Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mantic Open Day, November 2014 Part 1

Wow, what a long and hectic day. Once again I made the pilgrimage around the M25 and up the M1 to Mantic HQ for the Open Day. It’s a long way to go, but worth it for all the cool stuff you get to see and hear
Including new boxes!
But not everyone can make that journey, of course. So, here’s my recap of what I heard in the seminars and saw on the tables and cabinets and a few thoughts on what’s going on and likely to happen at Mantic in the near future.
This time round there were three seminar sessions. This is, I think, the first time this has been done at Mantic’s current HQ building. The seminars were also somewhat specialised in their content too, another first. I missed the title of the first one and didn’t sit in on it either. Apologies, but it was probably about Kings of War and I used that time to catch up with friends and hit the shop.
The second talk was focused on Jake and his games. An important point to make here – Jake wouldn’t actually talk much about Kings of War or Warpath proper as these are not games he works on.He had quite a lot to day about Dungeon Saga, Deadzone, and Dreadball though. Here are a few key points he made in response to questions from the audience. Ronnie also sat in for a while so there are some titbits from him too.
Lots of new orcs.

  •  Jake would love to do a fantasy version of Deadzone and a Warpath version of Dungeon saga. Its really a question of time though, that being that Jake doesn’t have enough of it to fit in everything he would like to do.
And other monsters.
  •   The idea of Dungeon Saga (DS) downtime was discussed at some length. This would be dealing with the time between missions in DS for players to choose what their character does. Ideas like visiting a market to look for new gear or a temple to get a blessing were floated. Jake wants there to be at least five things you want to do with your character but only have time to do one. It’s a flavour of RPG mechanics without going all the way in.
  •  Ronnie said DS components were being shipped in one load and they planned to send it all out in one go. This would mean two boxes for most pledges though as the contents would be too heavy for one box. I’m afraid I missed whether he was categorically saying everything in the KS was going to be in this one shipment and I didn’t back it so I’m not sure if that is even possible. But it did sound that way. Ronnie also joked about waiting to see what thing would inevitably go wrong. 
  •  There was talk of expansions and sequels to DS. The initial campaign takes players up to defeating Mortebris who flees. On the way out he raises a demon for players to fight.
  • The next expansion would be a prequel of sorts, allowing players to start with a brand new level one character. The possibility of two new characters being written was raised and then joining with two from the original game to form parties.
  • Jake and Ronnie want the game to do really well at retail. In the second seminar Ronnie said Dreadball had sold twelve thousand copies at retail, compared to two thousand KS backers. DS had six thousand backers so, if it performed as well, that would mean more than thirty thousand sales. Reading between the lines, Mantic is aware of the importance of looking after retail as much as KS backers.
  • Jake wants to see lots of scenarios being created by the community and the game is built to do that, what with the companion manual being put together containing stats for all the models in Mantic’s range. He would like to have seen more player-generated stuff for DKH.
  • Jake is working on a new campaign for Deadzone. He is also aware the rules were not presented in the most accessible way in the original rulebook. The next Deadzone release will feature the Vermyn and will give missions that ease people into the rules.
  • There is little chance of any expansion for Mars Attacks! The problem is that pretty much everything in the original i.p. is already in  the game. The Novas Virae were practically made up while the campaign was running.

  • As far as Jake is aware, there is still a plan for annual tournament packs for Dreadball in the manner of Azure Forest. Ronnie had left the room at this point but things like this did come up in the next seminar as well.

  • Jake is also still not happy with Jacks in Dreadball and is still working on a fix. The game is by no means broken as it plays now. My guess would be there will be a second edition of the rules at some point in the reasonably near future. He would really like people to try the experimental rules he floats on Quirkworthy and report back on them.

That was pretty much it for Jake’s session. The next talk was entitled, ‘The Future of Mantic Games with Ronnie Renton’ and I will cover that next.

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