Posts Tagged Mantic

SixEleven on Mantic

Six Eleven has made a few pertinent points about Mantic games and their Warpath releases over on his blog.

I can certainly see his point. Warpath is releasing models relatively slowly at the moment. Though to be fair they are a much smaller and younger company than some of those we get our toys from – the big GW for example. I think that any collector wants to know there will be enough stuff available to collect before they commit their time and money to starting a new project.

I’d also agree that the new Corporation Marines are some of the most tempting models Mantic have produced. See my post of a few days ago for mor of my thoughts on those.

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A Lasgun By Any Other Name.

Recently my eye was caught by the previews of the upcoming Corporation Marines for Mantic Games’ sci-fi wargame Warpath.

I’ve generally regarded Mantic miniatures as being okay quality wise, but nothing to write home about. But these new figures actually really impressed me. Nicely detailed and futuristic enough without going over the top.

Corporation Marines

That said, they won’t help with some people’s perception that Warpath is just a stripped-down version of Warhammer 40,000. There’s no denying that the Corporation Marines look quite a bit like Imperial Guard. The helmets in particular are very reminiscent of the Elysian Drop Troops. And there’s no ignoring the very ‘lasgun’ looking barrels on the rifle. That said, there are clearly other influences. I think we can be reasonably sure that when the headgear of the elite Rangers was being designed, someone had the Spartans from the Halo video games in mind.

Corporation Ranger

Of course that will be a good thing in the view of quite a few people. I’m sure that lots of people on seeing the previews immediately began thinking through the practicalities of doing a proxy Imperial Guard army for 40k using these models.

It wouldn’t be a perfect solution. Any such army would be quite restricted, at least until Mantic release more Corporation models (whenever that might be) An army built up this way would be limited to lascannon and autocannon for heavy weapons teams, power fists for sergeants and whichever of the three special weapons in the box most closely match the Imperial equivalents. Not crippling restrictions to be sure, but harder than some people will be happy with. On the plus side, there will be Ranger and Veteran kits that would be good for Storm Troopers or grenadiers and there is nothing about the figures that would clash with the standard Imperial vehicle kits. Though Scout Sentinels might need some conversion so that the pilots match the rest of your force.

Major General

That said. If you want to save money on your poor bloody infantry, you could certainly do that with these models. £24.99 for 20 figures comes in a fair what below the £36.00 that twenty Cadian Shock Troops would set you back. Meanwhile the Army Set gets you forty infantry and three weapon teams for £15 less than a Imperial Guard Battleforce box. That’s a lot of extra guys and you’re saving enough to buy the Sentinel separately if you want it.

Heavy Weapons Teams

Of course, a proxy armies will exclude you from some tournaments and most likely from playing in GW store. But that may be a price many players would be willing to play in order to make playing as the Imperial Guard more affordable.  And I’m sure a few people will just like the opportunity to do an army that isn’t Cadians or Catachans (or incredibly expensive collector-models). And you will always have the option of playing Warpath with the minis as well.

So some interesting stuff from Mantic and I’m sure a lot of us will be watching how the range develops.

 

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On the Warpath?

Warpath - Fate of the Forgestar

Recently I’ve been thinking about Warpath, the new sci-fi wargame about to be released by Mantic Games.

Since resolving to step back from Games Workshop products I’ve found myself suddenly exposed to the infinite diversity and infinite combinations of other wargames and miniatures out there.

Mantic caught my attention a few months ago primarily through their products being available through the same sites I buy my /Firestorm Armada stuff through.  I was impressed with some of the models for their fantasy game Kings of War – particularly their dwarfs, and by the fact that the rules and army lists were available to download for free. A gaming company giving something away for free? Whatever next? Not long afterwards the development of Warpath was announced. Although I wasn’t that interested in the fantasy range, the prospect of a sci-fi game was certainly intriguing to me.

Sadly, although I have downloaded the beta test rules for warpath, I have not had a chance to read them yet. Though I did read the Kings of War rules a while ago and got the impression that Mantic’s developers seem to know what they’re doing. Especially given that ex-GW developer Alesseio Cavatore is taking the lead in developing Mantic’s rules.

There has been some discussion of Warpath on the Shell Case Forum. A few people have wondered if the game is just a stripped down, version of Warhammer 40,000. I can see their point, the fact that the first two armies to be released are Marauders and Forge Fathers (which are very reminiscent of the Orks and Squats/Demiurge of the 40k mythos) does not help this impression. On the other hand, by that sort of logic, you could write Warhammer (and any other fantasy setting) off as a warmed-over version of Lord of the Rings. The question will be how Mantic uses these archetypes in the creation of both the Warpath game and the universe in which it is set.

Of course, comparison to 40k is inevitable, given that they are both 28mm wargames set in a science fiction universe populated by archetypal fantasy races. In some ways though that might work in Mantic’s favour, for one thing it serves as a nice demonstration that there is an existing market for such a game and positions Mantic nicely to potentially draw in any disgruntled 40k players who find themselves looking for something different but comfortingly familiar. If Kings of War is anything to go by, Warpath will probably be able to corner the ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ angle quite well in stark contrast to the more complicated GW game. Mantic also have the advantage of being noticeably cheaper than GW.

At the time of posting, the first army-deals and the starter set for warpath have gone up for pre-order. Curiously though there aren’t really any images of the models that people would be ordering when they opt in for these deals, which I can’t help but feel might hurt take up. The models we have seen so far though – primarily the Marauder and Forge Father Heroes – have been quite impressive.

Forge Father Hero

I’m not sure where I stand on Warpath. Partly because it’s far to early to tell what it really has to offer. At the moment the most I can imagine doing is buying a few Forge Fathers to paint up. But I will see how the game develops, and perhaps more importantly, what the factions and models end up looking like. I think I’m going to be circumspect because Warpath, like Kings of War is ultimately a games for big armies, and I’m not sure I want to get into something that requires a lot of purchases to make the most of the game – even if they are at Mantic’s more affordable rates.

Marauder Hero

So this particular foray into the alternatives offered by the wonderful world of gaming results in a shrug and a ‘don’t know’. But there are plenty of other games that I have had my eye on which I will hopefully hold forth on another time.

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Time for something new.

This post was partially inspired by a blog post my brother made a few weeks ago. Like him I wanted to articulate some thought’s I’d been having about something that has been a big part of my life (off and on) and has been one of those things that helped shape who I am.

For twenty-something years, on and off, I’ve been interested in tabletop wargaming. I’m not sure how many games I’ve played or how many armies I’ve collected (or tried to collect, or just talked about collecting) but it’s been a big part of my life and has furnished me with at least one life-long friend and a means of building a stronger relationship with my brother than I might otherwise of had.

Like a lot of gamers, I got interested as a result of playing Hero Quest and Space Crusade with my school friends (long ago when I was young and pretty). These gave me a taster of Games Workshop’s Warhammer World and Warhammer 40,000 Universe and in the end led to over two decades of buying Games Workshop’s products and playing its games. The first ‘proper’ Games Workshop game I bought and played was ‘Epic’, their 6mm scale battle game set in the far future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I got into this game first after being fascinated by the concept of the enormous Titan war machines that you could field in this game. I still have fond memories of the plastic Warlord Titan kits that were my first purchase for the game.

After that, I got into Warhammer 40,000 and also flirted with Warhammer Fantasy Battle and other GW games like Blood Bowl and Battlefleet Gothic. It was an off-and-on thing sometimes, as my financial status or the level of stress in my life waxed and waned. Over the years, I’ve collected Space Marines, Eldar, Tau, Imperial Guard, High Elves, Dwarfs and probably a few others, leading up to the most recent army I’ve been collecting, the Brazen Angels, a chapter of my own creation based on the Blood Angels rules.

Ultimately, I am a bit of a nerd and a geek, and I enjoy my geeky pursuits. When I’ve been able to, I’ve enjoyed being a wargamer. I’ve enjoyed painting my figures, although goodness knows I’ve never come close to having a whole army painted. I’ve enjoyed the social aspect of the game, whether playing a pick-up game at a hobby centre or enjoying a chat with older friends at home over the gaming table. These games have also been a chance to enjoy stories set in very rich fictional worlds.

But now, I think the time has come for me and GW to part ways. It was an unexpected decision, but one that was surprisingly easy to make.

The main catalyst for this decision was price. Anyone who has ever bought a GW product knows that they are a pricey hobby. To be fair, a lot of hobbies are expensive, but everyone has their limits, and everyone reaches a point where they have to wonder if they are getting value for money. Having just been through the second significant price rise in eighteen months my limit has been reached.

I know GW product have never been of better quality, and that they have pushed the envelope of what is possible in terms of plastic resin and metal models, they have made sure the customer bankrolls their innovation at every step. And lately a side effect of quality is that kits are increasingly full of optional decorative ‘kibble’ that I’m sure many players never use, just clip out of the sprue and consign to the ‘bitz box’, never to see the light of day.

All this might not have made me jump ship GW’s ship if not for the other big catalyst which was discovering a whole world of other gaming options through Twitter. The big change came when I discovered Spartan Games, and their games Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. These games caught my imagination in a way that nothing from GW has for a while, especially after seeing both the quality and the reasonable prices of the models.

But it’s not just the fact that the models were cheaper it’s the fact that these other companies like Spartan, Mantic and Privateer Press don’t seem to be out to take the customer for every penny like GW seem to be these days. It’s not just that the stuff is cheaper, it’s that there doesn’t seem to be the same compulsion to buy so much of it to have a ‘good’ or even game legal army.

I have never been one of the people who begrudged GW their desire to make a profit, or for actually behaving like a business. Nor, up to now have I never set much store in the myth that GW was once so very much better but one day decided to metamorphosis into a heartless corporation. That said, these days they do increasing act like a company that is just after my money, making the jocular, matey public persona the company tries to project seem more and more like condescension. In contrast the other companies I’ve discovered seem so much more engaged with their customers, with proper customer web forums where game designers, such as Spartan Games’ ‘Spartan Neil’, actually post answers to questions and respond to comments. Mantic Games is even holding a public beta for their new rule set that anyone can download for free. These are companies that seem to be making the effort.

For many years, GW has ‘been’ the wargaming hobby, so much so that many people like me were barely aware that other games existed. But like a lot of people who pioneer industries, they might yet be supplanted by people who came in later but do it better.

I haven’t suddenly turned against GW. I’m not going to throw my stuff out the window. I will sell a few things on eBay now I know I will never use them, but I will keep my Brazen Angels and have even worked out how to round them out to a nice, even 2000 points.  I have no desire to slam them or declare that they are the enemy of all that is good and pure (because that of course, is News International). But they are not for me anymore. I don’t plan on buying anything from them on a regular basis ever again (unless they release something absolutely extraordinary). For now, I’m just going to enjoy painting my Spartan Games ships and then maybe I’ll try a few of Privateer Press’ ‘warjack’ models. The urge to collect every different variation of Space Marine is broken for ever.

It feels rather like a clean slate to explore the things that appeal to me now. It means learning new rules and finding new opponents but it’s nice to be able to try new things and escape some of the emotional baggage of twenty plus years in the same hobby.

Plus I get to paint some absolutely awesome steampunk battleship models. This pleases me.

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