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Thursday, 2 October 2014

Operation Shadow Hunter unboxing

My forays into Spartan have gradually worn me down to give Dystopian Wars a try - mainly based on some of the utterly gorgeous models that are available. As I'm a newbie to this world, starting off with a 2-player boxed set designed to introduce you to the game seemed like a sensible approach, so enter Operation Shadow Hunter....

O:SH comes in one of Spartan's large boxes, complete with glossy outer sleeve with some nice photographs of the studio models, and some brief intro blurb etc on the rear. Removing the sleeve and opening the box reveals....

Wow. There's not much in the way of spare room in this box! It's absolutely packed with models, tokens, dice, books and cards. One of the things Spartan do well is making you feel you've got a lot of stuff for your money, and O:SH is no exception here! First task is to take everything out of the box and spread it before you like a child on Christmas morning;

So here we have all the models in the standard Spartan bubble-wrap bags, resin tokens, metal components and dice all in press-seal bags, two packs of individually wrapped cards, the O:SH booklet, all the kiss-cut scenery sheets and a full DW 2.0 rulebook. Ignoring all the printed material, any self-respecting resin-crack addict will now unpack all of the models...!!! That's a lot of ships n stuff! I love the way you get two FSA submarines (one surfaced and one submerged), plus two Terror ships (one "ghosted" in clear resin, and one "active"). I'm not sure I'd choose either of these as my standard fleets, but even so the sheer volume of models here is impressive, regardless of whether the aesthetic is your favourite or not.

So after poring over these for a while, you'll probably return to the "other stuff" to have a look.

Three A4 (-ish, I didn't measure them) sheets of kiss-cut scenery in the form of islands, sand banks and atolls/rocks, and three sheets of card tokens and templates. I was slightly surprised that these are not pre-cut like the scenery or other token sets - e.g. the Firestorm Battle for Valhalla 2-player set. Not a major upset, just puzzling given the other precedents.

Anyway, that aside I had a look into the O:SH booklet;

It starts setting the scene for the set, and features some lovely photography of the painted models.

It also gives several scenarios to bring you into the basic mechanics of the game, building up on the different elements.

The last pages are dedicated to the stats for both sets of models.

The other element in the box is the DW2.0 rulebook, which I'll have a proper look at in another blog post.

Overall then, the impression I got from the O:SH 2-player set is very similar to that from the BfV set for Firestorm - it's a nicely presented product which represents good value for money. The models are excellent, beautifully cast pieces as seen across Spartan's range, the printed materials have a quality feel to them and the product seems well thought-out and produced. The inclusion of the full rulebook is a good feature, and you've plenty in the box to give you longevity beyond the starter scenarios. Split between a friend or just for yourself, the product is very good value - the models represent about the same as you'd get with a Battle Flotilla for each nation, so you're essentially getting a discount and the books for free.

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