(This is a continuation of Blog #3) with blog 4 added on.
Solkan is correct in his observation on the forums. “Checks have greater potential for a significant swing in results than Rolls” (paraphrased).

My early alpha play testers figured out a way to get a 15D6 attack check, requiring 6+ actions, and I think that's the best they've managed (and pure theory really. If you managed all those modifiers in game then you've probably already won). When you’ve read the rules see if you can figure out how they did it. The winning answer will get all the internets.

A good rule to remember is: The dice represent the potential of the action, and the result of the test is the actual result of the action.

A defending player might roll a 1 (the lowest check result possible) for a defense check. If they do then the odds are that the lowly LAC will significantly damage, or even overkill, another Gear. Of course if your opponent somehow lets you gain the perfect attack position and sequence, and lets you get the ten+ dice to attack, then the target really deserves to have some hurt!

In the current Field Manual rules a MOS6 result is an overkill (LAC vs Hunter) and extremely rare. In the Alpha a MOS6 is still an overkill result vs a Hunter, it's just a little bit easier to get to. The MOS6 in Alpha is still a really good check result, but happens more often due to the nature of the intersection between Skill ratings and Checks. There is the same chance for a [6], more chance for the +1s from secondary dice.

In a nutshell, Rolls are simple and fast, mostly for the non-attack/defense tests where other players may respond but are not required to. Attack/Defense is a Check because it happens more often, has the highest significance, and shows nice flavorful dramatic swings in results. Here’s a reminder jingle: “A Rolls a Roll, look for success, to Test a Check, take the best, and check the rest!

The best part is that everything is still resolved in one dice roll.  I’ll use an example of two weapon traits; AT and AP. Both are traits that help you defeat heavy armor and both are triggered by the dice results of the attack check. For AT to trigger you need to hit your target with a MOS of 1 or more. You then compare all the test dice against your GUN skill. For each dice that beat the skill (even the result dice!) you do one additional damage to the regular damage caused by the hit as long as the target is double the Armor rating of the weapons penetration rating. AT weapons (Bazookas, Tank Guns, Snub Cannons etc) kill things dead when they hit well, and the rest of the time they might feel a little sub-par to auto cannons that hit all the time. Armor Piercing (AP), Rail guns, Spike Guns, etc, is a trait that doubles your MOS. This can lead to really dramatic effects from an average attack where a slight MOS becomes a big chunk of damage.

I’m going to double up today and also post Blog #4: A Cataphract review and what game components you need to play the new Heavy Gear.

So lets discuss the Cataphract as an example.
It’s a big guy, a Strider. It’s a narrow strider so it can hide places other striders can’t. You’ll notice that the base Cataphract costs 24TV. That’s a lot but the package is good. A movement rating of 5” with Walker is pretty good, the Secondary Movement System (SMS) will let you double that without using an action as long as you stay in open terrain. It can join Strike, Fire Support, and Heavy Assault units but watch out because it also has two actions and that will reduce the total number of models allowed in the unit (normally 4-6 actions per unit).

It has GUN 4+, PILOT 5+ and EW 5+. Pretty good starting place for a Strider but normally a PILOT 5+ skill means you won’t be much good at melee. Good thing it has the Brawler skill, it will add a 2D6 modifier to any melee attack the Cataphract makes. Combine that with a 2” reach Heavy Vibroblade (with Anti-Tank busting trait) and the Monster is aptly named. At Armor rating of 10 it is on par with most light tanks and striders and won’t be worried by much other than dedicated anti-armor weapons and the heaviest of tank carried guns.

It’s guns are worth a mention. A medium Railgun as the primary armament. The Armor piercing trait means your MOS will be doubled so good position will be key. A flank attack on a vehicle is where you want this gun. The medium Field Mortar is a good stand off weapon with a 4” radius blast and even a MOF might cause some damage. The medium machine guns are good if you need to deal with some GRELs.

Overall the Cataphract can use it’s armor and high Damage Capacity combined with rugged movement and a flank:0D6 trait to really mix it up close in. It’s going to be a threat from the first turn and a steady advance can put some serious fear into advanced enemy units. As a figure it will be imposing and it’s attributes match it nicely.

So what are you going to need to play the game?
Some miniatures to start with, 5-10 for a starting game. You will need some six sided dice, about six per player will handle almost all situations. A tape measure or ruler. Some counters or chits to mark any statuses. Those blitz dice can be useful tokens, but are not required. Your table should be a minimum of 3’x3’ (there are rules for some models being off-table) and should have about a 50% coverage of terrain. Half of that terrain should provide partial or full cover. With that you’re set!

Oh, and I guess you are going to need the rules and some lists.
We’ll have those for you this week. Or as soon as I can get them up for you.

dave.mcleod [at] dp9.com
forum handle: dave
Currently painting: Nothing, Alpha release is too soon!