Friday, 6 December 2013

First Look - Deadzone & Manic Openday

Grab a brew, go for a wazz this is long one! 

A couple of weeks ago I wandered over to Nottingam with Rob & son for Mantic's open day. The Deadzone kickstarters had an opportunity to pick up there orders and an awful lot of people went!

when we first walked in I decided to have a look at the kickstarter pick up line and it was huge, moving fairly fast but loads of people and whilst I was whaffling to various people I hadn't seen for ages one of them Being Matt aka "Mr Evil" who I meet whilst at the mongoose days of Starship Troopers and B5 who then promptly invited me down to Bristol for a weekend of gaming and general faffing about which I'm gonna take him up on that off in the new year when I've some time off work and all that jazz!

Rob and the Son got a game of Judge Dredd in which looked really cool and I'll be looking at the in the new year once I've caught up with my huge back log from all the kickstarters!

We then had a wander around looking in various rooms there was all sorts going on, again the only issue was the venue being the old hospital building any place would have been better I'm hoping that next year mantic sort out something more "suitable"

So you had a KOW torney going on with some very nice models, really well painted,

deadzone being demo'd in the smallest room in Jamaica!

a nice looking warpath table the floor was a rubbery type material that you put in your car on the dashboard to stop stuff sliding about, dead simple and will be stealing that idea for the future!

but this year we wandered over to Mantic HQ for a quick seminar and Ronnie & Jake talked about what they have planned for next year James who does Deadzone Recon took his camera and got this...

have a look at his blog and keep an eye out on this one...

whilst over at Mantic HQ they had some models kicking about so I grabbed some snaps of these,

The Mars attacks models looked superb, I'll admit I was tempted to jump on this when it first came out but stepped away as I've enough stuff to keep me going!

The painted deadzone & dreadzone stuff is fantastic nice simple bases on the deadzone models.

A few snaps of the WIP stuff,

So being the madman that I am I then dropped Rob and Son off after a quick brew and then went into work, As I just happened to have clippers, a knife and some glue in my pocket I decided to make the most of how quiet it was and do a "team building exercise" literally building the deadzone models!

the amount of stuff in the box was a bit of a shock to say the least!

So after I'd slept I had a better look at the contents, the 4 2x2 mousemat type playmats I'd got, over all quite good, the edges look a bit rough but the actual print on them is really nice,


a huge box full of models, building sprues and other bits and bobs!

The thickness of the terrain tiles are very good,

even though the detail is fairly basic they will paint up nice,

Pictures of the various sprues,

So onto the cards that you get, each faction has a Mission, Battle and Stat card, nice quality to these and the icons are really good,

So after some more work the Plague are assembled!

The Specialists for the Enforcers are done, I "donated" the normal guys to Salma as an incentive to actually paint these to play with!

The Maruders all stuck together

The ripper suits are really nice, not very pose able though which I think mantic has missed a trick with this one as I plan to use mine as nobs in mega armour.

So just the Reb's to sort out and its all done, just have to paint them!

and my able assistant poking out the cardboard counters for the games I had planned in to run, the cardboard counters are nice quality, so personally no need for the acrylic counters that you can get.

The sprues de-sprued!

And the smiling Fox ready to play!

for the first game we only used the basic stuff no battlecards and didn't really use the special rules on the cards, which put the plague at a slight disadvantage, but the stage 1 plague mincing machine went though most of the enforcers before getting its head blown off due to some very dodgy rolling!

So after a basic afternoon game I took the whole lot down to the Phat Cats and Rob & Coops went toe to toe with the whole lot, battlecards, special rules all the bells and whistles! I kept the game at 50 points rather than the recommended 75 so I could suss out what was going down and keep them interested,

To start with the plague was doing really well dropping Marauders quite quickly, and then the ripper suit fired up it weapons systems and proceeded to rule the table with its multiple systems, as Rob's fight rolled were shocking Coops simply moved the Ripper suit out of combat and blasted the crap out of everything! and wiped the table clean of Plague!

the loot counters made for quite interesting situations with Rob going hell for leather and grabbing a frag grenade as well as a medipack, 

the stage 2A get to the marauders lines with some sneaky moving and starts munching his way though the masses. 

Rob Played a nice card on the ripper suit meaning that it was classed as already activated throw in some suppression on the same model and he was out of the game for 2 turns, however it was the rippersuit that was the game changer as Rob threw various models at it and as Coops was surviving with doubles you get a free move and just kept shooting the plague that was left, the stage 2A went down to a anti-tank weapon at point blank range!

so lets have a look at Deadzone...


for anybody that has played dreadball the three dice system will be second nature for those who haven't you should! the way it works is that you get three D8's for every test, you get +'s & -'s for various things like range cover and so on rather than changing the target number these add or deduct dice from your hand, and the target score is what ever is on your card example would be the plague stage 3A you'd need a 6+ to hit, and the number of successes cancels out your opponent successes the most successes wins. Dead easy once you get your head round it.

the actual game uses a grid on a printed mat, and this is used for all your movement & shooting, you can only have 4 size one models in each square/cube so for example you could have a stage 1A huge mofo taking up 3 slots and a trusty dog and that's it!

Each model gets two actions like infinity, so you can have 2 short actions or 1 long action so plenty of scope for tactical flexibility.

you have battlecards that can be used throughout the game and these give an extra edge to some of your models if you want make sure that you get that critical shot off or want that extra survival dice to prevent your head from being blown off, at the end of each turn you take x amount of cards and can only keep so many but to stop the hoarders out there if you spend a card in your turn you have to discard one, so quite a nice way of balancing out your hand.

the other thing I like is that each faction has its own mission deck, so you pull the top card and if you don't like it you can draw another but must have to play the second mission. This will give both players different missions for each game.

The only bit that threw me with the rules was the damage, the way it works is that you take the difference of the number of successes, minus the armour and if you cause 1 wound then you injure the model, if you cause 2+ wounds then they are dead, but you have some funky stuff in this game my stage 1A plague monster have really tough (-2 to damage) and 1 armour giving it a total of minus 4, meaning that you have to get a 4 successes difference to injure it!


as its a hybrid between a board game and a war game its a bit of a strange one, its got a campaign system in the book and knowing what Mantic is like your bound to see more stuff further down the line, the great thing is that there is a set of quick start rules for you to have a mess about with if your sitting on the fence.

when I was demo'ing this at the club it got an awful lot of interest so I can see this being popular!


so the crunch time... its like marmite you either love mantic models or hate them!

The material "restic" a plastic/resin mix is a weird material as you need superglue to stick it and its super durable I think it would actually survive a tactical nuke however with this in mind its a pain in the arse to remove mold lines. For the casual gamer or someone coming from the GW/Warmachine camp you'll have to up your skill level just to get your models stuck together but if you have no knowledge of gaming like Salma 5 enforcers took a couple of hours but enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing them built.

Enough of the material! the sculpts are really nice and I like them all for the look that they have, I was convinced that I was going to go marauder all the way but each faction is pulling me towards them as I like them all! there isn't a single model that I think is "pants" which is a real rare moment!!

The other thing that made me go ooohh... with deadzone was the terrain tiles, how it was sold is that you could make a new set up each game using the clips that you get, but I wasn't that fussed by that and decided from the start that I would simply stick mine together however within the community some people feel that Mantic haven't delivered on this promise and the forum is alive with "discussion" its mainly to do with the clips breaking if you don't file out the holes slightly, yep its that mental a really cheap way of getting good looking urban terrain and you still can please everyone!

Well I think its bloody brilliant!

I managed to throw this together in a couple of hours, the only thing I would recommend is getting more connector sprues but at £2.50 a pop its not that much of a problem

but the boys over at Titan games Litchfield managed this!

For me this is the big seller, the terrain doesn't have to be used just for deadzone, perfect for necromunda, Infinity in fact any sci-fi game and it you can pre-measure you might as well use the urban mats!

adding this to my collection was a great move and as more "indie" systems come out we truly are in the golden age of gaming, All I need to do now is win the lottery, retire and open a retail gaming store like the guys over at the portal gaming centre have got Portal-Wargaming-Centre  and I'm laughing!