In a league of their own

I can be very impatient when it comes to waiting for new toys, so I was very happy to see a big box show up.  I had gotten the shipping notice in the middle of the week, and FedEx did not do a good job of updating the status (and apparently my other box is now in the hands of the USPS in Cincinnati).  None the less, it is here.

League of Infamy is the latest dungeon crawler board game from Mantic Games.  It was kickstarted back in November 2019 (can anyone even remember what the world was like back then - it seems a lifetime ago).  It is the third full dungeon crawler board game that Mantic has produced (the first two were Dungeon Saga and Star Saga).  These owe lot to their previous one-on-one board games Dwarf Kings Hold and Project Pandora.  (These are both long out of print).

The benefit of this lineage is that they have been able to continually learn and improve the mechanics.  In Dungeon Saga you are classic fantasy heroes, and in Star Saga you are 'somewhat questionable' mercenaries, but here you are full on villains!

When it started shipping, I saw someone comparing the box size to Hellboy.  It isn't quite that size.

However I then realized I was comparing it to the KICKSTARTER version, not the retail version.  For LoI, the Kickstarter extras all come in a second, slightly bigger box, along with the full retail version.  When I pulled out my retail box, well . . . yep - pretty close.

So what is in the fairly large box?

First on top is the rule book.  This only has a single book - it contains both the rules and the base scenarios.  Full color, with some nice illustrations.

I especially like the two page spread showing all the character artwork.

Below that are the large villain and champion cards.

The villain cards have different background, and always have all 6 stats (fight dice, skulk dice, shoot dice, move, armor and health).  Defenders have reinforcement values as well as loot values as well.

I like how the back of the Villain cards have background for the character, as well as listing their starting equipment (cards).

Beneath these are six sheets of tiles and tokens.  Rather than a lot of differently shaped tiles that you would combine to make the board, this has three full size tiles with multiple rooms on each (and one half size).  There are a lot of tokens as well.

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Then beneath these - minis and cards.  The mini tray as the two larger champions, and four of the six villains in the base game.  Mantic has been really improving the quality of their board games by using these cutout trays to keep the miniatures from being bent or damaged.  The Walking Dead and Hellboy games are great examples of this as well.

Lifting up the card tray though, there wasn't a second tray with the rest of the miniatures - instead a box.  The larger tray has nothing underneath it - there isn't room with the drakons!

Nice solid box for the mini trays (and dice as well).  Until I open it.

No trays, just bags of minis (and the dice).  Unfortunately this is the same way the minis came in Dungeon Saga and Star Saga, which often resulted in bent (and sometimes even broken) minis.

There are five bags of miniatures, and one of dice.

The dice use the same idea as Hellboy, where you can possibly upgrade (or downgrade) the color - with purple being the strongest and white the weakest, with orange in between.  The yellow die is the loot die.

So not perfectly packaged - but let's look at the minis.  One bag has the other two villains for the game - Karzek Runesbane - an Abyssal Dwarf Decimator, Glum Slittercreep, a Goblin Assassin.

So how do these heroes compare to the newest sculpts that have recently been released for these factions?

Karzak fits very well - now all we need is a Kings of War profile for him!

And Glum could easily be used Stinggit or Sneak in a Vanguard warband.

The second bag contains the final three champions for the elves - the Drakon Hunter, Master Hunter and Sabre-toothed Lyrynx.

Unfortunately, my Master Hunter was bent over almost 90 degrees, and the Drakon Hunter is leaning backward a bit.  The bases are warped as well.  Time for some hot water!

This big cat makes me wonder if they might have been the source of the original Basilean Gur Panthers?

The other three bags all contain the lesser defenders - each bag has the same minis.

The weakest defender are the Elven Lynx

This is the exact same size as the sculpt for the elven battle cats on the current elf sprues - and elf players probably have a lot of these laying around if they need more for their games of LoI.

Then there are the Juvenile Drakons

Of course these can't be compared to anything, as Mantic has never made juvenile Drakons before.

Then there are the tallspears

These elves suffer greatly from bendy spear syndrome - caused by being thrust into baggies.  They are pretty close to the current plastic spearmen

Then there is the new gladestalker - a great elf sculpt that reminds me of the basilean sisterhood archer.  I guess I just may have a weak spot for kneeling shooters.

Comparing them to the current archers just shows how those old sculpts don't really hold up anymore (ok, it is the shield I have problems with - being molded onto the body works for spearmen, but NOT for archers.  There is the one cool folded shield on the command sprue - but that is maybe one out of 20 models?)  I can't wait until they make these new sculpts for Kings of War (and I expect an elf warband made up of these figures to come out pretty soon (similar to the Deadzone warbands they made from Star Saga expansions).

Then there is the Drakon Handler, which again there is nothing to really compare it to.

Finally is the Hunter of the Wild - a Dryad.  

Dungeon Saga and Forces of Nature both had heroes based on these (that used the same sculpt for Kapoka the Gladewalker Druid).  Next to the two sculpts for it (the normal and the legendary version), this really looks like a non hero version.  Let's hope Mantic will finally be making Hunters of the Wild (i.e. dryads) soon as well.

I did want to point out that though some of these are bent, they are easily fixable in hot water (near boiling).  You can see how I straightened out the worst of these

While being a miniature wargamer this is no big deal at all for me - for a pure board gamer that wants to play this out of the box, it can be 'challenging' - so much so that I can see some people just wanting replacements instead.  Not great for what should be an introductory game.

Finally are the minis that are in the top tray.  First are the four villains

Sharpclaw Gutpeeler may be my favorite.  He is listed as a Ratkin warrior, but really looks nearly identical to the new Brute Enforcer just released for Vanguard.

Then there La'theal Bleakheart - a Twilight Kin Sorceress.  Mantic has not made any Twilight Kin minis for several years (they were not even a 'standard' part of 2nd edition Kings of War, only having an online PDF army list, though they returned in 3rd).  

One of the more interesting changes they have made is to lessen the Abyssal connection for them, and add in a Nightstalker one.  I rather like the subtle link they have in her dress - check out the dress of the Nightstalker Banshee model (I could have sworn I had an assembled one somewhere, but I couldn't find it!)

Then there is Melantha Arveld - a Vampire Noble.  He reminds me of the OOP metal Enric the Vampire from the Heroes of Mantica set for Dungeon Saga.

M'win'Daji is an Abyssal Priest Hunter - who also reminds me of Mau'ti-bu-su (though with more clothes) from the Eye of the Abyss Dungeon Saga expansion and the Kings of War campaign.

The big models are the Adult Drakon and Elven Lord on Drakon.

Drakon riders were some early Kings of War metal models that - well weren't great.  They have been long out of print.

A few years ago, there was some design drawings for new Drakon riders seen online

but they had not been made - yet.  We have gotten some previews of new renders for them but no release date yet

And while we don't have them for Kings of war yet - with LoI we now have a Drakon and rider - I am really expecting to see these showing up in Kings of War armies (once we actually have events again).

First is the Adult Drakon

I can easily see someone mounting a rider on this beauty.

Then there is the Elven Lord on Drakon

I can see him showing up - in face I ordered a second one to use for a Kings of War project I'm working on myself .  I can also see him in the center with two of the Adult Drakons (with added riders) on either side to make a full regiment of Drakon riders - at least until the new resin models eventually come out.

So some really nice miniatures (I can see where adding another tray would have made the box larger - which would probably have increased the cost prohibitively.  I tend to throw them out as well - but they do the job of protecting the minis until they get to the consumer very well.

Also, there is a misprint on the Defender cards - 

The values for armor and health are switched.  I saw a discussion on Facebook about this - it was a late design change to make all the cards consistent (I guess at one time the defenders were movement, health, armor).  Unfortunately this was missed.  I'd like to see if Mantic could produce a PDF of the new values that we could print on a sticker and put it over the incorrect ones (so the cards looked right).  It is easy enough to work around even without that though.

One thing I do like is that the rules / card for an Unseen Master are already included instead of trying to add them on to the end.

I look forward to giving this a spin once we have more people getting together for gaming again.

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Replies
    1. You are most welcome. Thanks for reading! Next will he the big box of Kickstarter extras.

  2. nice kit. thanks for the in-depth review! looking forward to your take on the expansions. Unfortunately, I still have to wait myself due to the missing gigas and being located in the EU. keep up the good work!

    PS: still waiting for the promised size comparisons with older mantic miniatures of the new mantic plastic ;) whenever you have the time.

    1. Thanks. Today is the expansions. Then next week I'll see about more size comparisons.


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