Occasionally, something goes wrong. An ancient alien artifact is discovered on a planet that is mutating the inhabitants into killing machines. Or man sized rat-like creatures that were once thought to be nothing more than monsters to frighten children have started pouring from their underground lairs. An alien race has placed a colony and begun the process that humans call terra-forming, but in this case are changing a world to their version of a habitable environment.
It is cases like this where the Council of Seven declares the ultimate sanction - Containment Protocol. The planet is removed from all astral navigation charts, all records of it are purged from the system and the corporate fleets blockade all traffic to and from the surface. Then squads of the elite Enforcers are sent to secure the threat, with the preservation of any inhabitants a mere secondary objective. Other factions may find these planets both highly profitable for salvage, and extremely dangerous. They are spoken of in whispers, and known as Deadzones.
Ok, enough of that! Unless you have been hiding under a rock (or living in a deadzone yourself), any fan of Mantic games is aware that the new version of Deadzone is shipping to Kickstarter backers right now, and will be commercially released at the end of next month.
Much like Kings of War, it is the players that asked for a new edition of Deadzone. What was just to be an expansion adding a new faction (Veer-Myn) became a complete re-write of the rules. I'll go over the new rules next time - but first what is in the new edition?
|Deadzone 2.0 Rulebook|
The battle cards have been replaced with command dice. These custom six sided dice give you extra capabilities each round adding to the tactics - do I use the extra die now, or wait for later? When do I activate an extra model? The dice themselves are ok - however the Mantic splat symbol was done better on the dice that came back with the original Kings of War kickstarter a few years ago - this one just looks a little sloppy.
|Deadzone 2.0 Command Dice. These are (left to right, top to bottom) +1 Model, +1 Die, Move, Shoot, Fight and Special.|
|Deadzone 2.0 Counter Sheet|
|Deadzone 2.0 Counter Sheet (back)|
The game comes with a paper mat to play on, but you can also get a sturdy deluxe mat (made out of mouse-pad material). There is a new one being released - this is a redish brown bare planetscape (I've heard it referred to as Mars) as opposed to the original concrete urban mat. It has the cubes marked on it and should hold up to years of play
Of course it folds or rolls for storage as well. (it always surprises me (and it shouldn't) how the color looks different based on light and background - the picture (below) taken in my Foldio2 looks much less red than the actual mat (the picture above is the truer color))
For this kickstarter, Mantic has created an all new set of Industrial terrain - so your battle can move beyond the settlement area and into the manufacturing zone. Pipes, fans and control panels sit among catwalks and supports for your armies to battle for.
There are two new industrial battle zone sprues, and two new industrial accessory sprues.
The first sprue has metal walls and some wire mesh platforms and railings, as well as new and interesting connectors.
|back (you can hardly tell however)|
|What is a battle without a huge spinning fan just waiting for your enemies to fall into?|
|There are some great details in these|
|for everyone that thought more cool terrain was nothing but a pipe dream|
The second accessory sprue has several interesting pieces. Small pipes with several connectors to attach these to your buildings, though there does not seem to be any way to actually have the pipes going into or out of anything. Catwalks to go between buildings, one of which appears to be a ramp, but I have not yet figured out how it is supposed to attach the others.. A fairly large engine block, and few more pieces just to gain a little more cover and make your battlefield that much more interesting.
Of course, you can't have any kind of battle game without armies to fight. And the new version has lots of new plastic sprued forces. The boxed game comes with enforcers (from the first kickstarter, though a bit late), the new enforcer pathfinders, and the new forge father steel warriors.
The enforcer squad comes on a pair of sprues. One has bodies, legs and arms, the other heads and more weapon options - and those are truly some BFGs that take up almost half the width of the entire sprue!
I backed out of the first DZ kickstarter, so this is the fist time I've seen the enforcer sprues. Putting a few together - I wonder if they really had to separate the legs from the bodies. All are lettered as specific legs go with specific bodies - but kind of a pain to get the three pieces positioned correctly. Three laser rifles and three wristblades, no problem there.
|Big F...... Guns!|
There is no missile launcher nor sniper rifle. However I would assume for those you would use the restic versions (the sniper is probably still my favorite enforcer model). Lots of wristblades. One energy gauntlet (for the sergeant and captain (and how are you supposed to tell these two apart?) (and it is nice that you have both left and right pistols and wristblades). I think there is a piece to mount on an arm to make one a medic (though there is only one left arm that is not holding a weapon - and the hand looks to be set to attach to a heavy weapon, not open). What I don't see are a shotgun for fusion gun. There are several tiny bits near the heads and a couple of pouches (and some other guns? with no hands to hold them) that I will again generally be ignoring because I don't want to paint them.
The enforcer pathfinders are brand new sprues. These don't have the armor of the normal enforcers (nor the very heavily armored peacekeepers), but that makes them both faster and more mobile. Six pairs of legs and eight heads (I already like the one with the cloak) give you a lot of variation when building these models - no to mention each of the torso's is a unique sculpt.
The forge fathers Steel Warriors are new plastic sprues. For some reason on some of the new sprues Mantic is removing the bits and packaging the separately. They did this with the Salamanders and Naiads for Kings of War, and now these. I'm not sure why. My best guess is the 'normal' sprue holds the bits for 5 models (which is the case for all of these three) - but the clipped pieces must not be enough to fill a sprue, so they are sharing them.
This is fine - but why not have one full sprue of 10 bodies (or in this case legs / weapons) and two sprues of the arms/heads? At least for the KoW models they only come with 10 models (so 10 models would be three sprues, instead of 2 and 2 bags of pre-cut parts)).
Maybe is is just me that finds this a little unusual. So here is the Steel Warrior sprue
One thing I haven't liked about any of Mantics models is that there are no instructions anywhere. Generally not a big deal, but it would be nice to know EXACTLY what bits are intended for which. Especially when it comes to weapon options.
My guess is the main guns on the sprue are hailstorm rifles, with the single handed version being the hailstorm pistol for the Huscarl. It is nice that some of the arms and weapons have letters on them to indicate what they go with (E & F are the Hailstorm Rifles). There are ABC arms, but since the remaining bits have been removed from the sprues, there is no way to know for sure which weapons are A, B or C.
Before I get to those however is D. This is an arm and an attachment - but I have no idea what it is supposed to be. In addition the bottom row of items - are they something specific - most to me are simply unidentifiable bits (which I won't use because I don't want to have to paint them). The exception is the hose - which weapon is supposed to get it. I used it on a dragons breath - but then in the book the specialist is holding what I believe is the Magma Rifle with the hose.
Ok, so looking at the "un-sprued" weapons above - my best guess is they are (top) another Hailstorm Rifle and two Dragon's Breath. Then the lower ones are a Magma Rifle, Hailstorm Auto cannon and Missile Launcher.
This actually fill all weapons options EXCEPT for twin Hailstorm pistols (they need a hailstorm piston in a left hand) and burst pistol.
Also, is there anything special about the backpacks - i.e. do any of them go with any special weapon? I can see the two chests to designate your Huscarls (aside from their different equipment).
This has gotten long enough for now. Look for my review on the rulebook and the game itself next time. Plus as soon as I get more of the new models I will have them up for you to see and drool over (including the Enforcer Jetbike models and new Veer-myn Night Crawlers / Stalkers).
Because it is all fun and games . . .