The name MechForce is made up of the English terms mechanic and force . It stands for official and licensed fan organizations of the game and science fiction universe BattleTech and is a term protected by German trademark law.
BattleTech is a board game developed by FASA and introduced in 1984 about a fictional universe in the fourth millennium. Based on the success of BattleTech, numerous products have appeared over the years that deal with this universe, be it novels , computer games or a television series .
In this context, the MechForce organizations were introduced as regional umbrella organizations by FASA in the early 1990s in order to coordinate the activities of the players, to prepare market and demand analyzes and to be able to participate in product development.
There was a MechForce organization in each of the following countries:
- MechForce NA ( North America )
- MechForce UK ( United Kingdom )
- MechForce Germany (only still existing MechForce)
- MechForce Austria
- MechForce Switzerland
- MechForce Sweden
- MechForce Japan
MechForce NA held a special position as it was responsible for all BattleTech players who did not have a regional MechForce available.
The four important MechForces
The following three MechForce organizations are the ones that have had or are significant within the global BattleTech fan scene. They were by far the most active associations with the largest number of members and all three had very good contacts with FASA, in one case it was even part of it.
MechForce Germany has always played a very independent role within the MechForce system. In more than ten years there were three MechForces Germany, even if the circumstances were not suitable, as there was always a need for a new one.
The first MechForce for the European German-speaking area was founded on May 27, 1993 at the founding convention as Mechforce Germany GbR (MFG GbR). It was a company under civil law that was responsible for German-language products in cooperation with Fantasy Production GmbH .
The first MechForce failed because of its own success. The high number of members led to an overload of the structures. In addition, a legal structure such as a GbR makes restructuring in the top management considerably more difficult. Due to the legal situation, the management of the GbR could no longer keep pace with the requirements of the company "Mechforce". With the withdrawal of the license at the end of 1995 , the work of MechForce Germany GbR ended. At the request of the licensor, an association was favored as the licensee.
The second MechForce Germany was an association . The second MechForce Germany had the problem from the start of competing with the various successor organizations of the MFG GbR. Some of these conflicts were very sharp. The third and current MechForce Germany was founded as an association at the end of 1997. This organization, founded purely by fans for fans, never developed the meaning that the first MechForce Germany had. However, their temporary size of 350 to 400 members was impressive; and the fact that it is the oldest MechForce Germany and also the last MechForce ever shows its inner strength. Part of this is the willingness of its members to make themselves available for functions in the association. Today's Nice Dice eV is a successor to the first MechForce. The emerging computer game boom with the onset of playing card hype meant the beginning of the end.
MechForce Switzerland was a small organization, but it had something special. It was the only MechForce that had three licenses from FASA, one each for Switzerland, Australia and the Benelux countries. Why FASA came up with the idea that MechForce Switzerland should get the license for Australia can only be explained as follows: FASA, as an American company, confused Austria (Austria) with Australia (Australia).
In addition, MechForce Switzerland organized an unofficial European championship at the St. Gallen game fair. Every year between 1993 and 1996 MechForce was represented there and organized various events. Most of the players from the German-speaking area traveled there and gave the game fair a special Battletech touch.
MechForce Switzerland was always an association until the last active members closed the association around 2000.
MechForce NA was the first organization.
In its function as an international point of contact for fans, it also set the standard against which all other MechForces and other fan organizations should measure themselves. The tournament rules that apply worldwide were developed and published here, and the world championships organized by MechForce were held in the USA .
Together with FASA's declining sales figures in the Battletech area and the repeated loss of members, this led to ever decreasing membership numbers. By 1999 and 2000 the time had come when MechForce NA virtually completely stopped its work. The end of FASA in early 2001 also resulted in the definitive end of MechForce NA.
MechForce UK probably had the most peculiar role among the three big ones. It was always the smallest organization and lived from the work of a few members for about a decade. MechForce UK was not part of FASA, but an organization led and run by a few fans that provided an alternative offer to NA.
In addition to organizing tournaments and the so-called ranking, MechForce UK covered the need for unusual and idiosyncratic game additions with numerous products. The creativity with which the members of MechForce UK constructed their own BattleMechs and drafted new rules for weapons and other equipment is still legendary today and has caused a sensation among many BattleTech players worldwide. The designs were worth a look for many fans because of their unusual taste, and so the UK could boast as the MechForce with most of its own products.
The problem with MechForce UK was its lack of staff. Until the end, the work was taken over by a few people who carried it out from the start of the MechForce to its end. With the departure of the last active member for health reasons, this MechForce also ended on August 31, 2001.
MechForce Germany, as the last of its kind, has committed itself to promoting the BattleTech universe, especially the board game. This is achieved (among other things) through a homepage, a club magazine, the alignment of tournaments and scenarios at events, keeping a ranking, chapter system, MechWarrior concept and much more.
Since the end of 2010 there has been a real turnaround for the club. After years of "preservation" and consolidation of the association, the number of members rose sharply in the 2011 financial year and in the spring of 2012. Another indication of the strong demand is the skyrocketing number of chapter fights, that is, rated games in their own "league", and the numerous new chapters, that is, competitive players' associations.
Small digression: After the German Battletech license was withdrawn in the confusion of FASA's bankruptcy (USA), the German license for Battletech products was reassigned to Ulisses Spiele in 2011 . To the delight of the active battletech scene, the Introductory Box was translated, relocated to German and sold. New German novels are also available again. The German edition of "Total Warfare", Battletech's basic set of rules, has been announced for autumn 2012. Battletech has thus, after more than 7 years without a German license holder, again an attractive basis for newcomers and those returning to work.
- MechForce Germany The homepage of the official BattleTech fan club