Deadzone Beta – New Turn Sequence

Part of the job of the Beta is to draw out the elements of the rules which cause the most confusion so that we can clarify the relevant parts. Whilst it would be nice to have examples and tactical hints and tips for every single section it’s not really practical (it would triple the size of the book). So, the Beta focusses on the rules bit of the rules and when folks find something tricky I know to expand on that in the final version.

So, the first candidate for expanded explanations seems to be the new turn sequence. I’ll not worry about exactly what the models can do when they get a chance to act – we can look at that later. For now I’ll just focus on the sequence of play as a whole.

I’ll assume that you’ve looked briefly at the Beta and find it less than clear. See if this helps.


Rounds & Turns

Deadzone is played in Rounds. During a Round all the models on both sides get to move, shoot and generally do stuff.

Within a Round, players take Turns doing some stuff with some of their models until all of the models have had their chance to act.

For example, if I have models A, B , C and D in my force, and you have models 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in yours, then a Round might go like this. 

  • Turn 1: I do stuff with A and B.
  • Turn 2: You do stuff with 1, 2 and 3. 
  • Turn 3: I do stuff with C.
  • Turn 4: You do stuff with 4.
  • Turn 5: I do stuff with D.
  • Turn 6: You do stuff with 5 and 6. 

At this point all the models on both sides have had a chance to do something and the Round ends. 

Note that the number of Turns within a Round is not fixed and doesn’t really matter. It’s as many as it needs to be and could vary from one Round to another if the players changed their tactics.


A Single Turn

When it comes to your Turn you must normally do stuff with some of your models. You must use at least one model and can choose to use more. The maximum you can use in a single Turn is equal to the Command Total of your Leader model. The Command Total is the two numbers of your Leader’s Command Value added together.

For example, an Enforcer Sergeant has a Command value of 2/2 and therefore has a Command Total of 4 (2 + 2).


Passing Your Turn

As it says above, when it comes to your Turn you must normally do stuff with some of your models. However, sometimes you can Pass the Turn right back to your opponent without doing anything.

Count the number of models on both sides that have not done anything yet this Round.

If you have fewer models than your opponent left to do stuff with this Round then you may choose to Pass.

If you have the same number or more models than your opponent left to do stuff with this Round then you may not Pass.

In the first example above, the red Turn 5 shows a point at which the army of letters could choose to Pass because when it comes to their Turn the only model they have left to do stuff with is D while the army of numbers has two models (5 and 6) left. 



That’s it. What is really interesting is the implications.

Firstly, it allows your models to work as teams and support each other when you want them to. However, when you just want to bide your time you can hold back and just take Turns with a single model at a time.

Secondly, it gives more control to better commanders. By more control I mean that they can do stuff with more models at a time if they want to and can therefore do more to control the ebb and flow of the Round. Given the number of models you usually have relative to your Command Total you can choose when to surge forward only a few times in a Round before you run out. When you choose to do so, or if you choose to move as small teams or individuals for the whole time, is all part of the tactics.

Thirdly, because the ability to act within a Round is based on the Command Value of the current Leader it reacts to the changing situation on the battlefield. If a Leader is killed then their loss is immediately reflected in a reduced ability to control the ebb and flow of the battle.

Fourthly, it helps to give character to individual factions as the command structure of each is different. Some have Leaders who are well armoured and dangerous fighters who are happy leading from the front. Others have less combat-oriented models who are happier leading from the safety of an armoured bunker.

Fifthly, it adds another consideration to army building. Now you have to decide which type of leader you want. Adding a captain rather than a sergeant isn’t just about their fighting skill any more – it’s actually about their command ability too.

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32 Responses to Deadzone Beta – New Turn Sequence

  1. crimsonsun says:

    Hi mate ive not had time to fully read though the Beta yet but this makes perfect sense to me, and I really really like it – As it is SO simple yet offers a vast amount of diversity in tactics. 😀

    So as i said i have been leaving the kickstarter alone, but now its closing I must say I am thrilled yet at the same time concerned to if I can afford the bits i want – Really considering uping my pledge by another £30 to be veteran and have a hard copy of the extra rules as I dont know what I would sub out in there place, while I could easily add more extras on…. hmmm will wait until next friday before making final choices though as i know there will be more i want… Random question why are Mantic’s kickstarters done in $, its a royal pain in the arse as fluctuations in the exchange rate can at the hundreds of £ mark make a marked difference.

    Last but by no means least, thanks for posting about force selection previously, but I was just wondering on how your previously mentioned beta force lists were coming?


    • Quirkworthy says:

      Beta force lists will be out early next week.

      Why $ not £? I think that when Mantic started you had to run KS from the US site and they’ve just continued. The European site came along later.

      There is probably also a simple business reason: the US market is bigger.

      Personally I don’t care what currency the KS I pledge for is in. The issue I find far more serious is shipping costs that frequently addd 60% or more to the final cost. And then there’s import tax on top. By the time I’ve added all that I’m anything up to double the original amount on the KS – one reason why I pledge for so few things. In the end it’s often as cheap or cheaper to buy it from my FLGS.

      Mantic ship from both the US and the UK which avoids the vast majority of those problems and makes it even less expensive to get into the games. If more companies did that then I’d personally spend a lot more on Kickstarter.

      • crimsonsun says:

        Thats fair enough, thanks for letting me know… Shipping is a killer truly I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to order something from overseas to find out that I would have to pay more than the value of the item to have it shipped, and therefore cancelled my order before it started.

        I do not mean to sound like i am being tight either whining about currency, but I am stretching my budget to the limit to cover this kick starter and as such have a sizeable pledge, I have just made my life easier though as a mate was planning on pledging scout plus extras, but we are joining together for strike team plus another wedge of extras as its FAR more cost effective and that gets us more equipped for multi-player games.

        Loving how this Kickstarter has turned out and I am really excited to see what you have in store for us over this last week, as I have posted previously I was hoping for ‘big stuff’ and everything I have seen seems to suggest that I am not going to be disappointed.


        • Quirkworthy says:

          I don’t think you’re whining at all Crimson. My experience is very like yours in giving up on things when you see quite how poor a deal the shipping makes them. I’m just happy to say that Mantic seem to largely avoid this.

          Combining pledges can make a big difference, though it depends on exactly how the KS has been arranged. I’ve not really looked closely at DZ because I expect I’ll get a copy anyway…

          Lots of stuff still to come: army lists, experience based campaign, multi-player and multi-mat games, solo rules, zombies…

          Going to be a busy week.

      • crimsonsun says:

        Hi jake I know your crazy crazy busy, but any more progress on the Beta force lists? – To be fair I have been kinda expecting you to wait/hold back for all the faction boosters to be unveiled as well as I am sure some form of surprise model/unit/mech/monsters that mantic are holding back for those final pledges at the kickstarters finish

        – but at the same time I feel it would be great to have one covering at the models we know about sooner rather than later so backers can better tailor their pledges, this can be updated later after the campaign has finished with a more extensive alpha/beta version but with 60 hours left I am concerned we wont see them until the kickstarter has finished.

        I realise you have tons of stuff to do, and likely finding the time to type up the lists is asking alot, so if you dont manage it thats ok as well, I totally understand but I would be thrilled if it could be done…

        many thanks Crimsonsun

  2. Alex Cooper says:

    The explanations and breakdown are perfect now. This is the kind of wording you need in the final version. Far simpler to understand. Even for a layman.

    I had gathered the implications myself once i’d got my head around the rules this morning and i’m impressed. The tactical choices available from this are nearly endless. One question though, during your force organisation blogpost you mention which models are which type, leader, specialist and trooper. But if the leader dies how do you determine which model takes command? Personal choice? Model with the next highest CV?


    • Quirkworthy says:

      There is a chain of command for each faction and we’ve found it easiest to place the stat cards in that order from left to right. That way if the Leader dies (and you chuck their card back in the box) you already know that he is replaced by the next stat card on the left 🙂

      The chain of command is listed on the bottom right of page 3 at the end of the last para.

  3. killaminis says:

    Crystal Clear Sir!! Now makeway, I’m going to do “Stuff” 😉

  4. RangerRobAZ says:

    Thanks for the explanation, I felt it was pretty clear already in the beta rules myself. In the beta and above you mention the ‘Enforcer Sergeant’. He has a stat card. However I don’t see any mention of him in the kickstarter models, only the Enforcer Captain. Is this a new model type not yet listed, or am I missing it?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      There is a new model for him and I’d forgotten that you guys hadn’t seen him yet. Well you may have seen him and not realised as I think he’s been in some of the photos. Anyway, he’s due to be added to the KS pretty soon (along with more cool models).

  5. Mark says:

    Hi Jake, I’m a backer on the DZ kickstarter and have one single bit of feedback that you’re probably really not going to want to hear:

    – I don’t like cards, or card-based gameplay.

    I prefer to play Dreadball without the cards because I find they don’t really “connect” with the tabletop experience in the same way that minis and dice do, they seem to be unnecessary complexity more than anything else.

    So, Deadzone going all-put with card deck gameplay, and no options for not using that sort of game leaves me extremely uncertain about whether I’ll enjoy playing the game or not. This might sound stupid, but I’m having trouble figuring out how the game actually plays even after having read a long and detailed description of it. It’s a bit confusing, not like the rules for KoW or Warpath which I instantly read and understood within 5 minutes.

    Are there any plans for a “lite” version of the game like you can do with dreadball kick-off? No cards, no complexity, just casual dice rolling and really quick games?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hi Mark,

      As with any of my games, I think that people should play them if they enjoy them. If a particular game doesn’t suit then there’s always the next project 😉

      DreadBall and Deadzone were designed rather differently mainly because of the fundamental difference in level of variation required.

      DB was designed so that it could be played without cards, though they were included in my overall concept from the start. Partly I wanted to make the game work with less stuff and partly we didn’t know how the Kickstarter would go. This was only possible with a simple set of rules because the variation within each team is small, the stats required are few and there are no items, no missions, no variation in set up, no 3D…

      The cards add events, are a simple way to drive ref moves, generate random numbers, and add a level of unpredictability to your opponent and flexibility to your plans. Whether you enjoy this or not is a personal decision, but most people find that the extra tactical options are worth the additional complexity. It should also be noted that including all of these options and effects in any other way would probably be more clunky and complex, not less.

      Deadzone has all of these extra variables to consider and to model within the rules. Each faction needs to be characterful and different in both appearance and play style – ideally in a number of dimensions rather then merely stat lines. For this reason I made the cards an intrinsic part of the way the game worked. This allowed me to include a great deal more subtle variation with very few rules. Cards are also a useful reference, showing you the rules and stats you need for the task at hand and nothing more. They are great for avoiding the necessity of rummaging through a book to find a rule. In short, I rather like them and find cards an excellent tool for shorter and simpler rules.

      As the cards have been interwoven into the core design there won’t be a version that doesn’t use them. A game without them would be rather predictable and a bit simplistic. Playable, sure, but missing out on a lot.

      There is a simpler version with pre-assembled figures, no campaign system and so on – it’s listed on the KS. If that sounds more like your cup of tea then go for that one. However, it does still include some cards.

      Personally, I don’t think that DZ is very complicated. I’ve been told by several dads that they’re playing DreadBall with their 6 year old children, and DZ isn’t very different in terms of rules footprint. The major additional challenge would be getting your head around the whole concept of moving models around a 3D battlefield, though that sounds like something most small boys could cope with. Perhaps that makes DZ an 8 year old’s game, not a 6. We’ll have to wait for the reports from the front 🙂

  6. Brilliant rules. This explanation is perfect, leaves no room for confusion. I’m very excited by this.
    On a slightly different note, the guys at Mantic have told us there will be zombies… I have a very little question- will they carry guns or will they be purely melee in their ability to kill?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Melee only. Today’s post will be about zombies, but the short version is mushed brains = no skill at shooting 😉

      I did suggest that we give one a gun to batter people with though.

  7. Thanks for the reply. Was only asking from a modelling point of view. Keep up the great work.

  8. Gives me a good excuse to get ahead of the game and buy what they already sell… the Z Corps.
    Have you settled on the rules yet?
    Any chance of a cheeky exclusive on how the solo rules MIGHT work?

  9. rosafari says:

    Sorry still a little confused – when it is your turn can you choose to only activate a single model? Or do you have to activate enough models to take your unused model count below your opponent’s unused model count before being allowed to pass it back?

    • rosafari says:

      (within your command total, which would force a pass back)

    • Torkel says:

      If you don’t “Pass”, you can choose to activate between 1 and [Command Total] number of models in your turn. Regardless.
      (If you had to take your number of unused models below your opponents unused model count, there wouldn’t have been a need for the “If lower unused model count, you shall not pass” -clause 😉

  10. Jimmy To says:

    your rounds system sounds similarish to uncle jims lovecraft skirmish game ‘Strange Aeons’ which is a good game so should be in good company

  11. pepper says:

    Im so glad that this style of turn sequence is present. since I’ve played a couple of games with unit based turn sequence I find going back to games with out some what drawn out in comparison. I feel it creates a more fluid dare i see realistic style of play as you start leap frog units around leaving guys back to over watch its going to great fun.

    Im excited about the command stat not just being use for a moral test either, possibilities for more choices and I hope more interesting ‘stating out’ unit creation from the designers point of view ie it might not matter that leaders are not combat monster but give better battle field choices.

  12. Jimmy To says:

    Uncle Mike’s strange aeons game is here
    and the rule book is ring bound and much easier to read, why are there not more ringbound rulebooks?
    On anatolis excelent website he also has a large section and review

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Thanks Jimmy.

      Ring binding is cheap if you only need a handful of copies at a time, but doesn’t get much less if you print loads. Saddle stitched (stapled) and perfect binding are the economical ways to print large runs.

  13. TMR says:

    I like the ruleset. I haven’t had a chance to play out the Beta rules with my son, yet.

    I do have one question. I understand the Command Level being the 2 numbers being added, but why not just use “4” instead of “2/2”? Why are the numbers separated? Is there a provision for Command Value to be lowered if Leader is injured?

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