Danny organized a series of games at The Sentry Box today where Mike, Danny, Greg and myself played our first games of the new Deadzone second edition rules. I previously played the first edition of the game and while it had some aspects that I liked, the game never really clicked for me and it was put back into its box never to been seen again.

When the second edition came to Kickstarter I wasn’t all that interested. There wasn’t enough detail available about the changes to the rules and while there was talk about hard plastic Enforcer miniatures I didn’t want to risk having to assemble and clean “restic” miniatures again. The Enforcer and Plague figures from the v1.0 Starter were not as bad as some of the Mantic soft plastic minis I have had but I have grown accustomed to hard styrene now. So when Dan started talking about playing the new version I was interested but a bit hesitant.

I took to the internet and watched a few battle reports as well as some of the terrain and gameplay videos on the Beasts of War website. I liked quite a lot of what I saw and so I took some of my Xmas money and picked up the new v2.0 starter set. I also purchased a large set of Marauder figures from Mike who had already assembled and primed them so they were ready to go. After assembling some terrain today I took down my Marauder miniatures and we played some games with the new rules.

I played two games today with the same force.

  • Commando Captain
  • 3 x Commandos with Rifle
  • Goblin Sniper
  • Commando Specialist with Flamer

The first game was against Greg with his Rebel force. It was, sadly, a fairly quick game as I was able to blast away his Teraton with my Goblin Sniper (exploding 8s plus AP1 made short work of him) and the board was sparse in terms of terrain which lead to my weight of numbers having quite the impact. I pinned Greg’s remaining characters into a corner and then took all the VP locations to close out the game quite quickly.

The second game was against Mike’s Forge Fathers. He had several Bokkur figures and a Forge Father in heavy armour. We also added some more terrain and a lot more scatter terrain to break the fire lanes up and allow for more movement. The game was a lot more interesting and Mike’s armoured Forge Father was a total PITA as I had nothing to stop him after losing my Sniper. The game required a lot more careful thinking and items like Frag Grenades and the rules for Pinning, Falling and hitting walls all coming into play. I had to resort to Pinning to keep the Huscarl from just wading through my troops. I also managed to use Frag Grenades to keep one of Mike’s Bokkur off of a VP location. I managed to pull off a victory in the second game but that had more to do with the low number of troops that Mike had. Once I took out a few of his Bokkur minis I was able to swamp the VP locations again.

The new version of Deadzone is much improved over the first iteration of the game and it is really quite a lot more fun. It plays more quickly and there is a lot less interruption in the flow of the game as well. It still uses d8s which I love and it also retains the alternating activations of the original. The card system from the original is gone and is replaced by command dice that are much simpler to use. I found that the cards provided a lot of options but it took time to go through those options and then your opponent also took time to examine their cards. This takes away from the flow of the game.

We were only playing 100 point games so the higher value of the Rebel and Forge Father figures was a bit of an impediment in both games as I had a slight advantage with the additional activations. I also never had initiative in either games so that did balance out slightly. In larger games the appearance of more better quality troops will show in how the games play.

I have the plastic Forge Father figures from the starter that I will be building and I will also convert a few of the Marauder minis to allow for WYSIWYG specialist models. I also picked up a large set of Deadzone terrain that I was/am planning on using for 30K but will also be building to use for Deadzone. I had an immense amount of fun putting the terrain together and so am looking forward to building some more. The game certainly requires a lot more scatter terrain than I had originally thought so I will be building more of that as well.

Overall version 2.0 of Deadzone is a much improved game and I suspect that our group will be playing a lot more of it.