Welcome to the wild and exciting world of Heavy Gear: Blitz! This page was last updated March 16, 2021.
This document is intended to orient newer players, and for veteran players to link their friends (or rivals) to. This is a Living Document. You can get in touch with me at wisekensai@this_site to suggest changes, additions, or any feedback you might have. Please share this widely with new folks in your community!
First, some resources:
We also have a collection of Introductory Articles, which you can find here:
You can also watch our Late Night Wargames episodes on Heavy Gear here:
Some history about Heavy Gear–it has gone through a lot of incarnations and editions.
- Heavy Gear – The RPG game, where you get to roleplay your way through the rich world!
- Heavy Gear: Tactical – The detailed combat system intended for use with the Heavy Gear RPG. You’ll see this abbreviated as “HGT” often.
- Heavy Gear: Blitz – The tabletop wargame, which has a simplified ruleset and is intended to let you live out your stompy robot combined arms fantasies. You’ll see this abbreviated as “HGB,” or sometimes referred to as LRB, followed by a version number. LRB is “Living RuleBook,” and it refers to the constantly maintained rulebook for Blitz. The version number is just which version of the LRB is being referenced.
The real reading starts here though, with the rules and “Gear Grinder,” the unofficial but very helpful army building app/reference tool. The rules are free and available from DriveThruRPG!
A few notes on the rulebook and Gear Grinder:
- If you’re not used to reading technical documents, both the rules and Gear Grinder can feel very daunting at first. That’s normal, and you’re not a crazy person for feeling that way.
- Find someone to help walk you through your first demo game. The rules are well written and serve best as a reference manual. The same is true for Gear Grinder.
- Gear Grinder works best on desktop. It’s not designed for mobile, and a lot of the information is hidden by tooltips that you have to hover over things to see. So make sure to hover over all the things to get helpful stats on weapons, the rules text for various traits, etc!
Back to Basic
We’ve even started an Infinity the Academy-esque article series for Heavy Gear, introducing you to the game one step at a time! You can check out the first of the series here:
Choosing a Faction
The factions in Heavy Gear have a lot of history and backstory associated with them. We’ve written a summary article that touches on the main points, but if you want all the rich world building, you’ll have to head to DriveThruRPG and grab the RPG sourcebooks. They’ve won quite a few awards over the years and are a good read.
What to Buy and Build
We recommend buying the plastic starter pack for the faction you’re interested in.
Unlike most other games, the starter pack really is a “good enough” entry into the game. There are a huge amount of variants for the most basic models, and the game really does benefit from WYSIWYG modeling practices for unit identification purposes.
Most of the model kits come with all the bits you need to make all the variants with the proper gun, rocket pack, jet thrusters, or whatever it is you need to make the most badass mecha you can!
That said, you will be overwhelmed by choice. The basic CEF model, the F6-16, apparently has something like 40 variants to choose from! In practice, there are basically 5 variants, each of which can have various upgrades, which result in an explosion of loadouts:
So really you only need to know the difference between the following variants of F6-16’s:
- F6-16 Anti-Tank
- F6-16 Assault
- F6-16 Recon
- F6-16 Support
The increase in variants results entirely from whether or not they have one of the following upgrades:
- Command Upgrade – Better at commanding things!
- Stealth Upgrade – What it sounds like!
- Mobility Pack – Strap a literal jet pack to your robot and it can fly (for short distances)
Here’s some more guidance from Than about how to unpack all the profiles:
Like every other game, you’re going to have to learn what loadouts and unit combinations fit your playstyle. The only way to do that is to play some games, so we recommend doing some combination of the following:
- Assemble the model, but don’t put any guns/rocket packs/etc on it yet! Play a few games, proxying the loadouts to try them, and then glue on the loadouts you like.
- Magnetize everything! This is a PUNISHING hobby task, so don’t force yourself to do it if you hate it.
- Buy some extra basic models to model the various loadouts, and only magnetize the big, expensive (in game points) models that you only have one or two of on the table at any given time.
The plastic starter sets come with more models than you’ll need to play the game at most point levels, so you can afford to build various configurations and you won’t have “built yourself into a corner,” so to speak. There’s also no need to buy everything at once, especially if you’re new. You won’t know what you want, and there’s a lot to choose from. Just get the starter box and that will really get you going.
If you were to get one additional thing beyond the starter box, it’d probably be a platoon of infantry–they add a different dimension to the game and one platoon’s worth of models from the store will get you quite a few “bases” or “units” to work with on the table. It’s like $20 USD to tack on some infantry, so it won’t break the bank. You can see how many bases of infantry you can make in the picture below (just the standing metal models, not the jetbikes or plastic power armor infantry):
Your First Table
Your first Heavy Gear game can be played on any flat surface with enough room. Anything 2’x2′ or bigger will be fine, although you’ll want to hit 4’x4′ and 6’x4′ for competitive play. You don’t need to find fancy wargaming terrain to start–literally the contents of your bathroom will probably suffice. You can just put toilet paper, tissue paper boxes, random bottles and so on the table to block line of sight and force your troops to maneuver around them. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the game and want to move to a 4’x4′ or larger table, you may have the the problem of not having enough room!
To solve that issue, all you need to do is go to your local hardware supply store and buy some MDF sheets. Have them cut it into 2’x4′ sections, and then tape the edges with duct tape. Tape the sheets together on the long edge to form a tape hinge. You can easily store the folded up section behind a couch or bookshelf against a wall. Then get a plastic tote to store your fancier terrain and if you really want, you can get a nice neoprene mat from any number of great companies to make your table really pop!
What I’m showing here is a 4’x4′ table topper for games of Heavy Gear at 100TV, but you can easily add another 2’x4′ section with more tape to create a tri-fold 6’x’4 table, stores in about the same space. If you’re looking for ideas on how to make terrain, have a look here:
Other Stuff You’ll Need
The usual wargaming gear applies:
- Measuring Tape – Buy a short one, they’re smaller, lighter, and you’re less likely to drop them. Also, if you drop a small one, it will be less damaging.
- Movement Tool – I like the one from warsen.al, but basically what you’re looking for is a small acrylic ruler. I find it more user friendly for moving models than a tape measure, but choose what you like.
- 6d6 – Dice are very personal, so get what you like. 6d6 will be more than enough.
- Line Laser – Get a laser that projects a line. You don’t need it, but it’s helpful. I’m a fan of the Harbor Freight one, because it’s cheap, but there are green laser variants that are super visible.
- Dice Tray/Dice Cup – I use a dice cup. It also helps better “randomize” the dice, and serves as a convenient dice and token storage container when I’m not playing. I recommend a dice tray if you don’t want to go the cup route, mostly to corral your dice so you don’t lose them.
Tokens and State Tracking
Dream Pod 9 has official token sets, which you can get if you like the look of them. They’ll eventually be back in stock on store.dp9.com.
Whatever you choose, you’ll need a way to at least track the following things:
- Damage – Eventually things will take enough hits to go into the “crippled” state, which you’ll need to track as well. If you use different colors of damage tokens to denote crippled versus not, that will probably be good enough.
- Actions – You’ll need some way of denoting whether or not a unit has used its actions yet, so you (and your opponent) know what can still shoot at stuff on the table (among other things).
There’s lots of other states to track, but Damage and Actions are the two most important ones.
Well, you need to buy in to the game and then assemble your models. Things you’ll need for this:
- Medium Viscosity Super Glue (Cyanoacrylate) – You need to glue your models together! I’ve been using stuff from BSI for the last few years and have been very happy.
- Cyanoacrylate Accelerant – This goes by several names like Zipkicker, CA Accelerator, etc. This will help you set the super glue much quicker. I very much recommend against the aerosol (pressurized can) type, as it smells awful and will give you a headache if you use it too much. Use the spray mister bottle type (middle of the picture below), then you can use the end of the straw in the bottle (work with the cap unscrewed, you’re not actually going to mist anything) to put a drop of accelerant on the troublesome joint you’re trying to glue. I have been known to hold the spray end of the bottle cap in my teeth so I can hold a model with two hands while I poke the joint with the end of the straw.
- Plastic Cement – Some of the Heavy Gear models are made with polystyrene plastic, which will melt and bond properly to other plastic parts if you use Plastic Cement. Your mileage will vary with this, so make sure you test out the plastic cement on some scrap pieces of sprue before you rely on it!
- Hobby Knife – Any hobby knife will do, but ideally you’ll get one with interchangeable blades. Most things marketed for miniature wargamers have a markup, get something cheaper at your local hobby store.
For the pewter/white metal miniatures, you’ll want to think about the following as well:
- Hobby Files – Get a set of small files. You’ll want one with a flat and one with a triangular cross section. Same as above, there’s a wargamer markup.
- Jeweler’s Saw – Useful for conversions and such later, or just for cutting of those tacticool rocks.
- Pin Vise and Drill Bits – You’ll want a way to drill holes in your models. This is important because you’ll want to use pins to secure some of the fussy parts of the model.
- Pinning Wire – I’ve been using steel, but when my current spool runs out I’ll be using aluminum or copper wire. Bonsai tree training wire works great, just make sure you get a thin one that matches your bit sizes!
I wrote an article on some different pinning techniques, which you can check out here:
The assembly guide is available on Drive Through RPG (for free), here:
Your First Games
We’ll be writing more about this soon, but for now, ask on the Facebook or Discord for some help from experienced players! There’s also various Tabletop Simulator mods in development, which can be used in COVID times.
D-RON over at the Heavy Gear Cast has put together this great video on the gameplay mechanic basics, which you can check out here!
Kayuna is a huge Heavy Gear personality and has been actively involved in the community for years! He makes some pretty awesome 3rd party STLs for Heavy Gear, which you can find on his Game Mini Garage Patreon here:
You can check out some excellent fan sites as well. They’re in Japanese, but I’m told they’re excellent! 🙂
Thanks for reading! Check back here at Lumbering Sprocket for more content about getting into Heavy Gear: Blitz!