As a result, I believe I will be expanding each article while I learn more about each faction. Then if all goes well I hope to attack the Leagueless lands. They are an interesting set of build rules that allow so much freedom, I do not believe one will ever stop writing on them.
So you have done it, you bought the Northern starter and finally assembled the models. Now what? You say to yourself looking at your four Hunters, four Jaguars, and your two Grizzlies. You pick up the rule book and tug at the hair on your head. “What have I gotten myself into? This starter is worthless.”
I will admit the starter is not the easiest thing to build with, but it is possible. Especially if you use priority level 1, 3, or 4. It does seem that the most accepted set of values is a TV of 750 with a priority level of 2. Which means you will have to upgrade if you want to play set games (like some tournaments).
Each Heavy Gear starter boasts enough models to field a 500 point Threat Value (TV) with ease most can exceed a TV of 750. The Northern starter is no exception to this rule. Once you figure out what the North is allowed to do that is.
I managed to build this 750 point TV force. It falls short by 5 pints.
1 Jaguar att/def 3, LDR 2, Field Armor, and a snub Cannon.
2 hunter with MAC.
1 Jaguar with Snub Cannon and Field Armor.
A Fire Support Squad
Jaguar LDR 3, +1 DEF
Jaguar ATT/DEF 3
Grizzly with a Medium bazooka, Field Armor, ATT/DEF 3, Recon Drone, and the Roaring Grizzly upgrade.
Grizzly with Field Armor, ATT/DEF 3, Demolition Drone, and the Roaring Grizzly upgrade.
Your General Purpose squad is just that. They are the mules of your force. They are going move around the battlefield and engage the enemy. There are several approaches this universal squad can use depending on the build. The way I built the force you really want to get your Jaguars in close to abuse the Snub Cannons. You can do this by leap frogging the two of them from cover. While your hunters are doing at least one of two things. One, is providing cover for your Jaguars. The second, is forward observing.
The Fire Support squad contains two heavy hitters, the Grizzlies. They are going to be hard to knockdown with an armor of 19. I would plant these two at the start of the game in a well hidden zone with cover if it is possible. I know I just told you how tough they are, but they pack a variety of weapons that can pack a good punch. One of those is the MRP 18. Being a rocket pod it is an inaccurate weapon, so why not start the game standing still? It wouldn’t hurt you any. Maybe you will get that lucky indirect fire shot on the first turn of the game. If the opportunity doesn’t show it self before you activate just pop into combat speed and take a shot. Since your Grizzlies are bad to the bone you don’t have to hide them either. What you do want to do is protect them from weapons with large multipliers and skilled troops. Your Hunters and Jaguars should be bouncing around the battle spotting targets and combining their fire. This is not an easy thing to do and it will take some practice on your part.
At PL 3 you can field this force;
1 Head hunter
3 Jaguar (1 group leader)
That leaves you about 160 points to play with the options.
An old tactic that could be used in this build is the bait and switch. Toss one of your heavy weapon gears out a little too far. Make it sound like a mistake, and then run. Mean while you are positioning your two Snub Cannons to take out the enemy. This isn’t always the easiest thing to plan, and for that matter I usually have more success when it isn’t planned.
When expanding the Northern starter you have to consider a few thing. First you have to look at what you want to play, I believe that is most important. Second, you need to look at the game standards. It seems that most games of Heavy Gear are run at a TV 800 points to 1000 points at PL2. Finally you have to look at the options to fill the first two needs. In the case of the Northern army you will need another core unit to play.
There are five potential choices you can make if you consider your core units. They are infantry, General Purpose Squad, Strike Squad, Recon Squad, and the Dragoon Squad. Any one of these units is a valid selection, but what I am looking to do is to round out the starter. Keeping. That in mind I would most likely pick up another GP Squad. By choosing the GP Squad you can play any of the four Northern factions. By exploring them slowly you can get a better feel for what direction you want to go in.
My second choice would be the Strike Support squad. It will give you a lot of room to play with option at some of the higher priority missions. I really like the idea of being able to do that from my first couple of games. Plus you can field the unit as core in a Northern Guard force.
My third choice would be infantry because they fill a core slot in 3 of the four factions. I don’t really have a lot to say about infantry yet, because I haven’t really seen them in action yet. On the flip side they are economic in game play and for your pocket book.
It is true that you can purchase any of the squads mentioned in any Northern force. I just believe that it would be easier to grow with the options I have chosen.
In the end the Northern Starter isn’t worthless. You can actually field 3 out of the 4 PL’s in the game. And with just one more purchase you can field any of the Northern Guard forces. It might be a little frustrating to work with while you are working through your learning curve, but it is worth it. In fact the PL3 and 4 list is looking like a very nice little force.
Thanks for reading the article. We hope it helps you pick a force. If you are a veteran player and saw anything or think I missed anythin please post a constructive comment. That way I can address it in the next article.
Also if you didn’t know or haven’t done it yet Dream Pod 9 is sponsoring a Heavy Gear Blitz two player starter this week (ends June 3rd). All you have to do is go here and like them on facebook