Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heavy Gear - CanGames Battle 2

For my second battle, I was paired up against DP9 forumite TekRat04. TekRat04, for those that don't know, is the individual reponsible for developing the PDF movment and status counters that are available for download at http://www.dp9.com/. Tekrat04 fielded a Northern tank-exclusive army, which consisted of an Aller, Hardy Aller, and Jaxon Support Tank.

Battle 2 was fought over an urban board that was intersected by a large river that was considered Impassible Terrain. A single bridge allowed passage to and from either side. My objectives were to HOLD the monument on my side of the board while at the same time SEIZE TekRat04's monument on his side of the board.

Here are a few bullets on observations made during this battle:

1. Top Speed Is Your Friend: This battle was more a case of losing VPs instead of gaining them; I had already gained 2 VP for placing my units within distance of my monument, my next goal was to seize TekRat04's. I needed my GP Squad to assault his monument. THis could only be achieved by literally staring down the guns of two Allers, quite possible the strongest unit of armour in the game. So I sent my units Top Speed over the bridge to do so, knowing they could certainly be cut to pieces, and that this move would possibly win or lose the game for me. Thanks to the favourable modifiers of Top Speed, after both Allers had fired all of their weapons at me, two Hunters had taken a Sturdy and Light level worth of damage respectively. The risk had certainly paid off! Here's a pic below of my GP Squad assaulting TekRat04's side of the river:

My beachhead is established on TekRat04's side of the river. I had taken out his Hardy Aller with a Parting Shot from my SC-carrying Hunter, while two Hunters made for his monument while dodging fire from his Aller. On the other side of the major road, my Sabretooth stalks his Jaxon Support Tank:

2. Smoke: TekRat04 used his Allers' Smoke Launchers to great effect. Due to the Concealment they created, I was unable to FO his tanks with my Infantry or Hunters, due to their low Detect ratings.

3. Tanks are Best Used Aggresively!: I had never encountered or used tanks before, but had been under the impression that in an 800 TV force they were almost too many points sunk into one unit. That impression is wrong, as TekRat04 sped forward to counter-assault my side of the river with is Aller. It soon become one shot, one kill as his superior weapons at Point Blank range put large railgun-shaped holes in many of my Gears. Below TekRat04's Aller attacks my MBZK-carrying Hunter and Stripped Down Hunter before assaulting my side of the river:

In the end, TekRat04's Jaxon was taken out by a barrage of MRPs from my Sabretooth, and his Aller was finally whittled down by a well-placed MBZK shot. I had emerged again with full VPs! Here's how my force looked after destroying all of his units:

In the end, my taking of full VPs in battles 1 and 2 lead me to tying with DP9 forumite Izzy as winner of the tournament. I got to go home with the title of "Canadian National Champion" and $50 dollars worth of free product from DP9. I picked up a Bobcat and Weasel 2-pack and so more dice counters.

I'd to thank everyone that participated in this tournament and the DP9 staff of doing an excellent job of hosting. I came away with a great experience, and am looking forward to defending my title next year. Until then, it's back to the hobby desk for me!

Heavy Gear - CanGames Battle 1

For the CanGames tournament, all players were required to play two 2-hour games against opponents assinged by the organizers. Each side was given two objectives to complete, which were worth 2 VP each if they were held uncontested.

For my first battle, I was paired up with DP9 forumite Riker2800. Riker2800 fielded his finely painted CEF force, which consisted of 2 LHT-71s, 2 HC-3s, and an Interdiction Frame Squad (which included his army commander). In the following picture you can see how we had initially set up our forces.

I've made a few observations in bullet points below, as oppsed to a turn-by-turn battle report, since there was little time to take photos, let alone write it all down. I think they'll highlight what went on during the battle, and help potential commanders chose their forces in the future.

1. Grizzlies Die Quickly: Before I had even had a chance to take my turn, one of my Grizzlies was overkilled by Riker2800’s army commander using an SLC. This occurred even while my Grizzly was at secondary movement combat speed to keep the negative defence modifiers down. I would learn quickly throughout the day that these Gears should be kept out of the thickest fighting with plenty of cover between them and the enemy.
2. Field Guns Rule: For a mere 35 points, this artillery piece, in conjunction with my infantry squads FO, managed to take out two Frames (including his army commander) by the end of turn 1, and the rest of the Interdiction Squad and an additional HC-3 before the battle was through. A perfect example of why victory in this game is not all about the mecha, but through the use of combined arms.
Below is a picture of such combined arms in action. The Infantry squad to the far left had FO for the Field Gun, which had spent it's action on "Stand-by for Coordinates." A successful roll of the dice and half of Riker2800's Frame squad is no more!

3. Demo Drones are Deadly: Riker2800 had advanced his LHT-71s up his right flank. Only a single squad of infantry stood between him breaking through my lines and advancing on my rear flank. However, for a +5 TV upgrade, my infantry managed to get themselves in position to take out his two LHT-71s with their demo drone. Big things come in small packages indeed, and combined with the LHT-71’s Weak Facing (underside) flaw, proved to surprisingly deadly to his assault.

Here's a picture I took of the roll I got for attacking the LHT-71 with my demo drone...a natural six, nice!

My Field Gun readies to rain down another round on the CEF Frames after my Hunter on the left flank FOs for it.

And finally, we have a picture after all the dust had settled. I had completely destroyed his forces and won full VPs in the process.

My force can no go back to the hanger and readly themselves for it's second challenge...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heavy Gear - DP9 at CanGames 2010

I'm going to break out my coverage of what went down at CanGames into a variety of posts, because, one: I can't figure out if it's me or the blog software that won't allow me to post more than a couple of picture's per entry, and; two, it makes the whole event easier to read.

For those that don't know, CanGames is one of Canada's oldest gaming convention, which has been occurring in Ottawa for thirty-odd years, bringing together all manner of dice roller, be it board games, role-playing games, or tabletop wargames. DP9 is a regular at the convention, and hosts it's Canadian National Championship tournament at the event.

While I've lived in Ottawa in the past, this was my first time at the convention itself, and a first time for gaming conventions in general. It was a great, relaxed atmosphere, and I've a few thoughts on it below:
  1. DP9 Community: The DP9 community has got to be one of the friendliest in gaming. Players in the tournament came from near and far, with the local Ottawa Pod Squad in attendance, while other players came from Trois-Rivieres, Toronto, Rhode Island and Long Island. The DP9 crew, John and Robert, are what every gaming company should strive to be like when it comes to servicing their customers. A specific example came up when I was playing, and realized my movement dice had the secondary movement top speed printed on them twice. John replaced them for me free of charge (I can't say I'd expect similar customer service from GW).
  2. Variety of Armies: All sorts of armies were seen, which is great compared to other games that succumb to "codex creep" and is a great indicator of balance in HGB. From what I observed, there were all sorts of factions played, including tank-exclusive Northern armies, Humanist strider-exclusive armies, Black Talons with Edenite allies, and all-Caprician Combat Mount armies. Plenty of players brought the new Naga strider model in all of it's configurations (the command Naga variant I saw is my personal favourite) and DP9 forumite Izzy's Hetairoi-heavy force looked good.
  3. Lucky Omens: I'll get into how I did in the tournament in my next few posts, but I think part of my success came down to some lucky omens. First, I had to get back to my car to get some change for parking, to find a bird had shit on my driver's door handle, which is lucky omen one. Second, I got the last two Rickard's Red from the bar, which I stated to the bartender "these better be lucky." I think they turned out to be lucky indeed!
Here's a few general pictures I took of the DP9 area of CanGames:

The playing area set-up before the tournament has started.

DP9 forumites Ghostrider (on the left) battles Attila of Terra for tournament glory!

A Humanist strider-heavy army fights for Badland supremacy versus a Northern tank-exclusive force.

DP9's John Nguyen looks on as the Humanst forces emerge victorius!

Next, I'll go into how I fared in my individual battles.

Heavy Gear - My CanGames Army

Here's the force composition I took to the Heavy Gear Blitz Canadian National Championship tournament that occurred at CanGames over the weekend. For those that don't know what was allowed, it was a PL3 800 TV army with Support Points (SP) being converted into Command Points (CP). Here's a picture of the total package:

And here's what it looks like by the numbers (note that I've used to the post-1940 upgrades available to the North and my GP Squad has taken UMFA upgrades as per the multi-state build rules):

Northern Guard roster, 800 TV, PL 3, SPs 0, CPs 4

Veteran Fire Support Squad (Auxiliary) [Army Command Group] 350 TV

  • Headhunter (CGL)
    • Jaguar upgrade +15 TV
    • Boost DEF and LD by 1 +20 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 + 10 TV
  • Hunter
    • Swap LAC to MAC +5 TV
  • Hunter
    • Swap LAC to MAC +5 TV
  • Grizzly
  • Grizzly

Veteran General Purpose Squad (Core) 315 TV

  • Headhunter (CGL)
    • Sabretooth upgrade + 20 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 + 10 TV
  • Hunter
    • Tiger upgrade + 20 TV
    • Swap LAC to MBZK +10 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 +10 TV
  • Hunter
    • Swap LAC to MBZK + 10 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 +10 TV
  • Hunter
    • Swap LAC and LRP to SC +5 TV
    • Add HPZF +5 TV
    • “Tank Hunter” Upgrade +10 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 +10 TV
  • Hunter
    • SD Hunter downgrade -15 TV
    • Swap LAC to MAC +5 TV
    • Boost ATK and DEF to 3 +10 TV

Infantry Platoon (Core)

  • Infantry Squad (CGL)
    • Add demo drone +5 TV
  • Infantry Squad
    • Add TD + 10 TV
  • Infantry Squad
    • Add AGR + 5 TV
  • Infantry Squad
    • Add AGR + 5 TV

Veteran Field Gun Section (Specialist)

  • Field Gun (CGL)
    • Boost ATK to 3 + 5 TV

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Heavy Gear - Tigers, Sabretooths, Oh My!

I've been working like crazy to finish off my force for the upcoming Heavy Gear tournament at CanGames and finalizling my force compositon. Both of these Gears will be in my GP Squad, where I will make use of both the Northern Guard multi-force army build rules and the Post-1940 upgrades. WIth these, I hope to give my GP Squad a bit more punch, and to make it feel like aStrike Squad lite. May I present to you:

So why have I decided to take these old workhorses in my army? Here's a couple of points I have in favour of them (thanks to DP9 forumite IceRaptor for his previous research and being a UMFA fan):
  1. Tiger: The Tiger adds some much needed swagger to a GP Squad. For +20 TV upgrade on a Hunter, you get a Gear with 2 points of armour, 1 point of detect 1 point of Auto Comm, and a +1 ATK modfier at the cost of a Sturdy Box. Though it has the same DEF mod as a Hunter, the Tiger should not be used to sit back. It's MRP, in addtion to the MBZK I've added to it, screams "assault," and the Gear should be used accordingly, softening up enemies and taking objectives while being supported by friendly fire
  2. Sabretooth: I've added a Sabretooth to my army for a number of reasons. For a +20 TV upgrade to a Headhunter, I've got a much more group leader-friendly machine. It has the same stats as the Tiger above, but retains the Study Box and adds +1 Comm and ECCM:2. The ECCM is key to it usefulness both generally and specifically in my force. My force in particular is light on EW specific Gears (IMO a Gear can jam my actions when it's been destroyed by heavy weaponry) and this adds the ability for my army commander to throw a wrench in my openents plan when they try and EW action against me.
Well, I'm off to CanGames for the weekend, and I hopefully will have some pictures for you from it along with a write up or two of how my force fared.