5 Reasons Skipping Deadzone: Infestation Kickstarter Sucks
The only two Kickstarter campaigns I’ve backed have not yet delivered, so when I saw that Mantic was launching another Kickstarter for Deadzone: Infestation I could only shake my head in sadness as I knew I had to pass it by. Don’t get me wrong: I love Mantic Kickstarters. Well, in theory anyway, since last I checked (and I haven’t checked recently) the expected shipment date for the Dungeon Saga Kickstarter isn’t until August.
That is the main reason I’m skipping this Kickstarter; I haven’t receive the last one. So, theoretically I understand that this Deadzone: Infestation kickstarter won’t arrive until I’ve already had my Dungeon Saga stuff for months and months. When I buy a game I’m committing to painting and playing with it. This means between Dungeon Saga and the Heavy Gear Kickstarter I’m already committed to two games which I can’t even start.
So, that’s me out. Now, to compound my pain let’s look at what I’ll be missing out on.
Hard Plastic Miniatures
While I don’t feel I can accurately judge how good Mantic’s restic can be I’ve certainly seen it be bad. I think the problems that I experienced were related to how quickly Mantic needed to produce miniatures to fulfill their Kickstarter. Although I didn’t participate in the original Deadzone Kickstarter I expect that the miniatures I received were produced at the same time. Could current miniatures, not produced during a Kickstarter crunch, look better? I’m sure they do.
All of this is moot for Deadzone: Infestation since the miniatures are being produced in hard plastic. I grew up on Games Workshop and consider hard plastic to be my preferred medium for miniatures. It should also allow Mantic to meet their production requirements for the Kickstarter fulfillment without the quality problems I believe they struggled with during the first Deadzone Kickstarter. Casting hard plastic is a very automated process which is more consistent than spin casting or drop casting.
I mentioned that I grew up Games Workshop. This is true but I never actually painted any armies for or played their main games. I struggle to finish my projects now, which is why I don’t want another, but when I just got into the hobby I was even worse. However, if I ever did paint an army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles it would have been Skaven. I like anthopomorphic mice for some reason. I love Mouseguard and The Secret of Nym, I never read or watched the Redwall series but I know the name because it features mice heroes.
As much as I think the Rebs are the best faction in the history of Sci-Fi wargaming, what with their racial diversity, if I had already painted up a Rebs faction the next faction I would want to paint would be the Veer-myn. The miniatures look fun to paint and I would love to run a swarm of rat-things across the Deadzone table.
One of my favorite parts of Deadzone was the rules. It was fast and easy but was elegant enough to allow tactics and provide players with decisions. Do I group behind cover and risk being supressed or do I spread out and make myself open to being killed? Practically I found the rules difficult to reference. Things that had made sense and stuck in my head during my first reading were impossible to find during the heat of battle. For example, on my first game I remembered something about the Plague being able to change their aggression levels but I could not find a rule for it when I looked at their section. It turns out it was in a sidebar in the rules for aggression. I could see why it was there but I was looking for a faction specific rule and thus couldn’t find it.“The new Rulebook will be streamlined and reordered to make getting started simple, whilst incorporating the abilities and skills from the original expansion for easy reference.” —Quote from Mantic Deadzone: Infestation Kickstarter
Similarily game setup feels more difficult than it needs to be. I feel like I needed a checklist to remember how many command cards we get and how to choose missions. I know; there are cheat sheets and player guides available from a variety of sources online. I’ve looked at them but they don’t cover setup in enough detail. Also, relying on the community to fix issues with your rule book is not the way to go.
With Deadzone: Infestation Mantic is re-writing the rules for clarity. I’m sure I could feel a little anxious that my current rulebook will be rendered obsolete but from the description it doesn’t sound like this is a new edition of the rules. I still may want to pick it up for the revised campaign system. Still, I’m only going to be playing Deadzone with my friends, who are using my stuff, so my copy of the rules is the only version as far as they’re concerned.
As much as I was pleasantly surprised by the Deadzone rules once I received the game it was actually the scenery I was most looking forward to. It’s always possible to find a different set of rules if they don’t suit so it is the miniatures and terrain which can make or break a game like this. The original Deadzone scenery was great and I’d still love to get myself another set of it. Deadzone: Infestation has a new set of scenery in the same modular style.
After the original release of Deadzone Mantic did release additional sets of scenery including ruined and fortified pieces. These were cool, and if I had more money or fewer hobbies I would definitely get them. Good or bad they were a very close match, aesthetically, to the original Deadzone scenery. Good, because they would look like they belonged together on the battlefield; bad, because if you didn’t like that style you were out of luck. The new Infestation terrain looks different while still sharing the same modular design. I would describe the look as less bulky with more inscribed detail. To me this suits the industrial look of the game and contrasts well with the colonial utilitarian feel of the original.
There are also new styles of pieces to add further variation to the battlefield, including new quarter panels, large accessory pipes and fans with separate blades. Most likely I’ll be looking to pick up a set after the Kickstarter, although you get so much more with the Kickstarter that I really wish I could back the project.
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