It should come as no surprise that after getting caught up with lots of VOTOMS goodness last year that my eye has been drawn to Dream Pod 9s Heavy Gear Blitz. DP9 admit that their two games, Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles, are heavily inspire by VOTOMS and Gundam U.C. respectively. I like some of the Gundam anime, but much prefer VOTOMS and the other seminal real robot series from the 1980s, Fang of the Sun Dougram, which inspired FASAs BattleTech game.
Anyway, I searched for, and managed to get hold of, a second hand copies of some Heavy Gear books. In my case it was copies of Life on Terra Nova, and the Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual. The first at Dragonmeet, the latter from eBay. I also took advantage of Dream Pod 9s PDF downloads through the DrivethuRPG site, which meant I was also able to grab Locked and Loaded Rev 1.1, and L&L Quickstart Rules. I'm not yet a big PDF rules fan, because I don't have anything other than my main monitor to read PDFs. As and when I get uplifted to an iPad, I'm sure that this will change.
Getting back on track, I have been reading Life on Terra Nova, and I was really impressed with the background setting. LoTN is not essential to being able to play Heavy Gear Blitz, but it didn't half wet my appetite for playing games of HGB, which I think is a pretty good result. Certainly if I were running an RPG campaign then LoTN would be an essential resource for the HGB universe setting.
The Heavy Gear Blitz Field Manual is the current, and therefore most up to date version of the HG rules. My understanding is that Dream Pod 9s Heavy Gear rules have evolved from an RPG skirmish game, then became became a hex map boardgame, and have finally morphed into their current incarnation as a tabletop miniatures wargame. Something that I woud have liked to have seen happen with BattleTech, but that we won't see happening anytime this side of the apocalypse, because the business model of the two firms are entirely different. The difference being that Dream Pod 9 own their IP, whereas Catalyst Games Lab has a licence from Topps to publish rules for the game, but not the miniatures.
Since acquiring the LoTN source book and HGB rules, I've been on the look out for more stuff at the right price, as my budget is very tight at the moment. What I little have I want to spend on the iconic miniatures that DP9 produce, and only buy the books that are absolutely necessary to play the game. However, I do recognise that eBay only takes one so far, and I prefer to buy the miniatures directly from DP9 to support them as best I can, by at least putting what little spare money I have in their hands.
So this leads me to my recently acquired eBay bargains when I acquired the two books above. Namely Black Talons: Return to Cats Eye and Shattered Peace: The War for Terra Nova Book 1.
Interestingly, SP:TWfTN is in colour, while BT:RtCE is black and white it is also available in colour, which for begs the rather interesting question of why do this? I can only imagine that there is sufficient sales for the colour version that make it worthwhile for them to publish it. Certainly the illustrations look better in colour, but to be honest they look pretty good in black and white, and knock most BattleTech illustrations into a cocked hat.
Though this isn't an in-depth review of any of these books, what I will say is how impressed I am with the presentation and content of all the books I've read, and as a result I'm quite happy to contemplate buying further books as and when I have the money. I now see that both the NuCoal and Southern Army sourcebooks will provided hours of entertainment and reading pleasure.