Specifically designed to hurtle players onto the battlefields of the 31st century in minutes, it comes with everything you need to play – including a map and unit counters – you just need to bring your imagination and two six-sided dice.
At its most basic, the game of Battletech is played on a map sheet composed of hexagonal terrain tiles. The combat units are 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) humanoid armored combat units called BattleMechs, powered by fusion reactors, armed with a variety of weapons including lasers, particle projection cannons, autocannons, and both short and long range missiles. Typically these are represented on the game board by two-inch-tall miniature figurines that the players can paint to their own specifications, although older publications such as the 1st edition included small scale plastic models originally created for the Macross TV series, and the 2nd edition boxed set included small cardboard pictures (front and back images) that were set in rubber bases to represent the units. The game is played in turns, each of which represents 10 seconds of real time, with each turn composed of multiple phases. During each phase players alternate back and forth playing the game. The phases are initiative, movement, attack declaration, attacks, physical attacks, and end phase. Winning initiative actually means the winning player moves second, advantageous because the player can react to the movements and attack declarations of the losing player.
Heat buildup is a major limiting factor of the game, and overheating a unit can have many negative effects such as penalties to weapon accuracy, slower movement, catastrophic detonation of remaining ammunition or even the MechWarrior (the 'pilot' controlling the Mech)taking damage from the heat and baking to death.
Armor is tracked by body location of the mech, such as arms, legs, and multiple torso locations. Combat generally involves a slow attrition of damage over multiple turns of the game, although with some of the more powerful weapons carried by larger Mechs, combat can end quickly in under six turns (effectively one minute of real time).