Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Mars Attack: The Boardgame

I've finally received my KS version and had time to play through it a few times. And I'll say this much, it's not a bad game and I think this is what Deadzone should really have been like. 

Mars Attack is based on the 50s card series from Topps, which is the same thing the movie was based on. It's an over-the-top kind of story and the boardgame tries to provide miniatures that adequately reflect that. Now admittedly I didn't get into Mars Attack as heavily as I did for the previous Mantic KS because at that time, I was already suffering from KS fatigue. Too many broken promises at the same time from a lot of different kickstarters. However, with the actual miniatures in hand, I kind of wish I had spent a bit more on Mars Attack. 

So the miniatures are all boardgame plastic as they would like to call it and come pre-assembled and in different colors. Most of the human troops are brown while the heroes/civillians/leaders are red and martians are green generally. 

At the time of the KS, the quality of the figures was still up in the air as Mantic had no experience with boardgame plastic at all and basically, it was a 50-50 chance whether the figures would turn out great or if they would turn out like the same type of Restic Privateerpress and Mantic seem to use fairly often. 

However, after receiving the miniatures and taking a casual look at them (and I use the word casual here), I have to say I'm fairly satisfied. I mean, for one piece, fully assembled figures, these range from decent to pretty damn good. My favourite figure has got to be Shadow; the figure pictured above, and he's just so goddamn good looking as a miniature that I wish I had bought more Tiger Corps just to get more figures of him. Again, this is a 100% pre-assembled figure that you're looking at and I haven't even bothered to clean it up at all. It's straight out of the bag. Also as a side note, the terrain actually seems to have improved in terms of its ability to clip together. People who KSed DZ and got the plastic modular terrain can attest to the fact that at times, the terrain pieces wouldn't clip together smoothly and you had to sort of just j-j-jam it in. But so far with the new MA terrain, it's been a pretty smooth fit so far.  

Okay, now that I'm done gushing with the figures, how is the gameplay? I mentioned that it was basically what I felt like DZ should have been and I've mentioned this before in one of my Gencon blogs. The fact is that MA really really cuts down on a lot of the draggy feel of DZ by reducing everyone to one single wound now and simply reducing the armor value of most troops or just getting rid of it altogether. This means now when troops get hit now, they tend to die if they don't pass their survival check. While previously in DZ, you still had to roll survival, then subtract armor then check how many wounds the model had left. That was a drag. 

Other than that, the gameplay has remained relatively the same. Players draw from a central deck now instead of their own specialised faction deck and each player can only activate 2 models* per turn now instead of depending on their leaders command stat. Again, the simplified rules are pretty important for a board game. Players choose a scenario, pick sides and try to gather 8 VP in the course of the scenario. Most of the time, the Martian and the humans have totally different objectives to fulfill. 

So far, the only issue I would see with this game is the fact that it seems like the replayability would be slightly limited by scenarios and frankly, while KS backers have gotten the PDF that includes the FFA rules that allow for scenario building and army-building, most normal buyers wouldn't have gotten them yet. Overall, I'd be interested in an expansion to this but to be honest, I'm not sure how they could possibly expand it since Mars Attack as a franchise is pretty much...completed and I guess being a stand alone board game doesn't hurt it either.