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The next great BattleTech game is headed to the table with the Clan Invasion expansion

Expanded rules and gorgeous minis go on sale Black Friday

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

In 2019, Catalyst Game Labs revitalized the BattleTech franchise with an excellent pair of boxed sets. But, while the miniatures were out of this world, the gameplay inside those boxes was a little thin.

Now Catalyst is moving the timeline forward with BattleTech: Clan Invasion, a $49.99 boxed set that celebrates one of the most titanic confrontations in strategy gaming history. It includes another batch of gorgeous new minis, plus tons more content for players looking to field a lance (or a star) of big stompy robots on the kitchen table.

The Clan Invasion project started last year as a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. More than 11,000 backers showed up with nearly $2.6 million, making it one of the crowdfunding platform’s largest campaigns of the year. Products started shipping recently to backers and the press, delayed slightly by the ongoing global pandemic. The centerpiece is the boxed set — the tenth in the game’s 35-year history.

Box art for the Clan Invasion boxed set shows a TimberWolf shrugging off a blast of incoming fire. Image: Catalyst Game Labs

Inside you’ll find six new sculpts, including two bases (10 total) of the Clan’s infamous Elemental powered armor. These genetically modified warriors are able to leap on top of other BattleMechs and tear them apart with their bare hands. Also included in this boxed set is the iconic TimberWolf-class OmniMech, easily one of the most formidable — and expensive — units in BattleTech history.

The boxed set doesn’t stop there, however. A short story by bestselling author Blaine Lee Pardoe helps set the tone for the Clan, a futuristic mashup of ancient Earth’s warrior cultures. There’s two double-sided battle mats, a selection of cardboard terrain, and 10 full-color cardboard standees. There’s even a double-sided map of the entire galaxy, both before and after the eponymous Clan Invasion. Toss in a stack of record sheets, and it’s a veritable campaign in a box.

Compared to the previous deluxe starter set, BattleTech: A Game of Armored Combat, the biggest addition here are the rules for customizing your own unit of ’Mechs from the ground up. The level of complexity also gets ratcheted up quite a bit, with offensive and defensive items like pulse lasers and Anti-Missile Systems (AMS) making an appearance. The slim 32-page rulebook includes everything you need to outfit your own units from scratch. The three included scenarios are also a lot more fleshed out, and include plenty of replayability.

Also joining the Clan Invasion line in early 2021 are a series of booster packs — dubbed ForcePacks — which include additional miniatures for both the Inner Sphere and the Clans. Among these models are many of the Unseen — units long ago trapped in a morass of litigation between rival publishers that was fought throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s. It’s awesome to finally see upgraded versions of units like the Battlemaster and the Marauder in all their glory, beefed up to match the lines’ other chunky sculpts. All of the models are ready to paint, fully assembled and with only a modicum of mold lines to remove.

The BattleTech fandom reached a high water mark in 2019, following the release of Harebrained Schemes’ BattleTech and Piranha Games’ MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. It was recently announced that the developers behind MechWarrior Online had secured the license to the franchise from Microsoft for another five years. And now, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and this retail launch, we know that the tabletop franchise still has plenty of life left in it.

Look for BattleTech: Clan Invasion to go on sale at the Catalyst digital storefront (and at local game stores) on Nov. 27 (aka Black Friday). And keep an eye out for BattleTech’s Battle of Tukayyid, a transmedia project including novelizations, sourcebooks, and a campaign that will follow.

BattleTech: Clan Invasion goes up for pre-order on Nov. 27. The expansion was reviewed with retail product provided by Catalyst Games Labs. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.


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