lördag 18 februari 2012

Project Pandora -- the shiny new Oh Shiny!

I have been eyeing Mantic Games' exploits for some time now. They are an interesting company, having set out to compete with GW on their own grounds it seems. They started with dirty-cheap but nice plastic Elves and Undead which looks suitably different but compatible enough for Warhammer Fantasy players to bulk out their GW armies.

A Mantic Dwarf.
In a smart move they released Abyssal Dwarves, evil dwarves or chaos dwarves if you like. Since GW haven't featured them for some odd ten years, and the last official Chaos Dwarves were butt ugly Mantic appealed to those Chaos Dwarf players that have longed for a return of their beloved faction. Mantic have also released Dark elves, Dwarves and Orcs and apparently their prices are very competetive, especially if you buy the big army deals. Unfortuneately I didn't like the look of their dwarves, otherwise I would have been sorely tempted to add even more plastic to the so-called lead mountain (tin- resin- and plastic mounds more like). I realize Mantic wanted (and needed) them to be different from GW dwarves, but the design of their armour just doesn't float my boat. Their berserkers which doesn't wear any armour are just fine though.

Mantic then thought about releasing their own rules and holding their own games days, and got Allessio Cavatore (of ex-GW fame) to write a mass-combat fantasy rule set for them, called Kings of War. It has some interesting design features and shows that it's not necessary to use hundreds of pages and dozens of army books to produce a good rule set. They are available to download for free in case you are interested in checking them out.

They also comissioned Jake Thornton (also ex-GW) to make a dungeon skirmish strategy game which used the same models. Dwarf Kings Hold: Dead Rising features Dwarves vs. Skeletons and some very nice dungeon floor tiles. I have not played it but it has been described as Fantasy Space Hulk, which in my book has to be good. So far, only the fact that I don't like the basic dwarves has put me off buying it. It has spawned to expansions, DKH: Green Menace which is a free-standing game with orcs and elves , and DKH: Ancient Grudge, which features some new tiles and rules for mixing the races from the other two games, but no new figures.

A Mantic Forge-Father
Now, Mantic has moved into Sci-Fi with Warpath, which really is their answer to Warhammer 40k. It features "Forgefathers" -- dwarves in space and a lure for all those who remember Squats in 40k. They have some humans -- The corporation -- which could stand in for Imperial Guard, and orcs of course. Mantic have recieved som flak for just re-sculpting their fantasy orcs, but I don't really mind. Again, the figures are nice, but again the design for the dwarves are not my cup of tea. Maybe it's the paint jobs, or maybe the figures are better looking in the flesh. I feel maybe I should give the figures a chance, but I already have more than a hundred Imperial Guard from GW, and at least as many orks (maybe more, I don't really know). If I was starting a new army I definitely would try out the Mantic figures though.

But, lo and behold, Mantic has announced that Jake Thornton has written a sci/fi-version of Dwarf Kings Hold, entitled Project Pandora. The first game, Project Pandora: Grim Cargo will feature 10 Corporation models and 10 mysterious "eight race" figures.
"Project Pandora: Grim Cargo is sci-fi board game pitting the Corporation against the mysterious 8th Race, who have boarded a Corporation Starship in attempt to steal its precious cargo – a cargo which the Corporation will do everything in it’s power to keep hold of."
On their blogg Mantic revealed two sculpts of the new models:

It's a... rat? With funky looking steam-punky armour and breathing apparatus.

It's Space Skaven! Weeee!!! I like that ray-gun too.
Now, 40k fans have long pined for a space version of the Skaven. When Tau came out there were rumours about the new race being skaven, but GW obviously don't want rats in space. Now Mantic has picked up the dropped ball and delivers what the fans want.

So let me re-cap. DKH was a Space Hulk-esque fantasy game. Not a dungeon crawl but a two-player strategic combat game in confined areas. Now Mantic is doing a DKH sci/fi version with Space Skaven? I am sooo getting this one. It's already available to pre-order from Mantic too! I wonder what the going rate for kidneys are?

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Wayland games

Wayland Games