GAME REVIEW: MARS ATTACKS - THE MINIATURES GAME / DESIGNER: JAKE THORNTON / PUBLISHER: MANTIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Mantic are very savvy games company who have their sights set on being a household name. Their previous games have all been very successfully crowd-funded and they have mostly targeted gamers who have become disillusioned with the miniatures and related products produced by industry giant Games Workshop. Mantic’s latest product, Mar Attacks - The Miniatures Game not only sees a sharp departure from that, but also has a broad appeal.
Based on the trading cards and comic books of the same name, Mars Attacks - The Miniatures Game pits the iconic green men from Mars against humanity. Those who have read the comics (or indeed, have seen the movie) will recognise the scenario straight away; sneaky aliens have come to take the planet Earth, and only an unlikely band of heroes and horde of soldiers can stop them.
The production values on this game are very good indeed. Not only does it come in a sensibly sized box that sits neatly on the shelf, the box is also filled with goodies. For your money you get 20 Martian grunts; all produced in nifty green plastic. The models are very well detailed and come with transparent domed helmets that need to be glued on. They look a little fiddly for those who like to paint models, but I’m sure those sort of geeks would welcome the challenge. You also get ten soldiers who are in a pleasing tan colour - they look a lot like a superior version of those plastic toy soldiers we all got to play with as children. We also get ten civilian heroes and a Martian hero called Commander Tor. The various counters come on a thick stock card and the rulebook is designed in a nifty looking comic book shape. The board itself is an 8x8 paper map, and though this looks a little flimsy, it’s more than made up for with the addition of 3D scenery - mostly burnt-out buildings.
Anyone who’s played Mantic’s other skirmish game, Deadzone, will be familiar with games set up. Line of sight affects how easy it is to shoot your opponent and the whole thing is scenario based. Players win not by beating the snot out of each other, but by achieving goals set-out in the scenario. Players take turns activating; either two models or one model or one card. Cards have effects for both factions and can really turn the tide of battle. The cards provide the game’s atmosphere and narrative, featuring everything from massive death-rays to secret military weapons.
Game play is fast and furious, and unlike other miniature games on the market, easy to pick up and quite short; an average game takes about forty minutes to play. Mars Attacks - The Miniatures Game has real potential as an entry level game for those who don’t play board games, and a big sense of anarchic fun. Recommended.