I’ve been playing Battletech nearly as long as I’ve been playing games – so when Catalyst Game Labs asked if we wanted to take a look at their newest box set weeks before it’s launch…well, let’s just say that wild horses would be required to stop me from saying yes! You might ask why the world needs another Battletech box set – there have been several over the years and the contents tend to be fairly predictable: a quick start guide, some more advanced rules, a poster of the galaxy, a few maps, some dice and a fair number of plastic miniatures.
I’m not going to lie – the 25th Anniversary Box Set has all of that. What makes it exceptional is that it has so much more. When you hold the box in your hands, the first thing that you notice is how much bigger the box is (check out our Unboxing Video to get a better feel for the size difference). Previous boxes have been in bookshelf format, but this giant is about 16″x16″ and a solid 4″ thick. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is a solid box. Opening the box you quickly realize just how much “stuff” is packed in there – it’s full of books and miniatures.
The books are an interesting assortment, including:
Believe it or not, that’s just the books that are included in the box – there’s a ton of other stuff including the pre-requisite pad of Battlemech record sheets (these differ in quality with some 3-D grayscale images and others with the traditional sketches from the Technical Readout series), a nice, thick cardboard page with the main tables from the game, a larger poster map (for those coming from the unboxing video, it’s a map of the 3067 time period) and the maps. The maps are worth talking about for a second. Traditionally, Battletech has come with a series of paper maps (longtime wargamers know exactly what I’m talking about here). These maps were serviceable, though a bit of a pain (nothing that some plexiglass couldn’t solve). The new maps are outstanding – full cardboard, boardgame quality maps. The artwork for the maps is also upgraded, with appropriate use of 3-D in places and some very nice shading. I personally prefer to play on Heroscape terrain, but these maps are so nice, I might change my practice.
Iron Wind Metals has done, right?).Which leaves us with the miniatures. The box advertises 24 miniatures + 2 “premium” miniatures. The 24 include the standard mechs that you would expect to see in a box set: Atlas, Jenner, Awesome, Spider – they’re all here (with corresponding record sheets of course). The basic miniatures are a step up from the miniatures in early box sets, with a firmer plastic that should hold primer a bit better. The poses are pretty static for the most part and there are a few miniatures where the flash is bad in places and a few of the miniatures suffer from a lack of detail, but they’re very serviceable and should look great painted. The two premium mechs are a real treat: two of the most iconic omnimechs in the game – the Loki and Thor. These are fully disassembled and made out of high quality plastic. These are some great miniatures that should really whet people’s appetite for the miniatures side of the hobby (you have seen some of the work that
So is the new box set worth it? At $50 (the last box set was $40) some buyers may find the new box set a hard sell. I would argue that 26 miniatures, full cardboard maps and the new booklets not only make this a great purchase for new gamers, but even seasoned Battletech aficionados are not going to want to miss what I would characterize as Catalyst’s love letter to Battletech players everywhere. The Battletech 25th Anniversary Box Set will retail for $50 and will be available in retail stores on March 30th.
Need more than this review? Seriously? Alright – here’s your first chance to view the full contents of the box set in our video review!
Very tempting. Now if I just had some opponents, and few hours of free time every weekend.
“I’m a touch disappointed that the clans are given so little attention in the book”
Well… afaik there’s a “clan box” planned, so they’re probably saving up all the infos for that product.
I’m desperate for the clan box to actually happen, but I haven’t heard anything on that front beyond the initial idea a year or so ago.
Why didn’t they include the allowable unseen in it? Thunderbolt, Shadowhawk, Wolverine, etc. it’s only the macross unseen that weren’t allowed back in…HG doesn’t have any claim on the Dougram designs!..
Worth noting that:
The last introductory boxset did include:
-Infantry and Vehicles Quick start rules
-and other things he emphasized were all pretty much in the last intro set
The Things that ARE new:
-New bigger, better looking box, with a Hammerhands ‘mech resemblent art poking fun at the old Warhammer art (dumb though because the mini’s not even in the box)
-The cardboard maps (awesome)
-Better quality minis then the last boxset, and two premium plastic minis
I think you’ll find the tactics section greatly expanded in this version. Much nicer. I looked back and I stand corrected – the Infantry and Vehicle quick starts were in the last version.
What about the basic mech creation rules, (I’m not actually looking at my rule book) were they newly re-introduced in this edition?..or were they not present in the last??…
The really basic construction rules were in the last version as well – I apparently had a complete mental break when shooting the unboxing when it came to the rulebook…(placing a note on the YouTube page – good catch!)
I’m not being condescending or anything, just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going mad…lol
The cardboard maps, new box, and 26 minis like you said are worth it alone..
Are the minis the same mechs as last time? It’s hard to tell with the video, I figured with the Hammerhands on the cover there’s be a Hammerhands in there?..
Didn’t take it that way at all! It looks like it’s the same set of mechs (I’m the world’s worst at mech sight reading). No Hammerhands :(
Thanks for taking the time to answer my concerns..
I am very excited…..can’t wait to get my box. The new maps are very encouraging. I am hoping that this new box set will encourage players to get their mechs out play more and more….love the game have been playing since High School and that was 20 years ago. Thanks for the online review, well done.
I see your video and read your text and I want to buy it !!!!
Seriously thanks you very much for the video it convinces to buy the box
Got my box yesterday and it definitely is awesome. If there’s one thing I have to complain, it’s the minis. Some of them felt a bit wobbly because of the plastic used.
Oh, and who calls Hellbringer and Summoner with their Inner Sphere names for real? And why? They’re really good and if they deliver OmniMechs like that in the Clan Expansion Boxset, I’ll be more than happy to get that one too. Obviously I haven’t painted them yet but I believe they wouldn’t be ashamed when put next to the IWM minis :)
Nice to see this reserrected
Hi all. Was wondering if you could give me a complete list of all the Mech names in the box. I may start this hobby again soon, and I wanted to know if my favorite Mech (Mad Cat) was included. Thanks in advance.
@Christopher No Timber Wolf (Mad Cat). Other than the Hellbringer and Summoner, all the minis are Inner Sphere ‘Mechs from 3025.
Off the top of my head: