Commentary on the new Heavy Gear Blitz rules update (beta)

In October, Dream Pod 9 announced a series of beta changes to the current ruleset for Heavy Gear Blitz. There’s been a bunch of discussion on it at the DP9 forums, and we wanted to collect our thoughts on it into a single place. Overall we’re not in favour of the majority of the changes, although there are some we think are a good idea. With a lot of the others we either feel that they make things more complicated or less interesting, or simply don’t understand the reasoning behind them. We go into (a lot!) more detail on each change below, though we’ve only discussed changes to the rules and traits themselves and not the individual models’ stats as this post was already long enough.

Even though a lot of the below is fairly critical, we’re writing it in a spirit of constructive criticism – we both love the game Heavy Gear Blitz and want its rules to continue to improve as much as possible.

Links for context

Blog post by Dave McLeod introducing the update

Heavy Gear Blitz October 2017 LRB update (Mk2) (Beta)

Official Errata to above update on the DP9 forum

Note: this post was written jointly by both Duck Brothers, although it’s written using the singular pronoun like we’re some sort of reverse monarch.

Rules

p13: 2.0 General Concepts: Add to end of first paragraph: “The standard Battlefield should be 4’x4′ for a medium sized or 100 Threat points Value (TV) game. This can vary based on the table size available. The table dimensions will change the game experience. It is recommended that players try out a variety of table sizes, scenery density, and deployment area. Above all table choices should ensure that both players have fun.”

Good addition that I agree with, although on p46 a 100 TV is called a ‘small’ game, not a medium one.

P16: Opposed Rolls: Example:3. Change [5] to “[4]”.

I don’t see a [5] in example 3, so I’m not sure what this is about.

P16 Opposed Rolls: Note bubble #1: Replace text with “Note: There is no requirement in an opposed roll for the acting/reacting player to roll equal to or greater than their skill to move on to the comparing rolls step. Opposed rolls will always have a minimum value of 1, as that is the lowest value that can be rolled on a six sided dice.”

Slight improvement in clarity, which is good.

P32 Area Terrain as cover: Replace with: “Models within area terrain with a height equal to at least half the model’s height benefit from the area terrain modifier if there is more than 1” of area terrain between them at their attacker or the origin of an attack. Area terrain with a height that is equal or greater than a model also requires sensor lock unless the target is within 1” of the edge of the terrain and there is less than 1” of intervening terrain.”

‘at their attacker’ should be ‘and their attacker’. I don’t understand what the separate term ‘origin of an attack’ is referring to – this isn’t defined anywhere in the LRB. If I had to guess I’d say it’s probably referring to AE blast weapon point of impact. The second sentence is a little unclear – it isn’t the area terrain which requires sensor lock to the target, it’s the attack on a target within area terrain. Suggest rewording to ‘Attacks on models within area terrain with height equal to or greater than their height additionally require the attacker has sensor lock to the target model, unless the target is within 1” of the edge of the terrain and there is less than 1” of intervening terrain.’

Truthfully I don’t understand why the ‘the target is within 1″ of the edge of the terrain’ clause is there though. Suggest removing it.

P27 Orders: change 5.5d to “5.5c”.

Orders aren’t on P27, they’re on P26. A good typo fix though.

P27 Orders: Change 5.5f to “5.5d”.

Orders aren’t on P27, they’re on P26. A good typo fix though.

The fire teams order below has been issued errata. See the errata thread linked at the top of this post. It was initially changed to read the below, but now has been completely removed from the beta:

P27 Orders: Add: “5.5e Fire Teams (Activation Order): Two or more models in this combat group may combine their attacks to increase the effectiveness. All models that participate in a Fire Team must be in formation (See 5.3). Select one target model and a weapon in optimal range of the target. Designate one model as the attacking model and chain an action from each other model participating in the Fire Team. Stand by tokens may be used to participate. Each other participating model must have a weapon of the same type the activating model is attacking with and be in optimal range of the target model. Standard modifiers (table 2.2) and Attack Modifiers (table 8.2b) are applied for each model participating in the attack. Make one attack roll. If the weapons used in the attack have an AP:X trait use the highest AP:X trait rating to resolve the attack. A combat group may form any number of Fire Teams as long as there are actions remaining that can be chained to an attack action. Example: A Hunter Gunner attacks a target model with a MAC. It chains two attacks from Friendly Hunters with LACs. One Hunter is in the rear of the target. The Attack roll is 2D6 (Base Dice) + 2D6 (+2 Fire Team participants) +3D6 (3x Burst Trait) +1D6 (Rear) for a total of 8D6 to the attack roll.

This is a big one. Here are the problems I have with this.

  1. The blog post outlines that this order was added to speed the game up, but I don’t see how it will result in that outcome. This is a very complex rule which requires a lot of planning and further complicates deciding what to do, especially since it involves multiple models. I’m pretty certain this will actually slow the game down as people try to figure out whether they should use this order and do some maths.
  2. The errata clarifies that Stand By tokens can be used to participate. This should also be reflected in 10.3 (P38) which is the section listing the uses of those tokens.
  3. I don’t understand the flavour of this rule restricting fire teams to a weapon type. What is supposed to be happening? Why can a HAC benefit from a bunch of other *ACs supporting it, but can’t benefit from a bunch of *RFs, *MGs, *ISs etc? What is the justification for restricting to a single weapon type? One of the things this is going to cause if Fire Team orders are strong is combat groups made of as many as possible of basically the same weapon type, as cheap as possible. Is this the intent?
  4. The blogpost specifically mentions the support allowing the firing model to do something like go top speed to get a flank shot (presumably because the malus from going top speed is more than cancelled out by the supporting units). This has no relation to the use of the fire team order. You would end up with either a net +0d6, or +1d6 if the target is a vehicle (in which case you’d do it anyway, regardless of this order). Arguably the addition of the fire team order which can easily grant 2 or more extra d6, renders that sort of manoeuvring less important. The optimal usage of this order seems to tend more toward relatively static blobs of cheap units than actual manoeuvre warfare.
  5. This makes skill even less relevant for the majority of units, since you can use lower skill units to just support a higher skill unit which actually takes the shot.
  6. This is a complex rule and it’s going to confuse people. Orders are already something that a lot of players don’t remember or struggle to use correctly, as are chained actions. Is adding this rule really adding something to the gameplay worth the complexity, even if it turns out to be perfectly balanced? What problem is it solving? What is the intent of adding this rule? It is still unclear to me.
  7. The rule doesn’t actually specify the target has to be in optimal range of the same weapon type the chained models have to have in order to participate. It definitely should be clearer about this.
  8. How does the order even work? The commander has to initiate it because it’s an activation order. So he does that and picks a target and a weapon in optimal range (does the weapon have to be on the commander? Or on the attacking unit which is in formation? Or what?). In the example is the Hunter Gunner the commander? If not, how is he attacking when it isn’t his activation? Is it a reaction to the order? Is it a chained action? The actual mechanics of how you do this are not laid out. In the blogpost Dave says “One model can go top speed to the rear of a target model and fire with support of another if your formation is flexible enough.” which means that firing model must be the commander, otherwise he couldn’t be moving around, since it wouldn’t be his activation.
  9. Can models chaining actions to participate chain multiple actions/stand by tokens if they have them? This should be made clear one way or the other.
  10. Can a fire team order be used to attack multiple targets? If not, how does it interact with AE weapons? Does it just ignore the AE trait? Similarly, how does it interact with split?

This is a complicated rule which is not clear and raises many questions. It is not mechanically solid or established and the intent behind adding the rule is not clear. In addition to the structure of the rule having problems I am very concerned that it will tend to homogeneous army construction and strange tactics like using a swarm of Elan or Antelope jeeps to vaporise a heavy tank. The optimal use (some would say abuse) of this order strictly involves cheap units all with the same weapon which has burst.

There are many reasons to not add this to the game and I struggle to see any benefits of adding it. In conclusion – I would strongly suggest simply scrapping this rule addition, which is the same conclusion the designer came to.

P33 7.4 Hiding (action): Replace all (including bullets) with: A Gear, Infantry, or Strider model that selects the Braced or Combat Speed posture may spend an action to Hide. Place a Hidden token next to the model. A model with a Hidden token gains a free re-roll for any Defense roll that the model makes while benefiting from a cover modifier. A model with a Hidden token will lose the token if it moves more than 2″ each activation after hiding, is engaged in melee, or selects the top speed posture. A model with a Hidden token loses the benefit of the token if it uses an Electronic Warfare or Communication Action including acting as a relay or giving an order for the remainder of the current activation.
Note: Shooting does not remove a Hidden Token. Hiding represents the model taking a knee, crouching down, or otherwise intentionally making itself a much harder target.”

Some questions first:

  1. The blogpost specifically mentions “You can even top speed up to cover and use your action to hide, ready for the next turn.” but that isn’t true, according to the rule above. Is it supposed to be?
  2. Should Active Sensors also remove the hidden token?
  3. Why does the rule specify ‘for the remainder of the current activation’? For how long does the model with the Hidden token lose the benefit of the token if it does XYZ? I think maybe the sentence is supposed to be this: ‘A model with a Hidden token loses the benefit of the token until the end of the current activation if it uses an Electronic Warfare or Communication Action including acting as a relay or giving an order.

I am glad the relationship between firing and Hidden tokens is now made clear. Personally I think the action should be renamed to something like ‘take cover’ or ‘hug cover’ or ‘hunker down’, but I understand that ‘Hidden’ tokens already exist as physical objects. The ability seems flavourful and useful without being too strong. Previously I wouldn’t have used it, but now I might.

Add “P33: Hiding: Add: 7.4a Hull Down: A vehicle model that is using the Braced posture and is adjacent to Instance terrain or elevated terrain that provides cover from an attack may add an additional +1D6 modifier to the defense roll.”

I don’t think this is related to Hiding and it shouldn’t be in the same section/under the same heading. It doesn’t require a ‘Hiding action’ since vehicles can’t do those and putting it in a section named ‘Hiding (Action)’ is misleading.

This rule feels weird. It only applies when taking snap fire having selected the Braced posture from behind cover, or if you’re Stand by (Braced) behind cover. That means it will very rarely come and all it’s doing is removing the -1d6 on defence from being Braced. So why not just say that? E.g. ‘Vehicles don’t suffer the braced modifier on defensive rolls when they have instance or elevated terrain cover from an attack

Personally I think even adding that is not worthwhile and this entire rule should simply be scrapped. It doesn’t add anything interesting to the game and comes with the cost of an additional rule, which is a significant cost in any wargame.

P33 7.7 Sensor Boosting: Add: “A model that Sensor Boosts for a friendly model can also
take the EW test to detect Stealth models for any model that it sensor boosts for. This does not require an action.”

This makes sense and is cool. Great addition.

Interesting to note that the boosting unit can do this even if the model with Stealth is actually outside of its sensor range, but inside the range of the model it’s boosting. I don’t think that’s a problem at all and makes sense, but it might be worth specifically saying so in the LRB if it’s intended, because it’s the sort of thing people will ask about.

P40: Melee Combat: Engaged in Melee: Replace “Models that are in range of of an enemy model and have lock to them are Engaged with the target.” with “A model in range of an enemy melee category weapon is engaged in melee combat with the enemy model if it has Lock, or Sensor Lock.”

I agree with the idea here, which is to be clear that you’re engaged if you’re in range of a melee weapon.

However the wording is not clear. When the rule says ‘Lock, or Sensor Lock’ which model is it referring to? The enemy model or the engaged model? Because there are cases where one has it and the other doesn’t (due to sensor boosting and sensor range modifiers). If a model is engaged with you, are you automatically engaged with it? If not (and I assume not) it is worth clarifying.

P42: 13.2 Impacts: 4th bullet: Change “Apply only the critical damage standard modifier (See 2.2).” to “Add +1D6 to the Impact piloting roll if the model is crippled. Add this dice after applying the +/-XD6 for difference in armor rating.”

Nice fix. It’s clearer now than it was before.

P45: Forward Observation: Add Note: “Note: A model receiving a Forward Observation
Comms event must use an action or a standby token to chain an attack to the FO action. If the model is on standby then it may benefit from the Braced modifier to attack.”

I assume this is to specifically point out that you don’t need to be on Stand By (note that Stand By is two words and capitalised consistently throughout the LRB and should be in this update as well) to chain to FO, but can just not have used your action. The second sentence should definitely say ‘If the receiving model uses one or more Stand By (Braced) tokens then it will benefit from the Braced modifier.’

Other than that, another welcome clarification, thanks!

p49:Add: “Deploying transported models: Before deployment any model with the APC:X trait or the Transport:X/Y trait may be indicated to be carrying any specific model of a type and number allowed by the trait. Any model that can transport another model may do so when they are using a special deployment option (See 15.4).”

Because this is a type of Special Deployment it must a bullet point added to 15.4. The bullet point could read: “A transported model: a model which is transported by another model with the relevant APC:X or Transport:X trait

This is a sensible addition to the rules to clarify that models can begin the game inside their transports. It might be useful to just have a sentence which states what the rule means in parentheses like ‘this means you can have your infantry begin the game on board their APC’.

P51 Recovery Vehicles and Combat Medics: replace 2nd paragraph with: “Friendly infantry models destroyed within 3” of a model with the Medic trait are set aside together. These models are only worth 1TV towards the Casualties objective regardless of their Threat Value.”

As a general rule it makes sense to use heading numbers and not just refer to page numbers, because those do/will change with every update. This rule refers to section 16.5.

This is a little bit clearer which is good. It removes the need for formation, which is good (because it means medics don’t have to necessarily be in the same combat group). It does halve the range of this effect, which I don’t think is necessary. Would suggest changing it to 6″ rather than 3″ simply because that’s what players are used to and I don’t know why it’s being halved. 

Would also suggest changing ‘These models are only’ to ‘Each of these models are only’ for clarity.

Add: “Patch Up (action): A Medic Model may spend an action to remove one point of
damage from a friendly infantry unit within 3”. This action may only be used on Infantry units with an Infantry Movement type (I:X”) of 5” or less.”

Very fond of this rule and happy to see it added. Although it’s a minor addition it’s one of my favourites in this rules update.

P52 & 53: RULES: FLYING MODELS & VTOLS [ALPHA] at top of pages Remove: “[ALPHA]”.

I don’t see ‘[ALPHA]’ on these pages.

p54: LT listing: Remove extra IN listing from the LT listing (second line).

I don’t see the extra IN listing in the LT listing.

P59 A2.2 Generic Primary Unit upgrades: Add: 0-2 Mechanics: Up to two models per unit
with the UA:EG (Engineer) may be upgraded with the Mechanic trait for +1 TV. Up to one
model per support unit with the UA:EG (Engineer) may be upgraded.

The first problem with this is that you can’t actually field Primary Units which have the UA of EG (Engineer). This is because according to A4.1 (Model Traits) Recovery Vehicles cannot be commanders. Would suggest removing the sentence “Recovery Vehicles may not be commanders”.

Ignoring the above problem, it would be a good idea to clarify whether this rule requires the combat group to have the UA of EG, or just the models. For example, can a Sapeur in an IN (Infantry) UA combat group take this upgrade?

The second problem with this rule is that it is listed under Generic Primary Unit upgrades, but it can be applied to support units. This is confusing and players will not think to look here for an upgrade they can take on a support unit (they are explicitly told not to look here by the manual).

My suggestion is that this doesn’t need to be an upgrade at all. Instead I would suggest simply allowing ALL models with the recovery trait to do everything listed under the Mechanic trait. This may require some TV changes, but honestly the mechanic trait isn’t very strong anyway (see below).

P59 A2.3 Generic Veteran Upgrades: Add: “Combat Master: This model adds the Parry:1
trait to one melee weapon or improved the rating of one Parry trait by 1 for +1TV. This model may gain the Reversal trait for +2TV.”

‘improved’ should be ‘improves’. See below for commentary on Parry and Reversal as traits.

P59 A2.3 Generic Veteran Upgrades: Add: “Fast Shot: This model may add the Link Trait to one weapon that does not have the link trait for +2TV. If added to a melee weapon the
weapon also gains the Reach:1” trait.”

It’s hard to comment on this without talking extensively about Link, which is currently being discussed on the DP9 forums. See below for commentary on Link.

P59 A2.3 Generic Veteran Upgrades: Add: “Crack Shot: This model does not suffer the Split Fire penalty to attack rolls for +2TV.

This seems relatively well balanced but it’s also not very interesting. I’m not sure what the purpose of this addition is (this is a bit of a theme throughout).

P60 A2.4 Duelist Upgrades: Add “Haywire Whip: O-1 Duelist model may replace one melee weapon with a Light Haywire Whip (LHW) for +2 TV. A LHW is a PEN:6 melee category weapon with the AP:1, Reach 2”, Brawler:X, and Haywire traits where X is the model’s range to the target, rounding down. Example: A target is 1” away so the LHW has Brawler 1.

The second part of this rule, which is the definition of a haywire whip, should be in the weapons table. The Brawler trait cannot be given to weapons because it isn’t a weapon trait (see below). Additionally, the Brawler:X where X = something else is an entirely new mechanic which doesn’t feel necessary in order to represent a haywire whip.

I would suggest instead making this a LVB with reach:2 and haywire and letting the duelist buy a brawler upgrade in the normal way if they want to. I understand the impulse to add a cool melee weapon, but I think the cost of rules complexity etc is too high and a vibroblade with reach 2 and haywire is already a cool representation of a haywire whip.

 

Model Traits

Add: “[Brawler:X] Brawler:X: Add a +XD6 modifier to any attack with a melee weapon or any special melee attack made by this model (See 12.0). Multiple instances of the brawler trait are cumulative.”

So this was moved from a weapon trait to a model trait. It did need to be a model trait because several models have it, so it definitely should be in the list of model traits. However, see discussion of weapon trait brawler below.

Add: “[Reversal] Reversal: If this model is the target of an enemy melee attack from its front arc and the attack misses treat the attack as an attack from this model instead using one melee weapon to resolve the effects. Example if the attack rolls a MOS:-2 and misses it then counts as a hit on the attacking model with a MOS:2.”

The rule and the example here don’t match. The rule needs to be clarified. I would suggest writing something like ‘If this model is the target of an enemy melee attack from its front arc and the attack misses, then swap the roles of attacker and defender and keep the dice rolled to resolve an attack using a melee weapon chosen by the former defender’.

Honestly though I don’t think this rule is worth adding. It isn’t particularly interesting, it just adds more complexity and another rule unnecessarily, plus it only even applies to duelists. Melee focused gears can already do something like this using snap fire in melee.

Add “[Mechanic] Field Mechanic: This model may spend an action to Repair one friendly
gear, strider, or tank model it is in base to base contact with. A model that is repaired
removes one damage point. A model that is repaired may not move or use actions or
reactions until the following turn and is defenseless.”

‘Tank model’ is not defined. It should probably be ‘vehicle’.

Would suggest this action should only be available at combat or braced posture.

Would suggest adding ‘a model may only be Repaired once per turn to avoid annoying engineering gear spam around tanks etc.

This is a flavourful and cool rule which I’ll definitely try out. Would suggest that in addition to removing a damage point it also removes any haywire or acid counters (players might assume it does anyway). If medics aren’t allowed to heal bike infantry, it would be nice if mechanic would work on infantry with non-infantry movement types too, provided the LRB provides an ‘e.g. FLAILs’ note.

Having the model that is repaired be defenseless in addition to losing any actions seems unnecessary – it means that making a decision about whether to repair or not and when to do so in the sequence of the turn is more stressful than it should be.

As I suggested earlier on I think this trait should be merged with ‘Recovery’ and be available to all engineering gears by default. I don’t think it being an upgrade is interesting – it just adds more book keeping and the ability isn’t actually that powerful if you restrict it in the ways suggested above.

[Limited:X] Limited Availability:X: Replace all with “This model may only be included in units that share the UA of X. “X” may be either a standard UA or a unique UA of the limited unit. Models with Multiple UAs listed with their Limited trait must select one listed UA to apply when constructing a Force. Example: A model has UA: GP(0+), IN and the Trait Limited:MI, IN. This model may only be included in GP units that either all models have the Limited:MI trait or in units that have the UA:IN.”

Limited is confusing. It has consistently confused players since it was introduced. It only applies to a very small number of models and it doesn’t need to be a trait at all, especially one that is this hard to explain. Also the way it is applied often doesn’t seem to reflect what was intended – e.g. FLAILs cannot be taken in a primary unit with the HHT-90, even though they have UA:HT.

Our suggestion is that limited be removed as a trait and potentially replaced with some additional UA codes if strictly necessary, but basically I think everything will be fine even if people mix Badlands Pythons and Jagers or Sandriders and NuCoal Infantry. Although UA codes are fairly simple they already do confuse some new players and making them refer to a trait as well just isn’t a good idea.

[Mount] Mount: Replace all with “This model does not have a rear arc. It’s front arc extends 360 degrees around the model. Unless noted otherwise all weapons on a model with the Mount trait have the Fast Turret arc (FT) trait. Non-melee attacks targeting a mount model at 6” or less range gain a +1D6 modifier to the attack roll.”

The only addition here is the last sentence. This is a very weird addition. It makes mounts more vulnerable within a very small window at close range with ranged weapons, but they’re still some of the better melee units in the game so getting close to them is often counter-intuitive. Additionally most weapons in the game are at suboptimal modifier under 6″ so aren’t any more effective within that range band than they would be from further away.

This is another rule that adds a very specific extra thing for players to remember, isn’t worth actively trying to trigger very often, and isn’t very intuitive. Fundamentally I don’t understand what it’s supposed to represent or what it’s supposed to achieve, other than being another nerf to Caprice. There are better more straightforward ways of nerfing Caprice, some of which are already in this beta update.

Add: [Duelist] Duelist: This model may select Duelist upgrades (See A2.4) and uses the
“Lead by Example” and “Lone Wolf” rules (See A2.4).

This was referred to by the Duelist rules previously but was missing. I’m not entirely certain it’s actually required to be a trait, but if it’s referred to as a trait then it has to be in the list, so it’s a sensible addition.

[Sensor Boom]: Add: “A Sensor Boom does not allow a model to ignore the effects of solid
cover when making attacks. A model that attacks with a Sensor Boom may be the target of a snap fire attack that can target the increased silhouette. If the snap fire hits and does
damage it does no Structure or Hull damage but removes the sensor boom trait from the list of model traits.

The first two sentences are sensible additions for the sake of clarity. The last sentence I don’t feel is necessary. I’d have just allowed the snap firing model to deal damage as normal. It’s an abstraction after all. I don’t see the need to add a new mechanic (removing traits) just for this unusual case.

[Shield:X] Shield:X: replace all with: “A Shield provides an additional instance of partial cover (+XD6 to defense) against attacks from the front arc. The rating of the roll is X. Add: “Multiple shield traits do not stack their modifiers. Apply only one shield trait to each attack.”

Previously it wasn’t clear whether shields worked against melee attacks from base contact (because they don’t explicitly ignore cover, but cover can’t be used against them). That’s still the case with this rule, because melee attacks in base contact don’t allow for intervening cover (since there’s nowhere for the cover to be) but the new Shield rule doesn’t mention anything about it being considered intervening. Strongly suggest clarifying whether this works against base contact melee. Would also suggest that it definitely should, since that’s intuitively something a shield would be useful for.

More importantly shields now don’t stack with partial cover,.. or do they? The rule isn’t clear. You’re only allowed to select one intervening piece of partial cover, but there’s no mention in the rule of whether the shield is considered intervening or not. Presumably it is supposed to be intervening, because otherwise it doesn’t give you any defensive bonus anyway.

I imagine this was changed to avoid shields stacking with partial cover and being too strong defensively. They still stack just fine with full cover though, and I don’t think it was worth changing the rule to make them slightly less good and slightly more confusing. I think they were fine as is, though perhaps one or two units with shields were simply undercosted in TV before.

[Stealth] Stealth: Replace all with “A model with Stealth adds 1D6 to the cover modifier of
terrain it is using as cover. A model with stealth and full cover may only be targeted if the attacker can roll a 2D6 EW skill test in addition to being within Sensor Range, standard modifiers apply. This bonus is lost for the duration of the attack if this model attacks with a non-silenced weapon.

Example a Cover rating of 2D6 would become 3D6. A Hunter with EW:6+ wants to attack a Snake Eye Mamba with Stealth. It braces for an extra 1D6 and rolls 3D6. The result is [2, 4, 6]. The Hunter may attack if it is in sensor range (See 7.3).”

Presumably ‘can roll’ is supposed to be ‘gets at least one success on’. The start of the example is a bit odd. Should probably move ‘a Cover rating of 2D6 would become 3D6’ to just after the first sentence of the rule. I would also suggest changing ‘this bonus is’ to either ‘this latter bonus is’ or ‘all benefits of the stealth trait are’ because right now it isn’t clear whether you also lose the +1d6 to cover when you fire with a non-silent weapon.

The big thing missing from this rule is whether you get to make the detection roll before you decide what to attack, or whether it’s part of the attack action. If it’s part of the attack action and you fail, do you still get to attack something? Do you just have to pick another target but still HAVE to attack something? How does the timing and decision making work?

The rule should refer to Sensor Lock, not Sensor Range.

Because table 7.3a wasn’t changed, Stealth units will also still give -6″ to sensor range when you’re measuring whether they’re in sensor range. I assume this is intentional. If so, it should be retained as a reminder as it was in the previous version of the trait, e.g. “Sensor Lock against a model with the Stealth trait has a -6” modifier to the range of the Sensors.”

While this does add some extra complication to the game I actually think this makes stealth more interesting and the interplay of good EW, recon gears, and stealth gears is a cool factor that wasn’t really around before. Also the extra complication is only present when stealthy models are, and they could be considered something only the more advanced player is likely to use. This seems powerful, but reasonable, and certainly more interesting than the previous rule for Stealth.

 

Weapon Traits

[AP:X] Armor Piercing:X: Replace all with “This weapon does damage equal to the MOS of
the attack up to X or normal damage, whichever is greater. Example: A PEN:8 weapon with AP:2 hits an AR:10 target with a MOS:3. Normal damage is one (8+3-10 = 1) so the attack does 2 damage, limited by AP:2.”

I am very, very glad both that this has been made clearer for new players and that the previously proposed change to AP wasn’t made. Good stuff.

[Brawler:X] Brawler:X: Delete (replaced by reworded version in model traits.)

I understand the logic behind turning this into a model trait, but it means shaped explosives get a really big boost in effectiveness (because their brawler:-1 trait now doesn’t do anything). The LSE in particular I would now consider a must have for a lot of models, particularly combined with the changes to the weapon itself.

[Link] Linked Weapons: Replace with “Add the Split:2 trait to this weapon or add +1 to the X rating of an existing Split:X trait”.

Not a fan of this for various reasons

  1. The usual first point – I don’t understand why this change was made. My best guess is it’s because the previous version of the trait was often useless, but that’s a guess.
  2. It doesn’t really make any thematic sense. Linked weapons are two weapons you fire as one, at a target (or target area). When there are two weapons which can fire at two targets, that’s when you give the model two separate instances of the same weapon and more than one action.
  3. It results in a load of weapons with AE and Split, which is going to cause some confusion and people reading the rules wrong or forgetting that a target cannot be targeted twice by a split weapon, even if it’s under two AE templates. Previously there was only one unique weapon in the game with AE and split and it was on quite an advanced and rare model (the force dragon), not on some of the most common models in the game.
  4. A problem with the previous implementation of Link was that on about half the models that had linked weapons it did literally/virtually nothing, while on the other half it was either useful or pretty great. This implementation has the same problem but it’s even more obvious – all those models with linked melee weapons or linked inaccurate weapons are left scratching their heads as to how they’d ever manage to use it, while the linked RP guys will ALWAYS use it, since they’re almost always on 1d6 anyway, and effectively get their old big AE back but even more so. Wasn’t part of the reason for changing RP to reduce the number of rolls caused by template attacks?
  5. It is a weapon trait which literally just points you to another trait when you look up what it does. This is unnecessary, inelegant, and unfriendly to new players.
  6. It still doesn’t feel like a good representation of effectively doubling the munitions you’re firing at a target with your action, which was the biggest problem with the previous version of the trait too. A Grizzly has two big rocket packs on its shoulders and wants to blast some filthy CEFfer scum back into space, but it’s really no better at it than a Razorback with one MRP, it can just hit more guys if they happen to be distributed the right way. A Gladiator charges forward autocannons blazing at his enemies,.. but there are only two of them so his two guns are exactly the same as one gun. It’s failing the rule of cool.

My conclusion is this is not a sensible change, although I think the previous rule was also quite flawed in that it was basically useless on half the models which had linked weapons. Instead I believe link should be scrapped entirely and all models with linked weapons should be given burst + 1 or brawler + 1 as appropriate. This is simpler, more streamlined, and is useful on every single weapon which currently has link.

Add: “[Parry:X] Parry:X: Add a +XD6 modifier to the defense roll of this model when it is the target of a melee attack or a special melee attack originating from the front arc.”

Firstly the usual issue – I don’t understand why this was added. What was the goal of splitting melee bonuses into an offensive and a defensive trait? It adds complication and doesn’t seem to add anything interesting/useful to the game.

Secondly this means that the attacking melee model will usually want to simply move around into the rear arc of the defending model. Two gears locked in melee battle will take turns walking around behind the other to avoid parry. This makes one of the intrinsically coolest things in the game inherently silly.

Basically I don’t see what this adds to the game to justify adding another trait/rule.

[Precise] Precise: Remove “Note”.

OK.

[Silent] Silenced: Attacking with a silenced weapon does not cause a model with the Stealth trait to lose the benefits of Stealth.

Good fix, given that silent used to do exactly nothing. I’d like the trait to be potentially added to a few more weapons on stealthy models, but this is cool and creates interesting choices.

Weapons

RPs have been given errata to retain Ballistic. This is reflected below.

Anti-Vehicle Rocket Pack: Change: AE:4” to AE:2”. Add: AP1.

By halving the radius of the AE, you actually quarter the area. So the AE reduction is pretty massive. One reason given for this was to reduce the number of rolls being made and speed up the game, but it hasn’t been my experience that rolling for multiple secondary targets is a major factor in speed of gameplay at all.

RPs are amongst the most common weapons in the game and have been given a serious nerf here. I have to question why this is. They weren’t overshadowing the primary weapons on gears previously, nor were they particularly devastating even to formations of gears because of their inaccuracy (you will almost always be rolling 1d6 with a RP attack). Making such a big change to such a common weapon will necessarily have a very wide ranging and substantial impact on the game and specifically on the relative TV costs of a great many models. I’m not convinced that this size of change is justified.

I understand that AP was added in order to give more units a ranged way of dealing damage to high armour units. However it’s an extremely ineffective way of dealing damage – you are using the action of a unit which costs somewhere between 6 and 14 TV to deal 1 damage about a quarter of the time (if the target isn’t in cover) to a unit that will typically have 8 hitboxes. This isn’t awful, but it isn’t attractive either and doesn’t actually do much to solve the issue of high armour units dominating the battlefield, nor does it feel effective to the player who has been persuaded to use his rocket pack by the presence of the AP trait.

Artillery Rockets: Add “AP:1”.

The only time that AP:1 is going to matter for a *AR is when you get MoS:1+ but this isn’t enough to do any damage without AP. Because *ARs are almost always rolling 1d6 it isn’t common for them to actually get MoS:1+ and because of this they generally won’t be fired at heavily armoured targets, at which point the AP is irrelevant. I don’t mind seeing more anti-armour stuff in general and this isn’t a big change or anything, it’s just a very minor boost to a weapon which is usually pretty decent but a bit overshadowed by guided indirect weapons and missiles. Overall the change is OK, although it does introduce some extra text/complexity for very little impact.

Combat weapons have been given errata to reduce parry from 2 to 1. This is reflected below.

Combat Weapon: Add “Parry:1”.

I simply don’t understand why this change has been made. Why are combat weapons being made better defensively in melee? Why does the Sidewinder, which historically lacks a LVB and has just had its hands/punch as a melee weapon, get a significant boost in fending off melee attacks? Would a Jager get this boost if he threw away his melee weapon before he was attacked?

Also why are CEF frames, which always had a theme of being worse in melee than their Terra Novan counterparts, now defensively better in melee than the majority of gears?

It’s just bizarre. Combat weapons were very clearly supposed to represent not having military grade weapons, so why are they being given this boost at all?

Railgun: Change AP:2/4/6 to “AP:2/3/4”.

Realistically this change is very, very rarely going to make any difference, but I suspect it was made when AP was slated to work differently. I don’t see why it’s being changed now.

Shaped Explosives: Change AP:2/3/4 to “AP:4”.

I don’t understand why this change was made. Well, actually I kinda do – it was made when AP worked differently and hasn’t been reverted even though it no longer makes sense to make this change. Who would ever pay triple the price for the MSE over the LSE? Especially now that shaped explosives don’t have a malus in melee, they have clearly become the premier anti armour weapons in the game. In fact they’re arguably the premier melee weapons in the game full stop. A LSE has double the AP of the LVB (and the LVB is mainly an AP weapon now its had its PEN neutered) and +3 PEN, for 1 TV. That’s kind of an insane upgrade. I know I would literally never take e.g. a Diamondback without taking the LSE upgrade now, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to do to the game at all.

Spike Gun: Change PEN to “5/6/7”. Change AP:2/4/6 to “AP:3”.

This is a 1 point reduction inf penetration for all spike guns. Previously spike guns were interesting anti-armour melee weapons which were less useful against gears etc than vibroblades but starting at 2 AP was a big difference which actually made melee against tanks a pretty attractive option.

It’s still an attractive option in this role and because it’s pretty rare to get higher than 3 MoS in melee the change to AP values doesn’t make much difference to the MSG and HSG, but it does improve the LSG a little bit. I don’t really know why this change was made since the spike guns were already fine at what they were supposed to do.

I assume this is another case where all these changes are just left over from when AP was changed to work differently. Please don’t leave them in.

Vibroblades were given errata to remove parry entirely. This is reflected below.

Vibroblade: Change PEN to “5/7/9”. Change AP:1/3/5 to “AP:2”.

As with the other melee weapons my first question is why? Why are LVBs being made so much worse against targets with less than 7 AR? It didn’t seem to me that the LVB was too powerful at all. Also why is the most common weapon in the game being given AP:2, a value generally reserved for actual anti-tank weapons? Why is a LVB just as good against an Aller as a HVB? It makes no sense. Additionally when taken in tandem with the changes to spike guns above, this considerably reduces the difference between the two melee weapons, even to the point where I have to question why there are even two different melee weapons. The LVB in particular is now almost identical to but strictly inferior to the LSG, which can’t have been intended surely?

Again I assume this is another case where all these changes are just left over from when AP was changed to work differently. Please don’t leave them in.

Would strongly suggest not making this change and leaving VBs as they were. LVBs gave some access to AP without being very threatening to tanks and were great against gears, while MVBs and HVBs were great against both, which was great!

3 thoughts on “Commentary on the new Heavy Gear Blitz rules update (beta)”

  1. This is in reply to your forum post. “It feels like a waste of my time, frankly. I just spent a considerable amount of time providing feedback for a beta which as far as I can see wasn’t properly thought through or tested, only for the beta to suddenly end early adding loads of detrimental changes to the game.”

    It was the same during the initial rollout of the rules that became the LRB. The playtester under Nda got radio silence from Dave for months and then found out that the massively changed rules were revealed to the demo reps in secret weeks earlier. None of the changes were plyatested beyond maybe Dave with his kids (if that) and concerns raised months earlier were ignored. As much as things change, they stay the same at DP9.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Me and m group have made a simple house rule fr the rocket pck problem, 2 diffrent rocket types AE and AP. AE= area of effect pretty much the old rule style better for area saturation and AP armor piercing Shaped warheads this is my lore reasoning behind it shaped to make the energy more directed increacing anti armor capabilty but lowering over all explosion range. ik this far from fixes all you have posted but its a simple idea, oh at the start of a game the player just writes down with unit carries with rocket pack, i guess this add complexity but we write down stats all the time anyway it make little diffrence in our play and gives rockets a nice lil niche some versatility.. we also are experimenting with smoke rockets for fun pretty mcuhs can give friendly units light cover simaler to smoke launchers but at a distance (so far smoke lasts for 1d3 turns just experimenting witht his last rocket type.

    Liked by 1 person

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