Frantic for Mantic, or “its future war Jim, but not as we know it?” by Andrew Ovel

2 Dec

It’s 10:00 o’clock on a Saturday morning. Myself, and innumerable other gamers, have just crammed ourselves in to some small offices in Nottingham, and I’m explaining to Alessio Cavatore the rules to a game that he wrote!

How did this happen? Well let me explain.

I really enjoy playing other games apart from 40k! There I said it!

I could be dabbling my toes in some Space Hulk, getting a bit “fantasy curious” about square basing or even getting my “power armour and chainsword”  fix from my  Xbox, basically I get a lot of enjoyment from other gamming experiences.

Confession number two, I enjoy playing games made by other companies than Games Workshop!

Yes there are some really fun, and interesting games out there on the market, and NO you’re safe I’m not going to talk about all of them now.

I want to talk a bit about Warpath, Mantic’s new futuristic skirmish battle game, which to even the untrained eye has some very obvious similarities to 40K.  The scale of the models is the same, the base sizes are the same and the futuristic skirmish nature of the system is (“surprise”) not too dissimilar to a game set in a grim future, where perhaps there Is an awful lot of war! So I was more than a little interested in learning more about the game.

Some of you will have read my last blog, about using proxy models, and will know that I have started using some Mantic models in my games; I have an Ork army for 40k, and the Mantic Orx’s look good, and have a price tag that makes those 30 man Boyz squads look a lot more attractive to my accountant (read as my wife).

Well on the 12th of November it was the launch party for Warpath, and I was lucky enough to snag myself a couple of tickets to this exclusive event. This meant that I could get some hands on experience of playing the game, and get an inside look at the company too.  It’s not every day you get an invitation to have a game with Alessio Cavatore, or have the head of the company (in this case a really outstandingly nice man called Ronnie Renton) sit you down talk about their range of games and models, and tell you all about his plans for the companies future; I can’t imagine GW inviting me to Head Office to tell me about their release schedule for 6th edition 40k anytime soon, but I would be pleasantly surprised if they did (fingers crossed)!

My first impression when I walked in did not disappoint. After snagging a goody bag on the way in I was almost immediately ushered upstairs, with about 20 others, for a seminar and Q&A session with Alessio and Ronnie on Mantic’s future, and their new system Warpath. Rest assured there will be plenty of releases from the guys to keep all the 40K players, and even you square basers out there, very busy for the next year.

After the seminar, and a look at some new models and concept art in the secret room, we were released to go and enjoy actually playing the game. While milling around someone tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me if I would like to play a game of Warpath, (which was the whole reason I was there) and I immediately said yes. I was led to another room where there was a massive table, set up with two huge, beautifully painted armies waiting for me, and who was going to tech me to play Warpath? None other than Alessio himself!

Well, Alessio is a charming and very funny man, which makes him the perfect teacher; I had a really nice game. It was reassuring that even the great man himself stumbled on the rules sometimes (I had the rules printed in front of me so I could cheat and correct him when he slipped up) but the system was incredibly easy to pick up. They say you will have learned the basic by turn 3 or 4 of a game, and I think that’s true, but the simplicity of the system did not detract from the enjoyment of the game for me. The rules are considerably less complex than 40k; does that make it less fun? I think not. The rules for chess are very easy to learn, and you can pick them up in minutes and play your whole lifetime, does that make chess a simple game? Well I’m no Grand Master, and I think I know all the rules, even that obscure one for en passant!

So I played a few more games, treated myself to some more of their models, and thanked everyone for a great day. Once I got on the train back to London I started to think about this article, and what Warpath means to a 40k player.

So here is my lowdown on Warpath, and what my initial thoughts are

  1. The gameplay of Warpath is fun, and painless to learn, especially for a seasoned veteran of 40K. If you want to have some quick, fun games, maybe with a less competitive feel than a tournament this game could be worth trying game (although the Mantic guys do run a Kings of War tournament, so a Warpath one can not be far behind, one would assume). Sometimes I just want to nibble some snacks, roll some dice and have a laugh, and Warpath is a very good “beer and pretzel game” to relax and simply enjoy.
  2. Do remember the cost when you started playing 40k? How much was the 40k Rulebook alone, and then the Codex; this was before you put a model on the table? Well the good news is if you want to start playing Warpath you are probably looking at a very small cost to begin with. The rules are free, yes I said FREE, and you can download them off their website (which seems pretty smart to me as many unscrupulous people would probably just download them illegally from somewhere anyway).And what about the army list? Yes, you guessed, it free from the website. So if you have models on 25mm bases, a tape measure and some dice just sitting around you can print off the rules and start playing a few games. As I have said before saving money is one of my favourite things, because then I can go and buy more toy soldiers, and have a huge army, so this is pure WIN for me.
  3. The models are cheap too, now I’ll be honest they are not up to the standard of Citadel models, but the cost is significantly lower, and the quality is still really very good. Yes, they don’t have the multipart possibility of the Citadel range, but when I was playing across from a massive blue horde of Forge Fathers I really didn’t notice anything wrong from my side of the table, and the individual metal models are very good too. In fact Ronnie was honest enough to say that they cast them on single sprues to keep the costs down, as the whole idea is to have huge armies at a low cost.
  4. I want more army lists, as there are only 2 at the moment! I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the rest of the armies when they come out. They need to develop the back story for their universe, but this will naturally evolve in time. There is a list of the armies they plan to release, and it will be fun to see what they do for their army lists, and I think the sooner they can get those lists out the better, as it will give all those with “similar” 40k armies something to play with.
  5. The company for me is another great selling point, especially Ronnie, as they are very open about what they are doing, how they price and what they hope to do in the future. In the rulebook it asks you to play games and give them feedback, they don’t want a unit overpriced or underpowered; if something is broken they want to know, so they can fix it. And as the army lists are online they can be updated quickly, with minimal cost to the company, so you don’t get  that “codex creep” as all Warpath army lists are being updated and improved simultaneously. These guys are clearly hobbyist and want to help other hobbyists have some fun games, and for me that’s a Win too.

So you probably think I’m about to hang up my 40k hat right about now, and change to Warpath?

Well, no. I still love 40k: the rules of 40k give a level of complexity, and the 40K world has an incredibly evocative and detailed background which I’m looking for in my regular tabletop game of choice.

What I feel Warpath does provide is a nice aside from always playing 40k. It allows you to play something a bit more free flowing and quick; the rules are easy so you spend a bit more time rolling dice than checking rules. You can invite your mates over, order some pizza and have a relaxed game.

If I was teenager with limited income, running a school club, or even trying to get someone involved in war gamming for the first time then this would be an excellent system to use. The rules are easy to learn and the overheads low, so Warpath would make an excellent entry level game as stepping stone on to more complicated games like 40k.

The fact is “I’m 40K till I die” and I don’t see it replacing 40K for me, but it’s always good to have another option, so things don’t get stale.

Check out Warpath and other Mantic stuff at http://www.manticgames.com/Sci-fi.html and please let me know what you think too?

Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think about Warpath or Mantic.

Andy

 

 

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5 Responses to “Frantic for Mantic, or “its future war Jim, but not as we know it?” by Andrew Ovel”

  1. Captain Kirk December 2, 2011 at 15:17 #

    I just bought the Mantic fantasy Zombie regiment for converting my “when Blood Angels go bad” Death Company. 30 models for a very good price & loads of converting opportunities. Yes you only have a few pose options as it’s one sprue just repeated over & over, but the quality’s good & if you’re after your rank and file it’s well worth taking a look.

  2. Kaelarr December 2, 2011 at 17:15 #

    You can bet Mantic will be a force to be reckoned with. I never knew Ronnie was in charge untill I read this. I remember him from my time working for GW – He was the big cheese from the early 90’s right into the early 2000’s so took them from being quite small in the UK to a massive global company. I expect some interesting things in the future…

  3. Jamie Mckenzie December 2, 2011 at 20:47 #

    Nice article. I could be tempted by Mantic if the models were better. They remind me of the horrible mono pose models GW sold in the 90’s. Yes they are alot cheaper but Ill go for quality over quantity every time. Still I wish them luck, but unless the models improve alot I won’t be buying them.

    • 40KUK December 5, 2011 at 01:58 #

      I went on the day too and it seemed like a very cool game to me. Though Jamie you know me, I ma perhaps not always as concentrated on models as perhaps I should be.

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