Battletech is a really good tactics game that combines giant mechs with X-COM. I’ve spent many hours building experimental robots and taking dangerous jobs to keep my mercenary corps afloat. Kotaku video producer Paul Tamayo was curious about the game, so I ran him through a mission to learn the basics.

This mission is a little rough because I take more risks than I need to. I send my soldier too far forward and don’t play aggressively enough. Battletech is a slow game, where sudden death is rare but gut-wrenching. Our run here gives a sense of the game’s pace: deliberate battles in which mechs are blow apart piece by piece until they’re nothing but scrap and the pilot is a smear of hamburger. It’s heartbreaking, but that’s one of the reasons I love it.

I also enjoy all of the management you have to do: Checking your finances to make payroll, negotiating job contracts, building mechs piece by piece. Even when you’re not fighting, Battletech wants you to think three moves ahead. You take time, prepare, and then drop down into the next job. This mission was tricky but a lot of fun, and anyone curious about the game should walk away with a good sense of what makes Battletech so interesting.