Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Games that currently intrigue me: Heavy Gaer Blitz

Yeah OK, so I probably already play way too many games as it is, and I certainly don't need to try and cram anymore 'Line of Sight' rules into my head! But, recently I've been a looking around at some other games that interest me a little bit, but I don't actually play... yet. 'Yet' being the operative word. Believe it or not there are some games out there I don't play! Obviously money is a big factor in me not playing some of these games, because I can't afford to play everything. As well as the fact that I'm currently playing far too many games as it is, and I don't feel like I'm getting enough use out of the games I already have. Still, that doesn't really stop me looking enviously at new shiny toys, from new shiny games, and thinking 'hmm... that looks like fun'. So without further ado I'm going to do a round up of the games that 'currently intrigue me'. First up in this series is Heavy Gear Blitz:

Company: Dream Pod 9, who started life as part of another company called IANUS Publications I believe. But, they split off to form Dream Pod 9 as a standalone company sometime in 1994. So they've been around for well over a decade. That shows at the very least they must have had a stable business plan. Also that they have a business model that can support the company and the product line they have today. So will they go under? Who knows what the future holds, but their track record suggests they're here to stay. Oh yeah, for all you Canadians out there you really ought to support them as they're Montreal based, and for you that makes them home grown.

Website: Dream Pod 9: Heavy Gear Blitz

Starting cost: OK I'm not going to lie to you here about this or sugar coat it. This game is expensive, very expensive when you take everything into consideration. The army starter sets will set you back £78. Yeah, you did just read that out right. They've done a two player starter kit, which gives you the very basics required to learn the rules and not much else for £45. This isn't a cheap game, and trying to convince yourself otherwise seems like a foolhardy undertaking. The individual miniatures themselves aren't any cheaper either, with some single tanks setting you back £30. Now I'm sure some of you are sitting there thinking, 'well that doesn't sound too bad for a tank Frontline Gamer, whats your problem?' Well thanks for asking, this isn't a 28mm game or 32mm game. Oh no, it's a 10mm scale game, that's right it's roughly Flames of War scale, but a little bit smaller. The cost is ridiculous when you realise that this isn't a big huge tank you're buying, but a 10mm scale miniature. The price seems steep. I think the starter box sets do come with free rules though, but I don't think you can download a free copy to try it out for yourself. Or if you can I haven't seen it. Bad form Dream Pod 9, bad form. Rules should always be available for free as far as I'm concerned to let punters try your wares. 9 times out of 10 we'll buy the book anyway! If people can point me to a free download of the rules on their website I'll happily post a link.

EDIT: The Colour Kiwi helpfully posted the link to the free downloadable quick start rules PDF. Thanks.

Game: Having said you can't download the rules for free, I did manage to get a copy myself from the Beasts of War 'Back Stage Pass' area. So I have had a good look through them. In the main I quite like what I've seen. The rules have a really nice tactical depth to them and offer you as a commander some really cool options. The profile of the troops / mechs is nicely detailed and has a rich amount of data allowing for some significant variance between factions by simple manipulation of profiles. Its all very polished actually and I have to say my inner mecha geek has already written more than one army list. A sure sign I'm dangerously close to wanting to take the plunge. I also like that the game has alternating activations, so I won't be sitting on the sidelines waiting for very long, something that's starting to grate on my nerves with certain games. Honestly there's a lot in the rulebook to commend the game. I just wish I could convince someone to throw down with me in a test game or something... but I think people are scared they'll enjoy it and need to remortgage their house!!!

Miniatures: As many of you who know me will attest, it's the miniatures that get me first normally. If I like the look of the miniatures I'll take a look at your background and if I can your 'free' quick start rules *shakes head at Dream Pod 9*. So if your miniatures suck donkey balls I'm really quite likely to just ignore your game completely. Yeah that might make me shallow, but hey I'm a visual whore! Thankfully though, I do have a thing for mechs, as I've probably stated on multiple occasions. If I could, I would build my own Mech and stomp people into the ground for real. However, as I'm neither an engineer or in any way smart or rich enough to build my own mech, my insatiable mech urges have had to be soothed and sated over the years with various wargames, computer games and anime. The Heavy Gear Blitz mechs look fabulous on the whole. I really like their designs and I think the differing factions actually do have clearly defined looks, and yet retain a good solid overall consistent design brief. I also love the 10mm scale as it allows you to create those big city scenes you've seen in all those mech anime, and have big all out brawls. So detail, design and scale wise I like Dream Pod 9's product. But some of the tanks and other vehicles just aren't up to scratch, I guess you could avoid some of the dodgier pieces or proxy them, but it's always nice I think to use the 'official' miniature. But as I say, on the whole they're fine as a range of miniatures.

Comic book / anime stylings... yeah I'm a sucker for it.

Background: Ah yes, the fluff. The stuff serious gamers say they pay no attention too. Well I say bollocks. Of course they do, it might not be the most important aspect of the hobby for them, but we all deep down, and sometimes even secretly like to know the motivations for our toy soldiers going to war. So what is the Heavy Gear universe like? Well it's your typical sci-fi fare isn't it? Big huge political powers vying for control of a each other and natural resources. I honestly haven't been able to find too much out about the back story to the universe as I would have liked. I guess that's what the full rulebooks are for, so I wouldn't want to do it a disservice. But from what I have seen, it looks good enough to motivate you to crush your opponents! However, I'll bring a further criticism, albeit constructive I hope, about Dream Pod 9's website... it's awful. It really needs a total overhaul. Give me a gallery of painted miniatures by faction, hell include a little bit of background blurb at the top. Give me an idea of how the game plays out, maybe a video tutorial or two, inspire me to play your game. But most important of all make it easy to navigate! People turn up to your website and it's the first interaction they'll have with you as a company and a product. Right now it's not a great first impression. That's a shame because behind the badly laid out website, the lack of information and the costly miniatures, is what appears to be an engrossing and great game, with big feck off robots!!! What red blooded geek wouldn't want to play that? Tell me that on your website!!! A hint sometimes less is more, especially where clutter is concerned. And sometimes more is more, where information is concerned.


+ It's small 10mm scale skirmish game, so you can play huge battles on your standard board.
+ It has mechs, lot of mechs. That's a plus right?
+ The rules are detailed and actually offer a good level of tactical depth. I like tactical depth. Yet I think the game will be quick and easy to play out.
+ Dream Pod 9 have been going for a long time all things considered. So future support for the game is likely.
+ For many people it'll be something different, from all the 28mm to 32mm skirmish and mass combat games we're all used to. Variety is the spice of life and all that!
+ It has a fervent and rabidly loyal following. Rubbish games don't encourage such behaviour in humans I normally find.


- Cost. No two ways about it, the biggest hurdle for me, and I'm sure many others is cost. It's just too expensive to start up. I'm told you wouldn't need much more after a starter set. But even so buy in cost seems steep.
- Although I quite like the look of their mechs, some of the tanks and jeeps look a bit iffy to me.
- Linked to above, it's a highly stylised game and the aesthetics will not have universal appeal... because some people have no taste and don't like big robots!!!
- There's not really a thriving community here in the UK that I could hook up with.

So there it is, my brief look at whether or not getting into Heavy Gear Blitz is a worthwhile endeavour. Honestly, almost everything about this game appeals to me. I mean I was a silly insane Battletech fan. And quite frankly I still would be if I hadn't sold all my mini's after I left University, to help pay for a new Wood Elf Warhammer Fantasy Army (great investment that turned out to be!). So Heavy Gear Blitz speaks strongly to the mech-head in me, it really does. I'd love to have two proper factions in my hand so I could demo it to people and try and drum up support for it, because I think the game looks superb. But the cost is prohibitive for me. I'd like to do more articles on the game for you all, as I think the rules themselves are dandy and it deserves a wider audience. The miniatures on the whole look pretty cool, especially the mechs, but I think the studio paint jobs don't do them justice so I'd like to show you all some better pictures of them. Sure I could take or leave some of the transports, tanks and troops. But they're all more than passable given the scale. No it's the price that puts me off, even if I was in work I'd probably baulk at getting into Heavy Gear Blitz... no that's not true. I'd try hard to convince others to get into Heavy Gear Blitz and they'd mostly baulk at the price.

They do look cool all lined up. Damn my love of mecha!

Let me be clear though it's not so much because I wouldn't want to spend that much money on the game, more that I know trying to convince others to do likewise would be a real struggle. As we all know you need at least two people to tango in wargames. Plus you need more than just two of you to make a thriving community. So the prohibitive costs just leave me wandering whether I'd ever be able to convince enough people to start up to make a viable gaming community. I doubt it right now as I don't have the dosh to get one let alone two starter sets to run intro games, and that's normally what it takes for me to drum up support. So for now Heavy Gear Blitz is just a big no, no for me, the price needs to come down drastically I think before this game could take off in any meaningful way here in the UK. Although right now there do appear to be strong localised communities in certain locales all over North America. If you live near one of these communities then you're lucky, and you should go and try and get an intro game in if you like Mecha. Next I'll be looking at MERCS. Peace out!

EDIT: Just been emailed by John Nguyen to inform me that Heavy Gear blitz is in fact a 12mm game as opposed to a 10mm game. But what's 2mm between friends? 


  1. And i thought i was the only one that loves everything but the price

    Roll on Mercs!

  2. AIshibei, you know what if the starter sets were 15% to 20% cheaper I'd possibly say fair enough. But they're not!!! lol.

    Love the mechs, really like the look of the rules I got off of Beasts of War, and the whole thing just 'speaks' to me as a person. Then I look as the price and say f@$% that!!! I'd be tempted if I get a job, but I'm not so sure I could tempt others.

    The problem isn't whether the miniatures are necessarily worth the asking price, although I'm not sure they are. No it's more the fact that other games at the moment seem to sit their starter sets around about the £20 to £30 mark and that really is an easy sell to most people. But £78? Nope I get told to go forth and multiply every time I suggest it. Its a shame because I know Mr Chaos Space Marine is a huge Mecha / Battletech fan as well but he baulks at the price.

  3. I really want to like Heavy Gear, but aside from teh price they change the scale some time back so all my 1st edition guys in 1/72nd scale are now useless, and I'm not rebuying!

    Still, I do consider this a great shame as it's a unique world with a unique visual style.

  4. AIshibei???? WTF am I on? That's meant to read @Ishibei.

    I must still be hung over. lol. :P

  5. @Gotthammer, yes I wasn't sure whether to bring the scale change into my article or not. In the end as I was ding this series of articles as if I was a new comer to the game I just assumed it wasn't an issue... although I know to an awful lot of people who play the game it was. I too think its a shame. I think the miniatures are resin as well aren't they? I've only seen some painted examples in a cabinet. If they are resin then it also makes the cost even more eye watering. Such a shame, as if it was cheaper I think I could get people interested. But hey, they're business plan has worked so far.

  6. Don't know about now, but the ones I have are metal and the ones from the first wave of scale change were also metal - but that was quite some time ago so may well have changed.

  7. A friend of mine picked up some Heavy Gear Blitz models and rules which I had a look over.

    As you mentioned, the cost of everything seems over the top but the thing that really put me off was the rule book; for each book available there are full colour and black and white versions, I saw the black and white version (as the colour edition was insanely expensive) and was really disappointed as it did look a bit like a cheap photocopy of the colour version and many of the diagrams relied on the colour coding which was completely lost when shown in black and white.

    The minis that I saw, whilst nice, didn't really justify the high cost.

    Looks like an interesting game that's overpriced, especially given the current market conditions.

  8. Heavy Gear Blitz! Wooo!

    Yes, the cost is... high. Although, just like Infinity or Malifaux you don't need all that many models to begin with. My starter army (consisting of 11 gears and an infantry platoon) was about $100. Anyway, if you ever do get a force together... I'll be there to destroy it! ;)

    There was a switch in scales but since that was almost a decade ago now I don't think it's something important for an intro article like this.

    The ruleset might be though. Which did you read? The main rulebook (HGB! 1.1) and/or the Field Manual? The rules in the Field Manual was gradually introduced about a year ago through the Gear Up! magazine and was later released as a supplement/update to the rulebook. It supercedes the rulebook and introduces a different way to play the game. Same core, but more streamlined so to speak.

    DP9 updated their site a long time ago, but I remember even then thinking that it wasn't very good. They really need to think seriously about it and redo it. I think it's especially important for a smaller niche game like this. The forums are full of people though, so that's good.

    I'll probably be back and ramble some more, but right now I'm off to play Runewars! :)

    Oh, and the gears are all metal while the tanks and the revised strieders are resin.

  9. The models are still mostly metal, with the exceptions of a few striders, and the newer tanks coming in resin. Its definitely a different game (i.e.: recon units actually have a purpose rather than just getting 'infiltrate'), however we don't play it enough to have ever really gotten the rules down. Games often end in headaches as we search for meanings of the numerous acronyms on the tiny stat cards.

    The minis are cool though, and not many are needed. The favorite of my little collection, is my slightly modified Hardy Aller tank (I agree, the Klemm light tanks look like garbage). See it here: http://dlwdg.blogspot.com/2011/03/running-day-late.html

    I only have 2 gear squads and the tank, and until we get a better handle on the rules, I'm not investing any more $$$. So far I only have one opponent, no one else is interested for many of the reasons you've mentioned above.

  10. @Gotthammer, don't worry I'm sure Martin will be along soon enough to tell us.

    @Hendie, that is exactly the attitude I've hit up against. If it was 50% cheaper I'd have people beating my door down to get a game. 25% cheaper and I'd still have a really healthy community going. But right now compared to other games it looks expensive. I might only need £150's worth of miniatures, and sure that looks cheap compared to a full GW army. It is however pretty expensive when you see what you get for your money!!! Difficult to justify the spend and to convince others to do likewise. Yeah, I didn't really touch on the mass of rulebooks you need or don't need and the B&W / FC options. Can anybody say rules consolidations? I guess it's another effective barrier to people who might be thinking of starting the game.

    @Martin, I accept that you might not need that much. But I can rock and roll with an Infinity starter set for £25. The rules are free. And for £30 I get an awesome huge TAG, not some piddly little tank!!! lol. It's expensive. Do I like the look of the game? Hell yes. Do I like th elook of the Mech? Hell yes. Would I like a NuCoal or a Black Talon force? Yep I think I do. But for the price it'd cost to start Heavy Gear I could start Bushido, Freebooters Fate and Dark Age. That right there is Dream Pod 9's number 1 problem. (see Gotthammer, I told you Martin would be along soon :P ). Just so you know it was the new field manual I saw, although I've had sight of the older rules. Personally I like the Field Manual rulebook.

    @Da Masta Cheef, nice looking tank. It seems I'm really not alone in my concerns surrounding price. Where I live is a veritable hotbed of wargamers and I can normally rustle up 5 to 10 opponents for pretty much any game you could care to mention without breaking into a sweat. Where Heavy Gear is strange is that there would be loads of people interested in the game and who know about it, way more than 5 to 10... but none of them are willing to spend the cash required to start. Very frustrating because it looks superb. Perhaps they need to move production over to a cheaper resin and lower the sale price.

  11. The price is what has kept me from taking the plunge aswell.

  12. @Marjedi, I'm noticing a trend. It'll be interesting as a show of hands, how many people have been put off buying into Heavy Gear Blitz because of the price alone? If you could just take the time to jot your name down it'd be interesting to see how many have been put off.

  13. This game must have a core group of players that support it.
    Otherwise I can't see how the game stays afloat, with those prices, the lack of a rules PDF and (overly busy) website.

    The minis look nice, but so do FoW minis. Assembling 10mm minis can very likely be an exercise in frustration, however, and quality of manufacture really becomes an issue.
    At that cost, they better be good.

    Never played it, or seen it played...but I'd play a demo game, cuz it does kinda look cool.

    Frontline, you're the worst kinda hobby pusher...at this rate, we'll all be in the poorhouse, playing a different game every day of the month.
    But we'd be happy....

  14. @SinSynn, I know. Sad thing is there's plenty more where that came from!!! It's the start of a series of articles I'm doing. A very long series of articles at that. Just so you know what to expect here are some of the games I've looked at so far that I'm yet to put up on the blog:

    Bushido the Game
    Freebooters Fate
    Dark Age
    Dust Warfare
    Relic Knights (as one to keep an eye on)

    I have a confession to make though. Some of those games companies were really helpful and friendly, and others... weren't. Plus some of the games look like riotous fun, and it tipped me over the edge with some of them... so yep I've taken the plunge with some of them. I really wanted Heavy Gear Blitz to be one of them. But I can't justify the cost.

  15. The price is the main reason I've been put off (not only in terms of how much it'd cost me to get an army but also the potential difficulties in encouraging others to invest). In some respects that's a good thing; it's one less army/system to be sat in my to do drawers that might not see the light of day for the foreseeable future :)

    To quantify what I said in my earlier post re the rulebooks, the "Heavy Gear Blitz! Locked & Loaded - Full Colour" (soft cover) retails for £50.00. The Infinity Rulebook RRP is £30.00, is full colour, hardback and generally a really nice book. Even the 40K rulebook (again hardback, full colour and a pretty impressive tome) is 'only' £35.00 and that's from GW who are much maligned for being a bit pricey.

    I just can't see how they justify such a price for a soft cover book before you've even shelled out for any of the actual minis...

  16. @Hendie, yep that's a fair point. As I'm sure you know, I'm more than acquainted with how fine a product the Infinity Rulebook and Human Sphere books are. ;)

    But I guess looking at some quality soft cover rulebooks I've see recently Freebooters Fate, lovely book £22. Hell Dorado £25, again a lovely book full of lots of nice artwork. Its steep. But clearly enough people are willing to pay the price to keep them going as a viable concern. So I guess the game and miniatures must be really, really good... or there are just way too many mugs out there. lol.... hang on, does that mean I'm potentially a mug? :P

  17. @FG I hope some of those games on that list join Heavy Gear otherwise I will be a very poor individual.

    What sort of frequency are you looking at for these articles?

  18. I'll admit to being interested in Dust Warfare.
    In my tiny mind, there's room for another system...maybe.
    In some way, I think I'm holding out for that game.
    And, yeah- you started me on that one too, with a post a while back.

  19. @Ishibei, I'm not too sure yet. Most of them are written, or at least part written. Not too sure of the frequency at which I'll post them at the moment as there are other articles I want to do as well. They're a follow on from my New Years Eve article on the Golden Age of Gaming. I'm just trying to highlight games to people that they might not have seen. Plus some of them people have asked me to look at.

    @SinSynn, Dust Warfare looks spiffing so far if you ask me. I love Paolo Parente's artwork and the whole dust Universe. Chuck in Andy Chambers as the head honcho for the rules and I personally think you have a potentially very strong package.

  20. hey guys, i thought i might add to this thread as i have a heavy gear army - its not fully painted (But its getting there). Although the scale is 10mm the gears are roughly 28mm in sie for the small ones and some of the bigger gears are 40/50mm or more - one of the crab walkers i have is about fist sized so they actually arent that small. the infantry and small transports are small but not too expensive. i think the smallest actual tank is about the size of a FOW tiger tank. (and some are much bigger). I do think however it is expensive but no more than Infinity is too buy in this part of the world (New Zealand). The game rules are really good. The one thing that does let this company done is their books are of a lower quality than what we have all come to expect like the FOW books, Infinity, Hell darado, Anima Tactics, Battletech ect. Soft cover rulebooks with little to no colour doesnt cut it in my eyes anymore (not for the prices they want for the books. Even the cards for the miniatures are black and white which is a real blow. Even a tiny company like GCT studios (Bushido) have high quality stat cards for each of their miniatures. However if you can see past this obvious production quality issue the miniatures are awesome and the rules are great. I think if the game became more popular then eventually they would take a leaf from other companies and up the production values and they game would take off.

  21. @Frontline - Yes it certainly is expensive. I'm not trying to deny that, I only try to point out the silver lining to those who might want to invest anyway. :)

    Personally I can just about swallow the price for the gears, but the vehicles are another matter (both their looks and price) and the rulebook is indeed quite outrageous! My solution was to simply by the PDF from DriveThruRPG and print that out - a lot cheaper and you get all revisions and updates for free later on. Again, not the ideal solution but something that might keep you going despite the price. Worth mentioning.

    This is a great discussion though and I think I'll metion it on the DP9 board (so blame me if you get flamed! Haha!). As SinSynn mentioned there is a relatively large group of hardcore supporters of the game which is good in many ways but I also think it can make the developers blind to outside influence. They're used to hearing a certain kind of reasoning from their fans and have no reason to change things.

    Looking at the rules themselves, what I really like is how different they feel to all other miniature games out there (just like Infinity!). There are very sharply defined roles for most units and your scouting units do just that, scout and mark targets for your heavy hitters' artillery or anti-gear missiles. The way electronic warfare works where you can scramble some of your opponents orders are really cool and you have to consider things like flanking attacks and focus fire. Also, I love how you can see and attack through pretty much any terrain depending on how good the sensors on your gear are and that the speed of the target modifies your attack roll! It forces you to think in entirely different ways. :)

    Oh well, hopefully DP9 will change their business model (and homepage) and we can start to build a player base here in Europe as well. A Japanese gaming buddy (Sir Motor) just started building a NuCoal force though. Haha!

    @SinSynn - I'm also slightly curious about Dust Warfare. I like the models but Dust Tactics feels a little too simplistic for me and I wonder if Dust Warfare will be able to add all that much since it still uses the same stat cards. Hmm... keeping an eye on it, but might end up using the minis wíth a different ruleset. Secrets of the Third Reich comes to mind.

  22. Also just found the free download starter rules


    Their download page has all the unit cards ect (some now in limited colour i see).

    Ill try and get some of my Heavy Gear miniatures finished and up on my blog this week.

  23. @SinSynn - Ah, I forgot to mention what Colour Kiwi just said: while the scale is 1/144 (about 10mm) the gears are as large or larger than your average 28mm mini (some substantially so!) so assembling them is no more tricky than Infinity or Malifaux. :)

    And one final thing to soften the high cost is that you don't need one the pre-made starter set to get started. Labelling it as a starter set is actually kind of misleading I think as it is more of an army deal, akin to what Corvus Belli did during Infinity Week. You could easily get just a general purpose squad and play your first couple of games just with that. The game is complex enough to reward that kind of slower buy-in (again, just like Infinity).

    Hmm... I think that's all now. Haha!

  24. @The Colour Kiwi, thanks for taking the time to post. Always glad to have comments from people who actually play these games. Personally I'd absolutely love to start up Heavy Gear Blitz myself. I even tried convincing people round by me in the UK. However, while I found many people were interested in the game and its looks, most cited cost as the reason they wouldn't look at it. Also those that had seen the books and the cards quite frankly thought they looked amateurish, and I'd find it hard to disagree with that assessment. Thanks for finding that link. I spent ages trying to find information on their website and got nowhere fast, they also didn't respond to my emails.

    @Martin, It was me who pointed out in my article that the game had a fervent following and said it was a 'pro'. I'm more than willing to be convinced, to be honest it wouldn't take much, and should I find myself in gainful employment anytime soon I'll be no doubt looking at Waylands Games (the only online retailer in Europe that seems to stock it) with my mouse hovering over the add to cart button! I'm not so sure how many others in the area would follow suit sadly. Looking at some of the 'army deals' the number of miniatures seems very low. Even if some of them are 28mm in height or more. In some cases we're talking an average £16 a miniature. Price is and some of the quality of periphery components is what harms this games popularity. Not the rules or the quality of the miniatures, which I happen to think are both high quality. Also don't worry about posting a link to my blog. You know me, I'm always more than willing to hear what anyone has got to say, as long as they're not rude or abusive.

  25. From the list of games you have put in one of the comments the following have me veeery interested, mostly cause they have alot of....uhhhhh nice minis

    Dark Age - awesome faction designs

    Dust Warfare - walking ww2 tanks....whats not to love

    Bushido - well heck the name sais it all

  26. Hey- I found this and thought I would chime in with some comments. While the cost of a starter does seem high, the 'normal' game size my group plays at is 750 points. Any of the starters will get you to that point or close to it. Costs may seem high, but it a fairly low model count. The tanks you referenced that were very expensive will typically be fielded as a stand alone model. I have 4 armies at this point and I don't feel cheated in the least bit on the costs. Heavy Gear Blitz is one of the best balanced games I have ever seen. I have yet to see the 'I am king and can't be killed' model or combination.

  27. @marjedi, will you look at that!!! How very funny. Those are 3 of the games that really, really interested me. Two of them I now have stuff for / have on pre-order... can you guess which ones? lol.

    @MiniGeek, thanks again for taking the time to comment like the colour Kiwi. It is really appreciated, genuinely it is. I have to say as somebody who has spent 27 years of 32 years on this planet being involved in playing wargames I was very impressed with the rules of Heavy Gear Blitz. Hand of Heart after I'd finished reading them I went out to try to drum up support for it. The perception of it being an expensive game though is a very strong one, almost debilitatingly so. However if what you are saying is that these starter sets get you to the average game size of circa 750points then that's interesting. I'd been told average games were 1250 to 1500 points. Double what you've said or almost double.

    If that's the case then I guess Dream Pod 9 need to call their 'starter sets' something different 'army deals' being a good name!!! lol. And actually release starter sets that are a lot cheaper to entice people in. Also list in points value what you get in their current starter deals on their website and how this fits in with average games. Their website layout is dire.

  28. The game plays well at any point value. Depending on your player group, the size of the games can be shifted up or down. We have regular play locally on Thursday nights. We have found that 750 point games fit well in that time slot. I am planning a 750 point tournament for later this month. When I starteed running demos in this area, there was one guy who had some stuff but that was it. He was not a staple to the FLGS with regularity. I started running demos and now I have 5-6 regular players and another 4-5 that are not regular. We seem to be gaiing some each month as well.
    On the priceing issue, keep in mind that you get a squad for $35-55 USD. The average GW squad is $35 USD. In HG, 3-4 'squads' is average. Some may have more, some may have less. A MILICIA army may have a ton more models but at the same time, with the Black Talons, you can field 1000 points in 5 models. If you look at it on a per model cost, it is still cheaper than Infinity and Privateer Press and is pretty much on par with Dark Age IIRC.

  29. FG what did you do, a friend just mailed me "did you see fg latest post, i always loved heavy gear we should start playing."

    Can someone advise whats the smallest table size you can play heavy gear assuming we are playing small games

  30. Greetings all. Martin posted about this blog entry on the DP9 forums (www.dp9forums.com) and I figured I'd wander over and see if I could clarify some things. I'm not a DP9 official, just a fan, though I do run demos for them from time to time. I'm also an inveterate wargamer that dabbles in many different games, so if you'd like I can break down how HGB compares to Warmachine / Infinity / Fow / 40k / etc.

    First the cost, since it seems to be the most prevalent issue. Most games of HGB sit at the 800 to 1000 TV mark; that's roughly between 10-20 models. Tanks and Infantry (both of which play a significant role) can skew those numbers quite a bit; at 800 TV you could field 6 Gears and 1 Heavy Tank and that would be your whole force. Similarly 5 Gears and an Infantry section with transport would be in the rough ballpark. However, certain armies can easily get 30+ models at the 800 TV mark, whereas others might be able to get by with as few as 5-6. Going from the Wayland Games page, that looks to be in the £100-£120 range, give or take. The downside to that is that Gears tend to be the nicest looking models, whereas tanks and infantry are only 'eh' - so generally expect most players to want to field about 10-15 models at 800 TV, which is a starter box (£78 from Wayland) plus one more 'box' which will probably be in the £40 range. That compares favorably to Warmachine, but not to the other games you mention earlier. HGB is certainly positioned to be best savored at higher than skirmish scale engagements, unlike Mercs, Dark Ages, Relic Knights, etc - so that accounts for some of the cost.

    As for the rulebooks, that's a weakpoint, most certainly. Unlike most other games they are trying to evolve as they go, which has led to a less consistent product line (in respect to the books) than I would have liked. They also seem to be positioning more for the PDF space rather than the print copy space, with many add-ons in their PDFs (indexed search, etc) that you don't get in the print copy. But yes - compared to their competitors their books lack some polish. The Perfect Storm books was just released has many elements of that polish, but has a pretty steep price of $55 USD.

    However, the game does combined arms really well, balances giant robot combat pretty well, and has electronic warfare and other elements like in Infinity but at in a *slightly* simpler, easier to play format.

    If you have specific questions feel free to ask. I've played HGB since it's inception and know lots of information about the army construction. I'll try to be balanced and not go too fanboi as well.


  31. Just noticed that no one has mentioned Gear Garage yet. It's an army builder program that's available to download for free from dp9.com. It's not as flashy as, say, DevilTeam's Infinity software but it certainly gets the job done. And with all the different equpment options available it's a big help!

  32. @MiniGeek, here in the UK Heavy Gear isn't cheaper than Infinity, Warmachine or Dark Age actually on a per miniature basis. I have checked it out. Not that that's the issue. Thanks for the info on the size of games you play though. I'll bear that in mind.

    @Ishibei, I know I'm sorry. You aren't the only person who has contacted me to have a whinge about me doing this series of articles!!! I've been warned that I better not do anymore... sadly I've got a fair few already planned.

    @IceRaptor, Thanks for taking the time to post such a useful and thorough response. Don't worry about going fanboi either. I 'd much rather hear from somebody who is passionate about their hobby than not. I try to keep things on an even keel myself... but I know sometimes I can come across all insane rabid fanboi because I love toy soldiers too much!!! lol.

    @Martin, thanks for the link to the army builder I'll have a fiddle around with it cheers.

  33. @FG It was all in jest i am actually extremely happy a friend is interested means i will have someone to play with and if hes involved i can get 2 more and thats my whole Dystopian wars group in :)

  34. @Ishibei, you know me...

    Frontline Gamer pimping toy soldier crack to unsuspecting gamers since 2011.

    Seems that I've caused one or two others to take a look at the game again. That was and is the aim of these articles if I'm honest. If it helps a few gamers get their gaming fix off of something new then my work here is done. :)

    Let us know how it goes though if you do start playing it!

  35. @FG will do. We are discussing entry point at the moment we can go for the Starter set to have a taste or jump straight in.

  36. One thing I will say, is that like Infinity you probably want to play a few games with proxies if possible to get a feel for the army 'type' that you like to play with. It has the same sort of ideals where you may end up liking a certain style of play but only figuring it out after sinking some cash in, and paying the ignorance tax. I really suggest people try a few games from demoers (if available) or try the rules out with proxied models to see exactly what sort of army people would like to build. Some people love tanks, some hate tanks while they love infantry. Even between Gears there's variation between chaff / elite and support / assault that can vary heavily depending on your local metagame. Again like Infinity; lots of heavy weapons tend to make Camo be more important, but if you don't have alot, Camo tends not be around as much either. At least, in my (admittedly) very limited experience with Infinity.

  37. @IceRaptor, again all really useful stuff. I agree to an extent about the ignorance tax with some games. But I haven't actually found it that bad with Infinity. I also think If I sat down with HGB I'd do OK at picking a force if I thought about it. I'll be honest I'd almost certainly be looking at NuCoal as my first force as I love the look of their Mecha. Any pointers on them as a force? Is the starter set any good for them?

  38. The more you comment on other blogs the more it seems to help.......

  39. @FG NuCoal is a good force in most ways; they get very fast 'Hover' Gears, good scouts, and many vehicle options. They also have interesting infantry and options to do mixed combat groups (e.g. add infantry to a Gear group). They are however a newer style of army construction with fewer weapon upgrades; this might put them at a slight competitive disadvantage but I've not going in that many GA games (instead of playtests) with them to know for sure. They do however combine every aesthetic from all the lines; they get Hover Gears, tanks and vehicles from the CEF / PAK forces, 'big mecha' (the Hussar) from the PRDF and lots of normal troopers when compared against the North and South factions.

    As far as starter armies, I don't think they have a bundle out there yet that's in the £80 range; they do have a 'super-bundle' but that's nearly $300 USD through the DP9 online store only. Until I see what they get in terms of an army bundle I can't say for sure if it's a good start or not. But do note that most army bundles are essentially a strike group and fire support group put together; you just wouldn't get the rulebooks, which would be a pain.

    If you like the aesthetic, NuCoal can certainly work for you. There are fewer 'swarm' options available, but you get some decent flexibility in terms of what you can bring that opens up lots of different tactics. You could start with Gears and quickly add light Hovertanks (the Fusilier) to change your gameplan entirely, for a nominal addition to your army.

    If you want to know specifics, let me know!

  40. So assuming you say want to play something like nucoal which books do you need?

  41. @Ishibi For NuCoal, you need the "Field Manual" (all the rules), plus "The Perfect Storm" (NuCoal army list). Beyond that you should be good. The same is true of the PAK list, which is an separate but similar list to NuCoal, and is in the same book (TPS).

  42. @The Angry Lurker, couldn't you just give me some of your followers. Hate to say it buddy but having 900 just seems a little bit greedy to me!!! :P Thanks for the advice. Not sure I'm ready to do the whole blog pimping thing though!

    @IceRaptor, again Thanks. That's really, really helpful stuff. You get a thumbs up from me... obviously though you can't see it because this is the Internet. Stupid Internet.

  43. Also like to say that I had an email off of John Nguyen from Dream Pod 9 today and he was very helpful indeed. Unfortunately, he's made me want to work harder at getting others interested in the game. So I'd better get a job soon hadn't I? Come on somebody has got to want to employ a tall leggy blonde!!!

  44. Heavy Gear Blitz is a fantastic game with the most amazing and developed electronics warfare element I have ever seen. Sometimes jamming a command or getting that key communication through is as important as making that lucky kill shot, or positioning your army. The game as a whole, in my opinion, very efficient in terms of cost against most games on the market. It's start up cost isn't gentle if you're looking at the 'army starter' boxes, I'll admit: at 115 USD, they aren't just a casual buy, but they are well worth the cost.

    I would consider a solid starting position to be just buying a GP squad. Every player picks up the GP squad of his 'i like that' faction, builds 5 gears and puts in 2 weapon upgrades... Bam. You all have spent 45 USD on well balanced training armies that will give you all a strong feeling of how the game plays. I can't emphasize how well balanced the GP squads are right out of the box: Much more so than some games 'starter' boxes are.

    The army starters are a good deal, definitely, but they make a better buy for someone who is satisfied with the rules and ready to dive in. Buying a GP squad is quick, simple, and uncomplicated. Fire support and strike squads (which come in the starters) have a great number of options that are daunting for newer players, I would think. But, once you have a GP squad, then you can get a starter, and those three squads (general purpose, fire support and strike) create a core army that is flexible and powerful!

  45. @False Mind, thanks. I've been flicking through the rules again and again recently. You know, just because. I really do like the look of them, and your advice about just buying a GP squad to start with seems like sound advice to me.

  46. @FG, I totally understand the 'leaf through rules' thing. I do that with a lot of games, if only because it's a fun mental exercise.

    The GP squad intro works well, with only a few exceptions: It's not terribly friendly to some of the factions. Black Talon's primary insertion unit, for example, with chew up and spit out every other GP squad... Similarly, The PAK and CEF (the two earth based forces) don't really have a GP analogue... But crafty and determined players could figure that out.

    1. Still leafing through it. I've got another potential convert today, so I'm up to 3 players who would consider taking the plunge IF I got an army. Beyond those we now have people saying if this core group of 4 get into the game and do demos that could snow ball round here to roughly 15 to 20 gamers in no time at all. So it looks like a lot of it is on my shoulders again to take the plunge and my 3 closest gaming mates who pretty much are my entourage now. :p

      Yeah I've got an entourage!!!

  47. From what I've read, standard games are between 100-1500TV (points). A friend and started recently, and buying through the warstore (discounts!) we each now have a 1000TV force for about 100$. The models look great and come with a plethora of extra weapon options, but there were some mismolds...all I had to to rectify it was email dp9 customer service and bam! A few days later replacement parts showed up at my door. I too cringe at the cost of tanks, but guess what-you can easily build an army of just mechs! And the rules are awesome (if complicated). It reminds me a little of infinity and flames of war mashed together.

    1. Yeah I've been told the average game is between 1000 to 1500 TV by a few peeps now. I'm sold on NuCoal, and I know there's a friend is very, very keen on the South, another looking at PRDF and a third now looking that Black Talon. Sooooooo close, just need that little push / shove and I think we'll have a Heavy Gear Blitz community here in the West Midlands in no time at all. So many gaming clubs and they're all so interlinked that this stuff snow balls eventually. I've seen some Mech a few weeks back and I love them. Ah well I guess I'd better see how much lungs are going for on the black market now.