June 27, 2014 by crew
As the Wave 2 release of Deadzone looms one question permeates the game-o-sphere; is Deadzone expanding too fast? Will Mantic just run out of ideas?
Of course we want more as gamers. We always demand new minis, new fluff, new everything but is this what would be best for the long term growth and prosperity of Deadzone? Could we be facing a burn out? In less than a year we could have 3 books, 6 factions with a booster for each, a whole range of terrain and lots of solo figures. What can we now hope for in the future? Will Mantic now just sit on their laurels and ignore Deadzone until after they cycle through all their other games? We will examine these questions in depth and see if Deadzone is here for the long run.
New VS. Reliable
Early this year, when Deadzone was released, it was the new kid on the block in wargames. As time goes by every game falls off and succumbs to the cult of the new. This is especially true in the age of the Kickstarter.
Kickstarter was not only responsible for the huge Wave 1 release of Deadzone but also the new, shiny models that are trying to come up and be the next hot thing. With the recent rash of failed Kickstarters in the same genre as Deadzone the bubble of “new new new” seems to have burst a little.
This is great news for Deadzone. If people don’t want new game systems to play maybe they are just looking for a solid, reliable system that they can constantly buy new minis for. This is GW’s bread and butter (or it was until the recent, early, new rules release which might be indicating a shift in their philosophy but this is neither here nor there). Deadzone has a solid chance to be the Sci-Fi Skirmish system of choice especially with Jake Thorton’s amazing rules.
The rules are what makes the game fun. With the upcoming Wave 2 addition of Solo play (which allows by default co-op play), zombie rules and multi-mat rules (which makes sense to sell more terrain) the Deadzone rules will only be getting stronger. Also Deadzone is a very flexible game. You can have strict tournament play as well as casual fun. Personally we don’t get bogged down with every little rule. We let the game breathe and play out for the most enjoyable experience, but to each their own.
Mantic, as a company, tends to expand their games fast and furious and yet seems to keep supporting them over time too. I doubt Deadzone will be any different and if their examples of DreadBall and Kings of War are any indication we can see a lot more coming even after Wave 2 hits.
No Lack Of Choice
Even with just two waves of Deadzone there is already a huge range of scope in the game. Six different factions with many different squad lists makes for a lot of choice. Of course the initial waves focused on the typical factions; Evil Human Empire, Space Elf, Space Dwarves, Rebels, Space Orcs and Mutants. Even within these stereotypes you do get a feel for a wider range of possibilities.
Wave 2 introduces a whole different type of unit called Striders, which are big combat mechs. How will this large machines effect the small scale, skirmish game? We don’t even know the point costs for them yet or their stats.
There are a few vehicles already in the game too. The Marauders have an artillery piece and the Forge Fathers and Asterians have some other vehicles but this seems to be just the beginning.
Was all this too much for just the game’s first year? Only time will tell but what this huge amount of choice offered for factions does allow a wide variety of opponents in the game and you can really never have too much choice.
Lack Of Fluff?
Another complaint hurled at Mantic concerning Deadzone is the lack of background for the setting. There is a bit of fluff in the Nexus Psi book and a short story compilation called the Containment Protocols. More is also promised in the Contagion and Incursion supplements in Wave 2, which introduces the Forge Father and Asterians, as well as Zombies into the system.
Once again a (probably unfair) comparison can be drawn to Warhammer 40K. That system is dripping with fluff (almost to its own detriment since it is so hard to follow it all). This is want a lot of people want from Deadzone. We at Deadzone the Podcast personally like to make our own stuff up but others like to have more flesh on the bones so to speak.
The Containment Protocols ebook was a nice first step but may have focused too much on the planet of Nexus Psi (where the Deadzone Campaign of the same name takes place) and not enough on the world at large. As Deadzone is a shared universe with Warpath and DreadBall maybe Mantic could come out with world guides detailing the universe but not affiliated to just one game. Now that would bring the games together and expand both the universe and the player base for each game. Would it not be cool to read about a world’s background and indigenous life, its corporations and DreadBall teams and also have chapters about what might happen if a Plague outbreak happened there?
What Could Be In The Future?
All in all Deadzone has a literal universe worth of growth in front of it. Mantic hasn’t been shy about expanding the races in their other games either and any could end up being a faction in Deadzone. There are groups such as the Veer-myn and Corporation from Warpath that haven’t even got a faction yet. Let alone the fact that every Corporation could be a different faction!
Then there are the races from DreadBall. The Z’zor and Nameless are begging for factions. Also the other races from DreadBall, who are currently grouped in with the Rebs, could be expanded out. That’s not even looking at the huge influx of races from DreadBall Xtreme!
The Dreadball Xtreme Kickstarter was just one new team after another, most of which consisted of whole new races. Mechanites are the faction we most want especially as a new type of enemy that could be played against in co-op play. Then there are the Crystallans, Sphyr, Koris, Tsudochan and Ada-Lorena races. Each looks so interesting and original. This is where Deadzone can break away from the stereotypical races and look at whole new, fresh ideas.
Also fans have already started making their own factions and stats up. Personally we are working on some ways to make a universal squad builder so you could do WYSIWYG weapon and ability combos for new troops. Listen for more information on upcoming Deadzone the Podcast shows. The best games are expanded upon even faster than the company making them can keep up. With Mantic this is a challenge but we’re already seeing it happen!
So in conclusion we love Deadzone not just for the cool miniatures and great terrain. We play Deadzone because it is fun! Every game allows for epic moments where some character survives against all odds or a character makes a sprint for the win. It doesn’t matter if you use Mantic’s models, Infinity’s or Sedition Wars’, get a hold of the rules and play. Mark off a 2’x2’ board with 3” squares and grab some terrain from anywhere and get some games in. You won’t be disappointed.