I’ve spent most of my adult life playing BattleTech. I’ve read just about every novel, sourcebook, and anything published under the BattleTech name. I’ve known more about BattleTech fictional in universe history than the real world history I live in. I’ve gotten into deep philosophical discussions about the factions and beliefs that populate this universe. I’ve been a beta tester and fact checker for numerous published BattleTech works over the years. I’ve run BattleTech campaigns for years. I’ve been a FanPro Commando and Catalyst Agent running official games in my hometown. I’ve run BattleTech games at Gencon, one of the greatest experiences in gaming if I say so myself. 😉

I’ve seen BattleTech wax high, and wane low over the literal decades that I’ve been part of the game. I remember when the first Harmony Gold lawsuit happened and Ral Partha had to throw away dozens or hundreds of miniatures that became known as the Unseen. I remember FASA closing shop and wondering if BattleTech was dead forever. And then it came back and that was when I chose to volunteer to help.

One of the things I tried to do from the inside of the Demo Teams was clarify the rules on what miniatures we were allowed to use in official events. The rules when I started were…convoluted and…well…not very simple. And knowing the way rules lawyers always look for such issues, I looked for and brought them up for internal discussion when I found them. I wanted to make certain that all of us volunteers knew without the shadow of doubt which miniatures the company would allow us to use on our official tables. And that we would be able to have a solid rule set already in place so we could inform players what is allowed by the rules and the company so they would know that we weren’t just being nasty people. That we were doing what we were doing so the company would not be sued. And a very good set of rules was made.

That time is long gone now. I was released from the Demo Team years ago after starting a discussion in the private Demo Team forums on how the Robotech Tactics game messed up the very good rules we had. I’ve stepped away from BattleTech since then. I’ve spent most of my time writing my own fiction and creating my own universe. Publishing my own stories and making money on it. But I’ve watched BattleTech, and I smiled as I saw the Newseen versions of many of my favorite old BattleMechs released. New art. New look. And yet evocative of the designs I loved. Not the same by any means. But good enough. Certainly much prettier than the Reseen versions that hit every branch of the Ugly Tree as they fell from the sky.

Today I learned that Harmony Gold has sued several BattleTech related companies over the Newseen created by Catalyst and over the similar versions created for MechWarrior Online. Now I can see why HG would be interested in something like…say…the Warhammer or the Phoenix Hawk, which were licensed from the original Macross cartoon just as Robotech was. But I notice they are also saying that BattleMechs like the venerable Atlas are infringing on their rights of ownership over warrior robots.

I think they are getting into “Suing Hasbro” regions of crazy legal maneuvers here, but I may be wrong. The courts of law and copyright have brought down some crazy rulings over the years. And one never knows what will happen when you trust the future of your business to a court of law. But I know this. I remember what the first lawsuit cost us as a gaming franchise, both for the fans and the companies that have continued with the game. I do not wish to see another lawsuit do that to us again. So I look on this lawsuit with great worry. And I hope we are able to weather it better than the first one.