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BattleTech and Terrain

So, it’s no secret that my first (and still strongest) wargaming love is BattleTech, the “Board Game of Armored Combat”. Though it’s not really a board game, I can see why they say that. Traditionally, BattleTech is played on pre-printed paper or mat board maps covered in hex grids. Some older editions (though BattleTech uses “editions” a bit differently than other games—i.e no major rules changes—it’s more of a release number) had paper mech counters which definitely gives off Board Game vibes. Newer editions came with a collection of plastic mech miniatures.

If you ever played BattleTech in the past 35 years, you played on this map sheet.

Now, this is where things (in my opinion) get weird. The miniatures for BattleTech are in 1/285 scale (or 6mm) while the maps are closer to 1/900 scale. This scale difference means things can look a little weird on the hexed map sheets. Also, height gets weird, as a vertical level is 6 meters tall. This isn’t even getting into Geo-Hex and other hex systems and styles that use larger hexes.

This makes making terrain for hexes that looks OK but also serves game functionality a bit weird. Usually, an inch (2.54 cm) is used for a level, meaning the verticle scale on a map is ~1/236. So, much closer to the mech scale (1/285) than the map scale (1/900). However, in practice, the buildings are done completely in the smaller scale, but with the building verticle heights being in even inches for levels for the purposes of mechs being able to “jump” on them.

Now, there are rules to play BattleTech on more traditional hexless 3D terrain, as well as BattleTech’s quick playing version, “Alpha Strike” being designed to play hexless.

So, basically, it means this already abstract game becomes even more abstract and most players just go for something that looks nice and set any terrain rules at the beginning of the game.

Personally? I prefer hexless with mechscale terrain. That said, terrain can take up a lot of space and I know a lot of BattleTech players still play on hexed maps.

A nice feature of Map Scale scale terrain also means it takes up little space from a storage standpoint, as well as making it quick and easy to 3D print.

So, with that explanation out of the way, to celebrate our pending mapscale terrain release (we’ll be selling both physical prints as well as stl files) I’m offering this free file download of a mapscale version of a familiar courthouse that has…timeless appeal.

Courthouse Download: HERE

BattleTech Map Hex: HERE

“Great Scott Marty!”

^Click to see a 3D Preview^

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