With the introduction of the living rule book as an online document that can be updated at any time there are new problems and new solutions that can be created in the game design process.
The first problem is simply speed. In the older paradigm where a paper rule book would be planned for every 3-5 years the rules might as well be written on stone. With the advent of online publishing the ability of game manufacturers to publish a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and an Errata to the rules. It became a possibility to update the rules between re-releases ensuring that the best possible game experience happened.
The new paradigm is an online document that each person downloads and reads using an e-reader, tablet, laptop, phone, or desktop interface. The danger for us as a game publisher is the pace at which updates are released. Too many updates too soon and the players will become fatigued with keeping up with the changes. Not enough and issues with rules can stagnate and players can be turned off by the slow pace of updates.
Naturally there is an individual variability to how each of you, the players and fans of Heavy Gear perceive the pace of updates.
To the fans of using the forum there is the Development 2015 forum and this thread in particular where I keep a running FAQ and errata for those who like the up to the date changes. Updates are made two to four times a month after some evaluation.
Once the kickstarter rewards are shipped with the new quick-start rules there will be several sections in the rules that will have to be locked down for a longer period while others can continue to be expanded upon in the living rules. New models will continue to the added to the Living Rule Book and additional traits as they are added. The living rules will receive an update every year with new material once the quick start rules are published.
New Alpha Rules to test:
Recently there were two rules issues that became pressing, one about how Fire is treated in the game and the other about the rules that VTOLs use.
With the fire rules the question came down to balance. Since with the fire damage roll added the MOS of an attack to the rating of the weapon you could end up rolling 6+ dice for damage making fire exceptional as a weapon, even considering the short range of it. The following rule modification has been added to the FAQ as an ALPHA rule meaning that players are encouraged to use it and compare the results when reporting their experiences:
9.6c (ALPHA test for alternate Fire rules): Replace all with "Fire [Fire:X]: Target hit with an attack with the Fire trait resolves normal damage, then rolls a number of D6 equal to the rating of the trait. Fore each die that equals or exceeds a target number of 4+, one damage will be caused. After this roll there is no further effect, fire suppression systems control the fire."
"Example: A Light FLamer (LFL) attack hits a target with AR:5 with a MOS:3. A LFL has a PEN:3 and does one normal damage. The player then rolls dice equal to the rating of the flamer and adds one damage per roll of 4+." (Note the Fire Ratings on p219 would be adjusted to 2/3/4 and the melee category would be removed.)"
Shown: Scorpion VTOL (North)
I have also posted an Alpha rule to replace the current rules for VTOLs. The current rule allows VTOLs to switch between acting as a flying model or a hover model. The problem is that the flying rules were introduced for the fast movers, fighters, bombers etc. The kind of fixed wing aircraft that don't have the ability to fly slow enough to loiter around a battlefield like a VTOL can.
17.7 (Alpha test for alternate VTOL rules): Replace all with "17.7 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL): The VTOL rules represent the abilities of both attack helicopters and the vehicles known as hoppers.
Elevated VTOLS: When Choosing a posture a VTOL model may choose to be Elevated. Mark an elevated model with a token to indicate that it is Elevated. An Elevated model remains elevated until it chooses to remove the token at the start of an activation. An elevated model may spend a stand-by token to remove an elevated token. An Elevated VTOL gains the elevated modifier to any attack rolls that do not target flying models or other elevated VTOLs and ignore any terrain that is not Adjacent to a target. Elevated VTOLs may not benefit from cover that is not concealment from a weather effect.
Attacking Elevated VTOLs: An Elevated VTOL cannot be attacked with a melee category weapon or a weapon with a maximum range of 12" or less. Weapons without the AA trait reduce their gunnery by 1 when attacking Elevated VTOLs. All ranges for Lock and Sensor Lock against an Elevated target VTOL are measured to the model ignoring any intervening terrain that does not overlap the firing model. Overlapping terrain is terrain that the model is covered by.
VTOLs and terrain: VTOLs are hover vehicles that have the ability to cross terrain with a height up to or equal to the Movement Rating of the VTOL without penalty.
This rule changes it up a lot. VTOLs are now just hover vehicles that can be elevated with some risks and advantages. They can also move over and past terrain more easily than normal hover vehicles. This adds up to some nice advantages and a slightly different role for the models than the aircraft have.
Speaking of models, I think that we can all agree that the phenomenal quality of the models that Tony has been producing for our VTOL range . Make sure you post in the forum announcements section how much you appreciate finally getting to see these models come to life on the tabletop and don't forget to order some to take advantage of the Black Friday weekend sale and get your hands on the Chibi Kodiak while you can.
Shown: Titan VTOL (South)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.