Learning Curve: Is Deadzone the Gateway to Miniature Gaming?

Anyone who has been following along with Learning Curve will know that I recently started to play this game and have been thoroughly enjoying it but I’m an experienced war gamer (I’m not very good but that’s another matter) however that doesn’t stop me from thinking about games from a beginners point of view and in this case I think Deadzone has the potential to be something important for all of us.

My review of the game is twofold; firstly there is the fact that you can unbox the game, stick it together and play pretty quickly. It’s simple enough to grasp how it all works in a few turns and is great fun. On the other hand there’s an element of getting the most out of each activation and utilizing your command dice in the most effective manner making it a great game to learn as you go and I assume play at events. You get enough stuff to have balanced and straight forward games right out of the box but with enough room for growth that you’ll quickly be rubbing your chin and wondering ‘what if I just had some of these’. So overall a great investment, I can’t think of a game that competes on price. That’s my one paragraph review. It’s fun, it costs like £45 so what’s not to like?  Find out more for yourself here.

Now we get to the point. This game is in my opinion perhaps the best wargame to introduce people to the tabletop with. It’s close enough to a board game with the way troops move around using the cubes rather than your standard tape-measure. Both players feel involved all the time thanks to the alternating activations and it’s simple, brutal and quick. Let’s compare this to a few other games shall we? AoS is also pretty light at it’s core but for £64 just for the basic game (which contains a lot more figures but no scenery) so might be a good option except for the fact that you really need other things to fully get involved the box is not enough.  How about the most direct competitors? Infintity does very good intro sets, Red Veil is great at £72ish and is complete in the same manner as Deadzone but is not for the feint hearted, taking a lot of practice to fully grasp the rules enough to get started on tactics.

Ah, Shadow war: Armageddon! Well weighing in at £68 or thereabouts (though I understand this isn’t available so it’s kind of moot) but for fewer figures of a similar quality (they’re old GW kits) and not enough scenery to actually play this too requires some further investment or at least some DIY scenery building. It too whilst straight forward enough to those of us who have played war games for a while could be slightly off-putting for new guys. X-Wing is probably the closest thing to likewise but the reduced figure count holds it back for me.

So what am I getting at here? Well we all know a friend who’ll play card games or board games but nerding-out over miniatures is a step too far right? Well perhaps this, with it’s board game like price tag, reduced playing time and fast-paced brutality is exactly what you need to get these guys to have a go at. Good for youngsters too in my opinion who may not have the stamina to play for more than 40mins or so. Before you know it they’ll be saying “have you seen this (pointing at awesome game you like)? It looks awesome!” Food for thought I think -Mark

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