"Do you have what it takes to lead men into battle?" So asks the bottom of the Battleforce box. It had been at leat 20 years since I played. What was I thinking? In the 80's I had avoided the Battletech phenomenon. How, I have no idea. FASA Corporation totally had their finger on gamers' pulses at that time. Again, what was I thinking? Still, at least I played this one.
Without true knowledge of the game that spawned it, I can't discuss Battleforce's connection to it's Battletech parent intelligently, though very soon, I'm going to remedy that and just get in on the modern incarnation. As my friend said, it's been playtested for 25+ years, the rules are solid.
Battleforce is putzy to set up. Small, thick paper representations of the different lances of Mechs, tanks, fighters, infantry, etc, each jammed full of info and each sprouting "chits" to designate the skill of their crews and other information. But past that stage, despite what seems like a ton of information, game play is fast and easy to pick up on. Are the pieces as glamorous as miniatures, certainly not. But it doesn't take much imagination to view the flat map and seemingly sterile pieces as small illuminations of larger units on a master tactical screen. Without knowing much of the history of the game and with very basic knowledge of the different types of mechs, the game still lends itself to imagery of the darkened command room with the main screen showing the distant battle play out, or a holo-table somewhere with information changing and winking out of existence as men and mech clash on the battlefield.
We just played a brawl essentially to refamiliarize ourselves with the game, but it deserves the detailed scenarios and campaigns it was designed to illustrate. Looking forward to playing it again.