As a proud Canadian, Dream Pod 9 has always been a favourite of mine. For those that don't know, Dream Pod 9 is a French-Canadian gaming company out of Montreal, that has over the years created a variety of games and setting, their flagship product being the mecha combat-based game Heavy Gear. Even when I had fallen out of gaming for years, I still had kept my 2nd edition books tucked away.
Heavy Gear is my favourite game because it combines my love of mecha (the first game I ever played that involved miniatures was Battletech) with a ruleset that is simple, balanced and versatile. The game is also much more customizable than Battletech as well. In Battletech, you've got a specific 'mech and may a few alternate loadouts. In Heavy Gear on the other, even the basic trooper gears can take a variety of weapons to make them effecient against all manner of foes. The game is based on the planet Terra Nova, and is set about 4,000 years in the future. Humans have settled the semi-arid planet and wage war in vehicles called "Gears," 15-foot tall mecha that have been heavily influenced by the anime Armoured Trooper Votoms. You have a variety of leagues that have allied themselves into polar alliances, the equatorial-based city states that have a "wild west" feel, and the re-invading Earth forces, looking to take back the planet back by force that they had left to fend for themselves hundreds of years ago.
Of all the forces available to me, I have thrown my lot in with the North, or as it is more formally known, the Confederated Northern City States (CNCS). From a background perspective, those of the north are conservative people, espcially when contrasted against the hedonistic South. Game-wise, the wage a specialized form of warefare; it's units are designed for a specific task, which they perform well, but are not as versatile as the South. Here are some of the units I have assembled for my northern force so far.
The first unit I have is a General Purpose (GP) Squad. For all Northern Forces, they are a Core unit and one of the basic building blocks for an army. Thanks to the wonder of online photo editing, I've tagged the picture above so that I can say a few words on each of the gears in my squad.
- Hunter with Medium Autocannon (MAC): Not much to say about this, except that the MAC upgrade gives it stronger anti-gear firepower in the form of both a stronger damage multiplier and a greater Rate of Fire (ROF)
- Stripped-Down Hunter: Many say this Gear as undercosted, due to it's greater defensive modifiers at the expense of losing a sturdy box and light rocket pack (LRP), and I would agree, if you fielded a whole army of them. They make a great skirmisher, and the better defence allows it the chance to get closer to the enemy to benefit from shorter range attack modifiers.
- Headhunter: The vanilla combat group leader (CGL). In HG, your CGLs should spend their actions coordinating attacks, which give bonus attack modifiers to the unit, as opposed to shooting with the rest of them. The sensors and communication upgrades to this Gear help in that respect.
- Hunter with Snub Cannon (SC) and Heavy Panzerfausts (HPZF): The SC is one of the BFGs of the game in Heavy Gear, meant to be used in an anti-tank role. However, it's accuracy leaves something to be desired, and it's limited ammo means you might never hit anything before running out. I've attempted to compensate for this by also adding the HPZFs, which have a bit longer range to them. This Gear should basically be gunning it at Top Speed at the enemy, and scrambling from cover to cover if possible to take out its target.
I've got another unit just about finished as well, but I'll save that for another post!