BattleTech: the Card Game (TCG) was licensed out to Wizards of the Coast, and the first base set (Limited Edition) was produced in 1996. The game's last set was printed in the closing months of 1998; after delaying the next expansion set for more than six months, WotC finally announced they would stop producing the card game, due to flagging sales.

The game played like a mix of several other popular CCGs at the time- like the Star Wars CCG, victory was determined when one opponent's draw pile was depleted; like Netrunner, cards were first placed down and then paid for by various resources; like Magic: the Gathering, tapping and blocking formed the crux of the combat system. The cards that a player could build their deck from was determined by the various factions attached to cards (for example, 'Mechs fielded by one of the Successor States of the Inner Sphere or one of the Clans often carried a faction-restricting trait on it)- thus, where other CCGs set up contests between Light Side and Dark Side, decks were most easily identified by the House or Clan played.

Basic card types of the BattleTech CCG are such:
  • 'Mechs- the bipedal eighty-ton war machines that are the signature of the name. 'Mechs are rated based on their speed (Fast, Slow, or Medium, a value that determines if various 'Mechs can intercept them when attacking and if they can intercept), their Attack (the amount of damage they can do to enemy targets), their Armor (the amount of damage that is negated if the 'Mech recieves damage), their Structure (how much damage done to them beyond Armor that a 'Mech can take and still survive), and any other options
  • Resource- while technically a subgroup of the Command cards, the Resources used in a game have a definite effect on the decks. A number of cards require additional resources to be spent if a particular Asset (often provided by the base Resource cards) was not in play; Assets also usually provided another very useful benefit.
    • Support: Assembly - This Resource represented a player's access to the best technology and the resources needed to maintain it; once per turn during the Repair/Reload Phase, a player with Support: Assembly could pay one resource to remove one damage counter from a 'Mech they control.
    • Support: Logistics - No army can fight without supply lines, and this Resource represents well-stocked supply lines. A player with Support: Logistics may, at the end of their turn, place one card from their hand at the bottom of the Stockpile.
    • Support: Munitions - Represents a commander's access to top-of-the-line ammunitions. A player with Support: Munitions could count Missile rolls that turned up as a "3" as doing 3 damage to the target (instead of no damage at all).
    • Support: Politics - Controlling a resource that produces Politics allows a player to deal with other branches of the military as well as non-military resources more efficiently; while S: Politics produces no inherent benefit, without it, players must spend vast amounts of resources calling in aerofighter strikes, special operative tasks, recruiting famous personae to aid your cause, and negotiating mercenary contracts among other things.
    • Support: Tactics - With this Resources, a commander has many more options in battle. Additionally, it usually eases the cost of hiring skilled pilots. Support: Tactics grants the player a base +1 Intiative during combat.
  • Command- a general group of cards that included everything from the valuable Resource cards used to produce everything in the game to 'Mech pilots to aerofighter raids to special forces operations to mercenary contracts to the Personae Dramatae of the BattleTech universe. While they wouldn't win a game in and of themselves, they most certainly helped.
  • Mission- one-shot cards that would affect the outcome of individual battles between 'Mechs- making one 'Mech stronger, another 'Mech weaker, pushing one 'Mech out of the fight, and far more.

    The game progressed as such, with each player going through the following mandatory steps...
    • Untap Phase: All cards controlled by the current player untap.
    • Draw Phase: The current player draws two cards from the top of his Stockpile (one card if it is the first player on his first turn).
    • Repair/Reload Phase: All 'Mechs that are depleted are turned so that they are now tapped instead.
    • Deploy Phase: A player may place (deploy) up to two cards with the Command or 'Mech traits down from his hand face-down; these cards are now considered "under construction." A player may tap his resources to put construction counters on a card under construction;iIf a card has the amount of resources equal to its total construction cost, it may be turned right-side up. Command cards move to the appropriate place; 'Mech cards remain in play but do not become available to the player until later.
    • Missions Phase: A player may now tap his unit(s) to attack another player's command structure- their Stockpile, command cards and resources in play, cards under construction, particularly slow 'Mechs... anything that makes tactical sense. The only limit to the amount of attacks is the number of 'Mechs a player has- he can tap two 'Mechs in one attack to see how his opponent will react, then tap another group to attack a different area afterwards, then a third, and so forth. If the Defender desires, he may intercept an attacking group with a group of 'Mechs of his own- usually, the speed of the 'Mechs the defender may use is limited by the speed of the slowest 'Mech in the attack ground; Slow 'Mechs on patrol have difficulty intercepting Medium speed or Fast speed 'Mechs, as Medium speed 'Mechs aren't able to intercept Fast 'Mechs. Whether the attacking 'Mechs are intercepted or not, each individual mission proceeds in the general order...blockquote The players with units in the battle determine who has higher Initiative- in case of a tie, the defending player wins. Whoever has the lowest Initiative may play Mission cards from his hand (but no more Mission cards than his Initiative total- which may be zero, meaning he may not play Mission cards) or use the various abilities of his 'Mechs (and possibly their pilots) to attain a greater Initiative total. If they get a higher Initiative, the other player must either raise his own Initiative or lose it.

      Whoever has the lowest Initiative, after playing all Mission cards that they care to play, decides whether any 'Mechs with the Overheat option will damage themselves in order to deal more damage to the enemy, whether any 'Mechs with the Alpha Strike ability to deplete themselves in order to deal a few more points of damage in that battle, whether any Missiles will be targetted at the original target or any intercepting forces, and any other abilities that can affect the mission are used if desired. Finally, that player divides the total amount of damage he possesses among the various targets in the battle. When that process is done, the player who won Initiative may play additional Mission cards, and then go through the same decision process as the other player.

      When this is complete, damage dealt to all targets is resolved- 'Mechs and command cards damaged beyond their ability to take it are destroyed, cards under construction have one construction counter removed for every two points of damage they take (and are destroyed if they take a point of damage when they have no counters on them), and Stockpiles lose one card from the top for every point of damage dealt to them.

      'Mechs not tapped or going on missions may be assigned to Guard particular areas- thus, a Slow 'Mech will be able to block a Faster one if the Fast one decides to attack the area the former is guarding.
    • End Phase: A player may restock a card if he possesses Support: Logistics; any completed 'Mechs are now moved to the Patrol area. Play continues as the next player begins from the top.


    For the officially sanctioned tournaments that WotC sponsored, deck construction was officially limited to no more than four copies of any non-generic Resource card (specifically, those titled Support: Assembly, Support: Munitions, Support: Logistics, Support: Tactics, and Support: Politics); additionally, if one card in the deck had a Faction trait, the player couldn't have any cards that had a different Faction trait (without having the first trait on the different card as well; ie. having a a {'Mech * Davion} card in one's deck kept you from having a {'Mech * Kurita} card in that deck, but not a {'Mech * Davion * Kurita} card in the deck.

    In order of release, the list of base sets and expansion sets for the CCG follow: Each set follows a general period of time in the BattleTech universe, starting with the Clan Invastion of 3049 (described in the Limited, Unlimited, and Counterstrike sets) and concluding with the beginning of the Inner Sphere pushback of 3061 (during Crusade.)

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