A Damn Expensive Hobby Or Is It… Part 5 – Mutant Chronicles
Well technically it’s Mutant Chronicles Warzone Resurrection but the title of this series is long enough already….
Though the world of Mutant Chronicles has been around a while as an RPG it has quite recently been given a new lease of life as a miniature war-game courtesy of Prodos Games. I’m a relative newcomer to this game world myself but I’ve been looking for a replacement for the gap in my hobby life that used to have 40K in it and I thought I’d give this a go. Though Warmachine is an enjoyable system in a wide variety of areas it’s fundamentally unique mission parameters means that it doesn’t quite push the same buttons for me as 40K did (not a bad thing, variety being the spice of life and all) but I needed a game using an actual army that still stayed on the table if my HQ inconveniently gets eaten by a giant turtle or set on fire by some annoying bitch…..
I like it a lot…but I can still be objective…
Rule-set and Game-play.
The book is one of the best put together rule-books I’ve ever got my hands on. There’s a brief overview of the history of the setting followed by a clear and well ordered rule-set complete with examples in every section as well as some very user friendly flowcharts which though an unusual sight in a rulebook are a surprisingly useful tool. Then the army lists for each faction together with their own background material are in the final part of the rulebook with each section being done in a different style depending on the character of the faction being discussed. A brief overview of the rulebook can be found here.
There are four levels of missions depending on how advanced a game you wish to have with primary, secondary and corporate objective missions being used in various combinations.
The system itself uses a D20 with rolls needing to be equal or under a target number. Shooting for example works like this…..
Ranged attacks utilise the RS stat. Pre-measuring is fine in this system so you’ll first check the range to the target. Then you select your weapon (some models have more than one option) and then you roll a D20 with which you need to roll equal to or below your RS value. Things such as cover, various special abilities, taking an aim action, etc. can modify this value up or down. A roll of a 1 is always successful (as well as preventing your target from using the ‘Heal’ ability) and a roll of 20 is always a failure (and also ends your models activation). Once you’ve hit your target it then gets to make an armour save (this is the ‘A’ value on your list of stats) and this value is reduced by one for each point of Strength that the weapon has over ten or conversely is increased by one for each point under ten. Some particularly tough or heavily armed units have a 2nd value in brackets which is the minimum value that their armour can be reduced to. This is roughly equivalent to an invulnerable save in 40K for those of you who are familiar with that system.
If your lucky enough to have a weapon with Str 18, 19, or 20 it will do Critical Force/Critical Damage which causes 2. 3 or 4 points of Wound or Structure Damage as appropriate. This will also stack with and Critical Force/Critical damage that the weapon may have ‘built-in’.
The fact that this system uses a D20 rather than the more familiar D6 gives a far greater range of potential results which in turn makes the system remarkably balanced and having tested the system with a range of forces with both elite and horde units I was pleasantly surprised to find that victory is far more to do with tactical choices rather than unit selection though synergy is a factor if you pick a warlord whose abilities focus more on enhancing units rather than personal destructive potential.
Another game feature is the use of resource cards (different Warlords give you different amounts and each troop squad commander grants another) which can be ‘burnt’ in order to grant in game effects such as extra actions for models, extra shots or specific special abilities individual to the unit (I recently put a significant dent in a unit with all sorts of impressive nerfs to enemy shooting by throwing a building at them…squish…) and if you wish to play the more advanced game there are also other cards that can be used for specific effects and enhancements.
|Models pictures courtesy of Titan Games.|
The models are manufactured using resin rather than plastic and have a high level of detail. The usual minor problems that are inherent with resin do occasionally occur though air bubbles are exceptionally rare and mould lines are in the usual locations and have been simple to remove in my personal experience. They also have an excellent level of customer service and the few problems we’ve experienced locally have been dealt with quickly and without any quibbles. As with any new product range there will inevitably be some issues but as long as these are dealt with in the same manner as our few minor queries currently experienced then I foresee no long term problems in this area.
Here are a few pictures of some models in their pre-prepared form courtesy of some guys blog…I forget his name…I hear he’s a dick anyway…
Now onto the background…
Though the miniature war-gaming version of this game is relative new the ‘world’ in which its set has significant background material by virtue of the RPG that has existed for quite some time…and there was also a film…we try to avoid talking about that the film though…it’s quite terrible, lol.
As mentioned in previous articles in this series it is possible (imo at least) to have too detailed a background that feels more restricting than inspiring. Fortunately Mutant Chronicles Warzone Resurrection has a more than detailed enough background to give you an idea of the character and motivations of each faction without filling in all the details. Enough generalities are in there to enable you to create your own unique force without feeling strait-jacketed and there’s a basic but more than functional ‘Hero’ creation system should you have a particular model you wish to use as your Warlord or would just like to have a cheap generic boss that more closely fits your chosen army theme. Each unit entry also has background material associated with it and this is all well written with just the right hint of humour where appropriate.
The artwork covers a number of styles each suited to the factions own style…
|I’d like to buy that Warhammer Rulebook please…..|
Considering that the chosen material is resin the costs are remarkably reasonable. They are easily of equivalent detail to a Forge World model though at a significantly lower cost. The starter sets are around the £35 mark and include a Warlord (your HQ) a unit of ten of your particular factions generic troops and one specialist.
The Dark Legion one for example contains Alakhai the Cunning, ten Undead Legionnaires and a Razide…
|Photo courtesy of Titan Games.|
Compare this cost to the price of a Warhammer 40K HQ model, a box of ten troops and an elite model and you can see that the cost is actually cheaper than that of a Games Workshop force of similar size. The larger models in the range are approximate to their Games Workshop equivalent but are significantly cheaper than a similarly proportioned Forge World model.
The rulebook is excellently laid out and is clear in all regards, the models are of excellent quality, background is well written with just enough information and flavour and cost-wise the value for money is very good. If this is just the beginning then I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us in the future….
Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.