Been pretty busy with the new house, Deadzone, got back into Magic and a few other things and haven't really had the time to post anything. The Facebook post about the Alpha rules for Heavy gear 5.0 went live was enough to warrant something of a response though.
Overall I have a few things that, a quick read through, stuck out at me.
In terms of using dice, as much as I think having a different die system than D6 being used ( big point on the forums), the advantage of D6 will always be the accessibility. Deadzone, new game from Mantic came out, recently and I found that even though I've been a pen and paper RPGer and wargamer for years, I only had two extra D8s in my house, but somewhere around 100+ D6s.
The bases classification kinda irked me as everything was listed as round bases, with Large Gears and Infantry able to use both Hex and Round bases. The normal Gear though is stuck using only hex bases. I would like to see the system be round or hex for all miniatures. The rules shouldn't break in that regards just because of a miniature's size/base type. I much prefer the look of round bases to hex bases on all my HG minis, and having a mish mash of the two looks strange to me.
Infantry are a bit more protected now, making folks think about AI weapons, where as before a good AE weapon could easily wipe out an entire unit possibly. That is a good change and helps make infantry force more plausible. A giant Mecha game isn't a giant mecha without smaller infantry for scale.
The changes to movement brings HG more inline with what you see in other wargames including Warhammer, Deadzone, Kings of War, ect. Less clutter and far more straight forward.
Damage modifiers being changes is another one that helps streamline things, and also make the game feel more like other wargames on the market. The multiplication thing was a nice gimmick, but at the end of the day, people don't want to worry about MOSx8 or maybe x10 if you did or did not use RoF
Hot Potato... Great for keeping the action playing out almost like a movie, but is it really needed? How often do you see elite soldiers with years outside of bootcamp actually bone up a grenade throw bad enough to have the grenade blow up near them? Nearly every story I have heard like that happens to newbies in bootcamp, Haven't heard of a Seal Team, Ranger team or even basic infantry unit who lost a member in the field to dropping a grenade to close.
Melee changes were fairly minor, but important enough to make that Kodiak with the warstaff a very dangerous threat. Losing the 3" melee range is the biggest change that stuck out at me, and honestly I don't think there was that much really lost. The large range made working out melees rather awkward.
Command in general had a decently sized overhaul done to it to streamline things, and again get rid of the need to track yet another token system. Not horrible, will take some time to get used to the whole chain of command thing with CO, XO, CGL, ect. Will need to get some time to actually playtest and see how things pan out in the field however.
The force selection looks to have had a MAJOR change done to it. Really pushing that HG is supposed to be a skirmish game. A part of me feels as though it might get strange dealing with combat units in a skirmish game though, almost feel like all the gears should be looked at as one unit, all Infantry another unit, tanks.. ect. Again, I'll need to see how it actually playing out though.
Flamers seem like one of those weapons that should have the AI weapon trait by default, just to really make a point of how horrible getting hit by a Gear sized flamer would be. Flamers are terrible at man sized, let alone when the spout of flame can cover half a city block.
Heavy Gear is getting a massive change over. A number of the changes will make the game play feel similar to many other wargames out on the market, but that is a good thing to draw in folks who think HGB is current too complicated or badly written. The important points such as Weapon types, Command Points, and whatnot stayed and in the end mostly enhanced by the new rules. My current PRDF is completely mauled by the new rules, but I am fairly excited to get going on rebuilding it to work with the new system and see how things pan out on the field.