Just the other day, I received a rather large box on my door step, and I knew immediately what it was… HEAVY GEAR! I’m not surprised that some of you may not know what that is, and others may only know it for it’s successful Kickstarter campaign that I was excited about a couple years ago. For those that don’t know, Heavy Gear is a miniatures game with a rich, well developed background, set a few thousand years in the future, on the planet Terra Nova, which is caught in war between the North and the Southern hemispheres.
A Brief History of Heavy Gear
The first edition of their miniatures game launched as a 1:87 scale tactical wargame, back in 1995. It was short lived, partially due to the original miniatures being cast in lead. The switch over to lead-free metals was costly, so the game was redesigned in 1:144 scale in 1997, right around the time I first heard of the game. The approach that Dream Pod 9 took to designing the Gears was hugely interesting to me. Instead of making the biggest, most bad ass robots in the universe, like some Battletech, Heavy Gear took the approach of making believable suits of combat armor. Each guidebook had fully detailed descriptions of the mechanics behind each gear, none relying on mystical devices like machine spirits to operate, which helped make the genre very believable. The gameplay however, was incredibly complex, though thankfully required only a handful of models to play.
In 2001, we saw the rise of 3d cartoons, most notably ReBoot, though Heavy Gear had it’s own cartoon! Take that! What other miniatures game had a show based on it, and not the other way around?! There were also very successful video games launched in 1997 and 1999, a full 5 years before GW would hit the video game scene with any meaningful impact. In 2006, Heavy Gear got it’s reboot with the first version of Blitz, and around the same time got to resculpting the vast majority of the models in the line, improving their quality, making them easier to recognize on the table, and upscaling the gears a tad, which gave more room for some nice details.
The latest chapter in the life of Heavy Gear is just beginning. The Kickstarter has shipped, and now they have 4 armies that have a majority of their models available in delightful plastic.
What’s in the box?!
The first thing I noticed when opening the box was just how much stuff I was getting my hands on. Each model comes neatly on it’s own sprue, with a multitude of weapon options for the different load-outs. Each one is cast in a darker, very slightly softer plastic than I’m used to, but are incredibly well detailed for their scale. The first thing I did after opening the box, was getting to assembling a few of my add-on miniatures. They assembled quite easily, though the Ferret and Cheetah (the smallest gears in the game) were a bit fiddly to deal with. My Testors Model Masters plastic glue didn’t seem to work too well, but super glue worked incredibly well, bonding very quickly and sturdy, without the use of accelerant. Here are the first three I made, a Crossbow Grizzly, Wild Ferret and White Cat Cheetah:
After assembling these guys, I took some time to read over the rules a few times, and while at first glance they seem over-complicated, they actually aren’t bad. The rules remind me of how Infinity seemed incredibly complex, until I started playing the game, then it all fell into place. The core mechanics allow a lot of user agency in both players turn, meaning that during your opponents turn you have plenty to do. They’ve done some cool things like combine all the rolls required to shoot into a single roll, so no to-wound rolls, no armor saves, which speeds it up considerably.
The (Plastic) Forces of Terra Nova
The first four armies to get the plastic treatment are The North, The South, CEF, and Caprice. Each army has it’s own unique feel, and even though many of the smaller gears for the North and South seem very similar (as one side stole plans from the other), the larger gears and overall army composition differentiate them pretty significantly. The CEF and Caprice however are totally different, less reliant on your typical, biped gear, but instead goes to battle in a variety of striders (multi-legged walkers) and battle tanks! This is probably a good place to point out that tanks in this game are truly terrifying, in a long-range shoot out, they are bad news for any gears on the table. In Heavy Gear Blitz, gears are (mostly) not huge monstrosities of heavy armour and massive weapons, but are instead tactically flexible units that are between infantry and tanks, far more maneuverable and versatile than something like the MHT-95 of the CEF forces.
There are other factions in the game as well that will be featured in their next Kickstarter, I can’t wait.
How do I start?
Even if you missed the Kickstarter, it’s not too late to check out this awesome game, the starter sets for each army are available to preorder on their website and are priced very reasonably. Better yet, find a friend who kickstarted the game and see if they would sell off one of their 4 armies that they got from the campaign. Like other miniatures games, you can download the rules for free, which is something I really appreciate.
It’s very hard for me to not be a huge fan of this game, I’ve been a fan of the Heavy Gear universe for nearly as long as I’ve been playing Warhammer 40k, and it has always been well represented in various formats. Now that the Kickstarter has landed with high quality miniatures and a very solid set of rules, I suspect that we’ll see the game pop up more and more (I know for one that Reece over at Frontline is also a huge fan of Heavy Gear).
Dream Pod 9 was one of our first partners over at RUMBL, if you’re interested in playing the game, you can add them to your RUMBL profile, or register a new account.
For those of you who don’t know, RUMBL is an app that I have developed with a couple friends that is making a bit of headway. It is a platform to help you find new people in your area to play miniatures games with, as well as a way to keep track of your gaming record. We are in early beta at the moment, but have already secured partnerships with several publishers, including Warlord Games, Mantic, and Dream Pod 9. There are exciting developments coming up for the app, but for now, sign up and climb that leaderboard early!
Oh the hobby life of a busy war-gamer. Lately I’ve had my attention split between 40k and Infinity, though Infinity is nudging ahead. Splitting time between a handful of games, as well as an active social life and hobbies outside of miniatures is quite tricky. Today I’ve done a good mental exercise that I recommend everyone do, which is a personal inventory of the opinion I have of the games I’m playing, as well as the armies I’ve been working on for them.
First off, the big kid on the block. I’ve been a 40k player for nearly 2 decades, and during that time my interest has waxed and waned, as it does for most people… and lately it’s been waning. Interestingly, it has nothing really to do with the game itself, I really enjoy playing 40k with my friends, and taking on the most OP crap people can field. What’s been killing it for me lately is competition, and more specifically the competitive environment.
I was a huge fan of ITC when it first came out, the mantra of putting on your big boy pants really resonated with me, I don’t like comped or restricted games of 40k, and especially disdain house rules to nerf things. I like the game as pure as possible, learning to overcome opponents in the face of insurmountable odds, losing 100 times to earn an amazing victory in the end… and that’s how ITC got started. Lately though, it’s become incredibly reactive to people complaining on the internet, putting it to vote to outright change the rules of the game to appease the vocal minority of the whiney internet denizens. What ultimately kills it for me is the idea that this system is in place to protect us from the OP lists, yet the armies that dominate in totally unrestricted environments (War Convocation with Drop Pods, Space Marine Super Friends, and Battle Companies) are actually totally legal in the ITC environment! What the crap! Sorry about the bit of a rant, it’s something I typically avoid, but I’m just pretty unhappy playing 40k lately outside of my own garage, haha.
So with a heavy heart, I have boxed up a significant portion of my Chaos Marine army, prepped my Imperial Knights for sale, and it was actually pretty cathartic. With over 25,000 points of Chaos Marines, I cut back to only about 14,000 points of Khorne Daemonkin, which has actually helped me stay interested in the game, the amount of models feels like painting the collection is a much more attainable goal, and it has a more unified theme, other than “everything Chaos has available.”
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up 40k at all, and I’m still working hard on my Hobby Pledge so that my Khorne Daemonkin will be painted and ready to go by the Las Vegas Open, though I probably wont be going (I got invited to go to China for Chinese New Years, so sorry, that sounds amazing, nothing to do at all with 40k, haha).
Great googly moogly, I totally underestimated how much I would enjoy this game. We’ve recently started playing the ITS missions by Corvus Belli and it has totally changed the game. My collection of Combined Army has been steadily expanding and by the end of the year I’ll probably have every model available for the list. Afterwards, I’ll be working on a Blade Runner inspired game board and get to painting the Combined, while slowly building up some Yu Jing ISS in the background.
For 2016, I will probably play exclusively in Infinity tournaments. When it comes to competitive gaming, Infinity really takes the cake, the tournament scenarios are written, tested, and iterated upon by Corvus Belli, meaning the people who write the rules to the game are actually writing the rules for the scenarios, what a crazy concept! In addition to the fantastic game balance and well written scenarios, the effort involved in transporting an Infinity army is just astonishingly minimal, especially when you’re used to moving around a gigantic 40k army that requires multiple Battlefoam bags, plus a pain in the butt display board.
By the time most of you read this article, the Betrayal at Calth box set will be available to preorder. While boxing up my Chaos Marines, I’ve realized that I have a ton of 30k resin that I cannot use in my Daemonkin, and that I haven’t yet Chaos-ified. Taking inventory of them I realized that it wouldn’t take much more than the Betrayal at Calth box to get a solid start into 30k. This is incredibly tempting to me for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the excitement of busting out a Primarch. Don’t be surprised if you see me collecting a 30k Salamanders Legion army in the near future!
Dredd and Wrath of Kings have taken a bit of a back seat to Infinity lately, and getting my Wrath of Kings army pledge done in time by the Las Vegas Open does seem less and less likely to happen. I’m only hoping that Obi falls behind on his pledge so that I don’t have to wear anything embarrassing in the future, haha. I am looking forward to playing more Wrath of Kings especially, as I do miss a fantasy setting, though Age of Sigmar is actually looking more and more appealing as Games Workshop continues to do an excellent job with the setting. Looking even further forward, I know that the Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter is coming on the horizon, which has me both excited, and scared of being swamped by even more models to paint without any more time to paint them. We will see if I can keep my head above water, or if I’ll drown in a pool of resin and pewter.
There you have it! 40k is winding down a bit, though definitely not going away, Infinity is dominating my attention, while 30k is coming up the horizon. Damn this hobby ADD, there is just too much cool shit out there to ignore it all!
Hey guys, today we have a special guest article from Pskontz. Partially due to my influence, he hopped on board the Heavy Gear Blitz Kickstarter, and has been extremely enthusiastic to start his CEF forces. I’m still waiting to receive my pledge reward from the Kickstarter before I get in over my head posting about it, but that hasn’t stopped his excitement. Without further adieu, here’s his adventure unboxing his HHT-90 Overlord, the single largest model in all of Heavy Gear.
Hello one and all. A long time 40k player who has jumped in feet first into heavy gear blitz a 12mm giant stompy robot gears wargame. Climbing aboard the recent successful kickstarter I invested time to learn as much as I could. I fell in love with the Northern armies, but as a former paratrooper I have a soft spot for airborne gears and tanks (I have seen the effects of a M551 Sheridan landing with a parachute failure), but that all led me naturally to the CEF forces as well. And how can a
tread-head hover-head resist the HTT-90 Overlord tank.
Finally the all resin tank arrived, with the eagerness of my 6 year old on her birthday I took laid out my new toy. The first thing to jump out at me was the size. For a 12 mm scale game this tank has almost the same footprint of a 40k Rhino and that’s before building it. That is huge.
The second thing that caught my eye was the quality of the cast. Being resin there is always question to quality but this particular model looked great. There was a slight bend in a barrel and one hole had a small chunk of resin clogging it up. A little bit of stuff to be scraped out here and there but that is to be expected.
After cleaning the pieces and scrapping off the little that needed it I was able to test fit the majority of the model. Immediately I was struck by how possible this monstrosity was. The 9 guns are all made to be snap fit so you can be moveable. A great idea but not all felt like they would stay. And since I got 3 kids and a dog running around I think for my own sanity I will be gluing them in place. It has 9 hover engines that again are posable, they are not designed to be snapfit so they will been to be glued, but they are posable. If that is not enough the base is also possible, however its only front and back tilting so it can’t go left and right, but you can do a cool taking off or landing type pose.
Other cool features is the transport capacity there is benches for 40, and the rear hatch can be put on closed or open. There is also 2 turrets that you are allowed to make it hull down or to have a Grel tank crewman looking around.
I haven’t been this excited for a long time. If you desire you can get the rules for free they are in Beta and they are looking for a small update soon but definitely a different game than 40k.
I look forward to more articles from Pskontz, maybe we can get him to write some more articles about his growing CEF force in the future!
We are now in the final 2 days of the Heavy Gear Blitz – War for Terra Nova Kickstarter, which ends this Saturday afternoon, November 22nd at 2:04 PM EST.
We want to thank all our Backers, old and new, for their support. We started the project with a modest goal of $27,000 CAD to pay for the very expensive molds need to make a Basic Starter Set of 16 plastic miniatures. Now 27 days into the project we have unlocked 14 main stretch goals and numerous mini-stretch goals and are at over $112,000 CAD Pledged.
We now have an amazing Backer Reward Core Starter Set which includes 47 plastic miniatures, color quick start rulebook, backer patch, plus a lot of free downloads. The true retail value of all the individual miniatures included in the Core Starter Set is over $300. You get it all for a Pledge of $115 CAD (about $100 USD) plus shipping of $15 for US and Canadian Backers and actual shipping cost for International Backers. That`s a cost of less than $2.50 per miniature compared to our pewter miniatures cost of $8 or more each.
If your brand new please start by viewing our main War for Terra Nova Kickstarter page and scrolling down, we have images there of what’s included in the Core Starter Set, the stretch goals, add-ons available, and images with links to our pledge calculator, free download Beta Rules ebook and our facebook page. Plus way down on the page there are info graphics for the four factions included in our Core Starter Set and our shipping FAQ.
Here is a link to our latest update, for new Backers, we gathered all the important updates since the Kickstarter launched, to get you up to speed fast.
Below is an image of the Core Starter Set showing all the 47 miniatures included, to see what an amazing deal it is. Please share it with friends and support our project, all help is very appreciated.
Thank You All!
President Dream Pod 9
We have some simple game play videos of the new edition Heavy Gear Blitz Beta Rules for everyone to check out today.
Video 1: Attacking Example
Here is a video showing a basic attack action with a North Hunter attacking a South Jager with a light autocannon. The Hunter gets to add one extra die to the attack because autocannons have the Burst trait. Click the image below to see the video. (Video Length 2:56 minutes)
Video 2: Cover Example
Here is a video explaining how to determine cover for Heavy Gear. We have a Noth Hunter taking aim at a South Spitting Cobra Gear, South Herairoi hover tank, South Visigoth tank, and a South Drake Strider. Click the image below to see the video. (Video Length 4:33 minutes)
Video 3: Two Turn Game Example
Here is a quick two turn fight between three North Hunters and three South Jagers. Note that because of the small forces the activation is model by model instead of combat group by combat group. Note the skull tokens being used to represent the Command point on each Commander. Command points are used for re-rolls. Click the image below to see the video. (Video Length 15:31 minutes)
Part two of the introduction of the four main factions of Heavy Gear, this time we’re going to talk a bit about the CEF, who are charged with reuniting Earths colonies, and Caprice, some less than willing new members of the CEF. With their new volunteers from Caprice, the CEF now has it’s sights set on Terra Nova.
The Colonial Expeditionary Force (CEF) is the military might of the New Earth Commonwealth and has been charged with the repatriation of Earth’s former colonies. Their first target was the Loki System and planet of Caprice, which was easily taken. With most of the population contained within the Cat’s Eye Trench, threatening attack with directed massdrivers, prompted the ruling corporations to capitulate quickly. Once Caprice was in hand, work turned toward retrofitting the massive shipyards above the planet into a staging base for the first wave of colonial repatriation. Attacks were launched soon afterwards with mixed results.
Currently, the CEF is in flux. While it met with success early on, the lack of success on Terra Nova, New Jerusalem and Jotenheim have left the morale of the force shaken. Guerillas on Atlantis and Botany Bay are proving to be a nuisance, but those on Caprice are showing signs of organization and are receiving aid from Terra Nova, using technology and vehicle designs previously unknown. Troops on Caprice have become nervous and complacent at the same time.
CEF high command has placed a great deal of emphasis on pacifying the resisting colonies and subjugating those that have not been taken. The GREL upgrades to FLAILs have been given high priority and Battleframes have been integrated into most Fleets to ensure that walkers like those on Terra Nova do not overwhelm the Hovertank Legions.
A new invasion to subjugate Terra Nova has been launched, and the CEF expects better results this time around.
Caprice lacks most requirements for a settlement world. The planet is mostly barren, with what little atmosphere there is being very thin, except within the large Cat’s Eye Trench. Indeed, it took months for humans to adapt to the harsher surface of the planet, and they still require rebreathers and oxygen tanks to support themselves outside of the Trench. Caprice was thus a corporate world first and foremost, with settlement limited to corporate workers and scientists sent to exploit the planet and explore the myriad of gates within the Loki system. From these beginnings as Earth’s first colony, Caprice grew into an economic powerhouse and center for interstellar trade with Earth’s other colonies, as all ships bound to Earth from these colonies or to the colonies from Earth had to go through the Loki System.
When the CEF appeared in orbit the planetary leaders capitulated rather than see their city destroyed by mass drivers in the blink of an eye. Currently, Caprician society is in a state of uneasy coexistence with the invaders. The Coalition resistance is laying low, letting the CEF operate as it wishes, while the Corporate council manages the surface much as before. While a portion of the manufacturing on the planet has been turned over to supplying the CEF, progress is slow, ostensibly due to Capricians’ unfamiliarity with CEF equipment. The real reason is the resistance wishes to hinder the CEF as much as possible. CEF officials are beginning to suspect as much, but there is very little they can do.
Now with the CEF’s latest plans for conquest of the Terra Novan system, Caprice has been obliged to contribute forces to this costly venture, with no real way to say no.
It seems that the Heavy Gear Kickstarter is trucking along, so I’m getting excited about the new edition of the game. If they hit their goals, they’ll be shipping their starter box with 4 factions. That will give new players a few different options to choose from, or if you’re trying to get your friends into the game (like I will), it will provide some small battle groups you can let others play with. So lets learn a bit more about these four factions, starting with the two most iconic, The North and The South.
Terra Nova’s northern hemisphere is united under the Confederated Northern City States (CNCS), a relatively equal partnership between three nations: the Northern Lights Confederacy (NLC), the United Mercantile Federation (UMF) and the Western Frontier Protectorate (WFP). There are occasional border disputes and squabbles between these leagues, but they generally cooperate, bound by a mutual fear of the expansionist South and common cultural bonds. Most Northerners are members of the Revisionist Church, a faith born on Terra Nova during the long Reconstruction after Earth abandoned the colony.
The CNCS military is the Northern Guard (NG), a professional all-volunteer force made up of soldiers drawn from the regular militaries of the three member-leagues. Each League maintains its own independent army. The Norlight Armed Forces are by far the largest and are extremely zealous, the UMF Army is the best-equipped thanks to the massive manufacturing might of the Mercantile city-states, while the WFP Army is neither large nor well-equipped but is very well-trained, with considerable field experience.
Terra Nova’s southern hemisphere is ruled by the Allied Southern Territories (AST), a puppet alliance used by the powerful Southern Republic (SR) to rule their vassal-states. The Mekong Dominion (MD), Eastern Sun Emirates (ESE) and Humanist Alliance (HA) were conquered in fact if not in name by the SR long ago. The leaders of these nations have more to gain by working with the Republic than against it, but the ordinary people are less happy, as they have no common ties of culture or economics to their oppressors and often must be kept in line by force.
The common defense of the AST is handled by the MILICIA, composed primarily of conscripts drawn from throughout the South and those the League forces no longer want, including criminals. The real might of the South is the merciless Southern Republican Army (SRA). The other leagues are allowed to maintain their own armies, but with strict limits on their sizes, deployment and equipment. The Mekong Peacekeepers (MP) are superbly trained and focused on operations in dense urban and jungle areas, the ESE has no army of its own with each Emir maintaining his or her own retinue, and the Humanist Alliance Protection Force (HAPF) are a small but fanatical force with high-tech weapons, sometimes reverse-engineered from CEF designs.