When we started looking at updating the rules, I read a lot of comments online and talked to a lot of DZ fanatics about what they saw as strengths and weaknesses in the game. The chaps at Mantic also had ideas about what they thought had worked and what had fallen short. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and allows you to see all sorts of things you could have done better 🙂
I took this collection of broad notions and started working on mechanics that would make them happen in a final product. After some experiments I pitched a series of different versions to Ronnie and the crew, and they liked one that was quite dramatically modified from the original. Well, it is and it isn’t. The vibe is recognisably Deadzone and the core rules are sometimes identical, it’s just that I’ve done a great deal of streamlining to make it faster and bloodier so it feels more heavily changed that it actually is.
Regardless of the technicalities of the rules, what’s great for me is that everyone who’s tried the new game raves about how much they love it 🙂
I’m not going to tell you all the details just yet, but let me explore some of the basics.
Cards in DZ fall into 3 types: stat, battle and mission.
As I mentioned in my overview of the new army building, this is now focussed firmly on the commander’s character, and for this reason the individual trooper stat cards are no longer as useful. What I’m experimenting with currently is an army reference sheet – one per commander – that has all his army’s details on. So, if you had reference cards for 3 different Enforcer commanders there would be considerable overlap, but each would be different. This army reference sheet would therefore be used both for building an army and playing the game, which I find quite appealing. In terms of size, I’m thinking no bigger than both sides of a single A4 sheet, and smaller if we can get all the info in less space (or on one side). This would include the stats for the army, unit selection options, weapon stats, army special rule and missions.
Battle cards have been replaced by a more dynamic system that avoids some of the cancelling effect the earlier cards had: I play a card and you play a counter which takes time but has no actual effect on the tabletop. I don’t mind this approach to card play in the right place, I just think that the new approach is far superior for Deadzone. You’ll notice how I didn’t tell you exactly what this approach was. It’s one of the core changes in DZR and I’ll come back to deal with it in its own post so I have the room to discuss it properly. Stick to cards for now.
The final type of old cards are the mission cards. I really like the idea of faction specific missions and felt it could be developed further. The new army building approach is commander focussed, so I wanted to make the mission characterisation that level too. I’ve kept a couple of core missions that anyone can do, but with more individualised missions the definition is at the commander-specific army level, meaning that these will be on the army reference sheet I mentioned above and will be appropriate for that specific army. Obviously there will be overlap between factions, it’s just that the specific combination of missions can be tailored to suit each commander, which should allow us to balance the armies better.
So the old cards are superseded by better ways to do similar things. You still have stats and missions on hand to refer to, and can still change the course of the battle in your favour by carefully using a limited resource of tweaks and buffs. It’s just all slicker now 🙂