Development blog: Northern Guard sub-list preview

Part of the challenge with the redevelopment of Heavy Gear was to make army construction intuitive and fast. Developing sub-lists for the game adds an acceptable level of complexity to army construction because it fully serves the purpose of allowing a player to focus a vary wide list of models as an army.

When developing the lists I placed an absolute restriction of two pages per sub-list. The first page would include all the background and fluff that we want to use to flesh out each army. The sub-list cannot radically change how a faction plays but it can should the player to specialize in a play style with a faction that they already want without mandating a particular choice.


In the case of the Northern Guard here we have a very large military organization  drawn from several distinct cultures but with one over-riding military doctrine; Combined arms.

Combined arms is a term given to a mix of different capacities that when brought together are greater than the sum. Every army in the new Heavy Gear can freely mix and match different units so in order to direct a player towards using a characterful mix of units the rule for the force needed to exist without being absolute.


So I'm going to show a few of the details of the sublist but unlike many other sub-lists that are going to be released in alpha form for players to use this list will develop over time because one of the most distinctive things about the list is how the choice of your Commanding Officer will affect the choices you get to make about to army.

First is the organization special rules:

Combined Arms Specialists: Support units must be of a model type other than the model type(s) of the Primary Unit they are attached to. Infantry do not count towards the maximum actions allowed for a GP or FS unit.
So if you have a GP unit with five Gears, a Badger, and two infantry you will be restricted to tank, strider, aircraft, or fortification model types for an attached support unit. This means that if you want to play nothing but Gears and Infantry you can, you just can't have any support units. This will mean your army will activate slowly due to the number of combat groups you will have. The upside is that more combat groups means more commanders and more command re-rolls to help you survive until you start activating your units.

This is followed up by a pair of special rules:

Special Rules: 
Well Equipped: Discounts on Generic upgrades: -1TV (to a minimum of 1TV) for each additional upgrade after the first. Support units may purchase generic upgrades (not CMD upgrades).
Well equipped will only benefit the player who wants to add multiple generic upgrades to units. Upgrading grenades will still cost an action but then purchasing the Vet upgrade for your veteran unit will only cost 1TV per action, a huge points savings that can translate into another GP or recon gear for your force.
Allowing support units to purchase upgrades synergies well with the Combined Arms rule since you can then have a paratroop support unit attached to a tank primary unit and still equip them with the grenades they want.
Northern Guard only upgrades
Command Upgrade: May choose any one Northern League Army list Commander upgrade as a commander.

This commander upgrade will be interesting for players since as more North faction sub-lists are released the available options for the commander will increase. This matches well to:

Northern Guard Army Model selection:
Limited: May choose one unit from the same league army list as the Commanding Officer upgrade.
Unavailable: None

So if your CO is from the WFP then any one special unit organization from the same list can be used by your Northern Guard and benefit from being well equipped and combined arms. The note that there are no North models that are unavailable to the Northern Guard so it is the perfect army for players to transition from a Faction list to a Sub-list without fully committing to a League sub-list.

Adjustments to Unit Availability (UA) ratings: None

Support option limits: None.

This is an important rule if not a complex one, there is no need to remember that any models have changed the units they have always had a role in. Also there are no restrictions on the type of support units available to the army.

Allies: One Black Talon Combat Group may be purchased (one primary and a support unit), this will count as the veteran upgrade for the army. This option may not be used by an Elite force.
Like most Terra Novan forces the Black Talons will on occasion come out to play. Because they are allies they will not benefit from any of the sub-list special rules such as well equipped. Because they are not a part of the army it is important to note that the CO of your army may not be the Black Talon CGL so you must include at least one normal unit in your force.
So there it is, a brief look at the kind of format the sub-lists will take as they start being released in June for Alpha testing alongside the Beta rules when they are released this summer. The Northern Guard list does not include any NG only models or variants at this time like some of the other North Sub-lists will but the format will allow for the possibility of one or two special limited model variants in some sub-lists.
This format will allow us to include all the sub-list army construction rules in a new large format rules book. Something new players of the rules will appreciate. This will allow new players to use the Faction lists to play out of the box with their first purchases and then narrow their focus easily with all their options at their fingertips.
Till next time.