Friday, May 31, 2013

Deadzone Kickstarter - Key Links

Mantic's Deadzone Kickstarter is building up steam as it heads into the last weekend. This is a truly fantastic project that has grown in scale and scope along with the backer numbers and funding. From the original concept of a two-player boardgame on a paper mat, it now includes a total of six factions, each with a range of troop types, a range of modular scenery including a landing zone, a gun bunker, and ruined buildings, a custom vinyl playmat, loads of individual mercenary models, rules and models for including zombies, multi-player and large battleground rules, booster packs to increase the size of your force all the way up to army size and more, with even more stretch goals still to come.

All this is possibly too much for one front page. So, for new backers, those that are thinking of pledging and those that have been in it for a while but can't remember what update each particular bit of news was in, here's a list of the most relevant updates and youtube videos for your perusal.

There is also a bunch of cool stuff to read over on Jake Thornton's Quirkworthy blog, but I just don't have time to trawl through it just now :)


The Updates 


Concept art for accesories sprue.
Deadzone Gaming Mat description and pictures

 Secret Weapon Board and Assault Enforcers

 Ruined Battlezones and Survivor Green

Sprue Details - Pictures of Core Worlds Sprues

Landing Pad Concept Art

Building Blocks - Details of Terrain

 Antenocitis - Increased Bundle Sizes

Fortifications Battlezone concept art

 What Does a Battlezone Build? Artist Impressions of DZ Tablescapes

The Figures

Faction Focus The Enforcers

Faction Focus The Rebs 

 Faction Focus The Rebs Part 2

 Faction Focus Marauders 

Faction Focus Marauders 2 Rippers, Commandoes, Snipers and Mawbeasts Background and Sculpts

Forge Fathers Background and Some Concepts

Enforcer vs Cyphers, Asterians Background

 A Special Kind of Trooper - concept art and background for specialists

 EU Bundle Extras - Heavy Supports, Brokkrs, Nastanza

The Pathfinder Background and 3d sculpt

Stompy - Teraton sculpt and Zombieton concept art
Faction Boosters, Enforcer Booster Sculpts

Rebs Faction Booster Concept Art and Blaine Background

 Plague Faction Booster, Blaine Concept Art

Wrath Background and Concept Art

The Helfather description and concept art

 Chovar Sculpt and LOS Video

 Concept art Survivor model

Dr Simmonds Concepts and Background

Freya the Forge Father Smuggler

Resin Loot Counters, Nem-rath, Limited Edition Compendium

Kish, Plague Sphyr

Eddak P'mera Concept Art and Background plus Strider

List of Stretch Goals to $1m and Sergeant Howlett Background

Bjarg Starnafall in Drop Armour 

Goblin Stuntbot and Chief Radgrad 

Radgrad Background 

Hobgoblin Boomer and Iron Ancestor Concept Art 

Enforcer Peacekeepers Background

Extra Gameplay

 The Nexus Psi campaign

DZ Compendium, Veteran Status, Zombie Rules and Models, Concepts

Multi-mat Games and Wrath Concept Art and Background

DZ Counters, Gameplay Vid Turn 1, Plague Zombies Components

Solo Play


Shooting -

D8's -

Enforcers Background -

Faction Focus The Rebs -

Rebs Playstyle -

Faction Focus Marauders -

Marauders Second Video -

DZ Terrain - Ronnie's Intro -

Faction Focus Plague -


Beta Gameplay Part 1

 Terrain Connector Clips

Thats the lot for now. If you think there is something missing that should be on the list, leave a comment. Now go pledge!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tau Riptide

I have been feeling quite encouraged by the hobby in the last few weeks, and, as a result, got a fair bit of painting done. The renewed enthusiasm has come from playing some cool games (Zombicide really is great with four or more players) and attending some cool events. I have also had several great miniatures to put together and paint which always helps of course. Here are some pics of one I finished  today. Well, I say finished. I really mean 'got it to the point where I just don't want to touch it any more'.

 Its a Riptide, obviously. Mine is turquoise.

I think the Codex describes the dominant colour of Tau armour as being essentially a camoflage layer, with accents in the Sept colour. I didn't really feel like doing that though. Maybe its too long painting Eldar and Space Marines who don't tend to care too much about blending in. I just thought turquoise with a nice orangey brown would make a nice contrast. 

 I noticed that the paint job on the box model for the Riptide used proper metallics on the screws on its shoulders so I decided to try that too. It doesn't look bad, but, tbh, dances a bit too close to the too-far line. They stand out a little, is what I mean. I thought about putting more gold elsewhere, but decided it wasnt' absolutely necessary. And, as I hinted earlier, I had really had enough of this model.

 I saw the base a good opportunity for contrast and had to scour the stands at Salute a few weeks back for suitable scenery. The weird red plant-bloomy things are resin casts. The flock is clumps of something autumnal from MiniNatur. The clumps come with glue on the bases but they are not super sticky. I can see them staying on for a while but need a bit of PVA at some point in the future.

 The legs were a real pain in the butt to get right. I clipped off the positioning pins the model comes with to make it more poseable and even took a picture of the wife balancing on a stool so I could line up all the joints the way I wanted. Even then, and even though the model is supposed to be poseable, I could not get quite the dynamic pose I wanted. For one thing the gun on the right arm is so bulky you can't really make it do anything but point straight ahead. You could maybe get a sort of flapping action too, but thats about it. I also had problems with getting the feet to stay stuck to the slates on the base. Eventually I also had to realign the model as I felt the pose I had hid too much of the pieces on the base and by then I had superglued the ankle joints. So it looks cool enough, but its a compromise.

 The real trick, when painting such a large model in so few basic colours, is knowing how much to paint with the accent colour. Too little and he looks like a giant mecha-smurf. Too much and the brown takes over, negating all the time and paint spent making him turquoise. Again, I used the box art as a guide. Whoever painted the GW show-model is a pro - why not learn from the best?

The end result is a nice looking model with enough contrast to engage the eye and draw it in. I hope.

I also magnetised all the weapon options. So as well as a choice of main gun, there are three shoulder options that are easily swappable. I'm not in favour of tailoring at all, but its nice to know you can just flick a weapon off if you feel like varying the Riptide's tactical role.

As for the paints used: the base is GW's Stegadon Scale Green, a layer of Sotek Green, and a final layer of Temple Guard blue. these were all airbrushed on top of a black base coat to get natural shading. I line- and edge-highlighted with mixes of Temple Guard and Bleach Bone. The brown parts are Vallejo's Beasty Brown, highlighted with Vomit Brown (the old GW paint). I also brushed Gryphonne Sepia and a mix of Asurmen Blue and Badab Black into the applicable recesses for shading where it was needed.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chromium Chargers Unboxing

I picked up Season 2 of Dreadball from Mantic at the weekend and the Chromium Chargers team to go with it. Here's what you get in the box:

I found during construction there was a fair bit of flash to clean up and two or three mould lines on each model. They were easy enough to tidy up though and the models, being only three pieces each, are really easy to put together.

The major drawback of the set is, of course, their gameplay gimmick. Although the team take the field as Jacks, they can transform into any role, provided you roll good dice and have the tokens to spend. You get six jacks in the box, plus two strikers and two guards, but a) this may not be enough models if you want to go heavily one way or the other, and b) the models all look pretty similar. Unless you paint them distinctively it may be hard to tell which model is which. Plus, if you do choose just swap out the jack models as needed, how are you going to number them? Basically this will put you out of a lot of tournaments unless you buy several boxes full and paint up variations for each one. Its a pickle, to be sure.

I got in a game with the robots against a Marauder team on Tuesday night and managed to squeak in a win in overtime.

It turns out the transforming is a bit of a handicap in the early game as you have to pay a token to do it, leaving you short one to spend elsewhere and having burnt one of the two you could spend on that player. More thought is needed into how to handle the hurdle of getting players out of Jack mode for future games.

The 'bots are expensive too. You only get 6 in your starting lineup, making you very prone to being shorthanded, particularly if you're against orx. I finished regular play with two dead players and two in the box. Luckily I had been holding the ball with a Striker in the opponent's end and it was simple enough to run into a scoring zone and get the win when overtime ticked round.

But perhaps losing players is part of the expected strategy for robot teams. After all, one less player on the pitch means more tokens and cards to play on the others and this might make their role-flexibility really worthwhile. Again, more thought needed to figure this one out.

Anyway, enjoy the video and feel free to ask any questions.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mantic Open Day 2013

I'm writing this from a service station, halfway between Nottingham and home. Its been a long day and its a long road, but here are some pics, thoughts, and recollections from this year's (first?) Mantic Open Day.

Please note these are very quick entries, not exhaustive, and I won't be held responsible if I misquote Ronnie ;) Or fur spelling mistakes.

First, the pics.

There were lots of minis on display today. Strangely they were mostly crammed into one tiny display box - cabinet would be too generous a term - in the worst-lit part of the building. This phone's camera is pretty good though, so enjoy :)

You've got the Basileans. Male paladins with broadswords and females with smaller weapons. I'm not that impressed with the females but both sets of models are definitely really nice and a great addition to KoW.

I think you can see the werewolves and trolls in the background of a couple of the photos. Three for £15 was the price point being mentioned for the trolls. I would have liked the werewolves to be a bit hairier, but maybe greenstuff will work.

The mummies are awesome.

The reb figures for deadzone were there too. I love the teraton and I think they're going to be a very popular line for dz and Dreadball.

I took some pictures of the deadzone display board as all the enforcers there are new models as, if course, are the plague. Check out how big that phase 1 is! I really like the sniper and the engineer models in particular. I was told at Salute that the engineer's backpack could be detached to make the sentry gun but I'm not sure if that feature is still included.

There are a few detail sits if the dz terrain. You might be able to see the surfaces aren't smooth. There's a fine crenelation. This is a result of the pieces being prototypes from a 3d . The final product will be smooth. I actually quite like the texture, I think it makes them look more organic, but smooth works too.

Finally there's the game mat for deadzone. It is indeed very very nice. It's much thinner than I thought it would be, maybe 2mm our 3mm thick. The back is a strong rubber that will hold it to a table our desk pretty welland the top really does feel like a mousemat. It's thinner though, so no worries about areas sinking our dice bouncing wildly :) I'm pretty sure I'm canceling my Secret Weapon kickstarter pledge tonight...

So, on to the Ronnie talk. Ronnie talks very quickly and possibly makes some of it up as he's doing so, so here's a quick collection of bullet points I remember:

He acknowledged it is very hard to make inroads in fantasy or sci-fi tabletop battles against the market leader. Apparently gw have £60m in tools and this is hard to compete with. Thus Dreadball and deadzone help people start building a collection of Warpath minis and interest in the setting that can be used when warpath launches for real.

Regarding the mat, the search for a material was exhaustive. Apparently Stewart's corner of the office looks like a haberdashers there are so many samples. As to different themed mats, the problem is volume. The current deal Ronnie has with the supplier is for 5000. This is the minimum the supplier will do and the price is still high. Ronnie hopes to do a deal for, say, 5000 of the first theme, plus a thousand of this theme, a thousand of this one, and so on. Yet another good reason to up your pledge for more mats ;)

The dz kickstarter once again exceeded expectations for early success.

Forge Fathers and Asterians are all but guaranteed to be included in the kickstarter. It sounds like models are, at least, at the concept art stage, sine may even be in sculpting.

Forge fathers go toe to tie with the corporation. They aren't afraid to displace humans from worlds they want and are happy to fight for them. As a quarantined world is likely to be unoccupied for fifty years, this also represents a great opportunity to plunder. Hearthguard act as security, brocks (aka berzerkers) are the scrap dealers of ff society and will often do the final strip of a planet, even taking all its dirt for sale elsewhere!

Asterians, or elves, might rate a human world as being worth 1 or 2 elf lives.So their armies will include one fragile Asterian commander and a load of combat robots. These will be 'kick-ass fast'and hard. So their gameplay might involve the commander desperately hiding from snipers and enemy units while the robots do the fighting.

Plans are drawn up for stretch goals for quite a way down the line. It sounded like up to about 800k. If it goes over that we might see seasons approach, like with db, to allow more stuff to be sculpted and tooled for release next year.

Ronnie is very happy to include partner companies' stuff in the dz kickstarter. He loves all the stuff Antenocitis do. He acknowledged Mantic doesn't have time to Maher all those little bits themselves and is open to focusing on the stuff it does do while partnering with specialists in complimentary bits and bobs. He mentioned opening a shop if there was enough product lines to stock, so who knows what might happen there?

Jake Thornton was quite enthused about answering a question on the next Dwarf King's Hold. It sounded like he had already given it lots of thought and seemed, to me, to be describing something akin to Super Dungeon Explore. All backed by Mantic's affordable minis, meaning a dungeon master would have many varieties if monsters to throw at adventurers. No definite plans for this were confirmed, but:

Mantic had another ks planned for this year. That one slipped out and no-one seemed to pick up on it...

KoW will, in some ways, be relaunched again this summer. Trolls are up next month, then - I forget - then Basileans. The possibility of spinning KoW off into its own mini-studio was mentioned, but as a possible option, rather than one being seriously proposed.

Ronnie loves those buildings. He likened the possibilities to minecraft. I still think they are more like Halo Forge pieces though. Ronnie guaranteed they will click together and apart but seemed to feel they perhaps weren't intended to be used in dz as people seem to envisage actually using them. You can see this in demo games for dz, where you can see the facade of as building almost being more important than its 3d shape. Dz is designed for a 2x2 table so there's not actually that much room for compete buildings. But Ronnie does believe they have the potential to become a staple for all sci-fi games on the market. As do I.

There is the possibility of a collection of short stories for dz to help establish the background for the factions. This could be a stretch goal and include Jake Thornton and guy haley. Probably depends on people asking for it though.

All three money from the KoW ks went into tooling new models. Mantic also put down $10k out of the kitty to get it all done. So kickstarter does just what it should - get things happening faster than they would through the traditional sales and investment cycle.

Dreadball has sold three times more copies through retail than were sent out from the ks.

Ok, that's all I can remember for now. I'll post more later if I remember it and probably my own thoughts on the day and Mantic in the 201 in another post.