Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Unboxing: Heavy Gear Blitz Southern Starter Army

Another Shiny box... no new box smell though!

Well now it's time for the other Starter set to spill it's beans. This time I'm going to lay bare the contents of the Southern Army Starter Kit. Much of what I said for the Northern Army Starter Kit unboxing is applicable to this box set too. Especially my comments about the price of them at Wayland Games. I think though Dream Pod 9 have sort of given themselves a difficult task 'selling' the game and concept. Not because what they've done is inherently unsaleable, it's not. But, when you look round at other Sterter Set's / Kits you'll see prices in the range of £20 to £30. Now you probably get half as much in those starter sets as you do with the Heavy Gear Blitz Starters... it's just that in our consumer addled brains now, that's the price point (£20 to £30) you expect to see. So they're swimming against the tide of perceived market wisdom I guess here in Europe... however, just look at the sexy Gears! Whereas the Northern Gears are all boxy retro 80's stomp machines the Southern Gears are slightly more rounded 90's anime Gears. I like the look of both to be honest with you, but people like me I guess have to help Dream Pod 9 with their task of convincing you lot that £78 for a box full of sexy Gears is well worth it. Which, it is:

If you're going to pack boxes with newspaper include the entire story. Now I'll never know what happened to Benjie the dog!

If this picture looks familiar, it's because it is! Look recycling is good for the environment!

Another box crammed full of stuff, this time Southern Gears.

Again too much stuff to fit into one box!

Once again we have an introduction letter telling us where we should start and about the forums.

Yeah so this picture has been re-used again. But the books are the same!

I'll skip the inside book shots as I'm sure you've all diligently read my Northern Army Starter Set unboxing article! So now onto the list of box contents:

  • 3x Black Mamba Gears (just tell the missus it's not the sort of 'Black Mamba' that requires batteries)
  • 3x Jäger Gears, this includes 1 Command Variant
  • 3x Cobra Gears
  • 2x Drones (Demolition)
  • 4x Neon Yellow D6
  • 1x Neon Yellow Measuring Tape
  • 1x Locked & Loaded Core Rulebook (5.5" by 8.5" Black and White)
  • 1x Field Manual Rulebook (5.5" by 8.5" Black and White)

As with the Northern Army Starter Kit there are also a plethora of weapons options:

  • 1x Very Heavy Autocannon
  • 1x Very Light Field Gun
  • 2x Heavy Grenade Launcher
  • 2x Light Bazooka
  • 3x Heavy Rocket Pack
  • 2x Very Light Rocket Pack
  • 9x Vibroblade
  • 3x Light Autocannon
  • 5x Medium Autocannon
  • 3x Heavy Autocannon
  • 1x Anti-personnel Mortar
  • 3x Light Mortar
  • 2x Ant-Tank Missiles
  • 6x Light Rocket Packs
  • 5x Medium Rocket Pack

Again all things considered it's a pretty packed box, full of sexy Gear goodness. I'm going to be honest, the real reason I looked at Heavy Gear Blitz in the first place is because I've always regretted getting rid of my Battletech stuff. Stupid bloody Wood Elves! Any way, I'm really glad I have because Dream Pod 9's Gears are way better than the miniatures I sold all those years ago, and the game looks really quick and entertaining. If there are any old Battletech refugees out there like me, I urge you to take a look at this game and the miniatures. I think like me you'll find a lot of merit in the system and the miniatures. It is yet again a full on army deal you're getting in this box, and with a few additions you'll be good to go for years to come I guess. So there they are, my two Heavy Gear Blitz unboxings. Peace out!


  1. There is a post somewhere on the Beasts of War forums from DP9. I put a link to it on one of my HGB blogs, but he said: "The “starter” label is on the box because it includes the rules and army lists. If it was just an army box then we’d just put “Army Box.”

    Maybe “Deluxe Army Box” would have been better. :("

    If they went with the Deluxe term I think there would be far less complaints about the starter sets.

    1. Actually I think that's not a bad idea. I just think they find themselves in an 'interesting' place market wise. I mean we're talking about a game that sits in terms of overall cost somewhere between the smaller skirmish games that are popping up on a regular basis AND the bigger game systems put out there by Games Workshop. I think in terms of cost though it's sorta on a par with HoMachine, and depending on how big you want your HoMachine armies 'tool box' to be probably a fair bit cheaper too. What I'm saying is I guess they've charted their own course and I think they're right too, as it's the right decision for their game. I guess we all have a role to help them out and also get our gaming groups involved. Purely to help DR9 of course and not so we have more opponents... o.o ... yep I think they brought that one too!!! Oh God I'm typing out loud again aren't I? Yep! God I'm a dimwit!!! Yes you are.

    2. I do agree that in general the pricing isn't that bad with everything that does show up. The only set that really takes a lot of explaining is the Black Talons box which only gives 5 minis for the same price as the PRDF, North, South, CEF, ect boxes. Granted one of those five is a strider, but still makes others raise an eyebrow to the box.

      The one aspect that really makes HGB stand out is the force composition rules. You can have your Warhammer Fantasy style large forces by choosing PL1 or the hyper elite Anima Tactics skirmish style with PL4, and anywhere in between with PL2/3. That really allows HGB to be a game the player chooses how to play rather then the rules. As you said, it's an 'interesting' position to be in for DP9 in terms of market share.

    3. Hmm indeed I think a friend of mine looked at getting the Black Talons set and then passed out from shock! lol. I think there's a need to 'educate' people in terms of the mini's size etc. Perhaps that's something I can look to do.

    4. I'll admit that I really like the look of the Black Talons. But I have reservations about the starter. Do you know if the Gears in it are larger than, for example, the ones in the southern or northern starters?

      And did you order yours from Wayland Games? If so, what was your experience? I'll be honest, I've made a couple of orders with them but so far I've been unable to get them to actually sell me anything..

    5. I didn't get them from Waylands Games because like you I just always seem to have problems with them... and I hate their website. It's such a ball ache to look around.

      Try Pyre Studios.

    6. Thanks for the tip, I think you spared me some serious frustrations.

      You really are something by the way..
      I started reading around on df9 site and it was pretty interesting.
      Reading your back articles on the starter sets was a mistake though, those were the ones that pulled me in..

      It'll probably be a few months before the purchase, since I suspect Sedition Wars will bleed my hobby money dry. So that gives me some time to decide between Black Talon and PRDF.

      You sir, are a serial pimper..

    7. Yeah I'm terrible. Seriously there should be a law against me!!!


    8. No kidding..

      In some ways I think we need more blogs like yours to help spread the love of relatively unknown games.
      But on the other hand..

      Be careful what you wish for and al that jazz :p

  2. You'll have to let us know how the assembly goes. I know from experience it takes a while, but well worth it considering the posing options.

    1. Yep will do. I think me and my friends are planning on magnetizing some of them as well. We might even do a tale of 3 gamers type thing! lol. If we can get our collective arses in Gear... in Gear... haha... get it? In GEAR? Oh OK so it wasn't that funny, I'll stick to writing Blog articles.

  3. Seeing the contents of these sets certainly make them look better value than the price tag initially suggests, especially seeing as there are 2 books included.

    Given that there are only 9 gears in the set and just 3 different variants I thought that after a few battles games might get a bit old but the amount of weapon options in the box suggests that there'll be plenty of variety (I'm assuming not all options will be available on each gear and some options are probably not going to be all that competitive). Fingers crossed all those bits are going to be easy enough to magnetise.

    1. Yeah, I think its not that bad tbh with you. I'd be fairly happy if I'd paid the money and this or the Northern starter sets is what turned up. I'm hoping I'll be able to easily magnetize the various weapon options too.

    2. Indeed the different weapon loadouts can completely change the battlefield role of any particular model. While it is a bit fiddly I highly recommend magnetizing them as this will give you all the options. So far I haven't come across any weapon that couldn't be magnetized.

      Here's a guide to how I did my Northern gears:

    3. Yeah I saw your article and very helpful it was too. If I do a magnetizing article I'll give you some credit as inspiration!!! :)

  4. I like my weapons solid, but martins blog post on magnetizing is very helpfull nice one.
    After putting together and painting some gears if i need different weapons in my squads i'll buy some more gears.magnetizing is a great idea, and i hope you pull it off. Way to fiddly for me. Cheers pancake.

    1. Not to mention too fiddly for playing in the pub with a jar or three ;-)

    2. Well normally Pancake I'd be with you. Historically if I wanted to have multiple options of a mini I'd tend to buy multiple versions of that mini... because I could. However, I'm having to be really frugal because times is tight. And by that I mean I literally have no funds!!! :( Seriously if anyone has any work or jobs for a game geek let me know!!! I'm available for hire!!! Back to the mini's I guess it's not so bad for me because I'm a dab hand at pinning normally, we'll see.

  5. When I first saw the price tags I had to wince a bit myself, then I looked at the component lists on the DP9 store and the fact you get most if not all of your weapon variants for the Gears in the packs as well as each model being (very) multipart and I realised where the money was going. When my South Starter Set turned up I was actually impressed how much kit you get in there.

    Interestingly if you run a rough equivalent model & price comparison with GW you get:

    Terminator Squad, Space Marine 5 man combat squad, 40k rulebook, GW tape measure and GW dice cube £85.70

    I know that's blatantly ignoring the deliberate competition-beater that is Assault on Black Reach at £61.50 but it illustrates a point. For multipart metal minis with loads of options DP9 are actually well priced in comparison to the market leader. Having seen the models at first hand I know which I'd rather have as well, although that may be my anime/mecha preferences shining through.

    1. Well quite frankly pretty much anything compared to GW pricing looks über reasonable. The fact that GW's kits are Finecast many of them too also puts me off. I hate, hate, hate the stuff... yuck!

      The other thing you have to consider though is that while many of these starter sets are between 65% to 80% of the standard 750 TV to 1000 TV range games means that the overall outlay is wau less than GW Games. You'd need way more than A Terminator Squad and a 5 man Combat Squad to pay a game of 40k.

      Also don't worry about voicing your anime / mecha biases my good man. I grew up watching the likes of Gundam etc. and still love the Patlabor films. Giant robots just fricking rock. END OF!!!

  6. Do these kits include enough stuffs to have a proper game, at proper point values, or will you still need to 'bulk out' your force to play at recommended levels?

    Starter kits have come a long way.
    Gotta say that Battlefront's FoW kit is pretty lame- a handful of tanks isn't really helping one get started in that game. You'd need at least another hundred bucks o' stuffs.

    GW's Assault on Black reach is similar. At best you can have a lil' skirmish. It's not how 40k is supposed to be played.

    Both kits feature el-cheapo models. People practically give the things away, they're so bad.

    The only real reason these things sell is so we can get the mini-rulebook. Let's face it.

    Some of the more recent starter kits, like these, and Freebooter, and Bushido, and others you've...pimped, seem more complete, and have official models.
    I'd rather pay more initially, and actually be able to have a decent game right from jump.

    1. I'm not entirely sure yet SinSynn. It seems to me that the average HGB game would be played at 750 to 1000 TV (points), but you'd still have a decent game at 500 TV (points). Sort of in the way that I think Infinity works best at 300 points to maybe 400 points at a push, but you still have a really decent game at 200 points. I could be hideously wrong but I kinda think both the Northern and Southern Starter sets are around 550 to 600 TVish. I think, I haven't really sat down and worked it out properly, but I will in the full on reviews rest assured!!!

  7. As much as I would like to get into Heavy Gear Blitz (I have a lot of the old RPG stuff from years ago), I just cannot justify the cost. The best part of £80 for an army (and I would need 2 for demoing). Just not practical right now.

    1. Yep, I'm not going to argue over you with that Angus. I know a lot of peeps in the same boat as you. I too had reservations, but I guess the thing with HGB for me is that it's offering me something different to all the skirmish games I play right now. I also think when I compared the cost of my NuCoal collection to what I had to get to make my Retribution of Angry Elves look OK and give me options to be competitive HGB actually came out cheaper than HoMachine and the miniature count was similar. It's not that bad. But I think it's a hard first hit to swallow for many people.