Is “classic” Battletech a board game or a miniature wargame?
How it started vs. how it has evolved?
Hex map vs. no hex map?
While I in no way speak for the entire BT community, from what I see on the forum and playing locally is that most players use miniatures and a more traditional wargaming setup vs. the hex maps.
Personally I seldom use the hex maps, but they do have a place in select situations.
Coming from a full wargaming background of Warhammer 40K, X-Wing Miniatures, and Warhammer 40K I’m used to a fully 3D and immersive battlefield of trees, hills, ruins, and blasted no-man’s land.
Playing Battletech with miniatures, it feels natural to play that way, but there are a few challenges with line-of-sight, facings, and rules once and a while. BUT since we aren’t playing in a tournament setting this is easy enough to work out.
Of course with full tabletop terrain one has to build it and transport it, plus set-up time.
Hex maps are more portable and there is no question about facing, range, etc.
Hex maps also take up less space, if compact playing in a store or club means no full sized wargaming table.
The “hex” solves it.
I use hex maps as a “training” mission scenario when introducing new players to the game- a quick scenario about movement, range, facing, etc. before moving to a full table.
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