It’s another massive edition of Geeking Out, and we’re going into OVERDRIVE with the new Kaiju-crazy, Robot-rasslin’, Super-slammin’ sports game from Mantic Games!
If that’s not enough, we’re also got the heads-up on the Pulp War Supers Kickstarter from our old chums Kitbash Games – perfect for, oh, I don’t know, Hellboy RPG – with free rules for you to try RIGHT NOW!
I mean, it’s ridiculous how good we are to you.
Now I’m guessing you’ll want to find out who won our phenomenal Batman giveaway from Knight Models? Well stick around through this week’s article and find out not only who won that, but also how you can win yourself a copy of OVERDRIVE as well!
So let’s start with that…
OVERDRIVE is a new, standalone game from Mantic, set in their Warpath universe (like Dreadball) – it’s a Sci-fi slugfest, where two teams of 3 giant monsters take each other on in one of 6 different modes.
The game’s Dreadball DNA is there to see but it’s so intuitive that it’s incredibly easy to pick up if you’re not familiar with the mechanics. Now I’ll be up front with y’all: I was lucky enough to be a playtester for this game, along with my kids, so I freely admit I have a personal investment in it – but if anything, that means I’m MORE critical of it for the general public!
The box is a typically glossy affair, and comes with a lovely heavy-duty pitch, 63 heavy-duty card stock tokens, 6 glossy reference cards and manual, 12 d6 and great plastics for the main 6 giant beasties. The art style is bright and appealing, lots of neon blue and yellow with a slightly kitsch Saturday morning cartoon, Japanimation vibe that I love. Clear diagrams explain the game well, particularly how movement works with figures in bases that cover 3 hexes at once – turning could become confusing if it weren’t for how well it’s illustrated. All very reasonable for £50.
To address one potential concern straight away, the plastics are higher quality than previously seen in the first iteration of Dreadball, with minimal flash (there’s still a bit, notably on The Spawn) and much deeper-cut details, though they are all, for now, sculpts we’ve seen before (giants first made an appearance in Dreadball Xtreme). This bodes well for the new sculpts coming out at launch and beyond – more on that later. In the box you get:
Karadon – a giant shark in suit of sports armour. Probably my personal favourite. Nom-nom.
Brank Reborn – Space Dwarf ancestor in a robotic suit, for the discenrning retro mecha lover.
Skarathron – terrifying space-spider from beyond, with the added power of a ranged attack.
Synechdoche – psionic space jellyfish. The most fragile, the most finesse, and potentially the most terrifying of the lot with its mind-control ability.
Dozer – one for the true kaiju fans, the Anguirus vibe of this teleporting mutant smackdown turtle is an absolute murderous delight.
The Spawn – Dr Zoidberg with roid-rage. Woopwoopwoopwoopwoop!
The game has a number of interesting mechanics. The core mechanics are relatively simple: 4 actions per Rush (turn) IGOUGO, but with each player getting a maximum of 2 actions per Rush played on them – which means one of your players gets to go twice. Like Dreadball, the game runs off a 3d6 system, where bonuses and penalties add and remove dice from the pool (less number crunching, which is quicker and easier for casual and competitive play alike).
The game is played on a hex board with 6 scoring zones (3 in the home end, 3 in the visitor) but only one, at random, is active each turn. Also, scoring is a push-pull track, constantly going up and down, so it’s always tense and exciting right down to the last Rush of the game.
But the big – and I mean BIG – mechanic is when you trigger a player’s OVERDRIVE ability. You can only trigger one of these per turn, so it’s always a question of whether to go all-out early on or hedge it until later in the turn, and whether to go for ultra-violence or one of the more subtle abilities… say, Mind-Controlling the opposition to go after their own team-mates!
The game also features an innovative drafting mechanic: in essence, you never know which players you’re going to get. This might seem odd, but is very much part of the appeal. You line all your players up on the side of the pitch and take turns drafting your team of 3 (you can, by agreement, include duplicates, though that’s rather against the point if you ask me). Do you go for the heavy hitters? The finesse character? Or just to deny your opponent their favourite? Trying to build a balanced team is part of the challenge and joy of the game from the outset.
One of the other big selling points is that it’s really SIX different games, as it features multiple game modes, inspired by a variety of classic sports / video games:
King of Hill – standard game mode
Pass the Bomb– avoid the bomb at all costs!
Capture the Flag – make sure your team is holding the objective at the end of the turn
Killing Streak – who can knock out the most opponents?
Invade – occupy your opponent’s half… but be careful not to leave yourself open to attack
DodgeBrawl – knock out your opponent with the deadly dodgeball
DodgeBrawl will be most familiar to players of Dreadball, although there’s more than a touch of Flash Gordon to it as well. Pass the Bomb leads to inevitable quoting of Lilo and Stitch and gets increasingly hilarious, whilst Capture the Flag often feels the most tactical. Killing Streak is sheer bloody mayhem (it’s hell… in a hexagonal cell) whilst Invade is fiendishly tactical, and almost plays like an old-school Avalon Hill pen and paper tactical game – but with giant monstrous aliens, that is.
Also at launch we’re getting a pack with two all-new, never before seen figures, Shadow (an ultra-fast drone mecha with holographic shielding) and Tigrax (an enhanced battle cat and alien rider, with the ability to stalk prey across the pitch) and a deck of Coach Cards. These are designed to enhance League Play, where you customise your team’s Coach and vie for sponsorship deals (triggering new abilities off player keywords), and take the game to a whole new level. As each coach builds your own roster of players to draft from, this also gives you a reason to further customise your paintjobs.
But the mayhem doesn’t stop there! Further down the line, in December we’re getting Alpha Simian Vs Gnaw in a battle of the beasts – ever wanted to see Kong take on a giant rat, well, now is your chance – and organised play kicking off in the new year! There’s a whole host of other giants teased in the book’s fluff and artwork: we can’t wait to get more robots on the pitch, never mind a certain kaiju dragon…
So much to look forward to, so get stuck right in, right now, into Overdrive!
If you want to watch the game in action, check out the excellent intro videos on the Mantic Website.
Fancy a copy of your own? Well the game releases on the 20th and you can head over to Mantic to pick up the launch bundle of the game plus Shadow, Tigrax and the card decks for a very reasonable £80 – let’s face it that’s what you’d pay for many a big box game just by itself today. Or, of course, you could enter this week’s contest.
PULP WAR 35
But first, our good old chums Kitbash Games has launched a Kickstarter for a new range of 1/35 scale pulp-influenced Weird War II miniatures – Pulp War 35!
Their initial goal is to produce the Captain Shadow miniature kit, with more characters and conversions as stretch goals they hope to unlock during the ten days of the campaign. Pulp War is a digitally sculpted range of 1/35 scale Weird War miniatures which will be cast in high quality resin. For gamers, there is a free set of alpha versions, ‘no frills’ rules to use if you don’t have a preferred set already!
You can find the rules HERE.
Early Bird pledges will be available from launch and across the first campaign weekend to encourage backers to support this new project. Make yours Pulp War 35!
What? Oh yes, the contest…
Remember to give us your surname as well and, as always, contests are UK only (unless you’re willing to pay shipping).
We will reveal the winner in the next Geeking Out, where we’re back to the Marvel Universe with Crisis Protocol and Champions (I know that’s cards, but, shh, no one noticed…)
And of course, there’s the matter of our Knight Models Batman 3rd Edition Box (and Black Mask).
And the winner is… Paul (?) who commented a certain Amalgam universe character!
Please contact email@example.com to sort your prize (and remember to give us your surname in future)!