Busy doing some casting and cleaning for an order while this plays in the background.
Now that the MegaMek guys have uploaded the Battle of Stanrey maps, I think I’m gonna have to paint up some of my Dougram Unseen to run Stanrey and Kalnock. A copy of BoS went up on eBay a couple weeks back, but I didn’t have $180 to spend on it, even if it does come with nearly thirty models and the single coolest mecha game accessory in human history.
The Takara “Battle” games bear a superficial similarity to Battletech; hexmaps, similar scales, and of course the units available. They are much simpler, however, especially in the realm of tracking damage, and are clearly designed with younger gamers in mind. In Japanese, the books are written at roughly a late grade-school level, including still using “helper” kana with the limited kanji present – which actually makes them pretty easy to translate, a task I’ve had on the back burner for months now. I also believe the BT guys never even saw a copy of one of these games.
For those of you not familiar with the series, on the other hand, it’s blatantly one of the formative influences on Battletech. For starters, it’s the source of the “holy Trinity” of Mediums (Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Griffin), as well as the entire reason Quads exist in the game. Although I kinda doubt Jordan’s fad-chasing ass ever actually watched an episode*, the models’ box art (which was part of what inspired them in the first place)
provides a window into the universe of the show. I can’t help but think the scavenger ethic and starkness of the Succession Wars was influenced by the lonely desertscapes and mauled mecha adorning the boxes; the characters on the show definitely influenced the image of the Battletech ‘verse’s population. Look at that clip up there if you haven’t already, then flip through anything from the early years and tell me if the outfits don’t look just a bit similar. Compare that to anything Macross has to offer and I think you’ll agree that the Big D and Crusher Joe had a lot more to do with BT’s design ethic.
The atmosphere of the show is a damned near perfect fit for a resistance group somewhere in the Drac March, just trying to break off and live their own lives. Repairs are hard to come by, the ‘mech is more valuable than any of the characters, and it’s a hard fight for everyone involved. Basically, all you have to do is substitute a capital world elsewhere for “Earth” and call it a day. As far as plot goes, the military district governor is executed by the local Tai-sa for not persecuting local malcontents effectively enough, igniting a localized guerilla resistance that in turn winds up setting off the entire planet. The handful of rebels with a ‘Mech are the focus, with the new governor pushing everything he can find at them. And, of course, as is the case with most of the games, the kid with the ‘Mech is minor nobility keeping his head down. Though the show hasn’t (as far as I can determine) ever actually been licensed, there are some very good fansubs floating around out there. I strongly recommend the show to any fan of Real Robot series (which is to say, if your favorite Gundam is 08th Mobile Suit Team or 0080: War in the Pocket, you’ll probably love it), and to any fan of the Succession Wars era of Battletech.
As a bonus: Watch the finest mecha fight sequence ever animated (from 08th Mobile Suit Team, the best of the Gundam shows). If that music doesn’t get your blood boiling, then you have no blood to boil.
Dougram isn’t that good, but damned if it doesn’t come close a few times. And Dougram lasts for 75 episodes, where 08th is a shorty OVA..
(images used without permission for educational or parodic purposes. No challenge intended to any trademarks, living or dead, yadda, yadda. IP lawyers: please DIAF, you’re one of the things poisoning the world right now)
*It’s possible, however, that more than one of the devs did see some of the show, though this was in the era of “script parties”, where you’d watch a raw show and read off of a xeroxed script/translation script someone had set up for you. Usually both were at least third-generation copies, which made things interesting..