Drop Bears and Bikes

Time for another game of Heavy Gear! I built the last remaining profile of the LHT-67 that I was missing, and it looks awesome! I just had to take all three versions because tanks tanks tanks!

LHT-67 with MPA and LABM

I glued it to the flight stand a little wonky, like it’s decelerating, so I just reposed the turret to make it seem like the turret motors are compensating for the roll of the tank body. As much as I dislike assembly, I’m really enjoying the poseabilty of Heavy Gear models as opposed to Infinity.

We had just finished our last game of Infinity:

We quickly cleared the Infinity terrain of (keeping the shared terrain), and set up for Heavy Gear.

Overview

  • Forces: CEF versus North
  • CEF Objectives
    • Assassinate
    • Detailed Scan
  • North Objectives
    • Hold
    • Wipe Them Out!

CEF List

Well, this list is just all three LHT-67 variants, a HC-3A, a bunch of GREL Hoverbikes, and a pair of FLAIL Anti-Tank teams.

Name TV A Weapons
CG1
RC
LHT-67 AA 17 2 MLC (T, AA), LATM (T)
+ Combat Group Leader 0
LHT-67 15 2 MPA (T), LABM (T)
CG2
RC
HC-3 Anti-Tank 14 2
LLC(FT+F), LATM (LA:1)
+ Combat Group Leader 0
+ Smoke 1
LHT-67 Assault 15 2 MRL (T), MFC (FT, Link)
CG3
GP
FLAIL Anti-Tank Squad 7 1 HMG, HAVM (AP:2)
+ Combat Group Leader 0
FLAIL Anti-Tank Squad 7 1 HMG, HAVM (AP:2)
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL
Jan GREL Hoverbike Squad 6 1 HIW, MIGL
Total 100 14

I’m taking two RC squads so my objectives can be Assassinate and Detailed Scan, which are pretty easy to get for CEF Hoverbikes, I feel.

North List

Adam’s been unreasonably excited about his “Drop Bears.” I’m not a Heavy Gear scholar, and while I’m slowly chugging through the books I have very little familiarity with the universe. Apparently this force is all about stripping unnecessary parts off of older Gears, bolting on a parachute, and throwing them out of a plane. Sounds fun!

They’re called the “Drop Bears” because that’s the name of the chassis a lot of the Gears were based on, I guess? Adam also has one of the patches, which he’s very excited about (and I am very jealous of). Anyway, I can’t really make heads or tails out of Adam’s list–just that he wanted to make it all airdrop to fit with the theme. It has a bunch of dakka in there, which is always good?

Name TV A Weapons
CG1
FS
Grenadier Koala 10 1 HAC (Arm), MGL (Arm), MRP (Link), MSG (Arm)
Killer Koala 10 1 HAC (Arm), HFL (Arm), MAPR (Link, Fire:1), HMG, MSG (Arm)
Command Sniper Koala 13 1 HAC (Arm, Precise), MRP (Link), MSG (Arm)
+ Combat Group Leader 0
Chaingun Dingo 11 1 HRC (Arm), HRP, HMG (Link), MSG (Arm)
Tank Hunter Dingo 11 1 LTG (Arm), HRP, HMG (Link), MSG (Arm)
CG2
GP
Para Hunter 8 1 LAC (Arm), LGL (Arm), LAPGL, LSG (Arm)
Para Headhunter 9 1 LAC (Arm), LGL (Arm), LAPGL, LSG (Arm)
+ Combat Group Leader 0
Para Wildfire Hunter 8 1 MAC (Arm), LAPR (Fire:1), LHG, LSG (Arm)
Para Mortar Hunter 9 1 LAC (Arm), LFM, LSG (Arm)
Hunter Commando 11 1 LBZ (Arm), MRP, LSG (Arm)
Total 100 10

Adam’s also been worrying about my infantry a lot, so he’s been careful to add a bunch of machine guns to his lists.

FIGHT!

Anyway, I labeled my deployment… I attempted to label Adam’s deployment, but I don’t have enough unit recognition experience to really know what’s what.

I figured that I’d just label his two Combat Group Leaders so you’d see what my objectives were. The two blue acrylic circles on the table were Adam’s hold objectives.

It’s worth nothing that I was not aware that most of my tanks don’t have Fast Turrets, and I did do some retaliation fire with them. Mathematically it ended up not mattering (I wasn’t crippled by the time it got back to the tank’s turn) but it’s just a mistake that I’ll need to correct in the future.

Adam starts by putting some hurt on my shiny new LHT-67, the big bully! I fire the MPA in response and blat 3 points off his Hunter.

I use my HC-3A to Haywire his Commando Hunter, burn some armor off with my LLC, and then send in my LHT-67 assault.

Between the Rotary Laser and the Frag Cannons I KO the Commando Hunter, which was getting dangerously close to my toys.

Adam takes some more shots at my LHT-67 AA, and I laser cannon him back.

I move my Hoverbikes in to finish off the gear that was hit by my LHT-67 before.

Adam tries to take out my LHT-67 AA with some sort of bear? and manages to almost kill it. Thankfully, I get a Hoverbike in position to forward observe for my tank and then drop an LATM on his CGL.

Sadly he finishes off the tank with his FS CGL, but this requires that it get closer to me, allowing me to easily get Detailed Scan off on it with some Hoverbikes. This puts us at a 1-1 tie so far, thanks to Detailed Scan and Wipe Them Out.

I pushed the offending Hoverbike squad behind Adam’s lines, fully understanding that they were dead, but they would at least pull some stuff away from my forces and back towards his table edge. Miraculously, they survive linked HMG fire with one wound left!

I start pushing forward on my right, leading the way with my LHT-67 Assault.

The Hovebikes finish off Adam’s FS CGL with a hail of grenades too.

That almost dead Hoverbike squad limps into range to scan Adam’s other CGL, bringing me to a 2-1 point lead.

Adam exacts vengeance and dakkas them off the table.

My LHT-67 starts pressuring the left side, forcing Adam to retreat the his FS Gears.

I pounce on the FS gear on the right with my LHT-67 Assault, unloading on it at point blank range.

My Hovercar puts a hurting on one of his Hunters, crippling it as well.

I just need to hunt down Adam’s remaining CGL, so some Hoverbikes plink a few wounds off the Hunter.

I attempt to clear one of Adam’s hold objectives with my LHT-67 Assault but his big FS gear has one wound remaining.

To finish the game, I get a Hoverbike squad in position to set up a forward observe on his CGL, and just rain Heavy Anti-Vehicle Missiles and Medium Infantry Grenades on it to wipe it out. I had another activation left of my LHT-67 Assault to finish the job, but it turned out to be unnecessary.

Adam was holding both Hold Objectives at this point, and although we had activations remaining we decided to call it here at a

4-3 CEF Victory!

Post Game Analysis

Well! I am really enjoying the CEF tanks/infantry build archetype. I have tons of speedy and reasonably hard-hitting things to take advantage of positional mistakes, and my Hoverbikes are great objective grabbers. Perhaps a little too great. I think I played this game very carefully and was rewarded for it. Adam’s key mistake was advancing his FS CGL towards me, which allowed me an easy two points. Getting those two points got me into a springboard position to get the last two points I needed.

I think he had a bit of a target priority problem. The tanks aren’t the way I win the game–it’s the infantry, So killing the infantry is probably more important. It wasn’t until I got to his side of the table that I felt threatened by anti-infantry weapons (which are inherently short range). Some earlier pressure from the lighter Hunter combat group firing LAPGLs at me might’ve helped. Not sure. I think there’s definitely some room for discussion here.

Adam’s criticism of the power of the Hoverbikes is pretty warranted though. They have a 24″ move, which translates into a 30″ threat radius for Detailed Scan, unopposed, on 2d6 at 4+. That’s pretty gosh-darned good. We’re discussing nerfing that a bit so that probably won’t stay in the next revision of hte rules.

I need to remember that none of my tanks have fast turrets, except for the MFC on the Assault variant. I don’t think it broke the game, but it definitely is not a mistake I should repeat. So yeah. I think to sum this game up in terms of tactics and not rule balance:

  1. I played very cagey and focused on the objectives.
  2. Adam was a bit too aggressive with his FS CGL, and that snowballed.
  3. Also, some more focus on shooting at my infantry instead of tanks might have helped.

Heavy Gear is a very interesting game to get into after a long stint as an Infinity player. Rangebands simultaneously matter, but also don’t. There are a myriad of ways to expend resources to get more dice added to your pool to offset the suboptimal range penalty, or even the penalty for movement. Very interesting indeed. Command is modeled as well, in a useful way.

I’m still getting my head wrapped around all of this, and I’m doing what I can to share my thought process with you all. Hopefully it is helpful!

Adam’s Thoughts

I finally get a chance to put my Crazy 08’s on the table! For those who are new to the Heavy Gear universe, the Crazy 08’s is a Northern airborne regiment from the Western Frontier Protectorate. They’re credited for creating the Koala, which is a Bear fire support gear with armor stripped down so they can shove it out the back of a low-flying aircraft. They’re kind of a mad bunch of nuts with a heavy Aussie theme, and I think they’re awesome.

My list was centered around a selection of heavily armed airdrop troops, giving me strong options for deployment, and some very potent firepower. I’ve been grumbling a bit about Wipe Them Out, so I opted to run CG1 as Fire Support rather than Strike. Taking Wipe Them Out against my opponent with no dedicated fire support means I will at most be able to score 3 points. It’s very much a self-imposed handicap, but I was going to see if I can make it work anyhow.

My plan was to score my single point for WTO as quickly as possible, before retreating back and protecting my Hold objectives. Unfortunately, the speed of Hoverbikes, and the ability to perform Detailed Scan through full solid cover, and suffering at most 2 points of damage from non-AI attacks really makes them difficult to stop from scoring Detailed Scan. Coupled with my deployment mistakes, the game went quickly pear-shaped, by turn 2 I could only hope for a tie, by turn 3 it was impossible for me to win since I was capped at scoring 3 points.

As we both learn the game, we’re also both developing new strategies, so while I lost, it gave me a lot to think about. Since you choose missions after deployment in Heavy Gear, you can pick your missions based on your opponent and their deployment. Essentially, that means if the opponent has the ability to take something like Assassinate or Detailed Scan, then you’ll need to deploy in a way to protect them from early scoring.

When it comes to Wipe Them Out as a mission, it’s definitely a difficult mission, and if your opponent doesn’t have Fire Support, you will want to avoid taking it at pretty much any expense. If you want to take dedicated FS units (like a Strider) consider taking them as a Secondary Unit, or as an alternative, make sure you have more combat groups that missions (so you don’t have to take it if you don’t want to), or play a sub-list that allows picking a different mission for a unit.

Finally, you might actually want to take WTO as an objective, because if your opponent takes a small combat group with a FS-only unit, it can be an easy to score two-points. If you’re new to the game and find yourself stuck with Wipe Them out, you could quickly get frustrated with it, so keep all this in mind, and be prepared!

WiseKensai

WiseKensai

I primarily play Infinity and Heavy Gear nowadays, but I dabble in plenty of other game systems.

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