Sponsored.  Everybody loves big, stompy robots.  BattleTech, one of the most popular mecha combat franchises, is rolling into its fourth decade next year.  The game was launched in 1984 with the legendary Game of Armored Combat box set, and has inspired generations with countless games of heavy metal combat and heroic tactics like death from above.  Ask any BattleTech player about the game, and they’ll immediately tell you their favorite war stories.  BattleTech still thrives today thanks to a variety of factors ranging from a hit computer adaptation to older players bringing the next generation of MechWarriors into the game.

Catalyst Game Labs provides many different ways to enjoy the BattleTech universe, including rulebooks, fiction, t-shirts, and even plush BattleMechs.  But the heart of the experience is a box set full of plastic miniatures, rulebooks, cards, and battlefield maps. Catalyst has four boxed sets available, with a fifth one currently smashing fundraising records on Kickstarter.  Here’s a look inside each boxed set at what it contains and what players can do with it on their table.

BattleTech: Beginner Box
One of the joys of BattleTech is the fun of giant, human-piloted robots blasting and bashing each other into junk.  The Beginner Box distills this duel of MechWarrior skill into a box set perfect for players who want to dip their toe into the world.  Beginner Box features a pair of high-quality plastic BattleMechs, a set of quick start rules, and a double-sided map for some different battlefields.  The Beginner Box works well as a gift to someone interested in the game but who hasn’t played yet, or even as a re-introduction to a player that hasn’t been in the cockpit for a few years.

In addition to the pair of ready to paint miniatures, there’s a die-cut cardboard sheet that offers more BattleMechs and ways to modify the maps to extend the replay value.  There’s also a short setting primer and novella that introduces details of the Inner Sphere setting in the far-future year of 3025.  While this box set is designed for beginners, there’s plenty of usable content for players who decide to wade deeper into the universe after getting their first taste of BattleMech combat.

BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat
This box set is the main entry point into the game, and offers more of everything BattleTech-related; more maps, more miniatures, and more in-depth rules to bring the battle to life.  This box contains eight unpainted miniatures, allowing two full BattleMech lances to clash in battle. The BattleMech lances are the main focus of the classic BattleTech experience.  Players manage battle damage, heat build-up, ammunition depletion, and the effects of critical hits that can turn the tide of battle in an instant.  It also highlights the difference in weight classes, as the light and nimble Locust uses a much different strategy from the lumbering brawler Atlas.

This box also roots the experience in the classic Inner Sphere era of the game as seen in the Harebrained Schemes video game BattleTech.  After the fall of humanity’s first interstellar empire, great houses battle with each other over who will succeed the Star League as the ruler of humanity’s destiny.  Think of it as Game of Thrones in space, except with battle robots as tall as an office building instead of dragons.

BattleTech: Clan Invasion
BattleTech spans hundreds of years of future timelines.  The fortunes of the galaxy rise and fall. Wars end and begin anew.  The first two boxes focus on where many players start their journey as MechWarriors.  The Clan Invasion box set advances the timeline to one of the most pivotal and popular moments in the game; the invasion of the Clans; fearless warriors piloting advanced BattleMechs and offering a universe-wide threat that causes the Great Houses to forge a fragile alliance to repel the invaders before they conquer the entire Inner Sphere.

Five more BattleMech models are included, featuring some of the most popular OmniMechs, versatile BattleMechs designed around a modular chassis, allowing for quick changes of weapons to take on any situation.  The box set also features updated maps, new fiction, and more options to expand the game into an exciting era of BattleTech history.  Please note that, as an expansion, the BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat box set is required to play.

BattleTech: Alpha Strike
BattleTech players love their miniatures, and they cried out for years for rules that allowed them to play bigger battles with more BattleMechs.  The Alpha Strike box set zooms the conflict out to an even larger scale, as well as giving players the freedom to move freely across the battlefield rather than following the classic hex-based board game play of the original rules.  This box set includes a streamlined rules set that allows battles to run much more quickly, for an experience that contains the same epic flavor of BattleTech, but runs like a remastered edition of the game.

This box set comes with 13 miniatures and the Alpha Strike rules, set along with buildable cardstock structures, pilot cards, and everything needed to command larger legions of BattleMechs.  Every modern BattleTech release is compatible with both Alpha Strike and A Game of Armored Combat.  The BattleMech miniatures included in all the box sets in this list come with Alpha Strike cards to be played right out of the box.

BattleTech: Mercenaries
The mercenary has been a vital component of the BattleTech universe no matter the era.  Whether a Dispossessed noble, a career military officer, a grizzled salvager, or even just someone who found a BattleMech stashed in a cave, these unlikely heroes have helped turn the tide of galactic history throughout the story of BattleTech.

The Mercenaries Kickstarter brings combined arms to the current version of the game with a box set that features not only BattleMechs, but tanks, armored vehicles, and air support.  It also allows players to pick up gear from their favorite factions from the Great Houses to the ruthless Clans to legendary mercenary companies.  The success of the Kickstarter campaign also gives fans a glimpse at what is in store for the universe, such as art books, comic books and much more.

The future of BattleTech looks bright.  The BattleTech: Clan Invasion Kickstarter raised 2.5 million dollars during its entire campaign.  The Mercenaries campaign raised that amount in less than 24 hours.  There are multiple ways to get into the game, such as the box sets highlighted here, or the ongoing Kickstarter that’s still unlocking stretch goals.  Next year might be the 40th anniversary of BattleTech, but in this case, it’s okay to be early to the party.

Check out the BattleTech: Mercenaries Kickstarter campaign here.

Click on Gallery below for product images.