Isn’t it a bit draughty in here?

As you are probably aware, Mantic games are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to produce a new skirmish boardgame – Deadzone.

Their Kickstarter page has been undergoing a big facelift in the last few days, showing off all the latest updates, including some renders of potential battlefields you can make with the new scenery that they are providing.

2-BattleZones-50Now, these layouts are all very nice as far as they go, but I have a concern – do they fit the ‘fluff’ of the game?

As far as I understand it, Deadzone takes place on the frontiers of Corporation space. These are outpost worlds, small colonies. As such, when people first arrived to colonize the worlds, I would expect them to bring ‘flat-pack’ habitation with them. The sort of thing that was represented in the first pictures we saw of the buildings, in fact.

358fb10c0311c42fdf4cdd4085e6f61c_largeHowever, there is a problem with this layout – it uses most (if not all) of the scenery provided in the ‘standard’ box of Deadzone, but doesn’t come anywhere close to even half filling a 2′ x 2′ board, which has lead to lots of questions about just how much scenery you will need in order to create the sort of game that Mantic are envisaging.

4-BattleZones-100Hence the new renders, which should various sized boards being filled with scenery.

However, I have a real problem with these table layouts.


OK, let me ask you a couple of questions regarding them.

1) Do you see a building anywhere where you could either live, or work.

2) If you were a town planner, are these layouts in any way sensible? Is this how you would organise your settlement?

Just because it’s sci-fi, doesn’t mean to say that any sort of common sense or design should just be thrown out of the window. These layouts have lots of places to hide, line of sight is broken up everywhere and there are several high places from which to shoot. To me, these do not say ‘frontier colony’, but rather they scream one simple thing: gaming arena.

Where have we seen this before? Ah yes…


Now, this type of layout for  Necromunda at least fitted the ‘Fluff’ of the game – I don’t think that the latest Deadzone layouts do.

When I picture the type of terrian Deadzone is fought over, I see a sci-fi frontier town – much in the mould of the old Wild West towns, only built with plasteel rather than wood. Or maybe something like “Hadley’s Hope” from Aliens. I think the original pictures we saw of Deadzone captured this. However, I think they also highlighted a flaw in the vision – you could build sensible buildings with the tiles supplied on the building sprues, but then you couldn’t fill the table with scenery, as was originally intended – not without needing to spend a lot more money on scenery. Hence why we now see these new renders.

Mantic’s new visions of frontier towns may be great to fight over, but I wouldn’t want to live there…

10 Comments on Isn’t it a bit draughty in here?

  1. moocifer // May 23, 2013 at 09:57 // Reply

    If I were interested in Deadzone, and had the money, I’d personally ditch Mantic’s terrain/battlefields and opt for Spartan Scenics (which you highlighted yesterday).

  2. I think they may have modeled it on Basingstoke and bits of Swindon thrown in to confuse 🙂

  3. Well, let’s see: So far Mantic has ‘Not Warhammer’, ‘Not 40k’, and ‘Not Blood Bowl’ in their catalog, so ‘Not Necromunda’ seems about par for the course…what’s next, I wonder: ‘Not Dark Future’ maybe? Wait, I’d actually pay money for that…

    • So far GW have done “not LotR” (and now paying to extra to do the real stuff), not Imperial commander (granted, Rogue trader was done by the same guys)…
      Dark Future? Car Wars?

      GW might call themselves the hobby (as does BF btw), but they sure aren’t the hobby standard

    • Well, they just announce their “Not All Quiet On The martian Front”, with their “Mars Attacks” announcement last week. So there ya go.

      • Do you really think that Mantic just came up with that because of Martian Front? Jake Thornton had been hinting about a secret project for quite a while already…
        And blame the company behind Mars Attacks for the bad timing, but it was Topps (?) that approached Mantic to make this game for them…

      • Ludo: I don’t think Mantic is copying AQotMF. I don’t think they are copying all the GW properties, either. But the perception is there, and they are not making it any better with their last few releases. It’s becoming a thing – “Mantic is a copycat”.

        I like Mantic. I’ve got Dreadball, and I’m a supporter of the Deadzone Kickstarter. But Dreadball, on the surface, seems a lot like Blood Ball (even if it plays totally differently) and Deadzone certainly seems a lot like Necromunda. Now they announce Mars Attacks just a few weeks after the very public AQotMF Kickstarter.

        I know it’s not a copy, but the timing could have been better.

  4. these are just a few examples what you can do with the scenery, but you could always use your own imagination (or the Salute board) to build a more realistic battlefield…

  5. Michael Blair // May 24, 2013 at 18:44 // Reply

    For wargaming buildings you either make them solid or at least sealed or you leave them open for more ‘play value’ which in a skirmish game matters. Buildings you cannot place figures in are all very well for a big battle game but in a skirmish game you want them to be different and usable. There is reason almost all of the buildings you see in 40K related pictures are ruined and that is so you can place figures in them (and it is not even a skirmish game). It is realism versus playability and this time reality gets a good shoeing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: