Mantic Meeting – Deadzone & DreadBall Kick-Off

It’s been a rather long day so I’ll be brief (for once). I’ve been in a meeting with Ronnie all afternoon, discussing various upcoming projects and also what I can talk about here. It’s tempting to blurt it all out, but that would be silly. It’ll spoil the surprise πŸ™‚

However, I can tell you that the next thing after Season 2 will be Deadzone, at least, the next thing for me to be working on. I’ve already got a playable version from my tinkering over the last couple of months and it’s looking increasingly like we have a really fun game. Always a good start. However, as normal, this is a bare bones version without all the cool bells and whistles that will really give it the story elements and refine the tactics, build each faction’s character and so on –Β but you’ve got to start somewhere. Where I start is making the core solid. You can always add shiny chrome bits later, that’s the easy bit, but if the core of a game is wonky and unbalanced then you might as well not bother. I don’t want my games to be rickety and poorly built, so I make a nice solid foundation and get that right before I get all fancy.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing, and tomorrow I think I’ll be starting the fun bit of adding all the cool little extras. Like grenades. Everyone likes grenades. And they’re so often done badly in games. Why is that?

But I digress.

Deadzone. Coming soon. Watch this space.

While I’m talking about new games, I also heard that the German version of DreadBall Kick-Off is turning up in a week or two. I’ve spent rather a lot of cash and had loads of fun playing German games over the years so it’s very gratifying for me personally to see something I’ve designed being sold there. I always think of the German market as being fairly discerning.

And remember that parcel I mentioned yesterday? It arrived this morning along with another one containing all my clear bases, but I’ve not had time to open either one yet. Sounds like tomorrow will be great:)

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58 Responses to Mantic Meeting – Deadzone & DreadBall Kick-Off

  1. Ben Stewart says:

    Deadzone is the Warpath universe skirmish game isn’t it? I hope so – that would be funky. As a Skirmish gamer at heart I’d love to see a good sci-fi one. None of the current ones like Infinity really do it for me.

  2. Lee says:

    Very excited for DeadZone! The talk has been Enforcers versus Plague, but you mention “each faction’s character” as if there might be more than two. Can you say how many factions you plan to have on release? Will we be seeing any of the DreadBall races popping up?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I did say that, didn’t I? Well it could have meant just two, but you know me better than that πŸ™‚

      Exactly how many factions largely depends on you guys. This will be a Kickstarter and the more backing we have the more factions we can afford to tool. I’ve got six pencilled in so far, with rough versions of more, but we’ll have to see…

      DB races? I assume you mean the weird ones I made up for that rather than humans. Yes, probably, though it’s not all nailed down yet. I rather like the idea of a teraton in a skirmish game, but who knows? The not all nailed down bit is why we’re still being quite cagey about this. Need to finalise some more of the details.

  3. redfox4242 says:

    I am eagerly anticipating the release of Deadzone. I am quite excited.

  4. EΒ°rΒ°iΒ°cΒ°k, alias Silence Indigo says:

    Grenades are indeed something fun that’s not fun in most if not all games, if only because of things like extreme scatter (WH40K) and ridiculously short range (AT43).

    I look forward for fun zombie-smashing grenade rules in Deadzone!

  5. sho3box says:

    A few waffling, but related thoughts:

    I am more interested in Deadzone that I have been for a tabletop miniatures games for a very long time. I am very hopeful that the exceptionally clean and intuitive style of rules design shown in DreadBall can be applied to a fast play skirmish tabletop game. A simple, fast, straightforward and integrated XP/league system (again similar in design principle to that in DreadBall) would really be exactly what I am looking for. A sci-fi miniatures game with achievable (~10 model) painting projects, fast gameplay with real decisions to be made, simple leveling up and balanced factions is my hobby grail..

    If Deadzone looks to be something like that then my most frequent opponent and I will get on board for sure, with a couple of other “maybes”. While we both already have more miniatures than we will ever need, our experience with the team sized projects from the DB KS has us both enthusiastic to get involved again: I am looking forward to painting up black ops elite veer-myn and behind-enemy-lines Delta Force forgefathers etc.

    In order for the system to get played frequently in our game club it will require that the various factions can easily be played using appropriate proxy miniatures. While I doubt that this is a very big priority for Mantic – who are interested in miniatures sales in the main I assume – it will make the game a lot more likely to get played down my way.

    As an aside, I find it unexpected that Mantics products seem to be catering for my (grognard, vaguely Rogue Trader-y) hobby tastes. When Mantic first appeared they seemed to simply be budget not-Warhammer suppliers, whereas now they seem at least in part to be aiming for the post-Warhammer crowd, like me. Long may it continue :).

    • Quirkworthy says:

      If you’re talking about the games I designed for Mantic (DKH, PP, DB) then it’s not entirely surprising that they’re what you’re after as it sounds like we are coming from a similar sort of place/time. You might also like God of Battles (from Foundry) as that’s designed with an old-fashioned gaming ethos in mind.

      DZ is shaping up to be very much what you’ve described – at least in my view – fast play, tactical choices, etc. Balance is what I’m working on now.

      Can you proxy figures? Well I proxy stuff all the time in testing, so I’d say yes. It just depends on how close you want your proxies to be.

      • sho3box says:

        I was about twenty during your White Dwarf tenure Jake, so we are “close enough” in vintage I think. Reading your blog and rules also makes me think that we are looking for broadly similar things from games.

        I thought that God of Battles was a fantasy mass combat system, rather than a smaller skirmish affair. I cant bring myself to batch paint large armies any more (DreadBall team sized factions is ideal) so I figured that would rule me out of GoB. Tribes of Legend seems more like the model count that I am looking for. I occasionally fantasize about getting a miniature game of Ulysses 31 on the table, complete with robo-cyclops and mecha-gorgons and the like, but it seems unlikely. Maybe someday.

        Proxies are a funny thing. One guys ideal proxy model can ruin another players enjoyment of or immersion in a game. I really dont want to play games of DreadBall versus teams consisting entirely of Blood Bowl models for example, even though paradoxically I am in the process of painting up some BB 2nd ed Star Players as proxy keeper models at the moment. Its an individual, matter of taste, case-by-case basis thing thats hard to legislate for.

        I do reckon that getting Deadzone off the ground locally will be a lot easier if players have obvious force “slots” to fit their existing, 40k heavy collections into though (Space Marine = Enforcer, ork = orx, asterian = eldar etc). It isnt a priority for me personally though as I relish the chance to paint some new units of oddball figures. Like Dreadball post S1, a mix of the familiar and the new is ideal IMO.

        The Deadzone aspect that I am most interested in is the rule set. Ways that mitigate/integrate the fundamental wooliness of measurement based tabletop miniature games (rather than those on a grid) interest me a lot. I cant wait to get some more info on anything to do with Deadzone at all really though πŸ™‚

        • Quirkworthy says:

          GoB is mass combat in that it’s armies rather than individuals. However, for a mass battle game the armies are low model count, partly because I have a similarly small amount of time to prep them myself. 24 point games are the small end, and my Orc and Goblin army for that has 57 figures I think. And that’s O&G, so most will be noticeably smaller. No pressure, just thought you might enjoy it as it comes from a similar mental outlook.

          You’re right about proxies. I’ve had to use them for so many years for playtesting armies that didn’t exist (so there was no option but to proxy) that I don’t mind. I know plenty of folk that do though, and even I would rather not if I could avoid it. A good example of mileage varying.

          I suspect that we’ll be seeing a similar approach to DB where we start with more familiar and get increasingly odd as we go into the range (and Ronnie lets me have my aliens).

          The current iteration of DZ has what I think is a unique hybrid approach that mixes board and tabletop conventions. I keep thinking that it’s too crazy and shouldn’t work, but it just does πŸ™‚

        • James Maz Marsden says:

          consider my appetite consoderably whetted!!!

  6. GoranByNight says:

    Then I could think that Season 3 will be in hold?

  7. Jimmy To says:

    how many races will be in the deadzone game?

  8. James Maz Marsden says:

    any idea when this kickstarter will become a reality Jake?

    this sounds like just the thing i need in my gaming life πŸ™‚

  9. All I need to start buying veermyns is a excuse so… I hope they are included among the races

  10. sho3box says:

    “The current iteration of DZ has what I think is a unique hybrid approach that mixes board and tabletop conventions. I keep thinking that it’s too crazy and shouldn’t work, but it just does”

    Thats some pretty sexy talk Jake, you are pressing all of my buttons. I had to manage my expectations last year as more and more info about DreadBall was released, but in the end the game still delivered far more than I had dared hope: DB is fantastic for very many reasons.

    The info currently available about Deadzone again suggests that I am its target demographic, which is cool, but I need to manage my expectations. But all of this mashup rules talk is getting me very hot under the collar…

    I cant wait to hear more, but as the motto of my sci-fi movie club goes “Vitate frustrationem et amplexate administrationem exspectationis” (avoid frustration and embrace the management of expectation).

    • Quirkworthy says:

      That’s a very impressive motto there sho3box. Thanks for the complements on DB too, glad you like it – I’m very pleased with how it came out.

      DZ is a different beast from DB with quite different design problems, hence the unusual approach. I think certain rules will give folk a bit of a What? moment, but the benefits in ease of use are very clear. I’m trying to avoid as many of the traditional SF skirmish arguments as possible: is he in range, can I see him through the window, over the walkway, behind the barrels, etc? You know the sort of stuff. I don’t think it’s possible to make them all go away, but most of them? Oh yes πŸ™‚

      And once you’re in the groove it works very quickly too. All good.

      • James Maz Marsden says:

        It all sounds very interseting.

        Can’t wait for the kickstarter.

      • sho3box says:

        I loved the idea of Necromunda (and the models and the look and feel) but it usually ended up being an exercise in poking tape measures through narrow gaps to micromanage ranges.

        I since tried Crossfire (known for the fact that it is a rangeless system) but the rulebook is the most off putting gaming item that I have come across for decades, so we didnt get very far.

        Anything that you can do to make Deadzone less of a measuring contest and more of a narrative generating, fast play, exciting sci-fi romp has my full attention.

        (incidentally, I got a learned buddy of mine to translate the motto into Latin for the club some time last year. English to Latin translation is beyond the scope of my abilities unfortunately).

        • Quirkworthy says:

          LOS and range are always issues with skirmish games, and which bits of a model you need to be able to see, etc are a favourite field for long explanations and equally long arguments. Does his weapon count, can I put him on a sculpted base, what about her pony tail…

          Dull.

          Anyway, I’m trying to avoid what I can of that. I’d rather get on with the game.

          I used to be Game Producer for Necromunda (and Mordheim and Blood Bowl) in my last year at GW, so I’m very familiar wit the way it works and which bits don’t. The nicer the terrain the more problems it tended to cause. That was always a shame as it seemed to put people off making cool boards, and Necromunda is ripe for fun terrain projects.

          I’ve not tried Crossfire.

  11. Will says:

    Having just found Tomorrow’s War, and being fairly impressed with its scenario driven play, are you planning to include the DKH & PP scenarios? Or will we be able to make up our own?

    By the way, if this plays anything like those games, count me in – they’re perfect for playing with my kids…if Mantic aren’t careful they’ll claim GW’s target audience before they get to secondary school…

    • Will says:

      I meant scenario driven play, not the specific scenarios! D’oh!

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Deadzone has a slightly different dynamic to DKH and PP. There will be some training scenarios as they are a useful teaching mechanism. The main game uses a different approach to get the variation, re-playability and tactical challenges, though there’s no reason why you couldn’t create your own scenarios too. I do have some pencilled notes for a variant play style which would be scenario driven, but that’s not in the initial release. Well, probably not πŸ˜‰

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Stealing their audience in advance πŸ˜‰

  12. E r i c k B o u c h a r d says:

    Aargh! If you make the Dreaball aliens into Warpath miniatures, such as the Teratons and the Nameless, I’ll briefly curse you for wasting my kids’ inheritance before spending it all shamelessly on the Kickstarter, once again. πŸ™‚

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