June 13, 2024

#UnboxingDay ~ BattleTech Essentials

Brant Guillory, 17 August 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

BattleTech in Target?  Seriously?  And not just in Target, but exclusive to Target?  For those of us that’ve been playing since it was called BattleDroids, it’s a pretty remarkable

The usual boxiness

click images to enlarge


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Here it all is – double-sided map, a couple of minis, the short version of the rules, a couple of reference sheets, cards for mechs and their pilots, a couple of counters, and some dice, plus a short story from Michael Stackpole.


The rules are pretty stripped down, as you can see in the difference between this book and the older Total Warfare manual.  The back cover reference guide is handy, and the “beyond the quick-start rules” gives a nice roadmap to tell new players where to go next.


Interestingly, the guide to the Inner Sphere pre-dates the clan invasion, and the Steiner/Davion union.


Much of the combat in this box is built around the Solaris VII arena, so here are some details for you.


One nice touch for a beginner-focused map is the terrain labels directly on the map.


You’ve got a mixture of unpainted minis – the classic Rifleman and the less-than-classic Centurion1 – and double-sided punchout standups.  Since facing is important in BattleTech, it’s good that you can tell front from back on the punchouts.  There are half-sheet mech record cards for each model.  And in case you forgot, the Topps logo on the punchboard is a sharp reminder that massive conglomerates are still lording over much of the hobby games we love.


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You’ve got double-sided pilot cards for 4 specific characters.


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Finally, long-time BattleTech author Michael Stackpole has a short story to help get new players engaged in the setting, which is one of the richest and most well-developed in the hobby games word, and a discount for future BattleTech purchases2.


All-in-all, it’s a nice entry point into the BattleTech world, at a solid price, found in a store that everyone has nearby.


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed a look under our hoods!  You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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Want to contribute to next month’s #UnboxingDay? Drop us a line in the #UnboxingDay thread in the forum and let us know

With trembling hands and eager zeal,
I unbox a wargame with great appeal.
Countless components I behold,
Strategies yet to unfold,
In this box, a battlefield surreal!


  1. c’mon guys, no ShadowHawk, or Warhammer, or PhoenixHawk?!
  2. and no, you don’t get to see my code!

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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