Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks banner artA few of you will have seen the press release, but probably not all, so here it is:



May 14, 2013 – NEW YORK.   Is your tabletop ready to be invaded?  The Topps Company and Mantic Games have joined forces to bring MARS ATTACKS to life as a miniature-based tabletop wargame!  Combining high quality sculpted figures with fast and fun tactical gameplay, Mantic will deliver an exciting new dimension to the resurgent sci-fi property.

Mantic Games, makers of the popular WARPATH and DREADBALL tabletop games, will make MARS ATTACKS their first license.  “MARS ATTACKS is a cult classic series that fans have been falling in love with generation after generation,” says Ronnie Renton, Mantic CEO. “Its oddball blend of retro sci-fi visuals, dark humor and over-the-top violence will make for a unique tabletop experience… our team can’t wait to bring the Martians to life in ways no one has ever seen before!”

Set against the backdrop of the new and expanding MARS ATTACKS universe, the game will feature all of the fun and thrill of the classic series, plus new characters and factions that will see action in upcoming comic books and toys.  It will also tie-in closely with Topps’ just-announced all-new trading card series, Mars Attacks: Invasion, releasing in October.

 “MARS ATTACKS is a world where giant robots, mutated insects and hordes of Martian soldiers face off against Earth’s military and innocent civilians— how could you not want to see a game out of that?” says Topps’ Adam Levine. “Mantic has quickly become one of the best in the business, and they’re the perfect team to adapt our outrageous visuals into this exciting new form.” 

Mantic plans an early 2014 release.

For more information on MARS ATTACKS, including regular updates on new products and cards, follow on Facebook.


So what’s all this mean then?

Most importantly for me is that I’m writing it 🙂

I’ve already had a couple of kickabouts with how I think it might work. Nothing to share yet by way of details though as they’ve all got to be approved by Topps before we go any further. That’s the thing about licenses – you’ve got to conform to a strict style bible. I can see how it might shape up though.

What I can say is that it will be a lighter game rather than a highly detailed geekfest as the whole idea is one that will appeal to less hardcore gamers. Having said that, it’s not going to be snakes & ladders – that would be dull. If you’ve played any of my games I’m sure you’ll know what I mean when I say that I’m burying interesting choices under simple mechanics. Simple, but not simplistic. Expect something that you could play with your family or with your gamer buddies for a lighter and sillier break.

Oh, and giant robots, flying saucers, mutant insects and martians out the wazoo. What’s not to like?

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53 Responses to Mars Attacks!

  1. Dan says:

    This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing with us. Will look forward to the updates!!!

  2. sho3box says:

    Wow! Exciting stuff.

    Good luck with this Jake, the eyes of two worlds will be watching.

    And I might as well be the first to say ACK ACK AAACK! (sorry)

  3. Brad Guerre says:

    Congratz! As a fan-boy of God of Battles, and one who is intriqued by Dreadzone, I’m happy to see additional work placed with you. Looking forward to the new shiny!

  4. Lance King says:

    You cant be serious!?

  5. mattadlard says:

    lol, that was funny, but the idea for this game would be good, and a fee form and fluidic style of play would be a good game to play. Like GoB fludic and simple but with deep tactical level within.

  6. Ben says:

    Will you be doing stats for Tom Jones?

  7. killaminis says:

    I might have found my first Mantic Game that I may not invest in. Of course, I said that with Loka and later funded that game too. So Yes, most interested in seeing the updates and how this turns out as a finished product.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      No game suits everyone. I think it’ll be fun, but then I would 🙂

      Certainly, I’m not intending to turn out anything I wouldn’t put on the table with my own gaming group. This just has slightly different parameters to work within.

  8. Adrian Williams says:

    Will this be a kickstarter too? Looks a great idea for a game

  9. Rob_Jedi says:

    Any info on how many players this will be for? Strict 2 player versus or more a board game co-op style afair? I’m hoping the later.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      2-4 or 5 is current thinking. A lot of the Mars Attacks story is about the interplay of the different factions and it seemed like a central theme worth exploring in the game.

  10. Jabbaa says:

    Sounds good, looking forward to seeing more about this. Should be in the Mars Attacks mood towards the end of this year when this cross-over comes out:

  11. Sam says:

    All the excitment, distraction, and squandering of resources as any other corporate licencing deal (LOTR?).

    • Quirkworthy says:

      So you’d rather Mantic only made one game? Any more than one would surely be a distraction. Which would you pick?

      Not sure why a game company producing a new game is “squandering of resources” either. Let’s assume, for the moment, that it is modestly popular. It will raise Mantic’s profile, attract new gamers to the rest of their games and turn a profit into the bargain. That sounds like good business for Mantic and good news for gamers.

      Mars Attacks is not LOTR and Mantic are not GW.

      • Sam says:

        Jake, don’t be such a reactionary, I didn’t say Mantic should only make one game.
        I just would have rather seen Mantic focus on their own IP and complete the factions and promotion for their games (KoW, wtc.) rather then um..mantically jumping from one thing to another.
        Sure tie ins draw new blood (that is what GW thought about LOTR too), but licencing deals also can bring creative restrictions and strife (Moongoose Pub and Starship Troopers)
        Remember GW wasn’t always GW either, the road to hell (so to speak) is paved with good intentions.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I’m reacting to your comment which came across as flippant and ill-considered. The logical conclusion of your suggestion that a new game is a distraction is that other games were too. The end of that thread of logic is that Mantic should stick to a single game, which is what I said. If you meant that you’d rather Mantic stuck to their own IP then perhaps saying that would have been clearer.

          In any case, they are completing the factions for both KOW and Warpath.

          Currently, Mantic is working on:

          1) Deadzone – developing the Warpath races, background and model range. Among other background, this adds detail to Asterians, Plague and Rebs – 3 previously unexplored armies for Warpath.
          2) Kings of War – one new book finished and another almost done plus loads of new models and armies being made right now. The only delay here has been the time it takes to physically sculpt and produce the models.

          Given that both KOW and Warpath are being expanded in both background and model range why is producing a licensed game a bad thing?

        • Sam says:

          Jake, you have your opinion and I have mine.
          I didn’t mean to be flippant or ill considered, sorry you took it that way. I thought my comment was succinct, as I really didn’t want to ‘write a book’ on the subject.
          From my personal experience (three decades of gaming) licensing deals seem to ‘go south’ (which is why I consider such pursuits a waste of time and energy).
          The only licenses that seem to be a long term positive for gamers (and worth investing in from my perspective) are deals in which the game maker have some creative control and long term ‘ownership’ of the license (eg. Judge Dread, and Armadillo Design Bureau’s Star Fleet).

        • Ben says:

          I’m not entirely sure what the point you’re making by bringing in LotR is? Are you saying that GW stopped focusing on their own IP when they got the license? That it was detrimental to the business? That it turned GW into the Evil Empire?

          I genuinely don’t follow.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          I suppose the main confusion here is that Sam seems to be assuming that this will become a “third core game” (as GW describe LOTR). That’s not the intent at all.

          It might be easier to think of a MA game as another project similar to DKH. Something that sits alongside KOW and Warpath.

        • Sam says:

          @ Ben, since you did such a good job reiterating you must follow to a degree.
          Of course there are many other factors that contributed to GW’s Evil Empire status, but the LOTR licencing deal (and paradoxically the wealth it brought in) seems at least in a corollary (disclaimer just so I’m not asked to provide definitive evidence!) way to be a factor.

    • Sam says:

      I just don’t think corporate IP licensing deals are good for miniature gamers in general. Miniatures games require an investment of time and money. That investment can (and usually are) be diminished by IP owners ultimate control (when they yank it, sell it, or milk it dry).
      I think it is more worthwhile and fun when a game ‘borrows’ and plays off IP.
      For me, ‘Deadzone’ does this in a mild way from the ‘Resident Evil’ IP. It has some vauge similarity (along with other IP in the ‘zombie genre) to stimulate imagination without actually crossing a line where a license would be required.
      When that happens the game maker can end up developing the IP in a unique, creative way (eg. Aliens, Space Hulk).

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Each licensing deal is different, and some work well. The FFG license to produce board games from GW IP has produced a stable of games which has profited both companies and been quite popular among gamers. The various computer games that have been licensed from GW have been a more mixed bunch, but at least some have been well received. GW’s LOTR license seems to have been very lucrative for them and the license holder and has raised the awareness of GW so I’m not sure why this is bad. They were the “Evil Empire” long, long before LOTR appeared.

        Licenses are for a time period and so within that time the IP owner cannot “yank it” without breaking the contract, which is very unlikely. The length of time depends on the details of the specific contract, but licensing in and of itself doesn’t guarantee anything.

        Contrary to a license diminishing the investment, they actually reduce the cost as they provide art, concepts and backstory that would normally take time and money to develop.

        You’re entitled to your own opinion of course, though it does seem to be based on looking at only part of the evidence.

        • Sam says:

          Jake, I did look at the evidence and considered it in my analysis.

          I agree with you that license deals can be economically mutually benefical for IP holders and game companies. I also agree that such games may be initially engaging for the consumer. However, due to the restrictions placed on licensees by the owner perhaps these types of games are more appropriate for board games, rpgs, and computers (as per your above examples). Such ‘one off’ games do not require the investment of time and money on the part of a consumer that a miniature game entails. Quite often the restrictions placed on licensees limits the growth and continued interest such properites generate in the miniature gaming community. It is my understanding (from the Mantic forum) that ‘Mars Attacks’ will be a miniature game of broad scope and player involvment.

          As a player of miniature games (as opposed to a designer or company owner) I tend to look at how involvment in licensed miniature games impacts my hobby investment rather than a companies profits. In my experience, licensed miniature games tend to grow quickly in the miniature gaming community (new and shiny effect) and then the interest crashes (especially when the owner of the IP restricts expansion), players go to the next fad and miniatures go on the pile. With all the choices for consumers I’d rather not invest time and money in licensed miniature games.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Well that’s your choice Sam. There are far too many games about to play them all so every gamer must pick and choose on some criteria. Being flavour of the month and then drifting off into obscurity is a commonplace issue for games regardless of their origins. In fact, I would say that such a fate was the norm rather than the exception. How many figure games are popular today which were popular a decade ago? How many others have risen and fallen in that time? I remain unconvinced that licensing has any major influence on this process.

        • Ben says:


          I suppose I wanted to make sure that I was reading your argument correctly because I didn’t want to be accused of putting words in your mouth if I responded to how I read it. On no level is what you say correct. To identify the acquisition of the LotR license as causal in the evolution of GW into EE confuses cause with effect. GW already were this, the LotR license allowed them to pursue their existing business agenda. It didn’t interfere with their usual games as since 1991, GW has been hyper-focused on games lines that shifted lots of minis. The specialist games didn’t do that so if anything, they were the games that got in the way of what GW wanted to do. No-one stopped playing Warhammer because the license was acquired and many people started playing LotR who hadn’t previously been interested in GW. That those new players didn’t translate into new WFB or 40K players in any great numbers or stick around once the film franchise was over is neither here nor there as it didn’t eat into the Warhammer player base or cause GW to let those games stagnate. All three received the attention their sales deserved and 40K got by far the most. The licensed generated a lot of money for GW which they squandered through short-sighted profiteering. Nothing to do with the license as short-sighted profiteering is what GW do.

          As someone who spent five years of my gaming life heavily involved in the community of an ongoing licensed game I can safely say that an ongoing licensed game can be immensely beneficial to a company and to its player base. There’s nothing intrinsic to licensing that makes it unsuitable for miniature games. The LotR player base died off dramatically because the films left the cultural consciousness once the franchise was over. Nothing to do with either licenser or licensee.

          You’re well within your rights to express your consumer power and not buy a game that doesn’t suit you as a player. It’s a large conceptual leap from there to Mantic taking on a licensed game is a bad thing.

      • Sam says:

        What contibuted to the EE of GW was the overwhelming drive for profit above gaming experience.
        As Ben pointed out, the LoTR license ‘allowed GW to pursue their existing business agenda’. My orignal brief, one line, statement was a misguided attempt to sum that concept up.
        GW’s overwhelming drive for profits above all else created the EE. Part of that drive led to the LOTR license and the mentality of maximum return on investment. Maximum return on investment for the company doesn’t always equate with maximum hobby experience for the consumer.
        I felt Mantic was a breath of fresh air in this industry. It is my hope that Mantics desire for profit and lucrative licensing arrangements doesn’t lead to the maximum return on investment mentality that I believe was the leading causes of the formerly innovative and fun GW turning into the EE of today.

        • Ben says:

          You could point to several times in which GW became the EE but in terms of becoming purely profit-focused, that became the reality of GW when it floated on the stock market in 1994. Once it became owned by shareholders whose only interest was their dividend then everything became subservient to that. Mantic are a very long way off that and to criticise the acquiring of a, it has to be said, minor license that provides nothing more than the opportunity to put out a fun game and turn a profit that can be used to grow the company and its IP’s is misguided. The only way this is bad for Mantic and us is if they plough a lot of money into it and it bombs.

  12. Rob_Jedi says:

    Back to the actual new game rather than GW. Any info on scale? 28mm? will it be a skimish game with wacky wargear and objectives or large scale battles? Will there be burning cows? Robots, Giant Insects and UFOs seem a given. Will the humans be modern or classic B movie green army men style with tanks from the 50s? Ack Ack Ack

    • Quirkworthy says:

      15mm looks like the favourite option at present. With 80 foot robots to fit in we have to go to a smaller scale to be practical. Looking at larger battles rather than skirmish for similar reasons. Giant mutated insects and huge robots and flying saucers don’t fit on a skirmish scale.

      Burning cows? Maybe a cameo appearance.

      I need to see the latest art to answer the last question. Probably something a bit retro as that’s at the heart of the IP.

  13. Rob_Jedi says:

    15mm won’t be as much fun to paint. Can’t see the possibility of having clear helmets for the martians at that size either. Was really looking forward to nicer martians than the ones from Invasion From Outer Space – The Martian Game which do have clear helmets that give that Mars Attacks feel. I’d be happy to have undersize robots and UFOs if it meant cooler martian infantry.

    • nathan payne says:

      15 mm is great to paint and gives a far better scale look to large ships, walkers and alike.
      Makes for an awesome battle field with city blocks and stuff. You can’t get that with 28mm.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The bigger the mode the more detail you can fit on, and if painting is your main thing then you’d really want 54mm, or 90. The smaller the model the grander sweep of battle you can fit on a given size table. It’s the classic balancing act.

      We’re doing some tests to see what they look like to finalise the exact scale. Still not 100% sure.

      We’re currently aiming for clear helmets in whatever scale they end up. Don’t see why they couldn’t be done in 15mm.

    • fiendil says:

      15mm will be *different* to paint to 28mm, and gives more opportunity for larger fights than 28mm restricts you to.

      (I’m quite partial to painting 6mm models, and much prefer painting 15mm and 6mm tanks to 28mm tanks.)

  14. Rob_Jedi says:

    Yeah you can have bigger battles but… having read lots of Mars Attacks comics, watched the film, gotten art books of all the cards, collected the action figures, drooled at the garage kits from decades ago etc and painted my Martians from Invasion From Outer Space as Mars Attacks Martians. It’s always been about the weird little scenes and bizarre stuff the Martians do rather than massive battles, which are all one sided anyway. It’s hard to portray much character in 15mm. And I know I have seen some great sculpts in that scale but it gets all blurry after paint. I want to paint those grinning skull faces and the beady red pupils. I’d much rather a wacky board game/ scenary based skirmish game to a massive battle system.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Nothing is set in stone yet.

      Personally I’d like to do a 40mm skirmish game with them, but that’s insanely niche…

      • Mike says:

        Have to agree with Rob Jedi, 15mm just doesn’t do it for me. I’m not interested in buying and more importantly painting hordes of miniatures, I’d much prefer to have larger (28mm) figures for skirmish games. I would still buy scale vehicles although they would be used as objective points in my games.

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