Sunday, April 8, 2012

Battletech Quick-Strike

When I first saw the intro movie for Mechwarrior 2 I was sold on mech-on-mech action:

There's a lot to like in Battletech. Too bad I don't like the rules of the boardgame all that much. I have a set for the third edition of the game with a pile of battlemechs, but I've only played Battletech once. The game takes a long time to play and is heavy with bookkeeping true to 80's game design. I've been looking for a good set of rules for fighting mechs and surprisingly found some under the umbrella of the Battletech rules themeselves.

Battletech Quick-Strike is a lite-version of the Battletech rules meant to be used in large battles and campaigns where the players do not wish to bog down gameplay with the cumbersome rules of the full set. As it happens, the rules offer a chance to play a fast-paced, light game of mech warfare.

The rules are included in the Strategic Operations expansion of Battletech. You can obtain a digital copy pretty cheap from here. Quick-Strike contains all the basic elements you would expect from a battlemech game. The players dice for initiative, with the initiative loser moving the first mech. The players (or sides) alternate in moving mechs until each one has moved. After this, fire attacks are handled simultaneously. Players roll to hit after applying a few modifiers. Shots that hit score a default amount of damage depending on the range of the attack and the type of the mech. Mechs have a single armor score and an internal structure score. After the armor has been depleted and mechs suffer damage to internal structure, they take critical damage and suffer penalties to movement, shooting etc. Once the internal structure runs out, the mech is destroyed.

Mechs can shoot indirect fire with the help of a spotter, deal extra damage with heat penalties, use jump jets to fly through the air, beat each other senseless in melee and all the usual stuff you're used to. Everything has just been simplified and abstracted to about ten pages or so. Each mech has a roster card with all the info required. The system also supports infantry, armor and aircraft.

I plan on using these rules to lure people who normally don't play miniatures games to have a go. I played a couple of matches last night. One with a friend and another with my wife. The rules are easy enough for casual players to learn and is a fun and fast beer and pretzels type of game. Recommended.

The battle was fought on a planet strangely reminiscent of 19th century America. Battletech uses the same terrain scale as 6mm figures do, so I can use my regular 6mm stuff with the game.


  1. I know I'm not the only one to say this, but I wish the QS rules were in one book with a nice set of tables. As a pdf I think it would do okay.

    As it stands, it's nice to have the bulk of the SO book to back it up because you can make the game more complex, it seems, by adding a few of the many rules that are in the book for the more complex Strategic Ops games.

    Keep posting about your BT QS games.

    1. Agreed. The QS rules even reference a page in the total warfare manual in reference to a rule which takes about three lines of text. The good thing with it is that the rules are easier to update that way as different wordings cannot creep into the same rule in two places, but the downsides are also obvious. There's a lot of demand for a standalone QS rulebook over the Internet, and Catalyst would be silly not to provide it. I think it will happen as they have already released QS-only products like the unit cards.

      In the meantime, I'm already trying to collate all the necessary stuff into a single play-aid.

  2. I was thinking of doing the same - however, If you beat me to the punch (very likely) I would be happy to work on it with you to make sure it's all on there.

  3. I have to imagine that they will realize the $ potential of packaging Quickstrike unto itself. I for one, love these quick rules. I've played Btech since the 2nd edition box set by FASA. I loved the rules overall growing up, but I just don't have the time now-a-days to run a full battletech session with the number of mechs that pose enough tactical decisions to make playing it worthwhile. Quickstrike strikes (pun intended) the perfect chord. You get all the "elements" of btech included, just streamlined for ease and quickness of play. I love them.

    1. Hi Peter,
      A QS standalone was actually announced this spring after this post so they definitely saw the market potential. The system has been rebranded as alphastrike and you can find some rumours and sneak previews on the new. Itinerant who has also commented on this post has done a good job scouting them out so far on his blog so check it out.