cover picture of old rulebook

Brief Description

4th edition boxed set  Master Rules cover

Popular rules for giant robot ("battlemech" or just "mech") combat, playable as both a boardgame or miniatures game. The Currently available as two primary products: the Battletech 4th edition boxed set, which includes basic rules, maps, and cardboard playing pieces; and the Battletech Master Rules, which provides more rules but without the maps and pieces. (There is also a role-playing game, Mechwarrior, a collectible card game, an arcade game system, and several lines of computer games.)

sample mech record sheet

The game centers around battlemechs, which may be designed from scratch or selected from any of several supplements (set in different time periods and factions). At the start of each turn, the players dice for initiative, and then take turns (one mech at a time) through a series of phases: movement, reaction (torso twisting), weapons combat, physical combat, and miscellaneous. Actions such as movement and combat generate heat, and if this surpasses the mech's ability to dissipate heat, gradual overheating occurs resulting in progressive loss of systems.

Weapons are mounted on different parts of the body, resulting in varying arcs of fire. To score a hit, a "to hit" roll is made, modified by speed of target and attacker, weapon range, terrain, and other factors. If a hit is made, a second dieroll determines the hit location (head, leg, arm, or various torso locations). Damage first removes armor, then does internal damage (with a chance of critical hits).

Pilots ("mechwarriors") can improve their skills over time. Additional rules (some provided in supplements) add tanks, aircraft, and infantry to the game system, as well as allow for extra-terrestrial combat environments.

Period 3025 A.D. and onwards
Ground Scale Can be played using gridded or ungridded terrain.
Gridded Terrain: Each hex is 30 meters across, and each elevation level is 6 meters.
Ungridded Terrain: 1" = 10 meters (or when space is limited, 1" =15 meters).
Time Scale Each turn represents 10 seconds
Figure Scale Each figure represents a single combatant.
Miniature ScalesIntended for use with the Battletech line of miniatures (1/285th scale).
BasingIndividual (except for infantry)
Designer System designed by Jordan K. Weisman, with multiple contributors over the years
Publisher Current version is the fourth edition. Published by FASA

What You Think

The Monosphere (
This game is definitely one of my favorites. It's fairly easy to get into, the rules are really well-thought-out, and perhaps most importantly, it has an ever-expanding universe just brimming with scenario possibilities (especially with the new novels coming out). The Ral Partha minis look cool too, and they even have rules for playing with them on "real" terrain without using the hex maps.

It looks like FASA is doing their best to keep this game from going stale, with new material and sourcebooks appearing all the time. This game is only going to get better.

Aaron Lewis (
Battletech is an excellent game. One of the best Mech style games I've played. The record sheets that allow for the wearing down of armor are a welcome trait. (Unlike Warhammer 40k, where it all depends on the luck of the dice for the penetration of armor.)

The hex maps allow you to play in a variety of different climates and locations, though they take away the fun of making your own terrain. The mech counters supplied in the 4th Edition boxed game are fairly uninteresting, but can be replaced by Ral Partha's line of wonderful pewter figures.

The volumes and volumes of Battletech material allow for the constant release of sourcebooks and campaigns to keep the game interesting and new. This also allows for the creation of new units by players.

I'm not saying it's a perfect game, but it is a very well-thought-out, supported and interesting game.

If you would like to add your opinion to this webpage, use the following form or send email to the editor.

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Online Resources

Publisher's Website
Includes complete product listing, rotating viewer of sample miniatures with various painting schemes, official MechForce (fan club) homepage, BattleTalk column, official tournament rules, FAQ, errata, clan glossary, and more.
Battletech Listing at Ral Partha
List of all available official miniatures.
Announcement Mailing List
This link takes you to a form for signing up to receive official FASA product announcements.
Yahoo Battletech Listing
Webpages listed at Yahoo for Battletech (computer games listed separately).
Battletech Online Sourcebook
Unofficial listing of mechs and their stats.
Slayer's Battletech Page
Battletech Informational Archives (BIA), guide to computer gaming aids, background, much more.
Ral Partha's Battletech Page
Lists new releases and discontinued minis, campaign rules, optional rules, painting tips.
Chris's Battletech Spaceport
Background, product listing, and links.
Battletech at Bad Karma
Includes news, designs, and forum.
Science Fiction Miniatures Library
The miniatures library lists all figures available for Battletech, including both official figures and other figures in the same scale from other manufacturers.
Stats for Unofficial Miniatures
Our suggested game statistics for various models which you may wish to use in your Battletech games.

If you know of other resources for this game, or if you have material you would like to make available to the Net, please let us know.

Last Updates
9 August 1999comments by The Monosphere
8 April 1999comments by Aaron Lewis
23 January 1999added Bad Karma link
1 January 1999page first published
Comments or corrections?