Although more attention is probably on Mantic’s latest Kickstarter venture: Dungeon Saga, it’s actually last years game, Deadzone which I finally got around to playing last night. As you can tell from the last few posts,tweets, snippets the Deadzone starter set and initial four factions have been focus of my attention the past several weeks in order to get some actual Monday Night Gaming going again. This was very much a shake down session with Kev to learn the mechanics and get a feel for the game, so we started simple.
The strike teams consisted of around 30 points which equated to three Enforcers (Trooper, Assault and Heavy Weapon) and five Marauders (3 x Commandos, Sniper, Pyro). We chose sides randomly which put the Enforcers under my control and set up the field of play. There is a reasonable element of randomness to how the zone is set up with blind loot items and objective markers, but as the board is only 2′ x 2′ you can be pretty certain it nearly always ends up a pretty even spread. The mission cards however I love as not only is your primary mission a secret from your opponent, it’s also drawn blind, albeit with a free single mulligan. A minimum of 10 Victory points need to be accumulated before you can declare your mission a success (assuming of course that you have actually achieved the objective) so it drives the game nicely along and avoids simple shooting matches across the arena.
If you have played Mantic’s other Kickstarter: Dreadball, a lot of the game mechanics are going to feel comfortably familiar such as the opposition roll 3 dice mechanics and the modifiers increasing or decreasing the dice pool. To give a wider stat spread D8 are used instead of D6. Battle cards (free or special actions) add an extra tactical element as well as control the game end point if neither side has managed to achieve victory by the time the deck is exhausted. Again, similar to Dreadball’s action cards.
Even though this was a small game with a restricted force, it didn’t take long to get to grips with it and produced more than its fair share of entertaining outcomes. Kev’s mission (unbeknown to me) was to secure and hold objective ‘Zulu’ which turned out to be the one closest to my starting zone, which neither of us knew at the start. He made a dash with the Pyro to secure it early on whilst one of the Commandos provided supporting fire from the top of the cooling tower. There was a smoke grenade item on the tower, which his Commando revealed and it would have been a sound plan…
Except I booby-trapped the grenade and the resulting blast blew his Commando out of the tower and down two stories to the street below. He took a wound from the fall, but his armour saved him from the worst of it. Lying prone and pinned my Heavy Trooper ‘blazed away’ at the square and managed to inflict absolutely no damage at all. My Assault Enforcer ended that by stepping around the corner and finishing him with a pistol shot. First VP to the Enforcers. They grabbed two items; ammo and med pack next turn as Kev’s Sniper climbed the heat exchanger unit to get a better line of sight. My Rifle Trooper clambered onto the Hab roof but took a wound for his trouble from the Goblin. Return fire from the Enforcer turned the unfortunate Goblin into a red mist however with some lucky ‘shoot’ dice rolls, the Goblin having shrugged off a pinning state change last turn when Kev played Steadfast on him.
Two Marauders were down and things didn’t get any better for the Orx strike team as the second Commando climbed the tower and lined up on the wounded Trooper. He survived the volley, thanks to his armour value ‘2’ and dropped back down to the street below revealing a frag grenade under the walkway. This was lobbed up and into the tower blasting the Commando (again!) out of the tower into the street. This one didn’t survive the blast and ensuing fall unfortunately landing in the square with the oddly appropriate graphic (It honestly randomly panned out that way making it even funnier!)
With all bar one Commando down the Enforcers looked to focus on the dangerous Pyro sitting on objective ‘zulu’. Kev’s remaining Commando at ‘Yankee’ tried to coax the Enforcers into the open with repeated volleys and managed to distract the Assault Trooper for two rounds effectively taking him out of the fight. I flanked around with my trooper and had the Heavy Weapon blaze away first of all at the Pyro forcing him from alert down all the way into suppressed. The Trooper then moved in for the kill at melee, but the prone Pyro was having none of it and put up a heavy fight forcing the Enforcer into a survive test instead. Kev valiantly opted to Fight instead of Get Mean holding the Trooper off yet again. In the end though the Assault Enforcer managed to finally shake of the distraction from the last Commando and dove through the window into the fight finishing the Marauder with his wrist blade.
The game was effectively over for Kev at this stage as I had taken away his mission objective from him by securing Zulu and was only two VP away from declaring my own mission a success, which was to basically keep over half my force alive.
That was it for our first dabble into Deadzone and I have to say for such a simple and uncomplicated starting force it still ended up a decent amount of fun and laughs, just what you want from this style of skirmish game. We will swap sides and repeat next week with a different mission to fully bed the rules into memory and after that I shall start rolling out the ‘Plague’ and reinforcing up the Strike Teams with more units, a leader and some specialists. Selection wise I have a good supply of Plague, Marauders and Enforcers painted and ready for action with the Rebels already well under way on the workbench. More varied terrain and scatter is on the agenda along with a set of proper resin item crates to replace the card tokens coming up soon.
Oh, and they weren’t kidding about line of sight. You very quickly learn that even the big open nature of movement being between from ‘cube’ to ‘cube’ placing the miniature tactically within that area is important. In that respect Deadzone is actually a pretty good training ground for a game like Infinity. Anyway, that’s enough beating up Marauders for one week. Until next time.