ScrapYard Armory

A BattleTech weblog

Archive for the ‘News’ Category


BattleTech Kickstarter by Harebrained Schemes

For those of you living under a rock, you may not have heard about a little Kickstarter being run right now.  Harebrained Schemes, a company led by one of the founders of BattleTech Jordan Weisman, is collecting funding for a turn based tactical game set in the 3025

Given the previous success of the Shadowrun video games I am looking forward to seeing what this ultimately turns into.  Mr. Weisman’s company has a good track record for success and delivering well polished and well received games.  I also think that the previous work on Shadowrun has helped this Battletech game by showing the way and giving confidence to potential backers.

A Slow Burn

The first thing that pops up when I looked at the campaign was the expected delivery.  May 2017.  Thats right, we are looking at a year and a half development cycle for this game.  That is a long time to wait.

Granted there is expected to be a Beta period (available at the $50 pledge level and up) that may get players into the game earlier but be forewarned that this campaign is going to require patience as the Harebrained Schemes crew cooks up the full game.

And perhaps this is only being honest.  Software takes time.  Most kickstarters are late to deliver by some degree due to aggressive schedules.  Perhaps this is about as honest a schedule as we have ever seen on a Kickstarter this size.

Not Much to Show, Yet…

From what I am able to discern it looks like nothing is currently completed for the game except for concept art and general planning.  Nothing wrong with that but it gives us an appreciation for the amount of work yet to be completed.  I recall Shadowrun Returns had some basic movement, action, and combat demos working at the time of the Kickstarter.

Swag Galore

I’m going to admit that some of the swag levels look really cool.  Totally useless but cool none the less.  Kinda like dice at GenCon.  You don’t need it but it feels great to hold in your hand.

I’m going to be a late backer as I try to scrounge what I can to possibly afford the $125 level.

Looking Forward

I am going to guess that we will end up in the $4.5 Million range when all is said and done.  Right now we are in the bottom of the bathtub curve but if history is any guide we should see a large upswing as we come to the last few days.

Games like Shadowrun Returns have helped pave the way for this Battletech game to be a success.  I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the final product.

Posted under News

ArsTechnica Talks MechWarrior Online

The technology oriented news site ArsTechnica has released an article on MechWarrior Online.  A very well traveled forum topic in their Ars OpenForums has turned into a stomping ground for MWO enthusiasts.  Most seem to be exclusive video game jockeys and not board game converts.  Proof that the video game is fertile ground for indoctrinating new blood into the board game we all know and love.

There are a great collection of links in the first post.  The conversation is likewise interesting as readers get to know the game (albeit in it’s Beta incarnation).

It’s great to see another well know website pick up on BattleTech related games.  The more exposure the better.

The Article

The Forums


Posted under News

Catalyst Delivers: Interstellar Operations Open Beta is Live

After a long wait Randall has delivered the goods and has posted the first of the IO beta documents.

The first section up for review is the Solar System Generation rules,  Not my most anticipated section of the rules but a welcome start to the beta effort.

The best thing we can do as a fan base is to take the time to kick the tires, provide constructive feedback and let Catalyst know we appreciate what they are doing.

Posted under News

The Succession Wars Beta Developer Blog

Brian gives me far too much credit in his posts with all his “we are coding” and “email us“.  I can barely keep up with updating the closed beta game that I oversee with all his code let alone get the coding done I have planned.  I still haven’t gotten my server to work completely to keep the closed beta moving along (specifically the email notifications).  Brian spent months putting the framework for this project together before I managed to add more code than his cat.  Literally.

In fact, lately I’ve had trouble finding the time to just try out a situation to duplicate a bug and while I had known Brian was working on a Developer’s Blog, I didn’t even know it was implemented and he was actually updating it!  Every so often I’ll go through the features that the users have requested and voted on, but mostly I’ve been using shortcuts to skip right to the games I’m participating in.

Brian has become so very busy and has been spending what little free time he has working on this project that it has left almost no time to do write-ups for his blog.  I know he has several posts in the works up in his head and really I should step up and finish the posts I started so very long ago.  While Brian is a better and faster coder, it probably has a lot to do with time management.  It still amazes me how much he has been able to accomplish both on this project and otherwise.

I want to give Brian the credit where credit is due.  His dedication and hard work really deserves accolades.

Posted under News

NJ Con 2011

NJ Con 2011 is in the books and it was a great con.  NJ Con is a small New Jersey based convention that packs a lot of gaming into a small frame.

The convention site this year was the La Quinta in Somerset NJ.  The lighting was good and the on site facilities were better than I expected.  More importantly there was a wide range of games for con-goers to try out.  The small venue works to NJ Con’s advantage.  If you are in the NJ area you have no excuse not to miss this budget priced convention.

A Scheduling Controversy?

I had reports from the field that some of the afternoon games started earlier than their posted 2PM times.  At least one potential con goer was upset at missing the start of a few games and left disgruntled.  For the record all BattleTech games started at their prescribed times.  Not an issue for most but something the convention staff should seek to nail down.  I’ve heard countless stories of games starting late in my day but early starts are a rarer beast.

BattleTech Gaming

Jim “RatBoy” Williamson was on hand from Time Warp Comics and Games to host two QuickStrike games based on the Fall of Terra scenario book.  Both games were great and made use of a custom generated record sheets which may be seeing a more formal release in the near future.  They certainly helped the game along and proved super easy to use.  Expect two after action reports in the future here at the ScrapYard!

ScrapYard contributor SaxyWolf hosted a Grinder Saturday evening that was well attended and a lot of fun.  By the end of the night the players had only gotten up to Heavy ‘Mechs but they made sure to blast apart almost all of the Medium units before they got there.  Copious tons of armor were reduced to slagged over the 4+ hours of Grinder mayhem.  We used our usual setup of MechWarrior figures and 2 inch hex terrain with homemade hills and trees.  New this year is heavy duty laminated record sheets which worked quite well.  Players used dry erase markers to mark damage making the whole set reusable.

After a day of sitting in the car after the con, the record sheets were a tad stubborn to get super clean.  A little bit of baking soda on a damp paper towel was enough to scrub them new as the day we made them.

Operation Mallard Freedom

Between games while getting a breath of fresh air outside, SaxyWolf came across just the cutest duck family you ever did see.  Momma duck was carefully leading her brood of twelve ducklings around the parking lot.  After snapping a few pictures it was back to gaming.  What could possibly go wrong?

A little while later, on another break from the games SaxyWolf heard a duck in distress.  When he found the mother duck she was frantically quacking and flapping her little wings back and forth over top a storm drain with only a single duckling left beside her.  Disaster had struck.  The ducklings were in danger.

SaxyWolf sprang into action and called up the local animal shelter who told him to call the local police who then transferred him to another police department who said they would call the shelter.  Would the ducklings be saved after being given the run around?  Does hope yet exist in the Inner Sphere?

Well it appears that someone heard the call for help because after about 30 minutes the hotel parking lot was filled with Animal Control, Police, Fire Department, Ambulance and Search and Rescue.

After a concentrated rescue effort the ducklings were saved and returned to their mother who led them away from the dangerous storm drains.

Other Gaming

NJ Con boasts a wide array of games from several eras.  Here are a few pictures from the convention games being played.


Posted under Convention, News

25th Anniversary BattleTech Introductory Box Set

It’s finally here and it is fabulous.


The Maps Are Awesome

The box set includes two double sided maps made from thick game board.  They’re really good looking and feel sturdy and high quality.  They gave me a little trouble lying flat right out of the box but I think a little use will help them stretch out a bit.

This is a huge improvement from the thin paper maps of old.  They are vastly better than any other map done for BattleTech which makes a great case for the Hex-Pack series.  If there ever was a good reason to update your maps, you have it.  Pick up the box set for four of the most ubiquitous fighting environments in the game.  Included is the Standard BattleTech map, Open Terrain, Lake Area, and a dense Urban map.

Glossy Paper Everywhere

The rulebook and the universe book are redone in a high quality glossy paper.  They look great and fit with everything else in the box set.  The entire package screams quality on par with any other manufacturer in the business today.



The usual suspects from the original box set are all included and are done in a slightly harder plastic.  I found it a little tougher to work with an exacto knife but I think it would end up improving the long term stability of any paint job.

The resin Loki and Thor are a great addition and just add to the set’s phenomenal value.

Get Yours

Whether you are a new comer or a grizzled veteran, you will find something to enjoy in this box set.  The miniatures alone were a great reason to buy the old box set.  The addition of the two high quality Clan OmniMechs and the new board game quality maps make it a must buy.

Posted under News

Armorcast Sponsors Cinematic Effect Contest

Armorcast, the creator of battlefield scenery, and the unique cinematic effect line of miniature accessories is sponsoring a contest that is right up BattleTech’s alley.

BattleTech fans who frequent the CamoSpecs website already know how cool these effects can be.  From the GenCon dioramas to the Starterbook stock images the artists of CamoSpecs are magicians at crafting the cinematic effects into creative and imaginative pieces.

You don’t have to be a CamoSpecs artist to enter.  The more BattleTech entries the better.  Anything to advance the game and put it into the public spotlight.

See the full details at the ArmorCast blog.  You have until June 1 to submit an entry which is plenty of time to cook up something good.

I hope that a lot of the CamoSpecs guys enter but I hope most of all to get my own entry in and to see the works of others included in the mix.  Don’t be shy.  Give it a try and help raise BattleTech up a notch!

Posted under News

Convention Season 2011

Is it really that time again?  Time to shake off the snow and persistent cold temperatures to shake the dice once more with good friends.

I’m a big fan on gaming year round but there is something special about conventions.  Here is a quick run down of the events I am planning on attending.

Cold Wars, March 11 – 13, Lancaster Pa

The Lancaster Host is a staple of wargaming on the east coast.  The venue is great despite it’s age and the Catalyst crew running the BattleTech show are the best out there.

Despite recent HMGS drama, the gaming is good and the dealer room is excellent.  You will not be disappointed, especially if you are a BattleTech fan.

NJCon, May 13-14, Somerset NJ

NJCon is back after a hiatus when they ran into venue difficulties.  This convention has a distinctly cozy and familiar feel.  Despite it’s small size there is plenty of great games from a dedicated and varied group of gamers.

The convention price is the most affordable on the list making it a great choice for gamers on a budget.

Historicon, July 7 – 10, Valley Forge Pa

The big daddy of wargaming is back at Valley Forge.  While the venue missed a few steps last year, the familiar HMGS crew will be in full force with ample reasons to take in the weekend to smash ‘Mechs for king and country.

GenCon, August 4 – 7, Indianapolis IN

While HMGS conventions are a laser focused on wargaming, GenCon remains a perennial melting pot of every gaming variety under the sun.  If you like gaming, GenCon will have it.  Catalyst always puts on a good show and is sure to have a few tricks up it’s sleeve for eager fans to snap up.  Being the epicenter of the gaming world has many perks, and it is worth a trip at least once for every gamer.

For the first time since I have begun attending back in 2008 GenCon is in flux for me.  I still have to figure out my schedule in August.  I’m hopeful, but can’t say for certain just yet.

CarnageCon, November 4 – 6, Fairlee VT

This is a new convention for me and is uncharacteristically well into the colder winter months.  It is a bit farther North than I usually wander but from what I’ve heard it is worth the trip.  Unfortunately the on-site hotel is already sold out but there are more than a few alternatives within an easy driving distance.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to try something new.

Posted under News

Spreading the Good Word

The Introductory Box Set is in sight.

For those who have not seen the news, Randall has posted a number of pictures of the final proofs for the 25th Anniversary Box Set.  This has been a long time coming and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to be able to point new players to this product.

A Second Renaissance

The first renaissance of BattleTech occurred under the aegis of FanPro with the re-branding of the BattleTech line.  The re-branding campaign launched the core rule book series and shortly thereafter, Catalyst Game Labs.

With the re-launch of the box set comes new chances to point prospective players to a proper introduction and help to steady a shaken foundation.  BattleTech needs some good news and this new information, released in spite of a well exercised policy not to divulge information on unreleased products, is very well received.  Thanks to Randall for bucking the status quo and giving the community a glimpse of this gem on the horizon.

Challenges Loom

And now the most important part and potentially the hardest, this box set must remain in print.  The box set is a treasure for collectors and faithful gamers looking for cheap miniatures.  From the old guard to the newly initiated, there are plenty of prospective buyers out there.  It is imperative that this set remain in print and available.

Without a keystone product for BattleTech the game will be hard to impress upon the masses.  From local gaming groups to crowded conventions, the box set is the product pitch we have been waiting for.

Strike the right tone with a prospective gamer and you may very well capture that person’s imagination for life.  Those are the moments that this box set will help create alongside the efforts of the Demo Team.  Hopefully Catalyst has wrung out the kinks and can keep this fantastic product in steady supply.

BattleTech is a game that gets better the more people play.  Ultimately it is up to the players to make that happen, so get out there and play.  Start a campaign, relive an epic battle, or settle a grudge in the arenas.  BattleTech has plenty of sandboxes to play in.  Time to kick it into high gear and enjoy the game.  It’s worth it.

Posted under News

GenCon 2010 – Day 4

Wrapping It All Up

It was a late night and thus a relatively late morning on Sunday.  I had a short list of games to demo and things to buy.  Sunday is the opportunity to shop for all the items that caught your eye during the weekend.

Iron Wind Metals with all the archive figures available (at regular retail prices) and newly organized Battle Armor was too much for me to ignore.  I stocked up on a few archived Solaris ‘Mechs and augmented my supply of Battle Armor.  Shame that some of the Word of Blake Battle Armor were sold out.  I came just a bit too late to snag them.

The Iron Wind Metals booth was being mobbed in the morning.  There were a lot of people who had the same idea as I did and planned to do their shopping on Sunday.

The Iron Wind Metals crew were doing a great job getting product into the hands of happy gamers.  Each had access to alphabetized product list to quickly point gamers towards their desired forces from the neatly organized product shelves.  Well done by all.

After getting my fill of ‘Mechs and BattleArmor I wandered around and got in a few more demos before being forced to wrap it all up and head to the airport.

Hell Dorado

Hell Dorado takes place in the 16th century where mankind finds a way to open a portal to hell.  And then someone had a great idea to try to colonize the place.  Mayhem ensues.

While the story is compelling and the miniature range gorgeous, the combat rules were a very vanilla D6 system.  The command and faith stats and related abilities gives a certain amount of uniqueness from other games, but not enough to redeem the system.  It was fun don’t get me wrong, but like most other games I had the opportunity to demo, it lacked a hook to differentiate it from the crowd.

Super Dungeon from Soda Pop Miniatures

The crew from Soda Pop Miniatures was in a booth with Cool Mini Or Not with their lineup of products and a curiously delicious looking 3D game board (I swear it looks like cotton candy from a distance).  This game had the best pitch of any game I demo’d while at the con.  That’s pretty good considering this was the last day when most vendors have lost their voice and perhaps some of their motivation.

So I approach the booth interested in the colorful table and the miniatures.  The vendor asks me if I have time for a demonstration and I say yes.  Last day of the convention, why not?

“You’ve already played this game.”, he says to me.

I pause long enough to give him a funny look.  He senses my confusion and goes in for the kill.  This game is the physical embodiment of the 8-bit/16-bit classic dungeon crawls we all grew up playing on our Nintendo and Sega machines.  From the heroic party to the Kobold hordes, every miniature and gameplay mechanic has a nostalgic purpose.

In the quick demo, I chose two heros (the dwarf fighter and the mage) and my mission was to knock out the two monster generators on the board.  Each generator spawns up to four Kobolds each turn.  Hilarious combat and gratuitous loot gathering ensues.

For every three monsters you kill on your turn you get to pick out of the loot deck.  Each card has it’s stats in a particular orientation to denote its slot.  A fully loaded hero can use four items, one on each of its sides.

About half way through the dungeon my Dwarf was taking heavy damage and was having a difficult time dealing with the Kobold Shaman and Knights.  I needed potions in a bad way.  And now for a hook.  Each attack has a particular color describing a custom die to be thrown.  All die have stars that indicate how much power an attack does but there are also hearts on red dice and potions on blue dice.  If you manage to do damage to a monster with hearts or potions showing on other dice, you get healed or receive potions!

My choice was clear, equip a staff of thwacking (+3 blue dice) and bop all of the weakest Kobolds on the head until they spit out enough potions.  My newly healed Dwarf cleaved his way into the pack giving the Mage enough time to sneak into range of the last generator and blast it for the win.

All together this was a super super cute game.  I think even my wife would love to play it just for the aesthetics.  The combat system is unique and has a fresh nostalgic feel that you will instantly understand and make good use of.  The standard game will have one player play the Heros while the other takes the role of the Dungeon Keeper.

I had lots of fun in the brief demonstration and a refreshing break from the QuickStrike beatdown I received late last night.

The Tower of Gygax

Before leaving the convention my arm was twisted and I begrudgingly took a turn in the Tower of Gygax role playing game.  My thief character lasted a whole 32 minutes before being killed by a blind Gargoyle.

Admittedly it was a good bit of fun and the money generated from the tickets will go to charity which is another bonus.  Not a bad way to kill the last hour or so of GenCon.

Game Over

GenCon this year was great.  Part of the fun I had was just knowing my way around and using my time wisely.  I think I saw and did more and had more fun this year due to my knowledge of years past.

I hope everyone enjoyed the BattleTech and non-BattleTech pictures and information.  I hope that I will have the opportunity to make it next year.

Posted under News