Monday, 1 February 2016

Wasteman Kickstarter review.

It’s nice when Kickstarter works you know, when it does exactly what it is supposed to, what it was designed to do. In this instance, Kickstarter has done that. It has given Jason Fairclough the opportunity to turn his modest range of post apocalyptic styled miniatures into a full fledged game, to realize a dream he has had for many years and hopefully give birth to something that will grow (mutate?) and go from strength to strength.

The Mutant Maestro - Jason Fairclough

This is the Age of the Wasteman.

The Kickstarter was unremarkable and that perhaps is a good thing, a well though out campaign (maybe a little light on the pledge levels but that's about it) with some modest stretch goals saw the KS fund with time to spare. From then on Jason did a very decent job of keeping people updated and although there has been a slight snag with the larger resin models and bases he was upfront about it and made the (much appreciated) decision to ship in two waves so that Wastefans would get their goodies in a decent time. This meant from completion of the campaign in April, Jason had product in his backers hands by late November, a mere 8 months. Whilst admittedly he had less volume to contend with than most Kickstarters it's an impressive feat nonetheless. All I am awaiting now is the bases as far as i am aware. 

A veritable horde of goodies!

So, towards the end of November i received my pledge, and i'm not ashamed to say I've been having so much fun with it that i have only now got round to writing a review!

This is what has turned up.

2 x Posses – I opted for Kritters and Bandits. Each comes with activation tokens and dice
2 Titanatrons
3 X Hazmatadors
And of course the KS Exclusive Radical Trevor
MAD Cards
Blank Stat cards

Now a fair few of these are already painted and I must say I have not had so much fun painting in quite a long time. It’s actually been a pleasure to get on with these models. I've been solidly working on them for some time, sadly this has something to do with a couple of legends that have passed away recently (RIP Mssrs Bowie and Kilmister) but nonetheless it has been a lot of fun. But before we get to the models, lets have a look at the Rulebook.

The Rulebook.. your guide to the wastes.

We’ve seen pages from the rule book a few times already, particularly Jasons striking and unmistakable artwork, now though we can finally get to grips with it and having read it i cant wait to get a game in against Lee, who also backed the KS (Cybjorgs and Lunar Coalition if memory serves).

The first thing you will notice about the book is that it is not a hefty tome, being more codex size in thickness (not the old 3rd pamphlet codexes, a proper codex) this is no bad thing as Wasteman is a fairly simple game (albeit one with a nearly limitless hidden potential depth) and designed for large skirmishes at best (well at the moment at least)

Take a seat, get ready for a ride into the nuclear wastes...
One thing i would have liked to see an increased page count for though would be the fluff. In my interview with Jason (LINK) before the KS launched I made sure to have a bit of a chat about the world in which he has created and if i am completely honest i was a little bit disappointed not to see more of that present within the background section of the book. Of course what Jason has presented does do the job, being a brief overview of Earth from present day to the irradiated wastes it is in the game, but then i'm a self confessed fluff whore. I love it, it adds to the immersion and is one of my main reasons for investing in a game. So a bit light on background but certainly not on character, the whole book has that in spades....

Sweet but short.
The rules are next up and overall very well presented, there is a sense of irrevence present here that i love, a knowing nod to the reader that this is an OLD school game for the modern age, more than a little reminiscent of Rogue trader. In fact the whole vibe around Wasteman is old school GW and it filled me with a pang of nostalgia even as it stoked the fires of enthusiasm.

However, to write this off as halcyon days Warhammer 40k would be doing Wasteman a massive injustice as it is very much its own thing (though of course inspired by many sources) for a start its a D10 based game, with an alternate activation action point system, allowing for great freedom of tactical choice on the part of the player. Special rules add the meat to the framework of the rules mechanics and although the rules do suffer just slightly from a lack of clarity in places and the odd grammatical error they are more than passable and this is a first edition after all.

The book is wonderful... 

The game mechanics may not be GW in nature but the feel of the game certainly evokes the very best elements of the games we used to play, with a fast and furious pace and the possibility for all sorts of crazy events (just look at the Youtube gameplay vid) it will be an absolute blast to play and i cant wait to get stuck in. Jason has been putting pics up of his playtesting for a while now and it is clear that he has had a lot of fun developing the game. Further mixing things up are the M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction) cards, a hand of cards that either player can use to wreak havoc, be it taking control of a robot temporarily or a random whirlwind displacing a player, allowing of an easier shot they are sure to make sure that no two games play exactly the same and are one of my favourite elements about the game, encapsulating everything zany and nuts about the game. MAD cards indeed.

Another thing that really must be mentioned is the depth of scenarios in the book, given the relative brevity of the other sections I certainly wasn’t expecting around eight different scenarios to be presented, but there they are and each one looks like loads of fun. What’s more, there is plenty of scope to create your own (I have a few ideas myself) and it looks very easy to come up with bespoke missions. Add to that the 'Mods' that you can use to well, modify your game and it is clear that this book can yield a LOT of playtime. 

I love the M.A.D cards, detailed like B-Movie posters....

So it might not be the thickest or most comprehensive of books but it does everything it needs to, it serves as a great introduction to Wasteman and the character of the game is thick on every page. There is a great sense of humour to it, (I mean one pages extra space is taken up by a joke - in binary naturally) even the whole idea of the game is seen as a simulation, (Geometric Amalgamation of Malicious Events), designed to allow you to survive the wastes. It's wonderfully characterized,a mix of Troma, Fallout, Mad Max and many other influences with a heavy dose of 80's/90's culture and rock/metal harking back to the early days. There is a knowing tongue in cheek feel to it that is pure joy, If by the time you have gone through it you don’t want to play you are probably dead.

So to the models! I don’t have the proper bases yet with the condition tokens that i found so intriguing but can talk about the actual figures themselves.

That may or may not be a new play mat from the starter set the models are on ;)

Firstly a word about Jason’s sculpting style, personally i love it, i think it oozes character and is perfect for the game. The uncharitable might call it crude and certainly from a technical perspective they are not as clean cut or detailed as some figures available from other manufacturers but each and everyone has been created with a care and enthusiasm that is impossible to deny. Just wait till you start to paint them, i've not enjoyed painting anything so much in an AGE. So many little quirks and touches abound on each model. Everyone has a character of its own and personality. A world away from the sterility and dullness of many of today's CAD offerings. And of course absolutely in keeping with the rough and ready coarseness of the world that Jason has created.

Stat cards.

It also just works in metal, they feel refreshingly old shool and working on Wasteman miniatures has reminded me how much I miss metal as a medium. I've been spoiled of late by plastic figures that are more model kit than miniature. Even my abrasive fingers are countered by plenty of brush on varnish with spray to dull down.

The bandits were the the first to catch my eye, part of this may well have been due to Jason's Metal Band T –Shirts paint scheme, maybe I've always secretly had a thing for nurses uniforms. Either way this was the posse that first grabbed my attention. From the buxom Valkyrie-ish Olga to Otto's sneering face and Molotov cocktail i saw most potential with this warband, the only one i am not a fan of really is ... the big brute 'BBQ' 'holding the flamer, i'm not sure why, maybe its the lack of dynamism, its just not doing it for me, love the other models though and a fair few of them have received paint already.

And one has been converted! Following the loss of Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister from Motorhead, I decided a tribute was in order, of course I had no idea i'd be doing another tribute a week later and indeed planning another now in my head for once I get the correct components) and I decided Otto was the best basis, muttonchops and moustache, a bullet belt, a pumpernickel hat to reflect old Lemmy's fascination with World War memorabilia and of course the converting of the Molotov into a bottle of Jack (refilled with petrol i presume – Lemmy would never waste JD) He’s not quite painted yet (the Motorhead logo is startlingly difficult to paint at 32mm scale) but i'm looking forward to getting him sorted.

RIP Lemmy....

Next up is the Kritters, im not really sure why i went for these over the Manglemen, in fact i'm probably going to pick up the Manglemen separately, maybe i'm a sucker for an octopus (sorry) but again something just drew me to them. Jed is painted (as Tom Araya from Slayer – Thankfully NOT DEAD) the octopus has seen the barest amount of paint, other than that not done much at all, Early days though! Pretty cool models, looking to get them painted, looking grotesquely mutated and maybe a bit of an OSL glow on them too. Tom and his animal friends will see the field of battle sooner rather than later i hope.

Hell awaits.....
And then there are the extras, i don’t recall ordering two Titanotrons but clearly I did, maybe I had a robo heavy scenario in mind but they are great figures, lumbering forward. Posing potential is limited as they are practically one piece models but the right arm is separate and you can move this to make them look a bit different as you will see from the photo. Big heavy pieces that are prone to topping but should be fine once their big bases turn up. Awesome figures, had so much fun painting and weathering them.

As an aside the sponge that comes in the packaging is great for stippling paint for rust.....

Hazmatadors (who presumably handle the moo-tant bovine - i'm sure you can see what Jason did there) are next, dudes in radiation suits, nice and varied – not much to say, much approval. Look great. Actually the first model i painted and immediately regretted using 20 year old sunburst yellow as the base colour.....

Radical Trevor is i believe a kickstarter exclusive model, a fully suited up astronaut that is clearly a veteran of the wastes with skulls on his staff and shoulder. He bears the Confederate flag in Jason's vision but once David Bowie died i knew there was only one thing i was going to be doing with him. Union Jack and an Aladdin Sane zigzag on the visor (as well as a couple of other Bowie references – points if you get them both) and Major Tom was born.

Not finished but he will be soon....
And (if i may digress a moment) this is the wonderful thing about Wasteman. The creativity is has ignited in me is supreme, you can convert your Warhammer 40,000 minatures but they are always going to be part of a normal set universe. If you wanted you could make a space marine Bowie tribute i suppose but its just not going to fit like Wasteman. 40k and universes like it with their constant war mantra are too staid too serious. Wasteman invites nay DEMANDS your imagination, your creativity. The character creation section is there for a reason as are the blank data cards. Use them, make Wasteman your own.

Ahem, anyway, back to the models. Another epic figure i picked up was Johan the Slayer (i'm not going to lie, this is probably going to become Jeff Hanneman (RIP) Brandishing his guitar/axe its another archetypal classic Wasteman figure. Lots of potential there. One thing to bring up quickly is the quality of the casting, very few mold lines and flash to be found here. I did notice that a few areas of the Titanotron were a bit pitted but tbh this just added to the weathering.


Xam is a great little model, i think its a bounty hunter, heavy armour, chinese looking hat, futuristic rifle. Awesome. Really suits Jason's sculpting style. Then you have Bagman, a mysterious figure in a suit with a bag on his head. Bit of a Ronseal model there, and of course Lowbot, a little stunted version of the Titanotron and my girlfriend's favourite, i think she described it as 'cute' and tbh i would find it hard to disagree. 

And though thats all I have for now there is so much more. There are loads more posses, a myriad of different robots and monsters and other denizens of the wastes, that's not even to mention the behemoths, huge wasteland creatures that are cast in resin due to their size. Jason has even designed some scenery pieces to supplement the range.

these are 35mm models. .That Rad Dragon is HUGE!!

So that's Wasteman, a crazy fun post apocalyptic skirmish game that harks back the the very best ideals of what wargaming is all about. It will easily sit alongside my very favourite game systems and Jason is to be congratulated on running and fulfilling an excellent Kickstarter campaign. In fact he is currently planning another for a starter boxed game which is certainly something that i will be interested in. In the meantime the rules and models from the Kickstarter have already started to be released on Jason's website so go have a look! 

There's your URL....

Of course it's early days but this is a very promising start for the world of Wasteman, with a great miniature range to back up up a zany and hectic game, I can only see Wasteman being a great sucess, there is already a burgeoning community on the official facebook page. Come join us, it promises to be a blast of Atomic proportions......

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