Each week in Back to Basic we will take a deep dive into one particular facet of Heavy Gear Blitz! We will explain how the rules work, give play examples, and offer some dirty tricks for more advanced play. If you have a question or a suggestion for a future topic feel free to send me a message.
Form Up: Building Your Heavy Gear Blitz! Force
This being the first week of Back to Basic, it seemed best to start and the beginning and talk about organizing your force for Heavy Gear Blitz! This article will be split into two parts, but after reading it you should have a better idea of how to construct a force.
Army construction in most miniatures wargames usually forms a tacit “Strategic Phase” of the battle. And like most games, while it isn’t really possible to win the game during army construction, it is certainly possible to lose it. We will talk about some basics to avoid a bad list in part two, but for now let’s get to the basics.
The T.O. And E: Units and UA
Your army is made up of a number of Primary Units and their attached Support Units. You can have as many or as few Primary Units as you have points for. We will get more into the specifics of how many units to bring next week. For this week we are focusing on the bog simple basics.
A Primary Unit is a group of coordinated models, you can think of it as a Squad or Combat Group, a small unit that deployed together. The first step to making a Primary Unit is choosing its number of Actions. You can chose any amount between 4 through 6, and do note you are choosing actions not models. This means that in a 6 action unit you can have 6 one action models, 3 two action models, or a combination of them equaling 6 actions total. Units must follow this structure:
- All models must share the the same UA classification.
- You cannot have more than 2 of any particular variant. (so you can have 6 kinds of Hunter, but only 2 Hunter Gunners)
- Models that share the chosen UA that also have the (CMD) classification can only be selected by a unit Commander or upgrade officer such as a 2iC or XO.
Special Case: Sometimes a UA will have a (0+) after it. This means the profile is a basic trooper and you can have as many of that model in a unit as you wish.
There are other options such as veteran units or generic upgrades, but for now we are just looking at the basics.
Example Unit: Here is an example of a six action Strike squad to take ground and hunt a wide variety of units. All the models in this unit must share the Strike (or SK) UA. I have started with the Combat Group Leader (you can think of her as the squad Sergeant). She is using an Arrow Jaguar with the Thunder upgrade (since it is only available to the Commander). To deal with infantry and provide a few small AP shots, I have added two Hunter UC, models that share the SK UA of the Arrow Jaguar. Then, to round out the squad I am adding three stock Jaguars. The Jaguar profile has a UA of SK (0+) meaning that in a Strike unit they are stock models and I can select more than two of them for the unit.
Special UAs: Recon and Other Special Deployment
If a unit is chosen with the RC (recon) it can use special deployment rules found in 15.4 allowing them to get a free move before the game, or to arrive from the board edge on turn two. This is not the only way to access these rules, but it is one that offers wide unit options.
Another thing to consider when building your forces is that if models share certain traits (Stealth, Air Drop, or Amphibious) they can unlock special deployment options.
Support Units: A Little Help From My Friends
Now for the fun stuff. You may have noticed that it’s hard to work in certain UA types especially in smaller point games where you can’t bring a whole boat load of tanks. That is where Support Unit’s come in.
Each Primary Unit can choose to add Support Unit (or SU) of 1-2 actions. A Support Unit:
- Can be a different UA than the Primary Unit.
- Can use special deployment rules allowed by their UA type or profile.
- Can’t have any Upgrades unless they are an Army’s Duelist.
- Activate at the same time as the Primary Unit and can make use of any Orders the Primary Unit receives
So say you have the Strike unit we listed above and want to add something to support it: a heavy hitting artillery gear the Rabid Grizzly. Normally you couldn’t since the Rabid Grizzly is has a UA of FS (or Fire Support). However you can add a Support Unit to your Primary Unit. You can use the UA of FS on that Support Unit and have the Grizzly too. Essentially the gear has been added to their detail by command for this mission even though it normally wouldn’t be part of their operations.
Here are a couple of dirty tricks to keep in mind for Support Units:
- An SU is an easy way to add ECM or Artillery to a unit that doesn’t have any good options in their normal UA
- RC units or profiles with Stealth are a good choice for a SU because they can use their Ranger movement to get a free move after deployment to claim a little ground and cover your advance
- It’s also a good way to get spotters for indirect fire weapons. Cheap units with TD can be sent out without risking a Primary Unit of heavy weapons
- Likewise, if you want to bring an off board artillery piece, or only own one tank and want to field it, this is the way to do it.
- If you are feeling lucky you can buy 1-2 actions worth of Air Drop units. When they arrive they will have to use a drop commander leadership of 6, but if you can make the roll it can really catch an opponent by surprise.
The Deadliest SU: Duelists
Finally, a single SU of one model can be upgraded to a Duelist for 2 points. This elite pilot comes with a skill point and can purchase special upgrades from the Duelist list to make them more of a terror. The Duelist still keeps the UA and any special deployment options of the support unit, so Recon, paratrooper, or even amphibious duelists are legal and scary.
That’s it for this week. Next week we will talk about some tips for building a force, what to prep for, and what not to do.