BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG $44.99 $15.00
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
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BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
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BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Connor A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/16/2013 06:16:59

Of all the RPG's I am thinking on running recently, this has to be one of the top few. I have always enjoyed the Battletech universe and this book is no exception, it fits in perfectly with the history and game-play of not only the table top game but also its own nicely detailed system as well as letting the GM get creative with non-cannon scenarios and campaigns. Definitely a must have for all those who love the Battletech universe and enjoy both the table top game and role-playing since it mixes the two almost seamlessly. 10/10!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2012 14:39:22

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://rolep-

Player: Eject! Eject!
GM: Eject? What are you talking about?
Player: My Mech is about to blow up and my pilot doesn’t want to die.
GM: This is Battletech. Who cares about the pilot? Besides, there are no rules for what happens outside of the cockpit.

Wrong! Bad GM! A Time of War provides extensive rules to allow players to enjoy the Battletech universe away from their Mechs. A Time of War follows the grand tradition of the MechWarrior sourcebooks from previous editions of the game.


I love the Battletech universe! It is rich with back-story and canon. People have been playing in it for decades and I have always wondered what happens between the tactical battles. MechWarrior, and now A Time of War, answer those questions. This wonderful concept is thoroughly covered by this extensive rule book.


Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The cover of this book is mechwarriortastic! The people (who are the focus of this game) are front and center with a Mech behind them and drop ships in the sky. The color scheme is great and the Battletech logo still looks great. The pages are in color and high gloss. I was a bit surprised by the use of orange hues on some of the pages and the charts, but this book feels all Battletech. Catalyst knows how to produce a sexy product whose art will cause gamergasams. The page borders are great, and the faux tabs that adorn the right edges to show the reader what section they are in are a good touch. It would have been better if the tabs were even more visible from the outside, but that is a small matter.

There is fiction at the beginning of each section and as you can imagine, some of it is better than others. The faction cards were a nice touch though. They give a quick overview of the world of the factions in an efficient, visually pleasing way. I am normally not a big fan of some of the colors that Catalyst used but for whatever reason, they worked. There were several old school black and white pictures included, and the mixture worked well enough; however, the color is where the real power of this book came from.

There were two major things that bothered me: One was Neil Roberts’ fear of drawing eyes and the other was the use of miniatures pictures later in the book. The pictures of the minis ended up looking low rent and cheesy. I know the use of those pictures was a nod to the old school products, but they were not that great then and time has only diminished their appeal. There was a lot of art in this book, but that is no excuse for using pictures of minis combined with color as well as black and white. It was just too much. A few of the sections of the book should have been rearranged, but this was by no means a show stopper.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
I understand the need for complex rules, especially in tabletop tactical games, but there comes a point with RPGs that too many rules kill the role-playing portions of an RPG. I wonder if this is a case of “Tactical Tabletop” gamers trying to develop an RPG or way too much cut and paste from previous editions. Up front, the system seems simple: roll 2D6, add your modifiers, and bounce them off a Target number. Where things start to get dodgy is that each target number is modified by the skill you are using, and then the skills are tiered and change as you get better at them, and the list goes on and on. I can see the logic behind some of these rules but when it was all said and done, any game that you need to keep a “supplement’s” worth of charts on hand can get bogged down quickly.

This aspect of the game alone enforces my belief that this role-playing concept was fleshed out by people who know tactical games and do not feel fettered by reams of charts and complex calculations to make one or two moves. The character creation mechanics have some merit until you get to the numbers crunching. I like the idea of the life paths and some of the backgrounds are interesting but in the end, A Time of War takes a cool concept and turns it back into a numbers game. I fully understand the need for crunchy numbers to add to realism but this system is burdened by them.

In the text, the creators explain this system is mostly compatible with the regular Battletech game. When I saw this I thought “Hey, that’s cool,” until I realized that for me, this is the cause of the role-playing-killing numbers crunch that is A Time of War. I don’t see a point where this role-playing game should be compatible with the Battletech game, especially if the tactics are your focus. Here is what I’m talking about: Let’s say you have a group that plays regular Battletech. They decide to incorporate the A Time of War sourcebook into their game to fill that time between hard core Mech combat. Do you really think they will not make a tabletop move because their Mech pilot role-playing character doesn’t have the skill to do it? Do you think they will switch out their tabletop Mech because their character didn’t have enough build points to purchase that same model of Mech? Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
Having an interesting and well-made rulebook that covers the time between battles is outstanding. The Battletech universe is too rich to not have a product like this. If you are looking to double your opportunities to play Battletech, this is the product for you. If you are looking for a great industrial strength setting, this book is for you. If you are looking for a game that encourages role-playing and has the mechanics to support that, stay away… far away. Over 400 pages of information is always valuable and for the Battletech junkie or even the curious gamer, this book is worth its cost.

Overall: 8 out of 10
This book looks great and is crammed with tons of great information; however, the fault lies with the mechanics. I know that mechanics can be modified, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. I really believe that Catalyst should take a second look at the mechanics of this game and revamp them in a way that does not try to to be compatible with the tactics part of the game. This sourcebook names quite a few pieces of equipment that no stats are given for. In fact, it has an entire section devoted to showing past Battletech products and where they fit in on the Battletech timeline. At its core, Battletech is about mechs.

I wonder if A Time of War would be better if it was separated into two books. The first book could be compatible with the traditional Battletech system. There is enough crunch in A Time of War’s current configuration to support that and with minor rules tweaks, I think it could work. The second book would be set in the Battletech universe and would not give the characters Mechs to drive at all. The characters could operate other ancillary vehicles, but the game mechanics would focus on people operating behind the scenes rather than the Mechs and the MechWarriors.

This is a great setting and a well-done rulebook, but unless the mechanics are streamlined, it won’t appeal to gamers who like to focus on role-playing. This book has some real high points but those high points only come in one flavor and that’s extra crunchy.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2012 23:54:55

A Time of War is, in my opinion, one of those "genre-definitional" games that people should get if they are at all interested in a certain genre of game; science-fiction giant combat machine action being the genre of choice.

It's made by Catalyst Game Labs, which vouches for its quality even before you begin reading it. I'd say that it's got among the highest production values of tabletop games out there; the art is all impeccable, the typesetting works well, and it's got a lot of content for $15.

If you've ever played BattleTech, you know how much fun it can be to suit up in a giant 'Mech and blow away some enemies of your favorite choice, and A Time of War does a good job at letting you catch the "downtime" of 'MechWarriors and their compatriots, focusing on both fighting and more peaceful agendas outside the cockpit.

Quick Summary:
Content: 5/5 (Battletech has an incredibly rich universe, and A Time of War brings it through both in fluffy and crunchy ways)
Art/Typesetting: 5/5 (High quality, very pretty, and plentiful without feeling like padding)
Writing: 5/5 (No unusually obnoxious ambiguities or glaringly bad typos, plus it was technically excellent)
Awesome Factor: 5/5 (What's better than a setting where you can get back at the guy who just snubbed you by walking your 95-ton war machine through his house?)
Interest: 5/5 (The joy of my childhood still keeps on going strong)
Maturity: 14+ (Scantily clad women in the art and some more violent focuses earn it a slight cautionary rating)
Value: 5/5 ($15 isn't exactly the cheapest you can get a game, but A Time of War has a lot of stuff for that $15).

[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Bryan S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 15:01:44

I have been playing versions of the Battletech RPG for about a decade now and this is by far one of the best organized and thought out. The way characters are generated is more even (a single dice roll can no longer really hurt your character durring character creation). I also like how it is much more compatable with the actual Battletech game. It still has it's bugs (the description of how dice rolls work takes several read-throughs to fully grasp how difficulties work, or how contested rolls work. It can take some flipping through the book a little to track down how certian related items work together, etc...), but is still an improvement compared to previous editions. It also is missing items within the equipment section (desriptions of what coolant vests, clan coolant suits, neurohelmets, etc...) that would be beneficial to to players that enjoy playing both the RPG and Mini game. All in all I like how this version has been improved, and forsee many enjoyable games down the road; but like the vast majority of games out there I can see room for improvement.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by liam b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2010 21:33:27

Battletech has always tried to make the leap to roleplaying, and not done too well....until now. While I dislike some of the source material (Taken from the old war game/Minatures game) THis book is pretty badass. These guys obviously really care for what they are doing. It is lovingly done, layout is excellent, design and art are very good, stories throughout are pretty damn fine. I recommend it.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Nathan O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2009 01:20:49

This is a great start to
A Time of Wa Battle tech RPG :) ...

[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Bruce R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/17/2009 11:17:04

I'm giving this one four stars - the role-playing rules for Battletech have come a long way since Mechwarrior 1st edition and the additions made are an improvement:

-- Character Generation includes traits, quirks, and a lot of permutations depending upon your character's upbringing ("modules" for the phases of early childhood, late childhood and higher education). All positive in my book.
-- The overview of the Inner Sphere's history strikes that delicate balance of providing enough information to run the game in the "Present Day" of 3076 without bombarding the reader with intricate details of each of the Houses/Clans which have been built up over the last 20 years. I could pick this book up and there is enough material here to build the framework for a campaign - they have left the universe open enough to give the Gamemaster room to move and not been overly prescriptive.
-- I like the information about available Equipment (including prosthetics, types of armour etc, weapons).
-- The index is easy to use (a strip down the right hand side of the page tells you which section of the book that you're in)

Of course, the stats for the Battlemechs themselves and the rules for playing Battletech as a wargame (on hex maps) are contained in other supplements. (this is mentioned on page 31 of the rules).

There are a handful of adventure seeds contained within (about one page worth) but there needs to be a lot more (probably 8-10 pages of ideas) and a proper sample adventure so that prospective GMs can see what could be done. This is probably the only area that is lacking in this supplement.

Some other comments:
-- There is a multi-page spread that shows the Inner Sphere and all of the fiefdoms/dominions and the territories that they control, but no page that I can find which shows the star systems within one of the regions or even the key star systems of note. This could be a positive (blank canvas anyone?) or a negative.
-- There is a history of the Inner Sphere which shows which powers were in control of what regions of space over time which I think is a great synopsis (in 3 pages) of the Battletech background. It's a good way of bringing new people up to speed quickly but there is no additional information for the GM to set the game in any other period but the year 3076 (ie: not in the classic 3025 period). This appears to be deliberate on the part of the publishers - this supplement is already 406 pages long!

Am pleased with this purchase.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War the BattleTech RPG
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Jenette D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2009 16:41:47

A well put togther Beta Release of the Battletech universe many gamers know and love, updated to use the same rules as Shadowrun 4th edition.

While containing excellent artwork and a plethora of rules and statistics one major thing is lacking:

Statistics and pictures of the battlemechs themselves.

The mechwarrior pilot class is included, but without any mecha stats it's all but useless.

I deeply hope the final relase has these stats, otherwise playing such classes or anything to due with mecha are all but impossible.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
While using a d6 mechanic, the rules are actually not the Shadowrun 4th Edition rules at all. The BattleTech Time of War rules are an extension of the board game rules, allowing for a near seamless interaction with games on the tactical and strategic levels. Rules for BattleMechs are actually played using the Total Warfare rules set and, if playing with Time of War characters, can be modified by the character stats. As such, the stats found in any technical readout or sourcebook will work with your character (as the character's abilities modify the 'Mech's target numbers, not the design itself). The BattleTech Universe has such depth and so many options of play that an RPG can operate as a stand-alone product or as a means to enrich a tactical campaign. As a matter of fact, Catalyst has worked extra hard to make the play seamless from the individual character all the way up to commanding an entire regiment or even Successor State (with the upcoming Interstellar Operations rulebook).
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