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!).