mantic games

Mantic Games is poised to expand the universe of the The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game with the new Here’s Negan! expansion with a scheduled release in November of 2018.

Reputation is everything as you experience the untold story of how Negan and the Saviors cleared the Sanctuary.

Here’s Negan is a will be a co-operative expansion to the board game with a competitive element for up to five players. Each of the 12 included scenarios will help tell the story of how Negan originally cleared the ‘Sanctuary’ and become the tyrannical leader of the group known as the Saviors.

Mantic Games CEO Ronnie Renton pointed to the success of the original game when announcing plans to release this follow up expansion.

The Walking Dead: All Out War Miniatures Game is our most successful retail product ever and we’re delighted to be working with Skybound Entertainment to explore this untold chapter of Negan’s history. Here’s Negan is a totally unique game that sees players working together but also gives them the opportunity to screw over their teammates to impress Negan. It’s co-operative and competitive so you’ll need to watch your back!

In the new expansion, each player will take on there persona of one of Negan’s lieutenants, either Sherry, Dwight, Laura, John or Tara. In order to win Negan’s favor the players must clear the Sanctuary of all of the threats, including some that might not be Walkers. Successful players will impress Negan and reap rewards. Those who fail will face the wrath of Lucille.

In addition to the scenarios and rules, the expansion will come with:

  • 19 detailed, pre-assembled plastic miniatures
  • 16 double-sided game tiles
  • All the dice and tokens required to play.

The Walking Dead: All Out War

Published in 2016, The Walking Dead: All Out War base game was a tactical head-to-head miniatures board game set in the Georgia countryside and is based on The Walking Dead comic series. Groups will be pitted against each other in a fight for both supplies and survival as walkers roam the countryside. There’s nothing in the game that might not want you dead.

Playable 2 player or solo, each player will control a group of survivors made up of the characters from The Walking Dead storyline, such as Rick, Shane, Michonne and more. Each upgradeable survivor is represented by a miniature as well as a character card. Using a measuring stick survivors will wander the board attempting to sneak up on other survivors, raid camps, and get supplies. A game controlled AI system will send walkers your way whether you are playing against another player or solo.

The original base game includes campaign rules as well as guidelines to build your own survivor characters.

The original game was nominated for the 2018 Origins award for best miniatures game.

Hellboy: The Board Game has made it’s presence known on Kickstarter by raising 4 times the project’s goal on it’s first day. It’s already hit the million Dollar mark with 26 days to go when the project ends on May 25th, 2018. Hellboy: The Board Game is published by Mantic Games and designed by James M. Hewitt (known for DreadBall, Blood Bowl 2016, Necromunda: Underhive, and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower) and features artwork by Mike Mignola.

Hellboy is a fictional super-hero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola and published by Dark Horse Comics. He’s a half-demon who works for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) that battles Nazis, witches, Lovecraftian horrors, and other dark forces. He started off in comic books, starred in 2 movies, and will now appear in his first board game.

Inspired by the legendary tales of horror, myth and folklore by Mike Mignola, Hellboy: The Board Game is a fully cooperative experience for 1 to 4 players. You become a member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (BPRD), ready to investigate occult threats that threaten our very existence. You will explore gothic locations, hunt down clues, discover artefacts, fight horrific creatures and face off against terrifying bosses. [source]

Players can take on the roles of BPRD investigators, each with their own special abilities, such as Hellboy, Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and Johann Kraus who they equip with items before each mission. Each mission in the core game begins with a BPRD case file which players read to discover clues about the potential enemies they may face in the mission. The BPRD agents gather clues and information, which they need to keep ahead of the Impending Doom track, or rush to find and defeat the final monster before they’ve gathered their full strength.

The project lists two expansions which will also be available at retail. The Conqueror Worm expansion adds new tiles, a new boss to defeat, and Nazi miniatures in addition to the Conqueror worm itself. The BPRD Archives expansion allows you to build your own, custom scenarios to tackle and includes 18 beast and monster miniatures.

Hellboy: The Board Game has a base pledge of 95 British Pounds (about $136) which includes the core game, extra miniatures from the stretch goals, the Conqueror Worm expansion, and the BPRD Archives expansion.

Estimated delivery is February 2019 though there is a caveat mentioned on the project page that shipping delays may occur resulting in backers receiving their shipments later than the retail stores. However, backers would benefit from a generous number of stretch rewards so this should be a worthwhile trade-off. You can view more details on the Kickstarter project page.

Kings of War is a tactical miniatures game and plays out much like you would expect, you each pick your armies according to points, and then try to destroy each other.  Battlefield Cards however seek to change this by adding in conditions, strategies, and objectives to the game.  At the start the person who won the initial roll off pulls a condition card, this will set the stage for the entire game by adding weather conditions or a varied setup.  From there you will place out objective markers that will work with the next set of cards, objectives.  Each player will pull two cards and each card will have a primary and secondary objectives that players will pick from.  These different objectives offer new and unique ways to get points like putting out a bounty on high cost units, or getting points for holding base objectives.  After selecting objectives you now get strategy cards equal to your army’s point value divided by 500 and rounded down, so a 1500 point army gets three cards, and so does a 1750 point army.  These strategy cards provide one time use benefits to give you the leg up in various situations.  Overall if you want to spice up your games of Kings of War, these cards are a good way to do it.  You can head over to the Mantic Blog to find out more information, and look for these at retailers soon.

The tactical miniatures community is still going strong, and with that we have updates a new releases in order to keep the game fresh and balanced.  First in line is a new supplement for the Kings of War game simply called the Clash of Kings Supplement.  This book is the result of the work that the rules committee does over the course of the year, making sure that no units emerge as overpowered, or are discarded because they are not usable or wroth while.  The list of units getting an update is lengthy so I won’t post it here, but this kind of tweaking for the game is what helps keep them alive and interesting for everyone.  Also included in the book will be a “conclusion to the Edge of the Abyss campaign, new units, new formations, and new and updated spells“.  So if you are a player of the game, be sure to check out Mantic’s blog post for the full list of units getting an update, as well as a link to pre-order the book.  Then keep an eye out for more updates from their blog as they preview the changes up to the release of the supplement.

Warhammer 40k has been going strong for over 20 years now, and they continue to change and update, which was especially evident in their latest 8th edition rulebook.  Games Workshop continues that trend with the latest supplement book, Codex: Adeptus Custodes, which updates and expands these elite units from the Golden Legion.  Not content with just putting out the Codex, they have also released four new units to be available to use with these new rules.  These units are going to be versatile with the ability to be equipped with various armor or vehicles, deadly with some big damage and even a double attack, and difficult to take down with high toughness and a good number of wounds.  You can read more about these new units and their stats on the Warhammer 40K Community post, and find these new models and books at your local Games Workshop retailer.

And finally we have CMON and their minis game, Dark Age, not slowing down one bit in the new year.  Dark Age is a d20 based miniatures game and touts the tag line, everything dies, and so is a fast and brutal game.  And like all the other games like these, CMON is continuing the game by adding a new Secondary Objectives Deck, as well as many new miniatures for the Skarrd and Dragyri factions.  Some of the highlights include Skarrd Decay Cult Faction Box which includes 8 new units, the Dragyri Air Caste or Shadow Caste Death’s Devices units, and the Dragyri Soul Wardens units.  So while the Skarrd and Dragyri factions get a lot of new figures, everyone gets something in the new secondary objectives deck, which adds new cards for all the factions to help tailor your deck to the faction instead of your fighting force.  All of these sets are available now so you can visit the CMON website to read the full release list, and then head to your local Dark Age retailer to pick them up.

Mantic Games have provided more details about their sci-fi, dungeon crawler, Star Saga across a series of articles on their website. Star Saga is set in a futuristic world with space travel, high adventure, various alien races, and advanced technology. The game centers around Mercenaries who take on missions but are stymied by the Nexus Player (a Dungeon Master if you will). The game supports 1 to 5 players which can be played solo, competitively or cooperatively. Single games can take 30 minutes while campaigns last much longer.

“The Galactic Co-Prosperity Sphere is the most technologically advanced civilisation in the history of mankind. When a powerful corporation starts stealing secrets, a team of the galaxy’s deadliest mercenaries is hired to retrieve them. Their target: a network of laboratories hidden deep beneath the surface of the planet Eiras. The reward is high, but so is the risk! If the elite guards weren’t enough, our heroes will also have to deal with the monstrous creations of Eiras’ twisted master…”

 

The following Mercenaries were revealed as playable characters:

  • Captain Erika Dulinsky – Militaristic character who excels in tactics and leadership.
  • Combat Utility Roboy B07153 ‘Curby’ – Flexible robot which can be adapted to fill a specific role in the team.
  • Wrath – Roguelike, assassin with mental stability problems which are solved by the blade of his sword.
  • Francesco ‘The Devil’ Selvaggio – Close combat and demolitions expert.
  • Alyse – Thief who is able to drain the life force of her victims to heal herself and her comrades.
  • Ogan Helkarre – Engineer who is able to craft weapons.

The Artificial Nexus was designed for solo play and consists of a deck of cards which are played during the “bad guy’s” turn. Actions targeting characters, which would usually be resolved by the Nexus Player, is resolved using symbols on the card matching the state of certain characters. eg. The Mercenary furthest from the start point. Minion actions are also determined using a Minion Activation Table for each one which needs to be activated.

The Nexus Player has many tactics available to them in order to defeat the Mercenaries. Understanding the timing of the deck is crucial. They need to plan ahead so that they can bait their opponents into traps and position their minions in tactical places. Picking the right targets based on the mission objectives is also key to victory.

Should the Mercenaries survive their missions they are rewarded with experience points (XP) which allow them to level up their skills and attributes. Missions get harder as the campaign progresses so it’s important to gain as much XP as possible. Mercenaries will end up very differently from each other at the end of the campaign due to the wide range of skills available to them.

The Core Set will contain everything you need to play the game including pre-assembled, detailed miniatures and 3D scenery. Star Saga is currently available in retail stores.

all-out-war

Mantic Games is looking to tap into the vast following of the Walking Dead series by bringing it to the tabletop, but you aren’t just fighting zombies this time.  In The Walking Dead – All Out War you will be surviving in the barren zombie wasteland that is Georgia, fighting off not only zombies, but other survivors too.  You will take on the persona of characters from the comic books with favorites like Rick, Shane, and Michonne being available to choose from.  More characters are already being planned for release over the coming months so if you end up enjoying the game, more content is already on the way.  The game can be played solo or head to head with your opponent playing an opposing band of survivors, working to take you out.  Look for this new miniatures game to hit stores this month, and look for the character packs to be released each month after.

Dreadball is a sci-fi american football game where hard hits are the norm and crazy things will show up on the field to do battle.  The original Dreadball was released in 2012 and since then it has had multiple teams added to the game and five seasons worth of rulebooks released, so it’s time for a reboot.  Dreadball 2.0 will have all the great gameplay you remember from the original, but streamlined and updated.  As said on the Kickstarter; “The new edition grew out of demand from the community. For existing players, DreadBall 2nd Edition is all about streamlining the rules, improving the components, supporting the community and getting it growing all over again.”  The rulebook will compile all the previous rulebooks into one edition, have information for all the existing teams, as well as updated rules for the ultimate game for 3-6 players.

Overall the game looks good and will come with enough figures to play right out of the box, no assembly required.  If this new edition sounds interesting to you then head on over to the Kickstarter page to pledge before it ends on August 7th.

The influence of Kickstarter on the board gaming hobby is immense, and it has been for years now. At any given time, the crowdfunding juggernaut is awash with gaming projects ranging from tiny card games to big bombastic miniatures-laden affairs, and everything in between. Whether it has helped or harmed our precious hobby is a matter of debate. There are certainly arguments that can be made for and against, but it’s no question that the gaming industry is forever changed by Kickstarter.

And that’s no surprise. After all, change is part of the Kickstarter package. It was born of a mission to help amateur creative and artistic projects find like-minded individuals willing to donate to a dream and turn it into a reality. The early days of Kickstarter were like a bazaar of insane and innovative expression served up to the masses for a modest investment. It was as inspiring and it was successful, and as we all know, success is a double-edged sword.

One of the first extremely successful Kick Starter board games

One of the first extremely successful Kick Starter board games

An Absolute Sense of Mission

Kickstarter is, and has always been, a for-profit organization. For each successfully funded project, 5% of the pledges end up in Kickstarter’s coffers. There’s nothing wrong with that intrinsically, but it does indicate an overriding motivation: get as many projects funded as possible. They do that through clever marketing, social media, promotions, and the website itself which does nothing but try to convince would-be backers to take the plunge.

They also have done it by abandoning their original intent. In the ancient times, Kickstarter required that projects be creative in nature and that they come from individuals that aren’t already successful. That’s a fairly slippery set of requirements, so to maintain that purity of intent, a cadre of community managers reviewed every proposed Kickstarter campaign to ensure that they aligned with the mission.

Over time, the slipperiness of Kickstarter’s project requirements opened the door for semi-professional and established organizations to peddle their wares on the site. In the board gaming world, this gave rise to CoolMiniOrNot’s Kickstarter dominance and Queen Games’ crowdfunding-first approach to developing and publishing new games. It’s the backbone of Stonemaier Games’ business model and the reason why Game Salute exists. In June 2014, Kickstarter opened the floodgates even wider by removing the community manager review requirement for project submissions. Short of raising funds for dangerous or illegal goods, anything is permitted on Kickstarter.

Why does this matter? With so many Goliaths walking through the crowdfunding playground, the ability for any Davids to surface among all that noise is next to impossible. Modern board game Kickstarters are clinics in graphic design and marketing intelligence featuring nearly complete products, amazing artwork, compelling stretch goals, and big promotional support. That leaves John Q. Designer, who just wants to raise a few thousand dollars to get his clever abstract game published, in the dust. He can’t even afford to design a campaign as flashy as his big shot competitors, let alone stand up to their glorious promises. After all, there are only so many crowdfunding dollars to go around, and showing a prototype on graph paper isn’t going to turn heads away from a box of miniatures from an industry professional.

The HUGELY successful Conan - Kick Starter campaign that raised 3.3 million dollars.

The HUGELY successful Conan – Kick Starter campaign that raised 3.3 million dollars.

Abused Patience Turns to Fury

This lack of oversight has led to some very questionable campaigns. I’m not talking about the high profile failures that make people wary of crowdfunding all together. I mean companies like Mantic Games, Flying Frog Productions, Cryptozoic Entertainment, and CoolMiniOrNot that almost single-handedly round out the top 10 most funded board games on Kickstarter:

The next 10 on the list are more are more of the same, and that’s not even counting gaming accessories by Reaper Miniatures and Dwarven Forge. In almost every case, the top funded games are from professional developers, well-known industry designers, and other publishers that have long outgrown the need to raise funds on a crowdfunding platform to get their products made. Even one of board gaming’s most celebrated designers, Stefan Feld, has had a game funded on Kickstarter. On what alternate reality Earth do we live on that a Feld game needs crowdfunding? Of course the truth is AquaSphere didn’t NEED to be funded in this manner. And yet it was.

Heroes Always Take a Risk

The reason these companies use Kickstarter instead of traditional means to fund their project is risk aversion. When we back games on Kickstarter, we as consumers take on the entire financial risk for the project. These days almost all these top flight Kickstarter games are in development long before the campaign begins, but at a basic level, Company A need not invest a single dollar in the development of a game. They can simply crowdfund the money, take on no debt whatsoever, and pass the risk of default onto their well-intentioned backers.

This methodology is of course great for John Q. Designer who doesn’t have the funds. But for CoolMiniOrNot, it’s a way to maximize their revenues by making sure their balance sheets are debt-free. That doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but the precedents set by campaigns that had no business being on Kickstarter contribute to the greater dysfunction.

Dysfunction 1: Kickstarter backers have no legal recourse. We’ve seen many stories come out over the years of Kickstarter entrepreneurs not delivering on their promises, running out of money, or simply disappearing entirely. Sometimes those stories have happy endings, and it’s comforting to see the FTC taking an active interest, but the majority of these crowdfunding disasters never get resolved. It’s critical to understand that just because the backer level you selected promises a finished product, there are no guarantees.

Dysfunction 2: Innovation is born out of necessity. While the hellish Kickstarter experiences are admittedly edge cases, what is true 100% of the time is that a company that doesn’t take on any discernable risk has very little incentive to provide value. When a board game publisher’s financial fate is tied to the success of their products, they are motivated to act in good faith, to create great games, and to treat their customers with dignity. Anything short of quality means that a game could fail and all the invested dollars are lost. In the land that Kickstarter built, that motivation is missing. It doesn’t mean all companies that use Kickstarter won’t live up to the ideals of a good publisher; it just means they don’t HAVE to. They already have your money.

Beware of the Company You Keep

All of this and I didn’t even mention the frequency of Kickstarter games missing deadlines, compromising on quality, and taking noticeable shortcuts in the development and testing process. There’s no easy solution here. Our hobby is full of early adopters that crave the latest and greatest. These top flight Kickstarter campaigns are designed to be compelling and to prey on our fear of missing out. The only advice I can give, and it’s advice I myself should strive to follow, is to vote with your dollars and to try to curtail the instinct to consume. Kickstarter will never be the creative Shangri-La it once was, at least not for board games, but we can do our best to make sure that our hard-earned money goes to the campaigns that really deserve it. Do we need season 12 of Zombicide? I think you know my opinion, but it’s up to you and your pocketbook to decide.

king of war

Mantic Games, publisher of Deadzone and Mars Attacks – The Miniatures Game, is currently running a Kickstarter project to fund the second edition of their Kings of War Fantasy Battle Game Rulebook.

Kings of War is the two-player fantasy miniatures game where epic armies of brave warriors and devastating cavalry clash against powerful wizards and fantastical monsters – all on your tabletop.
Kings of War already boasts an easy-to-learn and intuitive rules set, fast, immersive play, and very affordable miniatures.  This Kickstarter, born from the demand of Kings of War fans, seeks to fund the 2nd Edition Kings of War Hardback Rulebook.
king of war components
         The new version of the rules set includes:
  • Enhanced Game Play – with improvements to the rules to improve the strategy, speed and simplicity in the game.
  • Refreshed Army Lists – all armies will be updated and rebalanced, and new units and new armies will be added to the core rulebook.
  • Fantastic New Art – an update to the art library throughout the book to bring the world to life.
  • Develop the Background – exploring the fantasy world and each of the factions like never before.
  • and more!
This Kickstarter project will be funded on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 6:59 PM EST.  To support this project, visit the project’s Kickstarter page at THE KINGS OF WAR 2ND EDITION KICKSTARTER PAGE.