If you haven't already downloaded your free copy of the Heavy Gear Blitz beta rules you are going to want to head over here and pick it up right away. Make sure that the copy you open is the September 24th Update. You will notice that also attached is a changes log file that will help orient you as to the changes that have been made thanks to the feedback from the play testers and fan readings of the rules.
The announcement is great because it falls close to the kick off of a Kickstarter that will catapult Heavy Gear back into the spotlight. You, the players, are making this game better because we are listening to your suggestions. Soon there are going to be a lot of new reasons for players to jump in a Gear and join the battles.
This blog isn't about that though, it's all about the details of the September update and what it means to the game.
First up is the rules section. I'm quite proud that this section is the smallest. Getting a detailed rules set like Heavy Gear to play harmoniously is a tall order and we're bound to make a few errors along the way. Luckily they are easy to fix and clarify.
For example the Infantry on page 11 had to be clarified that they only take one hit from any attack unless the weapon has the AI trait. This specificity is important as an attack by a weapon with blast that causes damage with a margin of success of zero or more cannot cause any additional damage due to blast damage. This is further clarified with an additional sub header added to page 38 The weapon did it's job and the worst is over. Of course there is always the case that a weapon with a persistent damage roll like fire will attack and do damage and then in the cleanup phase there will be another chance for any remaining fire to do damage before the tokens are all removed.
The other large change to the rules is specifically the the charge order in page 52. The interesting thing about orders is that it is not necessarily the Combat Group Leader (CGL) that will use the order but rather a Commanding Officer standing near them. The reason for this is twofold. First is the fact that your commanding officer will often want to be driving a model with a good EW suite and decent all round or excellent attributes. Putting your CO in a large tank is putting your eggs in one basket while putting them in an elite Gear gives him or her mobility that will help react to the tactical situation. A commanding officer can also give the charge order to any other model in their six inch autocomms range regardless of the unit they are in. The extra dice to piloting checks can be very useful for survival if you are planning to close to assault or melee range anyway.
The vehicle recognition appendix has received some rearrangement and a few things were added such as images of the Dragonfly and Varis to the Peace River and NuCoal sections respectively. It's a nice visual reminder that these factions have their own versions of the VTOLs that they can use. In additional it is made very clear that some models currently count as alternate models. There are a number of different reasons for this and there are some excellent threads on the forums speaking to this issue. These models may again be differentiated in the future and be added but for now they remain as interesting models to add some flavor to a force if you don't want to paint a fourth or fifth stock Jager. Page 67 also has a nice easter egg that should count as an early x-mas present to the CEF players who have been languishing without any new additions to their forces for too long.
Under the army construction section a number of errata were required under the veteran upgrades heading on page 71. Combat focus in particular was proven to be more trouble than it was worth and has been axed. The armored jacket trait has been correctly re-identified as the Field Armor:+XD6 trait and the blast resistance trait rightly went up a point. A number of the sub-lists have received some treatment to fix issues that arose with player selection. The sub-lists do give a minor advantage to a player selecting them over a force selected exclusively from the Faction Force lists but the options affect the character of the force more often than not. The core sub-lists are presented in a way that may limit, but does not remove, some options from the core faction list. Of course this section is the most likely to receive more attention in the future in terms of balance but the addition of flavor to the game is certainly worth the effort. Of special note is the addition of a special commanding officer for the CEF faction. CEF lacks CMD:+2d6 trait models so their commanding officer automatically carries this advantage and also shows nicely the fragile command structure of the CEF if their commander is lost.
Changes to the North Force models list as subtle things like adding ST – Strider and HT – Heavy Tank UAs to the Hunter allowing then to act as an accompanying bodyguard unit for a lone Commanding officer in a Strider or Tank.or as a little melee support for single models that are vulnerable to melee or shaped charge attacks. The Huntere XMG has been re-introduced due to player demand. The Hunter XMG is solidly in the same weight class as the Jaguar Strike gear though it loses the Airdrop ability and is slightly faster and better armored. Where the XMG really shines is when it uses the brawler trait in conjunction with the Duelist upgrades to make a truly formidable regimental duelist. Also added were the Wildcat as a direct copy and paste from the NuCoal section, the Fire Jaguar and a Gunner Mammoth variant that adds a nice sustained fire variant to the Mammoth. Notably the Mammoth has lost the fast trait from all variants since it really didn't fit with the model properly.
The South Force also gains the ability for the Jagers and Asps to play the bodyguard part while the Drake gains some beefed up rear armor to help it survive in the brutal all our melee. The South infantry got bumped in points to better match the standard TV of most models. The MILICIA sub list allows a unique cost reduction of one TV per model that is rated as a convict and will let the south players really take advantage of their ability to field a larger model count army to absorb losses.
The Peace River Forces add in some firepower with their equivalent of the Kodiak or King Cobra. Notably the Greyhound becomes the CMD:+2D6 model in the army while the Cataphract and Ulhan lords drop down to CMD:+1D6 which is still very respectable. The Spitz ATV has been bumped up in TV to 3TV each and the Vanguard Coyote has been correctly noted to have a turret mounted Heavy Rotary Auto cannon while a basic Coyote is added tot eh list of models with a medium rail gun int he Turret.
NuCoal gains nicely with Chasseurs adding the UA:ST to their list of unit availabilities. The Flechette Espion sadly cannot carry a medium field gun and will be returned to it's original state of a medium frag cannon.
Black Talon gains a nice bump to the Dark Mamba in the form of MRPs and the Owl finally gains it's satellite uplink trait that has been missing.
CEF has gained the most with the addition of a special recon version of the F6-16 model with stealth and the all new alpha status rules for the all now MHT-95. The MHT-95 is a premier combat vehicle that puts a design philosophy of survival over speed to a test. The HHT-90 has been reduced in TV to a nice appropriate 90TV and has gained with the addition of the APC rules where it only counts as a single action for army selection. Yes, this means you could have six HHT-90s in a single Combat group.
The only modifications to weapons that will be significant is the addition of a negative trait to the Shaped Charge. This Brawler:-2D6 trait will prevent any model from selecting a posture other than braced when they activate unless they have a positive Brawler trait or an outnumber bonus. This will prevent the shaped charge rush that has been the bane of many a heavy tank in play test games.
Once again a big thanks to our fans who openly engage with us promote the heck out of Heavy Gear, don't forget to share the link to the rules in your social media, lets get the ball rolling for Heavy Gear!
Future developer blogs will actually be focusing on the development of each part of the rules and on specific models. Until next time!