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This new license also lifted the restriction on only producing short stories, and in 2008 IMR began printing collections of short fiction that had appeared on BattleCorps, and announced the intention of printing new BattleTech novels, though as of yet none have appeared.

FWIW, there's been four new BattleTech novels published by Catalyst Game Labs, with a new anthology book due out in a couple of weeks.

  • BattleTech: Embers of War, by Jason Schmetzer
  • BattleTech: Betrayal of Ideals, by Blaine Lee Pardoe
  • BattleTech: The Anvil, by Blaine Lee Pardoe
  • BattleTech: A Splinter of Hope, by Philip A. Lee
  • BattleTech: Legacy, edited by John Helfers and Philip A. Lee and due out on September 17th.
So...which novels are worth reading (and can be obtained without paying through the nose if the library doesn't have a copy)? And in particular, for someone with no setting background knowledge?
FWIW, there's been four new BattleTech novels published by Catalyst Game Labs, with a new anthology book due out in a couple of weeks.

  • BattleTech: Embers of War, by Jason Schmetzer
  • BattleTech: Betrayal of Ideals, by Blaine Lee Pardoe
  • BattleTech: The Anvil, by Blaine Lee Pardoe
  • BattleTech: A Splinter of Hope, by Philip A. Lee
  • BattleTech: Legacy, edited by John Helfers and Philip A. Lee and due out on September 17th.

hm, ok, guess my source was out of date

another good reason these are my first drafts here on the Pub before the corrected versions on my blog :smile:
So...which novels are worth reading (and can be obtained without paying through the nose if the library doesn't have a copy)? And in particular, for someone with no setting background knowledge?

Its a crapshoot what you can find for cheap. For the past month I've been buying a few up as available, but it's too early for me to have any personal recommendations beyond the Warrior and Blood of Kerensky trilogies, and those both go for big bucks. Catalyst just released (like this week) their 7th collection of short stories POD though, so hoping that they will finally deliver o their promise of POD options for the back catalogue of essentials.
So...which novels are worth reading (and can be obtained without paying through the nose if the library doesn't have a copy)? And in particular, for someone with no setting background knowledge?

You're essentially asking two different questions.

For obtaining BattleTech books... well, you're probably not going to like this answer, but your best bet (as I posted in the thread above), is as eBooks. All but about a dozen or so BattleTech books are available as eBooks on Amazon Kindle. Some are also available as eBooks on Kobo, Google Play Books, and DriveThruRPG, but not as many as on Amazon Kindle. While you're better off reading them on an eReader such as the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo H2O, you can read them on your computer or tablet as well.

The newer books such as Embers of War are only available in print at GenCon. Catalyst Game Labs prints enough of their new fiction books to sell out within the first couple of days of GenCon each year, and that's it. If you don't go to GenCon, then you are stuck with eBooks. That suits me fine as I find eBooks superior to print for fiction, but YMMV.

Now as for which BattleTech novels are worth reading, here's a good reading order list made pre-Catalyst Game Labs. Just skip Sword and the Dagger. I particularly recommend the Grey Death Legion novels.
hm, ok, guess my source was out of date

another good reason these are my first drafts here on the Pub before the corrected versions on my blog :smile:

Catalyst Game Labs didn't start putting out new BattleTech novels until 2016, so that's understandable. They've been publishing one or two new BattleTech fiction books for GenCon each year, then make them available as eBooks a few weeks later for those who don't attend GenCon or prefer eBooks.
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I did manage to snag the Blood of Kerensky trilogy from Noble Knight Games big moving sale at a decent price - $8 a piece for the two common ones, and $20for the rare one. That same set on ebay seems to be priced in the $150 - 200 range. I've got some of the early William Kieth through Abe Books for pretty cheap too (AbeBooks is my go-to these days when Amazon is insane). But even scouring all the used book stores in town (we have about 17 in my area) turned up next to nothing.
I have a Mike Stackpole Btech novel I picked up at Value Village. I like him from back whenever he did Mercenaries Spies and Private Eyes.
Just picked these up at Goodwill. Looks to be tanks and troopers for Battletech. I think this is 6mm scale but not sure. The minis say FASA 1992 Ral Partha.IMG_20180903_145430-01.png
In 2008 Catalyst released two rulebooks expanding the gameline: Tactical Operations, with extended rules for terrain and advanced rules for equipment, including experimental military weaponry; and Strategic Operations, which covered massive military campaigns and interstellar combat.


Strategic Operations would go on to win the Origins Award for Best Miniature Rules. Included in the volume was an updated version of the BattleForce simplified rules system for mass combat, which proved so popular that Catalyst would later expand into it's own gameline, Alpha Strike.

In 2009, Catalyst rebooted the Mechwarrior RPG, this time entitled A Time of War. The rules were a clear revision and streamlining of Mechwarrior 3rd edition, with an expressed goal of greater integration and cross-compatibility with the wargame. (I'll be reviewing the various editions of the RPG in it's own series of posts later on, given time to receive some Ebay orders and a chance to read and compare)


For many BattleTech fans, Catalyst Lab Games getting the license seemed like a dream come true. FanPro had done a great job, but with their passing the license could have easily passed into oblivion or gone to a company looking to make a quick buck with no respect for BattleTech's history. But Loren L. Coleman was well respected as intimately familiar with the fiction and seemingly invested in supporting the game to the best of his ability.

Unfortunately, in 2010, this reputation was to take a blow that, 8 years on, it's still reeling from.
Just picked these up at Goodwill. Looks to be tanks and troopers for Battletech. I think this is 6mm scale but not sure. The minis say FASA 1992 Ral Partha.View attachment 4298

Yeah, I recognize the armoured infantry at the very least as Battletech for certain.
I have a Mike Stackpole Btech novel I picked up at Value Village. I like him from back whenever he did Mercenaries Spies and Private Eyes.

I remember his stuff being good. Overall, BattleTech novels have a reputation that tends to put them above RPG genre fiction. But I'm about to reread the Warrior trilogy, so I'll see how that stands up to my much more pretentious current discernment...
On March 16th, 2010, Frank Trollman, a freelance writer for Shadowrun, posted the following open letter to the Dumpshock forums, accusing Loren L. Coleman of, among other things, embezzlement...

"OK, as you may well have been able to surmise from release schedules, Catalyst Game Labs is in a bit of a financial pickle, and it is somewhat unlikely that they will retain the license to make Shadowrun products. This is not because Shadowrun hasn't been selling enough to cover expenses, but merely because a significant quantity of money is missing outright. Reliable sources put this figure at roughly $850,000. Which sounds like a lot, and it is. It is roughly 40% of Catalyst's entire sales for last year, missing over a three year period. There will of course be lawsuits, and there are already people drawing up legal documents accusing Loren Coleman of having hired people to construct an extension on his house through the company as "freelance writers" and somehow reporting an estimated $100,000 of convention sales as $6,000. Whether that is actually true or not is - of course - a matter for the courts to decide. And decide they presumably will.

But what that means for Catalyst as a company is pretty bad. It costs several dollars to print a book even when the pdfs are finished and ready for publication. A print run of say, 50,000 books (like the print run of Runner Havens) would cost somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000 to print and ship to distributors. And while it eventually sold to distributors at ~$15 a book (a total take home of $750,000), it did so over a period of three years, during which time they were paying interest on loans and paying for storage, and advertisement and so on and so forth. A book like that isn't actually taking home half a million in profits. Which is a bad thing, because it means that even if there was a complete book printed and ready to sell, even a total and rapid sell through would not pull the company out of the financial hole it is in - and the shortfall means that it does not have the cash on hand to start the ball rolling with a new major printing.

The tiny amount of drachmas that are left in the coffers are being used to print up tiny print runs of books that have sold through - another 3,000 books of Runner's Companion for example (~$15,000 to start up, maybe $30-40k towards paying creditors if it sells out). There simply is not the startup cash to bring upcoming books like the SR4 sixth world almanac or corporate guide forward. The writing is there, but the printing costs are not. Beyond that, the freelancers have not been paid, and some of them are withholding copyright until they are - meaning that even a tiny print run of these new materials is simply not possible.

Many SR writers are quitting, have already quit, or have handed in notices contingent on demands which - word on the street - will not be met. And CGL does not even own Shadowrun, it leases the intellectual property from Topps. It seems unlikely that they will be able to make their licensing payment when the contract comes up for renewal - in a couple of months. At that time, CGL will cease being able to print Shadowrun or Battletech materials (they would presumably keep the license to Cthulhutech and Eclipse Phase for at least a little while longer, because those are separate contracts).
" (

This caused an immediate uproar through the online community. Some people posted anonymously claiming to be freelancers who worked for Catalyst saying they had heard the same rumours. Some accused Trollman of being a, pointing to his outsoken bitterness towards the direction of the Shadowrun game.

The fires were flamed when it was revealed that Wildfire LLC, makers of the CthulhuTech RPG that was published through Catalyst, had severed all ties with the company a few months earlier due to "non-payment of royalties" and other unspecified "breaches of contract".

Moreover, a day prior to Trollman's post going viral, Jennifer "Tiger Eyes" Harding (Catalyst's Office Manager and Assistant Line Developer on Shadowrun) had resigned, for "ethical reasons." Her post explaining this on the Dumpshock forums implies that she was asked by Catalyst to "falsify records":

"I quit, after the directors were informed that this request was made, and chose to act in a way that I personally found unethical. I refused to do these, and other, things. I did not, at any time, falsify records, nor did I withhold information, as ordered numerous times by directors of the company. I was, however, told by Randall Bills that if I could not work with Loren, or felt the items I was being asked to do were unethical, that I should leave the company.

Ethics are a tricky matter. My personal ethics were involved. It is not up to anyone, besides myself, to determine what my personal ethics dictate for my own actions. Likewise, I cannot dictate to anyone at Catalyst how their ethics should tell them how to act.

Legal issues are a separate matter, and I will gladly leave the determination of the legal issues in the hands of the appropriate authorities. I fullfilled my civil requirements in those regards

Adam Jury, who did graphic design work for Catalyst, also resigns without comment.

Jason Hardy, the Shadowrun Line Developer, was the first to respond to the accusations (sort of), mostly with just a call for patience:
"As I've posted elsewhere, I'd like to ask everyone to slow down, take a deep breath, and be cautious before spreading rumors. I've asked Catalyst managers to issue a statement addressing the rumors, and hopefully one will be forthcoming soon."

...which went over about as well as one could expect from the internet. Jason H. would continue to defend Catalyst throughout the debacle, and would be the main voice accusing Trollman of having a vendetta against the company and "spreading unsubstantiated rumours".

2 days after Trollman's post, Catalyst Game Labs finally made an official statement:

"Catalyst Game Labs recently completed a detailed financial review of the company. We learned that over the past several years the company has achieved dramatic growth in terms of demand, increased total revenues and strong sales with an increasing market share in the gaming industry, despite a lackluster economy. We are thrilled by that news and are eager to move forward with our upcoming original game Leviathans, along with our other new casual games. We also remain committed to plans for our beloved licensed games: Shadowrun, BattleTech, Eclipse Phase, and CthuluTech.

While we wish the review had only uncovered positive news, we also discovered our accounting procedures had not been updated as the company continued to grow. The result was that business funds had been co-mingled with the personal funds of one of the owners. We believe the missing funds were the result of bad habits that began alongside the creation of the company, which was initially a small hobby group. Upon further investigation, in which the owner has willingly participated, the owner in question now owes the company a significant balance and is working to help rectify the situation.

The current group of owners was presented with this information on Monday. Administrative organization for the company is under review, and accounting procedures have been restructured, to correct the situation and provide more stringent oversight. We feel the management team at Catalyst did the responsible thing by seeking this financial review and we will continue to restructure as needed. We are in discussions with our partners and freelancers to remedy any back payments that may also be due as a result of this review.

We are embarrassed that this situation did occur but we hope our eagerness to make these changes, along with our reputation for making great games, will encourage you to stand by us. We understand that for a few employees the news was too stressful and we wish them all the best in their new endeavors. However, the majority of the team remains and will continue to bring great entertainment to you all. We appreciate the support our friends, freelancers, and fans have provided us in the past and look forward to a successful future

This response is bizarre for two reasons...first , they list among their "beloved licenses" CthulhuTech, seemingly unaware that they lost the license for that game in January? Secondly, and more importantly, it seems to be blatantly admitting fraud.

I think. I mean, I havent completed my accounting degree yet, but what I understand is that the owner of a company can make a draw against their equity. This becomes a debt. In correct accounting procedures, i.e. a balance sheet, which theoretically should have been done monthly (apparently Jennifer Harding's responsibility? She seems to have been asked to alter the details of a royalty payment in the ledger), any draws against owner's equity should have been reported immediately and shown when it exceeds equity. From what I can tell from this statement, Coleman was just taking money whenever he wanted, for whatever he wanted. In most corporations, owners would instead assign themselves a salary, just like any other employee. And well, the non-payment of royalties or freelancers suggests Coleman was deliberately (as opposed to unknowingly, as the response seems to be trying to imply) using company liabilities by increasing and deferring debt.

Basically, at this point I think we were all just waiting for Catalyst to declare bankruptcy and for possible criminal proceedings to occur.

In the weeks following, a whole bunch of freelancers who had not recieved payment withdrew copyright from their works until paid. Meaning books, some less than a year old, were suddenly out of print (this is why the aforementioned Strategic Operations now goes for $300 on ebay - luckily my FLGS happened to still have two copies on the shelf as of last week).

Bob "Ancient History" Derrie, one of the freelancers who originally spoke up in confirmation of Trollman's post, got banned from the Shadowrun freelancer forums on March 22nd:

"Okay, so today I was banned from the Shadowrun freelancer forums. The reason being I was telling other freelancers I thought Jason was being dishonest in his statements, and one of them (who shall remain nameless) snitched on me. Truth be told, I haven't been happy with the situation at CGL for quite some time and this comes as a bit of a relief as much as anything. Several weeks ago I sent an e-mail and certified letter to Loren Coleman stating I would withdraw copyrights unless I was paid in full for the books I was owed (a check was cut and mailed to me about a week later). That also means I was paid when several other freelancers were not, so when the extant of CGL's financial troubles started making the freelancer rumor mill, I was less in a position to hold back drafts or remove copyrights than several others - because I'd already been paid for most everything.

So, now that I've been removed for fear of undermining Jason and the company, I'm calling it quits with CGL. I'm done freelancing with them, and I'm going to send them an e-mail tonight terminating my contracts. I will no longer be a Shadowrun freelancer (sniff) but I hope to be again one day under a different company and a different line developer.

Derrie goes on to clarify this further on March 30th, along with a screen capture of chat logs:

"Okay, we're getting into some he said she said stuff here, so let me make this clear and then everyone can make up their own decisions.

During a freelancer chat discussing an upcoming sourcebook, Jason Hard (Line Developer) posted a production schedule. Pretty much immediately thereafter, I privately pinged a couple of the other freelancers, mainly the new ones that didn't have the connections with the older freelancer pool and employees. One of them forwarded the log to Jason. The following is the transcript of the private conversation that was sent to Jason


Jason then immediately asked for my to be removed from Catalyst's program management software (Basecamp) and their freelancer boards for "undermining me [sic] and the company." Jason could not actually do this himself, as he doesn't have the access on either Basecamp or the freelancer forums. When my ban came through, I contacted Jason and informed him I was terminating my contracts. It is my understanding he and several first-time freelancers are currently working to re-write my drafts for (at least) Corp Guide, Sixth World Almanac, and Runners Toolkit."
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By the way, that David A. Hill happens to be the same one who has run multiple Kickstarter frauds, apparently trying to make up for in volume over what Gareth-Michael Skarka has accomplished in time. But I digress...

On the 27th of March, Trollman leaked a letter by Randall Bill, Catalyst's co-founder and Creative Director, to the Catalyst Freelancers:

"As many of you have undoubtedly noticed, Catalyst has hit a few stumbling blocks under the weight of its dramatic growth over the last several years. As I’ve become the face of the current situation, I felt you all deserved a look at the current situation and some details regarding the steps Catalyst is taking to get all freelancer payments caught up so we can move forward.

If you’ve not yet seen the press release I posted last week to, feel free to take a moment to check it out. I wanted to provide some further details.

On Monday March 15th, the Catalyst team delivered our review of the business for 2009 to the pertinent parties. Over the last several years, Catalyst Game Labs has showed a dramatic growth in terms of demand, increased total revenues and strong sales with an increasing market share in the gaming industry. A huge portion of the credit for that goes to you, the freelancers. After all, without your passion and dedication, there would be no books, no games, no Catalyst.

That growth has not come without its obstacles, however, and by Q4 of 2009 the Catalyst Managers acknowledged that a co-mingling of funds between the personal and business had occurred involving the company’s primary shareholders, the Colemans. We immediately initiated an audit of the company's historical financial records, and designed a comprehensive plan to get Catalyst's production and payments back on schedule. This process took some three months of very long days, and was overseen by our Bookkeeper and Operations Manager, in conjunction with the Colemans.

With the completion of the audit it is clear that the breadth of what occurred was significant, and would require extensive changes to correct. A detailed plan was outlined for changing the organization of the company, as well as many procedures to establish a strong financial oversight and series of checks and balances to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future. It also included a proposal for how the Colemans will begin paying back the money involved. All of those detailed findings and action plans were delivered to the pertinent parties on the 15th of March as a key step in our efforts to move forward with full disclosure and transparency. A series of discussions are currently underway on how best to proceed.

Last week, while in the process of drafting announcements for the public, as well as our vendors (distributors, printers and so on), licensors (i.e., Topps), Catalyst freelancers, and so on, some information was leaked to the public (and, as is the way of such things, immediately took on a life of its own). Obviously I was forced to deal with that leaking of information and am just now reaching a point where I can be drafting information to share with our freelancers.

There are several critical concerns (in no particular order) that Catalyst is moving to address ASAP.
1. Re-organizing and re-structuring to prevent this situation from occurring again.
2. Finalizing a plan for how the Colemans can repay the money owed to Catalyst.
3. Ensuring the continuity of license with Topps concerning Shadowrun and BattleTech.
4. Finding additional sources of revenue in the short term to help start paying down various debts (including monies owed to all of you).
5. Working with Posthuman (Eclipse Phase) and WildFire (CthulhuTech) to determine if they still wish to work alongside Catalyst. If they do not, we’ll make every effort to spin those games off to those respective companies in a way that will best ensure future growth.

We’re moving as fast as we can in an attempt to address those primary concerns (as well as many others). However, this process simply is taking time … and will continue to take time heading into the future.

Some of you have already expressed your inability to be patient with Catalyst as we try and find solutions, and I completely understand your frustration. That frustration was mirrored by several Catalyst full-time employees who felt they simply could not continue with Catalyst after all that has occurred, including Jennifer Harding (Office Manager and Bookkeeper), Dave Stansel (Operation Manager) and Adam Jury (Head of Graphic Design), all of whom have formally left the company. We’re already moving to try to find appropriate people to take on their work and responsibilities. Though I wish their decisions might have been different—as they’re incredibly valuable to what Catalyst has been able to accomplish—I cannot fault them for the choices they’ve made. I’ve worked with them in various capacities for a long time and consider them good friends. I wish them well and hope we’ll have a chance to work together again some time in the future.

During all of this, my decision-making process has been called into question. After all, how can I accept what’s happened? Why are the Colemans still involved at Catalyst if these events occurred? Usually I would have reservations about sharing such personal thoughts. However, since I’m asking for each of you to decide if you’re willing to allow Catalyst some time to address this situation, I feel it only appropriate to give you my thought process so each of you can make up your own mind.

1. Catalyst would not be enjoying its current level of success without Loren’s strategic thinking, or without the connections he’s forged in our industry. We started as a small, internet hobby company in 2003 and only officially formed Catalyst three years ago. Yet as of last Gen Con we “stole the show” and are considered one of the “up-and-coming big boys.” While Catalyst is far more than a single person and is very much a team effort (including all of you), Loren’s contributions have been crucial.
2. Would Catalyst survive if the Colemans were no longer involved? Yes, I believe it would. However, I believe that despite the horrific mistakes made, we will heal faster by keeping Loren involved as part of Catalyst’s ongoing strategic thinking. Last week that belief received a huge chorus of support when we contacted and/or were contacted by numerous people in the industry, including three titans of the industry (I’m not at liberty to share their names to this large of a group without asking their permission). Each of those three were given a blunt (albeit very brief) synopsis of what occurred, and yet each still pledged their support to Loren and me in helping move forward (both in the incredible business savvy they possess that made them titans, but also in potential revenues to bring to the company). Furthermore, two of these people are intimately familiar with Topps and with their strong advice in our pocket we’ve already approached Topps. Without getting into details we told Topps of our financial issues and made our case that despite those mistakes we have been fantastic in protecting and expanding the BattleTech and Shadowrun brands and that we are still the best possible stewards of those brands. Topps liked our attitude and appreciated our bluntness and we’re setting up a face-to-face meeting in NY, following the GAMA Trade Show this week, to present a plan for how to move forward with securing those all-important licenses.
3. I believe the best possible way to incentivize someone is to create a recipe for success. Excessively punishing and kicking someone to the curb does not incentivize anyone. Keeping someone involved in the process and invested in seeing Catalyst succeed so they can succeed is a far better path for all involved (and one I’ve seen succeed time and time again at all levels of business).
4. I’m not the only one that has seen and believes in the points above. If all the mangers, employees and investors of Catalyst had lined up in opposition to my thoughts and opinions as outlined above, then I very much believe I would’ve backed away, feeling that my decisions were compromised. However, while some have left and/or decided they can no longer work with Catalyst, we still have a very strong team of investors, managers, employees and freelancers that supports the overall direction of trying to deal with what’s occurred while finding ways to move forward.
5. Considering how long I’ve been involved, and how much blood, sweat and tears I’ve given for Catalyst, I’ve seen a lot of “How can Randall continue to work with Loren?” I’ve obviously known the Colemans for a very, very long time and been involved intimately with the company from the day the idea was born 8 years ago. And after reviewing everything and doing some massive soul searching, I’ve made a personal decision that this was a terrible, terrible series of mistakes; I bear my own weight of guilt in this in that I didn’t pay better attention to the various red flags raised over the years that something wasn’t right. More importantly, I see in the Colemans every indication I need to see in order to make forgiveness seem appropriate. This falls into a “very personal” category, but it’s key to my point of view and if you’re trying to understand my decisions, it’s important you know this. While I may not be the usual image of an LDS church member that comes to most people’s mind, my faith is a bedrock; it is the only reason I’ve survived the stress of the last several months and especially last week. But if I see a person genuinely sorrowful over a mistake (regardless of the size of those mistakes), and see that same person trying hard to make the mistakes right, I personally have to forgive them. Just as this as been the most difficult personal and professional crises of my career, it has been one of the most difficult for my faith, as the rage has had to give way to compassion and forgiveness. Please note, however, that this point is 100% a personal decision, one that deals with whether I can keep a personal relationship with the Colemans. If none of the other points above existed, then I would’ve asked Loren to completely step away from the company and he and I would’ve solved our issues in private. However, those very points are exactly why I’ve stated I believe the Colemans should still intimately be involved with the company (though a host of checks and balance are in the process of being put into place) and why I can set aside my own personal anger and disappointment to try and move forward in what I believe is the best possible way to save the company and to save the games we all love to work on.

I apologize for the length of the email and for the incredibly personal nature of it, but I felt it warranted. Ultimately each of you will need to ask yourselves whether you can still trust Catalyst to treat with you fairly and to pay the debts owed you, while ensuring that such debts do not pile up for the future. We’ve laid strong groundwork to do just that over the last week and GTS this week will give us the opportunity to further cements those plans.

We are also in the process of bringing on a new Bookkeeper who will continue the plan laid out by our previous Bookkeeper to send each of you a thorough audit of what our books show. This will allow us to ensure we’re not missing any work by anyone and will help us build a plan for how to start reducing the debt owed to each of you. However, the original plan called for that to go out by the end of March, but with the changing of the Bookkeeper that’s going to need to be middle to end of April.

I hope each of you will be willing to bear with us during this crisis and give us the chance to make this right. However, if you feel you cannot, I completely understand and of course wish you well. More importantly, even if you feel you cannot do future work for us, of course we still will work to pay the debts owed to you.

Thank you for your time and patience
You might, like me, have noticed at this point that the person we haven't heard from is Loren L. Coleman (spoiler: we won't).

Maybe it's because I'm reading Star League at the moment, but I can't help but compare and contrast the entire situation to James McKenna's impassioned apology and resignation as Director-General after the Syrma disaster. But, well, McKenna was Canadian.

Anyways, on the 3rd of April Jennifer Harding weighs in again on behalf of the Freelancers getting stiffed by Catalyst's frau - *cough* "money mismanagement":

"For those of you wondering why I'm personally making such a fuss, let me state that I am a single mother of two young children, currently unemployed. The amounts they owe me for those projects make a WORLD of difference in my life - equal to 5 months of rent payments, to put it in perspective. That I would quit a job rather than compromise my ethics -- when I was asked by Loren Coleman to lie on financial reports to Topps -- should state just how completely terrible the situation was. All I am asking, at this point, is that Catalyst pay me the amounts I am owed, for the work I did in good faith, and that they have profited on. That those profits went out of the company, is not something I should be punished for. Loren's actions have a direct and significant impact on my life and wellbeing, and that of my two children." (

"I'm glad I could put a face on the situation, hopefully for everyone. But it isn't just me. It's the new dad with a baby and a mortgage who could use the money for medical bills. It's the single mom paying her way through school who could have really used the money for Christmas presents for her daughter. It's the man facing bankruptcy who just lost his job, and could have really used the money to make a few house payments until he found another job, as the bank threatened to take his house. It's the student who desparately wanted to go to GenCon and couldn't. It's the man who's been out of work for 6 months and can't pay rent. It's all the employees of CGL who took late paychecks, or skipped getting paid altogether, because they were told "the money isn't there."

These are a real examples of people, who I won't name, who begged and pleaded with Catalyst for even a portion of their back owed pay.

There are hundreds of people who have freelanced for Catalyst. Writers, artists, editors, layout artists. All of them fans. All of them who provided work for Catalyst in good faith. People who have written pleading letters to Catalyst asking for money, people who have threatened to sue, people who have just walked away, burned by the company.

When you read about what's happening now, think about all those people. Not just me (although I will admit to being far more touched than I could imagine by all the incredible offers of well wishes and support).

Then think about the two people who took that money -- as has been stated in letters released by folks other than me (I wasn't ever even sent that freelancer letter).

If Catalyst can't--and hasn't in years--met it's contractual obligations to all the freelancers who poured their hearts into their work, why can't they? Where did the money go? I know. You know. If they can't even pay a few thousand dollars to get products back into production, how can they pay for the larger debts? How are they supposed to pay tens of thousands of dollars for printing? For shipping? For royalties? For all the other expenses a printing company faces?

Yes, there is a face on this entire debate. It's the face of a hundred people like me, who really could use the money they're owed. And who, most likely, will not see it. There's the true tragedy

The next day, Jason Hardy issues an update to say that Catalyst is cutting cheques for the Freelancers, and throws some more shade at Frank Trollman:

"There are a few things that need to be cleared up here. First, I saw a couple times the claim that the Shadowrun freelancer pool was down to three people. I'm not sure where that number came from. Maybe it was because Peter said something about having six core people, then people subtracted Adam, Jennifer, and Bobby, and got three. But regardless of how that number came to be, it's wrong. There were more than three freelancers in the SR pool after Adam, Jennifer, and Bobby left. Given that freelancers have been targeted by those wishing to discourage them from working with Catalyst, I hope people understand that I won't be offering any more information about who those freelancers are at the moment, though they are always free to speak for themselves.

Second, the amazing thing about Frank's latest post is the underlying assumptions there. Everything is written from the point of view that Catalyst will lose the Shadowrun license. Has Frank overheard conversations between Catalyst management and Topps representatives? Does he know how they went? No. But he makes his assumptions anyway.

Then he continues on making assumptions, many of them based on people sharing his view of the situation. He assumes that I must be doing what I am doing because I am in essence auditioning for whoever the new license holder will be. I wish he would stop trying to suss out my thought process--I have never spoken to him, I don't believe he knows me well if at all, and every time he makes an assumption about what I know and how I'm thinking he's off.

He assumes that no changes have yet been implemented in Catalyst's financial processes; he says things like "Everything that is sold from now until closing time will put money into Loren's pocket", but that is untrue. As Randall's letter mentioned, a document outlining new processes had been sent to owners, and at least some of those processes have now been implemented. Money will go where it is supposed to go.

Frank assumes management wants to keep freelancers quiet so the managers can pocket money. That doesn't explain why part of management spent 12 hours on Friday getting checks ready for freelancers, both those who have been vocal and those who have not. He made his assumption without knowing that fact. This also harms his point that "Extorting the company is the only way a person is going to get paid," since as I said, both freelancers who spoke out and those who did not are going to receive some payment.

He assumes he knows the minds of the "new company" well enough that they will look down upon people who did not act out against Catalyst. How does he know the minds of the people running this company? Will they really ignore a quality freelancer just because that freelancer was discreet?

And there's a common slant to all of his assumptions, namely, that Catalyst will close, a new company will go away, and the freelancers who spoke out will be rewarded. That is the underlying bias in everything Frank presents. I'm not commenting on that bias one way or another except to say that if you're reading Frank's posts, please be aware of that bias. And the fact that he has that bias, plus uses unconfirmed (and/or distorted) information from anonymous sources while claiming to have journalistic integrity makes my degree in journalism shudder. Frank has a good mind and makes interesting points, but they are slanted. What he is doing is many things, but not journalism
." (

On April 6th, Hardy then follows up to confirm that many Freelancers have recieved payments due:
"In other news, I've heard from multiple sources that checks for Shadowrun work are being received. Are we all caught up? No. Is it better than it was seven days ago? Yes!"
...doesn't explain why part of management spent 12 hours on Friday getting checks ready for freelancers...
That's a curious statement. All you need to know is the amount and who it's supposed to go to. Nowadays it's often just a couple of clicks of the mouse. I'd love to know what was so complicated that it could take 12 hours. I've been known to issue 12 checks in one hour at work.
Meanwhile, Adam Jury announces that Posthuman Studios is in the process of severing their ties with InMediaRes as well, pulling the Eclipse Phase license. (

On April 8th, Phil "Ketjak" DeLuca, one of the co-owners of InMediaRes weighs in with his opinions on the debacle"

"I hope they can pull a rabbit out of the hat and save the company and retain the two core licenses, but with only the insane, carefree or negligent willing to give them money and Topps now evidently having access to people who have publicly stated Randall and Loren L. Coleman asked them to falsify royalty reports, I can't imagine any cash flow will remain positive that they do not directly control. This ignores the potential accounting and legal issues one can get into in situations like this - how long until "defending against the Government" becomes their primary activity? That isn't cheap or quick and easy like I like my dates.

If it does come to that, where are they going to get the money to make that defense?

If it doesn't come to that, do the other LLC members really want someone who is either careless enough to "co-mingle" funds or avaricious enough not to care as the President? Randall might have been a good choice, but his recent business decisions (including "permit Troy to sell product while their copyright is revoked by "forgetting"" and "Loren L. Coleman is the best person to lead and represent this company" and "Loren will remain active in the business as more than a freelancer") and apparent ethical choices (such as apparently "falsify these reports" and "Loren L. Coleman is the best person to lead and represent this company" and that other one about the convicted child toucher) and apparent legal choices (including apparently "falsify these reports" and apparently extorting the company in front of other directors should this come to light) make it clear he is unsuited on many levels to lead at all, let alone a company on fire. But since Loren L. Coleman is calling the shots and still has access to the checkbook, I guess that's a moot issue anyway.

It was entirely avoidable, too, even if one steps in about when Jennifer did after the embezzlement occurred. But again, Randall N. Bills and Loren L. Coleman and Heather J. Coleman made choices to suppress and ignore this as long as possible then refuse to make the obvious choices (like "remove Loren L. Coleman and Heather from the operations of the business"), and here we are on Dumpshock.

There are many possible futures, and sadly I see few of them with IMR emerging as a functional business holding the two key licenses. Meh - less likely things have happened
." (

....going on to clarify:

"No, I have not given hard information about the situation to anyone on these boards. There have been accusations that I have been feeding Jennifer and Frank information, but a) Jennifer has more information than I do and b) I haven't met Frank before, though we flamed each other on ENWorld a few years back, IIRC. Frank won't recall, it wasn't big by any standards.

No, I have not gone to any authorities yet, I am an optimist. No, I have no desire to be an IMR managing member or director as I don't have the time to fix this and I am not willing to give up a job in the electronic game industry for a salary dependent on Topps' goodwill toward IMR.

No, I have not lied or exaggerated. Neither am I a lawyer or accountant, just someone who engages in business without deception for fraudulent purposes.

Yes, I am frustrated at this wholly avoidable situation because actions that could have been taken to fix the problem were not. No, I am not "angry." I do come across that way, but I'm not. For the record, I have been angry precisely three times about this:

1. when I saw the list of "draws"
2. when I created a couple of graphs showing the draws over time and the draws on a daily basis
3. when it became clear that the managing members and directors were using a cat's paw to discredit me among the owners, and that paw had a little easily-discovered kitty litter on it I found when looking for his bibliography (in a world of Google...)

That's how I am involved in this
." (
That's a curious statement. All you need to know is the amount and who it's supposed to go to. Nowadays it's often just a couple of clicks of the mouse. I'd love to know what was so complicated that it could take 12 hours. I've been known to issue 12 checks in one hour at work.

On April 12th, Troy Garner, who ran the BattleShop, managed shipping, and answered customer service emails for Catalyst, was terminated. His position is assumed by Tara Bills.
Adam Jury confirmed a rumour that Troy had managed shipping on his personal computer, taking it (and all the shipping information) with it when he left. (

On April 15th, Stephen McQuillian, quits his position as Production Manager for Catalyst Game Labs. He states that his reasons were not related to the current fiasco, and makes a (futile but well-intentioned) attempt to calm the flames:
"I've been approached by several people so far, and thought I'd go ahead and make the public announcement. I am no longer working as the Production Manager for Catalyst Game Labs. My reasons for leaving were not related to the current events being speculated about in this thread. I have previously chosen to remain a very quiet member of the community on these arguments. That choice will still stand.

There are innumberable factual inaccuracies in all of the arguments and it is not my place to clarify each of them.

I have asked this before, both publically on DSF and in private conversations with several people, but will do it one more time. Owners - please remember that you have your own methods of communincating with each other and that airing the dirty laundry of either side of your debate is not helping anyone. BT crew - I respect your position, and fully understand the frustration that you are feeling (I met weekly with Herb and he is your biggest advocate, so trust me when I say this), but coming to DSF just to slam on the SR folks isn't going to help mend the fractures within our freelancing community.

Everyone, please take a deep breath, look at the world from your perspective, their perspective, and the perspective of the few of us caught in the middle. After doing that, post. You can keep your ire, your personal emotions, everything that you feel, but post in a constructive manner rather than one which ends up getting people banned

On the 19th of April, three of InMediaRes's creditors ( J.P. Sugarbroad, Paul Stansel and Wildfire LLC ) file an involuntary petition for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy against InMediaRes.

On April 21st, Jason Hardy posts a new statement regarding IMR's financial situation:
"While Catalyst has been publically quiet, we’ve been working behind the scenes these last few weeks, reviewing our processes across the board and changing and updating as necessary, while still working on future products.

As announced on March 20th, a select list of Shadowrun books was put on hold as we negotiated with several freelancers concerning those products. We’re pleased to say that within the last three weeks we’ve been able to make 65 payments to dozens of freelancers covering a variety of projects and resolved the hold issues. This process included completely paying off four books already in print while simultaneously auditing past due contracts in order to continue payments on completed projects. We also chose to pay off a book in preparation for sending it to print. We believe that this three-fold approach of resolving the disputed contracts, establishing a payment plan for completed work, and ensuring new product continues down the pipeline is the best recipe for success at this time.

Catalyst has been in negotiations with some additional parties for weeks concerning how to pay down debts, including making partial payments, turning over stock and so on, as they’ve requested. We’ve been notified that some of these parties are pursuing additional legal means to secure the monies owed despite the negotiations. Our legal counsel has advised that the lawsuit is baseless. As such, Catalyst will defend against it and expect it to be dismissed in the near future. Regardless, we’re continuing our negotiations and will continue to move, as we’ve been doing, to pay debts down as quickly as possible.

Finally, as some of you may have noticed, we’ve just changed the legal text and logos on all our appropriate sites that reference Shadowrun and BattleTech from WizKids to The Topps Company, Inc., per their direction. We’ve been in contact with Topps for weeks regarding these situations. We are currently in negotiations to re-secure the Shadowrun and BattleTech licenses


InMediaRes answers the summons of their creditors on May 18th (

Creditors Jean-Philippe Sugarbroad, Paul H. Stansel, and Wildfire LLC file two motions: one for immediate relief (, the other to shorten time ( The motion to shorten time is approved, and a hearing is held on May 21st, but the creditor's motion for immediate relief is denied (

A pre-trial hearing is set for the 18th of June.

What follows is several months of court proceedings with very little public comments whatsoever. The court documents are archived here:

On October 18th, 2010, the filing for Involuntary Bankruptcy is denied and the case dismissed.

From the perspective of fans and onlookers, there's no completely satisfactory resolution. This is the way our tale ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

InMediaRes eventually pays it's debts. The licensing agreements with Topps are resolved, ad Catalyst Lab Games continues to publish BattleTech products to this day. A lot of good employees and freelancers, some of whom had been with BattleTech or Shadowrun for years. The online flames died down, but bitter coals remain to this day. Catalyst's reputation was irreparably damaged. Though, honestly this seems to be more widespread among Shadowrun players, rather than BattleTech, which may have to do with the majority of the incidents playing out over Shadowrun themed forums, and the general dis-satisfaction of fans with the current edition of the game. Whereas, on the other hand, BattleTech players still tend to hold Catalyst's products for their game in high regard. Presumably, the financial issues have been fixed, and stricter accounting procedures implemented, as no further drama has been forthcoming in the 8 years hence.
Battletech Real-World History - Epilogue

At Gencon this year Catalyst revealed the new Introductory and Starter boxes for BattleTech coming to retail in the next month or so, as of this writing (as detailed in the first post in this series), along with a new printing of Total Warfare featuring a classic art piece for the cover that is much better than the previous cover art (as I said before, while I think Catalyst's products are top notch, their covers tend to leave a lot to desire artistically)


This may be one of my favourite BattleTech covers overall. Simple and effective. I love the Atlas, and the way this image evokes its imposing presence. This may be the work of Catalyst's new art director, Anthony Scroggins, appointed on March 29th of this year. If so, big kudos to Scroggins and I hope this is indicative of what we can expect from him in the future.

Also on the horizon, but with no set release date as of yet, is another product I'm eagerly anticipating, BattleTech: Alpha Strike Commanders Edition.


I'll have a lot more to say about Alpha Strike coming up.

For now, lets talk about what Catalyst's been up to the last 8 years, since their "Crisis of Treachery"...

er, no, sorry, that was Palladium.

...the company that published the Robotech RPG!


Anyways, the previous boxed set released by Catalyst was the 25th Anniversary Edition in 2011.


This was very similar to the previous boxed set by Catalyst, containing:
A12-page full-color quick-start rulebook
36-page book of pre-generated BattleMech Record Sheets
80-page full-color rulebook
Inner Sphere at a Glance, a 56-page full-color book of universe background and BattleMech technical data
16-page full-color Painting and Tactics Guide
A heavy-duty card of compiled tables
and 2 18″ x 24″ game-board quality reversible hex maps
along with 24 plastic miniatures
as well as 2 "premium-quality plastic BattleMech minis"


From what I understand, the 2 "premium quality" minis were cast in resin, and done in 10mm (as opposed to the standard 6mm) scale. In other words, more collector's pieces than intended for play. Interestingly, this scale means they are roughly the equivalent size of the TCI model kits included in the Battledroids boxed set.


The 25th Anniversary boxed set retailed for $49.99 usd, though it has sadly been out of print since 2012, and complete copies fetch prices upwards of $300 on the secondary market. Looking at first, the amount of miniatures included, and second, the price point, one might be inclined to less enthusiasm regarding the new boxed set slated for 2018 release. Only 8 miniatures, at ten dollars more. But the 25th Anniversary was a loss-leading product, meaning that each copy sold at a loss to Catalyst, in the hopes that it would attract new players to the game and make up the costs in the sale of supplementary products. This is why it was allowed to go out of print so quickly.

The new boxed set was specifically intended to be financially sustainable, so that it can remain in print as a gateway product for new players.

Additionally, it should be noted that the 25th Anniversary set was plagued by quality control issues. "Catalyst Game Labs has started a broken model replacement program for box sets with damaged or missing contents, particularly the plastic miniatures which are often damaged, miscast, or incomplete." (

From reviews of the new boxed sets from those lucky enough to acquire early copies at Gencon, the miniatures are of much higher quality and beautiful new sculpts.


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Catalyst has , numerous times, attempted to broker a deal with Harmony Gold so that The Unseen can be "Seen Again." They at one point finally seemed to have achieved some sort of accord, and when the BattleTech: 25 Years of Art and Fiction commemorative book was released in 2009, the preliminary pdf copies contained the first images of The Unseen in an official publication since '96.


Unfortunately, whatever deal had been made fell through at the last moment, and print copies of the book had the Unseen artwork removed. Perhaps out of exasperation, Catalyst finally decided upon a bold move. In 2015 Catalyst unveiled the "Reseen", redesigned artwork and designs for Unseen mechs that differed sufficiently from their original depictions that they could be used without violating the legal settlement with Harmony Gold.

This was an incredibly controversial decision for several reasons. Most notably, this was one of the only examples of a retcon in BattleTech's continuity. One of the unique aspects of BattleTech is that the lore has remained substantially unchanged since the second edition boxed set. Unlike, for example, Warhammer 40K, where multiple revisions to setting and history are common with every edition, with such a vast cumulative alteration to the setting over the years that the universe of Rogue Trader is nearly unrecognizable in comparison to the current (eighth edition) of 40K (Games Workshop has even gone back and edited old Warhammer novels and short stories before re-releasing them). Contrast this with BattleTech, where a sourccebook or novel released in the late 80s is just as viable and a reliable source of information as one released in the last year. They'll go back and clarify and expand, but for the most part BattleTech has a consistent history, and even the few contradictions that occasionally pop up over 30 odd years between hundreds of authors, are easily explained as the natural occurring conflicting information and misinformation from frist person perspectives of characters in the fictional history (the vast majority of BattleTech sourcebooks are presented as in-universe accounts and historical documents).

This is one of the reasons BattleTech has sustained a devoted core audience for years. And brings us to the second primary reason the Reseen are controversial - many players still own the original products featuring The Unseen, and regardless of the copyright void they've existed in for years, they remain a core part of the BattleTech experience for many. Moreover, and though this is largely opinion, the Reseen designs simply aren't on par with the originals. But I'll let readers judge for themselves on this:








Well, smeg.

From Facebook...

"Update on Upcoming BattleTech Boxed Sets

With convention season behind us, the Catalyst team wanted to provide an update on two hotly-anticipated BattleTech products, the “BattleTech Beginner Box” and “BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat” boxed sets.

Just before PAX West, we were surprised to learn we would not be receiving additional rush-delivered copies of the two boxed sets. What’s more, despite being in near-constant contact with the overseas manufacturer throughout August, it is clear they have not shipped the production runs as expected.

As such, we wanted to let customers and retailers alike know that the two products will not be available by the end of the third quarter of 2018 as we’d planned. While this news is as disappointing to our team as it is to you, we wanted to ensure you had the most up-to-date information possible.

We continue to work with the manufacturer to get both box sets in stores as soon as possible. Once the production run ships and clears customs, we will have a reasonable estimate for a release date of the two products.

Until then, we appreciate your patience and understanding, and your continued support of BattleTech."
At least they are upfront about it and letting everyone know. More than is done by a lot of businesses I have seen.
At least they are upfront about it and letting everyone know. More than is done by a lot of businesses I have seen.

YEah, this is also why they don't put release dates on their website until they have the product in hand. the delay is annoying (because I want that shit NOW), but I don't have any bad feelings over it. Sad they'll miss out on some Xmas sales, but I dont mind waiting until January or Feb for the new boxes.

OTOH, Mechcon is being held in my city in December, and Catalyst is going to be there, so I may get the chance to grab convention copies early
BattleTech History - Prelude

Before BattleTech, and largely afterwords, the mecha genre has been defined as a genre exclusive to Japanese anime. BattleTech established a uniquely Western iteration of this concept, based on alternate history, hard and speculative science, and pseudo-realistic extrapolations of military and social history. No adolescent pilots, mysticism, psionics, or superheroic individuals personally winning intergalactic wars. It's a humanocentric setting, with no extraterrestrial humanoids or competing intelligent alien civilizations.

Most iconically, the mechs of BattleTech are not the agile, energy sword-wielding, robot ninja mecha of the majority of anime. They are essentially futuristic tanks, lumbering weapon platforms that serve a specific tactical function. Though their imposing presence dominates the battlefields of the BattleTech universe, they are part of a larger military combined arms approach.

BattleTech history is divided into 6 Eras, with sub-divisions usually made regarding large scale conflicts.

I. The Star League (2005-2780) - the alternate history of the BattleTech universe diverges just before this point, and this is the era of colonization of the stars and mankind's exodus from Earth (renamed Terra) following the discovery of FTL travel. One man eventually rises to rule over thousands of planets in the golden age of science and invention. An intergalactic empire is built, and then falls. This is the era where mechs are invented, and the political allegiances that would define the coming centuries are founded.

II. The Succession Wars (2781 - 3049) - After the fall of The Star League, there comics are period of almost undending war as the 5 great houses of the Inner Sphere struggle for dominance. The universe enters a technological dark age, as most of the advancements of the prior age are lost, and societies descend into a pseudo-feudal conditions. This is the default setting of the original BattleTech game.

III. Clan Invasion (3050 - 3061) - The Clans invade from deep space from beyond the Periphery, throwing the Inner Sphere into chaos. Their technology is far advanced, their mechs stronger, more adaptable. A common enemy brings the Inner Sphere together.

IV. Civil War (3062-3067) - A politically motivated unconventional war burning hot and cold that mainly involves two of the largest Inner Sphere Houses, though eventually almost all the Inner Sphere and some of the Clans are drawn into the conflict.

V. Jihad (3068-3080) - A splinter group of religious fanatics called the Word of Blake wages a war for technological superiority that threatens to destroy the newly-formed Star League from within.

VI. The Dark Ages (3081 - ) - The setting for the Mechwarrior Clix game. As the tabletop game hasn't caught up to this (they were originally under license not to touch it), I'll largely be ignoring this. The associated fiction is generally considered substandard.

I'm going to start from the beginning here, where the history of the BattleTech universe diverges from our own, and work my way through up to the Jihad. Obviously, after over 30 years of fiction and fluff, I won't be covering anything in detail, but just giving a broad overview for anyone new to the setting to gain a toehold. Most players tend to pick a favourite period and stick with it, and for me that's probably always going to be The Succession Wars.

After that I'll cover the game itself, the various options and resources available, the best sourcebooks and manuals, and good entry points for new players.
BattleTech History - Origins

The official diversion between the history of the BattleTech universe (henceforth BTU) and ours occurs in 1988, when the course of the Cold War went somewhat differently. Conflicts with and within Russia lasted for much longer, with a second Cold War and two Russian Civil Wars lasting into the early part of the 21st century.

Whereas in our history the space program is neglected and all-but abandoned as time goes on, in the BTU it's a slow but stead march forward, with the United States teaming up with Europe and Japan in 1994 to begin construction on an orbital industrial facility. The Western Orbital Defense Network (WODeN) is later instrumental in ending Russian hostilities. 2016 sees the establishment of the first lunar colony. In 2018, Stanford professors Thomas Kearny and Takayoshi Fuchida begin work on the first Fusion Drive. During this process they notice several anomalies inconsistent with the laws of physics as understood. In the following years they would publish several papers based on these findings, which would be wholesale rejected by the scientific community and the two eventually retire as laughingstocks. It would be a century until their theories were eventually validated and lead to FTL travel. The first working fusion reactor is built in 2026, and the following year the first fusion-powered spacecraft, the AS Columbia, travels to Mars. As technology advanced, the methods used to eventually repair the environment on Earth are soon turned towards terraforming, with Mars and Venus eventually made into habitable environments.

The 21st century also sees a slow march towards globalization, culminating in the establishment of the Terran Alliance in 2086. This is not an Utopian coming together of all humankind. Several countries are strong-armed into this union, and many poorer nations are basically exploited for their resources to serve the needs of more powerful countries. This serves to highlight one of the main ongoing themes of the BTU that mirrors our own - the constant struggle over finite resources. Civil unrest was very common in this period, with strikes and riots prevalent. The media, however, focused entirely on scientific advancements as a form of propaganda.

The most significant scientific discovery of the age came when Kearny and Fuchida's theories were rediscovered and reevaluated, leading to the first Faster-Than-Light flight made on September 3rd, 2107 by the starship TAS Pathfinder. The Pathfinder made the 12 light year jump to the Tau Ceti star system ( and ushered in a new age of exploration and colonization. The Kearny-Fuchida Drive made it possible to leave not just Terra, but the Sol system, and the first extra-solar colony was established on Tau Ceti IV in 2116. By 2172, the First Grand Survey would report more than 100 colonized planets in an 80 light year diameter. By the time of the Fourth Grand Survey, in 2235, there were over 600 recorded colonies.

The mass exodus left the Terran Alliance in a state of chaos. Though they still ostensibly exerted authority over all human colonists, governing a galactic empire was beyond anything they were prepared for. Initially, the colonists were still largely dependent on Terra for technical support and fresh water supplies. The establishment of the Ryan Cartel's fleet of iceberg carrying jumpships would end this monopoly and many worlds became self sufficient. The Alliance was largely unwilling to give up control, however. Tensions between Terra and the colony worlds would increase dramatically until coming to a head in 2236, when a coalition of colony planets officially declared their independence. The Alliance responded by sending in the colonial marines of the Alliance Global Militia (AGM) to force the worlds back into the fold. Though highly trained, the marines were unprepared for the viscous determination of the colonists, who greatly outnumbered them. Within 18 months, the marines returned to Terra in disgrace.

This defeat destabilized the Terran Alliance, up that point dominated for years by the Parliament's Expansionist political group, allowing the Liberal party to gain power. The Liberals withdrew the Alliance to a 30LY radius, and granted independence to any colonies beyond this point. While some colony worlds were pleased with this, others felt like they were abandoned by the homeworld, especially those that still relied on Terran imports for vital resources. For the next 60 years there would be a back and forth between the Expansionists and Liberals, each gaining power for short times, while political corruption grew rampant and civil unrest increased substantially.

The defeat had another significant effect on the AGM itself, which came to the realization that it was little more than a police force up to that point and needed to undergo vast restructuring to become a viable interstellar military. This was fully realized under James McKenna, a Canadian who achieved the rank of Admiral and took control of the Alliance navy in 2295. McKenna set about forging the first true intergalactic Navy, starting with commissioning the construction of the first true combat warship, the TAS Dreadnought in 2300. 6 more, and 20 lesser vessels would swiftly follow.

A third political faction arose in 2310 to challenge the corrupt Expansionists and Liberals, the People's Independent Party. Poised to take control the Alliance Parliament, the Leader of the PIP, Grant Zoli, was assassinated a month before the 2314 elections. This proved to be a breaking point for civil unrest on Terra. The Expansionist and Liberal parties blamed each other, while more zealous members of the PIP began an assassination war in retaliation against the party leaders. Martial law was declared while police attempted to quell riots breaking out worldwide. When the Liberals produced evidence (later revealed to be doctored) that the Expansionist's were responsible for Zoli's death, several Liberal supporters stormed the Expansionist HQ and began a massacre, inciting a civil war between the supporters of both parties. As Terra devolved into complete chaos, the AGM was asked to intervene.
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I remember when it had a different name...I think a friend had this as we played it a couple of times, but it used little square counters, not miniatures. Didn't it?

Played it with my then D&D group a few years ago.
We used the quickstart rules, 1 or 2 mechs per player.
5 hours in, one mech out of 10 on the board had been disabled, and that only because (a) it was a light mech (b) I'd house ruled that a 2d6 roll of double 6 was x2 damage and (c) mech's player was a thespian and playing 'dramatically' :grin:

Recently gave it away to local charity shop, hope someone has fun!
lol, well, I never played with the Battledroids rules, but my impression was they weren't that different from BT 2nd ed - if that's the case you guys must have been doing something really wrong - 1-2 mechs per player is like a 45 minute game
Yeah they can be substantially more fragile than you experienced. I once had a misdrop. Dropped about three turns out of the combat area. In this case it was a city. Finally walked my way to combat all full of health and ammo ready to tear things up. Turned the corner, got hit with a critical straight to the reactor core. Blew up instabins. I did not enjoy that at the time but I've laughed about it a lot since.
Yeah they can be substantially more fragile than you experienced. I once had a misdrop. Dropped about three turns out of the combat area.
Finally walked my way to combat all full of health and ammo ready to tear things up. Turned the corner, got hit with a critical straight to the reactor core. Blew up instabins.
Why on God's green earth would autocorrect turn instantly to instabins?!?!?
Why on God's green earth would autocorrect turn instantly to instabins?!?!?
I just thought you were using your usual teen girl slang like "totes" for "totally." :hehe:

But it turns out those insidious Canadians have infiltrated autocorrect to advertise:
I just thought you were using your usual teen girl slang like "totes" for "totally." :hehe:

But it turns out those insidious Canadians have infiltrated autocorrect to advertise:
If you're seeing teen slang from me it's 80% likely my auto-correct is messing with me.
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