So what is it? at its basic its a sci-fi skirmish game set in Mantics "warpath" universe. But it is more than that as well, it can be a campaign game if you want it to be with full campaign system included, or it can be used to play one off battles between your strike team and you opponent.
Mars Attacks or when we looked at Dreadball Xtreme.
Lets pop the lid open and take a look at what you get inside, and how the game plays...........
The other dice you can see are command dice. These are rolled at the beginning of the turn. Each of the symbols on each side relate to a bonus such as an extra shoot or fight action, or faction specific bonuses that can vary depending on the type of leader you take to provide you with all sorts of different things. It also really changes how you play, as some leaders you may overlook at first may have a really good command ability that will help you in your particular mission, so never overlook anyone.
All these lovely models needs somewhere to fight over, and Deadzone provides it in the form of a high quality paper playmat. Plenty of little detailed touch's, and you can faintly see the squares laid out. In Deadzone movement is based on cubes, and the mat is a grid of 3”x3” squares and the scenery is built to match these and fit on the board. These square also extend upwards to form cubes.
Force Lists for all seven factions in Deadzone: Enforcers, Forge Fathers, Plague, Marauders, Asterians, Rebs and Veer-myn
All the background information on the world.
A full campaign system for running linked games.
You select a mission from the book from a choice of several that can be selected or rolled. it also has secret objectives rolled for each player in that mission to add some more variety. The winner is either the first player to accumulate the required VPs (victory Points) or wipe out the opposing team. You then build "Strike Teams" from the provided lists in the book. This covers all the races currently available for Deadzone in one place, giving you plenty of options for each race, and a list of mercenaries should you wish to increase the options again.
The campaign mode has some great options for upgrading your characters as they gain experience, and looking for all sort of equipment post battle, creating your own stories as you go along. The quality of the rulebook puts it well up there with books that cost as much as this whole set, so it certainly will not feel out of place on your shelf.
The activation system of models in the game keeps play nice and fast so you are not sat around waiting for ages in-between doing anything, and keeping you right in the game all the time. It is a model by model activation system, so I would activate one model, perform all my actions, my opponent may need to roll dice to survive some shooting or fighting in a close combat, then my opponent activates a model, and so on back and forth. This really reduces downtime in playing, which is good to keep the interest of players, and means games can get done in no time, you can easily get 2 or more games in a campaign done in an evening.
For actions you have short actions, like move, or shoot, or some special actions, or long actions like sprint. You can do one long action and two short actions, but not two of the same each turn. close combat is initiated when you move into a square with an enemy in, so you don't need to worry about a separate fight action, but if you begin your turn in a square with an enemy in you must use your fight action to engage them, or try and break away using a move action and a test.
The game plays fast, and with its true line of sight model, as in if you can see any part of a model including base you can shoot it makes thing much more simple with less arguments. The way cover is always presumed unless you can see 100% of the model and based unblocked is also nice and easy. After years of other miniatures game that claim to have a true line of sight system that is actually abstract this is a nice refreshing system to induce fast play and cut down on arguments.
Though the main rules are smooth and simple, there are plenty of advanced rules for things like weapons, grenades, and even vehicles, and these are all easy to find to keep play time at max and rule lookup at minimum it does not top it being a deep and tactical experience, as you decide what actions your models will take. Will I run into cover and work my way around? or stay more in the open and blaze away but risk retaliation fire? The choices are yours!!
So in brief.... I love it, I love the fast play, the simple but deep rules, well thought out campaign system that DOES take into account underdogs, the amount of choice, the true 3d fighting, which is rare in a lot of tabletop miniature games, the clean line of sight system, and the awesome looking multi purpose terrain and cool looking models. The fact you can quite happily play with just what's in the box, or upgrade by adding more models, different factions, more scenery options, a lovely looking mouse mat material styled playmat to enhance your game if you choose are bonuses that are more than welcome.
Another thing I have to commend mantic for is including female heads and torsos, OK you may think, that's not that uncommon now, but it is when these aren't silly out of proportion women in scanty armour.... its good that Olivia gets to use real looking women in her game.
A couple of things could have made this perfect.... assembly instructions for the models would be very useful, certainly for newer gamers, and a list of what the weapons are on the sprues would really help, as though I have built models before, I have no idea what the different weapons are. I have heard that Mantic are going to be releasing some build instructions online, so its well worth heading over to their website to keep an eye out for them. Having been spoilt in Dreadball Xtreme with one of the mouse mat styled mats, I was really hoping for one in this set, yes the paper mat is nice, but the rubber backed mat is just beautiful, so a little saddened by that, though I am sure it would have increased the price, so can see why it may not have been included.
I like the pathfinders as there are girls in it, and they look cool, im going to have a sniper girl, I like her cape its like when I wear my blanket. It plays like Mars attacks, so its nice and easy for me to learn. im going to make up names for all my girl soldiers... Hurry up and build them dad so we can play! (runs off to get her blanket and wear it as a cape)
With an RRP of £49.99 it will provide you with a huge amount of content to get on with playing games and building models, without taking into account the campaign games, so head over here and find your local store and grab a copy.
You can also head over to Mantic Games to download a FREE copy of the rules to take a look at and try for yourself.
Keep an eye out for some more Deadzone articles coming soon, with list building, painting and modelling articles, plus of course going through some battle reports with Olivia and Myself.
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