Monday, March 1, 2010

Why BattleTech Is the Best Game on the Planet

Though the scientific reality of fusion engines prevents them from exploding, the dramatic effect of such an expensive piece of machinery blowing up in a huge ball of fire is so appealing to the majority of BattleTech players that this rule was created to satisfy the common desire for a good explosion.

Tactical Operations
Catalyst Game Labs

Warning! Beyond here there be geek stuff!

I've been playing BattleTech, the aforementioned best game on the planet, with Connor lately. It's inherent in parents to share what we love with our kids; we do it with faith, with food, with music, and with our leisure activities. It's designed for ages twelve and up according to the box, but at almost eight now, he seems to be handling it just fine.

Anyway, we had a two-on-two battle tonight, up from the one-on-one affairs we'd had at Connor's request. He fielded an old-style Spider and a shiny, 75-ton Lao-Hu against my Hatchetman and Caesar. Not fair, perhaps, but blame the Random Assignment Tables.

Things did not go well for the boy. He rushed up with the Lao-Hu and was able to do significant damage to my Caesar, but at the cost of taking significant damage himself and letting the Hatchetman get behind him to, well, do what its name implies. The Hatchetman didn't get the chance, though, as the damage from all the fire it absorbed and a failed piloting roll knocked it down to the ground. He survived the boot to the right torso from the Hatchetman, though, and we went on to the next turn.

On the following turn, my Caesar was content to stay right where it was and keep firing at the downed Lao-Hu. Naturally, Connor tried to stand, but he failed another piloting roll. He crashed to the ground again, and through some odds-defying rolls of the dice blew up his mech's engine in spectacular fashion, leaving him with just the tiny Spider and almost certain defeat.

Not wanting him to go away empty handed, I fished out TacOps and looked up the rule for engine explosion. Four engine criticals in a turn? Check. Roll ten or more on the dice? Connor took care of that one with boxcars. So the engine explodes in spectacular fashion. The resulting nuclear fireball flayed armor off of my Hatchetman and tore one of its arms off completely, in addition to nearly coring the nearby Spider. The Spider then promptly turned tail and fled the battlefield, Connor's way of forfeiting.

What makes this so awesome, you ask? Imagination painting out the picture of what happened. You've got a two-story tall, 75-ton, anthropomorphic, walking tank that just fell down, causing the fiery, nuclear heart within its chest that gave it life to explode in a giant ball of flame, severely crippling the other two giant, anthropomorphic, walking tanks nearby. I'd go see that movie. But even better, I got to share that memory with a seven-year-old boy. Life is good.

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