One of my favorite games, bar none, is the MechWarrior clix/miniatures game. Honestly, there ain’t none better than fielding a sixty-ton BattleMech and watching it smash the crap out of another sixty-ton BattleMech. Plus, it’s a got this great tactical/wargame aspect to it. Unlike, say, DDM or HeroClix, your tactical strategies don’t revolve around counting squares. With MechWarrior, there’s a lot more potential for using terrain, movement, overwatch, recon, etc., than in a game of HorrorClix which revolves around using the map to your advantage. I rather prefer this level of strategy, especially the military/armchair general aspect of it, while still retaining the science fiction and mecha addictions.
Though, I have to point out, I never get to play the damn game. I got into it around the same time as some of my friends, which I thought would be a good move—one of my mottos is to never join a game that has only two other players. So, with three (technically four) other players, and a huge drive to recruit more, I felt pretty secure. Wrong.
First off, only Reuben and Mat McPeak had played the game before, and McPeak of them had loaned his mechs off to a tournament player and couldn’t get them back easily. (It didn’t help that he failed out of school twice.) Matt quickly decided that, while he liked mechs, and while he liked playing, the rules were “too complicated” (especially the use of a tape measure and three dice), and so went back to HeroClix and HorrorClix. My roommate bought eighty dollars worth of MechWarrior boosters, pulled some of the most powerful chase rares out of Wolf Strike (three of the Atlases), and decided he was done collecting; when Reuben gifted him another two chase rares (an Atlas and a Marauder IIC from the demo kit) as incentive to get back into the game, he took this as a sign that he should stick with the Atlas army strategy. He was later gifted with three more boosters at various times, and still has no incentive to get back into either buying or playing. (When he pulled a really gnarly Dark Ages mech from one of the gift boosters, he complained that, while it was cool, it just couldn’t hold a candle to his Atlases.) So, this leaves myself and Reuben to play the game (which never actually happens).
However, I continue to buy boosters in hopes of playing it again some day. I feel kind of like a loser for buying so damn much but never actually playing it. On the bright side, I do end up getting some great pulls, including a variety of cool VTOLs and tanks, some awesome mechs (my first pack included a hardcore Zeus that could dish out 6 clicks of armor-piercing damage), a nice army of Mad Cats and Marauders to combat the Atlas army, and a host of unique figs (about a half dozen). Sadly, while I got some Glory Fire Support vehicles and Mars Assault Tanks from the Dark Ages expansions, I never got any of the cool vehicles from Dark Ages itself—if anyone else played MechWarrior back in the day, you remember the amazingly powerful and versatile tanks it had (DI Schmitt, M1 Marksman, Behemoth II, Po II, et al.). A Galleon light tank and some Demon mediums just don’t compare.
Following the idea of playing MechWarrior as a clix game, we tossed around the idea of running it as a linked scenario game—a kind of RPG-esque tactical game. The idea is to start everyone out as commanding infantry platoons, then move up to commanding industrial mechs, vehicle platoons, combined arms forces, more and more powerful mechs, and keep going up in power and prestige. We’d use the miniatures/clix rules and everything, but would have a “GM” to control the hostiles, and each player would control some mechs; after finishing a battle, the GM would decide on how the enemy reacts, while the Players would eventually move up to controlling their own engagements (choosing to avoid combat for stealth missions, or even choosing where to attack—a fortified ammo dump, cities, create ambushes, etc.). Running a kind of tactical RPG/scenario-based clix game would bypass the need for miniatures-game players by drawing everyone in with the scenarios. There’s plenty of opportunity to vary up the scenarios, as well: assaulting bridges, destroying ammo dumps, urban assault, ambushes, infiltrations and escapes, even hijacking prototype mechs (namely the Ares Poseidon colossal-size mech).
The only trouble is that we don’t really have the required pieces for it. By starting low, in the fringes of the galaxy during the Dark Ages conflicts, the players would need a lot of industrial mechs and early vehicles to reflect the kinds of battles they’d be fighting: for example, infantry forces consisting of mortars, machine gun nests, and standard foot instead of battle armor, or having industrial mech uprisings instead of full-scale warfare. This is just after the Word of Blake Jihad, and most of the Dark Age tech consisted of vehicles, un-armored infantry, and modified industrial mechs. Which we just don’t have in any numbers: Reuben has a lot of (broken) early mechs, and could supply the vehicles, but is missing large numbers of infantry. Most of what my roommate has is newer, power pieces—hardly a starting off point. So, until I can find some relatively inexpensive Dark Ages figs and vehicles, it’ll remain in the planning stages.
Of course, I do have a lot of stuff I’m watching on eBay, and have been picking mechs up regularly, so I’ll keep planning and hoping that I’ll be able to start something over the summer.