When I got my hardcover copy of this book I went into it with a bit of nervousness. This battle has been covered for decades of BattleTech fiction and game product, some of which I contributed to. I was worried that this would dive down some rabbit holes in an attempt to find some new aspects to the battles; or worse, would be a retread of past works.
I was wonderfully surprised by this product.
Tukayyid is important as far as fictional historical events. It was not so much an end of the Clan invasion, as it was a launching point for years of stories and plotline events. The events of the Twilight of the Clans started on that planet. It resonates forward to current fictional product as well. It is the focal point of not just the military differences between the Clans and the Inner Sphere, but it is intertwined with politics. It forced the Clans to challenge who they were and in some respects, it would take them a century to adapt. Every May, fans post memes about the battle. It is one of the few planets that is saved in my spell check dictionary – it comes up that often.
Let’s talk physical quality of this book. Complete with a campaign map, it is hefty, at over 183 pages (I didn’t count the record sheets for the ‘Mechs – and YES, there are record sheets for the special configurations in the battle!) The layout, which rarely gets called out in reviews, is fantastic. The subtle use of colors in the sections is hereby noted and endorsed. Visually, the book is stunning in terms of the artwork. I wish some of the pieces were not reused from other books, but there are some color plates here that are worthy of framing – they are that good.
This sourcebook is probably the best summary produced on the battle. The summaries are concise and don’t overly focus on one character or event too much. The fiction is outstanding. I don’t say that lightly. Writing BattleTech is rarely easy, especially on ground that has been covered so often over the years. If I had a complaint it would be that I don’t know who wrote what piece, other than the introductory Lessons of War by Joel Steverson. I would like to be able to compliment the specific authors by name. I personally loved the fiction included with the Smoke Jaguar and Jade Falcon sections best – so hats off to those authors.
I don’t play the chaos campaign system regularly, but I assume these are tested and balanced appropriately. There’s a lot there to play with, especially with the fold out color campaign map.
The ‘Mechs – oh, the ‘Mechs! Fantastic color artwork here, good stats, and the record sheets. The artists have been hitting it out of the park lately. Far too often in the past, the record sheets were a separate product. It’s nice to see them included. Hats off to Ray and Aaron for thinking that through.
One plus was a timeline near the end of the book that ties in the campaigns and even the fiction. I hope this is something that Catalyst will continue to do in future products.
I would love to tell you I found some problems, but what I found was so damned minor that it isn’t worth mentioning. It would have been nice to have some character sheets for MechWarrior Destiny to have been included. One thing that the book doesn’t have is the character profiles. While hardly necessary, it would be nice to see some fresh artwork of Focht and Ulric. It would have been cool if Catalyst had bundled it with their Tukayyid Map Set. Now I have to see if I can get a copy of the specific maps. Suddenly, Clan Diamond Shark has some appeal to me.
So, should you buy this book? I highly recommend it, even if you are not going to use it for running full blown campaigns. Spent a few hours devouring the fiction and the summaries and the notable MechWarriors. It’s a good read – kudos to the writers and editors. CGL has raised the bar with this book, so they have a lot of expectations to meet on future projects.