Mars Attacks Playtests

MA_2013_LOGO_horizontal-jakeBeen playing quite a bit of MA of late, working through the core system and tinkering with a card deck as an option if the Kickstarter goes nicely. All the previous games I’ve done with Mantic have gone bonkers on KS, which has been lovely. However, it does mean you need to think a long way ahead, just in case things take off again, hence the cards and a whole raft of other options πŸ™‚

This is an early game. As you can see we’re using Deadzone scenery and an Antenociti car. The humans are represented by Corporation grunts and the Martians are early resin test pieces. The mat is an test print and should be reasonably close (though without the printing error that left a white line on the near edge).


A few sessions later we had some resin test copies of the walls in and freshly painted. They give a great idea of what the final battlefield will look like. Exactly how many walls you’ll get is unclear as Stew’s not yet finalised what we can squeeze onto a sprue. We also keep asking him to do new stuff that would add even more character to the battlefield, like street furniture. No idea what or how much of that we’ll get in the end, but it’s always worth throwing ideas at him πŸ˜‰


Because it looked pretty, and because I had them to hand, I stuck some of the painted samples of the Martians and a couple of heroes among the buildings for a brief photo-op. All of these are masters and early versions, but I think that the final product will look very similar. Looking pretty shiny to me. Stew still hasn’t given in to my nagging for some Martians of my own.


After our little photo shoot we had a couple of games. Here Ronnie checks a line of sight. As you can see, to save chipping the paint on the nice studio paint jobs, we’ve reverted to using the unpainted Martians. We’ve added a couple of Antenociti cars again. Also, we pinched a couple of trees from the photography room and they add a lovely splash of colour to the overall appearance.

You can see that these test walls are only one-sided with the back left black. While it does give an appropriately burnt out feel, the final version will be fully detailed on both sides of each piece. You can still paint it flame-grilled if you like, or you can go to town on the detail. Your choice.


The game’s coming together nicely with some classic moments already. After much carnage all round and something of a see-saw struggle, this particular scrap came down to a final all-or nothing charge from Stew. The winner of the fight would tip the scales of victory enough to win the game. Couldn’t get much closer than that!

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21 Responses to Mars Attacks Playtests

  1. Kraggi says:

    Looks good, can’t wait for the KS

  2. Lance King says:

    I will be a first day pledger!

  3. mattadlard says:

    Looks good must admit.

  4. grantdyck says:

    Ack! Ack! Ack!

  5. TopHat_Gorilla says:

    Where are the civilians in the third picture down from?

  6. moocifer says:

    The gaming mat looks like its better suited to 15mm than 28mm ..

  7. Torkel says:

    I have a Deadzone pledge comming which I’m very excited for. If I understand correctly, this game is built upon the ground work that was done for Deadzone (rules wise). My question/concern is why I would want Mars Attacks when I have Deadzone to play? (Not that DZ is “better”, but it’s similar.) Where do they differ, and what kind of new challenges does this game offer? Another interesting question for me is of course if/how the two games merge. What does this game/kickstarter have to offer to Deadzone players, and vice versa?

    As a Deadzone backer, these are important topics to me leading up to this Mars Attacks game and kickstarter campaign. Just wanted to put that out there, cause I haven’t seen much talk about it.

    And maybe you’d be able to supply some insight ^^

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Good questions.

      Trickier to answer than you might imagine though, as I’ve not entirely finished with MA and we all know how much these things can evolve during a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve also got a meeting tomorrow about whether we add another twist to the rules or not.

      I’ll be coming back to this idea and comparing them (and if I don’t remind me).

      However, for the moment, a few key differences.

      DZ is more involved in terms of rules and offers a host of additional tactical options to the player. In that sense, it’s a deeper game than MA. It’s also based on a great deal of research on what actually happens in real combat. As DZ is both science fiction and a game a lot of this has to be ignored or skewed, but I’ve still included a number of concepts that you seldom if ever see on the tabletop.

      MA is played for more laughs. Given the background it’s based on it could hardly be otherwise. This being the case it is intentionally a far simpler game with a bit more randomness, or perhaps a better way of putting it is that the randomness has a bit more impact on the outcome.

      MA is designed around a narrative series of scenarios, and while DZ also does this with the narrative campaigns, it’s core is a more competitive mission-based approach.

      Overall, MA is a lighter game than DZ. I expect it will be played by more non-gamers than DZ because of the IP. That being the case the rules are simpler and offer fewer choices to avoid overwhelming the player.

      If you already have DZ then you might want MA as a lighter “filler” for when you wanted something less serious. It’ll also play with a slightly different (though overlapping) crowd, so partly depends on who you game with. I know a couple of people who’ve told me that they could play MA with their partners, though they’d never get them playing Deadzone.

      Oh yes, and the Martians are really cool πŸ™‚

  8. Anthony says:

    Where’s the crunch!? You literally told us nothing, Jake. Comeon, man. You got two weeks till KS drops. Give us some hard stuff.

  9. Looking good! The ruins look great and I’m tempted to get model railroad houses to make a suburban battle field to be replaced by the rubble whenever the Martians start shooting. Too many battlefields are in post-apocalyptic urban environments. We need more suburban combat! πŸ™‚

  10. shifty203 says:

    I haven’t seen it asked any where else yet, although I’m sure it has and I haven’t noticed, but is the Mars Attacks scenery tiles and clips compatable with the Deadzone scenery and clips?

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