Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Games and their Buy-In

I've been thinking about the total buy in costs of games a lot recently, as I tend to be the 'new games' guy at my gaming club. So? What do I mean by that? Basically. How much does the game cost to collect as a whole, as a collection, or chunk. Whether that's a force, or army. Basically, something that feels complete-ish. First off, lets go for the easy one. Dreadball. You want to play humans, or you want to play Orx? Buy the boxed game and download the free digital rules too, which have the alternative ball launch rules in them job done. For the price of the boxed game, £50 RPP.

Want to play a different team? Look for their relevant rulebook (Either season 2 or season 3) and the team set, job's a good 'un. - £15 for the team, £10 for the rules.

Now, a really interesting one is also Mantic's Deadzone, an X-Com/Necromunda-ey skirmish game. The starter set is £65, with both Plague and Enforcer 'Strike Teams' inside it, plus some terrain. The interesting thing though, is that the standard Deadzone game is 70 points in size. You get 130 points worth of Enforcers in the starter set, and around 90 points worth of Plague. Now, while there are additional models you can buy for the game (obviously), providing you have some extra terrain already (the GW cities of death, barricades etc work great), you basically have a completely playable force there, with extra options

Most of the time, the Plague models I use in my strike team come solely from the starter set. My enforcers use a single alternative model for a sergeant. 



Stepping away from Mantic for a bit, I play X-Wing too. X-Wing is a stonking wee game and you might be forgiven for thinking it has a high buy in.
 
The truth is, you can have a bit of fun with the starter set, which is only about £25 normally, if you play Rebels, you probably want to buy another 2-3 ships, at about £11 each. If you're imperials, you'd probably want another 3-4. Admittedly, it can get expensive due to the nature of the game where, if you want to get into competitive play, you may wish to get a certain ship you don't particularly want to use, but for a specific card for some awesome build you have in mind. However, a common thing people do for the game is buy 2 starter sets, to get a 2nd X-Wing and another pair of TIE Fighters. They then often buy the X-Wing and TIE Fighter booster pack, which comes with alternative pilot cards. Then, maybe an extra rebel ship and an extra 2 Imperial ships. So, you're talking for the 'full' game experience with 2 fleets at the standard tournament level of 100 points for about £73. Oh, and they come pre-assembled and prepainted. So no glue required and the paintjobs are awesome.





Star Trek Attack Wing is like X-wing, with small changes. For one, generally speaking, you need less physical ships to play a game. - Fleets are often no more than 1-4 ships. However, when you start wanting to look at things even halfway competitively, Wizkids really do go a 'gotta catch 'em all' approach. For example, Captain Janeway from the USS Voyager set is awesome on the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, but to ensure the USS Enterprise NCC-1701's survivability, you probably need to use the Enterprise NX-01's 'Enhanced Hull Plating' upgrade. It gets worse those, when you go past the 'halfway competitive' mark, you're probably looking at Ebay to grab that ultra limited edition prize ship which has that special upgrade on it. At that point, you're talking around £40 each for a tiny model ship and a few bits of cardboard. Oh, and the paintjobs are pants, so you might have a monkey on your back each time you play the game demanding that you repaint the models. As you might guess, I've grown a bit less enamoured of Attack Wing overall.



Finally, we have the game I was playing tonight. Dropzone Commander.

 


That's the starter set there, which has the RRP of £60 and is, in my view, one of the best starter sets on the market (although... Deadzone probably edges out). You get the full Dropzone Commander rulebook in the starter set, plus 2 550 point armies, plus a mat and terrain - dd even that mini tape measure. Now, the kinda cool thing here is, the starter set is perfectly playable, repeatedly, as a standalone game. I have literally ran and played in more than 20 demo games with the Starter Scenario (Lightning Raid) now, and there's still little changes of tactics and things to work out with the models available. The game also scales a whole lot better than 40k ever did for me. I've always found 1000 point 40k games to be beyond terrible. - You have a Land Raider / Leman Russ in your list. I managed to squeeze the points in for a melta gun, I'm going to have a great time here! I imagine it's a helluva lot worse with Flyers now. Every army in Dropzone basically has its own 'Force Org' chart for 3 different point scales. 0-999, 1000-1,999 and 2000+. Called, 'Skirmish' 'Clash' and 'Battles.' Each level is a completely viable game in its own right, with more options opening up as you get to the larger points. For example, you won't see a Fighter Plane.

 


In a 999pt Skirmish game. An Air Wing battlegroup only becomes available in a 'Clash' and multiple Air Wings only become unlocked in Battles. This helps ensure that every level of gameplay is a fair match. And, to be honest, playing a 999 point Skirmish game is great fun. But, the whole point of this rambling is the money. The game is played on a similar points scale to 40k. So you're tournament standard is a 1,500 point game and your starter set comes with 550 points of 2 (out of 5) armies. However, what's awesome is that in September there, Hawk Wargames released plastic starter armies for 4 out of 5 factions for £35 each. These are basically the two starter set forces in their own box then a similar individual army set for the other 2. - One of the neat things is, that these other starter armies also come with an introduction playsheet so, if you've got the Starter Set and one of your mates just buys the Starter Army for his favourite faction, he can just slot it into the demo game with his starter army of choice and no drama at all. - All the starter armies are balanced against each other. I found that 2 starter armies is a pretty good start for the core of a faction for various reasons. So, going for full RRP (though Hawk Wargames do pretty awesome army deals at various points levels), including the Core rulebook, you're talking about no more than £130 or so for a tournament ready 1500pt army. - The example I made up was 2 UCM Starter Armies (£70), Kodiak Armoured Command Vehicle (£11), Scout Buggy Squad (£7.50), Light Dropships (£10), Archangel Interceptor Squad (£11), Rulebook (£15.00) and Command Cards (£5).

~ Roll Dice and Have Fun @ Pork Chop Gaming ~


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