So there’s a new game out there, called BattleTech. It’s a PC game based on the 1984 tabletop wargame of the same name. It’s guys in big robots blowing up other guys in big robots. Knights of the Fallen Roman Empire in a Successor States kind of a universe scattered across a couple thousand star systems spread across a thousand lightyears of space. That’s the matchbox background.

There’s dozens of novels, dozens of sourcebooks, hundreds of playing pieces, and a dozen different computer games in the universe, making it one of the more published gaming universes in existence. Unfortunately, it suffers from a virulent strain of IP-distribution similar to Star Trek and Robotech. Basically, different companies own different parts of the IP. Microsoft owns computer programs while Topps owns the tabletop game and other physical products. This has caused some issues of late.

But BattleTech, the computer game, just came out, and it is awesome. It places you out on the Periphery of known space in the classic era of the game, at the lowest ebb of technology as the universe has been falling for centuries after the Star League collapsed into civil war. You end up commanding a mercenary unit trying to survive in the hardscrabble existence of paying wages, repairs, ammo, and keeping one step ahead of the banks that want to repossess your spaceship if you miss a single payment.

Oh. And you get to go on missions where can stomp on enemy vehicles, punch enemy BattleMechs, or just shoot them all full of holes with your missiles, lasers, and particle cannons. It’s turn based rather real-time, so you can carefully pick your moves and targets, right down to called shots on particular limbs. And it is beautiful. You get to see cinematics of your mechs walking through swaying trees or swirling dust storms on their way to punching or shooting the enemy. Sometimes they even zoom the view in so you can see the missiles tracking in for final attack. And watching your BattleMech tearing the arm off an enemy and dropping them on their back is always a thing of beauty.

This is not MechWarrior, MechAssault, or the BattleTech Virtual World Arcade Pods, where you play a single BattleMech in real time. This is not a twitch game like Halo or Call of Duty. This is a turn-based strategy game, closer to MechCommander or the Crescent Hawk games. And of course the tabletop game it takes its genesis from. It glories in being a faithful computer representation of the spirit of the tabletop game. And a fun game in its own right.

If you have even a passing affinity for strategy games, I’d like to suggest that you try this game out. It is fun. I love it. I hope you will too.