Reviewing WZR: My first Warzone game (NAGA @ 14-01-2015)

prodos games white     warzone

Warzone Resurrection is a tabletop miniatures (28mm scale) skirmish game, set in the Mutant Chronicles dark SciFi Future made by PRODOS Games.

http://prodosgames.com/

The Solar System is besieged by abominations from the dark beyond, infernal hybrids of undead alien flesh brought into existence by the Dark Symmetry. Mankind is divided into five rival MegaCorporations concerned only with profit and territory as they tear the inner worlds apart in bitter, internecine war. United in faith under the Brotherhood, Mankind may yet prevail – divided, they shall surely fall as the Dark Legion sweeps all before it.

Some time ago Tris, my Hairy Gamer bromance and erstwhile partner in gaming crime, & I invested in a game that looked really interesting, PRODOS’ AvP.  At this point I hadn’t heard of PRODOS or any of their games.

Subsequently we attended a PRODOS Games Day at Wayland Games in Southend where we met Matthew Edgeworth (Medge), a PRODOS Crusader for Warzone Resurrection, and Rob Alderman, Global Head of Sales for PRODOS.  We had a q&a with Rob, we played some games, we saw the product and met some other players.  All in all fun was had and our keen levels for AvP were on the rise.  As a consequence of this day I decided to apply to become a PRODOS Crusader for AvP, which means attending shows, representing the game and PRODOS at events and running demo games to bring new blood into the hobby.  I figured as I was joining the PRODOS fold I ought to learn to play their other big game, Warzone Resurrection.

After asking around Rob suggested a close friend of his Allan Powell could give me a demo, as he is a Crusader too, and I could learn the ropes.  Before we could get our first game in I bought the Cybertronic Starter Box and Rulebook and decided to take the plunge and just go for it.

Last night Allan Powell and Mattski Val ran a pair of games so two other players could get a feel for the game and maybe begin to play.  The two players were Brent Jay (he of the STAW 3:The Search for Brent fame) and me.  I had by this point managed to read some fluff and background stuff so knew some stuff but not enough to jump straight into a game (which will bring me to a point later).  Armed with a Rulebook, a tape measure and a handful of D20 I set about learning the WZR ropes.

We played on a large 4ft x 6ft table.  Brent and I played eachother on the left and Allan and Mattski on the right.  There was an imaginary divide down the table.  Brent would command a Starter Box worth of Dark Legion whilst I had a Starter Box worth of Mishima.  Dark Legion are the “bad guys” of WZR, demonic undead monsters released from behind a sealed asteroid in the deepest recesses of our Solar System.  They are led by a Nepharite, a demonic god using evil dark magic powers and his entire force uses a form of necromancy to potentially be able to resurrect dead troops.  Mishima on the other hand are one of the “big five” mega corporations originating on Earth but now spread to various interstellar objects in our Solar System.  They are Space Samurai based on Feudal Japan.  They are led by Captain Hiroko, a heroic samurai leader blessed with Ki powers to inspire and buff his troops.  There are other forces available but for the purposes of this I won’t digress.

Each of us had two basic squads, a vehicle or heavy support option and our Leader and I am lead to believe that pretty much each Starter Box has the same sort of setup allowing for a balanced “straight out of the box” game.

Warzone Resurrection uses a D20 based system wherein all stats are given out of 20 and all actions (rolling to hit, armour tests, break tests, pinning tests) are decided by rolling under the appropriate stat.

Every model has two AP (Action Points) per turn (unless stated otherwise on its card I.E. the Mishima Meka has 3 AP) which can be spent on a variety of basic (1 point) and advanced (2 point) actions. Models are activated individually and although bound by squad coherency can act relatively independently. Alternatively models in a squad can spend points to contribute to combined actions which produce a single more powerful attack for use against larger, more dangerous foes. It’s quite an intuitive system and seems quite flexible.

Within a unit, vehicles or heroes activation it has a number of options; it can move up to its full M (Movement) measured in inches, it can spend its two AP to “run” (moving up to twice its full M in inches), it can aim its weapon (to gain a +2 to its first RS (Ranged Skill) Test that turn), it can “engage” in melee by moving upto twice its M (movement) and finishing its action within CCWR (Close Combat Weapons Range) then performing a CC (Close Combat) test, it can perform an action whereby it holds back a shooting action for a later phase called Sentry or it can perform any action listed on its stat card.  This is the absolute basics.  There may be more available but these are what we used in our basic intro game.

There are some interesting rules which seem like an attempt to inject a bit more narrative and flavour into the game itself such as sniping rules, different types of abilities and traits that define and make each troop type a specialist unit with a style.  There are also different types of weapons such as Plasma, Gas or Piercing which means they are more or occasionally less effective against certain kinds of armour and troops such as undead troops being immune to gas weapons and robotic troops being immune to Dark Symmetry magic.  The rules also allow bonuses to template weapons used against targets in cover.

At this point it became clear that the mechanics were very very similar to those used by AvP so each turn in broken into phases, yours and your opponents.  Each turn you roll for initiative to see which of you will activate first.  This is one of the few rolls in WZR or AvP where rolling high is good.  You roll a D20 and compare, highest wins and therefore activates first.  Each player activates one of its units, vehicles, support options or heros first and then uses all of its AP (Action Points) for that round before play passes to the other player.  You continue with this until each force has activated and used the AP’s of each of its units, vehicles or heros, etc.

You also generate resource cards.  Resource cards are generated by your forces themselves, a Leader/Hero type unit generates 3 cards per turn, each unit/squad commander generates 1.  So both Brent and I were generating 5 cards per turn; one for each squad and three for our Leaders.  These cards can be used to allow models to perform an extra action (per model NOT unit), increase RoF (Rate of Fire) of a ranged weapon, increase RoA (Rate of Attack) of a close combat weapon or power an ability listed on their card.  This mechanic forces you to think wisely about spending these cards as you can create a very powerful individual stacking actions and increased RoF to decimate entire squads or increase your entire army.  The beauty of the system is that your opponent does not know where those cards will be spent until it comes time to “turn and burn” them.  At the end of the turn any unused resource cards are lost and the entire pile resets dependant on which models are left.  Once you begin to lose commanders and squad leaders you start to lose cards.

The resource mechanics seem to be one of the most innovative parts of this rule set.

Army/force selection is based on an organization chart similar to other gaming systems.   This chart grows with the size of game being played. There are also options to swap out some slots in your organisation – for example exchanging a heavy vehicle slot for two light vehicle/monster slots or vice versa. You can select a ready made Warlord/Hero/Leader or you can create a custom lord or warlord as an alternative to the existing special characters. These options allow you to alter their base stats, modify their weapons and equipment and give them any of a vast array of special rules, all for the appropriate points costs.  You select a type of package for your Warlord and that can fundamentally change how he/she works.

Combat is refreshingly easy to navigate through and exactly the same as the AvP sessions we had at Wayland Games.  When firing a ranged weapon you must roll a RS (Ranged Skill) test using a D20.  Roll under your value and you hit.  A roll of 1 is critical and auto wounds.  On a model with 1 W (Wound) that means death, on a multi wound model it removes a single wound.  Other criteria also need to be factored in such as any cover (light cover modifies by a -2 to test, heavy cover a -4 and it stacks), aiming (a +2 to the next RS Test) and any special abilities that have been applied.

If the shot hits then the defending model rolls its AV (Armour Value) if it has one.  Some weapons have a very detrimental affect on armour and apply modifiers such as minuses and some shots can completely ignore armour.  Roll below your AV on a D20 and you’ve saved the shot.  Fail and take a wound.  Some weapons are have better RoF (Rate of Fire) and others have a single shot.  Each shot is tested seperately.  On a roll of 20 on a shot and your model loses any further actions.  This is true of CC (Close Combat) tests too.  An unmodified 1 always hits and an unmodified roll of 20 always fails.

When “engaging” in melee or Close Combat the same mechanics are true.  The attacking model rolls its CC (Close Combat) stat.  Roll a D20 and attempt to roll below your CC.  “Engaging” or charging an enemy model grants a +2 modifier as can other special abilities etc.  Again you can “turn and burn” a resource card to increase the RoA (Rate of Attack) of your close combat weapons.  You need not be in base to base contact to attack in melee.  Some melee weapons have a CCWR (Close Combat Weapons Range), a short range that allows the model to attack from 2″ or 3″ away dependant on the stats of the weapon.  If the attack hits then again the model attempts to roll below its AV stat applying any modifiers from the attacking weapon or special abilities.  If the attack hits and isnt saved it wounds.

Thats it for now, thats about all my sleep deprivation addled brain can recall at this second in time.

I will preface my summary with the statement I like PRODOS games, Im a PRODOS Crusader but I will be honest.

The game is very quick and easy to learn.  It is also cheap to get involved with as each Starter box represents a balanced force that can be played once assembled and roughly £35 gets you 12-16 models and a stack of cards.  The miniatures are superbly defined and gloriously detailed but this can also be a problem too.  Some models have joints and limbs so fine and small that they can easily break.  I myself had a broken model straight out of the box BUT a quick email to PRODOS resolved this very quickly and a FULL new model was dispatched immediately.  You simply cannot fault customer service like that.

The mechanics are simple and easy and within a turn or two both my opponent and I were able to play confidently.  There is also sufficient depth and difference in the abilities and forces that the game doesnt feel  “samey”.  The resource system allows you do do all manner of different things and that keeps the game constantly changing and unpredictable.  Its an advanced system and you can play the basic wargame without it but i feel its an intuitive and innovative system that add depth and interest.

The rulebook is beautiful if a little large.  Its nearly 290 pages of charts, fluff, tables and information.  It took me reading 25 pages of fluff and background to find the first rules.  Then the rules were clear and concise although I do feel the rulebook could do with a quick start guide to enable easy starter games.  The diagrammatical examples are clear and the artwork is nice and in keeping with the themes and style of the game.  There are a lot of scenarios and support for playing the game and each force in the game.  Each corporation/force/army has its own section within the book giving the feel and flavour the game designers are trying to evoke.  Their specific troop/unit types and the rules for each are shown clearly with all the upgrade options and weapon stats.

All in all it is a really strong game, with a nice feel and better than most other games miniatures.  It seriously competes with the other similar games on the market and I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking at getting into a well supported and up and coming 28mm skirmish game.  A lot of work and thought has gone into the rulebook, miniatures and mechanics which makes the game a success.

Overall I would give Warzone Resurrection a huge 9 out of 10.

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