Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Review: Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual (full Colour)

    
      

As many of you will know I've been really taken with Heavy Gear Blitz recently. It's all those giant robots and hover tanks that do it I think. Any way I've had my copy of the Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual for quite some time now, and I thought it was a bout time to give you all a bit of a break down on what I thought of it as a product and as a game... if those two things can be so easily separated out. I'm willing to give it a go...

Product Description

What we have is a roughly 60 page full colour (the book is also available in Black and White for £10.50), soft back rulebook. The pages have a matte finished and the cover has a high glossy cover. It is glue bound, and unsurprisingly contains the rules for Heavy Gear Blitz... what? It's a rulebook, I thought people might like to know it contains the rules is all.


Gameplay 8.5 out of 10

It's often really hard to review rulebooks without re-writing some of the rules and quite frankly going into far too much mechanical detail. I've re-written this section of the review three times now, because every time I want to talk about something nifty in the game I end up reproducing the rules, which obviously is a breach of copyright and not really all that helpful to you in terms of understanding what the game plays like in a general sense. That is actually what a review of a rulebook should be about, if you want to have a look at the rules you should zip along and read the free quick start rules download for yourself. I'm going to be talking like a hippie in this review, trying to give you sense of what the game is like and talking about the feel of the thing... man. The game is very fast, fluid and highly tactical. The game system also responds well to different types of scenery and table layouts, with different options and tactics becoming more or less prevalent depending on the scenery down on the table. In some respects the game works equally well with any sort of tabletop set up you could imagine, it'll just play differently and different tactics will rule. That to me is a sign of a good system.

A typical sort of two page spread in the book.

Firstly the game can seem a bit daunting when starting out, even more so than most games. It's not more difficult or indeed complex than most, in fact it's the opposite once you get down to the core mechanics, its actually quite an easy set of rules to understand and they're actually quite streamlined. Nope it's the words used, Heavy Gear has its own language and lexicon to learn but once you're past that the games a doddle to play. There also at first seems to be a lot of it, but what the game actually gives you is options, lots of options, but none of the rules governing these options are complex or overly fussy. In this respect reading the rules and learning to play the game is actually quite a similar experience to another favorite of mine, Infinity. In many respects they're kindred spirits, both games want both players to be as involved as they can be at the same time, they don't want you experiencing 'downtime'.  They both want to offer players choices and options on the table, but they don't want the rules governing those options to be complex. Get over that initial trepidation and you'll start realising the game isn't as daunting as you fist thought.

On page 5 of the book is a brief description of each of the various facets on a units cards. You can see a picture of page 5 to the left. I've watched people reading the rulebook who I've loaned it too stop on this page and make a confused face, sometimes they make strained noises, but mostly they just look a bit scared. There is no question that the Datacards contain a lot of information, and it is a little overwhelming if you aren't used to such things. For instance most Gears within the game will have multiple weapons that can be used by them. While most games give individual models just the one weapon and that's your lot, it's all part of Heavy Gear wanting to give the gamer options, as I mentioned earlier on. The Field Manual does a great job though of explaining it all clearly and precisely. There's obviously loads more than just weapons, and various 'stats' have multiple numbers, which obviously relate to various different 'options' you choose as you're playing the game. It could've been badly handled and mentally traumatised the more timid gamers amongst us, but it is explained swiftly and clearly and at no point is too much information loaded onto the player in one shot. The thing that causes the next panicked look is the mention of 'Threat Value' (TV) and 'Priority Level' (PL). They really aren't that daunting though, all you need to know now is that TV is in effect the points a unit cost, in much the same way as pretty much every other game you've ever played, while PL is about selecting the sort of force composition you want to use. The higher the PL value the better or more access you'll have to the elite units in your army.

Take that master of the beard!!! Oh wait... no... that's me!!! *sad face*

This is the first nifty thing I want to talk about with Heavy Gear Blitz, selecting your forces. I'm sure many of you will be familiar with the term spam. Many games have what I'd call no brainer units and defunct choices, why take any of unit X when you can take multiple unit Y's, which are just so much better? Games have tried limiting you from taking such elite forces only, either by putting a limit on how many you can take or introducing a second point value as in the case of Infinity with SWC. All have their places and all work well when implemented properly. Heavy Gear Blitz takes a slightly different route. It says if you want that elite force that's fine, take it, but we expect you to win by more because of what you've got in your force. It's actually a really subtle and very clever way of balancing things out. You can take a PL 4 force in a 750 TV game if you want, but if your opponent is playing with a PL 1 force they need to achieve less to ensure victory. I like this a lot.

After you've selected your forces you'll want to set up a game. Now obviously you can choose straight up brawls but the game includes options that cover Table Effects like sand storms or night time, unusual events such as Extreme Temperatures, which mean you can start the game stunned. All that's before you decide what the deployment zones will be. Obviously you can follow the set up and pick the various aspects at random, and that's fun too, but I think what these various rules and options give you is the ability to construct your own battles exactly how you want them. I think the scenario set up in Heavy Gear Blitz is a real strength of the game coupled with the PL system it actually makes for really engaging and exciting games. To see a game that has such a tight and well considered scenario generator from the outset is actually a pleasure. Many games offer standard missions or a very few random options, but with Heavy Gear there really is a sense that all of these various options give rise to very different games, that force players to think on their feet, and more importantly on the table.

Speaking of things 'on the table', I'd better talk a bit about the game and how it works hadn't I? Well as with most wargames the core mechanics revolve around random outcome generators, or 'dice' as normal people call them, these 'dice' are 'rolled' to generate uncertain outcomes. I'm sure you're all familiar with the process! Rolls tend to be face to face rolls / opposed, or against target numbers, The game uses the trusty old D6, but often you'll be rolling multiple D6 or to be more precise 2D6, although it isn't a 2D6 system. Let me explain, so what you do is roll your two dice and take the highest score, you don't add them together. You then compare the results either against your opponents roll or a target score you need to achieve, depending on what it is you are attempting to do, to discern the margin of your success (or in the case of my gaming buddy the Cursed the margin of failure) and that determines the nature of what happens, like how much damage you do etc. it's a really straight forward and quick fluid system. The game uses alternating activations, so I activate a unit then you activate a unit. All actions in a unit must be carried out so move shoot and fire with everything you can, before moving on. Their are a few actions which allow you to respond outside of this sequence like reactive fire, but it's not the norm as it were. This keeps the game close and also means you're always doing something and participating rather than being passive. I hate being passive!!!

I could go into how movement works or ECM and many other neat little touches I like in the game, but you can read about them yourself in the quick start rules. The purpose of this review is to let you know that I love the game, and that the Field Manual makes the game really easy to learn and play. I've personally found the rulebook really accessible and easy to read. I've also found it really easy to focus in on a specific section in the book when I'm a bit lost ad am not quite sure what happens next. I think the fact that the core rules for playing the game are actually only 18 pages long helps a lot, as does the fact that it's set out in a logical fashion. The rulebook is also jam packed with flow diagrams and diagrams explaining the rules and and various sequences, which really help give you a clear sense of what the rules actually mean and how they should be implemented. It's just a really good game with a really well laid out rulebook, if big giant robots beating seven shades of crap out of each other is your idea of fun then you should consider looking at this game, it's great fun.

Detail 7.5 out of 10

The detail section of a rulebook review is an interesting beast. It the past I've picked up on the ambiance of a book, the fluff and back story, but not really all that much. It's more about the images and pretty pictures, as well quality of the writing. In terms of the pictures within the rulebook they're all exceptionally clear as are the diagrams. It's very well written and is cleanly and clearly laid out. The only downside is the distinct lack of fluff, but the idea behind this rulebook was to just give you the rules straight and clear, and on that count it does it's job. If you want the fluff you should go check out the other books in the range, like the NuCoal Perfect Storm book (review of that coming shortly).

There's even some nice pictures of 'aspirational' boards... books and tablecloths again then?

Quality 7.5 out of 10

I've often bemoaned the poor quality of some rulebooks in the past. I've found that many of them have been badly constructed and flimsy, meaning they're easy to damage during use. Rulebooks aren't like your paper back novels that once you've read them you don't mind the fact they have cracked spines, as in effect they're 'done'. Nope, rulebooks are tools of the trade, things that will see repeated use, reference materials if you will. As such they need to be produced with this function in mind, they are the laws by which our geeky hobby is governed, and they will see repeated use. Now I can already hear Jon Nguyen in my ear telling me that's what the downloadable PDF's are for, and I should upload them onto my iPad... and yeah that's really handy, and an option I'd urge you all to explore if you have a tablet computer of non-specified brand or make to hand. There are other things out there besides the iPad people. But here's the problem with that, it requires you to have an iPad or some such device in the first place, and it doesn't negate the fact that I've found the binding on my rulebook to be, not poor exactly, just not up to spec. It's a bit like the binding on Games Workshops Codices from a few years back when they'd be fine for a while but start to crack a little too early for my liking eventually. 

That's already started to happen with my book, even though I have digital copies of it. Why? Because from the age of 5 my brain has been hardwired to bring a rulebook with me. To resort to the rulebook. Is that silly, do I need to get out of the habit and use my electronic copy? Probably, but for others the rulebook is all they'll have access to. It's by no means a deal breaker, and 7.5 isn't a bad score, it's just an average in terms of rulebooks. The pages being a matte finish also means that they've tended to get a little bit grubby as they've been thumbed. Now I'm sure I've banged on about this before, but I think pages should be a satin finish! Not high gloss so it feel weird to thumb through, and makes the pages hard to read, and not matte finish so it looks tatty and dog eared after use. Satin finished pages retain enough of the best properties of the other two options while negating most of the negatives. Yeah, I really do think about these sorts of things, and yes that probably does make me a bit of a freak. But, it's freaks like me that obsess about these things and point them out to people like you so you don't have to. You should thank me for being so strange, and count your blessings you don't know me in person!


I am however going to say the actual print quality on the pages is top notch. Despite me giving the book a damn good thumbing over the past few months, hell I've even given it to my friends so they could give it a good thumbing too... I'm honestly not trying to make this sound dirty... and so far I've noticed no ink smudges or running. The pictures and print are all really clear and easy to read, something regular readers of my Blog will know I appreciate immensely, as I'm dyslexic. Trust me if I can work out what your rules are saying and accurately play your game after one read through then the print and layout is fine. I'd also like to give a thumbs up to the glossy cover... yeah it's OK for covers to be glossy... why? Well some blithering idiot spilled a can of Coke over the book during a game... OK the blithering idiot was me, but thankfully because of the glossy cover no damage was done. True if it had got to the pages I'd have been done for, but the glossy cover gave me time to respond. I never seem to learn my lesson either, open bottles and cans of fizzy pop and I have a long and sordid gaming history. As rulebooks go quality wise it's not terrible and its not awesome, it's just average, and that's not bad.

Service 6 out of 10

Although this has nothing to do directly with the rulebook itself, or indeed Dream Pod 9, it does speak to an issue the game has here in the UK and Europe. I ordered the book off of Waylands Games, and to be honest the service I get from there is usually very mixed, that's me being as polite as I can be. When I ordered the book their God awful website said it was in stock. Over a week later, nearly two weeks, I hadn't received anything, so I contacted them and they told me to wait for a month or so for it to turn up. They claimed over the phone it had been sent. The post date stamp on the parcel I received 5 days later begs to differ with that claim. The book also came with a number of other things I'd order at the time. It wasn't packaged well at all. No bubble wrap to protect it from the boxes or anything. I'm pinning my colours to the mast here, I hate trying to use Waylands Games website its shocking to navigate, and I hate having to use them for orders because they're shockingly bad at getting it right. Sadly they have exclusive distribution rights to the game here in Europe, which means none of my usual stores will go near it as a product, even though many have told me they'd like to stock it. Honestly, Dream Pod 9 in Canada offer a far superior and speedier delivery service to Waylands Games and I'll be using them from now on, and I'll possibly give Pyre Studios a go.

Price 6.5 out of 10

Eyebrow raising moment again. Waylands Games are selling the full colour rulebook for £21, and I have to say for the quality of the book alone I'd score that as poor value for money. I'd have expected the product to have been closer to £15 or £16 mark, as that's what I normally pay for products of a similar quality from other games... simply put don't go to Waylands Games, try Pyre Studios instead who are selling it for £16. That is a really fair price, and if I'd paid that price I'd have given it a score of 8 out of 10. Indeed it's actually cheaper to get it imported from Canada via Dream Pod 9 than it is to get it from Waylands Games. Waylands Games really are a bit of a joke when they have a strangle hold on distribution rights.

Overall 8 out of 10

I've taken the scores for service and price out of the equation because that's Waylands Games doing what Waylands Games do, screwing things up. It's not fair to score a product from one company down, because another doesn't know its arse from its elbow! Besides, the most important thing for any rulebook is that the rules are presented in a clear and easy to understand manner. That it is easy to navigate to and that it's layout makes sense when trying to look things up when you think your opponent is cheating... I've got my eye on you!!! That the games the rules produce on the table are fun, engaging and above all else worth your time. On all those scores the Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual exceeds expectations. I'm sure some of the fluff bunnies out there will be sobbing into their perfectly crafted back stories for their armies at the lack of fluff, but that's not what this rulebook was about. It was about streamlining the rules and making them easier to pick up and play, plus sorting out some issues in the Locked and Loaded rulebook, on than score I think it's made of epic win. If you want the fluff their are plenty of other source books out there, truly there's loads of them, if you want to start playing the game then I highly recommend you get this book first and read through it as it makes the game seem far more accessible than the original rulebook I saw did... and as someone who is dyslexic that's a good thing. Peace out!

67 comments:

  1. Great review! It's neat seeing more Europeans get into the game. Now I just need to convince my friends to try it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the reason its not really taken off here in Europe is covered in the review. Wayland do a great job of convincing those outside of Europe that they're the be all and end all. While those of us in Europe know they're actually not that good. They were just the first at what they do and that's made them relatively big. they're not even the third or fourth best online retailer in Europe. I am however in full on pimp mode round by me for this game. I'm hoping to get more and more people into it.

      Delete
  2. Interesting.. Very interesting.. I'm liking what I see here..
    Thank you for the great write-up, it's very helpfull!

    I've been interested in 10-12mm games for a while now. Heavy Gear Blitz, Dropzone Commander and Firestorm: Armada in particular.
    Based on Martin's review F:A might not be my thing (thanks btw Martin!), although that Dindrenzi Federation fleet calls to me.. DC is still in the air. But I will admit, the more i read about HGB, the more I like it.

    About Wayland, I made the mistake of ordering my Infinity bag with them. A month and a half ago. Apparently it's been problematic to get it from their supplier, so now it's listed as a pre-order. (Really, why do you list it as highly available then.) It might or might not be send in the next two weeks apparently..

    Damn, I might need to start my own blog in the future, if only to relieve your comment section from my crap :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By all means start your own Blog, but don't worry about using my Blog to jot down your thoughts and rants. That's sort of what it's here for... well one of the reasons!!! :P

      FA isn't that bad if you approach it as a fun little game to waste a few hours with. I agree mostly with what Martin said in his review, it'll never be my serious game, but it is deserving of a place on my gaming shelf.

      Heavy Gear Blitz though is one of my current big three, along with Freebooters Fate and Infinity. Hopefully shortly after a bit of scenery building I'll be able to add Bushido to that list and make it the big four. I'm glad my review might have helped you out.

      Delete
    2. Getting started might not be the problem, it's keeping it going :p So for the time being I'll keep bothering you then ;)

      It's the setting that does it for me and I just love the miniatures (space ships in general actually). But at least for now there are still enough potentially 'serious' games to get started with first.

      Although, the more I think about it, the less rational my choices of starting a particular system over another seem.

      Anyway, you list HGB as one of your big three and make a comparison to Infinity. Both things make me sit up and take notice.

      Delete
    3. Yep if you download the free rules and can convince someone to try a game with proxies they'll most likely be hooked. If you can get a gaming partner or two it is well worth it. Great game.

      Delete
  3. Great review indeed !

    Kinda complex rule and too many modifications for rolls but HGB still really good game for who really love robots.
    Combat-Lock,Active-Lock,ECM,ECCM....those gives me feel like I'm commanding army of robots.

    I hope this article made HGB more popular.
    Then DP9 get rich....They can make Japanese translated version of HGB. :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I'm not too bothered about a Japanese version... :P

      As a question, how big is tabletop wargaming in Japan?

      Delete
    2. Tiny. Very small,I can say.
      Less than thousand players there.

      I'm struggling to make them to be big community with my portal site( http://www.chaaarge.com/ ).

      Delete
    3. Hmmm...

      That's strange. I thought that wargaming might have been right up the alley of Japanese geeks. I just assumed that in many respects the whole building on miniatures and painting them might have appealed to parts of Japanese culture. Even the wargaming and competitive aspects I thought might have found a fan base. Do you have any thoughts as to why it is so difficult to get people playing games in Japan?

      Delete
    4. There is two problem.

      1.Space
      We do not enough space for playing games and stock miniatures. It is not only for person. Even shops have struggle with it.
      So making game club & game shop is bit difficult here.

      2.Price
      As you know,Games Workshop is one of biggest entrance for who want to start miniature game. And of course they do attract people.
      But,Price. You have two pay double UK price in Japan(like Australia). Too expensive.

      3.Language
      Most people can not and do not want to read English.Some kind phobia I assume. There is official Japanese version of GW games but other company games do not have Japanese version.

      4.Other game
      Well,there is bunch of TV game,card game,RPG...they do have share.Big share.

      For 4 reason,wargaming is not popular here,I think.

      Delete
    5. That's pretty interesting. So what about a game that could be played on a coffee table and was cheap to get into? Would that have a chance? Because if so I think the guys at GCT Studio's might have the answer with Bushido the game... if they can get those rules out in Japanese that is.

      Delete
    6. Bushido is interesting game.
      I have to check.

      GCT Studio can gain good amount of player in my country if they can release Japanese version....I assume.

      Delete
    7. Perhaps I'll put in a good word for you Japanese Gamers.

      Delete
  4. Well they reckon they will have a new webstore soon (Wayland) possibly with live stock levels shortly after. We'll see. I don't know any stores that will use them as a distributor sadly, they have that sort of reputation... Talking to various LGS people I know, they say that most manufacturers that distribute solely through them drop them after a year or two as sole distributors. Whether that's true or not I can't say but I can say that myself and others at the club have had very mixed service from them, mostly slow but occasionally having orders cancelled and cards refunded with no warning, choice or reason given. Given the lack of any marketing activity I've seen in the European arena it almost feels like they're happy to camp the monopoly they have and aren't bothered about getting the game out there...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I'm sure Waylands promised a marketing drive... or as it's more commonly known Beasts of War coverage, but they don't really seem all that keen to push it. At Salute when I asked about it I got a couple of blank faced stares and decided to walk away.

      The reason many people in the LGS's I know don't trust Wayland Games is because they're untrustworthy in effect. A few have said they have problems getting stock out of them and that its like Waylands own webstore comes first. Some have claimed other devious tricks but I've not seen evidence of that. All I know is that their customer service is shit!!!

      Delete
    2. I don't know if you saw the Beasts of War coverage, but I honestly believe it did the game more harm then good.

      I watched the faction breakdown for the South and it was painful to watch. The video was 15 minutes long and during that time they said absolutely fuckall of interest.

      But it's the 'demo game' that takes the cake. Half an hour of static gunline. It looked utterly souldestroying and if that would have been my first exposure to the game, I wouldn't have come near it.

      Delete
    3. Yes I saw the recent BoW coverage. Honestly they should just stop. It's clear to anyone who actually plays wargames that they don't actually know that much. It seems clear to me and many of those who actually play the games they "promote" that they don't know what they're talking about and don't play them. The HGB stuff was laughably bad.

      I also think you're right, their coverage did look like it'd do more harm than good. To think companies have to pay them for that kind of coverage as well. They don't publicize that on there website either do they? Hey we're Beasts of War and people pay us to put these glowing articles up about their games... I'm sure there's legislation covering infomercials and paid for editorials and full disclosure of facts.

      In fact I know there is because I worked for an organisation that paid for a number of infomercials to be ran on radio here in the UK, and we had to make sure it was clear that's what they were. The Advertising standards Agency give very clear guidelines here in the UK, and I'm sure it's because of EU law so all EU member states will have similar guidelines and I can't believe the USA doesn't. They should just come clean and say "Hey these articles are paid for by the companies".

      Delete
    4. At the time my Heavy Gear stuff hadn't arrived yet. The only thing I knew were the faction blurbs on the Dream Pod 9 site and I still had the distinct impression I knew more about the background than they did. But I hear they are owned by Wayland Games, so it actually makes perfect sense..

      Can't speak for the USA, but I can confirm it's the same here in Belgium.

      Delete
  5. As to the product, I have the PDF version and the B&W print version. It's very good, clear, concise rules, a bit thin but then again it doesn't have all the fluff and lists from the old Locked and Loaded book. I guess from reading rhe DP9 forums the other factions will be getting faction books like Perfect Storm which will give fluff heads all the juicy details they want :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the PDf's for all the books... because I'm just that sort of guy. I also have the physical copy of perfect storm. I'd love to get hold of all the other full colour books after reading that because the background detail and stuff is brilliant. Really good product that is.

      Delete
    2. Talking about books, which books do I actually need to play the game? Do I only need the field manual or the locked & loaded book as well?

      Delete
    3. All the rules are in the Field Manual, however the army lists are in their respective books. North, South and Peace River in Locked & Loaded, NuCoal in Perfect Storm etc.

      By the way, the entire Field Manual is actually available to download for free through Beasts of War! Pretty good deal if you ask me: http://www.beastsofwar.com/heavy-gear/download-heavy-gear-blitz-rulebook/

      Delete
    4. Ah I see Martin came along with the public service annoncement. You do only need the Field Manual for the rules, and Rich_B is absolutely right, I think the intention is to give every faction its own Field Guide ála the NuCoal Perfect Storm Field Guide. If you want to build an army you can however download the Gear Garage app and all the Datacards for you factions. If however you buy one of the starter sets they'll come with pocket sized versions of the books you need any way... by the way Black Talon mini's are bigger than the other starter sets, and a bit mean. However, I think the PRDF starter set is actually really, really good.

      Delete
    5. Thank you too Frontline.

      It'll be an agonizing choice between the two with me constantly second-guessing myself. But, to me, it is a sign of good miniature design if I want to own (nearly) all of the factions.

      Delete
    6. Well I say why choose? You'll need two factions to demo the game to people won't you? Go on you deserve two starter sets, I mean it'll be Christmas soon... *ahem*... and it'll be like a Christmas preset to yourself!!! You'll also be doing your friends a favour as well by allowing them to see how utterly awesome the game is. You wants the preciouses you needs them!!! Give in to the Dark Side Luke... whoops... mixing film metaphors again. :P

      Seriously though why not go for both? Why put yourself through the agony of choosing? Besides, I hear you don't need two kidneys!!!

      Delete
    7. Dammit Frontline, you're making the voices win!
      But I wants it..

      Two starters give me two rulebooks.
      One could be.. a present.. perhaps.. for a friend..
      No ulterior motives of course..

      Delete
    8. No of course not!!!

      What ulterior motives could there be? I;m confused? I mean how could such a generous gift as giving a friend such an awesome rulebook to such and awesome game be anything other than a completely selfless act? I think it'd make you one of the best friends in the world.

      The cats say do it!!!

      :P

      Delete
    9. Damn, approved by cats.. :p

      One last question, do you know if the starters are all the points value of is it more like Infinity starters? Or does the PL come in to play already?

      Delete
    10. The starters are all around the 750 TV level if you take various options, and that's a really good starting point to play the game actually. &50 TV is a sound game level, so in a way the starter sets are really more starter armies. We're looking to play at around 1250 TV round here as we have the space and geeks to do it now. But a good 750 TV game works well every now and then to blow the cobwebs out.

      Delete
    11. Thanks.

      When I started this hobby, I said to myself I was going to buy one box, paint it, then buy the next.
      Now I have more armies lying around than I can shake a stick at, none of them painted. I'll need to schedule a hobby day like your sunday I think..

      And I'll have you know, I'm blaming you! ;)

      Delete
    12. You'll have to join the back of the very long queue of gamers lining up to blame me for bankrupting them I'm afraid.

      Perhaps my Blog should come with a health warning or something.

      Delete
  6. Well I'm still slogging my way through all those lovely free pdfs that I won, and I have to say that, so far, I like the way the rules work. I just need to persuade someone to try a proxy game with the quick start rules.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I hear tell that there are a few HGB gamers north of the boarder. They do seem to be closer to Edinburgh than Glasgow though, and I'm not entirely sure whereabouts in Scotland you are.

      Delete
    2. I'm nearer Glasgow than Edinburgh, but I'm a member of St Aidans Warriors, a GCN club in Clarkston, Glasgow with a pretty solid membership. We started as a GW only club, but its fair to say that GW games are almost in the minority now, most weeks there are games of Flames of War, Malifaux, Dystopian Wars, Infinity, etc.

      Delete
    3. Well it's great to hear you have a gaming club so nearby that sounds as healthy as it is. You shouldn't have too much trouble I'm sure convincing people to play HGB then... geeks tend to like giant big robots in my experience! :P

      Delete
  7. Where are you based? If you're around Nottingham way then I'd be happy to oblige :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's based in Scotland Heid, so it'd be a bit of a commute to get to Nottingham I think. Once me and my mates are up to speed though we might pop over and give some of you a game.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the offer, but as Jody says, might be a bit of a commute.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, it might be a bit too far to go for a game of toy soldier... although I did once travel to the south of France to play a game... and yes I'm ashamed to admit it, it was the primary reason I went. God I'm such a geek.

      Delete
    4. Would be at the moment with my bike off the road but once it's sorted Glasgow's not so bad :-) The only problem would be resisting the urge to keep riding up into the Highlands ;-)

      Delete
    5. Well when you have yourmotorbike fixed you can trundle over to my neck of the woods for a game or three my good man!!!

      Delete
  8. Any store with "Wayland" in the title makes me very angry.

    Very angry indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second that!!!

      Actually can I third it as well?

      Bloody awful... both of them. Went in there the other day to pick up a board game maybe, and the two I was interested in were £15 and £10 more expensive than I'd seen them anywhere else. Made me a little bit angry. I know he charges way too much for his HoMachine stuff, actually charging more than RRP, but 33% more on both of those board games than pretty much every other store takes the piss.

      Delete
    2. I always thought the board games where RRP in the store which made them seem more expensive.
      The problem is the store is the biggest anywhere near me, they just have so much stuff! Browsing for games on the internet is never as fun as picking up the boxed product.

      Apart from the handful of stuff in Forbidden Planet, is there another gaming shop in Birmingham?

      Delete
    3. Well there is Waylands Forge, which is what Ant is talking about and that's about it.

      Delete
  9. This game does look so nice, I love the Mech design and from what you've said about it, it does sound like a really good game.
    Im gunna down load the rules but alas I cannot see me delving much deeper than that.

    Too much to do and so little funds to play with.

    Still if I did somehow come into a cashfall that could crush a field of cows I would get involved in this.

    -Voidsign-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well you'd better start checking to see if you have a PPI claim OR strte entering the lottery.

      Delete
  10. Alex Deeprose14 June 2012 18:14

    I'm really glad to see Wayland starting to get this kind of flak on some well travelled blogs and websites. They have been increasinglt atrocious for a long time, but due to their size and exclusivity on some stuff, basically feel that they can what what they like.

    My local club refuses to use them anymore, and more people I know are being convinced to stay away. A company like this will never change its practices until they start to hit their bottom line....we may be small fish, but if all the small fish bugger off somewhere else the big ones suddenly realise they can't eat any more :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I too get the attitude off of them that because they're big they can do what they like and get away with whatever they do. Their customer service is piss poor, and whenever I hear any company has given them exclusive right to distribute product I let out an exasperated sigh. It's a real shame because they seem to get exclusive distribution rights for some really cool product.

      Delete
  11. OK, I'm officially curious. And a bit confused after looking at the DP9 site. Which books do I need to play the game and what information is in them? Beyond the freebie quickstart rules, which I already have tucked away in a download folder... Somewhere...

    I was a big fan of the world of HG right from the off (the whole VOTOMS vibe got me going and who doesn't like mechs that use hydraulic spikes as melee weapons?) going right back to the "Card Fighter" days, but kind of lost touch with it just after the 2nd edition of the RPG came out. Since then there's been Silhouette CORE, HG Tactical and even Fleet Scale, and at least one other version of the HGB rules. I really like the look of the current crop of HGB minis and might just be able to squeeze it in between my 15mm sci-fi projects and my growing interest in Infinity.

    Steve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really only need the HGB Field Manual I've reviewed here. If you get yourself Gear Garage that contains all of the rules and stuff you need to build your armies. You can download all the datacards off of the Dream Pod 9 website too.

      Hope that helps.

      Delete
    2. Thanks! In the interests of completeness, what IS in the "Locked and Loaded" and "Return to Cats Eye" books anyway? I think I can figure out what the score is with "Perfect Storm" from your blog...

      Steve.

      Delete
    3. Riya Steve,

      Sorry for the late response, been a bit snowed under of late and haven't been keeping up with comments. As to your questions:

      Locked & Loaded = North Forces, South Forces, PRDF Forces, CEF Forces and PAK Forces (now better covered by Perfect Storm)

      Return to Cats Eye = CEF Forces (full list), Caprician Forces, Black Talons.

      I think the plan though is to lose all the current books and wrap everything into Field Guide books for each force, like the Perfect Storm book for NuCoal. If they're all as good as that book, and as jammed with information, then I'm heavily in favour of it I have to say.

      Delete
    4. WTF id Riya? Seriously I need to get my head sorted :P

      Obviously I meant to say Hiya!!! lol.

      Delete
    5. I give up... id?!?!?!? *is* this is what happens to me sometimes... head goes all screwy.

      Delete
  12. Heheheh... Given the time I was posting I'd expect that to be me!

    No worries and thanks for the breakdown of the books. I'll keep my eyes open for future field guides and in the meantime just play around with rules and Gear Garage. Unless my completionist instincts kick in and compel me to buy everything again!

    Liking the look of PRDF at the minute, especially their gear Strider. Plus they have the whole "victims of CEF nuclear terrorism" thing going on - we'll just ignore the "corporate elites oppressing the workers" and the "profiteering from both sides in the Polar Wars" things, OK?

    Of course the main attraction is the slightly smaller range of mini's making it a bit easier to collect. Although historically my first loyalties are with the North, naturally!

    Steve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whereabouts are you based Steve? If it's anywhere near the West Midlands maybe I could arrange some games with you? You know get a feel for it.

      Delete
  13. I'm at the opposite end of the M6/A14, out away east in Cambridgeshire. Moved down from the North East about 7 years ago, which pretty much killed my gaming career! Starting to get back into things again slowly (by buying books, minis and watching developments on the web) and carefully (15mm was a good choice because of the lower unit prices, Infinity and Mercs because of the lower numbers of figs needed as skirmish games, etc.). Just getting ready to put paint brush to pewter for the first time in over 10 years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, the most away from the bosom of a constructive and convivial group of gamers. Most of us will face such hobby upheaval and some point or other in our lives. It's never very pleasant, so you have my sympathies. However, if you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods and with some time on your hands do be sure to look me up.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the offer. I've got friends in the Dudley area so I have some familiarity with the general area. Unfortunately they're off to Australia tomorrow, so I'm not likely to be up that way anytime soon! Maybe it was something I said last time I was there...? Anyway, if I'm around I'll be sure to drop you a line. In the meantime if you keep writing an outstanding blog, I'll keep reading!

      Delete
    3. Well if you are ever in the area definitely remember to look me up. If it is over Dudley way perhaps we might even be able to arrange a game at the Darklords.

      As to continuing to write this Blog... I'll try to keep it up and I'll try to maintain the standard of my writing. Although honestly I hope to improve it somewhat, as believe it or not I think there is plenty of scope for improvement. Yes I really am my own worst critic. :P

      Delete
  14. I keep coming back to this post and re-reading it: clearly you have my captured my attention!

    I have an 11yr old son who is quite proficient in skirmish style games and smaller games like Space Hulk and Blood Bowl. I am looking for a 'gateway game' (for want of a better term) to take the next and rather large step to massed combat. Being a fan of Godzilla etc then maybe Giant Mecha combat could be next right? :-)

    I was played Battletech from the first release of Citytech, but dont really want to go that route. I also loved the HG 'verse when it first appeared but I was one of those who got lost along the bumpy road DP9 unfortunately had since those days.

    So my question is: could this be that game? Do the rules enable a step-up approach to playing? Or is it perhaps a Bridge too far? Maybe you could provide an alternative game suggestion if so. It would be a bit of an initial investment (though less than a new 40k rulebook I see!) but I can see that if he takes gears and I take more conventional forces, that could provide a challenge for me at the same time. Very keen to hear your thoughts

    cheers
    Paul
    http://tasmancave.blogspot.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is actually a really good question Paul, and one that isn't that easy to answer actually. HGB rules are very straight forward on the one hand, and quite easy to understand as mechanics go. I've been pretty impressed with how streamlined they actually are. However there are a lot of stats to understand on the individual units and that would more than likely require a fair degree of hand holding depending on the level of gamer knowledge etc.

      The mini's though are seriously hardcore in terms of assembly and cleaning. They are for expert modellers only I'd suggest. So on that side of the hobby its either a great start or a terrible one! If you are a fan of the sink or swim method then if they swim with these mini's everything else will seem like a doddle!!! :P

      Hope that helps you with HGB.

      As to easy to play mass combat games then I'd not look much further than Mantic's offerings actually. They are really easy to play and the mini's are straight forward to assemble.

      Delete
  15. Actually, I would be doing all the modelling and painting so that is both opportunity and challenge - and also why massed games like Mantic's Fantasy etc are out of our league.

    My Lad easily grapples with the different stats and skills of Blood Bowl players. what I am really after are a streamlined system which can be expanded to include finesse and goodies later on, like EW, Indirect fire, etc

    And to cement the question of genre, when asked his preference of Romans, Knights and historical stuff, massed fantasy Dwarves Orcs and Elves etc, or Hover tanks and Mecha, he enthusiastically declared for the latter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then HGB might be the game for you. I would however take up the opportunity of downloading the rules for free, and using some proxies to play a few games to be sure. HGB can be a straightforward game with blasting robots and tanks... or it can be more complex with EW etc. The Priority Levels also help even things out, so say I were playing a younger less experienced opponent I might choose a Priority level 1 force but take priority level 3 missions to even things out a bit more I might allow my opponent t do the reverse. The game allows you the tools to set your own difficulty. So actually you could quite easily rig games to you and your sons disparate skills levels really easily.

      Delete