When I was 12, my brothers and I discovered BattleTech. It was our first introduction to hex-based wargames. We went on to play the Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator, Star Wars: Assault on Hoth, Star Wars: Star Warriors, O.G.R.E., and a few other sci-fi wargames, but we played BattleTech first, more often, and for longer than all the rest.
Even after Vicki and I moved to California for our PhD work, I kept my BattleTech stuff and played a few times, including one truly epic game with my brother Ryan when he was out to visit in 2003.
Since then, my boxed wargames have been mothballed in a box in the closet, waiting for the day when London would be old enough to try them out.
I got Robotech: The Macross Saga on DVD for Christmas, and London and I have watched about 2/3 of it. London’s really gotten into it, and he’s been building Veritech fighters out of Lego. I thought, just maybe, it was time. So yesterday I broke out my old CityTech boxed set (the BattleTech game of urban combat, although we used only wilderness), set up some foamcore terrain, and ran an introductory game for London.
He kicked my butt.
We each had two mechs, a Griffin IIC and Rifleman IIC from the 3050 technical manual, so our forces were evenly matched (London’s Griffin and Rifleman were represented by the CityTech 2nd Ed. Javelin and Daishi, respectively, and mine by the old PlasTech Javelin and Catapult). I had the upper hand at first, stripping most of the armor from London’s Rifleman, but then he blew one of my Rifleman’s arms off, and finished it with a brutal series of head shots. After that, my Griffin was easy prey.
After the game, I asked London if he wanted me to put everything away, or set up some new terrain for another battle. He said, “Another battle!”
So after almost a decade, I’m playing BattleTech again–a perfect example of losing the battle but winning the war.