Over at Walker's Retreat, he links to a couple videos on the history of the in-universe lore of Battletech, and points out that yes, Battletech doesn't get the love it should.

Cue Razorfist:


I bought my first copy of the base Battletech rules when game shops still had copies of it's earlier iteration, BattleDroids on the shelves - rename courtesy of Lucasarts. The artwork varied from utterly pedestrian to the utterly amazing renditions copypasted wholesale from Macross, Dougram, and Crusher Joe. Many of these iconic designs, including the "Warhammer" that graced the box cover, had to be removed due to a decades-long dispute with Harmony Gold, despite being licensed from the creators.

The game system scratched an itch. Leaving aside the lore that grew up around it, it sat somewhere between Car Wars and Star Fleet Battles for complexity, especially as Citytech and Aerotech and followon rules changes added more rules and types of exquipment. Like Car Wars, and unlike SFB, a huge part of the fun was the ability to customize your walking death machines to a fare-thee-well. The distributed armor and hit system, the ability to impose critical hits on internal components, blow off entire assemblies, to pulp the pilot with a lucky headshot, or hollow out a mech with an ammo explosion made tactics, positioning, and facing critical, as well as proper fire support and combined maneuvers.

And the lore? I never did end up reading most of the books, but a giant, sprawling, machiavellan universe with various houses at each other's throats for supremacy, the clan wars, and so on made for a gripping backdrop. There was a bit of the apocalyptic and 70's everybody's-sucky-in-some-way, but in the books I read, and the games we played, the cynicism wasn't that deeply entrenched. Sure, you could play it GoT grimdark, but you didn't have to, and the universe and lore had its share of genuine heroes.

Anyway, for a funny look at a couple of the iconic mechs of the universe. The MadCat:

The much - maligned, yet oddly lovable Urbanmech:

The Blackjack:

And for a bit of humor. It helps to know that Steiner has a reputation for deploying an inordinate number of very heavy mechs, and taking the "getting there with the mostest" part of the old "getting there the firstest with the mostest" quote all too seriously.

The Lyran Commonwealth (dominated by the Steiner royal family) is an Inner Sphere Successor State that is known for being wealthy, favoring larger mechs (because they can afford them due to the wealth), and has the in-universe reputation for incompetent commanders. These factor have lead players to joke a typical lance (a unit of four mechs) employed for scouting and recon by Lyran forces is composed of four Atlases/Atlai (a 100 metric ton assault class mech making it the heaviest and often slowest weight class typically available) or of other configurations of four assault mechs.