Battletech: Total Warfare Review — All the things!

A photo of the Battletech Total Warfare cover

Did you know that the world of Battletech not only includes combat between giant ‘Mechs across vast landscapes, but there’s also infantry, planes, drop pods, tanks, robotic suits, worker-level ‘Mechs and submarines?

What happens in combat if you end up inside a building and proceed to have combat throughout the rest of said building?

What if, instead of playing with ‘Mechs, you decide that flying intergalactic spaceships is more of your jam?

Lastly, what if you want to swing a tree as an improvised weapon, or just clear a forest with a rapid fire gun, like Jesse Ventura with the minigun in Predator?

These highly specific scenarios are fully covered, along with a lot more clarifications, rules, and additional information in the very dense book, Battletech: Total Warfare. Let’s dig in.

This 312 page rule book, available from Catalyst Game Labs, is meant to be supplemental material for playing Battletech, and while it does contain the full ruleset, I highly discourage someone just getting into the game from picking this book up. This is not beginner friendly and won’t really teach you how to play.


A photo of the Battletech book detailing a story

The stories feel pulled straight from novels, really providing the reader some narrative.

But if you’re a seasoned player, you’re going to love this. Each section of the book is introduced by a short story set in the universe of Battletech. For example, before you can dig into the rules around Aerospace movement and combat, there’s a short story by Kevin Killiany (author of many Battletech & Shadowrun books) which details fierce combat in the dead of space, a perfect primer for the following 15 pages of rules and tables for aerospace maneuvers, combat, rolling, landing, high altitude, low altitude, piloting drop ships…everything space related.

A photo of the battletech book detailing combat rules

Terrain can become extremely complicated but the rules will get you through it

The usefulness of this book cannot be understated. The last few pages contain reference tables, along with page markings, which make it pretty easy to navigate back to the appropriate section. I do wish that this book did what some other RPG books do and provide some detachable elements…the data tables would be especially helpful in a format that wasn’t a heavy, hardcover book.

For the customizers in the room, they have a detailed section for creating your own scenarios, which expands the amount of gameplay you could theoretically do in Battletech. Hold the Line, Extraction, Chases…you could even string these together and build multi-session scenarios. I suspect that Battletech players at wargaming conventions across the world use these rules to build exciting stories.

A photo of the Battletech book detailing model assembly and painting

Excellent descriptions and steps for painting and assembly of models

And lastly, there’s even a section for assembling and painting the models. While the box sets contain plastic miniatures, these rules pertain to the complexities of painting metal miniatures, yet presents them in a way that is welcoming and very easy to understand, even getting into some more complex painting techniques like using oil washes, varnishes, and even basing. In particular, I loved the step by step instructions with photos, really getting into the minute details of painting. Anything that makes the hobby approachable, I am a fan.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the depth of the book. I tend to be a person who looks at an imaginary world and I try to figure out how everything works. This book helps scratch that itch, and maybe when I’m more acclimated to the world of Battletech, I’ll be cracking open this book and checking out specific tables.

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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: Total Warfare

Review Guidelines

Battletech: Total Warfare is every rule and table a player can need, but is definitely not for beginners or folks wanting a quick primer into the world of Battletech.

Randy Gregory II

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

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