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Heavy Gear

Heavy Gear

Despite initial appearances, this offering from Dream Pod 9 is not just another 'mecha' game of fighting robots, where you play a 'pilot' and do little more than kick robot butt all day. There is a richly detailed setting, and rules which allow characters to be played as well as mechas to be fought.

To quote from the rulebook's introduction, "The story begins in A.D. 6132 on a distant planet called Terra Nova, a world colonized by Earth during the 52nd century by Terrans from Earth. Terra Nova is one of the nine inhabitable planets discovered by Mankind during its dynamic renaissance after a terrible ice age. While the new world resembles Earth in many respects, it features indigenous life forms (of no more than animal intelligence) that represent an all-too-real threat to the unprepared colonist. Still, much of the Terranovan flora and fauna are edible and make survival of the human race in this inhospitable world possible. After so many centuries on this world, part of Mankind has indeed found a new home."

The political situation is complicated (hence the need for mechs to settle disputes), we read "Terra Nova is... far more arid than Earth. There are no continents; most of the water is hidden in a series of underground tunnels called the MacAllen Network. The planet is divided into three regions: the mountainous and temperate northern hemisphere, the luxuriant and tropical southern hemisphere; and the Badlands, which stretch out as a thick desert band about 1000 kilometers north and south of the equator. The city-states from the North have united into three leagues (the Northern Lights Confederacy, the United Mercantile Federation and the Western Frontier Protectorate), which together compose the Confederated Northern City-States (CNCS). The Southern city-states form four leagues (the Southern Republic, the Mekong Dominion, the Eastern Sun Emirates and the Humanist Alliance) united under the flag of the Allied Southern Territories (AST). The CNCS and the AST have radical cultural and political differences which often put them at different ends of the spectrum. Conflicts between North and South are frequent."

There are also Badlands, wild areas where might holds sway but there are no established political entities. And there's the Paxton Protectorate, established by an arms company...

If you do like mecha combat games, this is a good one. If you want to role-play in a detailed future-tech setting with loads of intrigue going on (but like to have a good fight as well) you will be even happier.

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