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Monday 18 January 2016

Maelstrom's Edge Unboxing

To go along with this week's podcast, here is the unboxing for the Battle for Zycanthus - the boxed 2-player set for Spiral Arm Studios 28mm sci-fi skirmish game Maelstrom's Edge. This is the first of the Kickstarter games we have funded to deliver, and it's been pretty on-time and delivered all of its commitments. Last week we had a delivery of a large box;

Opening it up gave us what we were expecting, 2 boxes of the 2-player starter set game for Maelstrom's Edge. This has a typically evocative artwork of a battle scene as you might expect from this sort of game on the front.

Lifting the lid, you find a film of bubble wrap and then a very full box

Inside is a short letter thanking us for backing the Kickstarter, which is a nice touch, and then you're into the contents proper. Emptying everything onto the dining room table, you can see exactly what you're getting for your money.

So let's go through the paper stuff first before we get onto the plastic. First of all we have the cards, which are both for the additional bonus game, stat cards and missions;

These are all very nicely printed, matt surface, poker edged and with a good "feel" to them

Next we have the rulebook, which is about A5, or "man bag" sized, printed in full colour

This features illustrations, photography, artwork and sketches in addition to all the text - the only complaint I have is the very small print size, and in this respect I'd prefer a larger book.

Next up are the tokens and templates, spread across three sheets;

The templates are on thick card, the tokens on thinner card. Other than the fact they're well printed in full colour with no registration or bleed issues, there's not much I can say about them until we actually try the game.

Finally in the non-model section we have the dice and bases;

Nothing to say here, apart from the bases are notched, providing facing information which is important in game (I understand from reading construction info!). Dice are standard 10mm D6, and will add to the ranks of those most gamers already have, but their inclusion is welcome nonethelesss.

Now onto plastic - we start with the kickstarter bonus terrain add-ons, which are meant to aid modellers in creating scenery pieces for the game - they're not meant to be stand-alone.

These are all chunky but nicely detailed pieces and could be used for scenery pieces generic enough for any 28mm sci-fi game - from Batman through 40k to Infinity.

So onto the models themselves, and I'll start with the Karists. First up is one of the Angels, the aliens that the Karists use as part of their forces;

 You get one of these in the set, and an additional one was a stretch-goal add-in.  For each body you have different claw options (two for each side), so four possible combinations. Next are the juvenile forms of these, the minnows (which you can sacrifice to feed the Angels as well);

You get four of these but you have three wing options for each pair, so you get the variety needed for this type of unit. This theme of options continues for the basic Karist troops - you get three on a sprue (and two sprues), with four arm pairs, four heads and five weapons. We'll come back to that when I get to the build and post that up.

After the basic troops come the elites in their power armour

You get two of these to a sprue, and two sprues in the set, so four total. Each has two weapon options, and features a host of fine detail. Again I'll come back to these when I build them, but first impressions are very favourable

The next sprues are for the Shadow Walkers, who are the stealthy units. again you get two of these sprues as I've shown;

Now although you only get one head for these guys, you get everything you need for the mini apart form that, so as you've spare heads going from the basic troops, it's possible to make four of these bad boys.

Last up for the Karist Enclave is the Kaddar Nova, a sort of high-priest dude who carries a Cybel energy generator around (which is described a bit like having a portable nuclear generator, and about as wise and good for your health as that too). you can only make one guy, but you have three different lower torso options and a couple of options for each arm and his head.

There's some great detail here, and some very fine casting - look at his single outstretched finger on one arm and the "hockey mask" at the top of the sprue.

So that's it for the Karists', now onto the Epirian Foundation. These guys are a lot more regular;

Even so, great detail and nicely executed weapons and poses. You also get some robot handlers;

These guys have some really nice weapons, and better helmets and some other gubbins! Their main purpose (as far as we know), is to handle the robots, which these guys use a lot of;

You get a fair few of these sprues, each holding two robots which you can build as flyers or walkers (I think!). It would have been nice to have some different poses for the legs on the walker, but then as the whole thing is in plastic this makes for a very easy kitbash project modification.

Last up are the two other robot variants, the scarecrow and the hunter. As I don't know which bits below to which, here they all are!

Now when we've worked out which bits go where (and the Spiral Arm website does have on-line builds of all the models), we'll put them together and post the results here, but on first look and initial impression is good - no missing bits as far as we can tell, no mis-moulds, misalignments, damaged parts etc, which is all "so far, so good". As a set you get an impressive amount of stuff, and everything feels to be of the quality that was expected - no nasty surprises here. In fact, the way Spiral Arm have handled everything to date has led to a very positive Kickstarter experience - lets' hope the build and play lives up to that.

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