Games with timelines — with established settings that change significantly over time — are not as common as it might seem at first. Especially when the game is primarily a miniatures battle game. As I started writing this I realized that I couldn’t actually think of that many…
And specifically, games that have an established timeline that changes and also has an impact on game-play, are even rarer. I mean, time passes in the universe of 40K — and new models come out — but they aren’t really tied to specific eras and don’t really impact game play in connection with the universe.
But Battletech does change, and as it changes the game is effected by those changes to the universe. It’s an interesting universe to be a fan of, and one that is always growing in new ways.
My friend Griff — he likes playing the game during the early Clan Wars time frame — like, 3050’ish. I know some people who think the Clans ruined the game and prefer the Succession Wars over everything. Some people think the Word of Blake Jihad ruined the game. Era wars might as well be Battletech’s version of Edition Wars. I’ve seen some who won’t play if you play the “wrong” time period.
Myself — I’m actually a fan of the late 3060s. I like the resurgence of House Liao, the FedCom Civil War and the beginning rumblings of the Jihad. And I’d never say that the game is “going in the wrong direction” or that they’ve ruined the game but I finally think I’ve hit my own limit for how far I want to advance the timeline. Don’t get me wrong — if others enjoy the game going forward — good for them — and Catalyst produces plenty of material for “historical” periods so I don’t feel even a little slighted as a fan. And it amazes me and makes me happy to be a fan of a company that does that.
But I’ve reached my limit in the Republic of the Sphere era. It’s not my cup of tea. And the only thing I ask of Catalyst going forward — please be very, very clear about what rules are “standard” and which aren’t. It’s a weird thing to say because as eras change, rules that were once “advanced” become standard. And that’s fine — but I guess what I want to see is an emphasis on putting useful dates on machines in the TROs along with the Tech Level.
I want to know if something was available in 3067 or if it only exists in 3093 at a glance, not having to do a lot of research. It’s a small thing, but significant as things move forward.
Sorry for the light post today — I’ll get back to gazing at the navel of gaming tomorrow! Thanks for reading.