Knight Models have been known for a while now as the team who brought us the Batman Miniatures Game, now they have released the Marvel Universe Miniature Game and today we’re going to have a quick first impression review of the game that is fast becoming not only a favourite among wargamers but also serving as a gateway into the hobby for many Marvel and general comic book fans alike…

The Marvel Universe Miniature Game is a skirmish wargame in which you assemble teams of superheroes or Super villains (coming soon) and pit them against one another in one of the several different scenarios provided in the basic rule book along with extra scenarios included in the starter set boxes.

 

That’s the basic premise behind the game, so now let’s look at the game in a bit mechanics in a bit more detail:

  • Players assemble a hero team worth a specified points amount, the basic rulebook states a points total of 50 points and this will easily build a team of 3-5 heroes.
  • Each game round has a random first player, this starting player is determined by placing a token for each player into a bag and then drawing 1 out – the player token drawn will be the starting player for this round.
  • Once the starting player has been decided each player then takes turns to activate a single hero from their team until each team has activated all their heroes, at this point the next round will commence with a new starting player selected.
  • When a hero is activated, it has a number of Action Points equal to its power attribute, which can be spent on different actions such as moving, attacking etc, however they also have the option to bank their actions so they can be used outside they’re own activation. The more a character is hurt, the less power it has.
  • While many actions use stats off of the character cards to determine their outcome actions like attacking use dice to determine the outcome, the Marvel Universe Miniature Game uses D8 die rather than the usual D6 many gamers know and love but the premise is the same the attacker rolls 2 D8 and adds it to the attack value on the character card, this is then compared to the defence stat on the defenders character card and the difference between the 2 values is the amount of damage done.
  • Any rolls to attack etc that have a double result are considered ‘critical hits’ all attacks which result in a critical hit will gain +1 to the result and some characters will gain special attributes from a ‘critical hit’.
  • To perform an attack you must first determine if the attacker has line of site to the target this is done by checking the size attribute on the character card for a hero’s height whilst the bar of the model determines the width of the model (this creates a cylinder representing the space the hero occupies) if a head sized portion of this area can be seen then the defender is deemed to be within the attacker’s line of site.
  • Heroes can also interact with the environment in the form of throwing scenery – this is measured against your hero’s strength; the stronger he is the larger scenery you can throw.

Hopefully that quick summary gives you a basic grasp of how the rules work for the Marvel Universe Miniature Game now let’s look at the minis and what you need to get playing:

  • 1 x 50 point team of heroes per player (a starter box is perfect though).
  • 3 – 5 x D8 die per player.
  • 1 x Tape measure.
  • 1 x 3’ X 3’ playing area (36 inches X 36 inches or 92 cm X 92 cm).
  • 1 x first player token per player (although one of each player’s die could be used instead if they are different colours).
  • 1 x bag for player tokens.
  • A LOT of scenery…

Now as you can see the majority of the items needed to play Marvel Universe Miniature Game are pretty much staples of any miniature wargamers arsenal of accessories. Scenery plays a big part in many wargames these days especially skirmish games so many gamers will already have mass amounts of terrain laying around, however if you don’t boxes of terrain laying around the good news is that terrain that can bought at very competitive prices these days from almost all retailers such as Nerdvana Gaming or if budget is a worry then it can be made at home very cheaply from items laying around the house.

Having addressed all the essentials of the game from rules to what you need to play let’s get to the meat & potatoes of this review…just how does this game play…well I can say I really enjoyed playing the Marvel Universe Miniature Game, it’s simple rules make it really easy to just pick up and play with anyone with very little teaching time.

The quality of the minis is really good and the starter sets make starting up a team (or 2!) really affordable, this aspect really appealed to the painter in me (no matter how bad I am) as there is something really cinematic about seeing a team of really well known superheroes painted to the best of your ability ready to duke it out with a worthy opponent. Which leads me onto the strongest point of playing the Marvel Universe Miniature Game – its cinematic nature, Knight Models really nailed the cinematic feel of the Marvel movies helping to bring it to the tabletop in the form of the Marvel Universe Miniature Game, to have Iron Man throwing a car at Cyclops downtown whilst Captain America and Wolverine trade blows down in the dock yard the game oozes theme making each game feel like one of the stunning set pieces in we all know and love from a summer superhero blockbuster!

The only real drawback to the Marvel Universe Miniature Game is that at the time of this review there are very few models available with starter sets only available for the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy with the planned upcoming release of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Also Knight Models have stated that the Brotherhood of Mutants will not be a starter set and so will not include a small form copy of the rules like the starter sets, however Knight Models have also announced that the rule book included in the starter sets will now be available as a free to download PDF from their website. I personally think that releasing the rules as a free to download PDF is a great idea to bring more new people to the game, also with a starter set costing just £27.99 from Nerdvana Gaming it’s not a terrible cost to get into this great little game.

Conclusion:

I can honestly say that the Marvel Universe Miniature Game really is a great fun to play skirmish game with a solid yet easy to teach rule set, whilst it isn’t perhaps the most in depth skirmish game, for me it brings something different (quite literally) to the table and that is the cinematic atmosphere it generates, the fast paced game play and the ingenious implementation of scenery interaction when combined with some stunning minis and a great use of the Marvel I.P makes this great little pick up and play game something I strongly urge anyone to try.

Whilst I would say that the lack of minis at the moment could be concerning for anyone looking to get into the game I think it’s safe to say that Knight Models have proven that they stand behind their I.P products when you consider the size of the Batman Miniatures Game they have also released.

Finally all I can say in conclusion is get me some @%£&*€¥ Chimichangas coz I’ve got a Deadpool to paint for my X-Men team!

 


FNT100The Ultimate Guard Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ is Ultimate Guard’s second edition of Ultimate Guard’s successful Fliip ‘N’ Tray single deck box line the question Nerdvana Gaming is looking at today is just how good is the Ultimate Guard Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ and does it deserve the premium price it commands? To assess this we will be looking at a number of different factors including; build quality, protection, usability, aesthetics and overall value for money.

The original edition of the Ultimate Guard Flip ‘N’ Tray was fairly groundbreaking in its design, a deck box with a unique minimalistic styling whilst including several features not often seen in a deck box up to that point which included a removable tray for your cards to sit in and a second remove able tray for counters and life spin down die (d20), these 2 trays were easily and individually accessible from the 2 magnetically sealing flaps on the main body of the deck box. The whole box was externally stitched and wrapped in Ultimate Guard’s patented Xenoskin whilst the interior was coated with a smooth plush microfibre surface which gave a fantastic feel of luxury, however the original Flip ‘N’ Tray was let down by its capacity meaning that double sleeved decks over 80 cards could not be stored in the Flip ‘N’ Tray reliably.

Build Quality:FNT 100 U2
Ultimate Guard pride themselves in the quality of their products and the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ is no exception to this, the individual external flaps are stitched securely and feel strong enough for hundreds of opening and closings, the entire exterior (including the flaps) is stitched with Xenoskin which has a premium feel the box structure itself is solid and strong including the shelf which separates the accessory tray from the card storage slot, the interior is coated with a premium feeling microfibre to keep your cards in a safe scratch free environment. The removable accessory tray and card tray are also externally and internally coated in the same way as the box structure and like the box itself have a strong structure.

Protection:
The Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ has got a solid base structure which will easily survive everyday knocks and bumps and even stuffed in a packed bag the Flip ‘N’ Tray will easily survive being packed in tightly although if you are regularly tightly packing your deck case into a bag or rucksack then a solid deck case like the Ultimate Guard Monolith deck case would probably be a better option. The magnetic opening of the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ is of a very high quality, it is capable of extremely vigorous shaking without loosening or opening even with a full heavy accessory tray and a 100 card double sleeved deck! The fastening mechanism is of such high quality we’ve never seen it in a magnetic closing deck case and in fact the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ performs just as well as many of the more traditional deck cases without scrimping on build quality.

Usability:FNT 100 P2
The simple design of the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ makes it very user friendly, the individually opening flaps for access to each removable tray mean that you can access whatever part of the deck case you want without having to expose the part you don’t need, once open the removable trays are a tight enough for so as not to slip around whilst still maintaining the ability to easily remove the tray, the removable trays also mean that you have a place to store your tokens, life counters and any other small accessories you carry along with any sideboard or token cards, keeping them out of the play area neatly and securely

Aesthetics:
The new Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ keeps the same look and feel of its predecessor, still externally stitched with the patented Xenoskin exterior and internal microfibre the premium feel of the Flip ‘N’ Trap 100+ is just as good as ever, the Flip ‘N’ Tray also keeps the ability to separately access either tray by keeping the 2 magnetic sealing clasps which as mentioned above are more than capable of standing up to even the most rugged and abusive testing. The major difference between the original Flip ‘N’ Tray is the size, Ultimate Guard have looked to fit the magic 100 double sleeved cards into the Flip ‘N’ Tray without increasing the size drastically and they have succeeded with some very lateral thinking, rather than just widen the original Flip ‘N’ Tray design they have turned everything sideways meaning that the rather than the slightly rectangular form factor of its predecessor the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ has a much neater cube shape to it.

FNT 100 B1Overall Value for Money:
The Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ has a recommended retail price of £18.99 (or £16.99 here at Nerdvana Gaming saving you 10%) and Ultimate Guard have proven once again that the build quality and styling of their case makes it well worth every penny, from the premium feel of the Xenoskin exterior, microfibre interior combination to the sturdy construction and secure magnetic closure, the Flip ‘N’ Tray 100+ proves on every level that it is a premium product that commands its premium price and is thoroughly deserving of its higher price point especially for the player who wants to make a bit of a splash on their next card gaming meet up.


Dropzone Commander is the beauStartertiful epic (10mm) scale miniature battle game from Hawk Wargames, Dropzone Commander burst onto the scene at Salute 2012 to unparalled praise for the exquisite and intricate miniatures that had been crafted for such a small scale war game when traditionally detail levels suffered. Now 4 years on Nerdvana Gaming will take a look at Dropzone Commander and see whether it scratches the 10mm itch for us.

The story of Dropzone Commander centres on the fight of the United Colonies of Mankind or the UCM to retake Earth and the Cradle Worlds back from the Scourge, a race of  vicious aliens who invaded Earth and the Cradle Worlds in the 25th Century, this invasion decimated the human race during the golden age of their evolution reducing them to nothing more than a collection of outposts on the frontier planets, Over the next 150 years (taking us to the year 2670) the frontier colonies have expanded and united under the banner of the UCM putting aside historical human differences to fight for a common goal: the annihilation of the Scourge one planet at a time and the reclamation of Earth and the Cradle Worlds. This will not be easy, Mankind has lost much of its advanced tecnology during the time of Scourge’s occupation and there are other that may (or may not) be willing to unite with the UCM to aid them in their mission

Dropzone Sabre

The UCM Sabre, backbone of the UCM forces

The Races of Dropzone Commander are:

The UCM: The United Colonies of Mankind are a force forged out of desperation in the face of The Scourge. Colonial Legionnaires are well trained and equipped, and form the core of UCM forces. They are backed-up by legions of Battle Tanks which join them in huge Dropship deployments, backed-up by air support in the form of their infamous airpower to land decisive blows in their fight against The Scourge.

The Scourge: The Scourge are a horrific race of Neuro-Parasites, that thrive on the conquest of other species. The forces of the Scourge go to war with legions of Puppet Soldiers controlled by their Alien masters, supported by their horrific Grav Tanks and Walkers All of this with the single purpose; to Conquer and enslave the Galaxy.

The PHR: The Post Human Republic turned away from Mankind in the last days of the Golden Age. They follow the guidance of an enigmatic Alien Sphere that fell to Earth before the Scourge Invasion. They have transcended their frail human origins, and become a race of Cyborg warriors. They fight for survival, and forces are composed of heavily armoured infantry, or faster light infantry supported by Bi-pedal Battle walkers and artillery.

The Shaltari: The enigmatic Shaltari Tribes have traversed the stars for millenia. Their advanced technology has enabled them to transcend even the limitations of Death. Their infantry go to war in their impressive battle-suits, secure in the knowledge that should they die, their consciousness will inhabit a new body to continue their existence. backed up by graceful grav-tanks and warstriders. The Shaltari do not use primitive drop-ships like the other races; they use sophisticated Gateways that teleport their forces to the very heart of the battle.

Dropzone Commander uses a familiar D6 (6 sided dice) system to run the core of the game and miniature wargamers of most systems will find playing Dropzone Commander intuitive and familiar from deploying armies before the game start on opposing sides of the battlefield to traditional statlines for individual models and weapons, the main difference with Dropzone Commander is that the unit types you want to take are firstly merged into battle-groups for purposes of activation order and the limitations that the group receives. These battle groups consist of HQ, Armour, Infantry, Special and Fleet, these battle groups have a maximum points value, however no single battle group may be worth over one third of the total army points value helping to avoid the dreaded ‘death star’ unit many other games suffer with. Battle groups also have a minimum model count depending on the point size of your game (i.e: in smaller skirmish level games players are allowed to field a maximum of 5 battle groups, 1 of which must be of the Armour class).

Starter 2

Dropzone Commander 2 Player Starter Set

Hawk Wargames’ detemination to not re-write the book of miniature wargaming is what I feel gives Dropzone Commander it’s major strength, the rules are so fluid and intuitive that rather than concentrating on how rule A works with rule B or how a weapon is going to damage your vehicle you can actually immerse yourself in the battle, placing yourself in the shoes of a general commanding his army on the field of battle a major factor helping this is Hawk Wargames’ beautiful minis meaning a painted army of Dropzone Commander really is an impressive sight on even the most basic of games tables. However Dropzone Commander’s biggest strength also helps to create its biggest weakness, I refer to the price point of Dropzone Commander, the beautiful ships and tanks that make Dropzone Commander so epic on the table mean higher production costs which in turn means that they command a higher price point than most of their contemporaries, also many wargamers will not have 10mm scale terrain suitable for a game which can lead to many gamers interested in a casual try of Dropzone Commander will pass it up. Hawk Wargames have listened to these issues and the Dropzone Commander 2 player starter set attempts to address them to a certain extent by creating a bundle that not only includes good sized UCM and Scourge starter armies but also the rulebook, quick reference sheets and a massive number of other goodies including 10 Dropzone Commander scale cardboard buildings of a very good quality.

Dropfleet

Dropfleet Commander Coming Soon

Overall at Nerdvana Gaming we wish we hadn’t waited so long to try out Dropzone Commander, the simple and intuitive mechanics mean the game offers a great experience with epic visuals once your army is out on the table. For those of you thinking about a flutter we strongly recommend that the 2 player starter set, the contents offers good value for money whilst not scrimping on the model count for some nice sized games which can easily be built on to increase your army size. Dropzone Commander definitely is a game worth playing and with Hawk Wargames now working on producing Dropfleet Commander after a hugely successful Kickstarter here at Nerdvana Gaming we’re waiting for a copy to be available for us to salivate over because if it’s anything like its big brother it’s going to be a blast to play!

 

 


Antares 1Today on Nerdvana Gaming we’re taking a look at Beyond the Gates of Antares the latest sci-fi tabletop miniature wargame designed by Rick Priestly (of Rogue Trader and the original Warhammer fantasy game for those of you old enough to remember!) and ask the burning question…is this a good miniatures game or does it blend in with so many of the other sci-fi miniature games on the market?
Let’s start with a brief introduction to the universe of Beyond the Gates of Antares.

Beyond the Gates of Antares is set in the distant future, during the seventh age of Antarean Space, a vast network of inter-dimensional gates around the star of Antares were created by an ancient race. This network has allowed the human race to expand across billions of worlds, over these countless millennia the human race has splintered into factions with each having their own quirks and style, they are:

The PanHuman Concord: The most technological race of all the the Antarean factions the PanHuman Concord are the combination of man and machine, the pinnacle of their achievements is the IMTel system which has linked the entire faction through the NuHu Mandarins – rulers of the Concord.

The Isorian Shard: Once part of the PanHuman Concord the Isorian Shard encountered an alien intelligence which fused with their IMTel network corrupting and enriching the Isorians with the inhuman technologies they were exposed to. The infection left the IMTel of the Isorians incompatible with that of the Concord and left the 2 rival systems locked in an eternal war for supremacy.

The Freeborn: Proud and independant the Freeborn are a space faring race of traders who travel the galaxies on their huge spacecraft, purveyors of the finest goods and high end military technologies, the Freeborn are the greatest mercantile power in all of Antarean space.

The Algoryn Prosperate: Centuries of endless warfare on all fronts have hardened the Algoryn race surrounded by rival factions the Algoryn are ruled by the mightiest of warriors as they’re race fight day and night, the young growing up on the battlefield just to maintain the independance of their people.

The Boromites: The Boromites are a highly secretive race that are seen by many  wanderers, a technology shunning race of nomads and miners, their cities built on decrepit technology, but the Boromites harbour a dark secret within their hierarchy, darker than anyone dare suspect…

Antares 2

The Ghar use their giant Battlesuits to dominate their enemies

The Ghar Empire: The Ghar were bio-engineered to fight, built for one purpose – distruction of all those who stand in their way…engineered in the aincent past their origins have become lost in time all that is know about the Ghar is that they can not deviate from their primary directive and that their blind hatred for anything other than other Ghar is unerring.

Beyond the Gates of Antares takes Alessio Calvatore and Rick Priestly’s tried and tested Bolt Action game system, tweeked the way the rules work and thus created the rule set for Beyond the Gates of Antares. The rules for Beyond the Gates of Antares function in a similar fashion to those of Bolt Action in that players have 1 dice for each of their squads, each turn all yours and your opponent’s die are placed into a blind pool and then each player takes turns to draw from the pool – if a dice of your corresponding colour is pulled by yourself or your opponant then you get to use that dice to activate one of your squads with one of their various actions (Down, Ambush, Rally, Run, Fire or Advance) this is repeated until all dice from the blind pool have been removed and so all units have been activated once – at which point the die are returned to the pool and the turn re-starts. This random activation actually helps to balance the game as you find yourself constantly questioning which unit to activate when so as to maximise a squad’s effectiveness whilst minimizing the number of pins they can potentially take from your opponent’s firepower.

The Different options to use on the order dice correspond to the different orders you can apply to your squads within the game, put in a simplified way:

Down (Your squad hits the dirt, they can’t move or shoot but they are now harder to hit),
Ambush (Your squad lies in wait for the enemy to move into their firing line and then opens fire on them),
Rally (Your squad steady their nerves to fight on by removing X number of Pin Markers),
Run (Your squad run towards the enemy but can no longer shoot),
Fire (Your squad aim their weapons and fire but do not move),
Advance (Your squad march towards the enemy and open fire)

Each squad has a stat line which gives you the figures for the ability level of your squad to carry out the corresponding order, to be successful you must roll below whatever the applicable stat number is on a d10 i.e: Your general purpose drone is shooting at your opponent’s unit, the drone has an accuracy of 5, to score a hit you must roll below a 5 on a d10…

This simple yet satisfying use of the d10 system flows through all aspects of the game, from the fast and fluid combat which ends after a single round with a clear winner (who can only opt to continue combat for 1 further round) to agility tests for moving through one of the various types of terrain listed in the rulebook the simple d10 system makes Beyond the Gates of Antares feel different enough from its historically themed cousin whilst keeping Bolt Action’s easy learning curve.

Beyond the Gates of Antares is a very enjoyable game distinguishing itself just enough from it’s historical wargaming cousin Bolt Action to make it more than simply a science fiction iteration whilst keeping the intuitive nature of the system making it easy to pick up and learn. The rules and backstory are simply wonderful to read and the rulebook has many interesting pieces of artwork and digital blueprint images in full colour to illustrate the rules, aside from a few minor issues overall such as the rulebook’s lack of a comprehensive glossary section we found very little wrong with the mechanics themselves and with a little digging using the contents most in game queries can be found in the rule book.

Antares 3

The mighty warriors of the Algoryn

Overall here at Nerdvana Gaming we have had tons of fun playing Beyond the Gates of Antares and at the moment the special Launch edition of The Xilos Horizon 2 Player Starter Set proves great value for money as it includes the hard back edition of the rulebook, an exclusive miniature and plastic tokens, templates and pin markers, however the launch edition of the Xilos Horizon is only available for a limited time so grab it from the Nerdvana Store while stocks last! For us Beyond the Gates of Antares has proven itself a strong sci-fi battle game capable of play from skirmish level to large scale epic warzones and we here at Nerdvana Gaming are definitely going to be adding to our collections from the entire Beyond the Gates of Antares range whilst waiting with baited breath to see what new units Warlord Games have in store for this interesting new franchise.

 


Today’s post is on tactics for the Grey Knights Purgation Squads. These guys are the power armoured specialists in handling the superior weaponry available to the Grey Knights like the mighty Psycanon and the heretic cleansing Incinerator. Today we’re going to look at the best tactics and weapon load outs available to deliver these Grey Knights heavy weapon teams into the all important weapon range without getting them so close that your enemy can engage them in close combat.

So the Grey Knights Purgation Squads come equipped as standard in the same way as their brothers in the Grey Knight Strike Squads with a Nemesis Force Sword and Stormbolter along with Frag, Krak and Psyk-out Grenades. However the Grey Knights Purgation Squads have their own unique Psychic Power, in addition to Hammerhand the squad can elect to cast Astral Aim allowing the squad to fire their weapons upon any target within range of their weapons without the need for line of sight, ok so this does convey a 4+ cover save, but this can’t be modified meaning your enemy’s pitiful attempt to go to ground doesn’t convey a +1 to this save but also if your squad are using holy fire to purge your enemies this will convey no cover save at all!!

Now lets look at the optional extras you can give your Grey Knights Purgation Squad and then move onto some suitable tactics and loadouts:

Options available:
May take up to 5 additional Grey Knights – Great for protecting your precious Psycanons!
Up to 4 Grey Knights may replace their Storm Bolter AND Nemesis Force Sword with 1 of the following:
Incinerator – Definitely worth it for free!
Psilencer – Probably not!
Psycanon – A must if you want to deal supreme damage…go big or go home!
Any model may replace his Nemesis Force Sword with 1 of the following:
Nemesis Force Halberd – Handy if your worried about getting stuck in Combat.
Nemesis Daemon Hammer – Great for bashing the big Gribbles!
A Pair of Nemesis Force Falchions – had the potential to be amazing but now too pricey and only really good for wound allocation.
1 Grey Knight may replace his Nemesis Force Sword with a Nemesis Warding Stave – far too pricey for a single model…especially in a squad more geared towards shooting.
The entire squad may take Psybolt ammo – Not bad if your taking a full 10 man squad or not upgrading to a full compliment of heavy weapons.
The Justicar may Master-Craft any of his weapons – Not bad if you have the points spare and he has a Psycanon!
The Justicar may take a Teleport Homer – handy if you’re using these guys to burn up the enemy and then bring in your squads to mop up but risky really as they ideally want to be away from the battle and shoot from distance.

So there we have the pros and cons to all the available options for your Grey Knights Purgation Squad, now lets look at of the best loadouts for your squads to make them as competitive as they can be:

Grey Knights Purgation Squad 1: 180pts
5 Grey Knights
4 Psycanons

Use this heavily armoured but small squad in conjunction with the Grey Knights Razorback with the devastating Psybolt ammo loaded assault cannon and use this to light the skies of your enemies with the righteous zeal of the Emporer.

Grey Knights Purgation Squad 2: 220pts
10 Grey Knights
4 Incinerators
5 Halberds
1 Daemon hammer

Take these guys in the Rhino and steam them at the enemy preferably in a twin spearhead using them to jump out and flame anything by hiding behind their armoured transport and using Astral Aim to incinerate your foes, using your halberds to mop up and the Nemesis Daemon hammer to take out any big nasties that may be in your way.

Conclusion:
So that in a nutshell is the Grey Knights Purgation Squad the weaponry these guys can wield is truly formidable in the 40k universe but what makes these marines truly formidable is the sheer number they can wield in their basic squad numbers, using these guys as your heavy support in a Rhino Rush list or bringing up the rear whilst your Grey Knights Strike or Grey Knights Interceptor Squads rush forward towards your enemy to deal out the bloody justice of the Emperor