Nvidia hosted a Mechwarrior Online tournament recently, but something equally cool was shown on four PCs tucked away in a corner room away from the online action.

More years ago than I care to admit, I ran a Battletech miniatures campaign for five years. For the uninitiated, Battletech is a game of mech combat, with a deep rules set and set in a richly created universe loosely based on the fall of the Roman empire. A typical game might encapsulate a 12 vs. 12 mech skirmish and would take a good eight hours to play – not counting setup and tear down.

These days, I rarely have a full day to dedicate a full day to playing one miniatures game. So when I heard Roadhouse Interactive was developing a browser-based implementation of the old Battletech board game, I felt compelled to check it out.

Nvidia hosted a Mechwarrior Online tournament in Santa Clara on Friday, July 27th, which was fine – I played most of the Mechwarrior PC games and love stomping around in a giant battlemech shooting up other mechs. But Mechwarrior Online is more a sim – you’re the mech pilot. Mechwarrior Tactics is the top-town strategy game, where you play the mech commander.

During the Mechwarrior Online event I ran into James Romanchuk, producer for Mechwarrior Tactics, which was fully playable on four PCs in a small room off the main tournament hall. My friend Scott Crandall and I sat down for a session, but before diving in, James sat down and walked us through all the setup.

Since Mechwarrior Tactics will be free to play, the game features many of the tropes of F2P games: You start out with some basic mechs and gear, and as you play you can pick up additional gear by spending in-game currency you collect for successfully completing missions. Of course, you can always spend real money to accelerate the process, but if you’re patient enough (and play enough) you won’t have to. read the complete article

Via pcworld.com by Loyd Case