Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NuEdition, NuCoal, and NuSales?

Yeah, I know.. the last part of the title is a stretch but I had to try!

Hey guys and gals... not too much has happened here on the blog rules front over the past couple of weeks.  After letting the combat groups 2.0 rules percolate for a while, I've decided to add them into the rules and replaced the combat groups section under of the table of contents with the newer simpler rules.

For those who don't follow the DP9 website and forums, a new edition of Heavy Gear was announced a week ago.  The open playtesting will begin next month when the rules are posted but so far the only public info we have is that they're "significantly different" according to the Dave over at DP9 when asked if current books will be compatible.

On a more personal note, I've finally started assembling my NuCoal minis after I got a two more during the recent Miniature Market Black Friday sale.  I've also finally assembled (or more accurately based) my hoverbike GRELs as well.  To round out the zoom-zoom-zoom NuCoal force, I've got a GP squad of Chassuer MKIIs as well that I've had for a while still to be assembled.  That gives me about 1300-1500TV of NuCoal depending on how much I spam the upgrades (BOTB, extra sturdies, etc).


Paradoxically, the hoverbikes are bigger than I thought and the Fusiliers (for a size 10 vehicle) are smaller than I expected when put next to gears.  I have to say though that I like the sculpting on both tanks and especially the new Hetairois.  The casting was also top notch with only some tiny tiny bubbles on the tops of the Fusilier engine plates occasionally and a few other areas that were covered with other bits when assembled.  Apparently at some point they switched from all resin to resin/metal hybrids with the Fusiliers as I got one hybrid and 3 pure resin.  The Heterois though are a newer kit and to my knowledge have always been resin/metal hybrids.

Now onto the NuSales part of the title...  Is it just me or does it seem like stores are dropping alot of HG on clearance?  Miniature Market would be a good example as they basically put all their HG stuff on clearance and haven't restocked the stuff that sold out during the Black Friday sale.  HG bags at Battlefoam were 50% off as well.  Finally, a friend also mentioned that another online store (have to confirm with him which one before adding it to this post) was doing the same.  While the huge sales are great for fans in the short term, I have to wonder if they'll be bad in the long term if the stores are just divesting themselves of their HG stock.  If you know of any other stores that are doing the same or other big name online retailers that are instead adding HG to their lineup, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Combat Group Construction v2.0

 I've gotten some feedback in the past that conversion to the FLASH! smaller style combat groups was a bit difficult to figure out.  Over the weekend, I played a game of blitz and was chatting afterwards with my opponent and had some ideas about how to make the construction simpler as well as reducing the overabundance of "veteran" units in blitz (every one of both our models were vets with Att/Def3 making the upgrade somewhat useless as it was the new standard).  

For army construction, I've decided to try out the following.

For vehicle and gear combat groups in Blitz, construct your Blitz combat group as normal initially and then use the following conversion to fireteams.
1-2 model CG in Blitz: 1 model (CGL) combat group in FLASH!

3-4 model CG in Blitz: 2 model combat group (CGL plus one of your choice) 
in FLASH!

5-6 model CG in Blitz: 3 model
combat group (CGL plus two of your choice) in FLASH!

7+ model CG in Blitz: 4 model combat group (CGL plus three of your choice) in FLASH!

 You may choose any models you have in your full blitz squad keeping in mind that models using veteran upgrades must spend a veteran slot to do so per the rules below. Combat groups containing combined models (like infantry) are unchanged from Blitz. Before taking another Fire Team of the same type, you must take a second combat sub-group with your remaining models (if any) from the first Blitz combat group.
 For example, selecting a Blitz two tank squadron gives you a single model in FLASH! (the CGL).  If in Blitz you upgraded the tank squadron to 3 models by adding an extra tank, the FLASH! version would be 2 models instead (CGL and one of your choice).  If you wanted to add a second tank squadron of the same type, you'd have to first take a second combat group consisting of the remaining tank you didn't take above in both examples.

My original intent was to make the fire teams half size mirrors of the full blitz versions but that seems to have lead to some confusion unfortunately.  I've rarely seen bog standard models in games unless those bog standard models were quite special to begin with (like my opponent's Fer de Lances this past game) so why fight the inevitable.  The above instead lets you just cherry pick whatever you want from blitz instead of being a half size version with the caveat that you must "complete" the original blitz squad

As for veteran slots, I've decided to try changing the veteran slot effect to applying only to a single model instead of the whole squad.  With the ability to cherry pick the models, this seems like killing two birds with one stone.  It limits the overpowered possiblities inherent to cherry picking upgraded models somewhat and also grounds the game a bit more at att/def2 without everyone fielding extra sturdy boxes.

Veteran Slots: You get a number of veteran slots equal to your army PL in Flash!. Each slot may be used to upgrade a single model to veteran status and unlock veteran options for it. (i.e. a single gear or a single squad of infantry is upgraded for each vet slot spent).   You may buy extra veteran slots at the cost of 2 SP per veteran slot.  

You can still take a fair number of veteran upgrades (PL4 gives you 7 in a 1000TV game which is the upper limit roughly for my skirmish houserules) but you're giving up all your SP to get to that point.  Honestly, I think att/def3 and extra sturdy boxes should be more expensive but changing TV is going beyond what I'd like to do with my blog and would prefer to leave that to DP9 themselves.

As usual, let me know if you try any of the above or whether you think it's an improvement.  I'm leaving the original army construction rules in the table of contents to the right for the time being to aid in comparison but hope to eventually change the chapter once I get some feedback.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tales from Terra Nova! Battle Report

I recently ran a demo game for a couple of new players at the FLGS and figured I'd try to document it with a new style of battle report.  Here you have a 600TV roughly game on a 3'x4' urban table using the standard Heavy Gear Blitz rules but my Flash! smaller combat groups.  Hopefully this won't break blogspot!  :)







Friday, September 27, 2013

Northern Army and Cityscape Terrain Update

Not really a southern update specifically but I did finish my Northern OpFor force that I plan to have face my primary southern army in any demos. The exact make up of the squads as well as the squads themselves is still in flux but pictured here is the initial loadout I worked on. The following are full Blitz sized Veteran GP, Strike, and FS squads with an infantry platoon for variety. I got the army mostly painted except for a few figs that I had to match to the existing scheme (as well as fix dozens of paint chips, breaks, and simply missing parts that the guy didn't include). Thanks to Azure Devil on the dp9 forums for helping me out with some AGMs bits that were missing!  I'll likely never know why the guy removed the MFM bits from all the Grizzlies as he didn't actually model a different variant but they were missing as well and I had to get them from another source among other bits.


Picture below is part of my cityscape cardboard terrain set dressed up with a few extras like trees and roadblocks. I recently commented on HG terrain density so figured I'd post here and see what people thought about this. The set below is a 3'x4' table using 4/5 of the buildings included in one cityscape set (and 1/2 the floor tiles as it comes with 4'x6'). I like the density below except for right in the front of the pic (and it's mirror spot on the other side) but feel it would be a bit too sparse on a full 4x6 table (basically double the space below). I do plan on adding a few n-scale plastic cars as well to liven up the city additionally.  I feel 3x4 should be an adequate play space for up to 1000TV which can go a long way with my fire team smaller squad house rules.





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mass Battle Trial Rules

So far, all the houserules I've presented in my Flash! blog have been to (hopefully) make the game quicker and easier to play at the skirmish level as I feel the current rules fit best in that model count type game. That said.. there will always be people who prefer playing larger games of Heavy Gear (including myself frequently) and I hope that the following will help with that at least partially. One of the strengths of Heavy Gear is the incredible freedom it gives to players compared with other games like Warhammer 40,000. Unfortunately, that freedom also invariably leads to bogging down the game partly at 1000TV+. Any effort to try and streamline the game beyond the already presented rules already presented in the blog will reduce that complete freedom.

Previous FLASH! Rules:  Do NOT use the fireteam squad building variants but rather build your army exactly as presented in your Field Guide; otherwise continue using the other rules like datacards as presented in previous chapters.  The rules below may also be used independently of the previous FLASH! rules as noted below.

Squad Coherency: If a non-infantry squad consists of more than one model, they must be within 3" + 1"x EL (minimum 3") of another model in the squad at the end of the squad's activation. Use the highest EL stat of the models involved. If casulties result in a model becoming out of coherency, you must move that model back into coherency on its next activation. If you are not using my variant stats, you must be within autocomm range of another model in the squad.

Moving/Firing: Upon squad activation, you declare one speed for the entire squad instead of individually per model and each model in the squad must be capable of moving that speed. Use a single movement indicator next to the CGL (or other model if the CGL is dead) instead of one per model. When the first model in your squad is ready to fire, you must declare a single enemy squad as the target for your ENTIRE squad's firing. You may choose any model in that squad as the initial target and your activated models in that squad must fire on that target until it is destroyed. Once it is destroyed, you may select another model in that target squad as the next target until you run out of models in the target squad or your own squad's actions.

Split Fire! (NEW ACTION): If your CGL (or 2iiC if the CGL is dead) declares this action, you may instead declare two speeds and/or two squads as targets of your squads fire. In this case, you must mark the movement individually per model in the squad as per the normal Blitz rules.

ECM: Electronic warfare is tablewide in the mass battle rules and not directed at countering a single enemy action. A model with the ECM trait may declare it is using it as an action. Roll the EW skill (modified by EL) versus a TN 6. If successful, you may add your ECM rating to the target number of any enemy EW tests made. The ECM penalty is cummulative and multiple models may add them together. If no test is required for an EL action due to another rule (like being within a number of inches equal to size to detect an enemy), this penalty has no effect. You may also as a reaction or even pre-emptively declare an action to use defensive ECM as well. In this case, you make the same EW test above and subtract it your ECM rating from any enemy ECM during that turn. If you are not using my variant stat card rules, you instead roll your EW (+/- Comm) to use the table wide counter measures and add your ECM rating for offensive actions or ECCM for defensive actions.

Take the above with even more grains of salt that previous entries as I haven't tried them yet in a real game but rather only in preliminary solo games.  If you try them out, feel free to post the results and your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Flash! Wargame House Rules coming up!

Hey guys and gals, just a quick update here.  Sometime in the next week, I'll be starting a new chapter of my Flash! houserules dealing specifically with larger games of Heavy Gear (1000TV+).  So far, my variant rules have dealt with making the game quicker and more fun on a smaller skirmish scale but the next few posts will deal with doing the same on a larger one.  Some of the ultimate freedom inherent in Blitz will fall by the wayside but that same infinite selection of choices is a large part of the slowdown commonplace in larger games.  The upcoming wargame rules will use standard Blitz squad formations instead of the skirmish specific Fire Teams in my Flash rules but will streamline some of the mass combat rules and options for quicker and (hopefully) more fun large scale games.  I've had the ideas stirring for quite a few months and look forward to some feedback on how they play.

On the hobby side, I've recently picked up a painted Northern army as my OpFor in demo games.  They're not unfortunately ready for close up pics though as the padding/packing on the army was suboptimal to say the least.  Over 40 individual parts broke and another 5 bits were just missing.  On the plus side, the seller was very good with communication and quite the gentleman in making amends which made up for most of the frustration of getting a box of loose bits instead of a completed army.  I've got some unexpected hobby work to do with the force but I hope to put up an Interpolar War battle report complete with pics after the wargame houserules are published.

Finally, it was brought to my attention by a fellow blogger that it's difficult to sign up to follow the blog so I've connected the blog to Google Plus and added the follower widget to the site (as well as RSS links).  Just click on the widget and choose the "follower" circle if you'd like to go that route.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Visigoths (and entire Army) are now finished!

Well, I've gone and done it.. I've finally finished my southern army yet again. I finished up the tanks this weekend and taken a few glamour shots (hey, might as well call it like it is!) of the whole force. I ran out of my Ogryn Flesh Wash on my gears just before I decided to buy the Visigoths and had to get a pot of the new replacement, Reikland Fleshshade. I've used GW's new washes over the past year while finishing my Space Marine army and I can say without a doubt that I don't like the new formulations. They don't "flow" properly (or at least how I am used to washes doing) and dry on flat surfaces as splotchy messes. I've tried three colors over the past year and had the same issue, including with the Visigoth tanks. I had to do light but heavy dry brushing to cover up some of the splotches (very little paint but with alot of brush pressure) and I'm okay overall with the results.


With these two tanks, I've officially run out of space in my Heavy Gear carrying case. Barring some drastic change in the future like another army book coming out for the South, my army is pretty much done. I've still got an allied NuCoal force still NIB that I'll start if I ever find a local opponent to play against. In the meantime, here is the re-finished army on a part of the city scape terrain. It's just shy of 4000TV that can be fielded as a PL3 Spec Ops Regiment and a PL4 Gear Regiment.


Paratrooper Cadre, General Purpose Cadre, and Fire Support Cadre along with one of the Visigoths and an HRP Support Option Turret


Two Strike Squads, Airstrike markers, and a Fire Support Cadre




Second General Purpose and Fire Support Cadres, Visigoth and HRP Turret along with a Black Ops Cadre










Friday, August 2, 2013

Finished my King Cobras and DZC Cityscape Terrain Review


Finished my triple King Cobras (one regular, two hooded variants) along with the airstrike markers and some additional stragglers (Jaeger Gunner and Chatterbox Iguana). I broke down and finally bought the snakeyes blister I need to make my Black Ops squad legal (which will allow me to use my paratrooper cadre as well) but the ebay seller is taking his/her sweet time shipping them despite marking them shipped with tracking a week ago (with no actual info on the tracking)... grumble... grumble... I've also got some Visigoths that I got a great deal on supposedly on the way as well so hopefully both will arrive next week. As always, the pics below are hosted on dakka so you can click on them to be taken to their gallery page for all your zooming in needs.



I've also been assembling the Dropzone Commander Cityscape set I picked up a few weeks ago and am very happy with my purchase. It's solid cardstock that is preglued and somewhat scored so it's very easy to put together. You just bend into the rectangular shape and then glue down the roof ledges and roof floor into their proper positions. Technically, you don't have to glue either as the tight roof fit is good enough to keep the building in the correct shape via friction and not gluing would allow you to disassemble the building for easy storage/transport as well. The only thing is that I would *NOT* put any models on the rooftop if you don't glue it except maybe 6mm-12mm plastic or light resin infantry as a metal model can cause the roof to fold back down. With superglue, the roof is strong enough to even support a relatively heavy metal model like the King Cobras above (I tried!). A surprising tidbit is that putting the buildings together used up ALOT of superglue; I had 5 of the smaller 0.7oz tubes and still needed to make a run for more to finish the last couple.



The set retails at $45 USD and includes 20 buildings (4 of each of 5 sizes) as well as 24 double sided 1'x1' tiles (enough to make a 4x6' game table). I tend to use 3x4' tables for my Heavy Gear Flash games (see my blog link in my sig) and that is how I built the city above. I took one of each building and made it into two separate "damaged" and rubble states which is why the buildings on the right are so dark compared to the others. As you can see, the 20 buildings populate a 3x4' table quite nicely without any other terrain. If you've got additional terrain, it's probably a good idea to use it on a 4x6' space using all the tiles as the building density you see above would be exactly half. That's not, btw, a complaint as I think the value you get for your $45 purchase is incredible with this set but rather an opinion that a 4x6' table made up to be a true city needs about 1 1/2 sets of buildings and some additional terrain (cars, roadblocks, forests, statues, etc) to feel full.




Here's a close up of the second largest building along with some common and not so common minis for scale. The DZC scale is technically 10mm and I think the building work well for both Heavy Gear (12mm) and Robotech (6mm), the two main games I intend to use this with. The HG King Cobra is obviously the official version (albeit converted a bit in pose) but the Robotech minis are plastic and metal kits from long ago which are a bit bigger than the ones coming out soon (fingers crossed!) from the Palladium Robotech Tactics kickstarter. I've included a tape measure taped to the building as well to give you a measurement of the scale (metric just like the ones shown in the robotech kickstarter pics). Also pictured above are two papercraft buildings created on my upper end of medium grade printer on the best settings using the heaviest cardstock I can with my printer. While I'm admittedly comparing apples to oranges (the DP9 colors are more pastel than the darker DZC pdf files), the quality of what I built doesn't compare to that of the Cityscape buildings.

I definitely recommend the set for anyone looking for a high quality yet cheap and easy to assemble urban terrain set. If the set were a movie, I'd give it 3 1/2 stars out of 4 with points taken off only for a slightly low building density (25 buildings for $50 would have been better IMO) and the strange lack of simple road curves on the tiles (only straight pieces and intersections... no turns). All in all, I'm very happy with my purchase.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New King Cobra squad is progressing slowly but surely...

Well, it's been a while since I did a substantial update but I finally got around to updating my army back to 100% WYSIWIG legal after the Forged in Fire field guide changes. As previously stated, my standard build under Locked and Loaded only had 20 of the 36 figures come through unscathed and playable as is.

As for new figs/units, I picked up the some extra King Cobras (since I'm going with a heavy Cobra theme for the army) and got an xmas iggy that I'll be turning into my new Chatterbox AC as well. Also, I built two free turrets for support options as well using dried out GW paint pots and left over bits both from 40k as well as HG.  Here we have the built and base coated Heavy Strike Squad King/Hooded Cobras as well as my AC Chatterbox Iguana and a spare Jaeger that I need as filler due to the 5 gear squad change.



 I tried adding a bit more dynamic poses to the King Cobras as I'm not a fan of the "come at me, bro!" standard gorilla pose. One model is done up in a simple firing position (like my original King Cobra model) whereas another is running and the third is in a resting Captain Morgan pose. The Iggy is the kneeling xmas Iguana that I converted to a chatterbox. I kept body and shield but replaced the baton with a vibrorapier and added the Chatterbox head and sensor equipment.  I've gotten as far as doing the main colors on the models as well as the primary wash. GW changed their washes and I had to mix a bit of the Reikland Fleshwash into my remaining supply of Ogryn Flesh in order to try and match the army colors a bit more closely. The models below still need multiple details like sensors eyes, rocket tips, and power cords done but they're at least half way done! One of the two turrets with both its weapon options also is shown below. It's nothing spectacular but it was also pretty much free except for the minimal cost of the glue and paint to put it together.

I've still got to finish the models above (some painting, decals, basing, and then overcoating) as well as start work on my Green Mamba for my Black Ops squad (which when finished will also allow me to field my paratrooper squad as well). After that, the only forseeable work for the army that I'm considering at the moment working on terrain and possibly buying a model to use as my airstrike counter. I'm not a fan of the super tiny official airstrike counter and am considering something a bit larger to use for airstrikes. The top contender at the moment is the Seraphim Dropzone Commander model (bottom pic) as it slightly reminds me of the Azrael HG Southern Bomber (top pic) from the Heavy Gear RPG. I think I'd have to round out some of the corners to make the model look a bit more southern but otherwise I think it'll make a good model. I'm still not set though on the idea as it sort of feels like a bit of a waste of time and money to use on something that only appears for a single turn (assuming you even take the option with your support points!).



The terrain I mentioned above consists of a few roadblock highway dividers made from old Forgeworld sprues as well as putting together the Dropzone Commander Cityscape cardstock set that I just got. When the army is finished and the buildings constructed, I'll take a group shot in the southern metropolis!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finally...some movement of the figure front!!

This July 4th holiday weekend (and extending into the week) I finally got some work done with my ignored SRA Southern HG force.  Unfortunately, my standard build under Locked and Loaded only had 20 of the 36 figures come through unscathed and playable as is.  Some whole units are unusable (largely due to the switch to 5 gear squads) like my Op Sec/Black Ops Cadre whereas I'm able to salvage others by folding them into other squads that need a fifth (like my recon squad that *poof* just became CGL for other 4 gear cadres).  That leaves me with 10 gears that need bits swaps to be legal and WYSIWIG again in addition stealth and paratrooper gears that need another model to ever be used on the tabletop.  What needs changing?

2 Brawler Razorfang Mambas:  No more brawler + razorfang so the heads must be swapped and uplinks must be removed (and bare metal spots patched of course)

2 Sidewinders:  Only can use them in 2 special squads for SRA and I only have the other models for one so they're getting folded into the Republican Heavy Strike cadre.  One stays the same but the other must lose its head, rocketpod, and weapon to become a Command Sidewinder.

3 Striking Cobras:  All striking cobras lost their HRPs so that needs to go and the third model that used to be my commander (a Brahmin ECM Striking Cobra variant) needs to lose his satellite dish, uplink, and AC vibrorapier.  Technically he should have a head swap but I can't find the normal bunny ears for the remaining spare cobra head.

1 Hooded King Cobra:  The LLC swap now makes you lose the HRP and LAC (although there are conflicting rulebook entries on that).  Instead of losing both, I just decided instead to switch it back to a normal King Cobra and use the weapon bit on one of the 3 extra Kings I picked up for the Republican Cadre.  Also, since this will no longer be my alternate AC, it needs to lose the vibrorapier and pick up a chainsword.

2 Paratrooper Jaegers:  Need to lose the LGM as they're now only halfway through the model swap to Longbow.  I considered replacing the guns instead but decided to go the cheaper TV route instead.  The paratrooper squad in general is no longer legal though and pretty useless because I can *ONLY* use it with my collection in a spec ops regiment which I can't currently take because they're only at 4 models.


What do I have new or previously unbuilt that I can add to the mix?  I still have a blister of Desert Vipers but they're of limited use for me as I can only downgrade brawler mambas to get them and I had two brawlers already.   Over the Xmas holidays, I picked up the southern book and got an xmas iggy that I'll be turning into my new AC as well as two more Black Adders and three King Cobras.  In a later fit of buying, I picked up the NuCoal PDF as well as three Fusilier tanks and a Chasseur MkII GP squad as well.  While I can't use either in the SRA, I can use my force as an ESE with HAPF ties to bring them into the mix with most of my other figs.  I can't use the Republican Cadre with them but I can always split up my King Cobras between the various Strike and Fire Support squads instead.

UPDATE: I finally took some pics this weekend of my new additions to the army.  Below are the two Hooded Cobras, King Cobra, Chatterbox Iggy Army Commander, and stock Jaeger to fill holes in squads and the single empty spot in my figure case.   :)







Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If you can't bring 40k players into Heavy Gear...

Why not try to bring some Heavy Gear flavor into 40k instead?  That's the thought that has been running through my head recently.  Just last week I reached a milestone that I never thought I'd get to... I'm almost done buying/painting 40k.  Warhammer 40,000 has always been a large part of my hobby collection and I've reached the point where I simply have enough models and enough of a variety of playstyles (horde, fast glass cannon, super elite, mobile and dependable, etc).  While I have issues with how GW conducts their business (botched finecast switchover, unfriendly trade terms for FLGS, annual nonsensical price increases, etc), they're actually not the main reason as I'm simply set with my 20,000pt collection spread across half a dozen different armies/codicies.

I haven't been playing much 40k over the past year despite my extensive collection because I'm not a fan of the 6th edition changes (fliers and random charges to name two) and also because I was trying to focus more again on Heavy Gear and specifically this blog.  Unfortunately, neither focus has actually gotten me any physical games and only a few Vassal games to try out my blog house rules so I'm back to bringing my 40k army as my "backup" force for trips to the games store.  My most common opponent tends to rage quit early in the game as the balance between the two sides swings so wildly with the 40k "I completely go/You completely go" activation and I've unfortunately started to pick up his nasty habit as well.  It got me thinking about how to bring unit activation ala Heavy Gear into 6th edition 40k.

Back in early 4th edition 40k (shortly before my old playgroup stopped playing), I came up with and tried a unit activation scheme in 40k that I've been adapting into 6th this past week.  I initially planned to try it out this past weekend but my opponent cancelled the night before so it was a 100% X-wing game night instead (no complaints here!).  Back in 4th edition, we used the old and now gone strategy rating to determine who would get the choice of first unit activation but that is no longer a viable option (an even had its issues back then).  This variant of 40k activation also requires an index card or some other piece of paper marked for each available unit in the game.  This card is used both to remember who has already activated for shooting and moving that turn and also in the charge phase as well.

CHARGE!!!


Initiative is determined via a simple opposed d6 roll with a +1 bonus to any side that has less than half the units of the other.  The winner chooses whether he or his opponent activates first.  Activating consists of moving and shooting two units sequentially with a unit defined as per the rulebook. 

The reason I've chosen two units for this is that there is a growing trend for interconnected units in 40k (like Tau markerlights and other firing units) that I don't want to lose.  Also, we found out in the worthless transport days of 4th edition that having a tank roll up and not be able to disembark its transported unit before getting destroyed was a bit pointless.

After all units are done activating, charges are secretly declared using face down index cards for the unit.  The player who first won initiative declares his first charge and flips over that card.  You then resolve overwatch and roll for charge distance as normal.  If the unit being charged also declared a charge versus the active unit, you ignore overwatch and instead move the active unit up to half its charge distance and then the charged unit up to half it's rolled charge distance until they meet.  If they don't meet after the half distances, repeat the above until they have moved the full distance each.  Both units are considered to have charged in this case and gain the +1 attack bonus as well as any other modifiers or rules dependent on charge.  After all charges and overwatch shooting is resolved, continue as normal to determine assault attacks/damage and subsequent morale.  

The above gives 40k the "cinematic" experience of a Braveheart-like movie charge where two forces meet in the middle while still maintaining the feel of the current 6th edition random charge rolling (not a fan) as well as overwatch.   The reason the charges are declared "secretly" with facedown cards is to prevent units that are close combat oriented from determining after the fact that they might reach a unit that just moved into its charge range distance because of its own charge.

Feel free to try out the above (although I'd recommend doing it in a smaller 1500pt game initially) and post any thoughts on it as well.  With a single 40k model left in my collection to paint, I'm strangely motivated to start work on my unfortunately invalidated with FiF southern force instead.  Hopefully later in the week, I'll muster up the courage to post some pics and updates to my southern gears!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Heavy Gear Kickstarter Musings and Robotech Update

The Robotech Kickstarter I posted about last time is still going strong and likely to reach $500,000 tonight with a free Khyron in an Officer's Pod to celebrate.  If you haven't checked it out or only checked it out in the first few days, feel free to click the link below and take a peek as they have added plenty of designs in the meantime.


Since I've been following the Robotech Kickstarter, I've also been thinking about the kickstart that I believe Heavy Gear needs.  Most gaming kickstarters tend to be glorified preorders that simply cut out the middlemen (stores, distributors) and pass on some of the savings to consumers but the core original idea of the platform is to fund things that otherwise wouldn't get funded.  Almost every time a discussion about increasing the output of Heavy Gear products or revamping the game completely comes up on the DP9 forums, some fanboy brings up the fact that DP9 has only a small core of full time employees that can't handle the added workload and the company can't afford the increased pace anyways.  A kickstarter for a truly new edition (and not just a minimal Locked and Loaded revision every 2-3 years for full $$ price) would help both of those problems as the earned funds could pay the salary of another full time employee.  That is a change and effort that I would indeed support assuming that the scope of the project was broad enough and re-examined everything about the game from the ground up.  No turning the whole herd into sacred cows though!

The proposed change that I suspect would be the most controversial would be simply rebooting the entire universe ala Battlestar Galactica.  The Scifi channel didn't just take the Richard Hatch BSG proposal that simply continued the 1970's show into the new millenium but rather revamped the original into a modern show that still kept the core feel and ideals of that original but updated everything else.  Heavy Gear needs that type of change if it wants to be a more successful wargame.  Right now, every possible change for an existing army (especially the North and South) is buried under literally thousands of pages of fluff and history for an RPG that has effectively been abandoned by its maker for almost a decade.  When the RPG first came out around 1994, it had the unique "hook" of a real time advancing storyline for the world that aged with us.  Despite how good that was in the RPG, the wargame doesn't need that and instead suffers from it.  Take a page from the comic book industry and reboot the Heavy Gear wargame as an alternate universe set at the end of or right after the first Earth Invasion.  Mold the universe and the fluff around what the wargame needs instead of  continuing to shoehorn the wargame into a decades old RPG universe.  If the RPG is no longer weighed down by it's own rules and fluff, why the heck is the spin off wargame that didn't need 90% of it in the first place?

Take the time to re-examine the rules and pick either a skirmish game or a full scale wargame... you can't have both if you want to do a good job!  Right now, Heavy Gear is a skirmish game effectively as the complexity of the rules leads most players to play games of less than 15 models per side (infantry not included of course) in order to finish a game in one evening... but it pretends to be a wargame in its army building portion with 5 gear squads as the core unit.  That dichotomy is the main reason this blog exists as I couldn't finish a full wargame sized battle in a single evening and wasn't satisfied with what I was given in the size game I could finish.

Finally, update the production and materials to the current millenial standards of plastic sets.  Take the opportunity that the release of the upcoming video game gives you to revamp the look of the models to modern robot aesthetics.  People who will be crossing over from the video game will be expecting modern scifi robots and not early 1980's VOTOMs.  As much as I personally like the classic look (and I really do), they don't sell the game as effectively as they did when they were first released.  The Xacto update from the frequently goofy looking Tactical minis was a great move but that was almost a decade ago and the game needs another makeover.  Keep the older minis as officially "legal" in the rules but revamp the design to better match the aesthetics shown in the video game concept art. (I'm not a fan personally of what they're showing for the south but the concept art for the Hunter is kick ass.)  New startups are using kickstarter to raise funds and coming out with plastic lines from the get go.  Take the time and effort and redesign the core minis in the North and South for the rebooted universe/timeline in plastic for an upcoming big starter set of 40+ minis.  Include revised Hunters/Jaegers, Iguanas/Cheetahs, Mambas/Jaguars, and Grizzlies/Cobras in plastic along with the new rules in a wargame style big boxed set like the upcoming Robotech game or like GW has been doing for almost two decades.

I want Heavy Gear to grow and I think the kickstarter platform gives DP9 the opportunity to create the changes needed with less financial risk.  You can't please everyone and you'll inevitably lose some core fans with the scope of the changes above but you'll likely bring in newer fans as well.  I've frequently criticized DP9 for pointless changes that decimated player collections (minimally revised rulebooks that invalidated editions after 2-3 years released for over a decade, tactical minis making the old RAFM ones obsolete and out of scale, etc) but I'd support financially a truly new edition that was worked from the ground up as a wargame.



Monday, April 22, 2013

Robotech Kickstarter in progress!

While I'm not a fan of Palladium and some of the rather dubious choices they've made over the past 15 years, I am an unabashed fan of Robotech and Palladium is running a Kickstarter for the upcoming Robotech minis game.  The first era covered will be Macross and the kickstarter runs to May 20th and the initial rush funded the first goal in less than three hours.  Long live the 80's childhood nostalgia!   :)

FUNDED!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Linked Weapons and IF

An interesting discussion started last week as a result of the GU6 release that gave me some fresh ideas on how to approach further changes.

The first is regarding indirect fire.  I've always found it odd that mortars that can actually shoot almost straight up vertically had a minimum range requirement but artillery pieces that have a much lower max angle of elevation didn't.  The recent changes in minimum range got me thinking about that and I've decided to extend the minmum range restriction to all indirect firing weapons.  This means that most rocket pods, field guns, and other IF capable weapons will now no longer be able to fire INDIRECTLY within half their short range (remember that I've change the terms for range and "optimal" is now short).  The weapons will still however be able to fire directly within that range though.  Weapons with the actual MR trait will still not be able to fire directly and have no firing option within half short range (unchanged from Blitz! and GU).

Indirect Fire:  Add "Weapons choosing to use the indirect fire option may not fire at targets within half their short range.  The may still fire at targets at under half short range if the weapon does not have the MR trait and therefore can use the direct fire rules."

The other interesting part of the discussion was regarding how to make the linked fire rules make a bit more sense conceptually.  Right now, firing two MRP9s at full ROF plays completely differently than firing a MRP18 at full ROF despite the RPG tech explaination (and rules) of them having the exact same number of rockets firing.  In addition, firing linked weapons and rolling well is like winning the lottery as a single 6 die roll means that the rocket will do alot of damage, be either on target or deviate only a little, AND not get you an Out of Ammo result on either pod.  Feral on the DP9 forums came up with the good idea of using all the dice rolls for the results similar to how combined models work.  I really like this idea and will expand on it with the rules below.

Linked Weapons:  Weapons that have this option may be fired together as part of the same action using one of the two options below.

      -For each linked weapon fired, assign one of your rolled attack dice results to it; this result counts as the result for the attack as well as for determining out of ammo results for that weapon.  If the weapons were fired indirectly, use the highest dice roll for determining scatter for all linked weapons fired.  The defender rolls his defense dice once and applies it to each individual weapon attack roll.  Any extra attack dice results are discarded and any weapons having no available attack dice to be assigned are considered to have rolled one lower than the lowest attack die result for all purposes including both OOA and damage.   

      -Designate one weapon in the link as the primary weapon.  For each additional identical linked weapon fired, you may add half the ROF (round off) to the ROF of the primary weapon.  You may then use the modified ROF for the purposes off the attack roll that the target or targets will defend against once only for the linked attack.  Add +1 per linked weapon after the primary to the target number for OOA checks and use the highest die rolled for OOA checks for all the linked weapons fired. 

 For example, a grizzly with att2 rolls a 5 and a 3 for his linked MRP attack with full ROF using the first option above.  The defender must then roll once and determine the damage versus the 5 and 3 individually using the normal modifiers and the 3 result causes an OOA result for that one MRP. 

If the same grizzly instead had two targets 5 inches apart that it wished to attack, it could use the second option to make a singe combined ROF attack versus both models (not normally possible with the standard MRP).  Using the same dice results as above, scatter would be deternined by and the target would roll versus the single result of 5 for the linked attack.  The 5 would also be used for determining OOA for both pods which in this case would mean that they're both out of ammo (due to the +1  modifier for the check for two linked weapons).  The grizzly fired its full payload on the gamble of damaging both models. 

While the above is not perfect and does still have a bit of a lottery win feel for linked weapons (a single 6 using the second option is accurate, damaging, and has no OOA result), I think it portrays the feel of firing linked weapons on the scifi battlefield a bit more accurately as well as more in line with firing those same weapons separately using two actions.  I'll be testing the above out hopefully in the next game (and will likely use that as the primary flash! variable instead of the larger game size I was planning).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Aurora 7.2 and Gear Up! 6 updates...

Gear Up 6 has finally arrived and has changed a few things in Blitz so I thought it might be a good idea to go over the changes as they relate to my Flash! houserules.  The options presented there for upgrading the maneuver rating of Fire Support gears to 0 in various armies would be covered under my variant Fire Support Survivability rule (see right in the table of contents under optional).  Blitz has also officially limited CP refiring of weapons to just limited ammo and melee trait weapons but I don't think that goes far enough.  I considered removing my Flash! limitation of NO weapons being allowed to refire but have instead decided to keep it as is.  Also, the minimum range under the Minimum Range trait (a horrible combination of terms!) half optimal from a flat 8" has no additional effect in Flash!. 

As I didn't get the opportunity to play a demo game this past Easter weekend, I don't have too much to add at the moment.  I'm hoping to test a larger sized game (800tv) as the primary variable and the revised active/passive lock rules as a secondary one in the next game.

Finally, the Flash! combat group houserules got published in the latest issue 7.2 of Aurora, the quarterly DP9 fanzine.  The example army list format didn't turn out correctly as I had hoped due to formating but I'm glad the article was accepted nonetheless. 

http://aurora.dp9forum.com/

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Google Blogspot Problems...

I've been updating some articles over the past couple of days on the blog and have run into a problem.  I discovered (after deleting my link list to remake another one) that Google seems to be having a problem with their HTML links system wide.  Some of the posts have been moved around a bit by me but I'm unable to properly update my table of contents to show it.  Also, I'm not able to save a new link list for the websites that I previously had linked on my blog (like other fan blogs).  Hopefully Google will fix this problem that has been going on for almost a week.  I'm patient seeing as how they're just a mom and pop operation and not some multibillion dollar company with thousands of employees... :)

EDIT:  The problem is partly fixed so I've updated the links to include the new chapters as well as restored the links to other blogs and websites.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weapon Range Thoughts... Part 2

EDIT:  I've combined the previous Weapon Range Thoughts post into this one as I plan to make the original the Table of Contents linked rules chapter.  Unfortunately, someone broke something at Google last week and the link lists haven't been working properly since.

In my quest for a leaner and simpler Blitz datacard (and rules), I've left only a single part of the datacard untouched... namely the weapon section. While I did incorporate model chassis firing bonuses into the individual weapon accuracy stats, I've largely left the rest untouched. While I do feel that the number of weapon traits in Blitz needs a bit of housekeeping, the multiple weapon ranges are the bigger eye sore for me personally at the moment. I've avoided changing or even discussing them until now because frankly there were bigger fish to fry with the house rules but I would like to touch on the subject now.

First off, I'm simply not a fan of the nomenclature Blitz uses for range. Optimal, suboptimal, and extreme seems like a needlessely complicated and elite way of simply saying short, medium, and long that most games instead use. For the purposes of my Flash! houserules, I'll be changing the ranges to the more easily accessible short = optimal, medium = suboptimal, and long = extreme terms. While I'm sure that there was some reason for the use of the unique terms above, I'd rather have the game and it's playstyle more easily recognizable to both wargamers and the general public alike and I think the change in terms helps with that.

Secondly, perhaps it's more of a personal issue of early onset dementia on my part but I find myself referring to the card for weapon ranges more than anything else. Most other games I've played don't have as many brackets but, if they do, they tend to be simple multiples of the same number (linear progression) instead of the quadratic progression of Blitz. I've found myself wondering how the game would play if the weapon ranges were instead simply linear multiples of the same number (thus requiring only the memorization of a single range for each weapon).

I've gone through a couple of versions of this that I'll describe below. The first would be to take some sort of average of the various Blitz numbers as the "base" number (excluding obviously the infinity ranges) and then either adding that same number or doubling the previous one for the next range bracket. Here is an example using the ubiquitous Hunter/Jaeger LRP. The LRP in blitz has optimal/suboptimal ranges of 6/24 meaning that the average would instead be 15 giving us short/medium range brackets of 15/30. That's personally too big of an optimal/short range increase in my opinion and would lead to excessive camping due to the increase in the effective range (optimal) similar to how my extra range modifiers did. Multiples of the optimal range as a base number tend to break down on the extreme ends like with VLFG (which if doubled would give you an optimal/short range bracket of 60 inches... basically the entire board for smaller 3x4 sized games).

Method 1

The first acceptable option is to just go with the optimal range number as written and then just double it for additional range brackets. This has the unfortunately tendancy of shortening the effective range for Blitz down significantly for suboptimal/medium range shots. Long range shots are also affected to a lesser extent but those frankly rarely hit except for lucky area affect deviations so I'm not as worried about that. Basically, an LRP would be 6" for no penalty (no change), -1 up to 12" at medium range (changed from 24" here in Blitz), and -2 up to 48" (changed from infinity in blitz). The LAC would be 12/24/48 and the MAC would be 18/36/72.

While this change does adversely affect optimal range 6" weapons like LRPs, RFBs, and Snub cannons, it fixes the feeling I get that the suboptimal range for other weapons is almost meaningless due to the incredible ranges (like MACs at 48" resulting in almost the whole table being in suboptimal range for non-camping gears in most games). I'm not entirely happy with this as I don't want the game to return to the rush to point blank range playstyle of L&L and the original Blitz but I've found that most people try to maneuver to optimal before firing and this only noticeably adversely affects camping FS style units (which I'm ok with frankly) and unfortunately very short ranged weapons like snub cannons in actual practice. The overall change though is still acceptable.

Method 2

The other reasonable option I thought of that still keeps thing simple is to increase the optimal range by 6" and then use that number instead as the base range and then doubling it for each additional bracket. So, in the LRP example above, the range stat would be 12". For the LAC, you'd end up with no penalty at 12", -1 at up to 24", and -2 at 48". An LAC from the same Hunter/Jaeger would have a range of 18" giving you no penalty until that point and a -1 at 36" as well as a -2 at 72". A more longer ranged ATM for instance would be 24/48/72 instead. This has the added effect of increasing the optimal/short bracket by 6" for each weapon which I'm not completely happy about frankly after my experience with the last demo. Since I feel like long range weapons are a bit too powerful currently (like camping with twin LFGs or twin/triple linked rocket packs), I'd be hesitant to give those weapons as well as every weapon an addition reason to stay further back from the enemy.

Finally, melee range and thrown weapons would stay as written ruleswise in Blitz but would just have the initial ranges listed under the entry as a reminder.


Part 2

On a completely unrelated intro note, I added the "follow the blog by email" widget to the blog a few weeks back and was wondering if anyone is using it and (if so) if it's a useful alternative to traditionally subscribing as a blog follower or just checking in every few days/weeks.  Anyways.. back to the meat of the post..

Well, the first game with new weapon ranges is done and it was a bit of a wild ride conceptually.  At first, the reduction in weapon ranges (especially the LRP) was quite disconcerting but stepping back and analyzing the situation has made me realize that it was more reactionary to a change from what I expected rather than disliking the change itself.

In general, I consider the effective range of a weapon to encompass the short and medium range bands (optimal and suboptimal for those who haven't read my previous post changing the rather clunky nomenclature).  Since my Flash! houserules promote smaller games, I've been unofficially pushing the 3'x4' size table for the smaller test games as opposed to the standard 4'x6' sized table for games of 1000TV or more.  My goal is to have a wider range of real choices amongst weapons so that the 12/48 and 18/72 ranged weapons don't necessarily dominate most games.  Ideally, I'd like for the weapons that are supposed to be long range beyond the horizon death dealers to shine in that role for both 3'x4' and 4'x6' table sizes. 

Unfortunately, the 12/48 and 18/72 weapons like the MRP tend to dominate most of the smaller sized game tables as the entire .  The diagonal on a 3'x4' table is 60" so an MRP placed in just 6" away from the corner of a deployment zone can effectively cover all of no-man's land as well as the most of the enemy deployment zone as well (all except for a roughly 6" crecent on the complete opposite deployment corner); if using the short table edge deployment (as in the pic below), it covers the entire table if placed just a few inches from it's own edge.   With that large area covered, there really isn't a need for longer ranged IF unless they offer some sort of other benefit (like stun via natural AE or an incredibly long optimal bracket).

With the changes I proposed last post in Method 1, the MRP stays the master of the midrange bombardment to cover no man's land as well as your own deployment zone where longer range mortars are at a disadvantage due to MR; at the same time it loses that across the board coverage over your enemy's deployment effect.  The commonly available 30" range weapons (like VLFG and HGM) fill that new void nicely and can reach the entirety of the 3'x4' board (including corner to corner diagonals) within medium/suboptimal range whereas the truely long range weapons (like heavy field guns) do the same on 4'x6' boards. 

To illustrate that point, I've constructed the admittedly crude diagram below showing weapon ranges of a unit placed at the front of a short side deployment zone.  Remember that with my revised range stats the next range is double the previous so an LAC is 12 short/24 medium/48 long range.  A 12" base range weapon still covers the entirety of no man's land as well as almost half the enemy's deployment zone within short/medium range whereas an 18" weapon covers the entire table within short/medium range with aggressive deployment.  Both brackets still cover all of no-man's land even with backfield deployment as well.  With this change, the corner to corner deployment bombardment becomes the specialty of longer range weapons like HGMs, LFGs, and HATMs instead of just doubling up with MRPs and AGMs/ATMs.




It takes some getting used to as the LRP and shorter ranged upgrades like snub cannons become limited to 12" or less effectiveness but I think that frankly goes with their fluff as well as previous editions of blitz (flanking tanks to get a close range shot instead of sniping from 24" with a snub as is commonly done now).  I realize (as my opponent astutely brought up) that the above likely changes the effective TV of various upgrades and units slightly (no more than 5tv per model though IMO) but I'm not ready to start tweaking them directly until I get alot more games in with my house rules.  In the end, I do like the fact that I had to make actual decisions on which weapons to use at what ranges in the most recent demo game instead of just defaulting to twin-linked MRPs for most things without much thought.    I'll likely be incorporating and adjusting the previous post to become an official chapter under my table of contents in the next few days. 

As for a preview of the next post, my opponent brought up some interesting observations regarding my cover system and had some good advice so I'll likely be revising it soon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weapons

In my quest for a leaner and simpler Blitz datacard (and rules), I've left only a single part of the datacard untouched... namely the weapon section.  Perhaps it's more of a personal issue of early onset dementia on my part but I find myself referring to the card for weapon ranges more than anything else. Most other games I've played don't have as many brackets but, if they do, they tend to be simple multiples of the same number (linear progression) instead of the quadratic progression of Blitz. I've found myself wondering how the game would play if the weapon ranges were instead simply linear multiples of the same number (thus requiring only the memorization of a single range for each weapon).

First off, I'm simply not a fan of the nomenclature Blitz uses for range.  Optimal, suboptimal, and extreme seems like a needlessely complicated and elite way of simply saying short, medium, and long that most games instead use.  For the purposes of my Flash! houserules, I'll be changing the ranges to the more easily accessible short = optimal, medium = suboptimal, and long = extreme terms.  While I'm sure that there was some reason for the use of the unique terms above, I'd rather have the game and it's playstyle more easily recognizable to both wargamers and the general public alike and I think the change in terms helps with that.

The option I've chosen is to just go with the optimal range number as written and then just double it for additional range brackets.  This has the unfortunately tendancy of shortening the effective range for Blitz down significantly for suboptimal/medium range shots.  Long range shots are also affected to a lesser extent but those frankly rarely hit except for lucky area affect deviations so I'm not as worried about that.  Basically, an LRP would be 6" for no penalty (no change), -1 up to 12" at medium range (changed from 24" here in Blitz), and -2 up to 48" (changed from infinity in blitz).  The LAC would be 12/24/48 and the MAC would be 18/36/72.   Finally, melee range and thrown weapons would stay as written ruleswise in Blitz but would just have the initial ranges listed under the entry as a reminder.

With these changes, the MRP for instance stays the master of the midrange bombardment to cover no man's land as well as your own deployment zone where longer range mortars are at a disadvantage due to MR; at the same time it loses that across the board coverage over your enemy's deployment effect. The commonly available 30" range weapons (like VLFG and HGM) fill that new void nicely and can reach the entirety of the 3'x4' board (including corner to corner diagonals) within medium/suboptimal range whereas the truely long range weapons (like heavy field guns) do the same on 4'x6' boards.

To illustrate that point, I've constructed the admittedly crude diagram below showing weapon ranges of a unit placed at the front of a short side deployment zone of a typical Flash! 3'x4' board. Remember that with my revised range stats the next range is double the previous so an LAC is 12 short/24 medium/48 long range. A 12" base range weapon still covers the entirety of no man's land as well as almost half the enemy's deployment zone within short/medium range whereas an 18" weapon covers the entire table within short/medium range with aggressive deployment. Both brackets still cover all of no-man's land even with backfield deployment as well. With this change, the corner to corner deployment bombardment becomes the specialty of longer range weapons like HGMs, LFGs, and HATMs instead of just doubling up with MRPs and AGMs/ATMs.




It takes some getting used to as the LRP and shorter ranged upgrades like snub cannons become limited to 12" or less effectiveness but I think that frankly goes with their fluff as well as previous editions of blitz (flanking tanks to get a close range shot instead of sniping from 24" with a snub as is commonly done now). I realize (as my opponent astutely brought up) that the above likely changes the effective TV of various upgrades and units slightly (no more than 5tv per model though IMO) but I'm not ready to start tweaking them directly until I get alot more games in with my house rules. In the end, I do like the fact that I had to make actual decisions on which weapons to use at what ranges in the most recent demo game instead of just defaulting to twin-linked MRPs for most things without much thought.

As a result of an interesting discussion regarding the changes in Gear Up 6 on the DP9 forums, I've decided to incoporate the following changes (thanks goes to feral on the DP9 forums for coming up with the idea that I expanded on for the first linked fire option).

Indirect Fire: Add "Weapons choosing to use the indirect fire option may not fire at targets within half their short range. The may still fire at targets at under half short range if the weapon does not have the MR trait and therefore can use the direct fire rules."

I've always found it odd that mortars that can actually shoot almost straight up vertically had a minimum range requirement but artillery pieces that have a much lower max angle of elevation didn't. The recent changes in minimum range got me thinking about that and I've decided to extend the minmum range restriction to all indirect firing weapons. This means that most rocket pods, field guns, and other IF capable weapons will now no longer be able to fire INDIRECTLY within half their short range (remember that I've change the terms for range and "optimal" is now short). The weapons will still however be able to fire directly within that range though. Weapons with the actual MR trait will still not be able to fire directly and have no firing option within half short range (unchanged from Blitz! and GU).

Linked Weapons: Weapons that have this option may be fired together as part of the same action using one of the two options below.

     -For each linked weapon fired, assign one of your rolled attack dice results to it; this result counts as the result for the attack as well as for determining out of ammo results for that weapon. If the weapons were fired indirectly, use the highest dice roll for determining scatter for all linked weapons fired. The defender rolls his defense dice once and applies it to each individual weapon attack roll. Any extra attack dice results are discarded and any weapons having no available attack dice to be assigned are considered to have rolled a fumble (including for both OOA and damage purposes).
 
     -Designate one weapon in the link as the primary weapon. For each additional identical linked weapon fired, you may add half the ROF (round off) to the ROF of the primary weapon. You may then use the modified ROF for the purposes off the attack roll that the target or targets will defend against once only for the linked attack. Add +1 per linked weapon after the primary to the target number for OOA checks and use the highest die rolled for OOA checks for all the linked weapons fired.

For example, a grizzly with att2 rolls a 5 and a 3 for his linked MRP attack with full ROF using the first option above. The defender must then roll once and determine the damage versus the 5 and 3 individually using the normal modifiers and the 3 result causes an OOA result for that one MRP.

If the same grizzly instead had two targets 5 inches apart that it wished to attack, it could use the second option to make a singe combined ROF attack versus both models (not normally possible with the standard MRP). Using the same dice results as above, scatter would be deternined by and the target would roll versus the single result of 5 for the linked attack. The 5 would also be used for determining OOA for both pods which in this case would mean that they're both out of ammo (due to the +1 modifier for the check for two linked weapons). The grizzly fired its full payload on the gamble of damaging both models. 



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Updates and Coordinated Attacks

After my recent Flash! demo game as well as after hearing some feedback on the matter from Cutnose, I've gone ahead and switched back the attack modifiers and cover system back to the way it is in blitz as well as removed the +1/-1 modifier for EW/LD tests based on speed.  I was frankly hesitant about that last part without trying full specialized recon units but I worried about it the more I thought about it.  As with changing the firing bonuses, I kept thinking that players would opt to stay put for an additional +1 rather than maneuvering to lessen the amounts of cover bonus to the target number by 1.  Initially I thought that removing the in the open cover state and increasing firing range bonuses would increase the lethality of the game but it instead caused the game to keep the same lethality only moved from optimal to suboptimal range; I can see the same thing happening if I encourage staying being stationary for EW events as well.  Since this is the first time I'm updating a large part of the blog, I figured I'd list the format I'll be using.  I'll detail the individual changes and reasons in the regular blog posts like this but just delete/change them in the formal sections that I've listed under the Table of Contents to the right of this post.

Now, on to the new stuff.  Another interesting issue brought up during the last game was that the lack of coordinating fire use.  Neither my opponent nor I used the rule during the entire game.  Part of the reason likely was that my demo squads had upgraded weapons on the CGLs which normally neither of us use.  Another more subconscious reason is likely that the smaller squad size decreases the end effectiveness of the coordinated fire action.  In normal Blitz, you give up one (usually mediocre) action of firing by the CGL to give 4 other models in the gear squad a benefit.  If you decrease that total number down to 3 as I have, the mental math doesn't necessarily work out as well.

There are several ways to approach this.  One would be to do nothing and simply use the lessened coordinated fire action sparingly.  The second would be to create a separate "free action" that CGLs and 2iC models can  once a turn that doesn't take up an action of their own with either no penalty or a -1 penalty to all actions as per the original Blitz and RPG rules.  The final route (and the one I've decided to go with) is to incorporate the coordinated fire rules into another action so that the model may still do something else that turn as well.

Coordinated Attack: A CGL (or 2iC if the CGL is dead) may nominate the target of his successful FO with the additional effects listed under Coordinated Attack in the Field Manual at no additional action cost.  While any friendly model may use the FO as per the normal rules, only models from the same fire team/section as the CGL may benefit from the coordinated attack effect.  Coordinated Attack may still be used as written in the Field Manual as an independent action, gaining the ability to still work if blocked by ECM within 3" + EL.

As always, feel free to comment.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Post Demo Thoughts...

Well.. I'm definitely glad that I got to try the demo with an experienced player as my thoughts on several things have changed since the game.  Previously, I had played with people that were relatively new to Blitz so they didn't know the ins/outs of the proper game let alone my house rules so it was nice to play against someone who knew what the proper game plays like.  That said, some things ended up surprising me to say the least.

The big thing that I noticed is that the game played more statically than I expected.  Part of it was due to my choice of demo armies that both included a Fire Support fire team whose job it is to just stay put waaaay back and fire but I don't think that was the only contributor to the camping we both did.  Another was the rolls and choice of offensive objectives dependent on killing the enemy (which encourage taking shots over positioning) as well as a small 3x4 map that is known as a killing field apparently in playtesting circles.  Finally, my opponent made an interesting observation in that my smaller combat groups tended to weed out the chaff that usually ends up running up and providing flanking shots to the upgraded gun models.  Without them, the gunners tended to just hand back and shoot instead.  This was also true of my upgrading the CGLs in half the fireteams to effectively gunners instead of commanders (both I and my opponent prefer to run lean CGLs in Blitz which wasn't the case here in Flash!).  

I'm really not sure what to do with this frankly.  I *want* to be able to play with smaller squads that still feel like the bigger ones but the only things I can see to change are to get rid of the veteran slot granting yet another option you wouldn't otherwise get.  A second choice would be to give players the option of adding back in those remaining two gears that are "missing" from the squad as the second part of the fireteam before allowing a second CGL led fire team to be taken.  Basically, you'd get the fireteam as is right now but wouldn't be able to take another until you took that second group of two models cut from the squad.  It would effectively be a complicated version of the blitz subcombat group rule in the Field Manual.

On the game rules side (as opposed to army construction as detailed above), two changes I made had unintended side effects when combined.  The removal of a bonus to shooting at models out in the open combined with an increase overall in range bonuses meant that both I and my opponent measured out some risky top speed moves that positioned us better for the next turn but ended up just staying put and taking combat or stationary shots in cover instead because there was no relative reward.  Zooming up at top speed for a better next turn position that grants you an in the open shot at optimal that counteracts the top speed firing penalty does encourage more movement from that safe suboptimal range at combat/stationary speed shot.  I'll likely be rolling back those changes in the blog and see how it goes instead.

One benefit to camping was that we gave the new cover/concealment and lock rules a fairly thorough go.  Despite the really wacky rolls (like my Blitz Jaeger failing his 2+ active lock check two turns in a row with 1's), it did seem to work with one caveat.  Some across the entire board active locks from one camping corner to another with unoptimized gears (like a simple Jaeger) made me think that the active lock check system doesn't account for cover enough.  I don't want to complicate it much more (especially not with measurements) but it does need to account for active locking a target model behind a house versus a target model behind a house, a hill, and a ruined building.  I think that I'll modify the rules to instead say that the TN of an active lock check is 4 +1 per piece of terrain crossed after the first (as opposed to just the flat TN4). 

As always, feel free to comment about the above. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flash! Cheatsheet

Just a quick update and then some musings.  I worked on a quick cheatsheet for use in Flash! games that highlights some of the changes in the rules that I've proposed in a (hopefully) easy to read and understand format.  The sheet isn't an exhaustive tome unfortunately (there is no way of quickly listing every perk/flaw that was affected by cover/concealment and stat changes) but should be complete enough for an average starter game to try out the rules with some basic forces like the ones I created the datacards for.  Let me know if there is something important that I missed or if there is a mistake that I didn't catch.



As for the musing, I was involved in two recent conversations about my blog and the question of combat group size came up in one and the overriding purpose of all this came up in the other.  My goal with this blog somewhat involves both those questions in an interrelated way.  I wanted to make HG easier and quicker to play as stated in the intro to this blog.  Since I'm not doing an entire overhaul of the Blitz engine but rather pruning parts I find unnecessarily complex for a wargame, my results with that help the "easier" goal more than quicker.

The other main method is to make the combat groups smaller to allow for quicker games with the same feel.  I've noticed that most people seem to gravitate towards a large skirmish (10-15 models) size battle with Blitz that ends up being around 750-1000TV roughly.  I suspect that this is largely due to the time it takes to play Blitz games which don't unfortunately play as fast as the lightning German nomenclature would suggest.  Since adding another combat group likely increases the total playtime by 50%, I rarely see lists presented or games played that feature the less commonly used combat groups like recon squads or stealth units or paratroopers unless the entire army is built around that premise.  With smaller combat groups, you can fit that third recon fireteam in the the starter set strike and fire support ones without increasing the actual fig count or play time significantly.  It also encourages people to buy new figs to try out the more bite sized squads as a single blister and a left over fig from another squad gives you a taste of the full squad you'd play in Blitz without the added cost as well.  HG seems to work best in the above 10-15 model/750-1000TV range and I hope that the new combat groups allow you to put more variety into that apparent sweet spot of mecha gaming.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Minor Update...

Nothing major going on here since the last main update but I do have a small announcement as well as a minor change. I've submitted my skirmish scale combat groups house rules to the Aurora fanzine for inclusion in the next issue. *fingers crossed* That part of this blog is completely compatible with the existing FM rules so I figured it would be the most appropriate part to submit initially.  Also, I hope to play a game with the new rules later this week so will post a small battle report with thoughts and opinions after we're done.

As for the rules change, this one is minor and doesn't deserve it's own post or especially its own chapter. A while back, I noticed that the rules for top speed and stationary only affect attack and defense skill checks but have no effect on other things like EW. I personally believe that if you're racing across the battlefield that fast that you can't perform any other actions with your gear (due to top speed costing an action) and any command point generated shots are at a penalty, that same penalty should be applied to other actions as well that require concentration like electronic warfare and calling in precise artillery strikes.

Rules Change: Apply the following modifiers for speed to EW and LD based tests: +1 when stationary and -1 at top speed.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Table Effects and Objectives

While there is some lively debate on the DP9 forums about how to improve the PL system and how it relates to the current objective system, I'll stay out of that topic for now in relation to my Flash! houserules as I believe it needs too drastic an overhaul for the purposes of this houserule blog (but I may change my mind at some point in the future).  Most of the below changes are just tweaks to the current Scenarios chapter in the Field Manual (pg. 24) to make them consistent with the changes presented earlier in the blog (like the electronics stat for example).  Any rules not specifically addressed below are not changed and you should use the FM rules as written.


Battle Conditions:

Roll once of the following table:
       1-3:  No additional effects.
       4:     Roll once on table effects.
       5:     Roll once on unusual events.
       6:     Roll once on both the table effects and unusual events tables.

Table Effects

1: Night:  The stealth perk is always applied.   Models not out in the open are counted as in cover one step greater for the purposes of passive/active locks (so a model in some cover is counted as in partial cover).  This is cummulative with the benefit from the hiding special action.

2: Dawn: The first two turns are treated as per the night rules above.

3: Dusk: The last two turns are treated as night. If used in conjunction with the variable time limits unusual event, the start the night conditions on turn 4.

4: Fog/Smoke: No model is considered out in the open for the purposes of cover modifiers.  Subtract 1 for every 12" of range or portion thereof to the target from the electronic stats of firing models for the purposes of active/passive locks. 

5: Storm: No model is considered out in the open for the purposes of cover modifiers.  Variable wind conditions cause a -1 penalty to attacks using IF including artillery strikes.

6: Roll a 2d6 on the above chart and reroll 6s, duplicates, or the second roll granting night, dawn, or dusk. 


Unusual Events

EM Storm:  Replace the term comm event with electronics event.



Objectives:

Unchanged except as follows:

Recon: The size limitation on the combat groups is change to groups of 2 or more models if using my fire team and section houserules instead of traditional Blitz squads.

Scout: Change the range limitation to 3'+ EL instead of within detect range.



Support Options: 

Remove any reference to concealment and change the term comm event to electronics event instead.  Defensive assets are considered to have an EL 0. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Example Squad to Fire Team Changes

I recieved a question about the changes I proposed to combat groups and thought a post detailing how I'd convert a group from a squad to a fire team would be a good idea.

The most complete way to convert a squad is to have the book open next to you (either physically or virtually with pdfs) while you have Gear Garage open.  You add the squad you'd like and then add the upgrades and swaps that you'd like (making sure you can take 2 of them in the "squad" entry for the single flash! fire team entry).   There isn't a way to automatically validate my house rules in Gear Garage but the program does offer a relatively easy way to do it manually.  When you have a 5 gear squad, make sure that the four non-CGL models are two groups of two identical models (including swaps and upgrades).  If the program allows you to take two of them (including the upgrades), you'll be able to take a single model in the fireteam.  Here is an example of a Southern FIF fire team of one king cobra, one blazing mamba, and a black box iggy CGL made from the appropriate squad entry. 

Veteran Line Strike Cadre (Specialist) 380TV
  • Black Box Iguana [2/2/1/2] (14/42 LHC) LAC MPZF VB CGL (2 options) 60TV
  • Blazing Mamba [2/2/1/0] (17/51 LHC) HGLC APGL APGL HG VB (1 options) 55TV
  • Blazing Mamba [2/2/1/0] (17/51 LHC) HGLC APGL APGL HG VB (1 options) 55TV
  • King Cobra [2/2/1/0] (21/105 SSLHC) LPA HRP/24 MRP/36 LGM LAC APGL HG VB CR (1 options) 104TV
  • King Cobra [2/2/1/0] (21/105 SSLHC) LPA HRP/24 MRP/36 LGM LAC APGL HG VB CR (1 options) 104TV

You can see that I've got two sets of two twin models (the King Cobra and Blazing Mamba) that show me with the existing build of Gear Garage that I can take doubles of that upgrade.  I upgraded two Jagers to the King Cobras as well as the both regular Mambas to Blazing.  The CGL Mamba took CGL only swaps down to an Iguana (in the squad entry) and then to a Black Box Variant (the Gear Regiment CGL only upgrade).  The only thing I'd need to manualy check is if I took any other upgrades like weapons for the CGL that weren't specifically listed as CGL-only as gear garage would allow me to take the "change 1 model in the squad" option which isn't enough for a fire team.  The final step would be to simply mark the units on the GG printout (similar to how I italicized/bolded the models taken above) and then add up the TVs.   

Anyways, I hope that helps show any interested players how to make up an army using Gear Garage to try out the smaller scale Flash! fire team games.

Advanced Changes

I do realize the irony in calling an update "Advanced Changes" on a blog filled with completely optional and unofficial house rules not endorsed by anyone other than myself as the author but I felt it was somewhat appropriate.  So far, the updates have largely dealt with my two goals of simplifying and speeding up the play in Blitz; while my rules changes and combat group reorganization can be used either together or separately, I feel that they accomplish both of my stated goals (especially when used together).  In this entry, I'm going to be posting the updates that don't necessarily accomplish either of those goals but rather are simply matters of preference. 


Fire Support Gear Survivability Changes

One recognized problem in HG Blitz is that the supposedly tough models like the Grizzly actually get damaged and destroyed fairly easily compared wtih their lighter brethren.  The problem lies with the inherent link in Blitz between the strength of the hit and the amount of damage due to them being dependant on the same dice roll.  This simplicity is actually something I consider elegant about the Silhouette system and I don't see it as the main cause of the problem.  The problem in my opinion is the rigid adherence to the stats originally developed for a related but much more intricate RPG system.  Using the same armor value but vastly simplified damage system means that hit that did almost nothing really significant combat-wise in the RPG (like causing minor communications system damage) result in a box of damage regardless. 

The solution that DP9 has been using (and rumored to be expanding via the next Gear Up webzine) is to change the defense modifier of the gear to 0 at combat speed instead of the -1 typical previously of Fire Support class gears.  While this does address the problem of lessening the damage taken by FS gears, I don't find the change to be very elegant.  I personally liked the idea that a gear was less maneuverable but simply able to shrug off the damage due to high armor instead of the effectively dodging the same as smaller gears despite twice the mass and 2/3 the speed.  The solution I'm presenting is simply increasing the armor of Fire Support gears to a level that actually increases their survivability.  I've tried taking an approach to this set of house rules that I start with the results I want and work my way back to the rules to express those results and this change is an example of that.  The armor values of the fire support gears might shock long time players but I've done the math and they generally result in only slightly more durability to most incoming fire than compared with the standard Hunter/Jaeger and still leaves it behind the Elite gears.  Basically, the FS gears are able to largely shrug off lighter damage like LACs but get hit just as hard by the heavier ordnance like Mzk/Hbzk which are meant to take out their class.

Change:  Size 7 gears with a maneuver -1 stat (using my Flash! houserules) or a -1 defense modifier at combat speed (using the standard Blitz rules) increase their basic armor rating by 7 for 10TV.  If the models currently have an upgrade option to increase their defensive stats, you have the option of using this armor increase instead for the same listed points.

For example, the Grizzly would increase its armor to 25 (27 in the front) as part of the roaring upgrade instead of increasing its defensive modifiers by 1.   The above (especially the TV cost) may be revised once the next Gear Up issue is released.  Feel free to try the above and let me know how it affects the actual survivability of the gears (once you get over the shock of the simple number value of the armor stat!).