There's a certain art to balancing games, one which always begs the question, what game are we balancing for? In terms of Heavy Gear the Edition and resulting rules change has meant that we had a distinct opportunity to change the scale of the game, and by that I do not mean the scale of the models (!). This blog is going to be a trip down memory lane of how we got to the current army construction in the Living Rule Book.
Heavy Gear has always been written from the perspective of a military force with all the accompanying support elements. You have your Gears as the Mainstay of mobile tactical units, tanks for heavy fire support, and infantry for claiming ground with air power being a support element. There was always a disconnect with me in the old Heavy Gear Blitz with how the squads were purchased, by the unit when the game never really supported more than three units. So when the chance came to really shake the game down to it's core and ask how it was going to be played we had to answer a very important question first: How big/small is this game supposed to be?
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:43am
One of the hardest part of the Game designer/Line Developer job is how you get to be buried with the rules for so long that it never seems like those small incremental changes will ever result in a finished document.
One thing I've noticed though is how its affected my son. He's 7 and is big into Lego and Plasticine and is constantly leaving his creations on my work desk. I doubt there's another kid at his school who could describe the theory of how mecha/robots/vehicle differ from each other. But I'll spare you from the terror that his goal of an army of snake-mecha would bring to the Heavy Gear universe and just focus on the Living Rule Book Beta rules that we are dropping later today.
What's new? Well... A lot really. And then again most of it will look very similar unless you've been there in the trenches watching them change step by step.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Wed, 02/18/2015 - 1:37pm
In the forthcoming update/rewrite of the beta rules (due out as soon as layout and final checks get it ready) there are not a lot of new parts. There are some sections that have been eliminated and you can find the list of those here.
A truly new part of the rules debuted as part of the satellite uplink section, the ability to relay using other models as intermediaries. This concept is now being extended to any model with the Comm:X trait.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:46pm
As the layout is still ongoing I'll continue with some previews and explanations for some decisions made along the way. A lot of the work for the new Heavy Gear rules has been to make sure that the new rules could faithfully render models from the field manual. In some cases a straight port became more and more impossible and some radical new directions had to be taken to be true to the design but balance properly.
The South strider the Fire Dragon is an example of this. The Fire Dragon has always stood out as one of the most odd looking models in the South range. Six legs in a game where most other models have two and four at most plus a rounded. bulbous feel makes it a very alien looking strider.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Fri, 01/09/2015 - 11:57am
They make you knuckle down and make decisions that have been put off for far too long. Here's a rules decision that has been made in terms of the Living Rule book, and some of the thinking and process that went into it. This rules decision is one that developed from one concept to another as I delved into the thinking behind what a Stealth technology is and what it does, and doesn't do.
I'm going to use the Stealth trait as the example because it is one trait that there has been a lot of back and forth work on. The trait has settled nicely, though the why and the how of the rule, and how it functions in the game, is worthy of some discussion.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Sat, 12/20/2014 - 12:02am
There are times when you are sad when you're wrong, and this is one of those times. Back before the Kickstarter I said that there would be an update of the Beta rules soon after the kickstarter, and then I got to work reading e-mails, making notes, and blitzing the forums, and I don't mean the DP9 forums, but forums everywhere.
And I got feedback by the ton. Some was errata along the lines of "I think this is what you want this to mean" to the always excellent "this example is backwards" to my favorite "We play tested this and had a lot of fun, but had trouble understanding X". Some sent in full battle reports and some just commented on forum posts. There have been gut checks and statistical arguements galore and conversations both online, on public transit (random gamer encounters), and in game stores. Everyone I talk to has their own perspective on the game and what it can, and can't be.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:27pm
There are always some questions that pop up asking for clarification on so I've pulled and updated some answers from my own game bible. When it comes down to brass tacks I always like to remind players that there are any number of lenses you can view the game through, and it is fine to choose a viewpoint that is different from the standard one. The important part is to choose to have fun playing the game with your friends!
Note: There are a lot of aspects that get considered when choosing how parts of game design impact parts of the rules. For this blog I'm focusing almost exclusively on the core considerations, not any minute of the rules.
The Heavy Gear Manifesto (Game design brief)
This edited brief describes the goals behind the new edition Heavy Gear rules.
The Vision: To make Heavy Gear a classic and modern Intellectual Property that can be a popular cultural device for games and stories set in a science possible fictional future where humankind must face it’s own worst enemy, itself.
The Goal: Our goal is to create a fun and gripping tabletop combat game where between four and twenty models a side face off in a tactical combat scenario. A scenario should last about two hours. The game setting is realistic/tactical with a cinematic flair.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Sat, 10/11/2014 - 12:02am
If you haven't already downloaded your free copy of the Heavy Gear Blitz beta rules you are going to want to head over here and pick it up right away. Make sure that the copy you open is the September 24th Update. You will notice that also attached is a changes log file that will help orient you as to the changes that have been made thanks to the feedback from the play testers and fan readings of the rules.
The announcement is great because it falls close to the kick off of a Kickstarter that will catapult Heavy Gear back into the spotlight. You, the players, are making this game better because we are listening to your suggestions. Soon there are going to be a lot of new reasons for players to jump in a Gear and join the battles.
This blog isn't about that though, it's all about the details of the September update and what it means to the game.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Wed, 09/24/2014 - 11:01pm
Here at the Pod we get a lot of great feedback from players. Since we announced that we would be doing a kickstarter in late September/October there has been a lot of great deal with feedback but we need to hear more from fans
Please help us by following this link to the forums, voting in the poll, and registering your comments in the poll thread.
Submitted by Dave McLeod on Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:12am