Hi, and welcome to more Battletech. The pledge manager for the new kickstarter just opened up recently, and there are a lot of force packs and options to choose from. The correct choice in terms of what to get is whatever you think looks cool. However, if you want to get more gameplay power for your pledge, I’ll be going over all of the new force packs. I won’t be covering any of the Clan Invasion kickstarter force packs, as we already did that article series and in my opinion you should be trying to get the new stuff out of this one anyway.
One big theme with the force packs this time around is jank. A lot of these mechs are kinda odd and/or underwhelming, with a few even being probably bad. That said, even those bad mechs have a role in the game and are usually stupidly fun to use. The previous kickstarter got us most of the iconic mechs of the setting, and a lot of the more powerful ones, so this one is filling in all the weirdos and strange mechs, and I am a huge fan of weirdos and strange mechs.
Lets start out with the tanks and move on from there.
Battlefield Support: Assault & Cavalry
This is a pretty great box, containing 2 each of the Demolisher tank, Schrek PPC Carrier, Condor, and Pegasus. This is a pretty good combo of tanks, as you get some slow, lumbering tanks with massive firepower, and some zippy hovertanks to cover them and harass the enemy. The Demolisher in particular is a massively scary tank, which, for a very low BV cost, can unmake most heavy mechs in the game if it is applied correctly. I really like this pack. I give it an A, if you want tanks, this is probably the first one you should grab.
Battlefield Support: Battle & Fire
This contains a Manticore, Vedette, and 4 Carriers, which can be fitted either as LRM carriers or SRM carriers. Carriers are very scary for their price if applied correctly, and you can almost never go wrong with jamming 2-4 LRM carriers in a force with some decent spotters. SRM carriers are a complete meme unit, doing heinous damage at short range but being slow and pathetically armored. It is basically the tank equivalent to an Urbanmech, and I love it. The Manticore and Vedette on the other hand are just really solid battle-line type tanks, which will not disappoint you and fill the same role as a mech like a Thunderbolt or Wolverine while being a fair bit cheaper. B+, not quite as much firepower/BV for your dollar but still very good.
Battlefield Support: Objectives
This is what it says on the tin, a few varieties of vehicle that will rarely see play in game and are most useful as, well, objective markers. The Goonformat makes pretty heavy use of objective markers, and any one of these would be a great thing to use as a token for that. In terms of actual gameplay use, most of these are more for campaign games than the sort of pick up games I tend to play, but if you play a lot of campaigns or like running narrative scenarios, these will get plenty of use. C+ in terms of how much I would like to get one, probably a D- in terms of actual gameplay utility.
Battlefield Support: Recon & Hunter
This box is fun. It has a Skulker scout tank, Warrior helicopter, a Behemoth, and an Ontos. These are all good additions to an armored force, with the Skulker and Warrior being good spotters for LRM carriers. The Behemoth is a big dumb tank like the Demolisher without the AC-10s, but the Ontos is the really interesting one. The Ontos carries 8 medium lasers by default, which isn’t great for something that slow. But it recently got a variant that carries 8 large chemical lasers. That is a horrifying amount of firepower for a really, shockingly low price. I give this a B, its best if you have already got the Battle & Fire box, which it combos very well with, giving it the spotters for its carriers and the big heavy tanks to follow up behind the battleline tanks.
Battlefield Support: Rifle & Command Lance
All hail the Hetzer. Sacrifice your life’s savings to the Hetzer. Praise the Hetzer.
This box contains our lord and savior the Hetzer Wheeled Assault gun, a Von Luckner tank, a Bulldog tank, and a SturmFeur tank. This is a pretty solid mix of tanks, with the Hetzer and Von Luckner providing good short ranged fire, the SturmFuer providing long range fire, and Bulldog being mid-range with several long range variants. They complement each other well. B, but if you are also deep into the cult of the Hetzer, its an A++.
Battlefield Support: Heavy Battle & Sweep Lances
This is more dependable, plain tanks. It contains a Patton, a dependable mid ranged tank which can also be run as the AC-20 carrying and unfortunately named Rommel tank, the J. Edgar, a fast little bastard of a hover tank, the Pike long ranged support tank, and the Drillson, which is a heavy hover tank with good trooper weapons. This is overall a pretty solid box, the Patton is a reliable frontline tank and I am a huge fan of the Drillson. I give it a B.
All of the tank boxes are decent value honestly, aside from the objective marker box. They are all full of very solid, dependable tanks that you will never be sad to have in a force, and most of them are pretty beginner friendly. Honestly it might be best to load up on one of each of them if you are planning a tank force, because tanks get much better when used in swarms and with other tanks to cover their weaknesses. Overall a great selection of tanks.
Starting us out with the new mech force packs, the Assault lance has a Pillager, Goliath, Shogun, and Hoplite. The Pillager in its stock configuration is really just a worse version of the Thunderhawk 7S, but it has some really good and fun variants. I really like the PLG-1N, even if it is a bit too fragile. The Goliath is a funky 4 legged mech that is pretty durable but kinda under gunned, the Shogun looks absolutely awesome and is well set up as a fire support mech. The Hoplite is a fun one, with a base variant that kinda really sucks but a whole bunch of really cool, highly usable variants. It is a mech that the early, pre Omni-Mech Clans used quite a bit, so it has some good variants with clan tech and advanced star league tech. It is a pretty tough little fire support mech. I am fond of this box, and it is full of neat old star league mechs with better use cases than most weird old star league mechs. I give it a B.
This is 4 squads of Inner Sphere Standard battle armor. ISS battle armor really, really, really sucks, but the suits here could easily be used to represent a variety of medium inner sphere battle armor suits. I highly recommend using more battle armor in your games in general, so this is a pretty good pickup if you want to use any of the inner sphere medium battle armor varieties. Solid C, Elementals are basically always better but some IS forces can make good use of BA if you set them up right.
This is my kind of box. It contains a Charger, a Merlin, an Ostroc, and an Assassin. Every mech in this box is some degree of terrible, ranging from “Arguably the worse mech in the game” with the Assassin and Charger, onto “Sorta Mediocre” with the Ostroc and Merlin. I love every mech in this box. The Charger is an 80 ton scout mech, it has about 50 tons of engine in it and only carries 5 small lasers on an assault mech. There are variants that knock the speed down to let it carry actual guns, or use an XL engine to let it carry more guns at speed, but it fundamentally is kind of always a bit of a failure of a mech and I love using it on the tabletop. It is pretty cheap in BV terms and does a horrifying amount of damage with a charge attack if it can get a good enough run up on something, and it in general is a really cheap source of high damage kicks. It is the reverse Urbanmech. Instead of an overly slow and heavily armed light mech, it is an overly fast and lightly armed assault mech. The Assassin is an incompetently designed disaster area of a mech, carrying far too few guns, not nearly enough armor, an incompetent spread of guns that waste tonnage and don’t complement each other well at all, and it has way, way too much engine for a mech as heavy as it is. My local play group has a running joke about how everyone has had an Assassin massively disappoint them at some point, and it is a dismal failure of a mech and I love it to pieces. It has some variants that are vaguely competent. The Merlin is a boring dork of a mech that looks doofy and weird. I have always loved it (and have already painted 3 of the old metal model of it). It carries a wide range of weapons and an ok amount of jump jets, being more boring than bad. The Ostroc is in the same camp, being a weird looking mech with sort of ok weapons and a lack of anything that makes it stand out. I am biased because despite the unmitigated terribleness of most of this box, and the dull boringness of the rest, I love these mechs. To me, these dirt cheap (in BV terms) junk mechs just are Battletech, and the Merlin, Assassin, and Charger are all regular fixtures of my lists, as I love to run 12 mechs in 10k BV game and just flood the board with mediocre succession wars Inner Sphere mechs. These are great mechs for a GM running a campaign who wants some trash goons to throw at the enemy, or any other marshals of garbage out there who want to spam junk at the enemy until they fall over. A+ in terms of my personal feelings on them, probably a D in terms of actual gameplay use. They do all have at least one good variant though, if you like how they look.
Oh god this one is also full of trash. We have a Cicada, a Clint, a Hermes II, and a Dervish. The Dervish is a genuinely good medium fire support mech but the other three are proud members of the succession wars trash mob. The Cicada is a medium mech that weighs twice as much as a Locust, is as fast as a Locust, is outgunned by a Locust, and is not meaningfully tougher than a Locust. There are OK variants but it is in general way too fast and under gunned. The Clint is one that I have a long running and bitter love/hate relationship with. I used to play by rolling random forces up a lot, and the random charts loved giving me Clints instead of Hunchbacks or Wolverines. The Clint is under gunned, under armored, and slightly too fast. It is, however, dirt cheap, so if you are running with BV you can have a truly unreasonable amount of Clints in a list, which is really funny considering their canonical rarity. The Clint makes a great commander for light mech lances, and it actually can fight light mechs decently well if you load its AC/5 with Precision ammo, and it has clan/advanced tech variants that are genuinely good. I love the Clint to pieces and will probably be buying an unhealthy amount of Clints. The Hermes II is honestly almost exactly the same, carrying basically the same weapons, thin armor, and high speed. A potential list just spamming the living hell out of Clints and Hermes IIs is in my brain now and sounds fun, and stupid, as hell. I give this list an A+ if you want to run any sort of really heavy spam/outnumbering list built around trash units, but in practical terms it is around a C. The Cicada is a dud of a mech but the rest of them are solid, dirt cheap additions to any force, and this is probably one of the cheapest ways in terms of BV to add some medium flanking dorks to your list to bully light mechs and LRM carriers, which we will be seeing a lot more of now that they are in plastic.
All hail the Javelin. Sacrifice your life’s savings to the Javelin. Praise the Javelin, the great destroyer of back armor and deliverer of Inferno SRMs.
This pack contains an Ostscout, our lord and savior the Javelin, the Spector, and a Firestarter. The Firestarter is a weird mech that is way better if you get a variant instead of the base version, and it also has an omnimech version, so it is a massively flexible little mech that you can probably find a variant of for what you need. The Spector is one I had forgotten about, it has a variant with the full stealth setup of a LPS and Null Sig, so it is pretty tough to hit and a ton of fun. The Ostscout is a scout mech that is blindingly fast but has basically no ability to defend itself, it acts as a good spotter for LRM carriers but really needs some artillery to spot for or it will do basically nothing. The star of this box is easily the Javelin though. I run a Javelin basically always. Almost none of my lists, when I am playing seriously and trying to win, don’t have a Javelin in them. It is a decently fast and decently protected pair of SRM-6s on legs. If you load it with Inferno SRMs, it becomes a terrifying support piece, capable of jumping near an enemy assault mech and adding extra heat to them, fucking with their heat math and forcing them to either turn and engage the light mech that can jump and evade, or ignore it and fire fewer weapons at the enemy each turn. The tactical flexibility of the Javelin is enormous, and most forces are better off with a single Javelin loaded with Infernos in them. It is just such a good source of crowd control and lockdown for such a cheap price. I give this box an A, all of the mechs in here have a really strong use case, and the Javelin is particularly great. The Firestarter can also help with the overheating plan, though it is less good at it and has better roles elsewhere. Good box.
Please I can only handle so many garbage gang IS mechs at a time! This has a JagerMech, Scorpion, Vulcan, and Whitworth. The JagerMech I have actually been using a lot lately, it has some variants that make really excellent backline support mechs, plinking away at enemy light mechs for a low price. It is fragile, but useful in its role. The Scorpion is a funky 4 legged mech. The Vulcan is another mech I have a love hate relationship with. It has some pretty good variants, but its stock variant is so bad as to be nearly unusable. Go for the medium laser variant and you have a pretty solid light mech hunter. The Whitworth is a cheap, dependable source of LRMs for a force, acting basically as a lighter Catapult, and it defends itself better up close than most LRM mechs do. All of the mechs here are sort of underwhelming, but very cheap, spamable, and dependable. I give it a C for most people, but a B+ personally because I love running hordes of crappy junk mechs, which all of these fit into perfectly. The Jagermech and Vulcan are fixtures of my lists due to their very low price.
Clan Cavalry Star
This box has a Black Python, Shadow Hawk IIC, Griffin IIC, Jenner IIC, and Locust IIC. IIC stands for “Version 2, Clan”, and are basically clan tech rebuilds of Inner Sphere mechs. IIC mechs are unironically some of the very best Clan mechs in the game, carrying high end clan-tech weapons while being much cheaper than an omni-mech due to tending to have slower speed and less advanced components. IIC mechs completely rock and you should use them more. I give this a B, its a bit light on tonnage but every mech in here is pretty good and pretty fast.
Clan Direct Fire Star
Buy this one. It has a Rifleman IIC, a Kraken, a Highlander IIC, a Phoenix Hawk IIC, and a Grizzly. The Kraken is kinda bad, the Grizzly and Highlander IIC are fairly normal clan assault mechs that look cool, but the Phoenix Hawk IIC and Rifleman IIC are ungodly. The Phoenix Hawk IIC is an 80 ton assault mech instead of a 45 tonner like the IS version, and carries great weapons with great maneuverability. The speed and jump jets make it surprisingly hard to hit for something with that much armor. I am really fond of the version with Improved Jump Jets and two ER PPCs, that one can do some awful things to enemy mechs. The Rifleman IIC though is the star of this box, and probably the single best mech in this kickstarter for its BV. It is well armored and carries 4 clan large pulse lasers. The Clan LPL is my pick for best gun in the game, and this is a pretty cheap (by clan standards) mech that boats 4 of them. It is death on legs to anything that weighs less than it, as it doesn’t care about how fast you are moving or how high your TMM is, it is here to kill you. It can easily kill more than its BV in light mechs and fast medium mechs, it is impossible to flank due to having arms it can flip and all of its guns in the arms, and it will ruin the life of anything that jumps near it, which still chipping in with great damage at medium to long range. A+ box in terms of raw firepower.
Legendary Mechwarriors II
This box contains the SM1 Tank Destroyer, the Caesar, the Devastator, a Charger 3K, and a special Marauder variant. These are all good mechs and tanks, and this box is pretty good value. The 3K is not the best version of the Charger, though it is decent, the Devastator is a cool mech with good variants, the Marauder is an icon for a reason, the Caesar is one of my personal favorite mechs and by a lot, it is a cheap gauss rifle with some good secondary weapons, and the SM1 is a blindingly fast mech killer. I give this an A+, every mech in here is great and the tank is really fun.
Legendary Mechwarriors III
I love this. It has the Bounty Hunter Marauder (with a lot of variants, and I personally love the bounty hunter and really want to paint up the Bounty Hunter and Associates as a fun little narrative force to run sometimes), the Bounty Hunter Marauder II, the Bounty Hunter Timber Wolf/Mad Cat (which is fantastic), and a new variant of the Griffin and Warhammer. These are all good mechs with new variants, though none of them are new mechs to this kickstarter, so if you are less attached to the idea of painting the Bounty Hunter there is less value if you already have all the mechs in this box. I give it a B, it still has a Mad Cat in it so there is good value here.
This is a very nostalgic box for me. Not because I watched the cartoons, but just because as a kid the Mauler and Bushwhacker were my favorite mechs in the video games. This box contains a Bushwhacker, a Mauler, an Axman, a Wolfhound, and a Hatamoto Chi. The Hatamoto Chi is a pretty good assault mech to run in a force, basically being a less bad version of the Warhammer. The Bushwhacker is a dependable medium mech. The Mauler is an oddball assault mech, with a pretty fucking terrible base variant, but some good variants that let it mostly function as a fire support assault mech in the same vein as a Zeus. The Axman is pretty good and has good variants, even if the Hatchet will get used much less than you would want, and the Wolfhound is a great light mech that can outgun a lot of mediums. Overall this is a decent box for getting some fire support, with the Hatamoto Chi being basically a better Warhammer in terms of stats and role, so I give it a B.
Overall this is a really nice set of boxes, and they picked good mechs to go in them. All of the tanks are really good choices and are great to use if you are newer to tanks, as none of them are very unintuitive or complex. The Clan boxes are probably where most of the actual gameplay strength is here, but loading up on a bunch of the Pursuit and Heavy Recon lances and flooding the board with cheap crap mechs is 100% my style of play. I hope this helped give at least some advice to anyone buying in to this kickstarter without previous knowledge of battletech. Cheers.