Alpha rules: The tests and damage

The Alpha play test is revving up, many players are reading and commenting on the rules and now it’s time to have a quick review of attacking, weapons attributes, and damage effects.

How to resolve an attack in Heavy Gear is not a lot more complicated that making an opposed test for the attack and defender (s). Getting the attack to stick and do damage is going to take some work since the attacker has to fight against the natural defender’s advantage, terrain. There are several ways to improve your odds when attacking.

The easiest and most important is to reduce the effect of terrain. Maneuvering so that less or as little terrain as possible will benefit your target is always a good idea. While maneuvering you might want to try getting in a flank. It can often be worth attacking a target further away whose flank you are in than a closer target who can shoot back with Snap Fire. Attacking the flank of a model with the Flank:+2D6 trait is even better as the advantages are always worth the movement. Alternately a model can choose to not move and choose the Braced posture. When braced you add 1D6 to your attack check. This can cancel a negative modifier for being in a sub-optimal range or push your test maximum up. Claiming elevation can add to a bonus and then there is the effect of orders.

Orders are a new range of action that can only be used by commander models. Co-ordinated fire will give attackers re-rolls against one target. This is a perfect order to use before attacking with an anti-tank weapon or other weapons that do not have inherent accuracy bonus dice. Crossfire is an order where the effect of each flanking model is magnified. Protect your commanders or you may lose the ability to benefit from their orders. Naturally you may want to prioritize targeting enemy commanders to prevent their own orders.


The most important part of attacking is having a coherent plan about when each of the weapons your models are armed with is going to be used.  Here’s the example of the Hunter and two of it’s variants, the Strike Hunter and the Hunter Gunner. Each Gear has multiple weapon systems which each have a profile that defines its role.


Here are the profiles of the basic weapons the Hunter is carrying ignoring the Light Vibroblade for now:


At first glance the Medium Auto-cannon (MAC) is a superior weapon, and it is. It is better than the Light Autocannon (LAC) with the same good range. That extra point of Penetration is going to always help, but it costs a bit more. A good alternate is to get the Strike Hunter, the Light Bazooka (LBZ) which is a great weapon at consistently hitting heavy armor targets for damage with the Anti-Tank (AT) trait. The Burst Trait on the auto-cannons is going to make hitting your target easier but the AT trait makes hits almost certain of causing damage (any roll of 4+ (GUN:4+) of the attack dice by an attack with a margin of success of 1 or higher will do 1 damage per success).

To resolve the damage from a hit you add the MOS of the attack and the PEN rating of the weapon then subtract the AR (Armor rating) of the target. Add any damage from traits and you have your damage total.

For example if a PEN-7 LBZ hits a Hunter with a MOS:2 and a dice results of [6, 4, 2] then the calculation is 2 (MOS) + 7 (PEN) – 6 (AR) = 3 damage + 2 Damage for the Anti-tank trait. Clearly, the Bazooka is a dangerous weapon! Of course any effect that reduces the number of dice used to attack like range or critical damage will reduce the effectiveness of the AT trait. If the attack had hit with a MOS of zero then the AT trait would not trigger and the total damage would be only one, a glancing hit!

Once hit a target is going to have to suffer some damage. A Hunter can sustain five hits (DC:5/1) before it suffers from critical damage. Critical damage will prevent the Hunter from using the Top Speed posture, halve it’s detect rating to 6”, and apply a -1D6 penalty to all tests it has to make. Because the Hunter’s total of its Hull and Structure ratings is six any attack that would do six or more damage in a single hit will Overkill it and not enough of the Hunter Gear will remain to provide any useful cover. If destroyed without being overkilled the Hunter will remain as cover and difficult terrain for other models to navigate. Of course the Hunter is still on the table and can be targeted for overkill to clear a path!

forum handle: dave
Currently painting: Tiny details on Voltigeur Tanks.
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