I'm from 98, so for sure the game is older. So are Call of Cthulhu, Warhammer, Cyberpunk 2020, Traveller, Paranoia, and a bitchload of other games I prefer over much of the recent dross. Between accessibility of legal reprints and easy ways to yar-har those games, they have sort of a renaissance nowadays.
To me, and I'd hazard most of my friends, a boardgame failed its role if it requires so much focus, socialization is impossible or heavily hindered. Carcassonne, Chaos in the Old World, Talisman, Battlestar Galactica, and the like are my jam. Beyond those, it's too involved to talk, while not being meaty enough to really engage my inner Ender. Lack of play testing could explain most of it, but I think it's also a fashion for those overengineered mechanics. All too many people equate depth (chess) with complexity (competitive cord untangling), and I think many designers genuinely don't (want to) understand the difference. Feedback or testing be damned.
To the best of my knowledge that was the last time that group of friends every played Battletech.
Ha! Had a similar victory story, but instead of mechs I channelled inner Zukov/Ludendorf, deployed a force consisting entirely of gunboat hovercrafts, and suicide charged his line of heavy assault mechs. Because it was on the tabletop simulator, for the life of me, I couldn't tell if the guy was laughing or apoplectic. Never got a rematch, though.