with another review for the BattleTech game. This time, instead of looking at record sheets or unit stat books, we’ve got a campaign book for you: Starterbook Sword and Dragon.

This book isn’t new, but its designed for use with the BattleTech Introductory boxed set (and, by extension, the 25th-Anniversary Intro boxed set).

The book is presented as a campaign between two rival ‘Mech raider companies from two different rival factions, the Japanese-flavored Draconis Combine and the European-feudal-styled Federated Suns/Commonwealth. Set strictly in the few years before the Clan Invasion of 3049, the book follows a series of engagements between these two forces across the border between the DC’s Galedon Military District and the FS/C’s Draconis March.

It also includes necessary information to play both forces at any time period from the Fourth Succession War (3029-3031) through the Word of Blake Jihad (starting in 3067) and complete unit profiles for McKinnon’s Raiders (affiliated with the Federated Suns/Commonwealth) and Sorenson’s Sabres (Draconis Combine). Since each force is a company strong, the book gives pilot profiles for each pilot in both forces, including a blurb on their personal ‘Mech in the campaign-as-presented; the record sheets for these ‘Mechs and several variants of each appear in the second half of the book. Sandwiched between the pilot profiles and the campaign rules section is a brief technical readout giving all the experimental equipment appearing in the book, from prototype Medium Pulse Lasers to Double Strength Heat Sinks; this is equipment fitted to the ‘Mechs of each command in the mid-3040s, when they were still in development and not ready for widespread (ie, mass-produced and relatively bug-free) deployment. As such, you have a variable listing for certain values, like the MPL-P’s 4+1D6 heat point rating.

Like most BT products these days, much of the “artwork” are posed pictures of actual, painted-and-based models. The pilot profiles have portraits of each pilot, and these are rendered beautifully in full color. The volume of material for the fluff-monkey out there is pretty outstanding; by way of example, each company has the portrait of pilots in one of three uniforms: the in-cockpit MechWarrior’s cooling vest, the appropriate faction field uniform, and the faction dress uniform. It’s consistent and attractively presented.

It’s also a bit personal for me; as when I started playing BT again at the start of this year after a nine-year absence, the friends in my old BT group were actually playing this campaign. The continuity of that was one of the things that kept me longer than a couple of sessions; and, arguably, sparked what has now become my championing of this game here on BoLS.

Well, that’s pretty much it for Sword and Dragon. I really do like this book; it’s a good piece to pick up at your FLGS, especially if you’re beginning to tire of weekly pick-up games. As for me, I’m off now to prove that the Clan Ghost Bear way is the only way at MillenniumCon’s Bloodname and BT Open tournaments.

5/5: this book does everything right for what it is, and then some.

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