Military and war are great material for role playing since they create a lot of vivid imagery. One can imagine it to have various aspects. For one there could be honor, glory, conquest and defeating villains. Military technology, weaponry and destructive power they elicit often thrill people. So does idea of belonging to tightly knitted elite that lives far beyond common people. The other side of coin could be death, destruction, sadness and loss. Wars are destructive and often lead to pointless loss of life. There is uncertain fate of people caught in the middle as well as aspects like lies, propaganda and illegal and questionable actions.

My inspiration for CEF military campaign came from various European comic books: hyper-violent, nightmarish apocalypse depicted by artists like Pepe Moreno and Gimenez. The final nail to the coffin was British 2000AD comic series Rogue Trooper and especially Dave Simmons and Will Simpsonís excellent WAR MACHINE comic book. Both original Rogue Trooper and its spin off revolved around tales of betrayed genetically created super soldier who learns of his own humanity.

Additional inspiration came from David Drake's Hammer's Slammers. This is a fictional unit that has been described in a series of science fiction novels. Drake's style is hard-edged with a realistic depiction of soldiers in combat and combination of ruthless military actions and savage soldier of fortune mentality.


People play role-playing games to have fun. Gaming is a hobby and like all hobbies, it is carried out only as long as it is fun. If one feels uncomfortable with the ideas or finds it too time-consuming or just boring, the players and gamemasters alike will quickly disappear. Thus role-playing gaming (and thus campaigns) should be fun and interesting for players to flock to play (again and again).

Why would people -especially roleplyers- then play Heavy Gear and possibly a military campaign to boot?

Into the Battlefield

Simpliest reason to play military campaigns is to play it as a board game, possibly enhanced with few roleplaying elements. This kind of gaming usually concentrates on military hardware and winning the matches (sessions) in the most conventional sense. These kinds of campaigns are perhaps best played using Tactical Scale with a smattering of Roleplaying Scale session tucked here and there. This kind of gaming differs only a little bit from collecting, painting and playing miniatures game. While there is a large audience who like this kind of campaigning (because it is easy) it seldom attracts roleplayers to game. After all, wargaming and roleplaying are quite different beasts. Knowing ones audience should determine if this is a good reason enough for a game.

Beyond Battlefield

Gamemasters primary concern (and bane) is attracting players. Typically unknown systems receive less attention (interest) than well-known systems and Heavy Gear is still relatively unknown system. Similarly playacting soldier is not everyone's cup of tea. Furthermore, running about toting guns and killing people to fullfill a mission does get a tad boring after some time (usually quicker the older you are as a player). Still, there are people who are completely satisfied in playing such characters. Thus prospective GM should look beyond battlefield.

Military campaign should not be just killing people (enemies) but more of life in the military or preferably life during war time. Some 90% of war is actually waiting for something (like a battle) to happen. Similarly military role-playing campaigns should have their fair (preferably even overabundantic) share of adventures that are not directly involved to military missions. Ideally war and military should be a setting (a background), not the main goal in a military roleplaying campaign.

Beyond Challenge

Last but not least comes emotions. Usually players feel better when their characters go through adventures where they face situations where player has to worry for character or player can visualize strongly the situation. Therefor inserting various strong emotions, even catharsis, into an adventure is certainly worth studying.

War and military certainly rises up primal emotions, such as...

List could be continued forever but this small list of basic emotions describe subjects that could be easily studied and inserted into adventures. Especially fear (and related stress) are ever present emotions in the battlefield. It has been said that nothing so wonderfully concentrates a man's mind as to know he will be hanged in the morning. The constant danger and presense of death further emphatise emotions in both good and bad to very extreme. This makes a military setting in war time a very fruitfull source for adventures.

 I have to admit of experiencing a considerable sense of wonder (on the high technology hardware) and personal dismay (clear cut ruthlessness and functionality in everything military wants to achieve if/when fighting actually starts)in my time in military. Without doubt there was also a boyish -almost childish- enthusiasm to all things going boom too.

Finally, military, warfare and ultimately war are (thanfully) not terribly familiar subject to many (perhaps even most) players (due age, life experiences or simply choice). This requires some GM's involvement and research on subject, especially on how various militaries work actually work (ie. how life there really goes compared to how life is supposed to go), which is often VERY different to commonly perceived notions. Militaries have their fair (and at times excessive) amount of careerism, petty squables and often plain incompetence just as any other group (just look around you in a work place). This human element should be an endless supply of additional problems and headaches to complexities of battlefield survival. Similarly wars do not happen in a vacuum. There are mixture of political, economic and (at times) idological interests that put outside pressure to both sides. Inserting these factors would put a lot of additional worries to player characters trying to fulfill often conflicting requirements. Bowing to any one of them means turning one's back to another(s), all of which should have prepercussions later.

Several lists of various sources are shown in Useful Sources to help GM to search for ideas and information on military, war and warfare in Science Fiction to help one in one's search for information.


Some kind of a common ground is very useful for GMs and Players to have if they intend to play a military RPG campaign. This is built around several familiar basic concepts (yes, they are cliches) found in literature and cinema as well as television.


Military campaign can perhaps most easily be defined by its use of content. There are several props (cliches really) that can be used in a science-fiction military campaign:


Many novels put a lot of emphasis on odds that protagonists will have to face. These are typically heavily weighted against heroes (who fight against superior numbers). Stories tend then to concentrate on numerical boasting of how many enemies are killed and all too common one-slipped-to-behind-shoot-hero-on-the-back cliche. This is a standard set-up in roleplaying games where odds are usually heavily stacked on player characters favor when numbers are equal. However, things get considerably different angle when antagonists field fewer (but better) weapon systems. The fight and tone then turns from face-to-face fighting into a series of hopefully clever ambushes and feints necessary to concentrate their individually meagre firepower to drop enemy individually massive weaponry. For example in Heavy Gear CEF is generally thought to field considerably smaller force than its colonial opponents. If characters are colonials, they will need to use all their cleverness to trap CEF hovertanks.

Another possibility is that the side fielding less numbers might also be weaker in power. For example in Heavy Gear the Liberati militants fighting against Caprician Corporations (and their CEF allies) fall into this category. In such a case ambushes and disguise become only rational method of fighting back. This makes would be attackers vulnerable if ambush goes wrong introducing healthy dose of fear to player characters. This works both ways. Superior force will have to adapt new ways and methods to fight their practically invisible opponents that could always come with yet another way of surprise attack. Suspicion of betrayals should also add healthy amount of paranoia and all sorts of nastiness associated with guerilla campaigning.

Technology is a common theme in science-fiction. Authors have often described technology as a blessing (possibilities offered by it) or a nightmare (dystopias forced by it). Similarly military sci-fi authors have studied the effects of military technology in warfare. Most authors seem to have very uncritical view on technology and its possibilities. Science-fiction militaries are thus filled with all kinds of super-weapons that will turn the tide of war. Similarly heroes are often called in to destroy enemy superweapon before it can be used (Star Wars: Episode IV movie anyone?). This has been played in HG as well (the main plot in Heavy Gear II computer game).

Technology can also be a curse. Some authors have described military technology with its share of failures as well. Nightmarish war machines can turn against their masters (HG's rogue GREL "Colonel" Proust) or blind faith to technological superiority can cause its failure in most perilous moment (a common theme in many catastrophe novels and movies) or enemy might have invented something that makes tried-and-true systems suddenly obsolete (an off-shoot from above mentioned super weapon genre) giving enemies an overwhelming advantage. Logical conclusion from this lack of critical technological prowess is the need to improvise and adapt to a new situation, which can trigger yet another scenario of restoring balance.

Finally, in reality the complex military systems are difficult to maintain in adverse situations and they often require highly specialized personnel and tooling. Similarly some systems might be optimized to their particular jobs in such a degree that they are practically useless in other roles. Everything is a trade-off in real world and military equipment especially so. Introduction of realistic strengths (often done) and weaknesses (seldom done) adds more headaches to prospectice player characters. Machinery does break down due lack of maintenance or just due bad luck or circumstances giving true to a saying that two is one and one is none.

In my view the uncritical treatment of military technology became widespread in aftermath of Persian Gulf conflict compared to more critical view after the Vietnam war. I personally view technology as a mixed blessing with its successes and failures and thus it is treated in my games as such.
Military Unit
Militaries are organized into hierarchical components, military units. There is typically a clear chain of command where orders are filtered down and reports sent upwards on successes and failures. Most military unit styles found in role-playing games (as well as in most of the english language science-fiction literature) are almost always direct copies from British regimental system (for regimental traditions cliches) or United States Marine Corps (for gung-ho attitude cliches). Similarly almost all space navies tend to copy their vessels and style from Royal Navy (which is almost universally used in all existing navies). For example, HG uses British regimental style extensively. Biggest reason for this is probably availability of background material for research in english language.

Similarly Military organization depends heavily on society's decisions on how military is run. Conscript militaries are seldom used in science-fiction even if they are quite common in reality. This affects a lot in outlook of soldiers serving there (conscripts have a reputation for not liking to be there and professionals are supposedly better motivated but again this depends a lot of circumstances in real world). Things get considerably more interesting if unit is composed of unique personnel. Various penalty battalion or mercenary style arrangements are bread and stable of military science fiction. Their military effectiveness varies a lot (penal battalions are not terribly effective units in real world). It is also good to remember that military personnel do not exist separately from society and they do get exactly the kind of people society is.

Sheer size of military should effect scale of units and how independent they are supposed to function. For example, a Russian regiment (2500+ personnel) is roughly similar in terms of scale and role to a battalion in most NATO armies (600-800 men). Science-fiction novelists and many roleplayers prefer to field a unit that can be expected to function independently. Novels typically keep the size of around a battalion (perhaps 400 to 1000 men) or brigade (from 2500 to 10000 men). In HG the typical regiment is roughly equal to a real world battalion, which can be assumed to be independent administrative unit according to British regimental style.

In my view edge of professional soldiers is somewhat exaggerated in literature compared to conscripts. After all, motivation depends a lot of situation. However, long-term service gives edge when military has more complicated equipment that requires longer time to master. Society's support, respect of military service and ability to attract quality personnel are far more important than raw service time.
Commanding Personnel
Militaries typically work on principle of unity of command where individual commander is in charge of everything and it supported by a staff of advisors who help her in making decisions and running petty details. Commander has full power and responsibility for achievements of her unit. Science fiction writers and many roleplayers seem to create unit's senior leadership somehow greater than life persons. This is mostly due fact that commanders are supposed to be heroes that inspire and lead others. Leaders also tend to be quite immune to errors (they are good guys after all). Staff (if its existence is even noticed) tends to be ignored and almost everything is done by heroes themselves, personally. Management and caution are typically ridiculed and looked down. HG is by no means immune to these stereotypes and a great deal of material seem to conform to these cliches.

There is no reason to fall into this mold. Commanders are living breathing officers who have to balance themselves between what is required (and expected) and what they actually do. People are individual and thus their work methods are also individual. For example, some would never leave headquarters, some might insist on calculating odds constantly while some might insist on prowling on front lines reviewing activities personally. At the same time the human element also means that mistakes are made on both sides. Errors and failures and recovering from those is a constant feature in a battlefield.

Military systems and thus campaigns depend heavily on society they serve (or they take advantage off). Society's outlook, historical background, economics, technological prowess and perceived needs all affect to military. Society reflects on military personnel input (restrictions based on sex, race, species or political allegations), military's role on politics (overbearing or isolated) and outlook (alliances and fights military is designed to fight). For example, in HG Terra Nova has two mutually suspicious power blocks whose armies are virtually reflections of each other. Both armies are designed to defeat each other (with problems on dealing with heavily armored enemy formations and highly unpredictable local weather patterns as well as isolated nature of individual countries). At the same time CEF is optimized to expeditionary warfare beyond stars with a whole set of problems (interstellar transport problems, space-ground transport problems, and above of all logistics problems).

Science-fiction literature has usually taken rather light approach on relations between military and society. The authors prefer to concentrate on evil nature of politics (usually search for consensus and negotiations and settlements so common in politics are described as spinelessness). Politics is usually described as corrupted (interestingly "their" corrupted politicians are described as evil while corrupted politicians on heroes side come as comical reliefs). Military's corruption is usually ignored (while it is prevalent on some armies, especially within those where former military men can turn into arms industry as consultants). The "Iron Triangle" between politicians, arms industry and military has seldom given the treatment its complicated relations would deserve. Possible results include bying shoddy weaponry to mismanagement to corruption to outright incitement to war. HG has traditionally avoided tackling these issues but there is no real reason why they might not be used in a campaign, especially if it concentrates on high ranking personnel.

Militaries are said to prepare to fight yesterday's wars with today's weaponry. Militaries look back on their own war experiences and generally fix mistakes they have done before. This also means that there is a tendency to only look at what happened before and turn blind eye to what might happen in future. Alternatively military might actually state that they have come into something so totally new that all old methods no longer work (compare this to idea of technology and super weaponry). Both viewpoints can be disastrous when taken to extreme, ie. preparing to fight a wrong war.

Science fiction literature usually takes a view where new technological advances revolutionize combat and make old ways obsolete. This is typically combined with concept of some heroic protagonist who advances his idea despite barriers (organizational resistance). Ofcourse, the idea is usually plain obvious too (and somehow connected to author's pet military theorems). HG has so far avoided fielding any revolutionary advances in military technology or totally new fighting methods brought by individual heroes. There are roleplaying/miniatures games that have not avoided that, usually with disastrous consequences.

Militaries have institutional memory in form of rewieving what has happened. The working techniques are then supposedly taught to each new generation of soldiers. However, this depends a lot on military's attention span. Some armies might keep their techiques almost similar to last war while others might keep memory only as long as the men who have served in it during last war. Ignoring lessons from war mean that they must be relearned again, and usually this means they are paid in blood. Science fiction authors usually meticulously mention that some unit or person has a lot of military experience and especially being a veteran. However, this does not appear to turn into any particularly different actual behaviour compared to other characters. Institutional memory and tried and true technics do not seem to be particularly much valued. HG appears to have completely avoided tackling with this issue.

Tone and Intent

Bottom line of warfare is always the battlefield. Depending on GM's vision it could come out in several different ways. War has provided a series of science-fictions novels (as well as endless supply of military literature) in various ways. At least three major tones can be identified:

War is an Adventure.

War can be depicted as an adventure no different from action-adventure films shown in cinemas. Science fiction author Jerry Pourrnelle's Mercenary book series is a particularly good example on that. Warfare is highly choreographed chess game between two opposing commanders. There are highly structured rules that are meticulously observed. While war's destructive element is present the emphasis is on acts of individual and group heroism.
 War is Hell.
War can also be hell. Ursula Le Guin's classic "Left Hand of Darkness" shows military and war as a destructive force that consumes everything in its path and leaving nothing but misery behind. These kinds of novels carry a strong anti-war message in them. War comes across as a force of nature than cannot be defeated, only avoided.
War is a Dirty Business.
War can be something between previous two examples too. David Drake's multiple novels depict militaries that have fallible people commanding and fighting. They depict combat as an exceedingly brutal affair where people do anything to survive. The novels emphatise on getting the job done.

Roleplaying games' approach to war has traditionally been one of adventuring. The hellish aspect has been delegated to horror roleplaying games (Call of Cthulhu RPG's Lost Battalion adventure or in Kult RPG and especially in its nightmarish depiction of Metropolis). More mature approach that depicts war as dirty work and soldiers as ordinary people just trying to do their work in it seem to be lacking as a specialized RPG setting. Thus there is room for all kinds of styles.

I have envisaged in my campaigns as hard core, no-nonsense action that would deal with (hopefully) realistic combat situations and responses in both desolated wastelands as well as in tightly packed urban areas.

Heavy Gear is a science fiction background with all the conventional props attached (space travel, highly capable robots and high technology, new species, new star systems). At the same time, the technological level in Heavy Gear universe is mostly believable, some of it even possible. While there are some aspects that cannot be really done (such as Landships, Hover Tanks and ever present faster-than-light travel), vast majority of equipment and general level of technological achievements seem believably possible to achieve within next 20 to 50 years. This should be taken into account when pondering what can and cannot be done in a campaign. This also opens a possibility of using directly some of the technology currently being discussed and extrapolating it into a future. Generic level of technology also means that society (and thus military) is also something that could be extrapolated or directly taken from existing (or historical) militaries as a workable background. To be blunt, Heavy Gear militaries are not (or at least should not be) THAT different from those existing in 20th Century. This also means that several possible campaign types can be taken fairly easily from literature or cinema depicting modern (or science fiction) militaries.

Ground Combat

Despite all the technological advances ground campaigning is probably least affected by technological advances. Infantry's role as a handiman of battle is going nowhere while armour (in a variety of platforms) still functions as a powerful striking force. HG universe's soldiers still field primarily common conventional weaponry while vehicle technology has introduced walking vehicles (Gears and Striders) as well as hover vehicles in large scale. Thus at least the following military campaign types can be identified for playing purposes in ground combat:

Heavy Metal

This setting concentrates on concept of characters running about in heavy (or perhaps lighter) armor. They can be crew of a single tank or possibly each can be given their own Gear (or possibly a strider). Giving each player character their own vehicle to command would give every player more freedom of action. Pretty much everything on campaign would then revolve around armor. There would be problems in maintaining, supplying and fixing them that would require a mixture of role-playing (that everyone is probably ready to do) and calculations (that mini-maxers love). However, the core of campaigns would be numerous fights in the battlefield. This kind of a campaign is perhaps easiest to run in HG as Tactical scale rules support vehicular combat. Running heavy metal has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, being a tanker means you are best protected guy on a battlefield. On the other hand, just about everyone tries to kill you too. The maintenance requirements of military vehicles are huge and logistics should play a major part in campaign.
The Sharp Edge
Infantry's role in a major is to form a series of lookouts for watching enemy activities and to hold the line while armored formations do the most of attacking (and artillery most of the killing). Infantry's role in this is often just dying. Fighting on foot is perhaps most perilous thing one can do in HG as firepower of just about everyone has increased tremendously. At the same time infantry's role and missions have remained essentially same, patrolling, carrying out raids and holding strongpoints. Infantry's roles are so varied and put the fighting down to so low level that individuals and small groups can be ideally played out by a single roleplaying group. Alternatively each player characters could be in command of a small team of their own. Infantry campaign's advantage is possibility of  using very different kinds of missions while disadvantage is high lethality among characters.
Sea Combat

Some parallers can be drawn between between underwater and space environments. Both are essentially hostile to humans and require tremendous amount of specialized and expensive technology to work in (space especially). Both environments have all vessels that moving on roughly similar speeds and combat is highly dependant on sensors while relativel weapon speeds of incoming threats are also relatively same as vessels themselves. Meanwhile surface navy functions in enviroment where vessels are relatively slow compared to aerospace craft (and missiles) that can be directed towards them. Technologically nothing particularly incredible has been invented in maritime technology or warfare systems in HG. Major new development in Terra Nova has been introduction of (physically impossible but intriguing concept anyway) Landship's that work as land driven equivalents to naval vessels.

Silent Service

Submarine warfare plays a lot on concept of hiding and surprising enemy if at all possible. Typically surprised side dies quickly. Ifg both sides know of each other, the fight turns into a nerve cracking play of feints and ruses. Characters would hold various positions within individual submarine and campaign would concentrate on two sides of warfare. First, personal and personnel problems aboard a submarine that is very closed society. Tempers might run high and raw nerves cause explosive tantrums. Second part of submarine life is combat that should be nerve-cracking exercise of claustrophobic waiting of something, anything, to happen. GM should try find a balance between sudden combat and long, boring, patrolling.
Cruel Sand (and Sea)
Landship (and surface navy) based campaigns have been explored in HG already. Characters can have any position aboard a vessel that could be based on other campaign types (infantry, armor or perhaps aircraft) or remain as vessel's own personnel. Surface warfare campaigns are less claustrophobic than submarine warfare because warning from enemy activities can usually be raised far earlier. Vessels can move to variety of places as well bringing more background color to surroundings. Depending on enemy the combat might include enemy vessels, aircraft or ground forces that ensires a wide variety of possible enemies and situation. Large scale of a vessel but its isolated nature in patrol makes it possible to have wide variety of people aboard as well as roughly similar personal and personnel problems as in undersea warfare.
Aerospace Combat

Air combat can be considered to have expanded from air to various orbits surrounding planets as well. However, aerospace fighting shares common roles round in modern air forces (such as reconnaissance, direct air support to ground forces, air strikes on enemy rear and wide variety of support missions from transporting material to electronic reconnaissance). Speed and firepower should increase forcing defences to invent new weapon systems to cut down reaction times to strike back. Still, most roles and systems in HG are fairly similar along with addition of shuttle craft capable of flying to orbit and back. Major new ideas have been introduction of wing-in-ground craft (long term transport) and reliable and efficient aerospace shuttles capable of going to orbit and back when necessary.

Space applications have advanced considerably and an advent of faster than light have made it possible to colonialize new star systems. Space vessels in HG are gargantuan (much like in very much space concentrated Jovian Chronicles) and capable of maneuvres and carrying large amounts of weaponry. However, interstellar travel still consumes months and is difficult in terms of massive investments necessary to upkeep and run in HG. Space combat varies greatly on situation. Deep space combat is closer to blink of an eye where computers carry out the war due tremendous (even relativistic) speeds. Closer to planets combat is more conventional and closer to undersea warfare between two submarines searching each other and trying to maneuver for a kill.

Void Dragons

Space vessels move in deep space between planets and star systems. Military campaigns aboard space vessels have been given relatively little attention by various players but there is no reason to dismiss void as a fertile ground for campaigning. Space is extremely hostile place and trips between planets take very long time. Thus fighting would have relatively short periods of extreme excitement combined with endless days of boredom. Space campaigns depend more than any other campaign type on technological level for what can be and cannot be done. Therefor this aspect should be given carefull thought.
Flying Circus
Fighters and fighter-bombers are usually given fairly glamorous treatment in various games and Heavy Gear is by no means an exception. After all, flying seems to be a perfect blend of heroism and individualism that attracts players. However, air war is by no means a cake-walk. While mud and blood of battlefield can be away, the pilots need to face combat and dangerous missions as well as highly unpredictable weather in Terra Nova.
Air Strike
Heavy bombers are seldom taken in account as source for campaigning. Bomber is really a small world that lives (and dies) together. Bomber missions are typically hitting targets although they can also include particularly specialized, high value targets too. Campaigns set using bomber as a background need to balance between missions (probably best played as Tactical games) and 'free-time' (best played as role-playing sessions). Gettinbg shot down in enemy rear areas and trying to escape there to freedom can provide very exciting mini-campaign as well.
Unconventional Warfare

Things happen beyond battlefield too. HGs technological progress has increased methods for gathering information as well as possibilities to use technology, chemicals and biology as well as psychology to enhance and fortify individual person to maximum performance level. At the same the defense mechanisms have advanced as well making whole affiar considerably more complicated. However, the gray area between peace and war as well as need to gather intelligence and carry out politically important missions that ordinary troops cannot or will not do, still remains. Human nature and motivations within societies of HG are simply so close to late 20th Century societies that these roles, missions and needs as well as controversies can be expected to remain.

Tip of the Spear

Special operations offer rather varied setting as missions can differ from reconnaissance (where stealth is premium) to raids (where maximum violence is essential) to truly specialized missions (anything goes). Unique and difficult missions, specialized units, high-quality personnel and exotic equipment are all part part of the job description. Then again, the missions should reflect in complexity as well as importance the quality of manpower doing it. Specialized missions rely typically more on stealth than brawn on getting through and missions should include plenty of careful thinking to avoid tackling anything too big for special unit to deal with. In gaming perspective this appears to offer a good choice in varied missions and brain work necessary to get the job done.
Secret Warfare
Spies work even more alone than people in special operations. Espionage and counter-espionage missions include a lot of back-stabbing, suspicion, paranoia and fear because secrecy and variety of ruses are in limelight. Spying thus generally concentrates on secrecy and suspicion as a campaign theme. Sabotage, terrorism, stealing secrets and deception are all possible missions to initiate or prevent. Spies themselves work alone or in extremely small groups that make this workable background team for GMs running very small player groups. Counter-espionage groups are larger and attaching new personnel is easier making them easier to run with larger player groups.
Martial Society

Logistics, support to allies and life in a society in HG are remarkably similar to existing societies in real world. Human life is similar and thus problems and needs remain same too. All militaries need support from their prospective goverments as well need to work with allies. At the same these societies need to continue their lives in perilous era of war time. Different societies, governments, militaries and people from all walks of life meet in war time. Situation is made even more complicated by the fact that some of these interactions happen in different star systems during interstellar conflicts that ravage HG universe.

Enemy Within

TEKSTIÄ TÄHÄN bureaucrats
Stranger in a Strange Land
TEKSTIÄ TÄHÄN civil affairs
Life During Wartime

TEKSTIÄ TÄHÄN Campaign genre is two-barreled thing. For one, genre is a straight-jacket that forces one to play according to conventions, on the other hand it also provides comfortable (and familiar) backbone to planning (as well as gaming).

Hard Core

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