torsdag 17 november 2016

Mantic actually delivers!

Well, I suppose I owe Mantic Games an apology, as I got a package from them recently.

I got stuff, I got stuff!!!
But first a little digression.

I backed their The Walking Dead: All Out War kickstarter this spring. Right after backing I received the stuff from their Deadzone 2 kickstarter from last year and was very disappointed. My main critique against Mantic's kickstarters have always been two-fold.

First: the miniatures do look nice, but you often see just computer renders in their kickstarters, making it very hard to judge the actual quality. Mantic keeps waffling about "Restic" and some revolutionary new hard plastic, but what it really is is just PVC, a somewhat softer plastic than the polystyren usually used in plastic kits.

Second: Mantic is good at describing all the stuff you get in your pledge, but very bad at describing what is needed for playing the game and the included scenarios. They also don't tell you exactly what is supposed to be in the retail version of the game so the backers can't really judge the value of their pledges Case in point: With Deadzone 2 100 dollars would give you the game with Vermin (space rats), two squads of human scouts, some terrain, and access to a "force booster" consisting of additional figures, as well as various stretch goals unlocked along the way. The force booster consisted of figures from the first edition of Deadzone and could be chosen from all of the factions, not only the first two. However, when I asked around I learned that the force boosters were not really enough to play a third faction. Furthermore a late stretch goal that was unlocked were a sprue of five Forge Fathers (space dwarves in heavy armour).
The Veer-myn. Or vermin. Get it?
Sure, all that stuff was very shiny and the Veer-myn looked cool, and I would get a ton of figures. But it felt lopsided, either I got twenty humans and some thirty-odd space rats with lots of big monsters, a brood mother and a big cannon, plus five dwarves, or I got a lot of humans but not so many rats... or... or I just caved in as everyone else seemed to be doing and bought a lot of extra figures. And there were still no word on how many figures per side would give a good game. Too few and it would be over fast, too many and the game would drag on forever and potentially be unbalanced. Then it dawned on me that the kickstarter wasn't funding for the new game, it was a fire sale of all the old figures along with a pre-order of the new game that was already in production.
The retail edition of Deadzone 2 features 10 humans and 10 space dwarfs. No Veer-myn in sight!!!

So I bailed and just ordered some of the new terrain for 40 bucks. Which brings me to my third point:

Mantic's kickstarters are so unstructured that nobody has a fucking clue what they are doing, not even Mantic themselves. There's always some kerfuffle with missing pieces, pledge levels that turn out to contain other stuff than promised or just plain mix-ups. And these are not because of some poor chinese factory worker not doing his job or some dock worker dropping boxes into the sea. No, this s pure and simple Mantic not having a clue. With Deadzone 2 the description of the terrain pledges included half bits of pipe lines. If you counted them they were an odd number (including half t- and x-sections) and when asked about it Mantic stated that the graphic were wrong and of course would the pipes be delivered with an even number of pieces. Guess what was delivered? Yep, what was in the graphic. The sprues were obviously meant to be shipped in pairs but somewhere along the line that information got lost (or just scrapped for monetary reasons) and only a single sprue was included in the pledges. Mantic offered to sell extra sprues "at kickstarter cost" but of course charging extra postage for that.
What was included in the kickstarter. Each piece is only a half pipe. Mantic now sells this for 6 quid, or two for a tenner.
With the Walking Dead it's the same thing. Mantic had two pledge levels to keep things simple. One called "March to War" included the retail version of the game and some stretch goals. (See, Mantic is learning, they actually told people what would be in the retail version.) Then they had the "Something to Fear" which would include a limited edition of the game with lots more stuff, along with two expansions and some stretch goals for those expansions as well. However the number of stretch goals became so long that Mantic moved the description of the lower pledge level to their blog instead (Kickstarter limits the number of characters you can use) -- after which Mantic forgot to update that description when new stretch goals were reached. And you guessed it, when the whole thing shipped the unupdated version was used. Granted, Mantic did discover this themselves but not after all the pledges were sent out, and this time they promised to send out the missing stuff as soon as possible.

The stretch goals were just dumped into another box along with some foam. They survived though.
You get twelve zombies and six survivors in the base game, cards for the survivors and equipment, along with card templates and terrain markers and a playmat. The game pitches two bands of survivors foraging for loot against eachother, with the zombies as walking terrain essentially.

The stretch goals added plastic terrain like crashed cars, barricades and loot markers, more zombies and more survivors, cards for the survivors and more equipment, but also cards for "veteran" versions of four of the survivors. The game is based on the comic book and the veteran cards represent the survivors later in the series. I pledged because I think zombie games are fun and the terrain would also work with Mars Attacks (and vice versa) and if the game is shit I can use everything for All Things Zombie, which I bought way back in 2010 but never got around doing anything with...

The figures are excellently sculpted and reasonably well detailed. But they are PVC which doesn't hold detail as good as polystyren. It's also harder to clean up as you can't scrape away the mold lines. Luckily these figures didn't have many. The figures are all preassembled, even those that were obviously cast in multiple parts.

Four of the zombies blockpainted. The colours are a bit off, the skintone shouldn't be that yellow.
I decided right away to keep things simple. This is a board game after all. I would block paint everything and then dip into army painter. The survivors would then maybe get some extra detail and the zombies some blood and gore.

The "Ronnie Walker" depicting Mantic's CEO as a zombie on the left. Middle is Derek, a survivor. Random geezer last.
The figures above were all basecoated with GW Khemri Brown and then I blocked in skin and clothes. I kept it simple used the same colours on most of them. Next batch will get other colours on them. And then it was time for the dip.
Dipped and matt varnished. The dip works wonders in bringing out detail even on block painted figures.

Didn't realise the middle woman had a hospital gown, or I would have painted it white instead.

Ronnie looks a bit strange because he's supposed to have a beard which I missed. Have to fill it in later.

I like the zombie with the autopsy scars. Derek looks badass.
 While I was waiting for the dip to dry (it takes 24 hours) I received another package.

The missing stretch goals; Negan (with his bat Lucille), another walker and veteran character cards.
Well played, Mantic, well played. I owe you an apology. Maybe you are learning after all...

9 kommentarer:

  1. Mine has not arrived yet but that is due to Postnord being crap so no fault of Mantics.
    Hopefully, next week there will be a post on my blog showing the stuff in the Something to Fear pledge.

    1. I really look forward to seeing your game on our gaming table, Thomas. Fully painted, off course...?

    2. Of course, that goes without saying. Well, if the whole winter turns out to be -30 and blizzard, that could actually happen.

    3. Well, in that weather the postal service will fail to deliver it again...

  2. They look good, one of my mates went with it, wonder when it will see the light of day?


  3. If he's in the UK it should have arrived already. In other parts of the world I believe they are on their way.

  4. The block color and dip thing really worked out well here.

    The Mantic terrain is always what interests me, but aside from kickstarters, it is a bit expensive.

  5. Nice rant and review Leif. Those painted figs look great mate.


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