Unboxing Kindom Death: Monster

Death never looked so good.

In 2013, a small boutique horror miniature company known for exotic and extreme miniatures presented a modest Kickstarter.  It ended with more than two million dollars in funding.  It grew exponentially in volume, bleeding over into other Kickstarters.  In the meantime, every glimpse of the contents and extras has left backers speechless.

Granted, the first wave took two and half years to ship.  But ship it did.

More after the jump:

Mr. Adam Poots has created a game universe unlike any other.  It is a dark, alien place, hostile to human life and filled with horrific monsters.  The game has generated some controversy with its dark and disturbing subject matter.

kingdom_death___grand_mother_by_lokmanlam-d39nv0t

This one is called a Grand Mother.  (For the record, my Granny didn’t look like this at all.  Just sayin’)

Originally the game was to be a modest cooperative boxed board game.  With each stretch goal, the game grew.  In the end, it was nearly unrecognizable.  It became a massive affair, with years worth of product available through the Kickstarter.

IMG_0755Someone is about to have a really, really bad day.

 

Not only has the game grown, but it’s characters have even been exported to other game worlds.  One of the first miniatures produced was the Twilight Knight, seen below.

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The character was then turned into a Pin-up version, known as Dame Allison.

IMG_0059During the Kickstarter, this character was then exported into the game Helldorado, seen below, as well as Wrath of Kings, and Super Dungeon Explore by Coolminiornot.

94cfc1b4fa89732c3787cf3bd82c3360_large These pin-ups did cause  a bit of a stir, but to his credit Mr. Poots decided that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  He plans to produce a line of male pin up versions of in-game characters.

Anyway.

Now, on to the good stuff.  The game itself.

The main concept of the game is survival in a horrifying world.  The players take the role of aptly named Survivors.  They awaken one day, wiping ink from their eyes.  They know nothing, remember nothing, and have only a small lantern to light their paths.  Weapons and armor are nonexistent.  As the players make their way along a timeline, the Survivors gather resources, knowledge and gain the ability to produce more and greater items and weapons.

As they progress they’re exposed to greater threats, and greater rewards.  Bigger monsters, and persistent “Nemesis” Threats.  The story events are often disturbing, and humorous.  The game can be played solo, but is described as best with around four players.  More are possible, as are special rules, and alternate game play ideas.  The monsters are controlled by a unique AI system that uses cards to direct the movements and attacks of the monsters.  When killed monsters yield resources, as to story events as the game progresses.

The end goal is to establish a settlement that will survive, and has the resources and capabilities to aid the Survivors in their quest for life.

Painted-SurvivorsI told you we should have packed jackets…..

The box came securely packaged, and with an additional box of backer rewards.  It’s a hefty beast, weighing seventeen pounds.

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It’s a deliciously goth affair, black on black, with some black, and more black.  Make no mistake this game is its own beast.

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Above we can see the contents of the box, minus the miniatures.  Unlike most games Kingdom Death: Monster paid attention to organization.  The tray insert in the box holds all the cards, tokens, dice, rules and sheets needed to play in a neatly organized format.  Each one of the various monsters included (and there are a lot) has it’s own deck marker.  A sort of Dewey Decimal system for monsters from hell.

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The tokens are printed on very heavy card stock, and cleanly punched.  The art work is impressive and really showcases the design ascetic of the game designer.

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The rulebook is thick, and printed on heavy, glossy paper.  Every spare space is covered in artwork.  Far too much to show here.  The cards are printed on high quality paper, with a satin finish.  Like I said earlier, there are dividers provided to keep everything neat and organized.

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The game board is impressively well made and sturdy feeling.  Again, the art is consistent, and creepy.  It evokes the sense of overwhelming darkness that the game portrays in its art and fluff.

Now, on to the miniatures.

Kingdom Death made their bones by producing limited edition, ultra-high-quality resin pieces in 28mm scale, and 54mm scale.  Their plastics have taken the idea and run with it.  The plastics are well made, with no breaks, or miscasts visible.  Each sprue is labeled with the name of the product, and each individual model is labeled with a alphanumeric identifier so you know which piece goes with which model.  This is a subtle, but telling indicator of attention to detail.  In some cases, I would dare say the plastics are an improvement on the older resin models.

Pics of the sprues follow:

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Included in the base box are miniatures for the following:

From the Kingdom Death Website:

www.kingdomdeath.com

224 Page Rulebook, 17 Hard Plastic Sprues of Miniatures, 1000+ Matte Game Cards, 400+ Unique pieces of Art and 86 Full Page Illustrations.

See detailed contents list below.

Kingdom Death: Monster Contents1 x Rule Book – 11″ x 8.5″ 223 Pages.
1 x Showdown Board – 2′ x 3′ ( Heavy 3MM Game Board Matte )
1 x Hunt / Settlement Board ( Heavy Cardstock )
1 x Token Sheet – 111 Tokens
1 x Terrain Token Sheet – 31 Terrain Tiles
1 x Monster Controller Panel
4 x Gear Grids
1 x Character Record Sheet Pad ( 50 Sheets, 6″x6″)
1 x Settlement Record Sheet Pad ( 50 Sheets, 8.5″ x 11″)
5 x 10 sided black Kingdom Death dice
1 x 10 sided white Kingdom Death dice
4 x 6 sided Hit location dice

Kingdom Death: Monster Contents – Miniatures
– 4 x Starting Survivors
– 1 x White Lion
– 1 x Butcher
– 1 x Screaming Antelope
– 1 x Kings Man
– 1 x The Hand
– 1 x Phoenix
– 1 x Watcher
– 1 x Unarmored Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x Rawhide Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x Leather Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x White Lion Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x Screaming Fur Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x Phoenix Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 1 x Lantern Armor Kit (Creates 4 Survivors.)
– 2 x Bonus Mystery Miniatures
– 4 x Starting Survivor Heads for Armor Kit customization
– 9 x Assorted Survivor Heads for Armor Kit customization
– 150+ Assorted Gear for Armor Kit customization (Every weapon in the game represented!)
– 10+ Masks
– 10 x Stone Face Base Inserts
– 34 x Kingdom Death 30mm Base + Insert
– 6 x Kingdom Death 50mm Base + Insert
– 1 x Kingdom Death 100mm Base + Insert

Kingdom Death: Monster Contents – Cards (3.5″)
– 17 x Card Dividers

– 1 x White Lion Data Card
– 25 x White Lion AI Cards
– 23 x White Lion HL Cards
– 19 x White Lion Resource Cards
– 8   x White Lion Hunt Event Cards
– 1   x Screaming Antelope Data Card
– 30 x Screaming Antelope AI Cards
– 22 x Screaming Antelope HL Cards
– 16 x Screaming Antelope Resource Cards
– 9   x Screaming Antelope Hunt Event Cards
– 1   x Phoenix Data Card
– 31 x Phoenix AI Cards
– 22 x Phoenix HL Cards
– 24 x Phoenix Resource Cards
– 9   x Phoenix Hunt Event Cards
– 1   x Butcher Data Card
– 30 x Butcher AI Cards
– 15 x Butcher HL Cards
– 1   x King’s Man
– 30 x King’s Man AI Cards
– 21 x King’s Man HL Cards
– 1   x The Hand Data Card
– 23 x The Hand AI Cards
– 17 x The Hand HL Cards
– 1   x Watcher Data Cards
– 23 x Watcher AI Cards
– 25 x Watcher HL Cards
– 12 x Basic Hunt Event Cards
– 2   x Special Hunt Event Cards
– 21 x Terrain Cards
– 6   x Armor Set Cards
– 17 x Universal Monster Cards
– 12 x Weapon Specialization Cards
– 6   x Secret Fighting Arts Cards
– 20 x Fighting Arts Cards
– 8   x Vermin Cards
– 21 x Strange Resource Cards
– 21 x Basic Resource Cards
– 23 x Disorder Cards
– 41 x Innovation Cards
– 12 x Starting Gear Cards
– 21 x Bone Smith Gear Cards
– 24 x Skinnery Gear Cards
– 15 x Organ Grinder Gear Cards
– 21 x Leather Worker Gear Cards
– 22 x Barber Surgeon Gear Cards
– 46 x Catarium Gear Cards
– 40 x Stone Circle Gear Cards
– 20 x Rare Gear Cards
– 7   x Mask Maker Gear Cards
– 39 x Blacksmith Gear Cards
– 21 x Settlement Event Cards ( 3.5″ x 5.75″)
– 13 x Settlement Location Cards ( 8″ x 4″)

(Italics added by me.)

Initial Assembly:

The rule book says to assemble the four starting Survivors, two male and two female, and the White Lion.  These miniatures are used in the initial act in any campaign game.  The mold lines are minimal, and the fit is outstanding.  Aside from some minor gaps on the White Lion, the miniatures fit together nicely.  The Survivors went together cleanly, and with minimal effort.  The polystyrene took glue well.

The results follow:

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According to the boxed set, there are supposed to be instructions regarding the assembly of the miniatures, but as of this writing they are not up yet.  Some of the monster kits are massive, and intricate, and require the instruction in order to assemble properly.  In the mean time, I went ahead and assembled some of the bonus backer miniatures, the male and female Twilight Knight.  In the case of the female, it is not the pin-up, but rather what was termed a “reverse” pin up.  She’s fully armored, and in an impressive sculpt.

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It must be noted, this game is not inexpensive.  The base set alone is rumored to have a cost in excess of $250.00 USD.  Until the Kickstarter deliveries are complete, the game will not go on sale, nor will any of its components.  Some are beginning to crop up on eBay, at prices that range from $200.00 USD to $450.00.  The MSRP presented during a limited time sale was $400.00 USD.

The biggest issue I have with the game is a relatively minor quibble.  The armor kits that represent the increased ability of the Survivors to protect and arm themselves have a massive variety of pieces available to customize your miniature, but only make a total of four miniatures.  The rest of that variety goes to waste on the sprue.  While it is not necessary to go all WYSIWYG on the miniatures, there are those out there that might want to.  More miniatures would have been a benefit.

Bottom line:  This game is a unique animal, different in scope and scale than every other game out there.  If you like nightmarish horror survival, this is the game for you.  The quality of production is high.  The miniatures are of a similar level of production.

I plan on running the introductory module soon, and I’ll let you all know how that goes.

So.  Cthuloid nightmares, here I come.

And remember, gamer friends:  You never, ever Scooby Doo the party.

-Sabot.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Cedric Ballbusch

    Kingdom death has always belonged to the category of ‘man, that’s neat…what would I ever do with it?’ for me.

    Visually fascinating, but utterly impractical. I suppose if I were to ever seriously paint figures for display, KD might be the way to go.

    Still, looks like a great box, and it’s not that expensive for what you get.

    • Sabot APFSDS-T

      Luckily I got in on the Kickstarter. There is a lot to this game, and the re-playability factor looks really high. I think, more importantly, it represents one of the first indie games that was made with no compromises, and to a really, really high standard. A sort of shot across the bow of the big game companies not to ignore the indie guys anymore.

  • I find the aesthetic a bit weird to be honest. It’s sort of anime crossed with classical western art, like someone took an anime design and michelangelo’d it. I’ve never really liked it. But I’m impressed, I have to say, and I respect the style consistency and originality. Those survivor minis look pretty damn good.

    • Benderisgreat

      If you google the artist, Lokman Lam, his style is pretty much anime (he’s Chinese). He has a pretty impressive portfolio.

  • benvoliothefirst

    I got in on one of the pin-up plastic collections, and the figures are gorgeous. I don’t know if I’ll ever find time to play the game itself, but every now and then I check out their fb page just to see what insane minis are coming up next. I’ll be interested to hear how your first games go!

    • Sabot APFSDS-T

      I’m legitimately hopeful for wednesday of this week, or this weekend. Fingers and other appendages crossed.

  • MerryVulture

    Looks absolutely wonderful. A bit more than I can afford for the near future, as I would most likely never get to play it. Still, as temptations go…

    Looking forward to the next one.

  • Seriously regretting not backing this kickstarter. The entire collection is an excellent source of mastering the technique of painting flesh!

    • Drathmere

      I agree.

  • Benderisgreat

    Is it now entirely impossible to get like their other models? I missed the kickstarter, and you can only find any of their stuff for the price of a small car on eBay.

    • Sabot APFSDS-T

      Every once in a while you can get the older stuff at a relatively decent cost. Keep in mind, the rest of the items will probably be for sale individually later.