Most Recent Development Blog

Dave McLeod's picture

Mounting the new Northern Infantry for Beta,

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.

-Dave

Dave McLeod's picture

Adventures in editing

There's a phrase in writing that refers to the editing process and I believe it goes like this: "Kill your darlings". That is a quote from Stephan King and while I doubt that Mr King was thinking in rules terms I know a bit of what he means. You can look up the whole quote if you like but those three words have been a bit of  mantra when building the rules.

Time and time again through discussion after discussion each part of the rules has been put through the wringer with the same question every time; "Does keeping (this) or removing it make the game better?". 

It's a tricky question because better is subjective. Luckily I wear some different hats and so I have some competing lenses that I view the rules from.

 

Dave McLeod's picture

Getting Beta ready

Within the next month we'll have the Beta rules ready for the next edition of Heavy Gear. We're pretty excited around the pod since this means a brand new start and a great opportunity for new players to join in playing Heavy Gear on the tabletop. 

The hardest thing about talking to new players is communicating what the game is, how it plays, and what it feels like to experience it.

 

Dave McLeod's picture

From Alpha to Beta

There’s a lot of things that I thought I would be doing when I was a kid but writing and editing rules for a major game was not one of them. I thought I would do sculpting, casting maybe if I was lucky. Little did I know that learning to read tabletop game rules when I was twelve was one of the most relevant activities I could do for my future career.
 
This development blog has been quiet, too quiet. That is about to change. As of last Tuesday I have passed off the document for layout so that it will be ready in both PDF and printed forms for Gencon in August. I’ll be working on a series of videos to kick start players into the new rules allowing everyone to get caught up. The die hard survivors of the Alpha forum discussions can all give themselves a well deserved pat on the back, their comments and responses have helped to shape and define the rules to where they are today.
 
Dave McLeod's picture

Development blog: Northern Guard sub-list preview

Part of the challenge with the redevelopment of Heavy Gear was to make army construction intuitive and fast. Developing sub-lists for the game adds an acceptable level of complexity to army construction because it fully serves the purpose of allowing a player to focus a vary wide list of models as an army.

When developing the lists I placed an absolute restriction of two pages per sub-list. The first page would include all the background and fluff that we want to use to flesh out each army. The sub-list cannot radically change how a faction plays but it can should the player to specialize in a play style with a faction that they already want without mandating a particular choice.

 

Dave McLeod's picture

Development blog schedule for sub-lists

While I methodically complete the summary from the alpha test of the new Heavy Gear rules and we move to a rules beta it's important to remember that the lists provided in the Alpha are never supposed to be the be all and end all of the lists. Equipment availability and the character of different military forces on Terra Nova goes beyond a list of equipment.

For that we will have the sub-lists (Force specific army lists). These force lists will be a chance for players to allow for a more defined character to their armies based on their preferred units and play styles. 

 

These force lists will be in alpha form while the core rules are locked down in beta and will receive periodic updates according to a schedule. The release of these lists will be staggered by faction so that no one gets left behind. Here is the schedule:

 

Dave McLeod's picture

From Mold to Parts

 
There’s lots of pictures and videos out there about casting using centrifugal spinning but I thought it would amuse my blog readers to take a break from announcements and updates for a peek under the hood of Dream Pod 9’s metal casting.
 
First off there is the rubber blank, I have cut the pre-punched center hole out, it will be replaced with a metal form to hold the space for pouring in the metal.
 
 
Dave McLeod's picture

It's sub-list time

With the feedback from the bulk of the Alpha testing being put together for the Beta Rules release now is the time to survey our players and put together the schedule for Alpha development of the faction sub-lists.
 
Please visit the forums and vote for the sub-lists that you want to see under discussion first!
 
 
Dave McLeod's picture

Development Blog #12: Varis rules

I’m glad to bring you the Alpha test rules for the Varis for the South and NuCoal factions!

High speed attacks will never be the same again on the Heavy Gear battlefield.


 

These rules are still alpha play test level.

Dave McLeod's picture

Alpha Dragonfly rules and aircraft.

Development Blog #11

The recent announcement of the Dragonfly as an April Fools joke was an early tease and a good test for the Heavy Gear rules currently in Alpha development.

The Alpha rules have been a project that I have been involved with for over 2 years now and one of the hopes was always to show through the rules that a game of Heavy Gear is a part of a larger conflict with long range artillery and air support.

When building the rules we always assumed the aircraft models would be the same fleet scale counters that have always worked so ably for Heavy Gear Blitz. However, there was always the dream that we would do a larger aircraft model just to give the sense of scale the world has. For a fighter jet, or a bombe, this wouldn’t make a lot of sense since the model is effectively off-board and never sticks around doing only strafing runs. But for a model such as the Dragonfly and other hoppers the possibility has always been there that a 12mm scale model could be a part of the battlefield.

 

Dave McLeod's picture

Development Blog #10: April 11th rules update

So it’s update time again.

This is the last Alpha rules and army lists update before we start putting together the initial Beta rules. This means that the rules are still slightly in flux and the unit stats are getting more and more locked down. There are still many things to playtest, many combinations of armies, many combinations of support and unit, and many things to look forward to.

There are some pretty big changes this time around, most notably are:

 

Pages

Downloads

Heavy Gear, Heavy Gear Blitz, Heavy Gear Blitz Beta
Reference
File Size File Type Description
Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 976.61 KB pdf

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 253.43 KB jpg

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 976.61 KB pdf

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 253.43 KB jpg

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 976.61 KB pdf

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter Flyer 253.43 KB jpg

Here is a flyer saved as a pdf that you can download and print, with information about the Dream Pod 9's War for Terra Nova Kickstarter. We need everyone's help to get the word out about our first Kickstarter. You can help by printing a copy of the flyer and taking in down to your local game store and asking if they can display it while the Kickstarter is running. Thank you all for your support! 

Heavy Gear Blitz Beta
Reference
File Size File Type Description
Beta Rules Reference Army Construction and Token Sheets 759.17 KB pdf
Beta Rules Reference Sheet 2-Up Layout 2.2 MB pdf

Downloads

Heavy Gear Blitz Alpha
Development
File Size File Type Description
Dragonfly and Varis 89.88 KB pdf

The Alpha play test Dragonfly and Varis units for addition to the North, South, Peace River, and NuCoal army list documents. These are very alpha at the time of posting.