Battletech Review — A Game of Armored Combat

Cover art for the BattleTech core box

It’s been over a month since I was first introduced to Battletech via the Beginner’s Box, and since then, I’ve spent more time painting Battletech models than actually playing, so sitting down to write this review, I was worried. In that review, I called out a distinct lack of quality with the materials, poor lamination, generic dice, and that the miniatures could have been of a higher quality. Would I remember the combat rules? The movement? Since this is “the real game”, am I going to get lost with new rules, variations? Will I be able to explain these rules to a gaming partner?

I am happy to tell you that yes, I was able to do all of this and more. The Battletech :A Game of Armored Combat box set expands upon the rules introduced in the Beginner’s Box, presents them in an approachable way, answers many questions, and gives you new maps, minis, and some additional supplements that improve what already exists, giving you much more to play with. My complaints from the Beginner’s Box still exist, but this does improve upon the previous offering. Let’s dig in.

A photo of the contents of the Battletech box set, including rules, minis, and some additional materials.

Content of the box is deeper than the Beginner Box

Once again, you get a well designed box, and upon opening it up, you’re greeted with eight miniatures with corresponding cards, eight mechwarrior cards, an expanded rulebook, a universe primer, a novella, two 18”x22” double sided maps, a punchboard of additional ‘Mechs and Terrain, a heavy stock reference sheet, a coupon and once again, and two plain white dice.

A photo of the punchboard and map materials for Battletech

A lot more terrain and punch cards so players can add more ‘Mechs to the field of combat

The minis are excellent. In my last review, I had called out that some of the details were imprecise due to the casting process, but in this box, the minis are incredibly detailed. With the models included, you can get a serious sense of scale between the models. You can really see the difference between a Light class and an Assault class, and this makes a big deal on the table.

To get back to the dice, I’m calling them out because while this box set provides so much, there’s a lot of minor but impactful flaws. For example, the aforementioned plain white dice that aren’t enough for two players, aren’t especially designed, not even a fun color. The plastic sheet inside the box has been formed to fit the ‘Mechs, but it doesn’t fit the cards perfectly, which means unless you have a spare bag, those cards are going to fly around the box when you move it to a vertical position on the shelf, along with the dice.

A photo of the Battletech mech sheets

While the ‘Mech record sheets are more detailed, they are not laminated

Another recurring flaw is the fact that for a game that requires players to mark a ‘Mech sheet, they give us just plain paper that has been stapled into a book. This means that if you want to laminate anything, you have to take it apart. Or, go to a Kinkos.

But those are my only complaints, let’s dive into gameplay.

A photo featuring a battletech mini on a playmat

These models are far more exciting and detailed.

The expanded rules are awesome, focused on increasing the number of combat, movement options, and most importantly, a ticking clock called the Heat Modifier. This is a fun mechanic which really plays into the realism of giant mechs in combat. Naturally, these machines generate heat. Excessive heat means that your mech can’t move as well, fire as cleanly, and might randomly shut down or its ammo stores might blow up…it adds strategic depth that was missing from the Beginners Box.

A photo of the Heat rules

Heat creates far more strategic depth

There’s also Physical Combat rules, including utilizing trees or Mech arms, pushing, charging, and accounting for the physical location of your enemy. Throughout the rule book, I was provided with familiar primers of rules and then easy to understand expansions of those rules, a theme that we’ll be seeing with the additional Mechwarrior expansions.

Gameplay with these rules is just more complete, more fun. It features more ‘Mechs, more Mech Warriors, and next, I’ll cover two important parts of future expansion of gameplay, Scenarios & Customizing ‘Mech builds.

A photo of a game of Battletech

Gameplay feels huge due to expanded terrain, more ‘Mechs

You could just play a game of Mechwarrior, where you and an opponent set up armies, and spend an hour or two blasting each other, or you can dive into the Scenarios, which are sequential missions that become more complex as time goes on. These help introduce players to lance-on-lance (lance is a term for a squad of ‘Mechs) combat, include the lore, and provide some interesting parameters. For example, Scenario 2 takes the player and puts them in a lone and damaged BattleMaster, in a 3 on 1 scenario. Tense. With optional variations the Mechwarrior Cards provide and Planetary Conditions which affect both players, you can see a lot of expandability.

Lastly, I’ll cover Construction, which is the ability for players to build their own ‘Mechs which don’t follow any of the existing rules. There’s a lot to unpack, so I recommend it only after you’ve played a decent amount of games. It includes an 8 step system which allows a player to design a Mech from the ground up, including adding jump jets, custom weapons, heat sinks, and additional armor. This is a fun way to customize the game. I’m already thinking about a ‘Mech with physical and ranged abilities, but it may take a while before I get there.

The Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat box set is an excellent deep dive into the world of Battletech, providing enough depth, and at a great price point of 60USD, it’s the natural next step for players wanting to get into the hobby.

Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

Randy is a designer, nerd, and mini painter. He's been painting since 2015, and has learned a lot in his time! Come with him as he continues to push his craft forward, always down to try new techniques, tools, and paints!



BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat

Review Guidelines

Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat is a complete game in a box that provides great tactical combat, depth of rules, and despite some tiny issues with the box and supplies, is a good investment for any wargamer.

Randy Gregory II

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

See below for our list of partners and affiliates:


To Top