For many years in Battletech I played exclusively mech vs. mech on the tabletop. We knew about vehicles, infantry, and other aspects of the game, but the group was mainly mech-heads and that is how we played…
…and that is the great thing about Battletech- it is a total warfare game.
Certainly the mechs are the stars, but you can play with other elements included as you want- infantry, tanks, air-support, artillery and even naval units.
As big or small as you like.
Moving to combined arms takes game to a new tactical level, but also gives you ways to expand your collection, and get new uses out of your mechs.
If you are mech only, I’d push you into combined arms…
…slowly of course so you can build your tactics- the game will be better for it.
Where to start?
A brief primer.
Start by getting a few stands of infantry and a ride(s) for them. Infantry are tactical AND fun to play. New glory is for the taking when you hot drop infantry from a flying transport onto a mech and they take it down, posing heroically on the burnt out hulk of the machine.
Large groups of infantry in cover or a building are a pain to remove without dedicated units- other infantry, machine guns, or flamers.
For the battle value infantry are amazing.
But they are slow, even if mechanized.
You will need something to ride them in- a Karnov transport is the best option. Low battle value, fast, and enough room to hold two stands. For the lolz you can also take the AC/20 version turning it into a gunship.
Goblin transports also work if you take smaller groups- the advantage of the Goblin being that it is also a decent tank/APC for the battle value.
Two goblins, a Karnov, and four stands of infantry are a minimal in-game investment for the huge amounts of tactics and fun that it opens up.
Moving to tanks and other vehicles.
In time you will grow your collection and pick tanks that fit your playstyle, but there are a few types that will always be in use.
Look into some light and medium hover tanks, along with the Demolisher, Rommel, and the Schrek PPC carrier. Hover tanks for scouting and skirmishing, and the Demolisher and PPC carrier for hitting hard, while not going over the top in battle value as some of the super heavy tanks.
Air units are a bit trickier as the lines between air only and aerospace tend to bluff- and some of the aerospace fighters are very powerful.
There is also another phase of the rules to learn here, so I’d layer that last in your games.
That said, pick up 2-4 warrior attack helicopters- amazing scouts and skirmishers for the battle value- you will always have a use for them in your list.
Battletech immortality is yours, take it!
The complete rules for combined arms are found in the Battletech Total Warfare Rulebook .