Created by the now defunct FASA, and set in the wildly popular Battletech Universe, Battlespace takes the futuristic, action-packed robot combat of Battletech, and takes it to the stars. So, it's pretty much Battletech in space.

Players can command a range of spacecraft; DropShips, JumpShips, WarShips, fighter craft, etc. The battles of Battlespace often take place in and around an invasion of a planet. The attackers are often trying to get their DropShips to land on the planet (and offload their Battlemech cargo), and the defenders are trying to thwart (or at least hamper) the invasion.

One interesting concept (and in practice, a bit unweildy) that Battlespace has that Battletech does not is the idea of velocity. If a fighter burns 3 points of fuel, for 3 points of velocity, that 3 points of velocity will stay with that fighter for EVER, at least until that fighter provides three thrust points in the opposite direction. Due to the hex-based nature of the game, a ship can have velocity in only three directions max, and mostly only one or two. The Velocity component is rather complex, and does take some getting used to.

Velocity aside, it's pretty easy to generate massive capital ship engagements in space. Energy beams, missiles, autocannons lancing out from one WarShip's broadside, and striking another... armor being boiled away, slicing through the soft internal structure... quite satisfying. The simplified rules for having whole squadrons of starfighters are fun and easy, as well.

Though it is out of print, and no new versions are forthcoming, Battlespace might be a good buy, especially if you've got a few weekends to dedicate to it.

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