Part of the push towards rationalizing the new core rules for Heavy Gear was providing simple and easy to use rules for Infantry that allowed therm to be a part of the game while illustrating how tactically different they are from the Gears that are the focus unit of the game.
The infantry rules revolve around the concept that a squad of infantry is treated as a single model even though it is composed of distinct parts (the infantrymen/women).
The first rules section is Movement. Infantry move identically to walker models so they can turn any number of times per move, They can cross difficult terrain easily and can even enter buildings. Any gap in terrain that is at least the width of an infantry figure with it's small hex base allows the infantry model to squeeze through. This make infantry very maneuverable if not very fast.
Defensively infantry benefit from being small an numerous. Unlike the actual infantry models we can assume that the squad if maintaining some kind of separation and weapons that are not designed to target them (weapons without the Anti-infantry trait) can only do one damage per hit. Aller Railgun? Only one damage. Drake Naval Bazooka? Only one damage. Even Blast weapons can only do one damage since the squad is considered to be slightly spread out. Additionally Armor piercing and Anti-tank traits have no effect on infantry
In addition to this infantry have no flank so it's harder to get additional dice to attack them and coincidentally this makes infantry really good at sneaking up the middle of the table through terrain to capture objectives.
Additionally infantry models that are crippled will still suffer the -1D6 to their defense and attack checks but unlike Gears may still move at top speed and don't suffer a penalty to their detection range. This represents the fact that gear is spread out over all the members of a squad and though the loss of squad members reduces the effectiveness of the unit it does not remove certain capabilities.
Similarly when infantry are hit by persistent damage effects the tokens will have their effects and then are removed regardless of their intensity. The damage has been done and the effect does not persist on the survivors. For haywire effects on infantry this may sound weird but you can understand it as having a number of the squad rebooting their systems while relying on the unaffected members, plus the ease of earthing haywire effects to the ground as an infantryman.
The last topic concerning infantry is how to represent them on the table as a model, The classic infantry in Heavy Gear were mounted 3-4 models per hex base and a 'model' was three bases that could spread out over an area. This made it very difficult to define what the infantry model actually was. The twelve hex bases that are packaged in the blister allow for a particular construction of the unit with two bases with three figures and an additional base with four figures which includes the commander model. Here is an image of my infantry ready to be mounted. I've used the clippers to remove as much of the gate metal from the base of the infantry as possible and then finished and smoothed the figure's underside as much as possible with the big triangular file. I use the knife to trim any excess metal flash and give any slight mold lines a quick scrape to smooth them out.
image 1: Almost a whole package of new Northern Infantry and Northern Special Infantry. These are the first models produced by the new mold so they are not a crisp as the figures in production since in some cases the metal didn't fully fill all the cavities in the mold. This is normal and I judged these to be passable for my use though not enough for delivery.
Image 2: Here I've arranged the infantry figures on three hex bases (note how they are arranged to forma single base array), ten figures on a 40mm round base, and seven figures on a 40mm round base. In the new rules you can choose to do either method. The guidelines are specific about allowing between six and ten figures on a 40mm round base because it's what looks good. As you can see placing the figures on a single round base gives the unit a more cohesive feeling.
Image 3: Here is the final assembly of my North infantry models. I have two squad models of standard infantry, two anti-tank squads (with the infantry ATMs), two models of mortar squads (counting the guys with the mortar as two models due to size), two observer team units on hex bases (three models each) and four Sniper teams on hex bases (two models each). This is 50 TV in Infantry models and thanks to the Northern combined arms tactics the Infantry can be in units of only infantry or they can join General Purpose (GP) squads, or Fire Support Squads (FS). Basing on a single base also has the advantage of making the model easier to move allowing an army primarily built of infantry to be played as fast as an army of Gears. Previously you would be moving three times as many bases and it was almost impossible to play an infantry based army.
The things to watch out for when using your infantry is to not bunch them up too closely or a Gear using an anti-personnel grenade laucher (APGL) will easily start removing them. Another thing to watch out for is Gears with shotguns. Your best defense when you see those is to head for the heaviest cover you can since the Frag Cannon is going to get an extra two dice to attack infantry and withe the AI trait it will remove most infantry squads with a hit with a margin of one or more (MOS:1+). Infantry also do badly against Gears when defending against melee attacks but since the AT trait of the Gear's vibro blades gives no advantage against infantry and the fact that lacking the AI trait the Gears can only do one damage on a hit. Any Gear with an APGL is far more likely to use it instead of attacking with a melee weapon.
I hope you've enjoyed this little overview of Infantry in the new Beta. Alpha testers will notice that some special rules for infantry didn't make the beta cut. The best example of this is the old rule where infantry that fudged a defense roll were removed. This is gone as it was deemed unnecessary thought the list of weapons that damage infantry normally has been reduced to only weapons with the AI trait. Any blast or spray weapons that are still effective infantry killers are now clearly marked with the AI trait.
Heavy Gear Infantry models are provided with hex bases. The round 40mm bases are available on the online store if you want to use the single base method.
The new Beta rules will be available in Mid August at Gencon and on the online store. These Beta rules form the new standard play rules of Heavy Gear until the Core rules release in 2015.