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Deadzone Ed2 is a mostly abstract miniatures wargame, set in the futuristic setting of the Warpath universe, produced by Mantic Games.

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Wargame: Deadzone

Edition: Deadzone Ed2 (2016-2017-)

Successor: -

Previous editions: Deadzone Ed1 (2014-2016)

Setting: Warpath

Designer: Jake Thornton

Company: Mantic Games

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Rules

Mantic Games: Deadzone Ed2 free rules (PDF) - the errata is not applied to these rules, you should note them for yourself

Mantic Games: Deadzone Ed2 rulebook errata & FAQ v1.0 (PDF) (2016.06.02)

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Players

The player: Abstract player, leading one force.

Player skills required

  • Dexterity: You have to move your miniatures.
  • Planning: Although you don't have to plan your moves ahead, you'll do better if you do.

Number of players: 2. As it stands now, most of the rules would support more than 2 players, but the model placement rules would get in the way.

Powers: Various - The players can choose different forces from a list (Asterians, Forge Fathers, GCPS & Enforcers, Nameless, Plague, Rebs). Unless both players happen to choose the same force, they will be different.

Units: Various - The players can choose different units to create their forces. Unless both players happen to choose the same force and the same units, they will be different. As the game stands now, every force has different units.

Their abilities are assymmetric, some units are stronger than others.

Choosing units: Various - Force organisation slots with points. The players can choose various units to create their forces. They have a number of points to spend, and they have to adhere to the force organisation charts. This means you might have to spend points on units you don't need to get units you want in your force.

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Playing area

Playing area: Variable. Beyond the size of the area (8x8 tiles), there are no rules for setting up the playing area.

Playing area size: The basic size in the rules is 8x8 tiles.

Playing area openness: Mostly closed. The playing area is considered a solid wall that blocks all movement. Some scenarios allow moving in or out in the indicated cubes places.

Playing area features: Realistic.

Terrain scale: Abstract, but close to 1:1 scale. The game uses 3x3x3 inch (7,5x7,5x7,5cm) cubes as a terrain unit. In this cube, 4 models fit from each side. This means that when 4 models enter from one side, a fifth model can't join them because it's full, but 4 models from the opposing side can still enter because there's enough room for them. There's one catch though that clashes with the abstractness - those four enemy models can enter only if they would fit physically. If the player positions his 4 models cleverly among the scenery, he can prevent their entry.

Heights: Depends on model size.

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Playing pieces

The game uses 1:56 scale (often called 28mm or 32mm scale) miniatures.

Units: Single miniature

Playing pieces: Actor - the miniature represents the unit as a real actor. The size of the miniature matters.

Playing piece ratio: 1 / 1. Every miniature represents a single actor.

Unit detail: Very detailed. Every model has a set of statistics. They can take more than one damage, and they can be healed.

Other pieces

  • Tokens: Activation markers. Health markers. Equipment markers.

 

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Play styles

Abstractness: Realistic approach, with abstract elements.

Cooperativeness: Competitive.

Immersion: Non immersive. Players have access to strategy dice, that allows them to enhance abilities of their units, or reroll tests. The playing area and movement is abstract.

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Rules

Randomness of the game: Some / Very.

Random effects:

  • Dice (d8).
  • Multiple dice: When you roll for a test, you roll multiple dice, even if it involves only one actor. The basic roll is with 3 dice.
  • Exploding dice?

Randomness type: Linear.

Risk management: Heavy. The players get tactical resoures (strategy dice) every turn. Some of these can help in risky situations - rerolls, bonus actions. If the player gets such resources, it can tip the balance to his favour, but still won't guarantee automatic success.

Resource management: The players get tactical resources (strategy dice) every turn that can be spent on adventages. Some units can be equipped with resources that can be used. The models can get resources when they find loot markers.

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Turn structure

Player activation: Taking turns, one after the other, unless one player uses a special ability to activate another model.

Duration of a turn: Unclear, but not very long. Probably a few seconds.

Actions by the player: Not based on dexterity.

Taking actions: Taking action with a single miniature.

Time for actions: No time limit.

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Movement: Movement grid (square). The exact location of the miniature in the grid matters. The game uses 3x3x3 inch (7,5x7,5x7,5cm) cubes as a movement unit.

Line of Sight:

LoS from eye: The LoS is drawn from the eye of the viewing model.

Target miniature: Every part of the target model counts, including the base of the model. The pose of the model and the base itself matters in the game.

Cover area: If there is a cover in the area, the whole area is considered to give cover.

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Theme: Combat.

Language dependency: Rules, army lists.

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Possible improvements

Wording: There's not enough emphasis in the rules about the need for 3 dice when rolling tests. Even though it might make the text longer, put it everywhere when a test is mentioned.

Abstractness: At the moment two philosophies clash in the game - the realistic approach used in most miniatures wargame, and an attempt for an efficient system, that is abstacting the game. As no matter how you tweak the system you won't be able to satisfy the tastes of people who are looking for simulation or immersion, going for a totally abstact approach could improve the game.

  • Change the line of sight: As it stands now, line of sight is based on drawing a line between the models. This approach favours models that are crouching. The range of models, however, have models posing heroically, and some assault marauders stand 10cm high because their jet pack smoke is modelled under them. These marauder models would be seen by anybody on the whole field, even when they try to lie low.
  • Change the way models are allowed in a cube: As it stands now, 4 human-sized models can enter from both sides, if they can fit physically there. I'd say you should allow overlapping bases. It won't really hurt the game, and it gets rid of the optimising.

Model allowance in a cube: The only thing that's in the way of a game with more than 2 players is the number of models allowed in a cube. If you could change it, you could have 3 or even more forces in a battle. I'd try something along the lines of 8 models allowed in a cube, but models with phyisical contact with models inside a cube could join a close assault. I haven't tried that yet, though.

Resolving casualties: As of now, casualties are treated as if they get immediate and extensive medical care, even if your force is not victorious. It seems very civilised of the victorious forces to treat their fallen opponents as if they were their own, and then send them to their respective armies. It's very nice of Enforcers to not only leave their Plague prisoners alive, but giving them another chance, or of the Plague to leave their hostages uninfected. In the end, there's only 12,5% chance of a casualty being dead and being lost from your force.

One more pressing problem is that the models with lasting injuries can play in the next game, but the ones without remaining injuries get 80% chance of missing their next game. I can't really see the logic behind this.

It's interesting that the casualty system in Deadzone Ed1 works better in my opinion. You had to pay resources to try heal your gravely wounded models, and it was only then, when you had to roll on the casualty table. In Ed1 there's no mention of missing the next battle.

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Resources

Reviews

 

Changes between editions - Ed1 & Ed2

Dave (from Mantic Blog): Deadzone: What’s New in 2nd Edition?: Article.

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Have you played the Deadzone miniatures wargame from Mantic Games? How do you like it? Would you recommend them to others? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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