Well Heavy Gear fans I’ve finally managed to sit down and give Forged in Fire its fair time needed for a review.I don’t
want to spoil anything for you so I won’t delve into the fluff. I will say there is plenty of it. If you are a Southern player you might just want to pick this book up for that alone. Instead I would like to talk about the features that the field guide has to offer you as a player. These features make the book a bit more of a tool for you.
The first is the vehicle compendium. It follows the same basic format of the vehicle compendium used in Perfect Storm, giving you a blueprint style picture of each gear and vehicle, and the variants of those models. Each model has two documents associated with it. The first is a development history. The second is an operations history. It wasn’t really necessary for them to do that, but it really puts the the compendium over the top. You also get little blue prints of each variant with the load right next to it. The vehicle compendium from Perfect Storm was a huge asset to me when building my forces the first few times.
Combat groups follow the same basic template that is laid out in Perfect Storm, which is to pick a threat value, followed by priority level, and then a regiment. Regiments limit the combat group availability. They are linked in the margins of the book. For example, a General Purpose Squad can be considered for an infantry regiment, a gear regiment, or an armor regiment. Regiment types will always offer you a benefit that comes with an imposing restriction. An infantry regiment can’t be played at Priority Level 4 and you must take at least two more infantry platoons. In return you gain a bonus veteran slot that can be used.
The nitty gritty defining your Southern force seems to take place when you select a league or a cadre. They are an upgrade that provides your army with unique options available only to your choice. Of course there are always the generics. In the case of the South they are called hemisphere wide options. One of the options is “Gear Carriers”, which basically allows certain combat groups to take Baranbys for 35 threat value.
There are at least half a dozen leagues that are more specific. These often define your force even more. The Southern Republic Army or S.R.A. has a great deal of focus to it. This league provides the player with amphibious troops, combined operations, humanist prejudice, political officer, and republican cadres. Each of these brings special benefits to your game table.
The Republican Cadre is a special branch of the S.R.A. using the best equipment in the southern hemisphere. This allows you to swap a G.P. Squad, Veteran Strider, or a Veteran black ops cadre for a Republican cadre of the same association. When you swap a squad the upgrade mus still meet the basic requirements. A Republican Cadre G.P Squad must still fill the requirements of a normal G.P. Squad . I think one of my favorite options is upgrading no more than two standard Sidewinders to the Riotmaster load out for free 0 T.V. The Riotmaster variant uses a Fragmentation Cannon. The Fragmentation Cannon boasts a rate of fire 2 along with the traits melee, anti infantry and reload. It does have a shorter range as a result.
One last piece of information, the final part of the book contains the battle for Port Oasis. Not only is it a detailed account of the history, but it is also a scenario you can play. It contains a complete list of the forces involved for you to reenact the battle.
Forged in Fire is a complete historic guide to your army if you are a Southern player. It offers you a complete vehicle compendium. By giving you a more detailed army building guide, you truly get the feeling you have become a Southerner. If you aren’t a Southern player it is a valuable tool for you to understand the enemy.
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