This is a continuation of the first in a series of guides on various mechanics in the game Heavy Gear Blitz by Dream Pod 9. This is the second part of the guide on Forward Observation – perhaps the least understood mechanic in the game. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you read the first part.
This part gives four examples of Forward Observation, starting with a very detailed typical example, then giving three more brief examples.
Examples of Forward Observation
Example 1 – Northern synergy
Olaf has been pushed back from an objective by Emma’s combat group of Jagers, but he has spotted that the Jagers are now rather clustered.
He activates a combat group with a Primary Unit consisting of two Hunters (one is CGL), a Grizzly, and a Rabid Grizzly, and a Support Unit consisting of one Ferret.
Planning on blasting the CGL of the Jagers and his two friends standing close by, he activates his Grizzly, choosing Braced posture and active sensors. He is allowed to measure any distance within his Sensor Range (24”), so he checks the distance to that Jager CGL, which is 22”. Perfect! He ends this activation, the Autopilot trait kicks in and the Grizzly gets two Stand By (Braced) tokens. He activates the Rabid Grizzly, chooses combat speed, and moves it into cover before ending this activation, getting two Stand By tokens. Both Grizzlies are within 6” of his Hunter CGL.
Now it’s time to make the Forward Observation. He activates his Ferret, picks combat speed, and moves into a position from which the Jager CGL has no cover. Because the Jager is within the formidable 24” Sensor Range of the Ferret he didn’t need to use active sensors.
Olaf declares a Forward Observation action, targeting the Jager CGL. The Jager doesn’t have full cover from the Ferret, so the FO is TD Enabled. There’s no hostile ECM so Olaf is free to declares a Comms Action and uses Comms:1 to designate the Hunter CGL as Receiver. The CGL has a LRP which can fire indirect and hasn’t used his action this turn, so Olaf could choose to chain his action to the FO, but he doesn’t. The two Grizzlies are both in formation with the Hunter CGL, so they get to chain as if they were Receivers – Olaf decides to declare two chained actions from each, using up their Stand By tokens. The other Hunter isn’t in formation with the CGL Receiver and isn’t a Receiver himself, so has no option to chain actions.
Olaf now has to work out his the damage he inflicts. The Grizzly uses the MGM first. It’s in range and has the Guided trait, so there are no range penalties. It has an AE of 3” which reaches a second Jager, making that a Secondary Target. Against the Jager CGL Olaf has 4d6 (2 base, +1 Braced, +1 from TD:1) against Emma’s 2d6 (2d6 base, no cover because the Ferret has the Jager CGL in the open). Olaf rolls a 7, Emma rolls a 5, so Margin of Success 2 for Olaf. MoS:2 + PEN:8 – AR:6 = 4 damage. This is enough to cripple the Jager CGL, but remember damage only resolves after all the chained actions. Against the Secondary Target Olaf rolls only 2d6 (2d6 base, +1 Braced, -1 Secondary Target) against Emma’s 3d6 (2d6 base, 1d6 partial light cover) – note that because the MGM is a blast weapon, the cover is worked out from the point of impact, and there happens to be a 1” high fence between the two Jagers. Olaf rolls 3 and Emma rolls 6, so that’s a miss.
The Grizzly uses the MRP in indirect mode for his second chained action. It’s in range, but the Jager CGL is 22” away so it’s not in optimal. It isn’t guided, so it gets the indirect suboptimal penalty. With AE of 4” there are now two Jagers as Secondary Targets in addition to the CGL. Against the CGL Olaf has 1d6 (2d6 base, -2 suboptimal range, +1 Braced) against Emma’s 2d6 (2d6 base, no cover because the Ferret has the Jager in the open). He misses. Against the closer Secondary Target he has 1d6 (2d6 base, -2 suboptimal, -1 Secondary Target, +1 Braced) – because the MRP is an AE weapon, it can never roll lower than 1d6. This is against Emma’s 4d6 (2 base, +2 full heavy cover) – the cover is measured from the firing model because this model isn’t the target of the FO. Olaf rolls 2 and Emma rolls 7, which means a miss. The same modifiers apply to the other Secondary Target, where Olaf misses again. Being at 1d6 against targets in cover kinda sucks!
The Rabid Grizzly fires his MGM first, which follows the same process as the previous MGM but this time without the braced modifier, while Emma has exactly the same modifiers (remember you don’t apply the crippled modifiers to the CGL yet). This time Olaf misses the primary target but manages to hit the secondary target with MoS:0, dealing 2 damage. The Rabid now fires his MRP – unlike his brother Grizzly he’s within the optimal range of 18”, but he’s still only rolling 1d6 (2d6 base, -1 optimal indirect category) against the CGL’s 2d6. He gets MoS:1, doing 3 damage and putting the CGL up to 7 damage total. This means the CGL Jager will be destroyed when the FO action is completely resolved. He doesn’t roll so well against the two Secondary Targets and again misses both.
That’s all the chained actions, so we resolve the damage. The CGL takes 7 damage and is destroyed, but not overkilled (because the damage wasn’t all from one attack). One of the other Jagers takes 2 damage and the other escapes unharmed. Not a brilliant result, but killing the CGL is good!
Olaf now continues with the rest of his combat group activation – the two Hunters.
Example 2 – Foiling the Ferret
Olaf attempts another FO with his ferret, this time attempting to splatter some infantry by calling in fire from an off-board Stinger and its airbust missile. It isn’t in the same combat group as the Ferret, but that doesn’t matter. Activating the Ferret and picking combat speed, active sensors, he provokes some snap fire from a nearby Jager and ends up taking 2 damage. It isn’t enough to cripple him though, so he can carry on with his plan. He moves his Ferret so it has Sensor Lock to a point on the battlefield with the maximum number of infantry within 3”, and declares a Forward Observation, which thankfully doesn’t provoke any more snap fire. He then declares a Comms Action.
But this time Emma is prepared – the Ferret is within the 18” sensor range of her Iguana which has ECM:2, reducing the Ferret’s Comms rating to 0. No automatic success available, Olaf would have to make a Comms Roll, but before he does, Emma declares an Active ECM reaction – her Iguana has Sensor Lock to the Ferret and hasn’t used its action yet, so she can spend it to try and stop the Comms Action and save her infantry. Olaf has no nearby ECCM unit to help protect his Ferret, so it comes down to an opposed roll between the two players. Emma is rolling the base 2d6 at EW:3+ against Olaf’s base 2d6 with EW:4+. Emma gets a 6 and a 4, for a total of 7. Olaf gets a pair of 5s, for a total of 6. Olaf’s Comms Action is terminated and since he has no Receivers his FO action comes to an end. Possibly he’ll be able to use another unit to FO for the Stinger, but for now the infantry are saved.
Example 3 – Bring down the beast!
Olaf’s Aller heavy tank has been running roughshod all over Emma’s forces and has only taken a single point of damage, but after some careful manoeuvring it’s time for payback!
Emma has a Chatterbox Iguana in a good position to flank the Aller and perform an FO action with TD Enabled and call in a barrage of guided weapons. She activates the combat group with the Chatterbox and uses her other gears to cripple a nearby Jaguar, reducing its sensors so it won’t be able to snap fire at her observer. She then activates the Chatterbox, selects combat speed, and moves until she can see the rear end of the Aller poking out from behind a fence. It’s in Sensor Range, so if when she performs a FO it will be TD Enabled with a powerful TD:2 modifier, though the Aller will also benefit from partial light cover. She declares a Forward Observation and notes that Olaf’s Strike Cheetah has the Iguana within sensor range, so its passive ECM:1 reduces her Comms to 1. The Chatterbox has SatUp, so first thing is Emma can nominate any other models with SatUp as Receivers – she picks the CGL of her honour guard combat group, a Command Fer De Lance, accompanied by two regular Fer De Lances who may act as Receivers as well. She also uses her Comms:1 to make a Naga a Receiver.
None of the Receivers have Stand By tokens but none have spent their actions this turn, so they are all able to declare chained actions with the weapon of their choice – in the case of the Naga, it chooses to chain both its actions to the FO, while the Command Fer De Lance does not chain an action, since Emma suspects the LGM is not likely to harm the Aller. This results in 2xLATM and 2xMATM attacks on the Aller, each with a 6d6 attack (base 2d6, +2 flanked vehicle, +2 from TD:2, no range modifier) against the Aller’s 3d6 defence (base 2d6, +1 partial light cover from the Chatterbox).
After rolling and assigning damage this storm of missiles ends up taking the Aller down to a single point of structure, rendering it crippled. Not so scary now!
Example 4 – Meat and Potatoes
Two of Olaf’s infantry units have camped on an objective and shot up some of Emma’s precious Lizard Riders. They must pay!
Emma chooses to activate an infantry combat group with two mortar squads and two machine gun squads (one of which is the CGL) remaining. From their perspective the enemy infantry are behind heavy cover and are too far away for the Mortars to achieve sensor lock without moving – since the Infantry Mortar weapon has stabiliser they can’t move and fire it. She chooses to set them both on Stand By (Braced) in anticipation of some FO action, and the CGL activates picking combat speed and active sensors. Although it only has EW:6+ Emma does have a reroll available through a command point, can always send the second MG squad forward if the CGL fails, and doesn’t actually need to succeed in her roll to fire the mortars, since the CGL will automatically be a Receiver.
Emma moves the CGL forward making sure the mortars are still within 6” and in formation but the enemy infantry are in Sensor Range (remembering the -6” because they are small targets). She then declares a FO action and attempts her unopposed EW skill roll to see if she can nominate additional Receivers – she rolls a 4 and a 5, close but no cigar. She uses a command point to reroll and gets two 6s! Where were those dice earlier on? Oh well. Even though she got two successes she only gets to nominate one extra Receiver as per the rules (because the observer does not have the Comms trait reduced to 0), so she picks a nearby Cobra MP which still has an action and a MAPR which can be fired indirect. The Cobra MP and both mortars chain attacks to the FO and open fire on one of the infantry units, catching the other as a secondary target. Against the mortars, which have blast, the infantry receive no cover, but against the MAPR both receive cover from the perspective of the firing Cobra MP.
This is an example where the benefit of making a FO is mainly to allow the mortars to fire on a target outside of their sensor range, but Emma also opportunistically brought in the extra fire from the MP without having to wait for its activation. She wanted those damn infantry dead right now!