Deadzone Redux Army Building

I answered a question on this in the comments of an earlier post. However, knowing how often these things get missed, I thought I’d pull it out and make it a post for everyone to see.

We’re not done with this yet, so expect more details over the next few weeks as it gets more refined. Overall, my aim is to include as much character within a simple process as possible. For the moment, it works like this:

You start by choosing a commander. This choice then influences everything else. Each faction will have several commanders to pick from, each with their own way of winning battles. Some commanders are more assault-oriented, and others more shooty. Some like balanced forces and others go all-out for a single type of troops. This is all reflected in the next step.

SargeYour choice of commander determines the troop, weapon and equipment options you can pick from. So, if you pick Sergeant Howlett as your commander you’d have access to lots of assault troops and specialists that back up that way of fighting, but much less of everything else. As you’d expect.

Unit choices are currently along the lines of you can take 0-1 of these or 1-3 of those, with the options and upgrades being allocated on a per-commander basis to maximise the character of each force. So, to stick with Howlett, he must take some assault Enforcers. Anything else would simply not reflect his character.

One of the nice things about this approach is that we can simply add a new characterful force list if we make a new commander. So the Warpath background can expand as it needs to, and Deadzone can grow alongside it.

Another nice facet of this approach is that it can be used to limit the cherry-picking approach that is designed purely to win at all costs and ignores the story and character of the universe. Instead, the forces can be designed to include both advantages and disadvantages which makes for a much more interesting tactical challenge on the tabletop. Howlett is really nasty up close, but he struggles at a distance because that’s simply not how he fights. And overcoming that struggle is part of the fun 🙂

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34 Responses to Deadzone Redux Army Building

  1. Torkijo says:

    Love this idea as allows loads future growth without having to invent new races

    • Quirkworthy says:

      It does indeed, though it could accommodate new races too 🙂

      • mastertugunegb says:

        Does it allow for a player to choose their Commander (e.g. Sgt Howlett) and still get another personality type tagging along? Like if Sgt Howlett and his force want to hire Recon Unit N32-19 as a non-Commander temp? (Y’know, like Merc rules in the 1st Edition). Can you get an ‘Any Faction’ type model as your Force Commander or will they be only be able to be bought as Mercs? Like Having your Enforcers Commander as Nastanza or The Helfather, even though they might be better as Commanders for their respective faction races.

        Maybe there could be a clause for this kind of thing where someone like The Helfather or whoever on the “wrong” team only gets access to a default list -such as the 1st Edition’s ‘basic recruits’ idea for replacing losses when you can’t afford to if he were made Commander for a faction other than Forge Fathers. Could be hilarious if hiring The Helfather got a Forge Father team the option of platform boots for the whole group. 😉

        • Quirkworthy says:


          I’ve not been so worried about this sort of finessing yet. More focussed on getting the core really characterful and balanced.

          My current thinking about including non-commander individuals in an army is that they will be listed and limited like any other troop type. So some commanders will not want any scruffy mercy with them, while others might be happy to take some specific individuals, or anyone who might help. It’ll vary.

          So, case-by-case, as that’s the only way to properly characterise things 🙂

  2. recrispi says:

    I like this idea, too.
    One question, how does this work with the cards from the original DZ? Will those cards get updated or are they OK with the new DZR rules?
    Thank you!

  3. vaultage says:

    love the idea… can radically multiply the gaming options by adding a new commander profile… adds lot of gaming + fluff depth while using a couple of minis.
    hope mantic start to release regularly new commanders characters for dz with dedicated models –> again lot of added fluff + gaming interest while retaining the use of standard warpath plastic minis at a low cost.

  4. Joe K says:

    I like the theme oriented forces, sounds good so far! Can you comment on how mercs fit into this structure?

  5. Luke says:

    I really like this idea! I think it’s important to have generic commanders to make campaigns more personal.

    Also will commander choice influence missions as well?

  6. blackspiralx says:

    What an amazing idea! We were discussing on Deadzone the Podcast on how to make it so all your troops would be useful and fun to play and I think you hit the nail on the head here! Great work as always Jake!

  7. Compel says:

    My main concern with that approach is that your now buying a model you ‘must’ have with, considering how tight points traditionally are in Deadzone games might make things very limiting indeed.

    If we were to further things with current rules, say. Let’s say you take Howlett, he must have at least one assault enforcer, you probably want to take two because that’s sensible. Except now, you’re at about half your points limit, where your only really getting a true say in what maybe two or three of your models in your strike team actually are.

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting something though.

    • vaultage says:

      But the disadvantages of having to populate your team with some assault dudes will probably mean that you can hire an added assault enforcer for free or get battle tactics like getting an extra activation if you only use fight actions during your turn… Something like that

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Vaultage is on the right track here.

      Also, because the rate of carnage has been greatly increased, you need slightly more models to play DZ. Perhaps half as many again.

      Most armies have some mandatory troops as these form the core of whatever the character is the army is. However, I would expect that you will always have at least half the points to make a free choice from the rest of your list. Remember also that you choose which commander to take in the first place, so you’ve already made that selection from a number of options. If you don’t like lots of assault troops, then choose someone other than Howlett to lead your army 🙂

      This approach gives us not one Enforcer army, but one variation per commander, and that’s loads more choice.

  8. Anthony says:

    So will Mars Attacks get the update alongside the DZ races since it’s compatible with DZ?

  9. I like this idea. It speeds up army selection and it’s very reminiscent of the special characters in 40k and the casters in Warmahordes. Looking forward to more info 🙂

  10. 1st Ed Deadzone seemed odd to me that you had these faction-only Mercs (such as Sgt. Howlett, Dr.Simmonds and So on who couldn’t be your Commander despite obviously being someone suited to that task. Has the green recruits been given the chop also? They were a bit of a nuisance too. The nerve wracking first battle where you hoped they didn’t die just so next game they’d ditch their -1 to all dice tests penalty.

    Crews and rules like Rampage, Gun Crazy and Own Agenda could do with changes too. I’d certainly love Gun Crazy to be a lot less like 40k Orks in personality. (Though I still had fun with it when things went wrong.)

    • vaultage says:

      I would also like those to be fixed. The randomness on gun crazy is anuisance and does not sound like the battle savvy the orx are in wp universe

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Many of the mercs were added to DZ very late in the process and didn’t get properly integrated as I’d have liked. This approach should fix that.

      I quite like green recruits as it tells such a good story, and being nerve-wracking sounds memorable too. It’s not nailed down yet though. Still lots to do on the campaign stuff.

      CSW has been completely changed and is much better. Again, with Gun Crazy you say it is a problem and then how much fun it was. Personally, I think it works OK in the general way it is now, and was planning to rework it only to make it a slicker version of the same thing, if at all. It also has the big advantage of making the models much cheaper and more characterful. If they were steel-eyed misslemen then they would be (a) more like Enforcers, which is dull, and (b) much more expensive, so they’d see a lot less table time (which would be a shame).

      Again, this isn’t finalised though. All very much WIP.

  11. Pingback: Cards in Deadzone Redux |

  12. TSNC says:

    Does this open up the option of a commander that allows a purely Mercenary Strike Team (or A Team). Think this was something a lot of people asked for in the original Kickstarter if I remember correctly.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I was pondering this earlier. Blaine seems a likely candidate for this sort of thing…

      • mastertugunegb says:

        All Mercenary Strike Force would be a great idea to see become official. They could be the A Team… Jagged Alliance… or even a Nexus Psi ‘Suicide Squad’. Nastanza as the force’s “Deadshot”, Boomer as “Captain Boomerang”, maybe Blaine as “Bronze Tiger”, so on and so forth.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        To me it sounds like an obvious force to include. After all, if there are already a bunch of merc models, why not make use of them?

  13. Pingback: Deadzone Redux Army Building | e-Minis Magazine

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