Deadzone Third Edition Revises Sci-Fi Skirmishes

Mantic Games officially announced Deadzone Third Edition, refining rules and mechanics for their skirmish-based sci-fi wargame.

Published: September 16, 2021 4:00 PM /


A bunch of soldiers in space armor fighting giant bugs and tentacled monsters

It appears that containment protocols are being updated. Mantic Games, the studio behind games like Dreadball, have officially announced a brand new edition for their wargame: Deadzone Third Edition.

Mantic Games' announcement on their official website went into further detail about what changes the new edition will include. They mentioned that the game as a whole was a weird in-between state ever since the release of Escalation for Second Edition. Certain rules were addressed and updated there, but not others. This lead to a major issue with players who just had the core rulebook for second edition, but weren't playing with the actual up to date rules. Rather than just collect these supplements into a new book, Mantic Games wisely chose to streamline everything in the books to make for a smoother experience: thus Deadzone Third Edition.

First thing's first, Deadzone Third Edition doesn't fundamentally change the core game at all. This is still a skirmish-based war game where you command a squad through tough firefights on forsaken planets far away from civilization. Cubes are still used as a form of measurements, results of 8 still explode, and true line-of-sight is still part of the game. Otherwise the changes to the game will be more specific, including revisions to damage calculations and the tweaking of various keywords.

One of the more drastic changes to Deadzone Third Edition will be splitting the rules into two books. First is the Core Rulebook, which will include general information. This includes the basic rules for how the game is played, including rules for running a campaign and extensive lore about the universe of Deadzone. The second is called Force Lists which will include the list of all army units as well as background information on each faction. This was done to future proof the game in case changes are made either to the playable factions or to the fundamental rules themselves.

An image of the terrain, figures and dice, seen in Deadzone Third Edition's Starter Box
Now that's a comprehensive starter box.

We reached out to Mantic Games with further information about the development of Deadzone Third Edition and Rob Burman was happy to answer our questions. For those who might be more familiar with other skirmish-based war games like Necromunda, Burman mentioned the cube system that Deadzone implements. Not only does it cut down on using measuring tape for every single movement, but it also dictates vertical as well as horizontal traversal, leading to more dynamic choices each round.

Burman continued to talk about how his team worked hard to bring new players into Deadzone. In fact, it was the entire idea behind their newest premium box where two players would have access to their own army factions, their special modular sci-fi terrain, and get a grasp on the core rules after one or two games.

Of course, a lot of that refinement came after a lot of internal challenges. Burman talked about revisions to how Deadzone Third Edition handles line-of-sight for targets. He stated, "We really went back and forth on line of sight. In the previous edition, you could draw line of sight to any part of an enemy model. However, this could occasionally lead to those immersion breaking moments when you shot a giant Plague monstrosity off the table because its little toe was accidentally pointing out from behind a piece of scenery! So, we’ve changed it now so that parts of the model that hang over the base don’t count when measuring for line of sight. This stops those ‘gamey’ moments and will allows us to create some very cool and dynamic miniatures in the future too."

Deadzone Third Edition's new rulebooks and starter boxes are available for pre-order on Mantic Games' store page.

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Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler