Monday, 10 February 2014

An Introduction to...Deadzone

Name - Deadzone : The Sci-Fi Skirmish Game
Manufacturer - Mantic Games
Type - Tabletop Miniatures Game.
No. of Players - 2 (More players are theoretically possible but the game, scenarios and missions are designed for 2)
Age Range - 14+. The rule-set is very simple to learn but the models require some hobby experience to assemble.
Rulebook - 80 pages, Full colour. Included in the box-set.

What You Need to Start.
Deadzone - The Sci-Fi Skirmish Game. Everything you need to start is in the box...

All of the above comes in the standard game though the models obviously require assembly, preparation and painting...

Extras Needed - At some point your going to want to expand your team roster or try one of the two factions not included in the starter box (Rebs and Marauders). Starter sets are available for every faction with booster packs containing different model selections available also.

Here's some expansion set examples...

There are also expansion sets for the terrain should you decide you want a more crowded play area, more building levels or just a greater variety of buildings and barriers.

Area Needed -  A 2' by 2' playing area as that's the size of the game mat.

Time Needed - A starter set game (70 points) can be done in less than an hour. The first couple of games will need a bit more time allocated to them as is to be expected when learning a new system. Fortunately Deadzone is an incredibly simple system to learn.

Initial Costs.
The main set containing two faction starters (Enforcers and Plague), play mat, scenery, cards, dice and counters is £64.99 though is available cheaper at some retailers (my FLGS Titan Games does it for £54)

The above costs are courtesy of my FLGS Titan Games so may vary based on your location.

Models require assembly, some preparation and painting so you can also add basic hobbying tools (cutters, a scalpel, files and glue), a can of undercoat and some paints to those costs if your new to the hobby.

Expansions - None at the moment but we'll soon have two new factions (Forge Fathers and Asterians) released. If your one of those people who is still nostalgic for the long abandoned by Games Workshop 'Squats' then your going to absolutely love the Forge Fathers. The Asterians are Space Elves...with Space Elves I suppose...

There's also an expansion called the 'Nexus Psi Campaign Book' that is available for pre-release from the 14th February details of which can be found here.

A Brief Overview.
Deadzone is a skirmish game played on an 8 by 8 grid of 3" by 3" squares (or cubes technically as it's possible to go up as well as across if there's something to climb) with each side having a 'Strike Team' bought with a points allowance (70 is the standard game size).

You currently have a choice of Corporation, Plague, Marauder or Reb Factions with two more (Asterians and Forge Fathers) coming early this year.

As is to be expected each model varies in quality in proportion to its points value so a 6 point 3rd Generation Plague Trooper is obviously going to fill a different role to a 26 point Plague Teraton. A force can consist of as many Leader and Trooper models as you wish but the number of the Specialist, Rare and Unique models can not exceed this number. You can also add a Mercenary model to your force though there are some restrictions (Wrath won't work with Enforcers for example).

 Some Mercenaries...

The game mechanic itself uses both cards and dice. For each basic action you have a pool of D8's (usually three) and a target number based on the models skill in that area. So a combat monster like a 1st Generation Plague would hit on a 'Fight' value of a 3+ whereas a significantly less deadly 3rd Generation one would require a 5+. Modifiers add dice to the pool rather than modify the target number so a Corporation Trooper who aimed first would roll 4 dice instead of 3. Each model can either take two Short Actions or a single Long Action though the same Action can't be taken twice in a row....unless it's a bonus Action that is...

If the Action is an opposed one (Fight Vs. Fight or Shoot Vs. Survive) then the target gets to roll his own pool of dice (with it's own modifiers of course) and successes are compared with any eights allowing another dice roll. Bonus's are gained should you double or even triple your opponents successes and these depend on the Action being taken. Cards can also be played from your hand that can enhance your attacks (amongst other effects) and each faction has their own set representing their own particular skill set.

The rulebook is very clear and has detailed descriptions of each rule with clear and concise examples in each section with diagrams where appropriate.

Each faction also has their own set of Mission cards and the mission is chosen randomly though you can reject the first one drawn if you wish. Your stuck with the second choice even if it's a worse fit than the first one so be careful when changing your mind.

A unit leader decides how many cards you draw based on their command value and this value also decides how many models you activate before the turn passes to your opponent. A plague General has a Command value of 2-2 which means he draws two cards and can keep 2 (If it was 2-1 he'd draw two but only keep one) and the value of the two added together is the number of models that your 'Strike Team' can activate each turn. Should this Leader be killed then the model with the next highest Command value is the one who's total decides number of cards drawn and a number of activations done. When there are no cards left to draw or play then the game ends...

As mentioned earlier the game is simple to learn and due to the nature of the starter set is ready to play with very little preparation (you can paint everything at your leisure as only assembly is required to start playing).

Note - Though many stores have copies of the game due to supporting the game via Kickstarter the actual full release is not until February 14th.

The Deadzone section of the Mantic Games website can be found here and the shop section can be found here.

The 'living' FAQ can be found here.

There's also an encyclopaedia of Deadzone that can be found via the following links that gives you some specific background information as well as some of the background stories.

A-Z can be found here.
D-G can be found here.
H-M can be found here.
N-Z can be found here.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

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