Deadzone Force Selection

Something I haven’t talked about yet is how to select a force. In the Alpha rules you’re given a fixed set of models on each side to get you going quickly. In the full rules you will be picking a force from your collection of models, and you may decide to take different combinations of models against different opponents or in different scenarios. The basic principles are as follows:

Each type of model is represented by a specific card that shows its stats, equipment and skills. You’ve already seen mock-ups of these. The final version of the card will also show whether that model is classed as a leader, specialist or trooper and how many points it is worth. More powerful models cost more points as you’d expect.

The scenario you are playing will give you a maximum budget of points to spend on your force. The total value of all the models in your force cannot add up to more than the budget for that scenario.

In addition, there is a simple structure to follow. After all, the forces in the Deadzone are either military organisations or style themselves that way. The structure is based on who is leading the force:

  • If you take no leaders then you are allowed a maximum of one of each type of specialist and two of each type of trooper.
  • Each normal leader allows you to take up to two of each type of specialist and six of each type of trooper.
  • Each leader with the Elite skill allows you to take up to four of each type of specialist and four of each type of trooper.
  • Each leader with the Legion skill allows you to take up to four of each type of specialist and eight of each type of trooper.

This simple and open system allows you a great deal of flexibility, but still stops silly armies of nothing but snipers or engineers.

Whilst this system is very straightforward, I also intend to list example forces in the rules, and the narrative campaign will include the historical units that fought in it. Not everyone enjoys building armies, and having sample forces to get you started makes it easier to get over that initial hurdle of picking an army when you haven’t played and don’t know what anything does.

To make real sense of this you also need to know which models will be in which category. The first 4 factions look like this:



  • Leader: Captain
  • Specialists: Sniper, Engineer (with sentry gun), Missile Launcher
  • Troopers: Tac, Assault



  • Leader: Stage 1A
  • Specialists: Stage 2A, Stage 3A with HMG
  • Troopers: Stage 3A, dogs (Stage 3D)



  • Leader: Commander
  • Specialists: Grogan Heavy, Teraton, Drone
  • Troopers: Human, Sorok, Yndij



  • Leader: Captain
  • Specialists: Sniper, Exo suits, Maw Beasts
  • Troopers: Commandos


Overall, this should allow you to take a wide variety of models based on what looks cool or what you think works well in the game. Whilst not wanting to get in the way of you guys having fun and collecting whatever you please, it’s only sensible to include a few limitations on the specialists particularly as they are likely to be the ones that will cause trouble if someone maxes out on one kind. That’s what usually causes trouble in other games. Let’s see if we can avoid that here 🙂

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72 Responses to Deadzone Force Selection

  1. killaminis says:

    Thanks for the breakdown. Sounds like a “makes sense” system and will be very helpful in understanding how many add-ons I should add to keep sensible. Thanks for the Skinny!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      You’re welcome. Home it helps. All the add-ons for a Kicjstarter can get a bit confusing. I know I got a bit tangled up when I last pledged for stuff. So many shiny things…

  2. Daniel Smith says:

    Ok, possible dumb question – can my force include more than one leader?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Not dumb at all.

      Yes, you can include more than one leader. At present there is only one type per faction, but I think we’ll see more 😉

      • Torkel says:

        Ooh! I just got a lot more excited for this!
        I remember the perks of different leaders in cmon’s Relic Knights sounded really interesting. Flavor like that really contributes to the immersion and sense of story for the “gang”. For me at least…

  3. Just what the doctor ordered! One question though, how do the sentry guns work? Can an engineer deploy more than one (two, since that’s what is included in the box?)? I really like the idea of deploying sentry guns (big fan of the Cerberus engineers in Mass Effect 3) but is there any point to getting more than one or two per engineer?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The restriction on the number of sentries per engineer is a practical one. How many doe sit look like he could carry? I like things to look reasonably credible, and they’re not small things. I think he could carry one easily and might start to have trouble with a second but if that’s his job he’d do it.

      Any more than two and he’d have to be getting other squad members to carry them and hand them to him to deploy, a bit like a number 2 for a gunner.

      So in answer to your question, if your men want to carry spares for the engineer rather than extra it for themselves then that would be as many as you wanted 🙂

      • Ok, good answer. So you pay per sentry gun then I take it, perhaps with one or two included in the price for the engineer. Or some such… still in Alpha after all.

        Got my first proper (non-solo) test game tonight and we had a great time! Unfortunately my enforcers were slaughtered by the fast rushing plague. I think a bit more aggressive play might have worked better for me as the plague picked up all of the grenades and used them to clear me out of cover.

        Looking forward to reading more, and keeping my fingers crossed for a mech for the Enforcers. Hehe!

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Pay per sentry gun probably. The engineer has other tricks he can do so he might not want them every time.

          The Plague are fast, but nothing says you have to stand still and take it. Fire and displace, use your suppression…

  4. Aeneades says:

    Thanks for the breakdown, has come in very handy with my addon selection.

    Given that we already have 3 Stage 2A for the Plague faction when they have a limit of 2 with an ordinary captain I presume that mean the plague leader in the box will come with the elite ability / additional card with elite version so that the extra 2A can be used?


    • Quirkworthy says:

      A Stage 1A might well be Legion. Not 100% sure on that, but it would fit his background. That would allow you to use all of them without any extra variants (though they’re coming too).

      Other Plague leaders might be classed differently.

  5. Aswin Agastya says:

    Of each type confuses me. 2 of each type of specialist. If I have 2 types of specialist, am I allowed to get 4 specialists?

    • Quirkworthy says:


      Two of each type allows you 2x however many different types you have available in total. The important thing it the limitation on a given type.

      Remember also that this is per leader, so if you had 2 leaders then this would be more, as it would if they were one of the variant leader types.

  6. James 'Maz' Marsden says:

    Sounds good

    cant wait to play

    can we get some alpha rulles for the marauders?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’m working on rounding out and testing the first 2 factions first. The others will roll along in a little while. Patience, my friend…

      • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

        Apologies, just eager to give them a go 🙂

        hopefully get a game in tonight

        • Quirkworthy says:

          No need to apologise James. You should never apologise for being keen 😉

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          Good of you to say so 🙂

          any plans for vehicles, not tabnks and such but maybe walkers like the Iron Ancestor?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Yes, vaguely, but probably only in the multi-mat version. The playing ares is really a bit small to get anywhere with most vehicles. I don’t know though, we’ll have to see. There was mention of some bikes for Warpath, but I can’t remember what faction…

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          personally i’d like to see something like the DreadBall Mech mutli hex concept art

        • Quirkworthy says:

          You never can tell…

          Actually, you can tell. You just need to get as many folk pledging as you can, then you’ll see more fun new stuff 😉

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          i shall do my very best

          but only if we can get a Marauder version of the Mech 🙂

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Half the Marauder army are mini-mechs 😉

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          What’s your opinions of the Marauder commando sculpts seen at the open day. Are they what you envisioned when you started to create the faction?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          The style of the marauders was already set by the background. For Deadzone I asked for goblins snipers and big exo-suits with insane numbers of weapons on, both of which we have so I’m very happy with that.

          I’ve not actually seen the final commando sculpts.

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          both of the things you have asked for are looking pretty awesome

          the commandos seem to have dissapointed quite a few people (myself included) the concept art showed them as looking quite gritty and serious

          the models are more cartoony.

          That style of orc/k/x has its place it just seems incongruous with how they were described in the background and also the concept art.

          here’s a picture taken at the mantic open day (not mine may i add, credit to phil & amy Atherton)

        • euansmith says:

          After seeing the Orx bomb-doggies you were surprised that the Commandos looked a bit cartoony? Personally I’d like to have seen them get Paul Bonner in to do the Orx designs; he is my favourite artist for their sort of character.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’ll reserve judgement till I see them in the flesh. From that picture I’d say that the poses weren’t outstanding, but the detail looked OK. It’s hard to really tell, especially as the masters are made of a number of different materials which always adds to the confusion.

          What I would say though is that the way you paint them is very important. You can take the same original model and make a serious or cartoony end result with a different paint job. In many ways the model is just a canvas for the painter, and you can spin a model a number of ways.

        • James 'Maz' Marsden says:

          Fair point Euan, and good shout on Bonner. His stuff is amazing!

          Jake, no, thats the rational, sensible approach! I want a visceral, knee-jerk reaction!!! 🙂

          I agree to some extent that the paint job will be very important, but no amount of brushwork can disguise a guy stood up waving two rifles about whilst being ‘stealthy’. You’re right though, the detailing is very nice from what i can see.

          I realise that i’m coming off as negative though so i’m going to shut myself up until mantic have released their official pictures.

  7. Willem-Jan says:

    Nice, clean system I think and quite open to up-scaling as well. It is rather fun that the basic troopers have been broken up into different statlines and abilities, allows for some great and easy thematic force building (particularly true for the Rebs).

    Any word on what type of commander the current leaders are or are those still in playtesting?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’m still tinkering with that. I’m also likely to include several different leaders per faction as this isn’t the only function of leaders (there is a command stat as well). So there will be choice within each faction in the final version.

  8. Gareth says:

    Any hints as to what a “normal” game size might be in terms of points and model count?

    Will the starters be enough troops or should I look at the add-ons (3/4 basic troopers) as auto-includes to my pledge?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The force building rules above are designed to allow a great deal of flex in this. You should be able to put together a small force of expensive specialists or a larger force of normal troopers – and that applies to each faction. As I’ve not finalised the points yet I can’t be exact. However, the size of the board starts getting a bit crowded at much more than 12-15 a side. Of course, you can always play on a larger area…

      Overall, if you assume that you’d get around a dozen in combat at any one time that’s about right. More models will give you more options.

      Having said all that, there will be training missions that use fewer models and the narrative campaign will also probably include some smaller battles.

      • Gareth says:

        I am in for a skirmish, 2×2 format. I have too many other expanding games in my life and no time to play, paint, collect them all. 🙂 I like the small scale.

        Thanks very much for the response, I am really excited for this game.

  9. Mike says:

    This is a superb breakdown Quirkworthy! Thanks for this.
    I rather look forward to army design as much as everything else.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what sculpts you have in store for the Rebel faction. The drawings and description of the Rebels really draw me in and they look very unique. Going by what I’ve seen so far with the Plague and Corporation I’m sure they’ll look great.

  10. Vindicare says:

    So 1 Engineer allows you to field one sentry gun? Or do they come in pairs?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      See the comment from Martin@firebroadside near the top of this thread.

      • Vindicare says:

        Okay so if you’re paying ‘per sentry gun’ and can add those on to regular troopers to carry, but you still need 1 engineer specialist to activate them, do those sentry guns themselves count as specialists, troopers, or something else like ‘equipment’? Thanks for the response!

  11. Epix says:

    We can now add the Warpath Enforcer Captain and/or the Warpath Marauder Warlord to our pledge; will those models come with their own Deadzone rules and stats card?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I haven’t decided on the full array of stat cards in each set yet. However, each deck will include a number of different leader models, and it makes sense to start with the models we’ve got 🙂

  12. Andrew says:

    Do the ‘standard’ Leader and ‘Elite’ Leader have their trooper numbers around the wrong way? It seems odd that they’d go from 2, up to 6, then down again to 4.

  13. euansmith says:

    I’d hope that rules would be included to allow the use of the Dreadball Robot Team as a faction or as Mercenaries. The figures as they stand already look like they have “built-in” weapons.

  14. Looks like a great way to make balanced armies imho.
    This type of system allows a different approach to tailoring your force to either horde or few highly trained men. So going against a certain army doesn’t always mean your fighting the same enemy dynamics. 🙂 = Happy times

  15. Please could we have an update here as to where the 3rd gen with grenade launcher, enforcer with with heavy weapon, Rebs kraw and marauder hulk will fit in to the force selection?

  16. thedauntless says:

    HI Jake- hope you’re keeping well as we get into the final days of the Deadzone Kickstarter! I’m writing in regard to the introduction of Plague Zombies-I was thinking of writing sooner, but the update answered my “will there be” questions! Now I am just curious as to how you are thinking they might be included in play (even at this early stage). The whole idea put me in mind of a system that works really well for Empire of the Dead-it is a really nice skirmish game set in a steam-punk alternate Victorian universe in case you’ve not heard of it- it is a great and fast paced game worthy of attention!. But EotD uses Zombies and civilians in Mobs that can gravitate towards and away from players quite nicely during play. I am not suggesting that you have not thought about this dynamic in the game at all, or that you should plagarise the good folk at West Wind studios for their idea(besides-the dif. of sci-fi and pseudo-historical backgrounds would probably permit it!)-but thought it was worth a mention to gauge where you are with the idea. In our club games, the approach is great where the faction is simply too weak on their own, but as a hazard or objective, they are really great additions to scenarios and adding new danger to previously played mission layouts. I like the idea of 3rd gen falling and leaving a marker where they resurrect in a couple of turns-just when the aggressive faction are pulling back with their objective complete/target acquired etc. – even as I type I am now thinking of a twist on your DKH Dead Rising technique with the skeletons. Anyway-enough waffle that you didn’t ask for! Take it easy and enjoy the rest of the roller coaster kickstarter!
    shane (thedauntless)

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hi Shane. Always happy to hear suggestions. I’ve not tried EotD, but it sounds like they’re aiming at a similar sort of place. have a look at my post on zombies and today’s on modes of play.

  17. euansmith says:

    One of the things that I preferred about the Warpath Universe over the 40k Universe was that fact that the various factions weren’t too xenophobic (some are, like the Enforcers and Plague) and allowed the inclusion of different factions in the same army. Will this carry over in to Deadzone? Will we be able to include Forge Farthers in Rebel Armies, Marauders in Corporate Armies, etc?

  18. hatchhermit says:

    Do mercenaries count as specialists?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Mercenaries are currently all individuals so it doesn’t matter what they count as 🙂

      • Vindicare says:

        So that means you can break the command structure rules with mercenaries? For example if you have a normal enforcer leader you could have 2 snipers plus Nastanza?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          No, this doesn’t break the rules at all.

          The rules allow you to take 2 or 4 or whatever of each type of a given category. So, if I can take 2 specialists then I can take 2 engineers as well as 2 snipers as well as 2 missile launcher guys, etc.

          My point is that the mercs are all individuals so the restriction on taking 2 or more of them will never come up. I can’t take 3 Nastanza because there is only one of her. It doesn’t matter what category she is in as all the currently leader types can always have at least one of each and that is all you need for individuals.

          The restrictions will be who they choose to fight for.

        • hatchhermit says:

          Ok, but if a leader only lets me take 2 of 2 types of specialists does it fill one of those slots or does it take up a trooper slot? Or perhaps they don’t take up any of those “type” slots…

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Read the rule again: “…of each type…”

          The restriction (2, 4, whatever) is per type of model, not the number of different types you can have.

          So, if my faction has 10 types of specialist and my commander allows me to take 2 or each then I could take 2 of each of those 10 different types. In reality I won’t have the points to do this, but that’s how this aspect of the force restrictions works.

        • hatchhermit says:

          Ah. I get it now. I thought there was a restriction on the types. Thanks!

  19. swbeil says:

    I have to say that I really like the skulpts so far, but I think I would like to see more human models in the Reb Force.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      With the flexibility of the army list you can choose to take humans in preference to aliens if that’s what you prefer. Personally I like the aliens as we see humans all the time.

  20. Jake,

    Do I re-call that the troop types will have point values? The reason I ask is whether KS pledgers will get an indication of what these are to help with their selections. So if a Plague 3G is twice the cost of an Enforcer with Heavy Rifle then it may lead to people pledging for further Plague Starters, Boosters, Add-Ons etc.


  21. mastertugunegb says:

    Does this still apply? The Elite and Legion keywords and rule ideas I mean. I was thinking that with the current Faction Decks (and the fact none of them seem to list Elite and Legion) that they may have been folded into Tactician and Strategist seeing as the majority of the big wig Leaders (such as the Enforcer Commander) have CV’s 3/x and the more squad based leaders (such as the Enforcer Sergeant) have CV’s of 2/x.

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