Friday, July 13, 2012

Field Manual 2750 Review

14 July UPDATE (See Bottom)

I love the days of the Star League, and to see CGL finally coming out with books like Reunification War, Liberation of Terra, and now the Field Manual 2750 kept me from falling asleep with the BattleTech universe.
Now, first, a complaint, I just paid nearly $70 for the PDF+Book combo.  I can not STAND companies that charge you for a PDF, when you already bought the physical copy.  Its unethical, its double-charging, its downright freaking wrong.  I'm stupid enough to do it, as I want both versions, but I really should just wait a few days and grab a copy off bittorrent... at least I saved a whole $3 from my stupid battlecorps membership (funny, I can still post messages there, oh well)

Ok, so now a quick review of Field Manual 2750.

Its 264 pages.  It has about 32 pages of typical field manual stuff.  Ranks, organization, a short bit of history, typical stuff you'd see in any other FM, and formatted about the same.  The next TWO HUNDRED pages, yeap, thats right, TWO ZERO ZERO pages, are devoted to giving a few lines on every single division the SLDF deployed in 2750, as well as some notes on a few of the independent regiments.  If you love the SLDF, like many of us do, you will WANT this book.  I haven't read it yet, but sheesh, its more on those 469 divisions (I assume they got them all, roughly 6 on a page so I think so) than we have ever gotten before.  Oh, and just as a bonus, they give some fluff on the fleets as well.  

You then have your silly RATs, with Mechs/Vehicles/Aerospace, in both Royal and standard variants, nothing surprising.

Then a few pages with some special unit abilities of about half a dozen units per army, including some independent regiments.  Just a select few, far from every one.  

Then you get a couple pretty pages with color ranks/awards, then about a dozen color maps.  These maps are like the recent books where it shows division deployments on the map.  You have a map for each inner sphere and major periphery power, plus the hegemony.  Then you get a nice map showing the whole inner sphere with lines denoting corps level operating areas (no planets, just region lines).  Then you get a beautiful 2764 color map.  Not sure why CGL is stupid about sending these off to the online print companies so we can order posters, its free money for them, oh well.  Then you get a little map of the hegemony with SDS/Castle Brian icons around the systems that had them.

There is ONE thing missing from this book IMO.  That would be a few pages, listing the divisions, and the QUALITY of them as well as their homeworld.  All the other Field Manuals had that, and we just don't know the quality of these divisions.  That one thing would have made this book perfect, and it was sorely missed.  Perhaps they just forgot to add it and will update the PDF :)

In short, buy this book if you care about the SLDF in any way, or even BT history.
#1.  You get some info on every freaking division and fleet
#2.  You get great deployment maps of the SLDF

I'd recommend waiting for the DTF and avoiding the PDF if money is tight though, its a big book, with great looking color pictures, it'll look great in real life.

I'd LOVE to see this same sort of detail in the next Liberation of Terra book.  It'd be great to see the SLDF in 2750, before/after the uprising and coup, and then what they left the Inner Sphere with.  Don't know how much of that we'll get, but its great stuff.  Once I get all my record sheets done and a few new features, I'll be focusing on my computer game that recreates a Battletech/Succession Wars type system that plays in the same style as the universe is written.

On to other news, I *am* still kinda sorta working on the record sheets.  I'm actually trying to help with TRO3063 by creating methods to create a record sheet file that isn't huge, but still looks great.  I've made a LOT of progress creating record sheets in PDF format instead of PNG, and have gotten 75 mech sheets within 4mb of space, with indexing, all automated, using MegaMekLab MTF files.  All this work will translate over to my stuff when I'm done helping out Steven Satak.  This is a *great* TRO, and is just as good (and in some ways better) than canon TROs.  The artwork is often by the same artists, and looks great, the designs are cool, the book is great.  If your waiting for it give Steve some money to help out with expenses, you'll love the book.

EDIT:  I've been data-mining this book the last couple days.  I'm about halfway done inputting division information, looks like if a corps had over 6 divisions, only 6 got listed.  I've done the first 10 armies, so I'm 50% done, and only 7 divisions have no description, and most of those are in the overstrength 1st army.  When finished I'm better under 12 divisions are skipped, all of 2 pages of text :(  However, the descriptions in many cases are pretty weak, often kinda redundant (supply issues, bandit raids, royals have best equipment, etc, etc).  I have came to the conclusion that the SLDF was at war in 2750 with warship equipped bandits throughout their deployment areas.  Where a bandit gets a warship in 2750 is far beyond my previous understanding of the BattleTech universe.

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